LEVY: From Roosevelt to Biden: Fascism as an American experience

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 vaccinations after touring a Clayco Corporation construction site for a Microsoft data center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. President Joe Biden’s plan to require vaccinations at all private employers of 100 workers or more has already hit a wall of opposition from Republican governors, state lawmakers and attorneys general.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Fascism has been lurking in the American psyche since its invention in the early part of the 20th century. To understand this phenomenon, it is instructive to learn what fascism is and, more importantly, what it is not.  

Fascism is a form of government where the industry and the political class act in unison. Their goal is to support both the state and corporate profits. To that end, all non-elites, from middle-class shop keepers to farmers — people the intellectuals call “bourgeois “and “peasants” — are expected to support this ruling-class monopoly. It is exclusively an economic model designed to replace laissez-faire capitalism with totalitarian capitalism.  

In furtherance of that totalitarian control, all forms of public discourse, from written publications to vocal public gatherings, are expected to “fall in line.” If it is published in the media or allowed on the grocery shelves, it is within the control of the central government. This is designed to keep control within a relatively small group of preferred “leaders” — or Fuhrers, if one prefers — all of this defended as a “minor sacrifice” for the “national good.” 

As an economic model, fascism does not require antisemitism or a Holocaust. The German form of fascism was brutal. It exterminated millions of Jews, Roma (Gypsies) and homosexuals in a maniacal genocide the world can never forget.  

But, that was the means to an end, not an integral part of the economic model. In order to achieve power, fascists needed an emergency and a scapegoat on which that emergency could be blamed. In Germany, the humiliation and the economic upheaval brought on by the Treaty of Versailles formed the “emergency.” Jews, Roma and homosexuals provided the “scapegoat” on which to blame the “emergency.” 

In America today, it is white Christians and the “unvaccinated” who are the new “scapegoats.” They are supposedly responsible for rampant racism, poverty and inequality. “The unvaccinated” — not the Chinese inventors of COVID — are considered responsible for 800,000 American deaths in the current pandemic. Their mere existence is a crime. So, as the logic advances, “extermination” of their opinions and values in the public square may be part of the solution. 

For instance, is there any difference in the German antisemitic laws enacted between 1933 and 1938 forbidding Jews from being employed and the firing of workers who choose, on Christian religious grounds, to be unvaccinated?  

Although, it differs in scale, does the idea floated by today’s leading fascist intellectual, David Frum, really differ from that of Adolf Eichmann? Frum’s idea is that unvaccinated individuals be given medical care last and they be allowed to die a painful death on the hospital steps. Eichmann suggested that Jews, Roma and homosexuals die a painless death in a gas chamber. The only difference between them involves method and scale. 

Nor is fascism new to American thinking. In the United States, the fascist movement became popular as a cure when the Great Depression took hold. In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt and his cadre of elites created the fascist NRA, the National Recovery Act, a law drafted to combat the Great Depression. It suspended competition between corporations. Production was controlled by the orders of the national government. Their goal would be to return America to prosperity while shielding established elites from the risk of an open market. 

The NRA symbol was a black eagle, similar to what was to become a symbol of Nazi fascism. That black eagle in America was as omnipresent as Hitler’s German Black Eagle, emblazoned in all public spaces from commercial trucks to movie credits.  

Indeed, the Supreme Court recognized the anti-democratic foundation of the NRA and declared it unconstitutional. But that did not end the American fascist movement. It was not always called “fascism.” In the post-World War II era, it was called McCarthyism, its own form of “cancel culture” that saw actors lose their jobs based upon their politics, instead of their abilities. Ironically, many in the acting and entertainment world today who claim the mantle of tolerance and liberalism, whose parents and forebears condemned Joseph McCarthy most vociferously, are the very people supporting the new fascism of today. 

In other words, the fascism advocated by the Democratic Party, ANTIFA paramilitary and Black Lives Matter is not new. Christians and Caucasians are simply the new Jew, the new Uighur, even the successor to Jim Crow. Biden’s fascism, not climate change, is our “existential threat.”   

The fascists must be defeated at the polls in 2022 and 2024. The alternative is the extermination of our Republic.