“…there was no type of background – of religious, cultural, or national tradition – that made a country immune to fascism, once the conditions for its emergence were given.“
I had a colleague say “History is written by those in power”. This statement is absolutely true! I am reminded of the national debate with the state of Texas, how they wanted to eradicate specific tragic moments in American history from their textbooks. It was appalling to so many historians and Americans. To deny truth is not a solution to absolve the issues that exist in our country. It was a dawning of a day. A day I was told would repeat itself but yet I was not ready for. I cannot help but sometimes see history as “his story” meaning that it is truly an account of men in power within a specific time period. I do not want to discredit their account entirely but what to bring to the surface the reality that many great women and people of color who have been systematically marginalize were written out of many of these accounts. Unfortunately, once we were enlightened to more of the truth we have become subject to the scrutiny of those who refuse to believe otherwise. Karl Polanyi ,while attempting a much greater end goal than my post will ever reach ,is very descriptive about the historical events and thereby the implications of such. In reading America the Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time by Karl Polanyi appear to be written as a timeless historical narrative. As I read his book, it was as if in some regard he was commentating on current affairs. When I look at the current state of America, under our new American President, it has been widely noted that his ideals resonate with those who would be labeled and yet not self identified as Fascists. Merriam-Webster defines a fascism as “ a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition“. It is of this very philosophical belief that many who identify would assert that it is important to unify under one party making a democracy that is indicative of any liberal emphasis a necessary enemy that must become obsolete. In Chapter Twenty “History in the Gear of Social Change”,he writes “in its struggle for political power fascism is entirely free to disregard or to use local issues, at will. Its aims transcend the political and economic framework: it is social. It puts a political religion into the service of a degenerative process. In its rise it excludes only a very few emotion from its orchestra; yet once victorious it bars from the band wagon all but a very small group of motivations, though again extremely characteristic ones “.
There was an article published in October of 2016 in the Washington post by what our President may deem “fake news” that outlined the ways in which he wasn’t a text book fascist. Although I would not want to engage in a political debate, I do think that some of the points articulated in this article can be discussed with merit. The article entitled “How fascist is Donald Trump? There’s actually a formula for that” by John McNeill a Georgetown University professor of history. There were five out of eleven points where he scored a 3 or 4 (four being the highest). The top five were: Fetishization of masculinity, Leader cult, Lost-golden-age syndrome, Self-definition by opposition, and Theatricality. Two of the strongest of the five I will include in this post. As it relates to Fetishization of masculinity, the author says “ Fascists trumpeted what they saw as masculine virtues and supported male authority within family and society, urging women to confine their sphere to home and children (the more of which the better). Trump shares much of this outlook, lauding his own stamina and accusing his femalerival, Hillary Clinton, of lacking it. He mocks men whom he deems deficient in virility… Trump’s vision of the proper woman seems to be a supermodel, more in line with Hugh Hefner’s ideology than Mussolini’s. Nonetheless, on swaggering machismo he gets full marks.“ The second was Leader Cult. John McNeill states “Fascists always looked to a leader who was bold, decisive, manly, uncompromising and cruel when necessary — because the parlous state of the nation required such qualities… Trump, although not a war veteran, fully embraces the cult of the leader. He offers his business experience as evidence of his decisive leadership and is very testy when his business acumen is doubted. He also claims to channel the common man, enjoying a connection all other politicians lack.“ Even though this article was published before he was voted into office as President, evidence of Fascism was witnessed in his choice for Supreme Court. This week his nominee for Supreme Court Judge ,Neil Gorsuch, has been rumored to hold Fascist ideals very closely. Although the antics enacted by our president bear to reveal the familiarity with the historical narrative that evolves under Fascist leadership, I am not using this platform to definitively denoted him as such. I am intending to call into question the association that exists between the familiarity of Fascist ideals Polanyi noted in his book and our current American events. I am interested in the opinions and perspectives of my colleagues. Please feel free to respond as you see fit. Do you see any similarities with our American President and Fascism? If so, how? If not, how does he differentiate himself from these ideals?
 Karl Polanyi, The great transformation: the political and economic origins of our time (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001), 246.
 Merriam-Webster, , accessed February 02, 2017, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism.
 Karl Polanyi, The great transformation: the political and economic origins of our time (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001), 249.
 John McNeill, “How fascist is Donald Trump? There’s actually a formula for that.,” The Washington Post, October 21, 2016, , accessed February 02, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/10/21/how-fascist-is-donald-trump-theres-actually-a-formula-for-that/?utm_term=.8389264d1240.