29 Comments

Congratulations! You too have been reclassified as a premature anti-fascist.

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Great piece. I shouldn't get so pissed off about it as I do, since there are so many worse things in the world. But it still gets my goat that the conservative pundits like Nichols who eventually acknowledge obvious truths, do so only by way of laughable verbal gymnastics that still somehow claim their superior wisdom. They will do anything to avoid saying, "golly, turns out the left was right about this." Not on Iraq. Not on climate change. Not on the MAGA dumpster fire that has the nation in flames.

Even in 2023 you will still find pundits who, despite owning up to the fact that Trump is a dangerous disaster, *still* trot out the risible rhetoric about how the rough treatment of Romney as a presidential candidate is the reason Republicans embraced Trump's thuggishness. Or who complain about the way the media and the left never gave Trump a fair chance, and just opposed him so reflexively that he had no motivation to follow norms and laws.

That bullshit shows they still share the MAGA conviction (or projection) that people are the left are so degenerate that they can't possible be right about anything. In other words, at bottom they are just as reactionary as the most thoughtless Carlson fan or Bannonite.

There is a reason millions of us peacefully demonstrated right after Trump was elected (and would *not* have similarly demonstrated if Romney had won in 2008). We listened to Trump during his campaign and we knew very well that this man would put us and our loved ones at risk of very serious harm.

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I dread the day Nichols discovers climate change. And blames premature scientists and other alarmists for crying wolf for decades before Nichols got caught in a flood and applied his immense intellect to the issue...

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I skimmed Nichols's book for something I thought I was going to write and it sucked so much worse than I had even imagined. The sentence that made me flip from irritation to murderous rage was this one: "Experienced law enforcement officers often have an instinct for trouble that their younger colleagues miss, an intuition they can explain only as a sense that something ‘isn’t right.’”

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I've been calling Trump a fascist since the Central Park 5 days. He hasn't changed, but faced with the a real possibility that he will be President again, the mainstream media is finally willing to admit that he might actually be dangerous. Of course "journalistic ethics" will require them to dutifully remind us hysterical lefties that some people thought FDR was a dictator and Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus.

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founding

I'm willing to eat my crow: I was skeptical of the fascism thesis, though mostly because I thought of fascism as a much more historically contingent thing. Your writing got me more open to the idea before November 2019-January 2020 convinced me I had been wrong.

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It is not an analogous situation, but the way you paint Nichols in this piece heavily reminded me of one of the interlocutors in this cartoon: https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/aaaah

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Thanks for this. I read Nichols piece and wondered, what's this guys problem? Our problem is that the lesson of the rise of actually existing fascism in history is that we're required as a matter of strategy to say, "welcome to the big tent." But it's healing to grumble a bit.

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For me, the smoking gun on the GOP as a whole was elder statesman Newt Gingrich saying 'we are in a culture war' in 2016, and I still can't believe people ignored that.

As to his argument, it's the same 'Joe Biden is responsible for college kids saying stupid shit while right-wing mass murderers who right manifestos were just mentally ill lone wolves' shit-eating grin as always. They can frame it; they get the platform. Don't make Daddy mad with your 'chosen family' heresy (ironically enough, for people who think Jonny McGovern of Nazareth lives among us fighting Satan).

Please enjoy the best parody I've seen about calling out fascism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvgZtdmyKlI

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Can’t be a premature anti-fascist til it’s clear to center-lib pundits and journalists that democracy is in fact imperiled. Which is now, more or less.

A related question, though, is just how democratic the nation actually has been the last couple of decades during which neither party has had much interest in serving the majority of the nation’s people. The DNC has been far more interested in serving the same monied special interests who own the GOP. An echo, not a choice to paraphrase Goldwater.

That said, step one has to be voting the GOP out of power. (Yes, I know, easier said than done but there’s no practical alternative.)

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Just nauseating how many liberals are enamored by that putrid turd.

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God damn, that was some smoking great riffs on Tom Nichols. Well said all around!

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