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...]

“National Bolshevism”: Russia’s new ideology

Vladimir Putin’s speech annexing the Crimea echoes the language of a new political ideology being formulated in Russia, according to Canadian journalist Doug Sanders.  A melange of postmodernism, nationalism, and Russian Orthodox mysticism, it goes by the name of “Eurasianism” or “National Bolshevism” (cf. “National Socialism” ).

The ideology’s founder is Alexander Dugin, who calls his movement a “Fourth Way” between liberal democracy, fascism, and communism.  Though the big enemy is liberal democracy, so that he calls on an alliance between fascists, communists, Islamists, and other pre-modern forces to overthrow it.  He describes his ideology as “socialism without materialism, atheism, progressivism and modernism.”  Read about it after the jump, noting my highlights, and then read my reflections. [Read more...]

Triumph of the Will

In my book Postmodern Times, I write about how the will has replaced reason in contemporary thought.  In my book Modern Fascism, I discuss  the great filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl’s celebration of Hitler, The Triumph of the Will, and argue that the phrase encapsulates the philosophy of Fascism. I also contrasted this worldview with that of Luther, who wrote The Bondage of the Will.

I am pleased to see R. R. Reno discussing the same topic, how today the will–what I want, what I desire–trumps everything. [Read more...]

Hollywood’s collaboration with the Nazis

The Hollywood Reporter has published excerpts from a new book documenting the ways that the American film industry collaborated with the Nazis in order to keep selling tickets in Germany.  From the introduction to the excerpt, linked after the jump:

In devastating detail, an excerpt from a controversial new book reveals how the big studios, desperate to protect German business, let Nazis censor scripts, remove credits from Jews, get movies stopped and even force one MGM executive to divorce his Jewish wife. . . . [Read more...]

Anti-human philosophies

In my book Modern Fascism, I explore the way various still-respectable strains of modern and post-modern thought–such as certain strains of Romanticism, existentialism, and liberal theology–came together in the various Fascist movements of the early 20th century.  Last weekend I met Robert Zubrin and heard him speak on what the various “anti-human philosophies” that grew up around Darwinism, eugenics, and radical environmentalism.  He too makes the connections to Fascism, overlapping with and adding to some of my findings. (This is NOT what has been called the argumentum ad Nazium rhetorical fallacy.  We’re talking about actual connections, as in individual thinkers who had actual connections to the Nazi party.)  Dr. Zubrin goes on to show how these anti-human philosophies are at work today.

Dr. Zubrin, a nuclear scientist and aerospace engineer,  is the author of Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism (New Atlantis Books).  He will be lecturing on this subject today at the Family Research Council, and his talk will be broadcast live over the web, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET, at this address:   Family Research Council. [Read more...]