The hardwiring of Rick and Bubba to Yellowhammer News and Alabama Baptist Convention is of some concern to me to put it mildly. Here is hoping Auburn University Democacy and David Matthews Center for Public life can take up this remedial education cause. Rise of Far Right parties Internationally should google easily for the June 1 chat on diane rehm show, drshow.org. In meantime here is a primer for Rick and Bubba and other functionally illiterates of the mass products of the educational system in Alabama and some from other states.
From the Transcript
David Rothkopf, I think our listeners and many of our Facebook commentators would like some definitions; nationalists, populists, neo-Nazi, fascism. How do these terms have similarities and how are they different?
ROTHKOPFWell, I mean, there are differences between each and every one of them. We tend to lump them together. We had the Nazis who are national socialists, which, you know, seemed paradoxical since they were a right wing party and embraced the term socialism. But, you know, essentially there is fascism which are political movements in a country with an authoritarian bent and a nationalist bent that draw on the roots of fascism that were seen early in the 20th -- in the mid-20th century from people like Mussolini or Franco or Hitler.
ROTHKOPFNationalists have existed in all countries at all time and have tried to play in the heartstrings and patriotism of countries to achieve their goals. I think it's very, very important here to be careful about our language, but having said that, you know, you take a case like Trump, and when people call Trump a fascist, there's a lot of pushback and you said, well, he's not as bad as Hitler in that respect or in this respect. I think we can all agree on one thing, strip away the labels, you get a leader like Trump who is unqualified for the job, is using racism, misogyny and kind of desire to scapegoat the other as his campaign platform. And that's just horrible.
ROTHKOPFSo don't call it fascism, call it horrible, call it inappropriate to become president of the United States, call it inappropriate to have a place on the political stage, call out the media for legitimizing a candidate who should be repudiated from his resume onward to his actions, but don't, you know, get too hung up in the kind of academic debate about labels, because I don't think it's as important as the imperative of stopping a candidate like that from gaining power.
REHMRobert Paxton, you've studied fascism. Define it for us in your terms.
PAXTONWell, I wrote my book, "The Anatomy of Fascism," partly to avoid or prevent the facile use of the term, because practically everybody has been called a fascist sooner or later, ranging from parents who take away your toys to the dean of your college to a politician you don't like. And I think the term needs to be used with great precision. And we take Mussolini and Hitler as the models. These are mass nationalist movements that build upon a sense of decline or defeat in a country that's been humiliated. I think you have to have a defeat or humiliation to discredit the existing leaders.
PAXTONThey feel that there's an illness inside the country, an internal enemy who needs to be rooted out and who's linked to an external enemy, and so the populations are mobilized in astonishingly effective ways to march off in ranks behind the leader. And finally there's the recourse to war, which is the ultimate aim of these people. They want to overturn an international system, and so it was unfavorable to them. These were all very dramatic, and there's hardly been anything equally dramatic since 1945. And so some people would say we shouldn't use fascism at all for movements in our somewhat less extreme times.
PAXTONNevertheless, I think we must admit that Mr. Trump, whether knowingly or whether simply by some kind of instinct, is using language and even facial gestures that recall those of Hitler and Mussolini. He plays on the theme of decline. He's virtually invented a scenario in which this country, even though we're -- has the most military in the world and have the strongest economy in the world, are somehow seen as declining because indeed there are intractable problems like ISIS that nobody can deal with. And he has the same appeal to racism. He defines an internal enemy that has to be rooted out, whether it's immigrants or Mexicans or whatever.
PAXTONAnd his techniques, the arrival by plane, it was Hitler who pioneered that. No one had ever seen a politician arrive by plane. It's enormously exciting. But the most profound differences at the same time, the fascists were -- the fascists intended to unite a country that had been fragmented and their idea was that the individualism needed to be subordinated to the community interests. And the term fascism that Mussolini invented referred to a Roman symbol with an axe and rods bound around it that stood for the power and the unity of the country. We're not dealing with movements toward national unity. We're dealing with runaway individualism. Everybody's supposed to do what they want with a minimum of government regulation.
PAXTONIt's not -- the profound energy here is away from the forced unification or the fascist movements