Yale philosophy prof teaching about how fascism works

Reopened October 2019 - includes archived threads from pre-2019

Yale philosophy prof teaching about how fascism works

Postby TheVat on April 19th, 2020, 12:04 pm 

An expert on fascism looks at what's happening in the United States.


When he [Prof. Jason Stanley ] insinuates that Trump is a fascist—and you don’t have to be a philosopher of language to catch the insinuation—he means that Trump talks like a fascist, not necessarily that he governs like one. Still, many passages in Stanley’s book begin with a discussion of Germany in the nineteen-thirties, or Rwanda in the nineteen-nineties, before pivoting to a depiction of the contemporary United States. “Ever since my book came out, I’ve been fighting with critics who go, ‘You’re overreacting, you’re exaggerating, it’s irresponsible to call this fascism or that fascism,’ ” Stanley said. “I’ll point to a step Trump has taken—he’s using ICE to round up children, he’s surrounding himself with loyalists and generals, he’s using the apparatus of government to dig up dirt on a political rival—and the response is always ‘Sure, that’s bad, but it’s not a big enough step to justify the F-word.’ I’m starting to feel like the it’s-not-a-big-enough-step people won’t be happy until they’re in concentration camps.”

Noah Kopf, a junior at Yale College, spoke from his childhood bedroom, in Newton, Massachusetts. “Arendt talks about how fascist movements create their own shadow organizations that mimic the structure and function of the state bureaucracy, but they’re incompetent at it,” he said. Even as Trump belittled public servants and starved their agencies of resources, he continued to benefit from their competence; at the same time, “he’s assembling another bureaucracy on top of it that’s totally inept, that’s run by loyalists. Ultimately, that’s going to be a source of long-term damage.”

Stanley listed a few of Trump’s more outrageous recent decisions—each of which seemed to be quickly forgotten, buried under an even fresher outrage. Doga Unlu, a first-year undergraduate speaking from her home in Istanbul, said, “Something like firing the inspector generals—I would expect something like that to happen in Turkey, if I’m being honest, not in the U.S.” Under normal circumstances, Ascheim noted, you could vote, or take to the streets in protest. “In a democracy, one of the only things you can always do is show up,” she said. “Right now, you literally cannot do that, because you’re not supposed to leave your house.”
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