Fascism, Caesarism, Weimar...? What really is the most accurate analogy?

    I really feel like the world would benefit from having more than one historical reference, so not everything was a choice between “totally fine” and “Hitler.” https://t.co/na2MBM0QEn

    — Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 28, 2020


    Napoleon is a good point of reference for learning how to distill a democratically minded populace into tools of authority.
    But it doesn't account for the Fellini clown car element. Napoleon was very good at his job at first.

    Also Napoleon was certainly not isolationist and xenophobic, he was Empire with a capital E.

    Kind of like the first European union but with too many dead Prussians to make it work.

    a still colonialist E.U. including like, Egypt. I just looked it up (wikipedia), The Louisiana Purchase was actually a  situational miracle transaction:  In 1800, Napoleon, then the First Consul of the French Republicregained ownership of Louisiana as part of a broader project to re-establish a French colonial empire in North America. However, France's failure to put down a revolt in Saint-Domingue, coupled with the prospect of renewed warfare with the United Kingdom, prompted Napoleon to consider selling Louisiana to the United States.

    Which reminds me of Trump ruminating on buying Greenland...

    I am pretty sure the internal dialogue went something like this:

    Sacre bleu, I own stuff on a different continent? I am going to turn that into cash tonight.

    Jilani makes a good point in that one thing that has been ramping down is nation-state militarism:

    Actually got me thinking about how the lack of this encourages rogue militias?


    I know that the McCloskey's weren't protecting their property and Rittenhouse wasn't protecting himself. They were trying to provoke confrontations and violence. I don't see any similarities between myself and them. But I do have guns and if mobs of any color started to loot stores and burn building in my town I get those guns out of the back of my closet and load them up. I'm very liberal, what's now called an old school liberal, but I was raised in rural PA with a large hunter community. I don't have an AR-15. Just hunting rifles for rabbit, deer,etc. But you know, I'm not rich. I can't afford to lose the rv I live in.How would I replace it if it was burned? Where would I live without it?  I would protect my little slice of land and the buildings on it if a mob came to my door.

    That's not what the McCloskey's did. But many republicans aren't going to look into the details. They'll erroneously see people defending their property against the mob and support them. If that was actually what they were doing I'd support them too.

    There is a quality to their histrionic that asks: Why are you not attacking my house so I can legally shoot you?

    We encouraged rogue militias post-9/11 with our anti-Muslim trajectory.

    The Tom Friedman's of yesterday weren't always much better than today's nuts.

    Trump is a Reality Show authoritarian racist demagogue, Huxley used Hitler as an example of the type.  He described the fundamental characteristics here:

    Aldous Huxley, from Brave New World Revisited, 1956:

    "The demagogic propagandist must therefore be consistently dogmatic. All his statements are made without qualification. There are no grays in his picture of the world; everything is either diabolically black or celestially white. .....  He must never admit that he might be wrong or that people with a different point of view might be even partially right. Opponents should not be argued with; they should be attacked, shouted down, or, if they become too much of a nuisance, liquidated. The morally squeamish intellectual may be shocked by this kind of thing. But the masses are always convinced that “right is on the side of the active aggressor.”

    And contemporaneous with Hitler's rise Charlie Chaplin certainly saw some of the "Fellini clown car" thing that moat mentions in "The Great Dictator' (1940).

    The problem now as Yglesias notes (and especially exacerbated further early on on the internet with Godwin's Law) is that comparisons with Hitler suffer because he has become a signifier of the evilest of evils. But that's because it was later that people learned what that particular clown car actually accomplished.

    Another example of that kind of thing is the pre-war contemporary adoration of Mussolini by proper English ladies depicted in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie", perhaps that is more like Trump fans now.

    Still I think continuing to delve too far into WWII characters in detail as to "what happened" might  not be that fruitful because as Jilani notes, world war is a totally different situation with different motivations.

    Hitler put out a hit on the Three Stooges for "You Nazty Spy"



    I take your point about Hitler being so much the intersection of associations that is difficult to treat him as a model. Aldous Huxley was wrestling with that problem in the quote NCD provided. To consider the events as the application of a method strikes many ears as an explanation jostling for first place amongst other explanations. That is not the value of such observations. Being able to recognize the use of methods is an effort to understand the tool outside the hand. To that extent, it cannot ever build a theory of everything. But those efforts to capture a part of the story are critical.

    Hannah Arendt walked this road in her focus on the casual ease terrible things were done. She was attacked for explaining away the crimes. That is a rough neighborhood.

    Her predicament is a good model to remember as we cast about for help from the past.


    Now here's a weird and different comparison...he says a harem, but ya know, from the photo illustration, I immediately thought "Charlie's Angels", so there's the tackiest kind of TV again as part of The Donald character:

    I always thought it was inspired by "Dallas", but Victoria Principal had more agency.

    Victoria's kung fu was pretty good. Does this mean I get to use Gilligan's Island as an historical reference?

    Just leave the Mary Ann vs Ginger question out of it. We're more a "who carries the conch?" and "kill the pig" crowd around here.

    I will follow your guidelines. 

    The drama clearly prefigures the Covid system with a group suddenly becoming trapped in a pod. The only people who can visit them are castaways themselves instead of anybody who could return them to the world. The solo submariner who thinks the war is still going on is the archetype for the mask free militia roaming the streets with rifles.
    The islanders practice their previous roles to protect themselves from each other and not collapse into despair.
    The tiny ship was tossed.

    Ah, that kind of underground, chetniks vs ustaše and such...
    Pretty Village, Pretty Flame

    That is some strong beer.
    I will check it out in better days.
    Kitsch models are simple and keep the stress levels down.

    Are you telling me there'll be better days?

    Good news indeed.

    If we get ready for them, maybe better days will find us more interesting and try to get closer out of curiosity.

    Curiosity killed the cat. But then he had 8 more lives, so he mauled Curiosity up good.

    looks like yet more authoritarian evidence coming, the better to make refined historical analogies, not that it helps our real life much:

    immediately what popped into my head Oath of the Horatii

    Latest Comments