Author: Bradford H.B.

Dumbing Fascism Down, Then And Now

Some historical movements fade into oblivion. (Meet any physiocrats lately?) But not fascism. Despite the fiery demise of the Nazi regime 75 years ago this month, the idea of fascism has retained its power to arouse fear and contempt—even in countries where it poses no realistic threat to the prevailing liberal democratic order. In the realm of US politics, the term has become common currency among detractors of Donald Trump—while on the other side of the spectrum, conservatives use it as a casual slur to attack COVID-19 lockdown policies they deem misguided. When protestors used the f-word to describe New Jersey’s pandemic response (on Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, no less), state governor Phil Murphy properly replied that the malapropism created “a disgusting false equivalence.” Books warning of “the new fascism” have become a cottage industry among academics. But at least one author, Dr. Paul E. Gottfried, professor emeritus of humanities at Elizabethtown College and editor of Chronicles magazine, takes a more historically informed view. He’s currently writing a book about the anti-fascist …