Japan flirts with World War II ideology again

Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has just won a 2/3 majority in both of its houses of legislature, enabling it to amend its Constitution, which had been imposed by the United States after World War II.  The party wants to change the Constitution because it enshrines “the Western European theory of natural human rights,” including the freedom of speech.

Many in the party, including the Prime Minister, belong to a group that believes Japan was in the right during World War II.  These lawmakers want to rebuild Japan’s military capacity and to return to worship of the Emperor. [Read more…]

Fascism and other kinds of socialism

Economist Thomas Sowell explains fascist economics (absolute government control of the economy while allowing private ownership) and puts it into the context of other varieties of socialism and leftist ideologies. [Read more…]

Trump as champion of the working class?

Michael Goodwin, a Democrat, on why he is supporting Donald Trump:  He is the only one speaking for the white working class.

Goodwin makes as good a case for Trump as I’ve heard.  What is he leaving out, if anything?

[Read more…]

Hitler’s worldview

In the course of a column about whether a nuclear Iran can be trusted not to attack Israel, George Will reviews Yale historian Timothy Snyder’s  Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning.  I woud just add that his account of Hitler’s worldview and why he hated the Jews is in accord with my book on the subject. [Read more…]

Donald Trump and the Führerprinzip

A strong leader will rise up to solve all of our problems by sheer force of his will.  We easily succumb to that kind of promise in businesses and even in churches.  And even in national governments.  This trust in an all-powerful leader is called Führerprinzip.  Yes, it was refined in Nazi Germany, but it has manifested itself ever since in popular movements that hand over power to a dictator.  But also in kinder and gentler forms of authoritarians and in a particular kind of political superstition that puts the person of the leader over any particular policies, ideologies, Constitutional processes, or limits on government.

The leader that people are looking to today is Donald Trump.  Is he that kind of leader?  Jeffrey Tucker is arguing that “Trumpism” is a revival of fascism.  Not the insult that the left freely throws around, but an actual return of the political and economic ideology that was rampant in the 1930s, not just in Germany,  Italy, and Spain but with advocates in virtually every European nation.  (I’ve written about what those fascists believed.  There is more to it than Mr. Tucker gives here, but it’s true that fascism is not just a shorthand term for evil, but an actual thing, which did not disappear with the end of World War II.)

Another article applies the Führerprinzip in another, though related way, arguing that Donald Trump is America’s Vladimir Putin (who has also been described as a Russian fascist).  See excerpts from the Fascism and Putin arguments after the jump.  Do you think Trump rises to the level of that kind of leader?  Those of you who like Trump, how would you defend him from these charges? [Read more…]

Europe’s politics defy “left” and “right”

The Greeks, tired of the European Union’s “austerity” programs, elected a far-left government.  But observers are confused about how it is allying itself with far-right–even fascist–parties.  Also how the new Greek government is adopting pro-Russian, pro-Putin policies.

Anne Applebaum points out how “left” and “right” political categories don’t really apply in Europe anymore.  “The real division in Europe,” she says, ” is between what I would call established, integrationist politics and isolationist, nationalist politics.” [Read more…]