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You Can’t Scream Holocaust or Fascist Without Consequences

2016 October 17
by Ian Welsh

For decades now, the anti-abortion right has had an argument.

Every abortion is a murder.

Because there are so many abortions, there are so many murders, which means America and the world is in the middle of an unacknowledged holocaust.

Abortion doctors are mass-murderers. They kill, and kill, and kill again.

Rhetoric has consequences. If you believe that there is an ongoing campaign of mass murder against, one notes, people who cannot protect themselves, your duty to stop it is clear, and it is not clear that duty stops short of violence.

Indeed, there has been violence around abortion clinics, up to, and including, murder and not of fetuses.

Left-wingers, as a group, accept the argument that this rhetoric has led to the anti-abortion violence.

Donald Trump is a fascist. This has been proclaimed repeatedly.

To most Americans fascist = holocaust, Hitler, and World War II. To be a fascist is to be the worst thing possible.

Popular culture is full of references of going back and killing Hitler before he became powerful. We bewail that no one did anything. We blame Neville Chamberlain for responding to Hitler’s provocations by making concessions.

To try and make peace with a fascist, it is generally accepted, is foolishness.

Donald Trump is a fascist, so are many of his followers, and those who follow him but who aren’t fascists are still working to try and get a fascist into power. They must be stopped, and our culture believes violence is justified in stopping fascists.

That is the logic of the rhetoric.

So, yesterday, we had someone bomb a GOP field office. A swastika was painted, along with this message: “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”

No one was killed. This time.

Meanwhile, we have the constant, frankly deranged, insistence that Russia is behind Trump; in many cases, this has escalated to calling Trump one of Putin’s agents. Claims are constantly made that Wikileaks is the Russian cat’s paw, on quite weak evidence. The leaks themselves are all legitimate, despite what many have claimed, but they have largely been neutralized by anti-Russian rhetoric.

The government has announced that it will “cyber attack” Russia in retaliation.

Next to a Nazi, what is the worst thing in the world to most Americans, especially old ones? Bla… uh, I mean, Russians. Commies (true, Russians aren’t Commies any longer, but people still think of Russia as the big bad).

Trump has stoked xenophobia throughout the election–Mexicans, Muslims, and so on. But those who support Clinton have massively demonized Trump’s supporters as Nazi third-columnists supported by big, bad Russia.

This has consequences. It is especially insane with respect to Russia, which still has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world, multiple times over, and which feels very threatened by the US and NATO–for rather good reason. Russian elites really do think Clinton wants war with them.

Rhetoric has consequences. Americans have been whipped, by both sides, into hatred of their fellow citizens, with Democratic supporters as guilty as Republicans. All this fascist rhetoric is not harmless and the fact that its targets are white, and therefore it is not “racist” rhetoric, does not make it less dangerous. And whipping up hatred and fear of Russia is playing with something so dangerous it could lead to nuclear war.

Rhetoric does have consequences. We all understand that Trump’s rhetoric is dangerous, but those on the Left seem to not understand just how much damage the Left has done by using the “fascist and Russia” rhetoric to demonize Trump and his supporters.

If you’re going to say people are trying to install a fascist, you’d both better be right and ready for the logical consequences. You cannot scream “Fascist!” and also say, “But, hey, it’s not worth fighting to stop him.” The two do not compute in a society in which fascist = holocaust.

Rhetoric has consequences. For abortion as holocaust. For racism. For fascism. For demonizing a nation with nukes.

Play with fire and be burned.

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27 Responses
  1. realitychecker permalink
    October 17, 2016

    Cosequences? What’s a consequence? /s

    Just another microinvalidation at worst, methinks..

    Consequences hurt people’s feelings, dontcha know?


  2. Ron Showalter permalink
    October 17, 2016

    I wouldn’t worry too much, I mean, at the end of the day fascists and fake-lefties both support the capitalist/corporate system that we have in place so as long as that stays in place there’s no need to worry. Both groups do truly enjoy the prison they live in no matter how hard the whiners squeal, just don’t take away their football, etc.

    Again, as far as the psyop Trump goes, it’s amazing how easy/clever it was for TPTB to create a candidate that could could simultaneously marginalize the ideas of those on the edges of both the American right and fake-left.

    A racist/sexist/rapist/xenophobe who also somehow respects Russia and doesn’t think our machinations in the ME are doing anybody any good? How’s that for central casting? Now as he goes down in flames all of those ideas go with him only to resurface later after the election when some extremist Trump supporter (read: US intelligence asset/agent provocateur, see link below) stirs up trouble/violence. Then the REAL fun begins as then those ideas that were discredited via Trump’s coming electoral disaster – xenophobia as well as rapprochement w/ Russia, etc – are criminalized by PTB. Ironically, thus, it will be the fake-left support given to Trump in his electoral DEFEAT – the “trap” I mentioned previously – which will further bring the reign of oppression down upon our heads. Thanks, guys.

    See, the hallmark of intelligence operations is that at a certain point you can see that the mark – in this case the US populace – has no good options no matter what decision they make. Certainly, this would have been the case in the election Spectacle no matter who had “run” but this tying up into one big package all of 1) the ideas TPTB don’t want to spread and 2) the ideas/hatred they can utilize to their advantage just screams intelligence operation is just too perfect.

    Lastly, in line w/ the above, if you any of you take at face value Snowden, Assange or any of the whistle-blower darlings of the last few years, there really is no hope for you. Do some homework, please. Their stories have stunk/not made a lick of sense from the beginning. Hell, TPTB are probably leaking the Hillary files themselves right now knowing that the election’s over and everyone’s made up their minds – a Friday night newsdump writ large. Then in 2020 TPTB can say it’s all old news and been covered before.

    Here’s a link to yet another FBI-orchestrated “terror” plot that was supposed to happen on November 9th. It was only foiled when one of the “terrorists” went to the locals after getting beat up.

  3. Harry Lime permalink
    October 17, 2016

    I believe you meant fifth column, not third. Also, this could have been a “false flag” incident. We’ll see when (and if) the perpetrators are caught.

  4. markfromireland permalink
    October 17, 2016

    Russian elites really do think Clinton wants war with them.

    And they are right to think so. Even if they were not right to think so the precautionary principle applies.

    I really do not understand why so many civilians have problems with the fact that when evaluating other countries the very first thing you take into account is their capability not their intentions. When you have established their capabilities to a reasonable extent then and only then do you assess their intentions. The Russians have a very good idea of what America is capable of. They’re also well aware of the fact that an utterly unreasoning loathing of Russia has been a constant in American foreign policy for decades. Clinton has always been a warmonger and she has always been viciously Russophobic. “Russian elites really do think Clinton wants war with them” damn right they do, they also believe that large swathes of the American policy establishment share Clinton’s desire for war with Russia. In my opinion they are entirely correct in both beliefs.

  5. October 17, 2016

    Good job! This is one that has 2B pointed out as a “slippery slope” phenomenon.

    On another note, the next segment of Julia is up:

  6. Hugh permalink
    October 17, 2016

    Does anyone remember anytime in this election cycle when anyone discussed an actual issue (OK, Bernie Sanders maybe) and actually outlined how whatever their proposal was was going to make it through Congress, and from there into reality? The short answer is nobody.

    Our political process is not broken in the sense that it can be repaired. It is rotten in the sense that it needs to be replaced. No one has a plan, other than the unstated one to steal us blind. Everyone is lying. Words do have consequences, but they are almost incidental to the thrashing and lashing of a political system in its death throes.

    If you vote for any Democrat or any Republican, you are not being responsible and a good citizen. You are voting to keep the monster alive.

  7. Orbital Debris permalink
    October 17, 2016

    I think in your efforts to justify the equivalence you see between Trump/RW hate group ongoing, documented dangerous rhetoric, you vastly overstate the “he’s a fascist” argument from the left:

    “…massively demonized Trump’s supporters as Nazi third columnists supported by big bad Russia.”

    Hardly. Yes, the issues have been raised, but one RNC bombing of uncertain provenance certainly do not even come close to the concerted, directed violence and legislative perversions that those against a women’s right to choose what to do with her own body have carried out over the past decades.

    Plus, the link to the “Russian elites are afraid of Hillary” is ludicrous. Just imagine for a second the mother lode of propaganda that can be cherry picked on a daily basis emerging from the ignorant pie-holes of American politicians. You would quickly recognize that it is nearly worthless as evidence for anything happening on the state level.

  8. realitychecker permalink
    October 17, 2016

    Oops, it seems my tin foil hat is too small to comment on this thread lol.

    But, Ron Showalter, I do want to thank you for giving me a very good idea of what an acid trip would have been like, if I had ever had the nerve to try that shit.

    Mindfuckery abounds under the guise of esoteric intellectualism. Fill ‘er up!

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar (unless wielded by Bill Clinton, of course; then it’s a date).

    I just hope nobody hurts any of the bad people. That wouldn’t be nice.

  9. Bill Hicks permalink
    October 17, 2016

    Relatedly, referring to such-and-such foreign leader or movement as the “next Hitler,” or the “new Nazis” leads to oxymoron of “humanitarian war” that unleashes far more evil than it is supposedly stops.

  10. October 18, 2016

    America’s flirtation with Fascism is far older than its’ fascination with Donald T Drumpf. The birth of the Klu Klux Klan, of a xenophobic nationalistic warrior cult and Hitler’s expressed appreciation for both the klan and America’s solution to the “Indian Problem,” and the American elite’s financing of Hitler’s aggression and an attempted coup to install a more corporate friendly administion come to mind.

  11. October 18, 2016

    I am not sure whether you are making an argument against abortion specifically, or saying more generally that any view-point expressed in extremist, emotional terms is going to attract a dangerous backlash.

    On the former if you argue that abortion is murder then so is contraception. Conversely if you argue that it is not, then when does it becomes so, because I think we can all agree that the moment of birth is arbitrary. You can end up defending infanticide on the basis that life is essentially about self-awareness that way. Wherever you draw the line it is going to be subjective and arbitrary, and personally I have no difficulty in accepting the current 24 week definition.

    Which only goes to demonstrate what I think is your point that all fanaticism is dangerous. None of us has a monopoly of wisdom. The best we can do is put forward our ideas for debate with our peers. Open-mindedness and humility must be the order of the day if we are to minimise our mistakes.

    Which brings me to the apparent callousness that Trump demonstrates. This was poignantly evident when he suggested removing Clinton’s bodyguard ‘just to see what happens’. But then again this may simply reflect normal American attitudes towards to poor and disadvantaged, typified by the lack of welfare and public services such as we know in the UK. It is an attitude at always jars with British observers. I wonder what Adam Smith would have made of modern America, bearing in mind that he defined a poor nation as one that ‘left it’s unproductive labour by the wayside where they may be devoured by wild beasts’!

    It was of course Nicolo Machiavelli who observed that if you hurt a man he will hate you for it, but all observers would fear you for it. The art of being a Prince was to hurt a few to endanger the respect of the majority, but if you hurt too many they would unite and rise up against you, so was always better to finish them off. Perhaps American politics has simply regressed to the level of medieval Italy?

    All that said I must confess in mitigation to have never visited the country (apart from a mid-week business trip to Washington in Feb ’79). In fact I have spend three times a long during my life in the former Soviet Union (the result of a trip to Expo ’70 in Japan and back) than I have in the US of A. But don’t draw any political conclusions from that!

  12. Duncan Kinder permalink
    October 18, 2016

    For starters, ‘fascist” does not equal Hitler, etc.. It equals Mussolini and Franco.

    The Nazis, BTW, were the National Socialist Workers Party. Many have noted that and asserted Nazi’s were actually socialist. Mussolini, meanwhile began as a socialist. And many a Marxist has denounced a rival as a “fascist in sheep’s clothes.”

    Which begs the question of what, really, is the difference between a fascist and a socialist?

    Which may be a major question or a cavil no more significant than debating the difference between smallpox and chicken pox.

    But “fascism” ( however defined ) is a 20th century phenomenon, which is why Trump (who is more of a fascist-wannabe, actually ) is now failing.

    We are at serious risk of being ruled by authoritarian thugs, but they would be more of the Robert Mugabe / Idi Amin variety than 20th century dictators.

  13. Peter* permalink
    October 18, 2016


    This ‘War’ hysteria coming from the Russians seems a wee bit overblown and meant for local consumption to keep their subjects focused on outside threats not internal problems.

    The Red Queen and her backers are certainly Hardliners and they are primed for confrontation with Putin and they will continue to use rhetoric that makes them appear to not fear the remote possibility of a direct military conflict with Russia but there is no possible victory or gain from this Big War so the goal is to confront, control and prevail over Putin’s Russia.

    It’s ironic that Putin and his Generals had no fear of war when they swept into Syria threatening anyone who interfered with military attack and even calling it a Holy War but now that they will be confronted there by the Hegemon they are singing another tune. Putin’s move to make war on Sunni Muslims in Syria was an easy sell in Russia as defending their imperial holdings there without much cost but now that a new more confident and aggressive regime is coming to power in the Homeland Putin will face the true cost of his actions in Syria.

    Building bomb shelters in Moscow and whining about the Red Queen’s hardline positions won’t do much to change the coming reality Putin will soon face. He will have critical choices to make but I doubt he is insane or self destructive or will allow his generals to destroy all he has built in Russia.

  14. Suzanne permalink
    October 18, 2016

    The ‘no fly zone’ that Clinton wants to impose over Syria would mean war with Russia from the very second it was implemented since, under U.S. military doctrine, it requires the immediate destruction of all ‘enemy’ air defenses.

    So with that in mind, Jill Stein has said that Trump is less likely to get the US involved in a war with Russia, and even left leaning sites such as Counterpunch are starting to wonder if Hillary would risk nuclear war to protect al-Qaida?

    Personally I would support the war with Russia, as long as Lloyd Blankfein’s son Jonathan (who works at Goldman Sachs) and Chelsea Clinton (who is married to a Goldman Sachs banker) are both required to join the army and fight on the front lines.

  15. DMC permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Its a highly underapreciated fact that the actual scriptural support for the notion that abortion is murder or even “bad” is non-existant. The Talmud says that “until the child draws its first breath, ruah(soul=pneuma=spiritus) has not entered the body and it is therefore to be considered as part of the mother”. The view of the soul as being present from the moment of conception, which has been charachterized as “neo-platonic”, actually originates in the “Apocalypse of Peter” a very early Christian work that didn’t make the final cut for the New Testament but that was quite popular in the first two centuries of Christianity. It not only advances this veiw of the soul but explicitly condemns both those who provide and those who obtain abortions. It proably would have made it into the Canon of scripture had it not been for the concluding passage in which Christ advises Peter that all those condemned to Hell eventually get out but he shouldn’t tell anyone, lest they just sin that much more.

    Please also note the Fascist means something besides being a term of abuse. Trump is no more a Fascist than he is Gheulph. A Fascist has a mass movement party with an economic plan to merge certain private and public sectors into a totalist, overweening state. Trump has whatever he’s thinking at the moment. Fascism could have any reasonably charismatic induvidual as leader, while Trumpism is indistinguishable from Trump. Hell, neither Sir Oswald Mosely nor Ion Codrescu were even all that charismatic but they had a platform beyond “we’ll get all the best people”.

  16. anon permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Russia Today bank account frozen, censorship on all major media and social media platforms, provocateurs planted at Trump rallies, Assange lawyer and various other loose ends murdered, internet handed over to UN, all US law enforcement bribed or coerced to stand down….

    Nice little dictatorship we’ve got here…

  17. Hugh permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Re Russia, it is not the Soviet Union. It is mostly a commodities producer and has a GDP a tenth that of the United States or on par with that of South Korea. It currently has a population of around 143.5 million but that is expected to go into decline. It is a kleptocracy with a dictator ruling over a class of oligarchs who are allowed to loot the country as long as the state gets its cut and they don’t challenge its power. It has a relatively large army but has a large land mass and very long borders to protect. Its technology is old and getting older. It has some force projection capabilities but these are limited. It has a large number of legacy nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union, but both the bombs and their delivery systems need to be maintained and that is expensive, and upgraded from time to time and that is astronomically expensive.

    If you ask the question whether Clinton would risk war over Syria, you should also ask the question do you think Putin would risk nuclear war to save Assad? Please spare me any mention that Assad represents the legitimate government of Syria. Syria has been a police state ruled by a family dictatorship for the last 45 years. It is one of several inverted dictatorships in the Middle East, that is where a minority group, in this case Shia Alawites, rules over a majority, here the Sunni.

  18. Anon permalink
    October 18, 2016

    I don’t understand, how is a ‘war’ with Russia even possible unless its some sort of proxy war. A war with Russia is the end, the end of everything correct? This is kind of stuff that used to give me wet, febrile nightmares a child. So glad this worry is back. Just in time for my own kids to get a serious case of the shimmyshams. God, I want off this planet, please.

  19. Ian Welsh permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Missed the point.

    Fascist may include many different governments, but to Americans fascist = Hitler. It is the association. And Hitler equals Holocaust.

    Trying to deny this is foolishness.

    The rhetoric leads somewhere, and it does not lead to “bad, but not as bad as Hitler”.

  20. Hugh permalink
    October 18, 2016

    Almost all of our political and economic terms have been used so sloppily and cynically for so long that their original and historic meanings have been completely debased. I have written here many times that liberalism does not equal New Dealism. Liberalism used to mean Wilsonian liberalism which was elitist, pro-corporatist, pro-interventionist in foreign affairs, anti-labor, paternalistic, and rabidly anti-populist. New Dealism added just enough socialist elements to classical liberalism to save capitalism in crisis during the Great Depression. It lasted all of four years before FDR himself made the first moves to end it. If you look at neoliberalism and modern conservatism too for that matter, you can see how heavily indebted both are to Wilsonian liberalism. Neoliberalism is, in fact, a return to classical liberalism. Modern conservatism, on the other hand, has largely moved away from its old core tenets of isolationism, state rights, and a small military. Modern conservatism pays lip service to “small government”, but they embraced big government 70 years ago.

    Much the same distortions happened to the term fascism. Historically, it was a form of statism which sought to combine the power of the capitalists and unions under a party and a dictator. It was decidedly anti-labor. The inclusion of unions in this schema was meant to constrain the rights of labor, not increase them. It was ultra-nationalist at home, and imperialist abroad, and along with both of these, militarist. The fasces, a collection of rods bound by cords, symbolized strength through unity, but the fasces also contained axes which symbolized state violence. Extra-judicial violence or direct action against opponents was taken to be a demonstration of strength. The subservience of all aspects of society to the party and the state was justified by some “great” national purpose or destiny.

    Fascism has been used as a synonym for Nazism, militarism, ultra-nationalism, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism. Of these, only the authoritarian and ultra-nationalist tags apply. Totalitarianism in its Hitlerist and Stalinist manifestations is an entirely different kettle of fish, and I would direct anyone interested in the subject to the third part of Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism.

    But again all these terms have been debased. So much so that the prime example of modern fascism is Israel. But since Jews were once victims of Nazism, and fascism and Nazism have become interchangeable, they were victims of fascism, and so we arrive at the false truism that victims of fascism cannot become perpetrators of fascism. Ergo Israel cannot be fascist, even if it is.

    So Trump is tarred with the fascist brush because he is nationalist, is a one person or leader show, and proclaims he wants to make America “great” again. If you look at fascism as the state as criminal enterprise, and go back through the list of its main elements above. The candidate who embodies these elements far more than Trump is actually Clinton. Or to put it another way, Trump looks like a fascist the way he stumps and frets about, but Clinton in the substance is one.

  21. October 19, 2016

    Why is it people are always themselves guilty of whatever it is they’re accusing others of doing?

  22. Tzimisce permalink
    October 19, 2016

    He has a campaign manager in Manafort that had dealings with pro-Russian Ukrainian officials and eventually got bounced because of the steady drip of Russian ties. Trump encouraged Russia to further hack emails for his benefit. Trump likely (wish we knew for certain) has business interests with Russia or its oligarchs. Russian state actors hack the DNC and “leak” those emails to Wikileaks in an attempt to sway the US election. There’s plenty of smoke here to suspect a fire.

  23. realitychecker permalink
    October 20, 2016


    Anyone who can’t see the smoke and ACTUAL fire on the Clinton side of things really needs to go to the eye doctor.

    But it’s fun to speculate wildly, ain”t it? Almost like a wish fulfillment thingy, amirite ?

  24. Merasmus permalink
    October 21, 2016

    @Duncan Kinder

    This kind of revisionist crap irritates the living hell out of me, and I’m very disappointed to see that no one else felt compelled to challenge your nonsense. The Nazis were right-wing; every worthwhile historian agrees with that assessment. They were directly inspired by Mussolini’s right-wing fascists. That Mussolini himself started as a socialist doesn’t change they fact he ended up on the right.

    The Nazis called themselves socialist in an attempt to woo voters from the left. If they were actually ideologically left you would think they would have, among many other things, allied with the leftists in the Spanish Civil War instead of sending the Condor Legion to aid Franco, and formed a coalition with the socialist SPD (and maybe also the communist KPD) party for a super majority in the Reichstag. Instead the formed an alliance with the center-right Centre Party for a slight majority. They also wouldn’t have proceeded to round up leftists in concentration camps and even given them their own identity badge (a red triangle). The idea that the Nazis were socialist simply because they put socialist in their name shows you’ve literally never read a book about them or their rise to power.


    I like how you just accept the claim that Russia is behind the hacks. There’s little to no evidence for this. As for Trump, Putin has said he prefers Trump because Trump is the only one who says he’s willing to sit down and talk. That’s it. There is, again, no evidence of Russia supporting Trumps campaign.

  25. realitychecker permalink
    October 23, 2016

    @ Merasmus

    You must be new to this lol, or you would have already realized that the Clintonista attitude is always, “We don’t need any stinking evidence, rank speculation that we pull out of out asses, that mirrors what we WISH would be true, is more than good enough.”

    But I applaud and agree with your view that evidence should be required. Keep on keeping on. 😉

  26. Billikin permalink
    October 26, 2016

    It is true that to most Americans fascist = Hitler, and that a more accurate term would be authoritarian. But authoritarian does not scare people as much as it should. Trump, like Mussolini and Hitler, had people en masse pledging their personal loyalty to him (the Fuehrerprinzip!), and validated violence by his followers. True, the term, fascist, generates a backlash, but people should be scared. Fortunately, Trump seems to have self-destructed after the first presidential debate by revealing himself to be a petty tyrant. He should have kept his mouth shut, but he is too full of himself.

  27. Hypocee permalink
    October 26, 2016

    The term you think you’re using is “*fifth* columnist”.

    “with Democratic supporters as guilty as Republican ones”
    “with a very few Democratic supporters as guilty as about half of the Republican ones, who are dancing to the tune the Republican party’s leading strategists and speakers have played at ever greater pitch for two or three decades”
    One of these statements is not like the other; one of these statements is true.

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