Skip to main content

Hampton Think - October 17, 2021

... For fascists, traditionalism and futurism are tools for cultural atonement, redemption, and political power. The cultural historian Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke[15] appreciates Evola's and Trump's ideological poison. Fascism:

...speaks directly to those who reject absolutely the leveling world of democracy, capitalism, multi-racialism and technology...[Traditionalists] acute sense of cultural chaos can find powerful relief in his ideal of total renewal.

It is not surprising that Steve Bannon, an Evola enthusiast and Trump's past political advisor, boasts, "I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment."[16] Bannon's Lenin isn't a Marxist, but he is a futurist.

Fascism's third necessary ideological feature is a moral "exclusive exceptionalism" in public policy and international relations, particularly justified by its traditionalist mythology. The fascist state claims the exclusive moral right to do what it wishes: no individual, group, or other nation can assert the same right.[17] Antonio Salazar, a former Portuguese prime minister and authoritarian corporatist, explains: [18]

The fascist dictatorship tends towards a pagan Caesarism, towards a state that knows no limits of a legal or moral order, which marches towards its goal without meeting complications or obstacles.

And for Adolph Hitler: [19]

It's a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command - and I'll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad....

THE THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF AMERICAN FASCISM

Governance: The Fascist Presidency

Since the Civil War, America has enjoyed reasonably stable governance. It's democratic republic, separation of powers, and presidential term limits constrain the rise of tyranny. Capitalism is thoroughly imbedded in its politics, ideology, culture, and religion. It's culture celebrates freedom, democracy, multiculturalism, personal individualism, and egalitarianism; suitably framed in a comforting mythology. It's religious doctrines profess kindness, compassion, and equality among persons.

Taken together, these blessings provide Americans with a deep sense of self-identity and exceptionalism. They also offer few prospects for the rise of a hell bent authoritarian Fuhrer. Yet, for opportunists like Donald Trump, the 2016 election provided just the right circumstances for a heroic self-actualization.

Trump's fascist handler Steve Bannon has a plan. It begins by peddling a well-known TV reality superstar and billionaire entrepreneur as a national hero for the 21st century. He is marketed as a blessed, unconventional, and unrelenting savior. His operatives then inject him into a rapaciously neoliberal capitalist party. That party seizes the opportunity to both deflect growing criticism from disgruntled workers still suffering from the 2008 capitalist crisis and a ballooning wealth gap, while simultaneously safeguarding capitalist profits. Republican spin masters publicly celebrate him in their corporate media, offering him a shot at the Presidency.

Once this leader controls the executive branch, and the Republican Party takes control of the Senate and the Supreme Court, an American fascism will command absolute political authority. It can control national production and labor policy, thus removing class struggle from the political equation. This tactic takes advantage of an increasing centralization of power in the executive branch.[20] This situation is significantly different from the weak power structure at the top of the unstable Weimar Republic in 1930s Germany. Trump will exercise his authority, claiming the exclusive right to do what he wishes, and remain unaccountable. Since this impulsive and aggressive fascist leader is the incarnation of the state, all governmental policy and functions obediently follow suit. Anything or anyone getting in the way will be eliminated.

Trump is a worthy inheritor of Mussolini's political persona. His distain for human rights, scapegoating, sexism, hostility toward intellectuals, and militarism is indisputable. His immigration policy, islamophobia and racism, glorification of sexual molestation, anti-science rhetoric, and massive defense spending all herald a potential American Fuhrer.

Economy and Ideology: Steve Bannon’s 'Third-Way'[21]

Steve Bannon's fascism maximizes the operational efficiency of its governance, and coincidently the profitability of capitalism, through their fusion with the ideology of White-supremacist Christianity. The leader commands a Third Way that subjugates capitalist enterprises and labor under his control through corporations, in order to ameliorate class conflict. Capitalists in this new theo-economic state[22] will enjoy growing profits as before, as workers endure neoliberal social and labor policy that reduces their political presence. Workers will live insecure existences living on subsistence wages, fearing illness, and defaulting on their college loans. They will work more hours, save little, and receive fewer benefits.

In contrast to historical fascism, the American form benefits from an enduring capitalist program to weaken labor. Trump is elected on a day when worker participation in unions is historically low.[23] The Taft-Hartley Act, and the damage done through its original anti-communist provision, continues to block mass revolutionary efforts by workers. There are few mass demonstrations and street battles like those in Germany and Italy during the early decades of the 20th century.[24] More recently, the Supreme Court Citizen's United and "right to work" rulings impair union fund raising and organizing. Trump's truculence toward both organized labor and Wall Street is consistent with a politic that abhors class struggle.

All of this comes with Bannon's traditionalism and Judeo-Christian ethos: [25] ...
Read full article at Hampton Think