How Fascism Works:
The Politics of Us and Them
Liberals and leftist have long tossed the term fascist at right wing governments that they don't like and many increasing affix the label to our current president and his minions. Jonah Goldberg in his book Liberal Fascism accuses Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton of being a fascist. The fast and furious accusations threaten to deprive the term of all meaning. Philosopher and Yale University professor Jason Stanley in How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them examines examples of fascism around the world, shows how it works and then applies this to the current situation. Stanley explores how fascism uses the past and shows how this is based on myth. He shows us how fascism uses propaganda. Stanley characterizes propaganda as a tool a politician uses to conceal problematic goals by hiding them behind widely accepted ideals. Fascist politics undermines public discourse by attacking the tools necessary for intellectual debate: "education, expertise, and language." Fascist politics strives to replaces reasoned discourse with propaganda and create a situation that throws reality into doubt and erodes agreement on the truth. Fascism seeks to replace the liberal goals of equality by hierarchies of power and dominance. Fascism also distorts and blends together the notions of discrimination and equality where the efforts to achieve equality by one group are distorted into discrimination of another. Stanley dissects fascist law and order ideology showing that the lawful are the select who are naturally lawful and the outsiders who are inherently lawless. In the fascist hierarchy the leader is the father of the country and builds the strength of the movement on traditional ideals of the family and paint the other as threats to the stability of the traditional family. Stanley makes some chilling comparisons with Hitler's denunciations of large cities - painting them as a Sodom and Gomorrah - with Trump's. Stanley's book leads the reader to the conclusion that Trump and his administration make use of many of the fascist practices and techniques described by Stanley. Stanley's evidence forces the reader to conclude that if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it is probably a duck. This powerful and important book gives us some needed tools to understand the current administration and to start building a return to democratic ideals. Buy the book. Read it.