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Source: Kenneth Lu, via Wikimedia Commons. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en).

Who Are The Real ‘Semi-Fascists’?

President Joe Biden caused quite a stir late last week after accusing supporters of former President Donald Trump of following a political creed of “semi-fascism.” But it’s yet another case of the far-left Democratic Party projecting its own grievous sins on the political opposition.

This was Saul Alinsky’s 13th rule: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” The Biden administration and the Democrats are following this rule to a T.

They constantly call Republicans, conservatives and those “deplorable” moderate Americans in middle America the most vile names – “racists,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” and worse – and have launched an all-out, non-stop Deep State campaign against the man they fear the most, Donald Trump.

Thus came this not entirely unexpected but wholly unpresidential and hate-filled diatribe by Biden just last week:

“What we’re seeing now is the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy. It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy … it’s like semi-fascism,” Biden charged at last Thursday’s Democratic National Committee “Build a Better America” rally in Rockville, Maryland.

“Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans have made their choice,”  Biden went on. “To go backwards, full of anger, violence, hate and division.

“We’re at a serious moment in our nation’s history. The MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and economic security, they’re a threat to our very democracy,” he added. “They refuse to accept the will of the people, they embrace political violence.”

This has been part of the Democrats’ playbook for some time, but it has intensified in recent years.

As a 2020 piece in the online magazine Tablet noted:

As soon as the unexpected results of the 2016 election rolled in, Trump critics were predicting that he would be our Hitler and rush to establish a fascist dictatorship. Many of those critics have well-paid sinecures and regular invitations to describe America’s imminent fascist threat on popular cable news shows where they describe, year after year, how the fascist jackboot is now finally descending in America. ‘Expert compares Trump’s politics to fascism,’ read a banner on a top CNN news show last month while The Washington Post recently warned: ‘A second Trump term could put us on the path to fascism.’

What’s remarkable about this is it’s the Democratic Party itself, in both its tactics and beliefs, that appears to be morphing into a kind of neo-fascist party in which racial identity, government control of corporations, political violence, and rigid political directives are forced on citizens, while our historic protections under the Constitution are ignored, diminished or even erased.

But progressive Democrats have long loved to use government to compel people to do things.

It’s a fact that, back in the 1920s and 1930s, many American leftists openly embraced fascist ideals, which, in all fairness, didn’t have the stigma they do today. Both Germany and Italy returned the compliment, admitting their policies were influenced by progressive President Woodrow Wilson’s authoritarianism and FDR’s Depression-era government activism.

In 1931, British writer and progressive socialist H.G. Wells, impressed with Italy’s socialist-fascist government and Germany’s then-nascent Nazi Party, even urged fellow leftists to become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis.”

But after genocide and a world war, fascism and totalitarian rule lost their sheen. American leftists backtracked on their early support, pretended it never happened, and instead began calling American conservatives and Republicans “fascists.”

Today, while it postures as an enemy of fascism, the left continues to advocate the same state-heavy policies of top-down economic control and regulation, not to mention restrictions on Americans’ freedom and constitutional rights, as the backbone of its political agenda. As such, current progressive-socialist ideas bear an unmistakable kinship to real fascism.

As writer Jonah Goldberg noted in his 2007 book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning,” the American progressive left doesn’t advocate the jack-booted variety of fascism, with gulags and torture chambers and concentration camps. Instead, the Democratic Party has pursued what Goldberg calls, borrowing from the late-comedian George Carlin, “smiley-face fascism.”

What is “smiley-face fascism”? Well, to start with, the two ur-fascists, Italy’s Mussolini and Germany’s Hitler, both considered themselves socialists.

And both advocated a host of policies that would today sit comfortably on any Democratic platform: free health care, minimum wages, government-mandated unionization of major industries, guaranteed jobs, massive spending on public education (with propaganda), strict separation of church and state, public health campaigns against smoking and alcohol abuse, support for abortion, gun control and euthanasia, and a loathing of free-market capitalism.

Reads almost like a progressive wish list, doesn’t it?

While we’re at it, how would you describe the last two years of government economic lockdowns, useless mask mandates, school closures, social media campaigns against free speech, unconstitutional debt forgiveness, armed thugs freely rioting in the streets, repeated efforts to overturn or nullify our Constitution, and nonstop vitriol spewed toward anyone who fails to toe the line of Democratic Party’s far-left orthodoxy?

For the record, we’re not calling Democrats fascists. But it’s easy to make a case, since socialism and fascism are first-cousins. Not so much for Republicans or other free-market, Constitution-loving, freedom-advocating conservatives and libertarians.

Joe Biden tarred millions of people in America when he used the political “F” word. But these days, that’s standard fare for him and the party he leads.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

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  • The original form of fascism that was first implemented in Italy in the 1920s was also called “corporatism”, and it tried to subsume both labor unions and major industrial companies into organizations that were subservient to the central government. This is a fairly accurate description of the policies of the Democrats in the 21st century. The Democrats still claim to be the preferred party of labor unions, and they have used the FBI to try to influence Facebook (now renamed Meta) to censor accurate news reports that might cause them to lose elections, such as Hunter Biden’s laptop. The fusion of corporate power and government power is a Democratic specialty, as shown by the donation of $400 million by Zuckerberg to selectively fund voter registration drives in Democratic counties in swing states in the 2020 election. This corporate funding of public agencies has been made illegal in many states, including Pennsylvania, since 2020. The true anti-fascists are the Republicans these days, not the Democrats.

    For more on the ban of ‘Zuckbucks’ in PA, go to https://ensign.substack.com/p/new-pennsylvania-election-reform

  • There are MANY videos out there of the right wing claiming that progressives are Fascists and now that the word is (correctly) applied to them – they get their feelings hurt. President Biden is an honest person who is trying to pull this country back away from the precipice of authoritarianism that the trump cult has been pushing for – and millions of Americans are behind him.

    Fortunately we see the right wing splitting into factions and fighting among themselves – this is a great development.

    • You have to be kidding about Biden and Trump. Please identify any evidence of authoritarianism from Trump or his voters? Please identify any way in which Trump violated the Constitution.

  • FASCISM IS NOT A RIGHT WING IDEOLOGY. It is clearly socialist in ideology. It is slightly to the right of communism because it is nationalist in focus whereas communism is internationalist in focus. The idea that fascism is right wing is a huge misunderstanding propagated by the left media to distance itself from Hitler and Mussolini after the war though the American Progressives loved both in the early 30s. President Wilson’s propaganda guy even taught Hitler’s the ropes.

    • Denying facts is not an argument. Fascism is a RIGHT wing ideology, it’s like pointing at the moon and saying ‘sun’. Mislabelling and alternative facts are the hallmark of fascism. Please educate yourselves before trying to engage in public debate, opinion is not a fact. (Oxford-educated, with an MA in Political Philosophy from York – in Britain)

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