Is Donald Trump a Fascist?
By Ross Douthat, Dec. 2 2015 (LINK to article)
Let's face it, calling someone a "fascist" is just a way of dismissing and condemning them as a "baddy", by associating them with all the evils and horrors of Nazism. Those doing the accusing are usually primarily concerned with asserting their own moral superiority as a "goody".
I'm not an expert on fascism, but it seems to me that it can't have been all bad, as it is now portrayed, anymore than communism was. Both movements had 10s of millions of supporters, many of them very passionate in the belief that they were fighting for a good cause.
In the aftermath of WW2, fascism was equated with Nazism and dismissed as evil, while many in academia continued to view communism with sympathy. Clearly, with Stalin, things had gone badly wrong, but the ideas behind communism and socialism were not all bad. Far from it. But no such sympathy is ever shown towards fascism, not least, because there is a strictly enforced taboo against doing so. Anyone who does is immediately accused of being a fascist sympathiser themselves.
I think this was - and continues to be - a huge mistake. We (especially academics from whom others take their lead) massively overreacted to the horrors of Nazism, and as the Editorial Board wrote in a recent editorial, The Price of Fear, "In the reaction and overreaction to terrorism comes the risk that society will lose its way".
This, I believe, is what has happened in respect to fascism, which I elaborate on in this BLOG on The West's Overreaction to Nazism.
P.S. There is a very good biography, it seemed to my lay eye, of the British fascist leader, Oswald Mosley, which is long out of print and whose author, Robert Skidelsky, and publisher seem to have no interest in seeing back in print, presumably because it portrays Mosley in too objective and sympathetic a light. Certainly, he was no British Hitler. According to this biography, the violence which often accompanied his rallies was usually initiated by the Left, which doesn't fit the established narrative of it always being the fascists who were responsible for the violence.
Dominated as it is by the Left, academia only seems interested in demonising fascism, by equating it with the obvious evils of Nazism, rather than in understanding it in its historical context, as they do with communism and socialism.