The Outstater

September 2, 2022

No ‘Fascists” Allows

IN THE 1980s, a friend spent four years in Joe Biden’s presence — Biden as a puffed up U.S. Senator and my friend as a lowly aide on the staff of the Foreign Relations Committee. I asked him what he thought of the president’s speech last night.

He was as impressed with Biden now as he was then — “the son of a used-car salesman way over his head,” was his characterization.

What does he think of Biden’s assertion earlier that half of the American public (those who voted for Trump) is “fascist,” a last night a “threat to democracy” and to “the very foundation of our republic”? Or of the White House press secretary’s contention that an “extremist” is anyone who strays from what a majority of Americans believe?

The friend warns not to take any of that lightly. Biden holds some stupid ideas in his hair-plugged, senescent noggin, many of them simultaneously idiotic and conflicting, but they are always dangerous.

First, it is easy to prove what the president said is fallacious. The late Angelo Codevilla did that wonderfully a couple of years ago in his must-read essay, “The Original Fascist”:

“Any realistic notion that fascism was something that transcended Italy should have been put to rest in 1934 at a conference on “International Fascism” held in Montreux, Switzerland. Few attended. Nothing came of it. In short, fascism was a reality limited to Italy. But fascist Italy was first to enact the disempowerment of legislatures and the empowerment of the administrative state that is now the Western world’s standard of government.”

Codevilla goes on to argue that today the most historically accurate emanation of Musollini’s ideology would be found in the American Democrat Party, first in the New Deal, which was dubbed “fascism without billy clubs,” and more recently in the Elizabeth Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act, which would require corporations to enroll in a legal scheme in which the government could force them to serve politically defined stakeholders.

OK, Biden may know that Republicans are not by definition or analysis fascist. It wouldn’t matter to him. He is practitioner of the Lyndon Johnson school of politics. “I know he doesn’t have sex with a pig,” Johnson is said to have said of a political rival, “I just want to hear the sonofabitch deny it.”

And here is where things get dangerous. If a president, braced by U.S. Marines at his side, can in an official public address label large groups of Americans a threat to democracy he can also call them treasonous, a classification that carries some heavy grief. Under U.S. Code Title 18, in fact, the penalty for treason is death or, to the point here, forfeiture of the right to hold public office against Biden and his Democrat friends.

One can hope that the judiciary even in its present state would prevent such a usurpation. History, however, is not encouraging in that regard. Ask Louis XVI, sentenced to death on the charge of high treason by the French National Convention — on a majority vote, by the way, all perfectly democratic and judicially applauded.

Last night we moved closer to all of that. The quiet part was said out loud and the 2024 debate was defined, to wit, “Are Republicans fascists or not — or, in LBJ-speak, “Do they or do they not have sex with pigs?”

That, however, is just politics. So far. But given what my friend knows about the man Biden, would his regime put last night’s words into action, move to their logical conclusion of creating, say, a Committee of Public Safety (or perhaps a special branch of the IRS) to line us up before the modern socio-political equivalent of a guillotine?

“In a heartbeat,” the friend replies. — tcl



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