What is George Will's Problem?
In reading George Will’s recent column (“The Difference between Trumpism and fascism”), I was struck by a few things: his elitist anti-Trump tone, his denigration of the President’s supporters and his lack of understanding of Donald Trump’s appeal. The thing which struck me most, however, was not a failure to know the past, but his inability to apply the lessons of history to the present. He recites the basics of the history of fascism while completely missing how that history applies to the current situation.
What is it about Donald Trump that so offends George Will? Does the President fail Will’s ideological purity test? Is it the tweeting? Is it that most of Donald Trump’s supporters probably never subscribed to National Review? Or is it something as petty as the recognition that most of the President’s supporters are not members of the elites? They don’t belong to the country clubs that so-called Republicans like George Will belong to, and probably prefer it that way.
It is interesting that in his recitation of the history of fascism, Mr. Will fails to see the obvious: that the historical circumstances that shaped it and the ideological theories which Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and others believed in, apply not to Donald Trump and his followers but to the very people who are trying to defeat the President and lead this country down a destructive path of rigid intellectual, economic, and social control.
One difference between the 20th century fascists and that of today is that the left has bypassed the brownshirt phase and gone straight to black. You don’t see Trump supporters attacking the police. You don’t see them burning down precinct houses or churches. Trump rallies are festivals of optimism and love of country. Their opponents, Antifa and BLM, by contrast, are the blackshirted shock troops of the counterrevolution. The leaders of the Democrat party have chosen to use these shock troops as tools to regain the power they lost when Donald Trump was elected President. The violence and destruction unleashed in this country is of no consequence to them in their quest to regain that power.
Many of the fascist leaders were scarred by war and steeped in the socialist rhetoric of the time. They were disillusioned by the weakness of the European systems and affected by the ravages of a worldwide depression. Some were communists who easily migrated to the national socialist movement. Some were just thugs who saw an opportunity for power. Their followers believed in the fascist promises of renewed greatness and the paranoid delusions that they had been the victims of treachery. They had been ‘stabbed in the back,’ and so they rationalized their loss of freedom as the price of recovery and, potentially, supremacy.
President Trump and his supporters do not consider themselves victims. They assert an optimistic belief in the free market system and in the greatness of the United States of America. His supporters recognize in the president a man George Skidmore, CC
who understands their concerns and has made great progress in addressing those concerns. Donald Trump is not scarred by war or economic uncertainty. Rather, he is proud of our country and absolutely convinced that his agenda is benefitting all Americans. He has instituted policies which aid the economy and create economic freedom for more Americans by cutting taxes and regulations and incentivizing the creation of new businesses and new jobs.
Will compares the fascist leaders to Donald Trump, describing them as strongarm bullies without intellectual weight or nuanced arguments. But the image that Benito Mussolini projected, for instance, was a carefully crafted façade. Donald Trump, by comparison, is a mature leader, a successful businessman who felt compelled to provide the leadership he believed his country needed. Will describes the President as “an envious acolyte of today’s various strongmen”. Here one wonders if Will can possibly be witnessing the real world. An “acolyte of…strongmen”? On the contrary, from Kim Jong-un to Vladimir Putin, all these ‘strongmen’ look small and insignificant when standing next to Donald Trump.
And Donald Trump, while standing up to the ‘deep state’ and defying conventional wisdom, has a real connection to and rapport with the average Americans who support him. This connection is deep. It cannot be contrived or imitated. Will writes of ‘Trumpism’ as “an entertainment genre based on contempt for its bellowing audiences.” And there you have it: a classic example of projection. Will’s own obvious contempt for the “bellowing audiences” is on full display. Will concludes his piece with the snide comment that (compared to Trumpism), “Fascism was and is more interesting.” Really, more interesting? What exactly was the interesting part of fascism, George? Was it anti-Semitism? Was it Kristallnacht or the concentration camps? The Final Solution? World War II?
George Will is so blinded by hatred or elitism or delusions of ideological superiority that he cannot see the real dangers facing this country. Marxist mobs are desecrating monuments, attacking innocent people and the police while destroying businesses and livelihoods. Children are being murdered in the streets, but George Will thinks Donald Trump is the problem. Leftist academics are destroying education in this country, but Donald Trump is the problem. Intellectual lightweights like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes and socialists like Bernie Sanders determine the platform of the Democrat party, but Donald Trump is the problem.
While mobs rule the streets, George Will is safely ensconced in his ivory tower, warm and cozy in his blanket of self-righteousness and moral superiority. Perhaps Will should remember the truism that the mob always eats its own. The ivory tower and the blanket of moral superiority will not protect you if that happens, George. Prepare your epitaph in advance: “Here lies George Will. He knelt to the mob, but never to Donald Trump.” I, for one, will remain standing throughout.