No, this isn't a political blog. But sometimes I can't help myself.
I posted something in Facebook that I thought was pretty good, so I decided to post it here, too, with added links.
After all, there's more to life than, um, death.
I spent part of Sunday reading online articles on the question of whether or not Trump is a fascist. Some argued yes, some argued no. You can easily find the same opinion pieces by Googling Trump + fascist. Anyway, after digesting all this back-and-forth, here's my opinion:
Trump is not technically a fascist. Fascism, among other things, involves the direct use of physical force to intimidate opponents. Gangs of brownshirts roaming the streets, death threats and assassinations, that sort of thing. It also historically has meant the explicit demand to overthrow democratic institutions and institute autocracy. And it is rabidly collectivist, insisting that all individual purposes must be subordinated to the state.
On the other hand, Trump does employ some of the theatrics of fascism – the strongman bluster (complete with Mussolini's jutting chin), the jingoistic demonization of "the other," the hyper-nationalistic calls for a return to the glory days of the past ("Make America great again"), the word-salad speechifying that defies rational analysis but hits hot-button buzzwords. And Trump resembles historical fascists in two other ways: his aggressive non-intellectualism and his worship of brute strength (he admires Putin) with a corresponding contempt for weakness.
Perhaps the best way to characterize Trump is that he is a right-wing populist with proto-fascist tendencies. That's not to say all his supporters are wrong in feeling left out and left behind, frustrated and angry, fed up with the establishment, and convinced that they do not factor into the political-economic calculus of the elites. They have perfectly valid reasons to want to upset the apple cart. But Trump, in my opinion, is not the answer. He appeals to the worst in human nature, and he appears to be a pretty poor example of human nature in his own right. As George Will quipped, "Is there a disagreeable human trait he does not have?"