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Jason Stanley

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University.[…]
  • Fascism is a very particular ideological structure. The first pillar is the Mythic Past. Then there’s Propaganda. Anti-intellectualism. Unreality. Hierarchy. Victimhood. Law and order. Sexual anxiety. Sodom and Gomorrah. And then finally, Arbeit macht frei- ‘work shall make you free.’ 
  • Each of these elements taken in and of itself, is not fascist. You can think about these individual elements in isolation. When it comes to these fascisim tactics, people often ask, “Why do you need to worry about it. There’s lots of tactics people use to win power. Why worry about these in particular?”
  • Jason Stanley’s response is to say that fascist politics wears down democracy. Even if it doesn’t result in a fascist regime, it creates the conditions for itself. Fascist politics, it’s a politics of fear. So even if we don’t get a fascist regime in the end, we destroy the basis of democracy.

JASON STANLEY: My name is Jason Stanley. I'm the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University, and the author of five books. Most recently, "How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them."

I don't think there are good arguments against my book taken as an analysis of fascist politics. Everyone agrees that, the tactics that I describe in my book are tactics that fascist parties employ. Fascism is a very particular ideological structure. The first pillar is the Mythic Past. Then there's Propaganda. Anti-intellectualism. Unreality. Hierarchy. Victimhood. Law and order. Sexual anxiety. Sodom and Gomorrah. And then finally, Arbeit macht frei- 'work shall make you free.' Each of these elements taken in and of itself, is not fascist. You can think about these individual elements in isolation. I think the strongest counterargument against my book is people saying, "Why do you need to worry about it.

There's lots of tactics people use to win power. Why worry about these?" My response is to say that fascist politics wears down democracy. Even if it doesn't result in a fascist regime, it creates the conditions for itself. Fascist politics, it's a politics of fear. It's a politics that needs to say, "The criminality is overcoming our cities. Our cities are filled with crime. They're disease-ridden. The immigrants are hoarding in. The communists are taking over the universities." It needs this constant fear. It's the sense that we've got a group of people on our side, who are supporting us, and we've got enemies, and it's a war. It's a conflict. So it results in policies, whether the leader likes it or not, that match their rhetoric. Because if the policies don't ever match their rhetoric, then people eventually are going to say, "What's the threat? Why do we need to be afraid?" And even if it doesn't result in a fascist regime, it erodes the basis of the nation. It erodes the basis of democracy. It erodes the trust between citizens. It militarizes politics. Once you militarize politics, so there's no basis of reconciliation, then you make democracy impossible. And it destroys truth. So even if we don't get a fascist regime in the end, we destroy the basis of democracy.

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