This past week saw the injection of even more toxins into the already stressed American body politic. At a recent campaign rally, the cheerleader-in-chief made the wild claim that insurgent Democrats (led by dangerous extremist Taylor Swift) were planning on implementing an economic plan similar to that of Venezuela. Then yesterday, going one step farther, two Arizona Republican staffers tried to bait a local Democrat’s campaign into receiving a contribution from “communists”.
Such rhetoric and actions are taken straight from the Fascist playbook, as described in an illuminating October 5 interview with Yale professor Jason Stanley, author of How Fascism Works. The image is from John Heartfield.
Also yesterday, speaking on Democracy Now, Stanley listed what he identified as the Ten Pillars of Fascism:
[N]umber one, a mythic past, a great mythic past which the leader harkens back.
Number two, propaganda. There’s a certain kind of fascist propaganda where everything is inverted. The news is the fake news. Anti-corruption is corruption.
So, three, anti-intellectualism. As Steve Bannon said, it’s emotion—rage gets people to the polls. We got elected on “Lock her up!” and “Build the wall!”
Number four, unreality. You have to smash truth. So, reason gets replaced by conspiracy theories.
Hierarchy. In fascist politics, the dominant group is better than everyone else. They were like the loyal—the great people in the past who deserve respect just for being them.
Victimhood. In fascism, the dominant group are the greatest victims. The men are the greatest victims of encroaching feminism. Whites are the greatest victims of blacks. Germans are the greatest victims of Jews.
Law and order. What are they victims of? They’re victims of the out group, who are criminals. What kind of criminals are they? They’re rapists. Sexual anxiety.
Pillar nine is Sodom and Gomorrah. The real values come from the heartland. The people in the city are decadent.
And pillar ten is ”Arbeit macht frei“—work shall make you free. The out group is lazy. They’re not just criminals; they’re lazy. And social Darwinism. It’s all about winning.
Once all ten pillars are in place, we are ready for the latent core architecture to become fully manifest: