Wikipedia is not always the most reliable of sources, but its definition of fascism is a reasonable starting point for discussion. A fascist is a follower of a political philosophy characterized by authoritarian views, desire for a strong central government, and no tolerance for opposing opinions. All forms of socialism, including Germany’s national socialism, are inherently fascist. They embody the two key identifying factors of fascism; strong central government and no tolerance for opposing views.
So what about the US president the media consistently denounce as a fascist, an idiot, and “literally Hitler”?
The Trump administration has removed red tape as fast as practically possible, repealing twenty-two regulations for every one enacted. This removes the brakes on private effort and enterprise, and shifts power away from government to the people. The opposite of fascism.
One of the first actions of the Trump administration was to reduce taxes. This gives more wealth and more freedom of choice to the people, while reducing the power of government. The opposite of fascism.
The Trump administration has partially reversed the onerous, limiting and expensive burden of Obamacare, restoring the right of individuals and businesses to buy whatever health insurance they want, or not to buy insurance at all. This reduces the power of government and bureaucrats and gives more power and choices to the people. The opposite of fascism.
He is insisting on rule of law, acting on resolutions passed by Congress, ie, the will of the people’s elected representatives, rather than simply ignoring the law, or directing law enforcement bodies not to enforce laws he does not like. The opposite of fascism.
One example is the decision of Congress, made while Bill Clinton was president, and ratified by Congress every few years since, that the US embassy to Israel should be in Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. This decision by the people’s representatives was simply ignored by Clinton and subsequent presidents. But not by President Trump. The opposite of “literally Hitler.”
Trump is the only Western leader in sixty years to bring North Korea into direct discussions with South Korea and the West. With this he has brought the hope of peace and freedom for the first time to millions of North Koreans. South Korean leaders have expressed astonished gratitude and openly said they believe Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
Reporters asked in mocking tones whether Trump was happy with the level of respect he had shown Kim Jong-Un and other North Korean leaders, and whether he regarded Kim Jong-Un as an equal. Trump replied that he would do whatever was necessary to secure peace. The opposite of fascism.
OK, but what about his racist Muslim travel ban?
Firstly, Islam is not a race. It is a religious and political ideology. Secondly, the seven countries affected by the ban were highlighted as severe security risks because of poor control of identity and travel, not by Trump, but by the Obama administration. Thirdly, 80% of Muslim countries and ninety percent of Muslims are unaffected, and fourthly, two of the countries, Venezuela and North Korea, are not Muslim. A nation’s leader has not only the right but the responsibility to work to ensure the security of his country and its people. That is not fascism.
OK, but what about tearing children away from their asylum-seeking families?
Rules requiring that children not be held in adult detention centres were established under President Bill Clinton in 1997. They have been enforced ever since, including during the eight years of the Obama administration.
Just as the media in Australia suddenly discovered a conscience about children in detention immediately after a government was elected which did not put children in detention and was doing its best to get them out and into the community, so the US media suddenly discovered a conscience about children being separated from their families as soon as a president was elected who was not convinced that this policy led to the best possible outcomes for the children concerned, for their families, or for the US.
By the time Time published its article denouncing Trump’s policy (it wasn’t his policy) and picturing him looking down sternly at a little girl in tears after being separated from her parents (she was never separated from her mother, they were housed together in a family unit in Texas) and by the time the shrieking hordes gathered in the street calling Trump a fascist for this heartless policy and demanding its repeal, he had already signed an executive order requiring that minor children arriving illegally in the US with their parents be housed with their parents for the duration of any necessary detention.
OK, but what about Melania visiting a detention centre wearing a jacket that said “I really don’t care. Do you?”
Let’s note, first of all, that the husbands of first ladies Clinton, Bush and Obama all placed children in detention separately from their parents. Not one of those ladies ever visited a centre where they were being held. Melania did. And she didn’t wear that jacket in, to, or anywhere near the detention centre. She wore it as she got on the plane in Washington as a message for the purveyors of exactly that kind of fake news.
Now let’s look at the self-titled “resistance.” Antifa wear masks to their violent riots, where they protest about laws they don’t like by beating passers-by, burning cars and breaking windows. That’s fascism.
Coddled university students stage sit-ins and violent protests to prevent speakers whose opinions they do not like from being heard. That’s fascism.
Democrat Maxine Waters said businesses should be forced to serve anyone who comes in the door anything they want, unless the customers are Republicans, in which case case they should be denounced and refused service. That’s fascism.
You don’t have to agree with all of President Trump’s policies. I am not convinced by his policies on trade. But I also know that a system where other governments, eg Canada’s, impose huge tariffs on US goods while expecting unfettered access to US markets, or, like the EU, provide huge subsidies to farmers and manufacturers while expecting the US to operate on a “level playing field,” is both unfair and unsustainable.
Disagreements about policies do not entitle me or anyone else to call Trump a fascist. He is simply not.
Peter Wales is a former Anglican clergyman who now runs an IT consultancy business on Kangaroo Island in South Australia