Many thousands of words have already been written and many more will be written by the liberal intelligentsia claiming that the 45th President of the United States is a fascist.
Among the first to make the charge after Trump’s triumph was the hyper-trendy Simon Schama, British TV historian and professor at Columbia University, who tweeted at dawn the day after the election: “This calamity for democracy will of course hearten fascists all over the world.” He then told Radio 4’s Today program that “democracy often brings fascists to power; it did in Germany in the 1930s.”
Later, he explained on BBC1’s Newsnight: “It is clear to me how we pussyfoot around the malodorous, toxic element of race, which has played an incredibly important part of this. Anti-Semitism has long been part of populism.”
The trouble is, Mr. Trump is not a fascist, let alone a Nazi. Calling him Donald Duck would be more accurate than calling him Donald Duce. As for Jews, if anything, he wants to defend them–from Muslims. It is also absurd to say that anti-Semitism is part of populism in general.
The main reason Mr. Trump is not a fascist is the most embarrassing of all, for liberals that is: He is not left-wing. When leftists call hate figures “fascists,” the leftists nearly always have more in common with fascism than their hate figures do. If this were not so damaging–like branding a woman a witch in 16th Century–it would be hilarious.
To take a conveniently forgotten example, the 1939 alliance between fascism (Germany) and communism (Russia) against capitalism (Britain and France) was far more natural than the subsequent alliance between capitalism (America and Britain) and communism (Russia) against fascism (Germany). But democracy was not the only enemy the fascist and communist dictatorships had in common.
Few people even seem to know this, but Benito Mussolini, who invented Fascism in 1919 after the First World War, was a revolutionary socialist (what communists used to be called). He was therefore an internationalist who believed in world revolution and the abolition of nations. But the First World War forced him and many other socialists to recognize a fundamental fact about human nature: People are more loyal to their country than to their class.