January 19, 2022

"I believe that nothing living can avoid the political today. The refusal is also politics; one thereby advances the politics of the evil cause."

Wrote Thomas Mann (to Hermann Hesse) in 1945, quoted in "Thomas Mann’s Brush with Darkness/How the German novelist’s tormented conservative manifesto led to his later modernist masterpieces" (The New Yorker). 

The author of the article, Alex Ross, continues:

If artists lose themselves in fantasies of independence, they become the tool of malefactors, who prefer to keep art apart from politics so that the work of oppression can continue undisturbed. So Mann wrote in an afterword to a 1937 book about the Spanish Civil War, adding that the poet who forswears politics is a “spiritually lost man.”... 
[During] the time that the novelist spent at [Princeton U]niversity between 1938 and 1941... Mann called for “social self-discipline under the ideal of freedom”—a political philosophy that doubles as a personal one. He also said, “Let me tell you the whole truth: if ever Fascism should come to America, it will come in the name of ‘freedom.’ ”

That's a great quote — "if ever Fascism should come to America, it will come in the name of 'freedom'" — and I googled it to see if today's anti-freedom leftists had used it against conservatives. 

Looking for Mann, I got Ronald Reagan: "If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism." 

But it would be a mistake to think Reagan nicked it from Mann and that Mann was the originator of the "if fascism comes to America" clause. In the 1935 Sinclair Lewis book, “It Can’t Happen Here,” there's: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross.” 

You get the picture. There's a lot of If fascism ever comes to America, it will look like my opponents.

The "conservative manifesto" referred to in the New Yorker article title is "Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man." That book was recently reissued — here — and Ross is displeased by the new introduction, which he says "trivializes" Mann, putting him at "the level of an op-ed columnist":

The historian Mark Lilla, who wrote an introduction for the volume, thinks that Mann has something to tell us about ideological conformism in the arts today. It’s an obtuse reading of a work that Mann came to see as an artifact of his own political stupidity. In Trumpian America, the chief lesson to be drawn from the literary quagmire of “Reflections” is how educated people can accommodate themselves to irrationality and violence.

First published in 1918, the book is drenched in the patriotic fervor that overtook Mann’s intellect during the First World War. It seethes with contempt for Western democracy and with resentment of his brother Heinrich, who is never named but who appears in the guise of the Zivilisationsliterat (“civilization’s littérateur”). Heinrich decried the war in the name of cosmopolitan ideals, and in his contemporaneous novel “Der Untertan” he tracked the degeneration of German nationalism into chauvinism, militarism, and anti-Semitism. Artists should blaze a more enlightened path, Heinrich argued. Thomas responded in “Reflections” that war is healthy and enlightenment suspect. Art, he says, “has a fundamentally undependable, treacherous tendency; its delight in scandalous anti-reason, its inclination toward beauty-creating ‘barbarism,’ is ineradicable.”

Mann began backpedalling almost immediately, informing friends that the book would be better read as a novel. By 1922, he had reconciled with Heinrich and endorsed the Weimar Republic. As the years went by, he became increasingly embarrassed by “Reflections,” worrying that it had contributed to Germany’s slide into Nazism.

ADDED: Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism" begins with a When-fascism-comes-to-America quote, and it's more recent than Reagan. It's George Carlin, speaking in 2005:

When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts. Smiley-smiley. Fascism—Germany lost the Second World War. Fascism won it. Believe me, my friend.

59 comments:

David Begley said...

If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple.

rrsafety said...

“In Trumpian America, the chief lesson to be drawn from the literary quagmire of “Reflections” is how educated people can accommodate themselves to irrationality and violence.” I think the writer would have been more accurate had he written “In BLM America…”

exhelodrvr1 said...

Looks like Reagan had it right.

rhhardin said...

Mann said that Kafka was a religious humorist.

tim maguire said...

The best "if you're not with us, you're against us" quotes--"if fascism comes..." and "the pacifist is objectively pro-fascist" is another good one--come from WWII, when it was true. Today we eagerly label our opponents fascists in order to use such phrases against them. The personal is political? Screw off.

On the other hand, using government violence to put our own great society ideas into practice is ever present. While actual intentional fascism is rare in today's America, careless fascism is pretty normal. New poll finds 45% of Democrats want the unvaccinated sent to internment camps, 59% okay with just house arrest.

People need to be vigilant not just against others but against themselves.

Clyde said...

In Biden's America, the chief lesson to be drawn from recent polling is how educated people can accommodate themselves to irrationality and coercion in the name of the State.

See that Rasmussen poll about who supports harsh measures against the unvaxxed. Those are your incipient fascists.

COVID-19: Democratic Voters Support Harsh Measures Against Unvaccinated

Of Democratic Likely Voters surveyed:

-55% support fines against unvaxxed
-59% support house arrest
-48% support prison for questioning vax efficacy on social media
-45% support internment camps
-47% support surveillance
-29% support the state taking their kids

Bob Boyd said...

Progressivism is Fascism in the name of progress.

rehajm said...

It’s appropriate to dismiss as a simpleton anyone who makes up a ‘Trump’ root word as a label for every negative emotion in their tiny little heads.

Try harder.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

David B.

Yes - the Ultra Censoring Ultra-Capitalists of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple are aligned to aid the communists and assorted lairs and fascists on the left. Willingly.
Bernie is cool with it, too.

gilbar said...

putting all that aside, does Anyone see ANYTHING Liberal about today's left?
are they in favor of free speech?
are they in favor of civil liberties, of any kind?
or, is today's left in favor of a National Socialism,
where blackshirts beat if you don't kowtow to their symbols

a black pickup being harassed by Antifa/BLM militants, who are forcing a man in the passenger seat to hold up his fist and recite “Black Lives Matter.”
The man complied with the raised fist but is slow to repeat the phrase.
“Put your fist up and you’ve got to say Black Lives Matter,” a thug is heard saying.
“Say Black Lives Matter, homey,” another hero is heard saying, as the man hesitated. “Say f*cking Black Lives Matter right now!”

As Ian Miles Chong accurately characterized the scenario: “Put your fist up and say Black Lives Matter, or else.”

Scott Patton said...

And then there's:
“The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.”

― Tom Wolfe

Meade said...

“…wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross” sounds like Antifa.

tim in vermont said...

Thomas Mann may have envied Herman Hess's 'apolitical' stance, but read Hess's Damian sometime, about the worship of a god who encompasses both good and evil, and especially the end, where Damian ends up in the German Army, and the discussion of the sublime aspects of military life and war.

It's not hard to spot the coming of Naziism in Hesse's Damian, it dates back to Goethe, the celebration of the German folk and the traditions and the codification of their national myth. I think that German Romanticism is fascinating, but the lesson is to never let an artist lead your country. Mussolini was an artist of a sort too, in a literary way, who romanticized Ancient Rome.

That letter appears in the forward to the edition of Damian I read, I believe, and I accepted it when I read it as sincere, but by the time I had finished the book, I began to have doubts.

gilbar said...

to say, "If fascism ever comes to America, it will come with..."
is to show your ignorance.
Fascism came to America. It came wearing a labcoat and holding a clipboard

TRUST THE SCIENCE!!!
-59% support house arrest
-48% support prison for questioning vax efficacy on social media
-45% support internment camps


Humperdink said...

Think of the most recent major health care initiatives, Obamacare and experimental vaccines. Both being forced upon the populace. Notice a trend?

tim in vermont said...

The letter about Hess especially caught my attention at the time because I was trying to maintain all of my friendships, both pro and anti-Tump then. I only do politics on line, not in real life. While I managed to get through the Trump era with most of my friendships intact, COVID has proven to be far more difficult, as the side that I will call Democrat is extremely judgmental. No matter how flexible I might be, it's not enough, and the side that I will call Republican, is well aware of that judgement and somewhat resentful.

Christopher B said...

Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism" makes a pretty good case that a lot of Democratic/Progressive heroes had a lot of good things to say about the honest-to-goodness Fascists that were around in 1920-1945, and after 1940 or so the Democrats just started ignoring that inconvenient fact.

I sometimes wonder what happened to the guy who wrote that book....

Ann Althouse said...

ME, before Meade had read this post:

Fill in the blank: When fascism comes to America, it will _____________

MEADE:

come in on little cat's feet

rhhardin said...

In trying to understand what were the real motives which caused people to act as cogs in the mass murder machine, we shall not be aided by speculations about German history and the so-called German national character, of whose potentialities those who knew Germany most intimately had not the slightest idea fifteen years ago. There is more to be learned from the characteristic personality of the man who can boast that he was the organizing spirit of the murder. Heinrich Himmler is not one of those intellectuals stemming from the dim No Man's Land between the Bohemian and the Pimp, whose significance in the composition of the Nazi elite has been repeatedly stressed of late. He is neither Bohemian like Goebbels, nor a sex criminal like Streicher, nor a perverted fanatic like Hitler, nor an adventurer like Goering. He is a bourgeois with all the outer aspect of respectability, all the habits of a good paterfamilias who does not betray his wife and anxiously seeks to secure a decent future for his children; and he has consciously built up his newest terror organization, covering the whole country, on the assumption that most people are not Bohemians nor fanatics, nor adve4nturers, nor sex maniacs, nor sadists, but, first and foremost, jobholders, and good family men.

Hannah Arendt

Built on decencies and good family men. Virtue cannot be innocent. Virtue that goes public turns into the worst sort of evil. Vicki Hearne's gloss.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

"If artists lose themselves in fantasies of independence, they become the tool of malefactors, who prefer to keep art apart from politics so that the work of oppression can continue undisturbed."

Alex's bio reveals what a bubble he lives in. Naturally he thinks this quote helps his side, since progressives are the protestor class and his side could never be the 'malefactors.' But as the march through the institutions continues, this idea will more and more work against his side.

Let's Go Brandon songs topping the charts is a good example that a music critic like Alex Ross should have front of mind, but he's too far gone to see it. Just as he thinks that educated people behaving irrationally and acceding to violence is a 'Trumpian' thing -- where was he for the Russia conspiracy theory and the 2020 riots?

MadTownGuy said...

From the post:

"That's a great quote — "if ever Fascism should come to America, it will come in the name of 'freedom'" — and I googled it to see if today's anti-freedom leftists had used it against conservatives. "

Making the rounds in social media in the days leading up to the 2020 election:
How Freedom Became Free-dumb in America.

Excerpt:

"The American idiot is, by now, a figure that’s the stuff of myth and legend across the world. Nobody else is really quite sure: are Americans really like this? This…well…laughable? Yesterday, they were the kind of people who made their kids do “active shooter drills,” meaning masked men burst into classrooms…and pretend…to kill them. What the? Today, they’re the kind of people who happily congregate in parks and on beaches during a global pandemic…when the lunatic fringe amongst them isn’t protesting for “liberation” in the first place. What on earth?"

Michael said...

.

"It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.”
— J. Robert Oppenheimer

Scott Patton said...

And then there's:
“The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.”

― Tom Wolfe

dbp said...

Fill in the blank: When fascism comes to America, it will _____________

Be at the hands of people who look and act like the SA, but they'll call themselves anti fascist, which idiots will pretend means something--other than that they're idiots.

tcrosse said...

If fascism ever comes to America, it will look like my opponents..

If fascism is defined as "that to which I am opposed", then this is certainly tautological.

Temujin said...

Great post. I've not read Thomas Mann (or Hermann Hesse) since college, but both had an impact on me back then. Of course, so did Frank Zappa, so I'm not sure what that says. But the New Yorker article looks very interesting, albeit longer than I have the time to read it now. So...later. Thanks for the heads up.

When fascism comes to America, it will show up protesting individual freedom, while wearing Nike shoes made by slaves in concentration camps in a country that is trying to swallow the world.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Meade’s thinking is foggy today.

Meade said...

Haha. So foggy that it took me a minute to get your riff. Good one.

Wa St Blogger said...

Maybe we shouldn't invoke the boogyman of our enemies and speculate how they will bring fascism. How about instead we analyze the actions of the agencies with power and rate them on the fascism scale.

Of course that would require us to know what fascism means. I am not implying that the general authorship or readership of this blog does not know, I am referring to the general population of agitators, influencers and pundits who keep invoking fascism.

Wikipedia says:
Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism[1] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and the economy[2] that rose to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.

I accept most everything but the "far right" designation. Fascism is not left or right in today's environment. But that "far right" designators allows the left to point fingers at the right while ignoring everything the left does that is actually fascist in nature.

The ultranationalism is the more difficult term to reconcile and allows this to be a right only term since the left is known currently for open borders and a disdain for traditional national pride.

So, we are left with a problematic term.

I think we should focus more on the rest of the definition and worry not about nationalism, which may or may not be evil in and of itself, but instead look at everything else.

What does the left stand for?

authoritarianism
dictatorial power
forcible suppression of opposition
Strong regimentation of society and the economy

But one should not call it fascism. Maybe Marxo-fascism. What they want to do is use those four traits not for nationalism, but for wealth distribution.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Benito Mussolini described fascism as "All in the state, none out of the state, all for the state." That can be boiled down to "mandatory." If something is mandatory, and there are people who do not agree, then the state believes it has the right to force the dissenters to comply with the mandate.

Fascism is far-left and as Wa St Blogger says:

authoritarianism
dictatorial power
forcible suppression of opposition
Strong regimentation of society and the economy


Nazism, socialism and communism are just different forms of fascism. The goals may be different, but the manner of enforcing those goals are as above.

Joe Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sydney said...

“If fascism ever comes to America it will be anti-fascism” - Huey Long

Good review of a book on the history of Fascism and anti-fascism.
https://www.firstthings.com/article/2022/01/antifascists-after-fascism
Since World War II it has been used as a substitute for “political opponent.” Not surprisingly, a trend started by Stalin.

Howard said...

The fear of fascism coming to Amerika sells clicks, books and puts butts in seats. The quantum leap of the skreeching hairpies on social media platforms is but a chimera. The vast silent majority is neither shaken nor stirred by the hysterical machinations of the extreme minorities on the left and right.

Omicron is passing spring will be the dawn of the new roaring twenties. Have your condoms and Viagra ready, party time is coming.

Joe Smith said...

@Scott Patton at 6:36

Exactly my first thought.

However, if it does land here, it will be cuddly fascism that suddenly isn't.

All brought to you by the left...

rcocean said...

Fascism is already here. We now have a DoJ department of "Domestic Terrorism". Jan 6th protesters are still in Jail waiting trial and refused bail. Lt. Byrd, Ashli Babbitts killer, was NEVER questioned by the FBI/DOJ. He refused to talk to them, and they cleared him anyway.

Trump, who got 75 million votes, is banned from Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Anyone who dissents too far from the "party line" gets fired from their jobs and even banned by the Credit card companies. Trump supporters have gotten attacked and even fired from their jobs for attending the Jan 6th rally (not storming Capital - attending the rally).

Facism is here my friends.

Amadeus 48 said...

Authoritarians love bossing other people around and have little regard for the liberty of others. They can come from either the Left or Right. The founders and Lincoln sorted it out for us, but the secessionists called Lincoln an authoritarian.

When fascism comes to America, it will be the other guys’ fault.

rcocean said...

I've never seen a post that starts with Mann and ends with Jonah Goldberg and George Carlin. From the sublime to the ridiculous. It shows how the meme has spread down to everyone who thinks and writes.

Sebastian said...

""if ever Fascism should come to America, it will come in the name of 'freedom'" — and I googled it to see if today's anti-freedom leftists had used it against conservatives."

Depending on what you mean by "leftists," they've been doing that for more than a century. The prog line was: the old freedom caused trouble, true liberty for all comes from regulation and the application of expertise.

narciso said...

that was actually a line by gunther grass, the ex wehrmacht private, that he told to revel, who told it to wolfe,

but yes a police state, is what the left is delivering, which pens the citizens and lets the criminals and terrorists roam,

Michael K said...

But one should not call it fascism. Maybe Marxo-fascism. What they want to do is use those four traits not for nationalism, but for wealth distribution.

An element of fascism not mentioned so far is the relationship between government and corporations. The hollowing out of the middle class was accomplished by corporations that sought cheaper goods made in unregulated countries with slave or very cheap labor. It is no accident that the financialization of our economy by hedge funds and money managers involved the association between the left and the Democrat Party. Trump saw this and was by no means a right winger in economic terms. That tax cut was engineered by Ryan and McConnell. After that, except for McConnell on judges, they abandoned him. They had no interest in China as a predatory trader or closing the border. Trump cut regulations by the hundred and got no help from Ryan. The uniparty is fine with mild fascism, as long as it keeps quiet about nationalism.

PM said...

I've seen enough of the Hitler Channel to know fascism is not what's happening here. What's happening here is dramatic exaggeration of every political slight, by the right or the left. I'm not asleep, I'm not unaware, I'm just not going to panic at every noise. For some reason, I trust that once this stupid pandemic ends the country will, inevitably, settle back down. The generation whom we worry will run the world, won't. They'll live out their lives staring at IG, sharing their likes, in perfectly faded Xi t-shirts.

Rollo said...

Mann was defending Germany and the relativistic tradition of German historicism against "Western Civilization" and ideas of "absolute values," so he was more dangerous, and more in tune with contemporary politics, than Lilla apparently claimed. On the other hand, Mann--and Lilla and Ross--aren't so far from op-ed writers themselves, so why the contempt?

Mann was also trying to settle scores with his brother Heinrich, a lesser writer who had problems of his own. Golo and some of the women were okay, but you did not want to be a part of that family.

Richard Dolan said...

Nice demonstration of how to use a book review to score points in the fights among NY intellectuals. Particularly precious was the reviewer's sly way of suggesting that, in his introduction to the new release of Mann's old book, the "obtuse" Mark Lilla was effectively acting as a voice of "Trumpian America." Whatever the merits of Lilla's take on Mann, the notion that he could be the voice of "Trumpian America" is absurd -- Lilla being a celebrated humanities prof at Columbia, frequent contributor to the NYRB and many other pillars of leftgy intellectualism, and on and on.

I suspect that Lilla's real offense was writing "The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics" (2017), arguing that the Left-Dem insistence on identity politics as the measure of All That Is Right and Good is both objectionable on its own right and a sure loser with American voters. So, for his sins against the party line, Lilla has to be publicly flogged or perhaps even excommunicated. There is a long history of that sort of thing among warring intellectuals, some better than others, but all often amusing in their way. I'm thinking of, e.g., Julien Benda, The Treason of the Intellectuals (1928); or Norman Podhoretz' Breaking Ranks (1979) or Ex_Friends (1999); or more recently Anne Appelbaum's The Twilight of Democracy (2020), lamenting the intellectuals who supported Brexit and more generally the populist, anti-EU governments in Europe. I doubt that Lilla would welcome being compared to the Podhoretz of Breaking Ranks, but he must have known what he was in for when he dissented so loudly from the identarian fixation of his (now former?) lefty connfreres.

bentoak said...

I remember when sports, illness, and the weather weren’t political.

jim5301 said...

Both the far left and far right have fascist instincts. But about 10% of the population are far left and about 25% far right. Seems pretty clear who we should be most worried about.

jim5301 said...

Once could make a reasonable argument that if you believe it is okay for a VP to unilaterally decide which electoral votes to count and which ones to ignore, that you are not very fond of freedom.

William said...

The German left got their shot at governing the masses. They were resolutely anti-fascist. They were willing to take those extra steps and those extra precautions to insure that fascism didn't happen in a country that they managed. You can never really be sure that the fascists aren't plotting a takeover until you enlist one out of six adults as some kind of police informer.

Wilbur said...

"I believe that nothing living can avoid the political today. The refusal is also politics; one thereby advances the politics of the evil cause."

Funny, when I read that I thought of LeBron James and his ilk, and their insistence that, as persons in the public eye, they have "a platform" by which they have license to lecture the rest of us on BLM tenets and other political matters.

Not coincidentally, I have not watched a minute of pro basketball since this commenced.

KellyM said...

I remember in one of my Great Civ classes in high school, we were in the midst of a discussion of left-wing versus right-wing ideologies and how they are not necessarily fixed entities. We kids, being products of the late Cold War (1980s), were used to seeing things on a straight line, with all the political permutations in between. Our teacher, being somewhat unorthodox, was trying to get us to see that the spectrum was less a straight line and actually a circle. He noted that the distance between leftist dictatorship and rightist totalitarianism was rather thin. He made the offhand remark during the discussion that a [dictator] could be “so left that he was right”. Now, that can be taken two ways – that the two ideologies were rather close, or that that the dictator’s regime was in fact correct, in the teacher’s mind. Still haven’t figured out which after all these years, but the comment has stuck with me.

William said...

Artists and intellectuals don't have much of track record when it comes to recognizing tyranny. There were any number of Nobel Prize winners who made a pilgrimage to the USSR and lavished praise on the days and works of Lenin and Stalin. With the exception of Heidegger and Jung, there weren't all that many German intellectuals in Hitler's camp. Big deal. The artists and intellectuals never really rallied around the flag of the Social Democrats or maintained that bourgeois democracy had any qualities worth defending. They had their part in the rise of Hitler.

Michael K said...

more on modern fascism and how it is using Covid.


Blogger jim5301 said...

Both the far left and far right have fascist instincts. But about 10% of the population are far left and about 25% far right. Seems pretty clear who we should be most worried about.


jim forgets to mention the 45% of Democrats who want the unvaxxed in concentration camps. That's a pretty good indicator of the fascists.

Real American said...

"If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of SAFETY."

tim in vermont said...

"if you believe it is okay for a VP to unilaterally decide which electoral votes to count "

Give us your link for that, so that we can have the fun of tearing it to shreds.

Tom Grey said...

If fascism ever comes to America, it will come by feminists (maybe with pussy hats?) carrying signs about Love over Hate - as they HATE the media designated "Republican to Hate".
Trump? DeSantis, Cruz, Crenshaw.

Democrat Delusion Syndrome.

As Wa St Blogger notes what fascism is (other than the word "fascism"):
authoritarianism
dictatorial power
forcible suppression of opposition
Strong regimentation of society and the economy

Today, Democrats in control of colleges & K-12 schools, media, government agencies, and increasingly businesses.

But it's not death camps, nor even gulags - merely a Soft Totalitarianism. From Dreher, a quote from Putin (translated):
"The advocates of so-called ‘social progress’ believe they are introducing humanity to some kind of a new and better consciousness. Godspeed, hoist the flags, as we say, go right ahead. The only thing that I want to say now is that their prescriptions are not new at all. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already. After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also said that they would change existing ways and customs, and not just political and economic ones, but the very notion of human morality and the foundations of a healthy society. The destruction of age-old values, religion, and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones — all this was proclaimed progress and, by the way, was widely supported around the world back then and was quite fashionable, same as today. By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs."
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/jordan-peterson-university-of-toronto-woke-nukes-from-orbit/
Wokeism is American fascism, in practice.

Wa St Blogger said...

jim5301 says:

Both the far left and far right have fascist instincts. But about 10% of the population are far left and about 25% far right. Seems pretty clear who we should be most worried about.

Jim should find a bathroom given the quality of his post and the place from which it was exuded.

Who decides far left and far right? What are the criteria? Who did the survey? Given that the newspapers only ever designate certain groups or people or thoughts as "far right" and never find any that are "far left", it would seem that the numbers should be 0 and 45%, not 10 and 25. But that is no more or less a fanciful number.

As far as who we should be worried about? How about we worry about the actual people who kill, burn and attack and not worry about designating the ones who don't into some fanciful category. If there really were 63 million "far-right" people in America that we needed to be concerned about, you would actually BE concerned. I am sure that much critical mass would result in some serious power. But what we get instead are violence free rallies where the neighborhood is tidier when they left then when before they came. The far-left on the other hand...

Rollo said...

My understanding is that it was Huey Long who made that comment, but it certainly got attributed to a lot of people.

Sinclair Lewis's book had a revival in the Bush Jr. years. There were a lot of references to the book in the Trump years, but a revival didn't take off. Maybe the left thought Trump was even worse than Buzz Windrip, or maybe Trump left fiction far behind, or maybe Philip Roth's ripoff book stood in for Lewis's -- and there was no shortage of other anti-Trump entertainment. ICHH is more relevant in the Biden era, but Orwell is even more relevant.

How different is a "public intellectual" from an op-ed writer? Doesn't every professor who writes about current events risk becoming a mere op-ed writer, especially when they have no expertise in the matter at hand?

Rollo said...

Far left and far right are tricky terms. You have to look at actual activists. I'm assuming some far left people may just be professors who like to read Adorno and feel superior, and a lot of far right people just don't like paying high taxes and like to complain about how things are nowadays and how everything isn't like it was in 1789.

I know people like that. The father's pretty much a Bircher and the son worships Critical Theory. I'm not terribly afraid of either. Neither is burning anything down. If you want a boogie man, there are fewer real suspects available.

Michael K said...

More evidence of the Left's fascism.

But perhaps most chilling is the willingness of 48% of Democrats to throw people in jail who question the efficacy of existing vaccines.

Who are the domestic terrorists again ?

Paul Sand said...

"The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’." George Orwell wrote that back in 1946, and gee it hasn't gotten any less true in 75 years, has it?