Clip of the Month: The Mindset of Fascism with Rob Riemen

Clip of the Month: The Mindset of Fascism with Rob Riemen


(ambient music) – Everything changes over time. Two years from now, five years from now, all of us will be different, and yet we are still the same. It’s the same with fascism. When it returns, it will be different from how we have seen it in the time of Mussolini and Hitler, and still it will be the same. The fascist mindset in our
time will not present itself in black uniforms or strange
crosses or silly gestures, and of course every fascist
will deny to be a fascist. But the character of
the mindset of fascism will not have changed, and
this is how you recognize it, not by its ideology, because
it doesn’t have an ideology. This is one of the basic mistakes made by so many political scientists. It doesn’t have an ideology. But the characteristics
are always the same. Let me just mention a few. The new fascist leader
will present himself, most of the time it will be a him, as the anti-politician, the strongman, the leader who will cure
society from all social evil, and knowing that that’s not true. As the false messiah
of a secular religion, he has no other choice than to deceive his millions of believers with slogans, the false promise of a return
to a never-existing past, a rich and never-ending variety of enemies to exploit their resentment and fear, and last but not least,
with endless propaganda to manipulate their habits and opinions. He has no other interest
than self-interest, and his lack of ideas
and vision will be hidden by blaming all kinds of scapegoats, and his disinterest in
the rest of the world promoted as a brilliant strategy to make his own country great again. His worldview will be
profoundly materialistic and favor extreme nationalism. He will be a pathological liar, they are all pathological liars, and his politics of lies underscores how right Thomas Mann was when, in 1940, he gave a lecture in LA, entitled War and Democracy,
when he warned the audience I quote, “Let me tell you the whole truth. “If ever fascism should come to America, “it will come in the name of freedom.” The fascist leader, the fascist mindset is always the mindset of an anti-democrat who despises the free
press and prefers to make any judge he doesn’t like
suspect and to have it through Twitter, indulging in name-calling and avoid any serious intellectual debate is exemplary of the populist
demagogue who despises the life of the mind and
the spirit of democracy. The fascist leader will demand
an unconditional loyalty, and his incapability to
accept any form of criticism, plus his self-image of being a genius, always characterizes the authoritarian. These characteristics
of the quintessential fascist mindset are characteristics
of Mr. Orban in Hungary, Putin in Russia, Erdogan in Turkey, Wilders in the Netherlands,
Madame Le Pen in France, Kaczynski in Poland, Zeman
in the Czech Republic, the fascist leaders in Austria, Germany, and last but not least,
indeed Mr. Donald Trump. Many people get it, but
interestingly enough many in the elites-the
pundits, the academics, the politicians-remain
in a state of denial. The F word is their biggest
taboo, and they will not use it. What we get instead is a whole series of euphemisms, populism,
right-wing populism, and new words like Putinism
or Trumpism or Trumpocracy. It’s a big, big blind spot. Just to give you one horrific example of how blind people can be, a great man like Winston Churchill, and
god bless Winston Churchill, but on February 18, 1933, so Hitler was already in power in Nazi Germany, he gave a speech at the Anti-Socialist League in London in which he said quote-unquote, “Mussolini is a great man. “He is the genius of our time. “He is a true lawgiver, and his fascism “will be the strategy for our future.” Quote-unquote, Churchill, February, 1933. It took him a few more years to understand what the real nature of fascism is. So I can understand the blindness, but it is dangerous as it is stupid. I understand, we all understand,
that inconvenient truths are never welcome, not
in your private life, not as a society, and the
common response is natural. The common response is denial:
“No, this cannot be true.” But as I said it is as
stupid as it is dangerous.

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