For a long time, almost a whole generation, the Left would call conservatives, Republicans, and the Right in general “racist.” This is the infamous race card, and inevitably it put conservatives on the defensive. Somehow the burden fell on conservatives and Republicans to prove they were not racist.
In the movie Hillary’s America, and the accompanying book of the same title, I attack this race card, showing that it’s really the Left and the Democratic Party that’s been the party of racism. This is the party of slavery of segregation, of Jim Crow, of racial terrorism, of the Klu Klux Klan, and of opposition to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Now, faced with these discomfiting facts, the Left has switched gears. It has in a sense decided on a new strategy, on playing a new card, and this is the fascism card. Today, we hear incessantly, interminably that Donald Trump, the Republican Party, the conservatives are fascists. Sometimes even Nazis. This charge is the most poisonous in our culture.
Notice that this fascism card or Nazi card is not an abandonment of the race card; rather, it is an attempt to incorporate the race card in a new form. Remember, of course, the Nazis were racist. They were anti-Semites. So to call the Right “Nazi” or “fascist” is a way of saying that it’s racist, but it’s also a whole lot more.
This the meta story, the big story if you will, of our time, and it’s a justification for a lot of the tactics that the Left uses: the unprecedented disruption of the inauguration, the blockades of conservative speakers on campus, the whole concept of “by any means necessary.” The left insists that with Trump they are fighting an early incarnation of Hitler. This is the 1930s all over again, and they’re justified in using whatever strategy they can to get Trump out of there to discredit the Republican Party for a generation or more.
In my new book The Big Lie I take on this fascism card, and the question I really ask is, “What is fascism? Who are the real fascists?”
Now, it’s said that Trump is a fascist because he is a nationalist. Doesn’t Trump want to make America great again in much the same manner that Hitler wanted to make Germany great again? But nationalism is not an essential element of fascism or Nazism. Gandhi, Mandela and Fidel Castro were all nationalists. Stalin was a nationalist who spoke about “Mother Russia.” Virtually every anti-colonial movement was led by a nationalist. Are all these people fascists? Are they Nazis? Of course not.
Then we hear that Trump is a fascist because he is an authoritarian who tries to suppress freedom and undermine the democratic process. But how? Trump criticizes the press, but if the press has First Amendment rights to speak its mind, so does Trump. Trump has criticized judges, but many previous presidents have done that, from FDR to Lincoln.
If Trump were a true authoritarian, we wouldn’t be seeing all these blistering attacks on Trump. Millions of academics, actors, comedians and journalists daily blast Trump from every platform. A genuine authoritarian would’ve shut them down and locked them up.
Finally, there is the idea that Trump’s fascist orientation can be seen in the fact that he is a racist, perhaps even an anti-Semite. Yet it was Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel who recently said, “Never have the Jewish people had a greater friend than Trump.”
Trump has certainly called for a travel ban on certain Muslim countries, but the idea here is to protect the country’s security, not a racist idea in any way. Similarly, Trump’s plan to build a wall is an attempt, ultimately, to enforce the laws and distinguish between legal immigrants and illegal aliens. Again, that’s not a fascist idea. It is a liberal idea that goes back to the idea of a lawful society.
So what is fascism? At its core, fascism is the idea of the centralized size. The government directs the private economy and the government regulates much of your private life. Individual rights are subordinate to state control. “All is in the state and nothing human exists or has value outside the state.” That quotation is from Mussolini, the founding father of fascism.
Does this sound like something Trump would say? On the the contrary, it sounds almost identical to the slogan introduced by Obama during the 2012 Democratic National Convention. “Government is the only thing we all belong to.” Trump’s view is the exact opposite: the government belongs to us.
Here’s Adolf Hitler, defining his ideology in 1927 speech. “We are socialists. We are the enemies of today’s capitalist system of exploitation. We are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” Far from echoing Trump, this echoes something Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren might say.
Hitler, let us recall, was a National Socialist. This firmly establishes him as a man of the Left. That’s how Hitler was seen by Germans in the 1930s, and that’s how he saw himself. Hitler even changed the name of the German Workers Party to the National Socialist German Workers Party to italicize its commitment to socialism. The word “Nazi” is a compression of the words “national” and “socialist.”
All of the early leaders of fascism, not just in Germany but also in Italy, in France, in England and in Italy, were men of the left. The most prominent of these was Mussolini, who was a Marxist, perhaps one the most famous Marxist in Italy, and his fascism grew out of his Marxism.
Another key aspect of Nazism is what the Germans call Gleichschaltung. The term means “coordination,” and the idea here is to bring all of society into sync with the Führer. Gleichschaltung involves political and cultural conformity; in fact, it is the original form of political correctness.
Clearly this is actually going on in our culture today. The Left, through the institutions of the media, academia, Hollywood, is trying to cajole and to browbeat everyone into sync with its values and its agenda. Gleichschaltung also involves groups like Antifa, the self-styled anti-fascists, that seek to enforce conformity of thought by intimidating their opposition into silence.
So the great paradox today is that the party of fascism—the party of the centralized state and the party of Gleichschaltung—marches under the banner of anti-fascism. The very people who are poisoning the wells are showing up pretending to be the water commissioner.
How is this possible? It’s because the Left, using its dominance in academia and media, after World War II moved fascism from the Left Wing column into the Right Wing Column. This way they could smear the right, the very people who fought fascism, as fascists. Meanwhile the left could pretend and pose as the anti-fascist party.
What we’re seeing really is an inversion, a big lie. The big lie was Hitler’s own term for a massive deception whose very audacity would cause it to be widely believed. Contrary to the Left’s big lie, it’s not Trump, it’s not the Republicans, it’s not the Right who are the real fascists. Fascism has always been on the Left, and leftists today are the real fascists.
Dinesh D’Souza’s new book The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left is published by Regnery.