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Is Donald J. Trump a Fascist Candidate, or a Semi-Fascist Candidate?

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) May 18, 2016: Is Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party's presumptive 2016 presidential candidate, a fascist candidate, or a semi-fascist candidate? Or is he is he just another big-mouth American like former Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota, the former porn actor that the crazies in Minnesota elected in the spirit of carnival that New Orleans celebrates annually in the Mardi Gras parade?

In the book The Anatomy of Fascism (Knopf, 2004), Robert O. Paxton in history at Columbia University reviews the rise of fascism in certain European countries in the twentieth century. But what is fascism? Paxton sorts out the following nine characteristic features of fascism (I have supplied the numbers in square brackets in the following quotation):

"[1] a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;

"[2] the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it;

"[3] the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;

"[4] dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;

"[5] the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;

"[6] the need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's historical destiny;

"[7] the superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason;

"[8] the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group's success;

"[9] the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess within a Darwinian struggle" (pages 219-220).

Now, if we were to look at Paxton's nine characteristics of fascism in a certain way, we might see them as expressing and manifesting the upside down spirit of carnival that New Orleans celebrates annually in the Mardi Gras parade. No, I am not joking about that that. Yes, I understand that fascism in certain European countries in the twentieth century was a nightmare that brought us World War II.

You see, each person's individual personal unconscious and collective unconscious (in C. G. Jung's terminology) contain materials out of which nightmares can be made. So we Americans have materials in our psyche out of which we can make the nightmare world of fascism.

So are we Americans on the brink of electing Donald J. Trump to be the next president of the United States in the 2016 presidential election and thereby inaugurating fascism in American history?

Now, for certain white American males, the 1960s and 1970s symbolize changes in our collective American cultural and political lives that they do not like. They find certain changes hard to stomach -- and hard to digest for one reason or another.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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