Jason Stanley is a professor of Philosophy at Yale University and has spent the better part of a decade studying fascism and fascist propaganda. Together with Adam Westbrook and Japhet Weeks, he produced a short video (originally linked here; the YouTube version is above) for the New York Times, suitable for sharing, that delivers a simple, direct and powerful warning about what this country is undergoing under Donald Trump.
Stanley says the unmistakable signs of fascism are:
1) The creation of a mythical “racially pure” and patriarchal past to instill feelings of nostalgia in the masses; the assertion that as long as “he,” the “strongman” remains in power, all will be well, and that without “him” the whole system will collapse;
2) Turning groups against each other: Germans and Jews, Hindus and Muslims; citizens and foreigners; whites and blacks, etc.: “when you divide, it’s easier to control.”
3) Anti-intellectualism, and attacking the truth, because the truth is essential to a free democracy, and therefore anathema to the fascist. This, in turn, creates a “petri dish” for conspiracy theories, with the ultimate goal of devaluing the truth altogether.
This is not a “blog post” or a Twitter meme about “Fascism.” This is coming from someone who has studied the issue probably more closely than anyone you will ever meet.
From the video:
You might think I’m trying to frighten you by making these parallels.
And do you know what? I am.
My parents survived the Holocaust. And my grandmother, in her memoir, wrote about how Jews in Germany didn’t see the Nazi threat until it was too late.
“In 1937, we were still able to leave the country,”she wrote.
“We could still live in our homes. We could still worship in our temples. We were in a ghetto. But the majority of our people were still alive.”
I want you to be scared, because if you’re not worried about encroaching fascism in America, before long, it will start to feel normal.
And when that happens, we’re all in trouble.
Today we are witnessing the President of the United States deliberately attempting to distract from or divert blame for the horrific murder of a Washington Post journalist in order to curry favor, personal or otherwise, from the regime that killed him.
In the past year, we have seen the same behavior and excuses exhibited by this Administration towards the actions of other despotic and murderous regimes in North Korea, the Philippines, and of course, Russia.
And virtually no one with real power and influence is calling him on it. The shiny object du jour is Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry. Tomorrow it will be something else. Meanwhile, our Congress and Senate remain largely silent, as the same pattern repeats itself again and again: the same pretense of omnipotence, the same sowing of divisions, the same attacks on the truth, the same disrespect for our institutions, the same casual embrace of cruelty and violence.
It has begun to feel normal.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.