Los Angeles Times
Does the U.S. need to watch out for fascism?
Re “Who are you calling ‘fascist’ — and do you even know what it means?” Aug. 8
Nicholas Goldberg defined fascism as “a terrifying totalitarian movement that plunged the world into an era of near-cataclysmic violence.” Isn’t the sordid spectacle of the recent Conservative Political Action Conference a disconcerting sign of what our future holds? Thousands of predominantly white Republican Christian nationalists worshiping a golden idol in rhapsodic frenzy was not simply “un-American” — this was the U.S. version of the Nuremberg rallies.
Melissa Verdugo Rancho Palos Verdes
My understanding of fascism, as associated with Mussolini’s regime, was a nationalist economic philosophy where the benefits of government, industrial complex and military were aligned to the detriment of the individual. I believe President Eisenhower was trying to warn us about this in his farewell speech.
Since dictators Mussolini and Hitler were the “face” of fascism, their despicable authoritarian policies, racism, bigotry and antisemitism overshadowed the economics and became the connotation for “fascist” — in particular to those born after 1945, who only know of World War II from history books.
Gilbert H. Skopp Calabasas
Good article. Now, please write one about “socialism.” That’s a scare word the Republicans have been attacking for decades ever since McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings. A woman I know told me she voted for Trump because she believed his scare technique of saying the Democrats would turn the country socialist. When asked, she didn’t know any definition of the word, but still voted for “un-American” Trump a second time simply because he used a scare word.
Can anyone actually believe that Congress would vote to overthrow our current system for socialism? You’d have to know absolutely nothing about government to believe that — and, sadly, that’s where we are in our country.
Barry Davis Agoura Hills
Goldberg defines fascism but glosses over its belief structure, which has been embraced by Trump supporters even though they may not identify it as such.
As conservative columnist Michael Gerson has written, Trumpism is American fascism insofar as it: “feeds a sense of white victimhood”; “emphasizes emotion over reason”; “denigrates experts and expertise”; “slanders outsiders and blames them for social and economic ills,” including warning of “global plots by Jews and shadowy elites”; “accepts the lies of a leader as a deeper form of political truth”; “revels in anger and dehumanization”; “praises law and order while reserving the right to disobey the law and overturn the political order through violence”; and has an approach to government that “promises the recovery of a mythical past.”
This is not your father’s fascism, but it is pretty close. Maybe we should stop arguing terminology and do something about it. Militarism? How is an $850-billion military budget for starters? Nationalism? Critical race theory is demonized by those touting the optimistic “land of the free” brand while civil rights abuses are ignored and athletes who kneel during the playing of the anthem receive death threats. Social and economic control? Women’s reproductive healthcare is highly regulated, voting rights are being shorn thin and civil rights are under attack for everyone besides straight while males.
A handful of monopolies that control the lobbying industry enjoy high profits, low taxes and government subsidies. Meanwhile nearly a third of working Americans receive poverty wages and medical care debt is involved in many bankruptcies. Let’s call it American fascism.
Bethia Sheean-Wallace Fullerton