In November, Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine headlined an article: “How Much Mussolini Is There in Donald Trump?” The writer, Dirk Kurbjuweit, subjects Trump to a 14-element fascism litmus test developed by writer and scholar Umberto Eco. The fascism elements that make Trump’s rise to power particularly worrisome under the Eco test are these:
a “distrust of the intellectual world”;
“seeks for consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders”;
“the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups”;
an appeal to nationalism;
“the followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies”;
“transfers his will to power to sexual matters”;
amplifies the message that those in power in government are “out of touch” with what “the people” want;
“All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a talk show.
”Under the Eco test, the writer Kurbjuweit warns that “eight of the criteria apply, five do not and one cannot be determined yet.” Kurbjuweit also warns: “Eco did not provide guidelines for interpreting the results. But he did write: ‘It is enough for one of them to be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.’
”Let that sink in for a moment. One element is cause for concern and Trump meets the test for fascism on eight separate elements.
Just a few notes:
The people must also distrust the intellectual world and that happens when they’re under educated and or not taught and not allowed to employ critical thinking but rather are strictly indoctrinated.
The people are not just humiliated by ostentatious wealth but are also extremely angry about the loss of their ability to pursue, with some hope of achieving, their own wealth (See Noam Chomsky’s in “Requiem for The American Dream). They also must be utterly disgusted and distrustful of financials institutions and their corrupt and unfair methods.
The people are already fearful thanks to a constant stream of fear mongering propaganda whether it be the US Government, people like Michael Moore, corporate advertising, or mainstream media. People are also fearful of what they see and learn on their own – for example, religious fanatics decapitating citizens in the streets.
And lastly – a government that is out of touch with what the people want and need because they do not serve the people but serve corporation and business interests. Most members of the US Senate or House are millionaires. These people do not know what it means to be truly impoverished with very little help to pull out and prosper.