Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Nincompoop Comparisons

This post may not go where you think. Or maybe it will.

In the 1970s, hippies often called hawks "fascists." The Vietnam War was on and protest signs turned the X in Richard Nixon's name into a swastika more-than-once. Conservative critics reacted angrily to this hyperbole. Yet, when militarism and racism are combined, it's an understandable comparison. When most people think of Nazis, they think of bellicose bigots with rigid authoritarian tendencies. In fairness, you must admit that was Nixon all over. He was not an affable chap.

In the 1980s, many progressives called the Reagan Administration "fascist" for such things as stoking nationalism and militarism again, funding death squads in El Salvador, propping up dictators like Saddam Hussein and Ferdinand Marcos, defending South African Apartheid, ignoring or joking about the AIDS pandemic, and busting unions. And then there was his infamous Bitburg Cemetery visit which eventually exposed a host of unsavory associations. Moderates who often went along with Ronnie's policies of course deplored Nazi analogies because he was such an affable nincompoop.

In the 2000s, many progressives called the Bush Administration "fascist" for additional militarism, two formally declared wars and a conceptual "War on Terror” we were told would never end, using torture, the flouting of international law, curbing civil rights at home, and floating the notion of postponing the next elections until things were safe. (Maybe after the forever war.) Moderates who tolerated or voted for these policies tisked progressives' vocabulary again because Dubya was another affable nincompoop.

In 2016, Donald Trump got elected, thanks in large part to moderates’ phenomenal incompetence.

But then something utterly unexpected happened:

Moderates suddenly discovered the word "fascist" and arrogantly presumed leadership of the very same progressive resistance they have been belittling and undermining all this time. This is not because Donald Trump’s policies are terribly different – most have recent antecedents in the Republican administrations I just mentioned – but because he is a vulgar and abrasive nincompoop. And that cannot stand. As I wrote before, there's not much daylight between Ronald and Donald except that the latter acts dickish about it.

It seems a new Cold War is brewing. And just as in the last one, I imagine actual anti-fascists will be branded "premature anti-fascists"(1) by the tardy reluctant ones - especially by the erstwhile collaborators, the centrist quisling officers who ordered decades of demoralizing retreats. In the 1950s, American conservatives who openly praised Hitler prior to Pearl Harbor went after those who always hated Hitler. There was another parallel in France. As the author of this Antioch Review article noted:
My French maquisards had a phrase for the Frenchmen who, in 1944, as the Allied armies broke out of the Normandy pocket and raced across France in pursuit of the retreating Wehrmacht, finally tried to join the Resistance.  Résistants de la dernière heure was their contemptuous name for them-"last-minute anti-Fascists."
But let's be clear: While centrists in "The Resistance" deplore Trump's personality, they apparently adore his legislative agenda because they keep voting for it. And, yes, this includes the racist facets as well.(2) Sorry for the Nazi analogy. I ordinarily advocate avoiding them, but it's the Trump era after all.

However, if you still object, I can go with a Civil War comparison. It's high time we follow Abe Lincoln's example and replace General McClellan with General Grant. Because McClellan's sympathies explain his hesitancy and we need strategists who lack that particular handicap. Or maybe he was a nincompoop.

Either way, fire the centrist idjits because they lack the skill or will to win.


1) The term primarily applies to veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades - Americans who went to Spain to fight General Francisco Franco's fascists. There is actually dispute as to where the term originated: Whether it first coined by critics, admirers, or mordantly by the veterans themselves. Conservatives think this is significant. It isn't. The point is they were hounded by the FBI.

2) A few months ago, a friend of mine told me I was bringing the word "Quisling" back. So I am amused to see that it is the first word in this article, even though I am probably not really responsible. But I have long been doing my part to boost the signal.

I also advocate calling conservatives "Tories." It is what conservatives are called in the rest of the English speaking world and highlights the left/liberal character of the American Revolution. I elaborate on this in my bookConservatism is Un-American & Other Self-Evident Truths

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