When modern Americans think of fascism, in our mind’s eye we picture it in its most brutal, almost cartoonish form: jackbooted Nazis in black uniforms crushing all before them, or Mussolini haranguing his fascisti:
But fascism is more than just cool uniforms (You have to admit, the Nazis did have a sense of evil sartorial style.) and a boot to the throat, though thuggishness is in its nature. It’s also a philosophy that claims to get “beyond politics” by bringing everyone together in unity behind a leader who personifies the nation and knows its will better than the average man or woman. It promises to care for the individual from cradle to grave, in the process transforming a free citizen into a dependent, and the individual with rights into part of a group that has rights superseding the individual’s. If all of this rings a bell, it should: the brutal European fascisms we fought against in the middle of the last century (and their related communist totalitarianisms) share intellectual roots with American progressivism, what is called in today’s US politics “liberalism.” (More correctly, “conservatives” in America are largely classical liberals, and “liberals” are progressives.) Jonah Goldberg has written a brilliant, eye-opening book on the topic, Liberal Fascism, that I can’t recommend highly enough.
To come round to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Ben Shapiro (who has some strange ideas about overrated directors) penned an article for Human Events that looks at the speech as something squarely in the tradition of liberal fascism – Obama’s Philosophically Fascist State of the Union Address:
There sure is something different about President Obama. Usually, the State of the Union address is a laundry list of proposals spiced with sycophantic applause and dipped in an admixture of boredom and bravado. It is rarely a statement of basic philosophy.
Not for President Obama.
President Obama’s State of the Union address was the greatest American rhetorical embrace of fascist trope since the days of Woodrow Wilson. I am not suggesting Obama is a Nazi; he isn’t. I am not suggesting that he is a jackbooted thug; he isn’t (even if we could be forgiven for mistaking Rahm Emanuel for one).
President Obama is, however, a man who embodies all the personal characteristics of a fascist leader, right down to the arrogant chin-up head tilt he utilizes when waiting for applause. He sees democracy as a filthy process that can be cured only by the centralized power of bureaucrats. He sees his presidency as a Hegelian synthesis marking the end of political conflict. He sees himself as embodiment of the collective will. No president should speak in these terms — not in a representative republic. Obama does it habitually.
Click through for the rest. The author’s occasional snark aside, I think he pretty much nails it.