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Fascism isn’t coming In this age of political hypochondria, everyone wants to be a hero

Could he fit into an XXL black shirt? (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Could he fit into an XXL black shirt? (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)


June 7, 2021   6 mins

I’m something of a hypochondriac, and in the past few years have had at least seven different types of cancer diagnosed by Dr Google. Many, many things resemble the symptoms of the disease, most of which are benign, but if you know of family members who’ve suffered and read about it, then it’s natural to see the Big C everywhere.

Likewise, if a civilisation has suffered from a uniquely appalling trauma, then anything that vaguely resembles its early symptoms will cause people to fear it’s all happening again. Just like real health anxiety, political hypochondria is spread by the internet, with commentators and activists the equivalent of those dubious American health sites warning that your headache is going to kill you. But instead of cancer, we have fascism, a disease the commentariat can diagnose everywhere.

As with health anxiety, political hypochondria has risen with the invention of the iPhone, reaching a new intensity after Donald Trump’s secured the Republican Party nomination five years ago. After that, and his subsequent election, America’s commentariat whipped themselves into a hysteria that the country was on the verge of a fascist takeover.

Trump’s presidency produced a booming literature in fascism-is-coming literature, among them Madeleine Albright’s Fascism: A Warning, Cass Sunstein’s Can It Happen Here? and How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Entertainment also ran with the idea, with HBO’s adaptation of The Plot Against America imagining what a fascist United States would look like.

But while Trump’s political demise has caused a collapse in his symbiotic media haters, the fear of fascism will remain a constant, especially if, as he warned last week, he returns in 2024 (or, who knows, maybe earlier).

Just in the past few months Timothy Snyder, a Yale professor and highly-respected historian of the Second World War and Holocaust, warned in The Road to Unfreedom about growing threats to freedom in the West, while Jason Stanley’s How Fascism Works focused on the ideology, its evocation of a mythic past, victimhood and use of scapegoats.

Britain’s Paul Mason also has an upcoming book, How To Fight Fascism, in which he warns: “The core of fascism’s belief system today is clear: that majority ethnic groups have become the ‘victims’ of migration and multiculturalism; that the gains of feminism should be reversed; that democracy is dispensable; that science, universities and the media cannot be trusted; that nations have lost their way and need to become ‘great’ again; and that there will soon be a cataclysmic event which sets things right.”

Mason is a veteran of Left-wing political activism from the days when the Anti-Nazi League had punch-ups with Britain’s extreme-Right. He writes, with a great sense of urgency, that we’re replaying the terrors of the 1930s; but then he’s been saying this for years, and the Lupine Vigilance Committee declaring the imminent arrival of the wolf is not startling news for most of us. Yet as we head towards the French elections next spring this fear of fascism will no doubt grow, helped by gains for populist parties in Italy, Spain and elsewhere.

It would be easier to take these warnings more seriously if they hadn’t been made so often before. Before Trump, George W. Bush was also routinely accused of undermining American democracy and having a plan similar to Hitler’s, although this has all been forgotten now that he’s recast as a cuddly imbecile who draws nice pictures of immigrants.

Those fearing Bush’s anti-terror legislation to be a modern-day Enabling Act were spurred by the sensationally popular 2003 article listing “Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism”. Author Lawrence Britt identified symptoms such as “Identification of enemies/scape-goats as a unifying cause”, a “Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism”, “Disdain for the importance of human rights”, “Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts” and “Obsession with crime and punishment” as signs of fascism. And it all sounded eerily like what was happening.

The fear grew after the financial crisis of 2007, because we all know that Hitler’s rise began with the Wall Street Crash — and indeed, the rise of national populist parties across Europe seemed to confirm all the old fears that fascism might return.

Yet sometimes the lump is just an unexplained lump. Or maybe it’s something unpleasant, but it’s not going to kill you.

National populism is not the same as fascism. It’s a particular response to recent, unprecedented levels of immigration, populist support correlating with rising diversity. While fascism is expansionist, violent and consciously elitist, populism tends to be defensive and democratic, even egalitarian. Fascism was youthful, the product of a young society, espousing vigour, action and the nobility of youthful sacrifice.

Populism, on the other hand, is focused on welfare benefits, the product of an ageing — and in places like the former East Germany, dying — population. Today’s western world, with a median age now well over 40, is just too old for fascism, and also too rich, Weimar Germany having a GDP per capita of around £3,000. We’re all too fat to fit into size XXL black shirts, and a country in which 36% of adults are clinically obese is not going to march anywhere any time soon.

There are fascist parties today in Europe, such as Golden Dawn of Greece, and Jobbik of Hungary, but not many. As for Right-wing street protest groups, English Defence League marches gather literally tens — sometimes ones — of people. Even an ageing Paul Mason could probably take them on. Sure, there are fascist organisations and groups, just as there are groups dedicated to shoe fetishes or translating great works of fiction into Klingon, but in countries comprising tens of millions of people it’s not especially noteworthy or frightening that a few thousand people are interested in a dead political cult.

In cognitive behavioural therapy, you are taught to avoid the tendency towards seeing the worst possible scenario, something I’ve always done. I can’t get on a plane without picturing it blowing up in mid-air and all my fellow passengers being plastered over the papers underneath the headline “TRAGEDY OF DOOMED FLIGHT”. In politics, we have an entire industry set up to do just that, equating every move away from runaway globalisation as being the start of Au Revoir Les Enfants. We saw it during the Brexit debate, when some of the hysterical reporting clearly frightened people into thinking they were going to get deported.

Much of this political hypochondria stems from the work of Theodore Adorno and his “F Scale” test, which was used to assess fascist personality types, asking questions about obedience, sexual relations, lifestyles and so on. The F Scale was tested in post-war America, where it was found that fascism was latent everywhere. In the 1950s Adorno warned that fascism was the real danger to America — despite that whole Communism thing — and was convinced that fascism was finding “a new home” there. Soon his prophecy turned true, and America famously fell to fascism, with the Civil Rights act, Flower Power and Woodstock.

What the F Scale was measuring was not fascism but conservatism, and to a political hypochondriac it’s easy to mistake them: conservativism is, after all, parochial, drawn to attachments that are local and national rather than global. Conservatism is defined by more traditional gender norms, a greater respect for parental authority, a harder line on crime, and it has a certain disdain for intellectuals — which is unsurprising when you consider the insane ideas thought up by intellectuals.

Labelling all conservative politicians as fascist is a political tactic often used by Communists — they even called the Berlin Wall the Anti-fascist Protection Rampart — but this isn’t the main reason for the proliferation of this phobia.

One of the curious things about the Trump era was that so many American journalists seemed to fear a fascist dictatorship that they actually desired it. They longed to be part of a heroic struggle against the forces of darkness, one in which all doubt and anxiety and everyday blandness was washed away — ironically like so many bored young men of the Belle Époque.

Everyone needs to be the hero of their own narrative, and it’s far more comforting to imagine you’re Indiana Jones battling Nazis when cheering someone being punched in the street, or the ousting of an academic you might disagree with. The truth, that we’re living in a free society and that the path to heroism has been cut off; that we have nothing greater than the worries and regrets of our everyday life, is too much to bear.

And so Trump’s opponents retreated to a world of fantasy, citing quasi-mythical modern folk tales in which good vs evil is binary and uncomplicated; on the one hand Harry Potter, and on the other Star Wars. This fantasy caused people to refer to themselves, without any irony or embarrassment, as “the Resistance”, a reference both to the Lucas space opera and to occupied France. But the point about being part of the “resistance” is you can’t openly talk about it; otherwise you’re not really resisting, you’re indulging yourself.

Trump was a bizarre, unpredictable figure totally unsuited to the role; his embarrassing time in the White House ended with the outgoing President inciting some of his followers to march on Washington, a dangerous and deluded finale to a four-year ego trip and personality cult. But it was never going to be a “coup” any more than his regime was going to be the Fourth Reich; the clown act turned deadly in the end, but it was still a clown act that never seriously threatened a 250-year-old constitution.

In my experience, the only way to avoid hypochondria is to just stop worrying and focus on other things, and maybe something else will kill you in the meantime. The same, I suspect, is true of our civilisation.


Ed West’s book Tory Boy is published by Constable

edwest

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Once again the lazy use of Trump, a man who spent four years trying to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan and the ME, who oversaw the destruction of Isis (although they will be back). who engineered various peace agreements, and who did more to at least stand up to China (a state with genuinely fascist overtones) than any western politician since China embraced capitalism.
There are few things on this planet more pathetic than today’s media and commentariat.
Moreover, I think it was Reagan who said ‘When fascism comes to America it will come dressed as liberalism’ and based on what we are witnessing, he was right.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
AC Harper
AC Harper
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Trump was a bull in a political china shop, and didn’t behave in the way expected of a President… and yet there is a sprinkling of ‘Trump was right’ articles being produced. It seems to me that the Democrats are far more likely to indulge ‘fascist’ behaviour by their supporters.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Also having to define something by the personality of one person means it isn’t fascism or communism.The regimes in Russia & China were big government , ruled by central control & secular -they are defined as communist but totalitarian might be better description. As soon as the author began to take Paul Mason’s definition seriously ( a man so far left he probably feels the system in North Korea is too benign & easy going) you know where it was going to lead. Trump was voted in & served as President for 4 years-during that time he did nothing illegal. The administration which was supposed to carry out Republican party policies , however , did behave illegally but as they are now in power , noone is going to deal with them. Some democrats may have buyer’s regrets as they watch the wrecking party that they put in power try to destroy America-that is their problem. Regimes respond to situations & times-the 1930’s was between two world wars-most of us have never lived through a single large scale war.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Ed West’s marathon article going nowhere above is the perfect example of ‘James Thurber’s’ theory that a writer should be paid for a story, BUT, money Deducted for each word, resulting in quick, pithy, stories of tight, logical, thinking.
WWG1WGA, TDS, and MAGA
“But instead of cancer, we have fascism, a disease the commentariat can diagnose everywhere.” is true, Marxist/Liberal/Lefty loons see N*z is hiding in every bush and under every bed, but it is their craziness which is the problem, not the Right. N*z is are as rare as unicorns, but Marxists thugs head up every entertainment, education, MSM, Social Media, Political, Legal, organization. But this is what you get when ex-Guardian types are the writers.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It is their favourite word at the moment-thousands of Titania McGraphs screaming it at everyone they don’t like or agree with

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I thought the article was on point. It touches on all the core issues around this topic, in particular, the way leftists usually define any kind of non-leftism/conservatism as “fascism”, even though the ur-Fascists were all on the hard left. The comparison to hypochondria is well made, the comments about not being able to talk about a real Resistance well observed, and in general I feel a need to give some support to Ed here BTL because it seems to me the article is pretty decent.

Philip LeBoit
Philip LeBoit
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

There are fringe voices in the Democratic party that excuse Antifa, etc. Polling shows that large segments of Republican voters believe that because they could not have fairly lost the 2020 Presidential election, violence to enforce a political outcome is legitimate. Both are deplorable, but the Republican Party is drifting rapidly into a new model of an authoritarian right wing party, while the Democrats are largely comparable to a european social democratic party with wokeist baggage.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip LeBoit

It was BLM, openly supported and funded by the Democrats, who used endless violence last year, to discredit the Trump administration and get him out of office.

objectivityistheobjective
objectivityistheobjective
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip LeBoit

Give one example of that American conservatives are becoming authoritarian. American conservatives believe in the constitution. That why we support originalist justices. The left want activist judges who change the meaning of the constitution to suit their needs. Judicial activism is authoritarian not judicial restraint. Conservatives want lower taxes, cut spending, smaller government, reduced regulations. That’s in-line with anti-authoritarian. The left wants more taxes, bigger government, more regulations. That’s all authoritarian.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

Any political dispensation without ‘authoritarianism’ is impossible. What matters is the source and justification of the authority. On the ‘left’ it’s ‘power’, on the ‘right’ it’s the will of all those subject to the authority to accept it as legitimate. These are two radically incompatible approaches, with differing ways of life that follow on as a consequence.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
keithchapman185
keithchapman185
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

“on the ‘right’ it’s the will of all those subject to the authority to accept it as legitimate.”
Where does that happen in a Democratic state? You’re using the langue more commonly seen last in the USSR.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip LeBoit

SDP you plank are Anything but wokeist,Patriotic]Concerned with Too many China Imports, illegal immigration ,Concreting the Countryside..etc…

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip LeBoit

Large segments of Democrat voters, including most of the mainstream US media, clearly believed that they could not have fairly lost the 2016 Presidential election. They never ceased whining about it for the next three years.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kathy Prendergast
Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Whatever Trump achieved, he is clever rather than intelligent which makes me think he achieved by luck rather than judgement. I agree with Ed’s description of him as unpredictable.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Whatever you might think of him – and I always thought of him as a vulgarian real estate mogul who probably should have gone bankrupt – Trump has:

  • Built and maintained a property empire
  • Been the star of a TV show that topped the ratings for about 10 years
  • Become President in his first run for political office
  • Delivered on more of him promises while in office than any politician in my lifetime, with the possible exception of Thatcher.

That is not luck.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

He was lucky to surround himself with people who were intelligent!
You mention his property empire; you do not have to be pleasant to build a property empire. As for his TV programme, that says much about American taste!

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

He was intelligent enough to surround himself with good advisors and confident enough to listen to them.

Last edited 3 years ago by Bryan Dale
johnnywalleye
johnnywalleye
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

the pandemic advice kills that theory

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Actually, all the evidence suggests that as President he surrounded himself with very bad and/or disloyal advisors. This makes it all the more remarkable that he managed to deliver so much.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes Comey , Mueller , Barr the list goes on. I assume that until he got to Washington he assumed top officials were ‘straight’

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I agree. I don’t think Trump knew how thick the muck was, and remains, in DC, or the Forbidden City as I call it after 29 years in federal service, and he made some very bad choices in staffing.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

He also Fired incompetents in Defence department, Refused to appoint two faced politicians,like Republicans Mitchell Romney, Mitchell mcConville

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

I guess that says a great deal about the BBC and the taste of their audience. Woke Morality plays, Fake News, and bad comedy padded out with game and reality shows.

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Vaudeville never died.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Why do you think he is unpleasant? According to Andrew Neil Trump was well known as a very good employer & there has been no ex-Trump staff ‘spilling the beans’ .Those doing that were the usual suspects like Stormy Daniels ( she was big friend enemy Larry Flynt who said he would give one million to anyone giving him compromising info on Trump-don’t think she received her million & she is the last person he would sleep with because Flynt connection) He is friends with all his children & not a single problem among them-more than can be said for Biden-both his children have addiction problems.The TV show is American version of the British programme-it was about getting people started in business.Practically every actor wears fake tan-so don’t know why he was singled out as ‘orange man’-a bit fruitist . He has a very good speaking voice & can give a long speech well without notes. He’s probably a bit of a nightmare to be married to-but thats Melania’s problem isn’t it?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

“…you do not have to be pleasant to build a property empire.”
Nor do you have to be “pleasant” to be a good President. Certainly, at any rate, not “pleasant” to people who are trying to discredit and destroy you from day one.
And how exactly do you think an unintelligent person manages to “surround himself” with intelligent people? His good looks and charm?
You don’t have to like Trump to concede that he obviously – and unlike the current unfortunate occupying the White House – has a well-functioning brain.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Well said Fraser. This whole “Trump is a dumbass” looks ridiculous in the face of his actual accomplishments. Ed West, who I actually quite like and find to be a very insightful writer/commentator, has this strange contempt for Donald.
Sorry Ed West, the Left will never like you or give you a seat at the table, don’t bother trying to be one of the “nice” conservatives by bitching about one of the few actually successful conservative politicians since Reagan.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Nor was he unpredictable: he always told us what he thought – until FATGA excommunicated him – and he always did what he said.

hardtruths
hardtruths
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And if you are listing Trump’s personal achievements it’s churlish to ignore:
Gained more votes for reelection than any sitting President in history, more than any other candidate except the propaganda-driven one supposedly achieved by his senile rival, and did so in the teeth of literally unprecedented mass media and big tech manipulation of opinion against him and to protect and promote his rival.

The man has plenty of personal flaws (but the same can be said of most top politicians), but his achievements are significant

johnnywalleye
johnnywalleye
3 years ago
Reply to  hardtruths

the only potus to lose the white house senate and house in 80+ yrs isnt a achievement;its an embarrassment

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

Who said he lost?

Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

But did he? You have to live under a rock to not know our elections have been rigged since 2004 -real empirical evidence

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
3 years ago
Reply to  hardtruths

Since teh US population is always growing, gaining more votes than previously is just what nearly all president-elects get.
This isn’t evidence for anything–just a meaningless talking point.

Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

No it’s based on empirical evidence. This is not a talking point. Even the Dems are quoted over and over again about the ability to hack the machines, site studies of massive fraud with mail-in voting.

hardtruths
hardtruths
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

Since teh US population is always growing, gaining more votes than previously is just what nearly all president-elects get.”
“Nearly all” is not “all”. Just looking at recent presidents, Obama went down in 2012, and Reagan in 1984 got more than Bush in 2000, the other Bush in 1988, and Clinton in 1996.
Numbers don’t always even go up at all with rising populations, though they usually do to some extent for sitting presidents, and Trump increased his vote by a spectacular 12m in just 4 years, in the teeth of the massive hostile bias in the broadcast media and unprecedented big tech manipulation against his campaign.
Your denial just comes across as dishonest Trump-hatred.

stuartb833
stuartb833
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

He didn’t need bankster money to bankroll him unlike numerous other presidential contenders
.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

But surely Fraser, you must see that that was what made him so unpopular with the MSM and the swamp.

johnnywalleye
johnnywalleye
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

he ran twice.facts do matter

Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

He won twice facts do matter. Do your research

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Being born the son of a property millionaire certainly is luck.
And TV stardom simply shows that his only real skill, salesmanship, also translates into popular TV.
Not sure what promises he kept. No border wall. No give by Iran, N. Korea, China, Russia or any other US adversary throughout his term. Moreover, since the US economy has been growing for about 250 years, even his economic growth is unexceptional.
Trump is a spent force. He’s now an albatross around the GOP’s neck.
The GOP will never get back the White House while he is still alive.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

I disagree. I think the Democrat party is scaring everybody with its support of Critical Race Theory. The tide is rapidly turning against the New Racism which is being taught in America’s schools and colleges.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

And in burned BLM cities like San Francisco,New York, Portland Oregon, Seattle etc..Democrats with money &families Moving to Republican Governed states like Florida ..

Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

Watch Trump being interviewed by Charlie Rose in 1992. You do not tell the whole story. The interview will get you closer. Consistency is strength. Our political leaders, political class have no consistency- they are the true car salesman. No political leader would ever take what Trump took, a lesser man would’ve yielded, gone along to get along. billionaire Bloomberg said in his own words he spent $150million of his own money to flip the house (and tried in the Senate) why? for America? No. For his own personal financial gain to secure his financial empire through growth with China. So much evidence to the contrary of what you comment.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

that’s just silly

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Unpredictability was Trump’s strong suit.

objectivityistheobjective
objectivityistheobjective
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Trump was very smart. He was crude and obnoxious but very smart. He didn’t speak political speak, so people accused him of lying all the time, but if you track everything he said that was initially accused of being lies, he was right and truthful the overwhelming majority of the time. Obama lies more than any president ive ever seen, but since he says it in political-ease, he gets a pass

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
3 years ago

I doubt I’m the only one who thinks that the “new fascists “ are actually far more likely to be found amongst the “progressive left”, and centre left, the very people claiming to be fighting and guarding against a resurgence of fascism. That seems to be the main problem with Americans, unlike the Brit’s, they, for the most part, don’t seem to get irony. Ironically !

Last edited 3 years ago by Tom Lewis
Gandydancer x
Gandydancer x
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

The author is a Brit, and the people claiming to see the incipient arrival of fascism for the last four years or so (or longer) haven’t been more American than you would expect given that the bete noir was an American president. Is what you are saying ironical in some sense that I don’t get?

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Gandydancer x

The dig at Americans was tongue in cheek, I apologise if my sense of humour failed to travel further than the words on the page. The bit about anti-fascists displaying fascist tendencies however, I think, still stands. Again, I think I am far from alone in thinking that the further someone goes to the far left, the closer they probably get to the extreme right. The details might differ, but the end results appear to be much he same.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tom Lewis
Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

I agree about the far left but surely any extreme view easily becomes authoritarian as does any view of an absolute nature.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Can you tell me how you could have a ‘state’ at all without ‘authority’, imposed from ‘above’?
The US is a hybrid country, with a political system largely derived from French Revolutionism and other continental forms harking back to ancient Rome (President, Senate, Congress’ etc. etc.) but a unusually strong attachment to English common law in parts. But for the latter, Fascism would be the normal state of the type of Goverment (because the authority would stop at the top in a human being, like a Roman Emperor, some of whom were led to confuse themselves with a God). In the UK the ultimate authority, constitutionally, is ‘God’. Everyone beneath that invisible, assumed foundational being is dependent on its granted authority. Even the Queen cannot personally instruct men to arrest you. In practice ‘God’ stands for an impersonal ideal, which nonetheless possesses and encapsulates the essence of legitimate ‘rule’ which most people feel ‘bound’, morally, to obey, and their resulting obedient behaviour is entirely weightless in daily life.
‘Democracy’ is the form of political system most likely to lead to Fascism (as it represents the will of capricious random majorities).

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
keithchapman185
keithchapman185
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

You attached “Authority” to right wing government exclusively in you’re previous post. Now you’re saying it’s common to all states.You say nothing about communism,in which way does that feel different to fascism?
As an atheist your comments about god are meaningless and prove nothing. The Queen is titular and secular head of state,not god. All that was dealt with in the civil war.
Your statement about fascism and democracy also applies to communism, where else could it occur? That is why democracy is so great! and problematic. Once democracy is surrender and lost the other two options are difficult to change or escape from.Both are oppressive and murderous, no one in their right minds would wish to live in such a state.

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Of course, the left in this country (as it is in the US) is fascist. The three tenets of fascism are authoritarianism, suppression and regimentation. Now ask yourself who came up with no platforming, cancellation and taking the knee.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baseley

it Was National Socialism, and the big thing of the WWII Fas***s was Public/Private industrialization. If anything it is very like the Left, only the Left do not want the public to be involved – leave the Governing to the experts they believe, the public need to do as they are told.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Indeed: George Orwell made this observation in, I think, The Road to Wigan Pier where he compared the extreme left and right to the hands of a clock at five minutes to one.

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

As an American, let me tell you, buster, if I want irony I’ll eat a steak or take vitamin supplements. And I need CliffsNotes to understand Monty Python.

S A
S A
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

When you look back at who were the “progressives” of the early 20th century, you do start to winder why certain people choose that label.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  S A

Regressives….Authoritarian from UK Conservative government supporting taking the knee at football matches.is beyong the pale….Dont trust lib-lab-Cons-Greens-Snp

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

There could be no more fascist group than ‘antifa’. Read about their year of riots, arson, murders, and intimidation in Portland and elsewhere, and you cannot help but think of the brown shirts of the 30’s. They are a paramilitary organization brutalizing citizens, police, and bystanders, and are limiting the press coverage of their crimes by assaulting anyone who attempts to take video or photos of their antics.
One need not speculate about future fascists, they are here.

johnnywalleye
johnnywalleye
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

antifa crashed the shores of Normandy and freed the hell hole of Europe.from fascism,the usa got lucky drumpf is too dumb and lazy to have won 4 more years,his mini experience ,,with the taste of fascism and authoritarian rule was enough to wake up 80+ million voters and oust the wannabe

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

Hahaaa, sure. Antifa was a Marxist political party in Germany 1930s. They were as thuggish and brutal in street terror and violence as they fought the Na* is to see which monstrous form of oppression would take the nation. Antifa lost, but just hid away, and like cockroaches these ultra violent, thuggish, Marxists keep popping up to push for their Nu-Stal*nism.

The reason they picked the name Antifa is because they were competing with the Fa* c*sts, and thus anti that group – ideologically they were very bit as brutal and oppressive! Same as now. Street violence and terror have been the antifa way since they began in that horrible time and place of the Weimar Republic. (where the ‘Frankfurt School’ also aroze, and gave us the Marxist leadership in our Education systems, and MSM, and Politics – google them, and the 11 points)

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

so today and tomorrow is all I have left here, and awaiting for approval is all I get… Unherd is turning the corner, they are being assimilated by the MSM Borg.
(I wish I could write it in the original Klingon, but just c/p instead)
“Borg
Star TrekThe Borg are a fictional alien group that appear as recurring antagonists in the Star Trek franchise. The Borg are a vast collection of “drones”, or cybernetic organisms, linked in a hive mind called “the Collective” or “the Hive”

barbara neil
barbara neil
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yes, it’s a great pity. This section was often the most interesting part of Unherd, for me. I hope at least to be able to continue reading those who can/will pay to air their views and debate.

Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

where is your evidence? Proof, the electronic voting machines are hackable. Proof; there are studies available dating back decades on mail in voting fraught with the massive fraud. Proof; Democrats have spoke on camera to this in Congress and at the state level. physical proof; massive outdoor rallies for Trump, some in freezing temperatures during a pandemic. car & boat rallies, miles long that were by word of mouth. Proof; empirical evidence of voter machine hacking by several foreign countries.
Meanwhile you have the Dem presidential candidate that can’t form a sentence, exhibiting extreme dementia. Placing immigration policies 70% of the people polled don’t want. A VP candidate that didn’t only not get support from her own State, CA but pulled out before the first primary. Do you really think Americans want to pay higher gas $’s?, higher food costs?, higher taxes?, higher drug costs?, higher living costs?, mutilating children’s genders? The poor are getting poorer. America has been experiencing endless wars, opioid drugs and homeless doubling and tripling in numbers. No society can stay on this trajectory, undoing social norms and control.
Antifa, BLM manifesto states the opposite of their labeling. When the people tell you who they are, listen.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

Dont talk like An A****** Allies thought against Taking the Knee,Free speech…

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

Coherence much?

keithchapman185
keithchapman185
3 years ago
Reply to  johnnywalleye

Antifa was nowhere near Normandy.

Stewart B
Stewart B
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

One of the cleverest things the left accomplished was to define fascism as extreme right rather than extreme left, simply on the basis that it stood against communism.
They are both left wing ideologies that stand for state control and against individual freedom. They fought against each other with bitter hatred in much the same way as shiites and sunnis or catholics and protestants.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Stewart B

“catholics and protestants.”

My town has Catholic, Methodist, Baptist churches, they never fight. Your reference is bad.

Tim Bartlett
Tim Bartlett
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Check out the film ’71 for the happy Protestant vs Catholic hi-jinks everyone over 40 in the UK remembers.

J D
J D
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

He is referring to ‘Norn Irn’.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

It was always thus.
Fascism was a left project, the Nazis weren’t naming themselves socialists for nothing.
Goebbels, today’s role model for so many in politics and media, was a particularly staunch socialist.
Stalin invented the smearing of the fascists as being on the right, merely to distinguish himself from them and we fell and still fall for it.
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/05/lk-samuels/the-fascist-left-myth-or-reality/

barbara neil
barbara neil
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

Is “socialist” the same as social democrat?

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

And conversely, the new “resistance” is comprised of those who have the courage to be openly conservative–or even classically liberal. I laugh at the people who claim to be brave fighters against the establishment–as they spout off the same platitudes everyone else is spouting.

keithchapman185
keithchapman185
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

We do get it! The left here bandy “Fascist” like confetti to all who oppose their dogma. They overlook the “socialist” in the N*Z* tag. Totalitarian/Authoritarian feel much the same to the oppressed I would guess. This stuff today is Neo Marxist riding on the back of identity/inter-sectional rubbish from Postmodernism. It is undemocratic, It must be resisted.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

Undoubtedly a well-intentioned article, but (going with the hypochondria line) it reads like obsessing about a pimple on one’s nose (Trump) while being completely oblivious to / in denial of the great big lump of advanced brain tumour disfiguring one’s head (the American left and all the institutions / positions they encroached). If there’s still anyone in the 21st century who believes that “nationalism” is the problem or that “fascism” is a rightwing concept, that person needs their brains examined by a reputable medical professional.

Gandydancer x
Gandydancer x
3 years ago

“…the clown act turned deadly in the end, but it was still a clown act that never seriously threatened a 250-year-old constitution.”
Well, you’re certainly right that Trump didn’t threaten our Constitution, but what remains of it is in fact under threat any time the Supreme Court is in session. And the only deadly thing that happened on Jan 6th was the murder with impunity of Ashli Babbit by an as-yet unidentified minion of the new regime.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Gandydancer x

I couldn’t agree more.

The failure to prosecute the killer of Ms Ashli Babbitt is an absolute disgrace and just confirms many people’s suspicion, that at the end of the day, the USA is just ‘A Cowboy Republic’.

Incidentally video evidence quite clearly shows that Babbitt’s killer was black, and it is rumoured that he is/was a Lieutenant in the Capitol Police.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Nick Clegg wants to extend Trump’s Facebook ban even longer ( presumably to stop any re-election bid) because Trump ‘crossed a red line’ by inciting violence during the Capitol riot. So there you have it , it seems Trump must have shot this woman. Somehow , even though he was half an hour’s walk a way he caused the violence. Does this mean then that the Democrat party is responsible for all the deaths and destruction from BLM etc,? If Trump can cause events by telekinesis , surely they can as well?

Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago

There is loads of video footage pulled by the FBI -why?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Haley

Isn’t it obvious?

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Gandydancer x

But the new regime hadn’t taken power when that incident happened.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

Is that a thinly veiled approval of murder?

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago

No

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

Good.

Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

The Dems are in complete control of Washington DC. We’ve been told over the years that Congress and Senate when voted into DC are quickly told, on both sides of the isle, they better play by the company rules or not receive support in their next election through funding and/or support on the campaign trail. Those who don’t play are eventually cast to the side. And then the head of the beast grows bigger.
Snow White; Queen says…” mirror mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” An old story that will be repeated until an unlikely Snow White comes along and exposes the fraud. It will look like the Queen is going to win killing her competition but alas, …Bright light, information, is the only disinfectant.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

Anyone who can’t see that Trump, notwithstanding his occasional oafishness, was trying to save Americn democracy is simply an idiot.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

Yes, he was trying rather than succeeding.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Not so easy to succeed when you have the entire federal apparatus and all the media apparatchiks ranged against you.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

An example being the Judge Kavanagh farce. The woman accuser ,Blasey Ford comes from a CIA family , her friend Liz , from school, works for FBI. A team of legal people ( who would cost the average person $ hundreds thousands ) worked pro bono in order for her to make preposterous & in some cases obviously untrue allegations .Yet is two-doors Christine in jail for telling fibs? No shes a multi-millionaire enjoying her life. The police weren’t interested in any of the other accusers either. Papers such as The Guardian still refer to these allegations as valid & true. So the media , the police and the security services were the ones who ultimately were in charge of the justice system & they can decide who they like or dislike.We are seeing this again in the Chauvin case. Probably be easier & cheaper just to return to summary justice of the wild west.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Doesn’t the US ‘do’Perjury anymore?
Is it following the example of wee little Scotland and the Salmon affair?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

There have been numerous trials where some figure from the past is accused of doing something sexual to someone who was then young ( basically the Blasey-Ford claim). In some of the cases the person is found not guilty ( in one case because someone had made a private home-movie at that time which clearly contradicted the claim) The winning accused still have to pay all their legal costs , the crown pays for the ( unsuccessful) accuser & except in the case of ‘ Nick’ -noone seems to have been prosecuted. It seems the CPS ( and whatever they have in America ) is totally staffed by people with their own agenda.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Whatever anyone’s opinion of someone like Trump it behoves us all, not least the author of this curate’s egg of a piece, to remember that a record 74m Americans democratically voted for this Republican that he calls an egotistical, deluded clown and had it not been for Covid, despite the huge, unified forces of American big tech and mass media consistently ranged against him, that he would likely have won in 2020.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I’m not inclined to think the election itself was to be honest, but there was definitely a brazen political, media and scientific establishment conspiracy against Trump in the US, as evidenced by the recent dramatic Biden volte face on Trump’s apparently outrageous ‘racist’ earlier claims regarding the lab origins of the virus.

This was made all the obvious given that Australia, not gripped by the same polarised political tensions within the US, had called for an inquiry into the virus’s origins and instantly invited the threat of severe economic retaliations from China. Not a coincidence I feel.

This was way back in May 2020, had the backing of 122 countries and managed to avoid inviting similar derision and summary dismissals quite clearly because, although in essence the substance was similar, the language was more nuanced and the person saying it of course wasn’t Donald Trump.

When you couple this with the timing of the ‘totally unexpected’ announcement of the first covid vaccine just days after (not before) the US election then, to me, something definitely smells rotten in the state of Denmark as the Old Bard once wrote.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

In terms of the 2020 election being ‘stolen’ with a dodgy count I’m not inclined to think it was to be honest, but there was definitely a brazen political, media and scientific establishment ‘co-ordinated manouevre’ against Trump in the US, as evidenced by the recent dramatic Biden led mass volte face on Trump’s apparently outrageous ‘racially motivated’ earlier claims regarding the Chinese lab origins of the virus.

This was made all the obvious given that Australia, not gripped by the same polarised political tensions within the US, had called for a far more robust WHO led inquiry into the virus’s origins and instantly invited the threat of severe economic retaliations from China for daring to do so. Not a coincidence there I feel.

This was way back in May 2020, had the backing of 122 countries and managed to avoid inviting similar derision and summary dismissals quite clearly because, although in essence the implication was similar (certainly to the Chinese), the language was more nuanced and the person saying it of course wasn’t dear ol’ Donald Trump.

Amidst this backdrop, when you couple this with the timing of the ‘totally unexpected’ announcement of the first covid vaccine just days after (not before) the US election then, to me, something definitely smells more than a little fishy in the state of Denmark, as the Great Bard once sort of wrote.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Why does it take nineteen hours to be approved? Are they hoping that no one will be reading the article or more importantly, the comments by then.
censorship by delay.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Niobe Hunter

One has to wonder sometimes, doesn’t one?

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Hoping my following up to this comment passes moderation.

Been in and out ‘awaiting for approval’ purgatory for some time now…..

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

its projection isn’t it, Biden his big tech and corporate buddies and the fawning media constantly warning about the made up bogey man of white supremacy look far more fascistic than trump ever was/did.

Jon LM
Jon LM
3 years ago

Communistic, not fascistic.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon LM

Same difference. Disagree with a Communist and end up jobless, in a gulag for re-education or shot.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Did you see the Biden speech at a school graduation? He said Racism and White Supremacy are the biggest issue the nation faces!

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The trouble is that the right as well as the left have aided this agenda. Now we have got to the point it is spoken as fact. Anyone who disagrees loses their job.

hardtruths
hardtruths
3 years ago

Quite amusing. West is obviously correct that the left’s constant clowning, for more than half a century now. about anyone with views even slightly conservative or traditionalist being “fascist” was and is nonsense, but it’s noticeable that he joins with the left establishment (and yes that includes most of the “Conservative” Party hierarchy) in making ritual denouncements of Trump for the crime of representing the people the Democrats (like the British Labour Party) abandoned with contempt.

But he seems not to have noticed that we currently live in a state that arrogates to itself unprecedentedly detailed control over every aspect of our lives. That this has been enabled and massively increased under spurious “emergency” legislation that empowers the regime to do almost literally anything. That this is protected by massive media propaganda and open suppression of dissent. That dissenters are demonised and scapegoated as supposedly “delaying” or “threatening reopening”, encouraging violence against them and blaming them for the very totalitarianism they are opposing.

We aren’t all that far from fascism, and it didn’t come from Trump’s side of politics.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  hardtruths

We have a totalitarian system. It is not Fascist though.

hardtruths
hardtruths
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

Not really worth quibbling too much. There are no clear definitions. This totalitarianism comes from the left rather than the right and that suggests communism rather than fascism, but it’s much closer to fascism in many aspects.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  hardtruths

Quite right. How many boxes do we need to tick here, before people are willing to admit this? Authoritarian suppression of freedom and free speech? Tick. The prioritisation of corporatist interests and the corrupt arrangements that entrench them? Tick. The justification of all this using an overtly moralising set of arguments designed to defend the State’s role in protecting society? Tick. The enthusiastic support of the State’s actions and methods by a subset of society who then act, unpaid and unbidden, as enforcers of State ideology, through lies, defamation and intimidation? Tick.

So far, none of this has happened under an overtly nationalist agenda in most nations, except in Scotland of course, where Wee Krankie is doing everything Mussolini did except making the trains run on time. But it is telling that the international consensus on lockdown was driven by a very obvious dose of competition between national governments on their comparative performance, and that this resulted in a bias towards draconian measures for the sake of their value in establishing the credentials of each government in question on the world stage, so we might arguably even include the nationalist component here as well.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Riordan
John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago

This article, though it expertly lampoons the typically delusional attitudes of the Left, misses the same point that the Left itself misses on the question of Fascism, namely that it is a left-wing ideology, and that it still exists on the political Left.

And frankly it amazes me that with anti-Semitism emerging once again in the UK and USA’s left-wing parties, and the Covid19 global fiasco having ripped away the veil that usually covers left-wing authoritarianism, that anyone can reject the proposition that Fascism is returning, based solely upon the delusions and self-exculpatory circular logic that permits those on the Left to escape scrutiny of their own values and actions. Just because modern Fascism is not obviously rooted in nationalist attitudes does not mean it’s not Fascism: identity politics, now an internationalist movement, contains all the conditions for the re-establishment of Fascist authoritarianism.

The article above even points this out: the establishment of victimhood and grievance as a means of binding voters together under a single political banner: you can’t say that this isn’t Fascist just because it ticks every box except the one about nativism, and I’m surprised that the author doesn’t agree here, especially the later part where he rightly separates conservatism from Fascism and identifies the persistent left-wing delusion that confuses the two things.

Fascism is indeed back, but back where it always belonged: on the Left. And it’s just as ugly as it ever was.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Riordan
John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

John, the philosophical world is not arrayed between the left and right of liberalism. No nationalism appears on the liberal axes, strange as this may seem to your inner right-liberal.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

I do not understand your comment, but strongly suspect that you have not understood mine.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

It takes time to formulate the first questions of oneself and one’s enworldment.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

Blather and nonsense, as I suspected.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Child, you are a prisoner of the ideas you have received from others. Every last nationalist knows this. Every one of them has escaped from the trap and found the human truth. You can too, but you must first accept that you are not free today.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

Don’t be such a patronising arse.

Jon LM
Jon LM
3 years ago

I’m not so sure. With European people set to become minorities in their own countries and antiwhite sentiment seemingly rising inexorably, I feel something big brewing in the next two or three decades.

‘History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.’

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon LM

Fascism grew out of an intellectual reaction to the anomie and nihilism of late 19th century modernity, and the terrible war it visited on the European world. Today we have a completely novel existential, not moral, challenge; and the reaction to that will not be fascistic but ethnic nationalist.
It is important not to play by the word-rules of the revolutionary left. Nationalism is not fascism, but fascism is an extreme moral and imperialistic form of nationalism. No nationalism is on the right or left of the liberal philosophical system, which does not describe all human political persuasion, just that flowing from Enlightenment thinking. Nationalism is the politics of the natural interests of peoples, not of liberalism’s guiding concept of the unfettering will. It is, therefore, a separate system of political thought (about which those given wholly to the liberal system perceive next to nothing).

Last edited 3 years ago by John Standing
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

A very good post. Unherd should commission a more fully formed version from you.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It is more likely that Unherd will ban me, I would have thought.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

This isn’t The Guardian where the slightest criticism ends with a ban.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

It would be nice if you are right.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

No but your comments may disappear.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Yes its interesting seeing the comments re-arranged to get the one wrong-speak out of the way.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

A particularly appalling incident of
‘disappearing’ occurred a couple of days ago when the pithy comments of J Bryant Esq on the ‘Wuhan Lab Leak Theory’ were expunged!

Up until that moment they had been the most popular of the day, then presumably the somewhat slovenly CIA, prompted by Fu Manchu & Co passed the sentence of excommunication, and the deed was done.Bravo!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Unherd hires from the ex-Guardian pool of writers, check them out, it seems most have written there.

Jon LM
Jon LM
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

Thanks for a thoughtful response; I think we’re fundamentally on the same page. Agree that ethno-nationalism doesn’t necessarily equal fascism, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see far right views on social issues making a comeback too: fundamentally, the majority values order.

Perhaps I’m ‘play[ing] by the word-rules of the revolutionary left’ to some extent, but I guess I’m pushing back on Ed West’s apparent contention that it’s going to be simple conservatism (or perhaps Trumpian populism) that’s in the offing.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon LM
John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon LM

Hi Jon, thanks for the reply. I have to say I don’t like Walker Connor’s label ethno-nationalism, and I regret that since Nick Griffin alighted on it at the turn of the millenium in a doomed bid to throw anti-fascists off the scent, it has broadly stuck among British nationalists. Ethnic nationalism is a unity. There shouldn’t be some offcut with a different name for peoples of European descent.
Likewise the label “far right” is problematic. Whole peoples possess commonalities – identity, relationality, gene interests, history, etc – which are central to their existence. It isn’t “far anything” to advocate for these. We lost the war of language before we even knew it was being fought. But we are not losing the war of discourse.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Standing
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

There does seem to have been over the years teams of human rights lawyers and sympathetic civil servants who have completely altered the rules in this country. Certain people now know they can do whatever they want & won’t be punished-but if anyone complains they certainly will. Far-right & N word as used routinely by politicians & media for attitudes that were once quite normal. Are we saying the war generation were evil people-they didn’t know what they were fighting for? That present day people , so long as they present as minority in some way , sexual or religious are the best people in this country-because if so we need help.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Some recent appalling examples were:

1:The scrapping of the Double Jeopardy principle. Now, if at first you don’t succeed try, try & try again.

2: Lord Justice Widgery got it completely wrong over ‘ Bl**dy Sunday. So, let’s have a retrial and GET the right answer. To hell with the additional cost upwards of £400million.

3: Lord Justice Hoffman* sitting on the Pinochet Appeal when he knew he shouldn’t have.

4: Last, but not least, the pièce de résistance,
Blair & the Iraq War.

(* Leg-over Lennie to his friends.)

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Blair created the supreme court & its President Lady Hale said Johnson couldn’t suspend parliament-this was withiut precedent.If Starmer were PM I wonder what her ruling would have been? Lots of rulings & judgements which are clearly that person’s personal subjective feelings or even a vindictive wish to cause harm

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

As i said in Sundry General Elections & Local leaflets, The Police (Police &crime commissioners) BBC , (media) Universities ( Cancel Kultur) Judiciary (Supreme court in UK) Society has been politicised .I am on Standby to Save Europe from Wokeist mobs at my Laptop…,

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

At the moment people don’t mind that the system is stitched up-it doesn’t affect them. They are not going to go cold or hungry though & if personally threatened we will see some angry people. Just need a charismatic leader & who knows? The political class is much too complacent-they think we are all idiots & they can get away with anything

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

An excellent, pithy comment, thank you.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

It’s what you say plus the country with the most virulent form of Fascism – Germany – having lost the “terrible war”.

Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago

Mussolini stood for a Corporate State – where independent business enterprises are crushed and the economy is dominated by the state and pet corporations. And, sadly, that is what the international establishment (whether it be Mr Biden or Mr Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum) want.
Mussolini also stood for political repression – and the is what the “Justice” Department, the FBI (and all the rest of it) now stands for. The “justice” system operates a double standard – conservatives are punished for things that supporters of the left are not punished for. The security services are blatantly political – and the “mainstream media” act as cheerleaders for the biased and corrupt system.
Ironically it was not Donald John Trump who was bringing Fascism – he was trying to stop its development. But, tragically, it was too strong.

neil.mack
neil.mack
3 years ago

The threat of fascism comes not from Trump, but from the Democrats and their corporatist allies. In Britain, crackpot fantasists like Mason, and his reptilian allies in the public sector represent a more potent threat to my liberties than do anyone else.
West’s ideas represent the petulant rejection of populism by the dying and irrelevant Tory past.

David Yetter
David Yetter
3 years ago

Perhaps the author is simply looking in the wrong place. Over on my side of the pond, we have a political party that eagerly and explicitly divides people by race, painting one race as the source of the world’s ills for centuries, if not millennia; has corporations enforcing adherence to its social views, both by censorship and in personnel policies; and has black-shirted goons who engage in street violence on its behalf. And, they currently control all the elected branches of the Federal Government.

Ivan Hybs
Ivan Hybs
3 years ago

Fascism (in old brown/black shirts sense) is not coming. But some sort of collectivism perhaps is coming. And that is not encouraging.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Hybs

Try not to be a pathetically self-estranged libbo. The liberal individual does not exist. Human beings are relational, and the most powerful relation is of that of kin and kind. Ethnic nationalism offers the only political truth of Man.

Ivan Hybs
Ivan Hybs
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

I like your satire.

Liz Davison
Liz Davison
3 years ago

Fascism may have originated as a description of hyper-nationalism, enforced by a totalitarian regime, brooking no argument, but in France fascism is used in a generic sense to describe any political movement which is authoritarian and hates dissent from its “approved” doctrine. This can now be used to describe many of the political movements so loved by progressives and the woke. Try to say you don’t believe CO2 is a danger to the planet; that Trump was a very democratic President, increasingly popular with American minorities; that globalism and mass immigration is the fastest way to reduce the power of the average citizen while devaluing the pound in his pocket; that a human born with a p***s is a man no matter what surgery he undergoes. See how readily people accept your beliefs and tell me fascism isn’t alive and well in the West. Left and right are no longer relevant.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago

The big postwar revival of self-aggrandising “Fascists everywhere” hysteria of the left was surely with the elections of Thatcher and Reagan.
Does anyone remember “A Very British Coup” in which a heroic unassuming but noble “man of the people” leftwing leader is brought down by right wing establishment forces?
When the leftwing reality of the time was gasbag Neil Kinnock and militant tendency fop Derek Hatton.
Then the title was resurrected by the BBC after the shock, their shock anyway, of Brexit.

barbara neil
barbara neil
3 years ago

This only shows, outrageously, that communism still has a patina of respectability in the west. Fascism, Nazism, the devil itself – but communism, well you know, the intentions were good…. Let’s stop looking in the direction of the pointing finger and look instead at the finger itself! ((an old thieves trick). P. S. Trump is no excuse, in real terms or as the giant caricature the media presented to us.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  barbara neil

There was an article on unherd about history. Yet how many people know the 20th century history of Russia or China? Probably nothing, yet for over a century some members of the government , some members of the secret service & practically all the academic & media think these are great regimes.They just don’t want to tell us why, they keep it a bit of a secret. The full focus has been on the European conflict-its on the main school history syllabus -little moustache man is still an instantly recognizable figure. They have been training up student followers of marxism & maoism for decades.Obviously they won’t like populist figures who don’t share their vision.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
3 years ago

Such laziness; so many assumptive stereotypes. Is this idle soft left-wingery all that journalism now is?
This author would probably be genuinely shocked at the suggestion that the danger of fascism now comes exclusively from the so-called liberal left.
But it is is the truth.

Brian OFlynn
Brian OFlynn
3 years ago

Yes, all very open and liberal and inclusive in its own self obsessed way. But to dismiss Trump so glibly speaks of poorly developed critical faculties. It ignores the term “fake news’ which Trump coined with good reason. Vide: Fauci and the Wuhan Virus and the rowing back of the media kicking and screaming as the truth emerges. It ignores the malevolence and the mendacity of the CCP, which he tackled head on. It blithely ignores Pax Trumpana which gave the world four years of peace and prosperity. It ignores the fact that he received 12 million votes more in 2020 than in 2016, easily more that his opponents, a befuddled half hidden candidate as well as an unpopular running mate. It does not surprise me that the writer suffers from hypochondria and its irrational fantasies….it is the type of poorly researched and written article that gives me pause for thought before I sign up for Unherd…
School report : Ed could do better if he were to apply himself more diligently!!

Last edited 3 years ago by Brian OFlynn
rj5555366
rj5555366
3 years ago

“…that majority ethnic groups have become the ‘victims’ of migration and multiculturalism; (we have & all on our buck, so to speak… mass immigration costing us millions… but shhh you can’t say that, we have to pretend the obvious lie that somehow all those arriving are net contributors and that overall were quids in!) that the gains of feminism should be reversed (err, it’s not us enabling men to play women’s sport, or cancelling the use of ‘mum’, or trying to cancel JK Rowling)that democracy is dispensable (how many years trying to reverse Brexit Paul?); that science, universities and the media cannot be trusted (I know Mason is a spanner extraordinaire but surely even he knows we’ve clearly seen the light regarding the bias and nudge nudge mentality, not to mention cancel culture that pervades); that nations have lost their way and need to become ‘great’ again (you’re right Paul. I want to live in a ‘rubbish’ country as close to 3rd world status as possible please, preferably with people starving on the street) ; and that there will soon be a cataclysmic event which sets things right…(we can only hope, as with an 80 seat majority and a British Hindu as Home Sec, it’s now or never to put the Paul Masons of these isles back in their bright red poorly labelled and sumptuously furnished on the inside box)…

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
3 years ago

You’re looking the wrong way. Fascism is a leftist ideology and it has arrived. Cancel culture, rigged elections, etc. Joe Biden is Der Fuhrer.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Biden his time..he is like A Senile ”Peter Finch” Character in network,without the intelligence..senile Joe P*** off out of uK, yankee go home..

neil.mack
neil.mack
3 years ago

It’s hard not to see in the mentally confused and doltish Biden a latter day Hindenburg – a gatekeeper for the fascists of his own side.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 years ago

The most extraordinary thing of all is that all the properties of actual Fascism are being carried out by those who claim to be terrified of the return of Fascism.

Take your points about Fascism. Here is how they apply to the current woke left: 

“Identification of enemies/scape-goats as a unifying cause” – tick (white people, men)

“Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism” – ok so they don’t form outgroups based on nation state, but on Critical Race Theory conceptions of ethnicity, not a huge difference.

“Disdain for the importance of human rights” – tick (they want to dispense with the presumption of innocence when it suits them – eg Harvey Weinstein, Derek Chauvin, et al who the mob condemns before the trial. One need only look at how Weinstein’s lawyer was driven out of Harvard for performing his duty to defend the accused.

 “Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts” – tick. Intellectuals with wrong-think are purged from arts faculties, or are unable to enter – no surprise that 90% of the arts are self-professed leftwingers. Art is not even considered art unless it is subversive to traditional values.

“Obsession with crime and punishment” – tick. They are obsessed with extra-judicial punishment of outgroup members and of subverting the existing criminal justice system in order to protect militant members of their group, who they believe should be above the law.

The current crop of wokenistas are fascists by their own definition. But worse than that, they are so blinded by their own sense of moral grandiosity that they simply can’t see it which, in my view, is arguably the most fascistic trait of all.

It is interesting to recall an interview I once watched of Hendrik Verwoed (the architect of Apartheid in South Africa) with an interviewer who asked, “Do you ever have any doubts about this idea of yours?” To which Verwoed responded that he was lucky enough to be utterly convinced that Apartheid was the right course of action, and had never doubted himself or his ideas for a moment. 

I would suggest Mr Verwoed has much in common with modern day SJWs.

Last edited 3 years ago by hayden eastwood
Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
3 years ago

Democrats used the Capitol Riot just like the Reichstag Fire, as an excuse to curtail their opponents’ civil liberties. Twitter deplatformed 70,000 conservative accounts, including the president’s. At least 200 Capitol Rioters, perhaps guilty of trespassing, have been held without bond, some in solitary confinement, for 100 days.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago

This article would have been 100% great, without the perfunctory Trump-swipe at the end.
It is very hard to separate Trump-the-Man (whose personality, at least as it comes across through the media, doesn’t appeal to me), and Trump-the-President, (whose policies mostly made perfect sense once stripped of the partisan presentation they received through corporate media).
Even the trade spat he had with Canada made sense to me (I’m Canadian) when I look at our (very socialist) government’s hidden subsidy system behind many industries that put US competitors at an obvious disadvantage.
God forbid we judge someone by their actions and policies – much more fun, and clickbait-y, to skewer them on their personal traits.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago

Honestly the people hyperventilating over Trump’s creating a fascist dictator in waiting seemed to be severely overemphasising or flattering his effectiveness. Being an totalitarian dictator sounds like a lot of work for a man who seemed much happier wasting hours on Twitter, watching TV and playing golf. I mean Hitler came across as lacksidasical to some but he spent his idle hours engaging in what I suppose we would now call ‘brainstorming’ and the big ideas about the future of civilization that he passed down to his subordinates in a Darwinian struggle for his approval.
As for actual real hypercondria, well even before the mobile your average medical book, even one designed for home usage for non-specialists, was a fertile source of that problem. And lets not forget that Moliere wrote a whole play about it in the 17th century. For once it is a problem that as far as I can tell was not noticeably aggravated by the internet. I say this as a veteran hypocondriac of the pre-internet age.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Authoritarianism is authoritarianism period, no matter what side of the political spectrum it appears to come from and, rest assured, it will always find its natural supporters on both ‘sides’.

Be it from the supposed left or the right, the net result is the same. Only the self-serving politically blinkered pedantic corpse counters attempt to draw a distinction.

Regular democratic accountability and scrutiny, agnostic free speech and the right to protest, and truly independent checks and balances are the crucial pillars to preventing its rise.

Take but one of these three away and it’s starting to push at an open door.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Maybe you are assuming that authoritarianism has a causal permanence in and of itself. In the East Asian and Eurasian sociobiological contexts it might. But the European sociobiology is grounded not on conformism and the giving of assent to authority but individualism and the lending of that assent. It is a key distinction which renders authority a tool of European political organisation, not a natural element of it.
We are living in a soft authoritarian form of political organisation right now, from which the will of Europeans has been almost completely excluded and which functions on the basis of according no human worth or meaning to the life of European peoples. We are not intended to survive it. If we are to survive then authority there must be for a time on the European continent, because the population of our lands has to be changed. That would be good authority, therefore, and an authority which seeks, like Cincinatus, to retire itself when the job is done.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

I’m suggesting that an inevitable tendency toward authoritarianism exists at both ends of the political spectrum, that democracy itself is helluva lot more fragile than most people like to imagine and that, rather than treat it as a political football, those who genuinely care about it should be be more politically agnostic about who’s fighting to preserve it.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Indeed there is grave authoritarianism in left-liberalism and there is grave authoritarianism at the imperialist pole of nationalism. Where we differ is that I do not do violence to the nationalisms, of which there are many forms, by crowbarring them in with the many forms of liberalism; these being two fundamentally distinct worlds of thought about Man.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

‘I do not do violence to the nationalisms….’

Going to need some clarification on that.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

It is uncomplicated. Liberalism, left or right, is a systemic philosophy of the unfettering will. Nationalism, which is equally systemic and which is completely indisposed to the notional “goods” of liberal individualism and egalitarianism, is a philosophy, I would say, of the interests, relation, and identity of peoples. Interests can be defensive or expansive, hence the distinction between ethnic nationalism and the fascisms. When someone caught in systemically liberal thought speaks of the “far right” or of national socialism being socialist in the equalitarian sense then violence is done to the distinction between the systems.
We who have some capacity for thought should be more considering than the masses, and seek a higher resolution of meaning.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Standing
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

You would have made an excellent ‘Tribune of the Plebs’ had we still had such an august office.

You may recall Diocletian, like Cincinnatus, retired, but sadly in his case before his task was done.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago

Honoured. sir.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Authoritarianism is logically and practically impossible in any system based upon small government. It is therefore not possible on the political Right. The problem with this debate in general is that the most successful political lie ever told is the one where Fascism is a right-wing political ideology. It never was, and never can be, and right-wingers don’t have to explain it or apologise for it.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You are an example of someone entirely ignorant of nationalist thinking and wholly given to lie that every political persuasion maps on the liberal axes. Read what I have written and make room for historiographical difference, there’s a good chap.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

‘Authoritarianism is logically and practically impossible in any system based upon small government.’

With the greatest of respect that’s a little naïve, simplistic and idealistic.

It’s not by accident that history has shown us that the apogee of fascism was Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, and both were strongly built around a sense of nationalism, racial purity and militarism.

Factors, which whether you like it or not, tend to be more immediately more attractive to those on the right of the political spectrum.

Both achieved their ultimately dictatorial positions initially through the ballot box with more than a little help from big, private money.

‘The definition of fascism is the marriage of corporation and state’ as Il Duce helpfully put it, where ‘not even a cigarette paper separates them’.

Both US Presidents FDR and Eisenhower saw fit to warn against the dangers of the influence of ‘private’ power and the possibility that its excessive influence could lead to de facto fascism in a democracy.

A political system in which it is probably more likely to occur I might suggest. Certainly more likely than Communism.

Even today, the propagated right wing myth of ‘small government’ might sound good on paper and play well in some circles, but all too often the corporate puppet masters are still pulling the strings and calling the shots somewhere along the line for said ‘small government’.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago

The liberal left progressives and their malicious censor cancel dissent persecution horde slander any and all who do not comply as facists.The woke hate cancel mob is verifiabely guilty of everything they falsely accuse, especially tyranical, racist scapegoating , intolerant facism.They need to be brought to justice , and when found guilty , they sould face the same consequences they demand for their targets.

opop anax
opop anax
3 years ago

Stopped reading this article when it started to equate the Trump presidency with Fascism and the danger thereof. What?
America now has de facto totalitarian rule, enforced by thuggish, partisan troops, authoritarian in thought, and word,and deed, figure-headed by an obvious dotard controlled from beneath.
People are incarcerated without trial for their political opinions (qv the Jan 6th folks who blundered (aided by guards) into the Capitol building, one of whom was shot dead by an above mentioned state sponsored thug. No protest, no mainstream media coverage. Poor woman.).
None so blind as those that cannot see.

objectivityistheobjective
objectivityistheobjective
3 years ago

Trump may have been unpredictable and egocentric, but up until the virus hit, the United States was running at very high efficiency thanks to Trump. One of the best economies in 30 years, record low unemployment, winning the trade wars, had China on their heels, controlling illegal immigration, kicking terrorist butts. United States is a sh!t show right now. China is walking all over us, hundreds of thousands of illegals (mainly males between the ages of 16-25) pouring into our country, economy is in a shambles, $30 trillion national debt. We are being run by children.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Er..No Globalists elites rather like ”Robocop 2022”?…& multinationals…

John Shea
John Shea
3 years ago

It’s not Trump I’m worried about. It is Antifa and Black Lives Matter who are the true Fascists and Marxists. These are these people who should concern you, cancellation is just another name for Fascism. Wake up!

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago

The interesting thing about fascism and communism is how extraordinarily similar they are as political processes. This is not a coincidence – it is because they both derive from the 19th century leftwing idea of the superiority of community over society.

Here’s a list of the political artifacts which proves that fascism and communism are fundamentally identical:

(1) Destruction of independent political parties and associations to produce a one-party state, i.e. a state where a single political party has a monopoly both of power and public discourse.
(2) The transformation of the revolutionary party’s members from a sect into a ruling class: the state bourgeoisie.
(3) Language policing: the detailed control of language, and not merely in the public sphere. This involves the abolition of free speech, and its replacement by government-approved speech, accompanied by the introduction of state-defined thought crimes, along with criminal and social sanctions for ‘wrong-think’, ‘wrong-talk’, and ‘heresy’.
(4) State-party monopoly of publishing and the media, maintained by abolishing the free media, and replacing it with a state-party-controlled media based on organised and systematic lying. This in turn permits the state-party apparatus to control public discourse of political and social issues, and establish Orwellian controls on the output of the academic world.
(5) Abolition of freedom of association, and its replacement by group identity.
(6) A centrally planned and directed economy controlled by the state bourgeoisie via the Party. This involves the abolition of free enterprise based on true private control of the means of production, and its replacement by state-directed economic planning in an economy whose ends and means are strictly and comprehensively defined and controlled by the Party.
(7) Abolition of independent trade unions, and their replacement by government-controlled ‘worker organisations’.
(8) The transformation of the working class into a stratum of indentured workers working under the control of, and at the direction of, The Party.
(9) The transformation of the criminal courts into institutions for determining punishment rather than guilt or innocence. This requires the abolition of the evidence-based justice system built on natural justice, due process, and the presumption of innocence, and its replacement by one built on group identity and/or political orientation where evidence of an individual’s innocence of crime no longer counts as relevant evidence if the accused belongs to a politically incorrect social group.
(10) Introduction of a Zhdanovite system of detailed state-party control and direction of culture and the arts – literature, the plastic arts, music, science, philosophy, etc. – as well as rigid and oppressive controls on the creators of those works.
(11) State-party monopoly of education, including the introduction of compulsory youth movements, whose function is to allow the state-bourgeoisie to usurp, undermine and counter the moral influence of parents and religious organisations on the young.
(12) The idea of ‘modernity’ as a central component of ideology. Thus the totalitarian state is presented as ‘modern’, ‘efficient’, ‘forward-looking’, ‘advanced’, ‘progressive’, ‘on the right side of history’. This is accompanied by the representation of the past, except insofar as it foreshadows the present, as reactionary, corrupt, and incompetent.
(13) The attempt to bring religion under state-party control, the long-term aim being the abolition of traditional religion, and its replacement with state-directed paganism and/or atheism.
(14) Government by a non-democratic ‘association of the elect’ – the state bourgeoisie – operating via a non-elected private organisation, ‘The Party’, which is above society and outside the law, and which exercises despotic political, economic, and social control. Such Parties are backed and reinforced by especially privileged and militarised political police forces which are also above society and outside the law.
(15) At the top of the system of social control is a charismatic leader with unlimited power: il Duce in Italy, der Führer in Germany, Vozhd (Вождь) in Russia.
(16) The merging of the administrative apparatus of the Party into that of the state in order to blur the lines of demarcation and competence in the administration of the state.
(17) The establishment of a parallel civil administration separate from the conventional civil service, and based on and around the Party apparatus. This permits those ‘extra-judicial’ actions by the Party which require the expertise of experienced and skilled administrators and which also require an unusual degree of secrecy in their execution.
(18) The destruction of democratic law-making, and its replacement by a top-down and centralised command system based on decree and administrative fiat. This permits the abolition of constitutional – i.e. limited – government.
(19) The re-introduction of judicial torture.
(20) The re-introduction of slavery.
(21) The re-introduction of serfdom.
(22) The use of mass-murder as a means of social transformation and social control.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jeff Chambers
Harry Potter
Harry Potter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Chambers

Why are you so familiar with the political system of modern China?

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

What exactly did Trump do that further restricted the freedom of the average American? The threat to freedom is from the OC Lefyt-Ollie Robinson is just the latest example.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
3 years ago

The real problem is that government is no longer by the consent of the governed.

In Western Democracies, unelected regulators, judges and bureaucrats make almost all of the most important decisions. This causes unrest because elections appear not to have the consequences voters expect.

Governments faced with popular protest movements, like the Tea Party or Yellow Vests, suppress them like peasant uprisings. Unpopular policies, like transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, are justified by unexplained “expert opinion.” Even dissenting experts are suppressed.

For example, open discussion of global warming, whether it exists and, if it does, the most economical ways to deal with it, is suppressed. The common man may not have an MS in Statistics, like me, but they notice gasoline prices are going up in service of a theory which allows no dissent. This causes unrest.

The prevailing governing philosophy is that government knows better than the people themselves what’s best for them. Vox populi, vox dei, is a totally obsolete concept for modern bureaucrats. However, the people think they should be able to choose for themselves. This conflict will only be resolved by a return to less intrusive government, or an advance to a more openly oppressive state. So far, the state is getting more repressive, but allowing mob violence to intimidate political enemies into submission.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago

Missing from all this Left-Right crap is appreciation for good, old school, classical liberalism — you know, that business about constitutional governance.
Most anyone on the street would have no idea what the phrase “constitutional governance” means. (I’d put money down on that. A lot of money.) And that is a big problem. The biggest most important innovation that the West could offer the world — the concept of constitutional governance — is not so much being ignored or rubbished. It is being rubbished by not even being recognized as the central concept at work.
“Governance” means what? It’s the stuff we need to sort out any time more than one person collaborates (lives with; lives next to; trades with; says hello to) with at least one other person. So, some folks came to appreciate that we need to commit to rules of engagement… Oh, and the King is not above the rules. The king was not too keen on that, but 50 years of on-and-off English Civil Wars put the question to rest. Except the Scots (my people) didn’t get the memo. They fought on the side of the divine right of kings during “The ’45”. Once one puts aside all of the romance of “Scotland the Brave against England the Strong,” one can see that my peeps were on the wrong side of history on that one.
So, what to do? Make young people appreciate that there is no better alternative to constitutional governance. (The alternative, obviously, is un-constitional governance.) Government-by-manufactured-consensus is a tyranny. It leads to unconstitutional governance. It’s Soviet. Folks are never going to agree entirely about anything. So, we need rules for sorting out our politics in ways that transcend the tradition ways of resolving disputes.
The traditional ways involve killing each other; silencing each other; packing people off to camps in … Western China. The delusion of government-by-consensus — which is the fiction of Rousseau’s “general will” in my mind — has been winning the battle of the sound bites. Folks need to say that maybe those folks in the 17th and 18th centuries were on to something radical and cool: Equality before the law; Constitutionalism. Because the alternative is what?: Inequality before the law — that is, arbitrary government.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Really Biden &his Globalist allies like wHO,UN,EU George Soros, Facebook,twitter censorship .Kneeling politicians &Police are more Fascistic than trump could ever be….lazy journalism again…Look at boko Harim in Bukino faso Killed 100+ Children Last week hardly covered in Lying media..

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

“…the clown act turned deadly in the end…”
Only to Ashley Babbit, unarmed nonviolent protester shot by an unnamed Capitol police officer.
To date, she is the only person confirmed to have died violently at the Jan. 6 protests.
Considering there were already hundreds of trespassers in the building by that time, it’s likely she was deliberately targeted by the cop, possibly because he recognized her as a military veteran.
It was a supposed “insurrection” in which the only shot fired was by the government.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago

Anyone here know why the nationalism of peoples’ life interests is not the nationalism of heroic conquest? Anyone know which of these a European-descended people needs in an age of existential, not moral, crisis?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

The English.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago

By heaven, yes.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

So long, folks! From Wednesday, the struggle against evil (fascists / communists / nationalists / democrats / republicans / tories / centrists / leftists / wokes / immigrants / people who disagree with me / people who cant use apostrophe’s)* will have to continue without us non-members. It’s been…. something.
* insert your own preferred form of evil

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Where’s left to go?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

Up its own fundament.*

(* apologies, I just wondered if that would evade the Censor.)

Rag Marrss
Rag Marrss
3 years ago

 as a German Biologist Ph D –  this labelling and expression typing does not help anything. It is OUR easy prey fast reward conditioning – that never challenges any reasoning at all. We get ever dumber and just let it happen. Göring answered in Nürnberg for the start of Concentration Camps. “because of resistance”. Right. How much resistance? Almost zero! it was far too late to resist anything. So we are here today. It is far too late to resist anything. We are dumb sheeple  following anything. The madder the better. An infantile distorted deluded sense of “freedom” and entitlement – in ALL areas. That is the DOOM. Not what you label it.
And this goes on and further – Things to Come – H G Wells…. many more to come…

Michelle Haley
Michelle Haley
3 years ago

Why is the lead story this Author, who’s story doesn’t speak to the title of his piece? The piece lacks any substance. I find myself scrolling down to the comment section of “unherd” more often, to read the more thought provoking section of “unherd” the subscribers. Disappointing

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

Those that see themselves as Anti Facists do a lot of straw man making. They tell you what the right stand for, and intentionally misrepresent it to try and make them the Nazi’s – which then allows the Left to attack them more easily. Gives them an excuse to de-platform, censor, exclude and harass.
The Right – Trump included – simply stand for free speech, the democratic nation state that retains the key powers to control its borders and internal policies, and the freedom to pursue foreign policies that puts their own country first.
The real FACISTS, are of course the Left and Globalists who are the exact opposite. They want to reduce the power of the electorate and are eager to hand powers away to the international bodies and organisations that they control. They try and create Nazi like enemies of everyone who oppose them, whip up hysteria about racism in the ethnic minorities in an attempt to get their votes, blatantly import voters, manipulate elections and clamp down on free speech through their control of social media, the media and through ‘hate speech’ laws.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

Its time for journo’s to stop misusing the word fascist and say “closed society” or “closed ideology” instead. Fascism has about 30 years history in Italy in its pure form. Precursors like DAnnunzio’s Fiume Regency and successors like Spain’s JONS and Portugal’s Estado Novo had many similarities. Fascism is collectivist and corporatises the state and society. It has a mystical, macho, supreme leader culture. The “fasci” – a bundle of sticks, are easy to break individually but very strong together. It failed for the same reasons Greenism and Leftism fail today: Because the “pure fascist” is a myth its adherants will enter a purity spiral that splits the movement and hopefully produces a circular firing squad. Whilst its true that many current political and economic movements favour a closed society non can really be labelled Fascist. Greenies, Lefties, CPC, Big Tech, Putin, WHO and US Democrats all favour dictatorship, distain elections, call voters “stupid” and are happy to misuse the courts or police to hurt their enemies (who are, naturally, everywhere). They are as opposed to our values of Universalism, Pluralism and Secularism as were the Fascists and IMO are much more dangerous. It therefore makes sense to replace inane student slogans with rigourous definitions. Not all these bad actors will get away with it. Its the duty of all but especially the press to record who and what they are, so if any are brought to account they may judged objectively and history will view them more clearly. Though they are different to Fascist movement’s i expect history’s perspective will be similar: A few mad zealots leading a bunch of gangsters and opportunists with an ultimately disasterous outcome.

Last edited 3 years ago by mike otter
Martin Logan
Martin Logan
3 years ago

No fascism isn’t coming. But, at least in the US, a far more likely possibility is civil strife, if not civil war.
In the run-up to the US Civil War, both sides saw the other as dictatorial and untrustworthy. Both sides saw civic morality in terms of black and white.
Moreover, because the two sides are often in very discrete locations, it’s a lot easier to rule over particular swaths of the country.
Fascism would thus only be possible after some very significant civil conflict.

Christin
Christin
3 years ago

This author has joined the “commentariat” he lampoons. More unhinged TDS from Unheard. Meanwhile, the UK is censoring speech, arresting people for social media posts, and has cameras on every single street. Nice work!

Last edited 3 years ago by Christin
hardtruths
hardtruths
3 years ago
Reply to  Christin

A lot of broadly right wing/conservative UK commentators use anti-Trump rhetoric, or just general disrespect of Trump, as a respectability signal to try to placate the leftist establishment here. Often, imo, they seek to reassure themselves with it.

Bit like the way insecure lockdown opponents use “anti-vaxxers”, and similarly self-defeating.

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  hardtruths

Perhaps it is time to stop placating people whom you dislike and distrust

Last edited 3 years ago by Niobe Hunter
hardtruths
hardtruths
3 years ago
Reply to  Niobe Hunter

I agree, obviously, but many commentators who are of the conservative right feel somewhat out of step with the establishment and perhaps as a result feel a strong need to reassure themselves and/or the said establishment (often their employers, and almost always their fellow dinner party etc attendees and hosts) that they are not really “too bad”. Not as bad as those really naughty “racists”/antivaxxers/antisemites/ homophobes/conspiracy theorists/whatever.
Disrespecting Trump (whom they doubtless genuinely dislike) seems like a no-cost route to achieving that, certainly in British society.
They will argue that doing so stops their modestly right-wing views from being discredited by association with the aforementioned bad-think and social pariahs. My suspicion is that all it does is leave them as the “fringe” teetering on the edge of the Overton Window.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Well, of course; you can tell fascism is not coming by how dissidents are being silenced in an alliance between Big Tech and Big Govt, how race is front and center at every turn, and how things Trump was supposed to be planning are being done by those who hate him.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago

Trump’s term was not a ‘clown act’. He was the ‘middle-finger-extended’ that was and is still badly needed to confront the country’s elite.

Last edited 3 years ago by Cathy Carron
Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Ed is a little lazy in his search for supporters of Hitler in Europe. As Canadian journo Scott Taylor has noted: “On April 28 about 250 people marched through the streets of Kiev, Ukraine, to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the Second World War’s Waffen SS Galicia Division.” You don’t get much more solid in your allegiance to Nazism or fascism than supporting the SS, do you? This is part of a trend to resuscitate the reputations of Ukrainian nationalists who fought with the Nazis during the Second World War that started with the interim government of Ukraine in 2014 and has continued under President Zelensky. Ukraine is the most important country where this has happened, but there have been disturbing signs of the same thing in the Baltic states and in Croatia’s unpleasant evocation of the murderous Ustaša regime that was installed by the Nazis.
Ed’s non-stop column-after-column driveby slandering of Trump is a real pain. Re “the clown act turned deadly in the end”, presumably a reference to the Capitol city riots, there was only one person shot dead in those riots, Ashli E. Babbitt. She was an unarmed Trump supporter and a military veteran, shot by a policeman who has not even been identified, let alone charged. This is what justice looks like in America post-Trump, under the Biden-Harris regime.

Harry Potter
Harry Potter
3 years ago

Every country considers nationalism a good idea to promote and instill into their children’s heads, except those one in the West. Yet it seems no justice fighters in the West is willing to pay attention to (let alone critique) this common sense prevailing outside their echo chamber.

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago

’we live in a free society’. Do we? A society where people can lose their jobs and be visited by several police for the thought crime of thinking that someone who still has a functioning derek isn’t a woman, even though insert preferred pronoun says it is?
where you can be prevented from playing for your country for something you said ten years ago, even though that statement was perfectly legal then ( and I believe still is).
where government departments, universities and private sector employers demand that you pass some ludicrous right-think course before you can have a job or an education?
where the established church tells its ( ever dwindling) membership that they are damned for voting incorrectly in the past, and probably damned anyway for the crime of being born in the majority ethnic group of the country?
that maybe your definition of a free country. It isn’t mine

awaiting moderation, no doubt

Last edited 3 years ago by Niobe Hunter
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
3 years ago

The truth, that we’re living in a free society and that the path to heroism has been cut off; that we have nothing greater than the worries and regrets of our everyday life, is too much to bear.

We need some new road to heroism, or for the media to encourage some kind of “new” heroism. Not everyone can be a soldier, but there are many that can and should be given a chance to achieve something heroic. Simply shrugging our shoulders and saying “no more heroes” is not conducive to a vibrant and thrusting society.

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago

‘We are living in a free society’. He’s living somewhere other than me , then. Cover your face, keep your distance, be careful what you say or you will lose your job, even if you said it ten years ago.
That isn’t my definition of a free society.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago

The cries of “Fascism!” against US Republican politicians began long before the Second Bush Administration. Barry Goldwater, who ran as the GOP’s presidential standard bearer in 1964, was described as the “Fascist Gun in the West” in some leading US magazine before the election. (I was a boy of 10 or 11 then, and regret the fact that I no longer recall which publication this was.) It always struck me as ironic that those who were for reducing the size of government – as Goldwater was – are most likely to be called Fascist. This is despite the fact that Mussolini and Hitler both expanded the power of the state enormously, and were called totalitarians for a reason.

rolf_herman
rolf_herman
3 years ago

Fascism is always coming (and going). The extent and form of it, however, remains elusive.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

Fascism, though, is terribly old-fashioned. There are other ways for the despotic to command the political stage. All they need is an understanding of behavioural conditioning, a willingness to use it to manipulate an electorate, and a sufficiently developed gift for communication.
That is a far safer route to extended power than outright violence.
Fight your war in the heart and the mind and if you are the only one who knows a war is being fought you can win it without firing a shot.
The only danger comes from being rumbled, but even then if you can keep most people in the dark you are safe, because the arithmetic of democracy will keep you in power.
If you are a leader who knocks over seats then your own party will turn a blind eye. The odd elected representative who isn’t entirely self-serving may raise his voice in protest, but he or she is soon made irrelevant.

He who understands the politics of confusion is the new enemy not just of liberty, but of humanity itself.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
James Jenkin
James Jenkin
3 years ago

Great article, and yes the term ‘fascist’ gets thrown around. So maybe it’d be useful to define it as precisely as we can. What were Mussolini’s and Hitler’s regimes like? You can argue ethno-nationalist, authoritarian, and corporatist. If you can accept that definition, we now have common ground to ask: Was Trump fascist? Is Russia? China? Brazil?

Digitis Impudicus
Digitis Impudicus
3 years ago

Its just that Fascism is a left wing phenomena. They were called National SOCIALISTS for a reason.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago

it’s just that you are very shallow and don’t actually know what any form of nationalism is.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

Nationalism occurs when a citizenry feels it is under attack from nefarious entities both from within and without.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Within a liberal system, yes. But liberalism is not the only system for life.

Harry Potter
Harry Potter
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

Every country considers nationalism a good idea to promote and instill into their children’s heads, except those in the West. Yet it seems nobody in the West is willing to critique this common sense prevailing outside their echo chamber.

Shelly Andon
Shelly Andon
3 years ago

I agree with the general conclusion of the article that catastrophising narratives are more interesting than “didn’t we do well” ones. There is more opportunity to be a hero in the comic sense. We can see the same phenomenon with the climate change narrative. The problem this catastrophist narrative creates is the shutting down of rational debate and reasonable and proportionate action to try and solve the problems or to take a proportionate view of their relative importance and impact.

Patrick Chevallereau
Patrick Chevallereau
3 years ago

I am not convinced at all by this article which dangerously downplays the risks of the populism and hides that there is an obvius path to facism. But maybe the most ridiculous phrase is that one: “populism tends to be defensive and democratic, even egalitarian”… Well, the denial of the 2020 elections results by Trump and his Republican accolytes is the best sign of a democratic appraoch isnt’it?…

hardtruths
hardtruths
3 years ago

“Populism” is the demonisation term used by elites against resistance to their corruption. That’s why populism was usually of the left a hundred years ago and it’s usually of the right now, as dominance of the elites has shifted from right to left.
The 2020 election results were clearly manipulated. We know beyond honest dispute that there was massive and systematic media and big tech manipulation to protect the Biden campaign and damage the Trump campaign.
Whether there was more traditional vote-rigging we don’t know and probably will never know for sure. By definition, once our sources of information on a topic cannot be trusted, we can no longer know anything for certain.
The anti-democratic forces were those professionally (along with numerous obsessive amateurs) manipulating the campaign, covering up information, suppressing dissent, harassing opinionators, putting out propaganda, almost all systematically in the direction of damaging Trump and promoting Biden.
There is simply no way that a senile and relatively unpopular candidate like Biden would ever have won a free and fair election against a hugely successful candidate like Trump (74 million votes, in the teeth of the aforementioned manipulation).
So examine the beam in your own side’s eye, before you start complaining about the other side’s defensive responses.

Patrick Chevallereau
Patrick Chevallereau
3 years ago
Reply to  hardtruths

Actually your comments are the perfect illustration of what facism looks like. So thank you for that. You cannot imagine the magnitude of disguss with which the rest of the World is considering the conspirationist theories you are promoting. The Trumpers are not the America we used to love and admire. They are the exact opposite. A shame for the Founding Fathers. At war, a key principle is to know the enemy. Well, what a better way to know the enemy than to read and listen to you in this war for dignity?

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago

The OP is rational and courteous. Your response is nothing more than name calling.
a good illustration of what many others have defined as the new……..

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago

The clown show *did* damage the 250-year-old constitution — first, by being a clown show in the White House, the corrosive effects of which have yet to reveal themselves fully; second, by ramping up the polarisation and hysteria in American politics by an order of magnitude (and doing so deliberately, for political advantage). All those saying the real problem is the American Left (a diagnosis it would be foolish to dismiss) need to reckon with the way the Trump presidency turbo-charged all the worst features of the American Left. These people need Trumpism just as much as Trumpism needs them. A plague on both their houses.

hardtruths
hardtruths
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

This is what lefties call “blaming the victim”, when it’s directed at their favoured special interest groups.
Every US regime in history has had its share of “clowning”, the Trump regime was worse in some areas, better in others, but the increased hysteria and polarisation came entirely from the elite reaction to Trump’s win.
To the extent that Trump himself was “polarising”, it came entirely from his refusal to kowtow to some of the “respectability” limits imposed by the left and its collaborators in the mainstream Republican “right”.
If you want to get a better grasp of the issue here, the best brief summary was given by Victor Davis Hanson in February, after the “victory” the Democrats achieved through shameless and unprecedented media and big tech bias and manipulation, discussing the real political issues underlying Trump and the response to him:

It’s tragic that this country is at this place right now, because it didn’t have to be this way. They could have said Donald Trump represented a lost constituency that … globalised culture had ignored in a very amoral fashion and that was an understandable pushback, but the way to beat Donald Trump is to appeal to his voters in the way that the Democratic Party used to do, and win them back. They didn’t do that. They didn’t do that because they wanted open borders, and they’re tribalists that believe in identity politics, and they don’t care about people of the working class any more, and they feel that their money and their power and their titles and their degrees have allowed them to be an unquestioned elite. Sort of Platonic Guardians that we … don’t dare question.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago