To hear the left tell it, Donald Trump is a fascist if not actually a Nazi. “I feel Hitler in these streets,” actress Ashley Judd chanted around his inauguration. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns terms Trump “Hitleresque.” Columnist Andrew Sullivan terms the GOP today a “neo-fascist party.” And MSNBC host Rachel Maddow says, “I’ve been reading a lot about what it was when Hitler first became chancellor … because I’ve I think that’s possibly where we are.”
The charge that Trump and the right are fascists and neo-Nazis is used to establish Trump as an illegitimate president, the GOP as a party in cahoots with him, and to justify getting rid of both “by any means necessary,” which is actually the name of one of the many so-called antifascist groups. The media barrage against Trump, the street violence of Antifa and other groups, are all based on the premise that the left is fighting a modern incarnation of the Hitler movement of the 1930s.
I agree that there is a fascist strain in American politics today, but who are the real fascists? Is fascism a phenomenon of the left or the right? This question is rarely asked in a serious way, and I want to give credit to two worthy predecessors who have begun to plough this ground. The first is the economist Friedrich Hayek, whose “The Road to Serfdom,” first published in 1944, made the startling claim that Western welfare state democracies, having defeated fascism, were moving inexorably in the fascist direction.
Hayek identified fascism as a phenomenon of the left, a cousin of socialism and progressivism. And he warned, “The rise of fascism and Nazism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period but a necessary outcome of those tendencies.” While Hayek’s book was written in a pedantic, measured tone, appealing to progressives to learn from one who had witnessed firsthand the rise of fascism in Europe, progressive scholars immediately set about reviling Hayek, with one, Herman Finer, accusing him of displaying a “thoroughly Hitlerian contempt for the democratic man.” (Read more from “Left’s ‘Big Lie’ About Trump and GOP Explodes” HERE)