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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Trump fascism

In the New York Times, law professor Stanley Fish admonished Historians Against Trump for being impolite.

What he should have smashed them for was their sloppy history.

From Stanley Fish:
On Monday a group calling itself Historians Against Trump published an “Open Letter to the American People.” The purpose of the letter, the historians tell us, is to warn against “Donald J. Trump’s candidacy and the exceptional challenges it poses to civil society.” They suggest that they are uniquely qualified to issue this warning because they “have a professional obligation as historians to share an understanding of the past upon which a better future may be built.”
Or in other words: We’re historians and you’re not, and “historians understand the impact these phenomena have upon society’s most vulnerable.” Therefore we can’t keep silent, for “the lessons of history compel us to speak out against Trump.”
I would say that the hubris of these statements was extraordinary were it not so commonplace for professors (not all but many) to regularly equate the possession of an advanced degree with virtue. The claim is not simply that disciplinary expertise confers moral and political superiority, but that historians, because of their training, are uniquely objective observers: “As historians, we consider diverse viewpoints while acknowledging our own limitations and subjectivity.”
Pretty good, but why not slam them on faulty history?

I see no parallel to Mussolini, the quintessential fascist.

The Donald is not funded by nefarious sources and anonymous industrialists. Obama was and Hillary is. As far as I can tell, Trump is the only billionaire who has given Trump's campaign millions -- not George Soros or Saudi Arabia.

The Donald also has no brownshirts, unlike the Black Lives Matter and La Raza thugs who have confronted and menaced Trump's supporters at rallies.

The Donald does not advocate state subsidies and control of private business. In fact, he opposes that. Obama meanwhile bailed out GM and Chrysler and hands out subsidies and subsidized loans to donors like party favors.

The Donald has not seized control of the press. In fact, Obama has, getting a free ride for nine years. His War on Fox News drew applause from Fox's competitors.

The Donald is not using the IRS to silence critics; Obama is.

Yes, Trump is a nationalist. But that does not make him a fascist. You know who else where nationalists? Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, his cousin Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Reagan among other American preesidents.

Fascism feeds on fear.

Perhaps that is why these historians speak out. They fear, not The Donald, but Obama and Hillary.


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  1. There was a good takedown yesterday of this group of so-called "historians" by commenter Richard over at Althouse's blog:

    "Blogger Richard said...
    I am really impressed with the credentials of the organizing committee:

    Amy E. Harth, PhD Student, Union Institute & University, Overland Park, Kansas
    David Schlitt, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Brian Dolber, independent scholar, Los Angeles,CA

    The fourth member, Caroline Luce, didn’t even bother to sign the petition."

    When another commenter checked Amy's personal blog, it was obvious she is borderline mentally unbalanced.

  2. If engineers built infrastructure the same way these historians build arguments, the first woodpecker that came along would mean the end of civilization.

  3. They've been calling us that for so long we might as well accept the label and go on from here. I don't think it would make any difference whatsoever. Mussolini was a hero to the left up until the start of the war anyhow, and he was praised in Hollywood movies in the thirties because he was supposedly proof that socialism could be made to work. What is really remarkable is how the entire left can turn on a dime in perfect synchrony. The Zman describes their pretzel psychology as being like a school of fish highly tuned to the movements of the group and the group's ability to perceive and react to threats. Quite remarkable. Also quite irrational and completely instinct based. And they like to call us reactionaries.

  4. Well, I read the NYT piece by Stanley Fish and I read the Historians Against Trump manifesto and I even read the similar piece they cited called "Writers on Trump" but I couldn't find a specific that matched the Fish and Surber criticisms.

    The words, fascist, facism. Mussolini, funded, Soros and the like do not appear in the Historians moral judgement of Trump - so what are you talking about anyway. They didn't start this fire, Trump did - and he did indeed threaten a private American business, Nabisco, that would dare to move their production facilities abroad.

  5. The argument that Trump is some kind of epochal, "never before in history" downgrade from an uninterrupted string of virtuous presidents is laughably stupid. Especially with the guy in office today, who has brought more shame and dishonor on that office in two terms than I've ever seen, BY FAR, in my many decades on this planet, and that includes Watergate.

  6. Makes me ashamed to say I have two history degrees. OF course when I got mine it really meant something.

  7. I wonder what the flakey journalists called Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt in the days before there were fascists?

    Probably not too much. I can imagine Teddy taking the hickory (and I ain't talking BBQ) to some ink-stained punk who got too egregious.

  8. Sorry, but gotta share this story...

    Back in the day, when I was like 10, we had to determine who would be It in the first round of Hide and Seek. We sat in a circle and chanted,

    Eeny Meany Mussolini took a bite of Hitler's weenie, how many bites did he take?

    Those were the days!

    1. Didn't some historians (?) who consider such indelicate matters important recently claim Hitler's weenie was really weenie? Maybe, like, Bill Clinton-size or even tinier? If so, the answer to the question has to be: just ONE.

  9. Didja hear Crooked Cankles the other day saying that voting for Trump would be voting for a man who would use the IRS against his enemies? Pure projection. Obungler used the IRS against his enemies as did Crooked Cankle's husband BJ. Poor Nixon. He tried to do that and failed.

  10. The more I see the kinds of people and organizations denouncing Trump the higher he goes in my estimation.

  11. Historians predicting the future. They must have some awesome crystal balls. - Elric