When It Starts to Feel Normal ‘We’re All in Trouble’
Jason Stanley, a Yale philosophy professor who has also written multiple books on fascism and propaganda, has recorded a video for the New York Times that shows how President Donald Trump and other right-wing reactionaries around the world have stolen a page from the playbooks of the fascist dictators who ruled much of Europe in the early 20th century.
Stanley, who is the author of the 2018 book “How Fascism Works,” begins by outlining how fascists begin their propaganda operations by appealing to a mythic past in which peace and prosperity were widespread and where societies were more unified than they are today.
“Fascists create an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for a past that is racially pure, traditional and patriarchal,” he explains. “From Mussolini to Hitler to Erdogan, fascist leaders position themselves as father figures and strong men. As long as he — and yes it’s always a he — remains in power, everything is possible.”
Stanley then goes to explain how fascists then pick out scapegoats as reasons that this mythical past no longer exists — and he says that maintaining power requires “pitting groups against each other.”
“Once you divide, it’s easier to control,” he says.
The next step fascists take is to simply attack the truth — whether it’s in the form of broadsides against the news media or against the scientific consensus on climate change.
“This environment creates a Petri dish for conspiracy theories,” he says. “No one can agree on what’s true anymore — and fascists love it when that happens.”
Watch the whole video below.
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Watch: Trump Laughs, Jokes After Supporter Calls for Shooting Migrants
President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Panama City Beach, Florida Wednesday night was the usual raucous affair – except for one exchange which has many even more outraged than usual.
Complaining to supporters from the Florida panhandle that migrants are trying to enter the U.S. through the Southern border, the President asked, “How do you stop these people?”
One supporter, as The Guardian reported, responded, “Shoot them!”
President Trump laughed, paused, then turned it into an applause line.
“That’s only in the panhandle can you get away with that statement,” Trump proclaimed. As the audience broke out into cheers and applause, Trump, who himself has called labeled immigrants “animals,” repeated: “Only in the panhandle.”
At his rally tonight, Trump says the government is unable to violently attack immigrants, someone in the crowd shouted “Shoot them!”
The crowd & Trump erupt in laughter & cheers. Trump says, “Only in the panhandle can you get away with that statement.”pic.twitter.com/SgQd2OH9ti
— jordan (@JordanUhl) May 9, 2019
White House Aides Scrambling to Deal With Fallout From Trump’s Thinly-Veiled Threat of Violence: Report
Staffers Are Trying to Justify Remarks by Saying ‘That’s Just the Way the President Talks’
White House aides are reportedly struggling to figure out how to “spin” comments the president made prior to the New Zealand mosque massacre that could be viewed as incitements to violence.
In an interview with Breitbart ostensibly about a free speech order he’s about to sign, the president referenced all the “tough” people he has in his corner.
“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” Trump said. “But the left plays it cuter and tougher.”
CNN host Wolf Blitzer noted the comments were “disturbing” when asking White House correspondent Kaitlin Collins about how things are within the administration.
“Aides behind the scenes were pushing back on this saying, ‘that’s just the way the president talks,’” Collins explained. “That’s something you hear when the president makes a remark like this.”
She added that she wasn’t surprised by what he said because he’s made similar comments “in front of cameras, at rallies and events like that.
“Aides don’t know how to respond to this,” Collins added. “They don’t know how to spin this or anything like that. They hope that this is one of those comments, because the president says so many things, that they can just kind of let go by with the news cycle.”
Dictionary.com Reveals Spike in Searches for This Disturbing Term After Trump’s Thinly-Veiled Threat of Violence
President Donald Trump issued a thinly-veiled threat of fascistic violence this week in an interview with the far right wing website Breitbart. While largely ignored on the right, Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale’s tweet on Thursday highlighting a disturbing quote by the President went viral.
Trump to Breitbart on how the left plays tough: “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 14, 2019
Several experts on authoritarianism and others who closely follow President Trump’s moves and remarks reminded followers on social media Trump’s words are another example of “stochastic terrorism.”
Trump’s rhetoric has already been associated with spikes in hate crimes and extremist violence. The comment below is a prime example of stochastic terrorism, and none of us should
be surprised when it leads to political violence. https://t.co/hBdT1sBH9a
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) March 14, 2019
This, too, must be read as part of Trump’s campaign of stochastic terrorism. He is inviting average people to commit violence on his behalf, but distancing himself from it with the pretense that he’s just stating a “truth” about “the way it is.” https://t.co/0vyV9gIg90
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) March 14, 2019
Stochastic terrorism. Incitement. Call it whatever you want, but this alone is a grave abuse of his office.
I repeat: Waffling on #impeachment is a terrible message about whether Dems will defend the Constitution.
This is just another example of how emboldened Trump is. https://t.co/vVotysLPaH
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) March 14, 2019
If you’re like most people, the term “stochastic terrorism” is confusing at best. (So is pronouncing it.)
Clearly, many folks looked it up, because Thursday evening the people at Dictionary.com revealed that searches for the term are trending today on their site:
Trending on https://t.co/OeJELgy3YL: Stochastic terrorism.
It means the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act.https://t.co/2xI3HNIjXh
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) March 14, 2019
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent explains how Trump’s thinly-veiled threats of violence work:
It’s important to unpack how Trump’s veiled incitement really works.
He isn’t *calling* on his supporters to be violent. He’s just saying, hey, they *might* get violent under certain circumstances, and by golly, you’d better hope it doesn’t!https://t.co/K34XltBT2Y
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) March 14, 2019
Back in January Wired took a look at “stochastic terrorism,” which they define as, “Acts of violence by random extremists, triggered by political demagoguery.”
Bottom line: The President of the United States is engaging in fascistic behavior. Or, if you’d rather, he’s play around with fascism, trying it on seeing how it fits. And it’s becoming clearer and clearer that he thinks it fits just fine.
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