David Warren is more than usually brilliant in this caricature of Trump as a modern Mussolini. I do not think so myself, and remain to be persuaded. But it is an interesting suggestion. I prefer the Conrad Black interpretation, that Trump is actually draining the swamp. Warren writes:
Let us compare Donald Trump to Benito Mussolini. The comparison works better than one might expect. Both want the trains to run on time. Both are total pragmatists when it comes to making this happen. Both realize that “pure” socialism cannot work, ever. Both then think: surely dirigiste something. Mussolini swoons to the siren song of Pareto, actually attending his classes in economics at Lausanne. Trump forms his Pareto view of unions in the New York City real estate market. The ideal of unobstructed economic growth is shared. The application of a sledgehammer to perceived obstructions is also in common. Where both deviate sharply from Pareto is in their further fondness for unobstructed nationalism.
Now, Mussolini is reputed to be a Fascist. This seems fair, for he invented the term, as a party label for his masterplan to Make Italy Great Again. Yet, insofar as the term is used more broadly, to convey the centralized application of sledgehammer reforms, he was also an anti-fascist. It is a little-remembered fact that Mussolini was a deadly enemy of inefficient bureaucracies. (I myself much prefer them to efficient bureaucracies.)
By descent from Pareto, it could be said, both Trump and Mussolini acquired an obsession with numbers. All efforts are focused on making the national statistics move the right way. In material terms, this works for a while. Everyone in the 1930s, including all progressive politicians, thought Mussolini’s Italy an economic and social success story. Superficially it was: productivity up, unemployment down, and so forth.
But here I will stop my provocation, with a reminder that history never repeats itself. Only the laugh track is on a perpetual loop.
A propos Trump and fascism, we will know when Trump is acting as a true fascist when Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are shot by firing squads, the Democratic Party declared an illegal organization, its members rounded up for beatings and arrests, and thousands of box cars dump hordes of wimmyn and pansies in the deserts of Utah to build their own prison camps, under guard towers with barbed wire, vicious dogs and tattooed bearded hillbillies as . overseers. Now that, in my terms, is fascism.
Anytime you can vote the fucker out of power, and the vote will be respected, then you do not have fascism, you have democracy. As surely as George Washington was the first President, who left after two terms, Trump will leave office after his second term expires in 2024.