No this is not about for my dislike of sheep. I have to point out that my disdain for the ruminant wholly mammalian quadrupeds, not noted for intelligence, has nothing to do with sheep per se but an objective loathing for incessant bleating. There, I hope I made that abundantly clear.
Now on to the issue that's not being discussed on CNN et al -- American Fascism: real or unreal? And if its real does Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump embody it as the GOP's standard bearer?
Let me say from the onset that I'm very reluctant to label people, especially political leaders, as fascists. You see, the word Fascism is so politically loaded that it should be used very sparingly when describing the behavior and actions of a certain politician(s) or party. To be sure some, especially on the Progressive Left, have called Trump a fascist, not without some valid justifications.
For example, Trump's fast and loose use of fear-mongering, racist pandering to a narrow uneducated, white male constituency, and his marginalization of immigrants and Muslims, come straight out of the Fascist's "How-To" manual. Crouched in his "Make America Great Again" slogan and intermingled and mixed with loud claims about America's decline, occasioned by the rise of "stupid and weak politicians" invigorates and fires up this angry base.
Fascism and its best proponents like Mussolini and Spain's General Franco were also skillful and shrewd media manipulators and masters at crowd dynamics and mood. Trump has used all of the above, to be sure, and his aggressive, anti-establishment and "outsider" rhetoric and persona also are the tools that infamous fascists used on their road to power. To put this analysis in perspective I'll draw from the work of the late Italian philosopher and thinker Umberto Eco. Writing in is book "Ur-Fascism" this is how he described modern day Fascism:
"Ur-Fascism," he wrote, "derives from individual or social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was 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. In our time, when the old "proletarians" are becoming petty bourgeois" the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority."
Eco also outlined eleven (11) features that define Fascism.
1. A mythologizing of tradition that glories innate virtues and heroic deeds
2. A rejection of Enlightenment ideals with their emphasis on rationality, individualism and the pleasure principle
3. The exalting of action for action's sake -- especially physical action with a penchant for violence
4. Intolerance for criticism from any source -- domestic or foreign
5. A stress on mystic unity that subordinates all particularisms
6. An articulation and amplification of the grievances and frustrations of those social strata that lack power and collective vehicles for effective political action
7. A cultivated sense of status denial or threat from combined internal and external sources
8. A doctrine built on the idea that "life is a struggle" whereby only the strong and resolute prevail
9. Contempt for the weak stigmatized as life's losers and nature's failures