§. 'It will be called Americanism': the US writers who imagined a fascist future | Books. “To have enslaved America with this hocus-pocus! To have captured the mind of the world’s greatest nation without uttering a single word of truth! Oh, the pleasure we must be affording the most malevolent man on earth!”
These words come near the end of Philip Roth’s 2004 novel The Plot Against America, but for some they could have been written yesterday. The election of Donald J Trump as president has been called “unimaginable”, but the truth is many people did imagine the forces that have brought him to power, or versions of them; we just stopped listening to them. In 1944, an article called “American Fascism” appeared in the New York Times, written by then vice president Henry Wallace. “A fascist,” wrote Wallace, “is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.” How Hannah Arendt Is Being Used And Misused In The Age Of Trump - Culture.
Hannah Arendt, who wrote extensively about authoritarianism, the nature of evil, and power, is having a bit of a moment. Currently circulating the internet (my twitter feed, at least) are two interesting articles regarding the Jewish philosopher’s legacy. First, we have Zoe Williams’ piece for The Guardian, “Totalitarianism in the age of Trump: Lessons from Hannah Arendt.” In her article, Williams observes, as so many have, that Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism” has become a “surprise hit” with copies on Amazon selling out over the weekend.
As kind of an overview on Arendt’s thought, Williams’ piece delves into anti-Semitism, totalitarianism, the authoritarian voter, protest, and a couple other topics, all with the help of various scholars – who offer commentary on whether we can truly apply Arendt to our current situation, and whether “The Origins of Totalitarianism” is the right book to turn to. As Rensin writes, My dad predicted Trump in 1985 – it's not Orwell, he warned, it's Brave New World | Media. Over the last year, as the presidential campaign grew increasingly bizarre and Donald Trump took us places we had never been before, I saw a spike in media references to Amusing Ourselves to Death, a book written by my late father, Neil Postman, which anticipated back in 1985 so much about what has become of our current public discourse. At Forbes, one contributor wrote that the book “may help explain the otherwise inexplicable”.
CNN noted that Trump’s allegedly shocking “ascent would not have surprised Postman”. At ChristianPost.com, Richard D Land reflected on reading the book three decades ago and feeling “dumbfounded … by Postman’s prophetic insights into what was then America’s future and is now too often a painful description of America’s present”. Last month, a headline at Paste Magazine asked: “Did Neil Postman Predict the Rise of Trump and Fake News?” Whoops. “We were keeping our eye on 1984,” my father wrote. But an image? What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. Log In. Log In. Log In.