Certainly, some might consider that to be a rather alarmist stretch. But the fact of the matter is that this isn't something that happens overnight.
In tracking the mileage on this trip to perdition, many of us relied on the work of historian Robert Paxton, who is probably the world's pre-eminent scholar on the subject of how countries turn fascist. In a 1998 paper published in The Journal of Modern History, Paxton argued that the best way to recognize emerging fascist movements isn't by their rhetoric, their politics, or their aesthetics. Rather, he said, mature democracies turn fascist by a recognizable process, a set of five stages that may be the most important family resemblance that links all the whole motley collection of 20th Century fascisms together.As Robinson points out, the current townhall frenzy, which has already started showing signs of violence, advances us to Paxton's third stage of the process.
The key identifier is the now cozy relationship between the political elite and their fringe base in an attempt to regain power by force.
This is the sign we were waiting for -- the one that tells us that yes, kids: we are there now. America's conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country's legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America's streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won't do their political or economic bidding.Fortunately, Sara's follow-up post will discuss what we can do to reign in the lunacy. My guess is that we're going to need a might big teaspoon.
This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins. It's also our very last chance to stop it.
[H/T to Mike]