Fascists always start by declaring themselves the victims of others. Victimhood is essential to the fascist worldview; it’s at its core
Well said, Thom. You had the same sort of gratuitous anti-gay attacks during the vicious McCarthy period too. And while this whole topic is far too big to discuss here, it certainly has been a tool of bigots for a long time. (Funny story: As an innocent American teenager in 1931 my mother wandered into a Berlin cabaret. Decades later, after seeing the movie set exactly in that time and place, she said, "Oh, I wondered what all those strange people were doing in the corners.")
But more seriously, the whole idea of victimhood runs deep in our society. I well remember discussing it with a friendly Christian fundamentalist who kept going back to the “current persecution of Christianity” as though it was Nero's time. He got confused when I pointed out that the courts, the presidency and Congress were all filled with members of his faith. So he fell back on attacks by,”the liberal press", which I guess included the “War on Christmas.” I had to go over how it was a long time since the Fairness Doctrine was in force.
Of course his phrase about “liberals” can easily slide into "Jews", but the point is that once people think of themselves as victims--either economic or social--it's easy to find someone else to blame. Fascists know this and use it all the time. Putin’s reframing his terrible war as protection for his own people from the corrupting influences of the West (and explicating naming sexual issues) is just one current example. When you get down to it his rationale isn’t that different from what the Republicans are doing.
Thanks again for calling out and naming the fascists so clearly. So often we still hear them referred to as Republican Party, GOP, Conservatives, Right, Far Right. They are fascists and have embraced the evils of Mussolini and his follower Hitler. It has been a long, tragic road since Eisenhower while watching the 'America First' fascist movement regain strength. We have seen the consequences of this movement and it is horrific.
I worked in Vienna in the 80s and had the opportunity to travel across Europe with my wife and children. Now 40 years later, I recall vividly our walking through Dachau Memorial. It was a staggering walk through a location where inhuman atrocities had taken place daily.
I do wish every American had that walk as part of their education. To be there and view the gas chambers and ovens. To imagine the course the country is on with the rise of fascism. To discuss with your astonished children. I can only believe that by taking such a walk 'The Soul of America' (J. Meacham) can be saved.
When I joined the Neo-Nazi party in Cicero, IL (researching seditious organizations), their whole diatribe was against 'gays' (although they used the F@g word), 'mud-people' (black, brown etc.) and finally Jews. Jews were almost an afterthought although they did feel that Jewish people had stolen our economy. Nothing's changed. These guys were addicted to guns, had PTSD and basically lived in a psychotic break. They also drank a lot! They had a big bar at their headquarters. An Episcopalian Priest once said to me, 'Anyone who is homophobic has sexual orientation issues themselves.' That statement, to me, is an axiom. These folks are driven by fear; fear to face who they really are.
You do such a good job of connecting the dots. It's so scary right now. I was a bit heartened when I heard that SCOTUS refused to hear the case brought by a billionaire to overturn the election results of 2020. I don't understand how so many people can be led around by the noise and think throwing public temper tantrums are the way to get things done.
I think its time to answer these Fascists and yes, call them what they are.
Republicans are supporting criminal legislation that totally is an attempt to ‘make life in their image and likeness’, yet their hateful vision drums up pictures of demons and I don’t think we have an iota of an idea of a path forward, at this time .
We need a plan and an a central organization to fight these haters.
If any one knows of any specific paths to follow , it would be helpful.
But know this , we are dealing with irrational hate and the power of mob rule.
We all say to each other we mist do something about .
But , where to start ?
I’d be happy to hear from anyone with ideas .
Here is the thing. Liberals are their own worst enemies, as they take the reactionaries at their word.
Reactionaries are hypocrites, they know it, they revel in it, they snicker ar naïve liberals who call them out on hypocricy. They know that Fox is lying to them https://email@example.com&di=6ddc06020c947edee2941da6556ebffc abd they don’t care. They know that Trump is a liar, a grafter, a prevent, an adulterer, a child molester, who is picking their pockets and they don’t care. He is their avatar, They see him in the mirror looking back at themselves.
When these fascist charge liberals and Dems with reprehensible moral crimes and behaviors, they are not only projecting themselves, and telegraphing who and what they are, the know that the naïve liberal is sucked into answering baseless charges and waste precious time in defense, while the fascists, are cooking up another baseless charge to keep the liberal on the back foot.
While most liberals care about what others think, of their public image the right wing, the reactionary, the fascist doesn’t, he or she is only concerned with what the rest of their pack thinks.
The liberal has a lot to learn. Taking the high road while they take the low road is suicide.
I’ve read some articles lately, mostly by “moderate” Republicans, they don’t like the word fascist, especially as applied to the right, they quibble about its meaning, deferring and referring to Mussolini’s fascism, but fascism is not a static animal, it grows, it evolves
The fascism of Franco and Hitler were not the fascism of Mussolini, though they did incorporate some of it’s precepts. In like manner the USSR was a fascist state, as is China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, N Korea and the list goes on. Fascism is authoritarian and anti democratic. It may have trappings of Democracy like a (meaningless) vote, but it is a political transvestite, like Giuliana and those cross dressing anti drag, anti LGBT politicians. They know they are hypocrites, their base knows it as well, but they don’t care so long as their agenda is advanced. When Trump said that he could shoot a person on 5th Ave and get away with it, he revealed that he knew well the DNA that constitutes at least 30% of America, and if truth be know more than 30% depending on which button is pushed.
Of course these reactionaries will be the dog that caught the car, but by the time they realize and regret it, it will be too late. This is the fate of people who were nurtured on faith and belief, and thus lack the skills of critical thinking. I would like to lay all the blame on the pulpit and press, but sadly our educational system bears a large part of the responsibility.
I recall, vividly, my own experience in school in the 1950's, boring, repetition, presented by flaccid, unenthusiastic and authoritarian figures misnamed teachers. I opted to be an autodidact and skipped school to get my education in a public library. Served me well enough to graduate from university with a 3.74 GPA and my Masters with a 3.47 GPA.
Now the fascists are burning books again, DeSantis is Hitler redux, and even potential autodidacts are losing the opportunity for self education. The first step to a controlled populace, so much for the farce of the Freedom Caucus.
Projection and deflection are tactics used by someone trying to hide their intentions and/or actions from an audience of one or many. In the case of projection they project onto someone or something a quality, characteristic, or behavior which they themselves, consciously or unconsciously, believe to be true of themselves but which they fear disclosing or revealing. All of Donald Trump's claims about election fraud and stolen elections before and after the election were projections. Nearly all evidence of attempts to steal the election point to Trump and his minions.
Deflection, a form of distraction, is what allows magicians to perform their "magic". Focus on this over here while I do the "magic" over their. Claims of widespread fraud used to rationalize the need for restricting voting to those deemed most likely to commit such fraud, while the real intent is to maintain minority rule in the absence of any policies to address the true needs of the country, is deflection in action. In addition, blaming the "Other" as the source of your problems, in order to keep the "e pluribus" from becoming a true "unum" is, perhaps, the most insidious deflection of all.
A poem which captures the essence of Thom's reference to Pastor Niemoller, is "The Hangman" by
Maurice Ogden. Check it out!
Thom is 100% on target.
The late Hunter Thompson pointed out that the minority GOP party historically uses fear and loathing to make themselves appear to be the protectors to vote for as a way of attracting independent voters. I doubt if you can find many parents who would be fine learning that one of their offspring was L,G,B,T,Q, or whatever. They might, out of love, accept their reality and offer love and support to their kid, but only if it happened to them - just as Thom points out. But, people need to realize when they are being gaslighted, and fear and loathing simply switches off rational thought processes.
As Columbia U fascism expert, Prof Bob Paxton, has pointed out, fascists understand that when emotions are high, human rational thinking processes go into standby mode. Fear and hatred bring people together to defend themselves and their families when led to believe they are under attack by evil forces who would act to destroy the futures of their children. When a parent is misled into thinking that gender dysphoria or homosexual orientation is taught by pedophile adults, they are all ears as to how to prevent it happening to their offspring.
Ron DeSantis and his fellow fascists are not going to tell you that psychological and medical research considers gender identity and sexual orientation to be genomic in origin - that people are born that way. No sir! Queers and Trannies are taught/groomed to be that way from childhood by pedophiles who have infiltrated our grammar schools, drag queen entertainers, and even librarians who slip porn into children's books. Vote for the GOP and they will put these scary loathsome people in jail where they belong.
It is my opinion that the fascist of today are not racists. What will happen to all the old people, obese people, gay people, disabled people, criminals, poor people and all the intellectuals? Yes, even the fat and unhealthy Trump cult members will be put on the front lines to battle a foreign autocrat Nation like China.
The goal of the autocrats is to maximize profits, and if you can't give them a cut of your action, your head will be on the chopping block,literally.
It seems the mass media has the right wingers under their thumb. The only way to combat that is to buy airtime. The left needs to run 30 second commercials pointing out the Trump cult members future under a dictatorship. Like loss of guns, being tortured, getting their organs harvested, working for a dollar an hour, being work to death, losing their social security, losing their free speech and freedom of thought, losing their right to a fair trial...
"And we all must speak up, before it’s too late. We must call this what it is: fascism." Where shall we do this?
Thom, this is an excellent article that is right on the money. You bring to light so much important information. Thanks once again.
There is definitely a coordinated push to label the trans discussion as a left/right issue. The fact is that the trans lobby may be part of the left, but it does not own the left. Feminist TERFs, LGB folks, and people who prefer to live in reality are all part of the diverse left.
The feminist TERFs who question the eradication of sex-based rights under trans ideology are not conservative or fascist. Feminists generally don't get along with conservatives or fascists and vice versa. The most famous of this group is JK Rowling who was beloved as a promoter of LGB rights prior to standing up for the sex-based rights of women. These feminists come from the left. They remain part of the left no matter how much trans activists state otherwise. Feminists rightfully call the redefinition of the word "woman" by men, the invasion of female spaces by men, and the erasure of the meaning of womanhood by trans activists what it is: regressive, sexist misogyny.
Increasingly, we also hear complaints about transgender ideology coming from LGB folks. Lesbians are increasingly vocal about straight trans identified males calling themselves lesbian and insisting lesbians accept them in their dating pool. The lesbians are rightfully not interested in people who label themselves "chicks with dicks." Lesbians reject the insistence that they date biological males simply because those males label themselves as women. Lesbians rightfully call this trans behavior what it is: homophobic.
There is also a lobby of folks who like to live in scientific reality. These include academics, biologists, medical students, atheists, and performers such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Bill Maher, Dave Chappelle, Ricky Gervais, Macy Gray, and Bette Midler. These folks are not conservative. They're not fascist. They dislike being intimidated. They dislike being silenced. They dislike the infection of our culture with ridiculous nonsense like pronoun declarations. They dislike the anti-intellectual, anti-factual, anti-scientific claims that "sex is a spectrum," "sex is a social construct," "sex is a label assigned at birth," "trans women ARE women," and "women are whoever identifies as a woman."
The groups opposing gender ideology are diverse. The gender critical is a broad movement that's supported beyond just conservatives. The supporters from the left shouldn't be mislabeled as coming from the right. That is factually incorrect.
Drag and "campy" humor is as old as the world. I loved Milton Berle as Mildred, Flip Wilson as Geraldine, and Tyler Perry as Madea. We have all been attending drag-queen story-time most of our lives, and so have the kids watching these shows. Remind Republicans if you can, especially if they are your Representative or Senator.
People have had a diverse spectrum of genders, transitions, and lifestyles throughout the ages. Nothing these fascists do will work if we are the allies that we should be. Your point is on the money, Thom. It is in our own interests, and it's the right thing to do.
As for the gender chaos and the people on the right or left that don't like it or are confused, WELCOME TO THE 21st CENTURY!!!!!! Everything about our lifestyles and society is changing---get used to it.
All of this is maddening and frightening. We need to educate everyone to vote.
I wish I recognized my beloved America today. It's a shell of my youth in the 70s & 80s. :( America was advancing, slowly but surely. Since Trump came down that escalator, "...murderers and rapists...", I have noticed the slow decay and backsliding. Once Trump's vile and hideous existence took center stage, it unleashed all the ugliness that was tucked under society. His endless hatred, cruelty and inhumane acts seemingly gave a permission slip for those equally hateful folks to unleash. Everything Trump comes into contact with turns to crap. He is a malignant cancer to humanity and public enemy #1/menace to society.
I long for a new day of civility and love based action by societal members.