Donald Trump has become a challenge for me to write about. I despise the man; always have. He's a vulgar clown who has gained his following through a naked appeal to racism. I'd rather eat raw slugs than vote for the guy.
He is the only candidate in either party who refuses to let the neocons dictate his foreign policy. Everyone knows the reason why: He doesn't need money from Adelson, Saban or anyone else. Donald Trump has parked his capacious carcass in a neocon-free zone.
This non-neoconservatism is, I think, the reason why the NYT is thumping Trump with pieces like this
Well, he’s got the Hitler vote. The neo-Nazi website, Daily Stormer, was out and proud earlier this week: “Heil Donald Trump — the Ultimate Savior.” After endorsing the Republican presidential front-runner earlier this year for his call to deport 11 million Mexican immigrants, the fomenters of American fascism have now added an apt twist to his slogan, one not far from the truth of the campaign: “Make America White Again.”
Nazis — I hate these guys. Oh, but they’re a tiny minority of pink-faced malcontents living in basements with the windows taped up. Everybody hates them. Add to that supporters of the Ku Klux Klan, who’ve thrown in with Trump as well. David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Klan, liked everything he heard from Trump this week, embracing him for standing up for white nationalism.
And sure, all the little Hitlers probably don’t amount to a hill of beans. But what about the 35 percent of Republican voters, in the New York Times/CBS News poll, who say they’re all in with the man sieg heiled by aspiring brownshirts and men in white sheets?
What he’s done is to give marginalized Americans permission to hate. He doesn’t use dog whistles or code. His bigotry is overt. But the table was set by years of dog whistles and code. The very “un-American” sentiment that Republican elders now claim to despise has been a mainstay of conservative media for at least a decade.
I'm not going to dispute these facts, which are genuinely worrisome. That said: I seem to recall that most of America's far-right extremists also supported Ronald Reagan (the original dog whistler) in 1980. At that time, the mainstream press didn't think that the endorsement of the fringe reflected poorly on candidate.
This article in the Washington Free Beacon
does the best job of describing the Establishment's problem with Donald Trump:
Since declaring his candidacy in June, Trump has been consistent on issues of immigration and trade and security. He has not deviated from building a wall on the southern border, slapping tariffs on imports, criticizing the 2003 Iraq war, praising Vladimir Putin, describing Ukraine as Germany’s problem not ours, and saying Middle East peace depends on Israeli concessions.
In short: Trump's great sin is that he is not a neocon.
He ain't no liberal either -- in fact, he resists easy definition. But one thing's for sure: If you are shopping for a non-neocon candidate this election season, if that
criterion is your sole criterion, then your choice is easy. It's Trump or nuthin'.
A ghastly situation, is it not? There is no other choice.
And that's the reason why so many pro-neocon writers are painting a Hitler mustache on The Donald.
Are you a fan of historical irony? Have I got a doozy for you.
Neocons decry Trump as a fascist, yet the founding father of the neoconservative movement -- Leo Strauss -- inhabited a political space adjacent to (if not congruent with) that of Benito Mussolini, the founder of fascism. Yes, Strauss was Jewish. Jewish fascists did exist, back in the day, and Strauss was one of them.
(Bibi Netanyahu's father was another -- go here
and listen to all five parts -- but that's a discussion for another day.)
I could cite many books and articles to prove the point. For now, one will suffice: This piece by Todd E. Pierce in The Consortium
, published earlier this year.
Political philosopher Leo Strauss had yearned for the glorious German Conservative Revolution but was despondent when it took the form of the Nazi Third Reich, from which he was excluded because he was Jewish regardless of his fascist ideology.
He wrote to a German Jewish friend, Karl Loewith: “the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l’homme [inalienable rights of man] to protest against the shabby abomination.”
Strauss was in agreement politically with Schmitt, and they were close friends.
Professor Alan Gilbert of Denver University has written: “As a Jew, Strauss was forbidden from following Schmitt and [German philosopher Martin] Heidegger into the Nazi party. ‘But he was a man of the Right. Like some other Zionists, those who admired Mussolini for instance, Strauss’ principles, as the 1933 letter relates, were ‘fascist, authoritarian, imperial.’”
Strauss was intelligent enough when he arrived in the U.S. to disguise and channel his fascist thought by going back to like-minded “ancient” philosophers and thereby presenting fascism as part of our “western heritage,” just as the current neocon classicist Victor Davis Hanson does.
To understand Strauss' impact on modern neoconservatism, your next stop will be this piece by Jim Lobe
, published in 2003.
Strauss is a popular figure among the neoconservatives. Adherents of his ideas include prominent figures both within and outside the administration. They include 'Weekly Standard' editor William Kristol; his father and indeed the godfather of the neoconservative movement, Irving Kristol; the new Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Stephen Cambone, a number of senior fellows at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) (home to former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and Lynne Cheney), and Gary Schmitt, the director of the influential Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which is chaired by Kristol the Younger.
According to Shadia Drury, who teaches politics at the University of Calgary, Strauss believed that "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior."
This dichotomy requires "perpetual deception" between the rulers and the ruled, according to Drury. Robert Locke, another Strauss analyst says,"The people are told what they need to know and no more."
According to Drury, Strauss had a "huge contempt" for secular democracy. Nazism, he believed, was a nihilistic reaction to the irreligious and liberal nature of the Weimar Republic. Among other neoconservatives, Irving Kristol has long argued for a much greater role for religion in the public sphere, even suggesting that the Founding Fathers of the American Republic made a major mistake by insisting on the separation of church and state. And why? Because Strauss viewed religion as absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control.
At the same time, he stressed that religion was for the masses alone; the rulers need not be bound by it. Indeed, it would be absurd if they were, since the truths proclaimed by religion were "a pious fraud." As Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine points out, "Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers."
Not surprisingly, Strauss' attitude toward foreign policy was distinctly Machiavellian. "Strauss thinks that a political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat," Drury wrote in her book. "Following Machiavelli, he maintained that if no external threat exists then one has to be manufactured (emphases added)."
"Perpetual war, not perpetual peace, is what Straussians believe in," says Drury. The idea easily translates into, in her words, an "aggressive, belligerent foreign policy," of the kind that has been advocated by neocon groups like PNAC and AEI scholars – not to mention Wolfowitz and other administration hawks who have called for a world order dominated by U.S. military power.
Now go here
The trouble with the Straussians is that they are compulsive liars. But it is not altogether their fault. Strauss was very pre-occupied with secrecy because he was convinced that the truth is too harsh for any society to bear; and that the truth-bearers are likely to be persecuted by society - specially a liberal society - because liberal democracy is about as far as one can get from the truth as Strauss understood it.
Strauss's disciples have inherited a superiority complex as well as a persecution complex. They are convinced that they are the superior few who know the truth and are entitled to rule. But they are afraid to speak the truth openly, lest they are persecuted by the vulgar many who do not wish to be ruled by them. This explains why they are eager to misrepresent the nature of Strauss's thought. They are afraid to reveal that Strauss was a critic of liberalism and democracy, lest he be regarded as an enemy of America. So, they wrap him in the American flag and pretend that he is a champion of liberal democracy for political reasons - their own quest for power. The result is that they run roughshod over truth as well as democracy.
I could continue, but the point is made.
Is Donald Trump a fascist? Well, we can certainly say that his appeal is populist -- and that, in an American context, fascism and populism are close siblings. (Before you demand that I defend that claim, look up the life story of a remarkable fellow named Tom Watson.) As I said, I do not like Trump and will not vote for him. He gives off a Huey Long vibe -- except Long's slogan was "Every man a king," while Trump's slogan seems to be "I'm
da King, and everyone else can fuck off."
When neocon apologists (such as the NYT's roster of scribblers) try to paint the F-word all over Trump's creamsical-colored visage, I have to ask them: "What gives you
guys the right to call anyone else