Fascism, Trump, and FDR

Sept. 25, 2017

Fascism is hard to define. I tried in my video on Fascism. I looked at fascism as a secular-religion challenge to democracy. Like communism it was attractive to many people in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Jane and I grew up in that depression as children.  Neither of us suffered that much. Neither of us paid much attention to politics either.

We both had barely heard of Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany but didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to dictators in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Later, of course, in WW2 we did pay attention.

In my reading much later I learned that FDR, our president at the time whom most of our families supported, was something of a Mussolini fan. In fact he promoted versions of fascist thinking in his own anti-depression programs: specifically the NRA, the CCC, and his failed unconstitutional attempts to pack and bypass the Supreme Court.

The current antifascist movement, Antifa, focus their fire on Donald Trump although they seem to be against Jews and white supremacists as well. Antifa protestors often use violence in opposition to Trump’s policies, especially his alleged racism, sexism, arrogance, nationalism, and immigration wall. In this they are cahoots with the media today but all seem to be unaware of that same clergy’s fascist leanings in the past. The question becomes today who is the real fascist and who supports democracy and freedom?

I continue to believe the left-liberal clergy are the source of most semi-fascist thought. Professors especially tend to favor leftist thought and oppose any smidgeon of conservative (from Ann Coulter to Benjamin Netanyahu) or libertarian free speech (see protests against Charles Murray at Middlebury College and bitter opposition of all academic clergy to “bell curve” science.

It was similar in tee past. Democratic liberal President Woodrow Wilson was an open racist, eugenic fan, and WW1 supporter, as was the otherwise very liberal Margaret Sanger, feminist founder of Planned Parenthood. As I pointed out before, President Roosevelt in the Great Depression has a better chance than Donald Trump to be called our first openly racist and fascist president. It was Roosevelt after all who slammed the immigration door on Jewish refugees when Jews were in such grave danger in Germany and all of Europe. Wilson came from the Ivy League (President of Princeton), was an open racist, and supported WW1. This was a war fought on Agricultural meme issues (wealth was land and resources) and finally settled with a Versailles Treaty that reinforced Agricultural Age memes with a vengeance and brought us WW2.

Wilson also ended up hating progressive Republican Fighting Bob Lafollette because he so vigorously opposed WW1. Lafollette incidentally was a republican progressive then and is a democratic Progressive hero now.

Roosevelt outdid Trump in his fears of immigration terror. The Jewish Brandeis Center claims, “The U.S. immigration system severely limited the number of German Jews admitted during the Nazi years to about 26,000 annually-–but even that quota was less than 25% filled during most of the Hitler era, because the Roosevelt administration piled on so many extra requirements for would be immigrants. For example, as of 1941, merely having a close relative in Europe was enough disqualify an applicant–-because of the Roosevelt administration’s absurd belief that the immigrant would become a spy for Hitler so that his relative in Europe would not be harmed by the Nazis.“

FDR also sponsored the NRA (National Recovery Act) that set prices, profits, and wages for workers. This was an ultimately failed attempt (the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional) lto fix one of the pillars of freedom and democracy, free market capitalism.

FDR was elected four times, was crippled with polio, and died early in his fourth term at the then advanced age of 63. His New Deal is still a model for Democrats. He was alternately lauded and cursed for his CCC and WPA (also known to us depression folk as, We Poke Along). Both were programs that gave jobs to unemployed youth and older folk (and got more votes for FDR). They were copies of similar programs in Germany, Spain, Japan, and Italy that Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, and Military Generals in Japan launched to combat the worldwide Depression—and increase local support for their versions of fascism.

None of this program of popular support is necessarily true of Trump. He relies instead on blue-collar workers, giant pep rallies, rich businessmen, and middle-class resentment of the left’s Politically Correct clergy. He doesn’t seem to think much of secular religions and he avoids talking about religion except to support freedom of belief.

True, Trump is undoubtedly arrogant, ignorant of many things including language, is frequently a blowhard, and is certainly a fervent supporter of nationalism. But he doesn’t come close to the charisma, venom, power, or the many programs for the youth jobs (and votes) that Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Roosevelt, or the Military in Japan had in spades.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P. S. For any who want to know more details on my life-long journey through the idea swamp from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I suggest you buy and read one of my recent books (they are cheap)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some ideas on science and society, streamed free on YouTube.

Leave a Reply