Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
The "Semi-Fascists" Are Coming from Inside the House

The "Semi-Fascists" Are Coming from Inside the House

The side that purges dissent, demands ideological compliance, and dehumanizes the opposition isn't the side that believes in Democracy

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

The same week Mark Zuckerberg admitted the FBI pressured him to deep-six the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop, Joe Biden called the populists on the Right “semi-fascists.” From the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago, to the use of social media to police the Biden administration’s idea of “misinformation” to the surveillance of political enemies of the state by an all-volunteer army of social media users — “semi-fascism” is all around us.

Naturally, this gave many hyperbolic Twitter users a jumping-off point to get those juicy, juicy likes, as they continue to cheerlead Biden in all the wrong direction.

So let’s get a few basics out of the way, shall we? The side policing speech are the “semi-fascists.” The side demanding ideological compliance? Also, the “semi-fascists.” The side throwing political prisoners in solitary for upwards of a year with no charges? “Semi-fascists.” The side that dehumanizes and scapegoats whole groups of people and encourages cutting them off from the economic system? “Semi-fascists.”

The side with the FBI pressuring Big Tech to suppress negative information about a political candidate? You guessed it. The “Semi-fascists.”

The power of the Democratic Party is shrinking and focusing on the most elite in our society. Their attention has narrowed significantly to the point where they are alienating more voters than they are attracting.

From the Wall Street Journal’s interview with Ruy Teixeira:

We’re living in a country where most institutions are dominated by graduates of colleges and universities that have made it their mission to proselytize on behalf of crazy ideas. That includes the Democratic Party to a vastly greater extent than the GOP, especially the post-Trump GOP.

Mr. Teixeira acknowledges that this is a development “The Emerging Democratic Majority” failed to foresee: “We didn’t anticipate the extent to which cultural liberalism might segue into cultural radicalism and the extent to which that view, particularly as driven by younger cohorts, would wind up imprinting itself on the entire infrastructure in and around the Democratic Party—the advocacy groups, the foundations, academia of course, certainly the lower and middle levels of the Democratic Party infrastructure itself.”

Voters chose Biden partly because they believed he was a moderate. Instead, he’s become a kind of George Spahn figure who passively allowed the Manson family to overtake Spahn Ranch. No, I’m not comparing the “woke” fanatics to the Manson family, but it is important to understand what we’re dealing with here.

Biden’s ongoing dehumanization of Trump supporters is dangerous because of how people on the right, or those who push back against the newfound religious zealotry on the New Left, is reaching dangerous levels not seen since 1930s Germany.

This example of the reaction to Ben Shapiro appearing at a podcast event is funny but also downright chilling. They don’t fear Shapiro because he’s an Orthodox Jew. They fear him because of his political views. Can you remember any other time in American history where opinions held contrary to one’s own made people feel “unsafe”?

You can just feel that one, can’t you? Like a punch in the gut. You don’t just dismiss something like that. At least The Babylon Bee, still banned from Twitter, mocks the whole concept:

You can see why so many still turn to Trump out of desperation because Trump is not scared of them, even with everything they’ve thrown at him. Even facing an inevitable indictment, Trump just mocks them.

How does the American system survive someone they can’t control? They’ve never had to deal with a Donald Trump, that’s for sure. Trump is testing the Constitution every day, proving why it is such an important document. The Constitution is the only thing preventing our current government from graduating from “semi-fascists” to full-blown fascists. Or how they used to refer to Stalin’s regime “red fascism.”

They use their systems of power to subvert Democracy, violate the Constitution, and weaponize the Department of Justice. As long as the media backs them up and the polls work in their favor, they won’t stop.

One of the great things about social media is that supposedly everyone has a voice online. But now, under Biden and in our post-2020 environment, our government is using Big Tech as a filter to violate the First Amendment, using “misinformation” or “disinformation” as a catch-all for speech they don’t like.

I posted a Tik Tok video of a high school coach ruminating on the Mar-A-Lago raid. He said he didn’t believe the claims of a rigged election until he saw just how far the Democrats were willing to go to get Trump. His video was honest, heartfelt, and, more than anything, his right as an American to speak his mind.

Youtube removed the video citing “misinformation.” When I appealed, telling them they had become authoritarians, I got this response:

You can watch that video for yourself on Rumble.

Sites like Rumble, Substack, Gettr, Truth Social and other alternative platforms give the illusion that there is equal access to all, but if you’ve been online a while, you know what it means to be dumped from the major organs of the new economy online. These big sites got there first. We trusted them by handing over our attention, information, relationships, shopping behavior, and history. Now, they have betrayed that trust.

Will the Real Fascists Please Stand Up?

So many people don’t understand the word “fascism.” They throw it around because it plays well on Twitter and cable TV. It seems so unequivocal. Trump is bad. Fascists are bad. So Trump must be a fascist.

Here is how Yuval Noah Harari defines Fascism in Lessons for the 21st Century:

“The word “fascism” comes from the Latin fascis, meaning “a bundle of rods.” That sounds like a rather unglamorous symbol for one of the most ferocious and deadly ideologies in world history, but it has a deep and sinister meaning. A single rod is very weak, and you can easily snap it in two. However, once you bundle many rods together into a fascis, it becomes almost impossible to break them. This implies that the individual is a thing of no consequence, but as long as the collective sticks together, it is very powerful. Fascists therefore believe in privileging the interests of the collective over those of any individual, and demand that no single rod ever dare break the unity of the bundle.”

If Trump had been a fascist, there would not have been any protests in 2020. Protesters would have simply been shot on the spot or thrown in jail. There would have been no CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times or any newspaper criticizing him or even existing at all.

Do you think the speaker of the House would have ripped up a speech if standing behind a fascist? Do you think a fascist would have allowed nonstop dehumanization and bullying on Twitter every second, not to mention on late-night comedy shows and awards shows? Stephen Colbert? Arrested and convicted without a trial. Bill Maher? Solitary confinement. Hillary Clinton would have been locked up. AOC along with her.

With fascism, you don’t have to worry about bothersome things like due process, presumption of innocence, freedom of speech, or Democracy. You have absolute power and control over the state, which has absolute power over the citizenry. You can’t tell me the zealots on the Left wouldn’t want that.

Sure, you might say, Trump, denied the results of the 2020 election, making him a fascist. But that makes him someone who has an unpopular opinion of something. Perhaps you find that bad or scary or an abuse of power and bad for the country but calling it “semi-fascist” is a reach.

MSNBC, CNN, and many of the legacy media outlets painted January 6th as a “fascist coup” and did a very good job using video footage of a riot as a powerful piece of propaganda. But a violent protest against the government is not “fascist.” The crackdown of that riot is fascist, especially when they used powers put in place after 9/11 against their own citizens.

None other than Vladimir Putin called this out, which is yet another example of how the Biden presidency and the insanity over Trump is weakening America’s standing in the world. We look like a broken, fragile nation in our non-stop attacks against a former president and his supporters.

Because of the Democrats’ dominance of Twitter, media, government, Hollywood and all other major institutions, as they’ve become more uniform in their ideology and more militant in their demands that you go along with them, we are beginning to see the darker side of “collectivism” at work.

After William H. Strauss and Neil Howe wrote The Fourth Turning in 2007, Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew took on the theory of the generations and tweaked it slightly in their book, Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future. They transformed Howe and Strauss’ 80-year generational cycle into two 40-year cycles. One is the “me” cyle (individualism), and the other a “we” cycle (collectivism).

Looking over the patterns of history, they have noticed that the pendulum shifts in one direction until it wears out its welcome, then it swings back in the other direction. Their overall hypothesis is that humans always take a good thing too far. When that happens, the pendulum spits and grinds and eventually swings back. We’re now at the worst part of the “we” phase, the witch hunts, reaching its peak in 2023. Here it is right on schedule. The only question is how bad it will get in the coming year.

They write:

The second half of the Upswing of “We” and the first half of the Downswing from it (2013–2023) bring an ideological “righteousness” that seems to spring from any group gathered around a cause. The inevitable result is judgmental legalism and witch hunts. The origin of the term witch hunt was the Salem witch trials, a series of hearings before county court officials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693, exactly at the beginning of the second half of the Upswing toward the “We” Zenith of 1703.

Senator Joseph McCarthy was an American promoter of this witch-hunt attitude at America’s most recent “We” Zenith of 1943 (see the “House Un-American Activities Committee,” 1937–1953); Adolf Hitler was the German promoter (see the Holocaust, 1933–1945); and Joseph Stalin was the Soviet promoter (see the Great Purge, 1936–1938). Our hope is that we might collectively choose to skip this development as we approach the “We” Zenith of 2023. If enough of us are aware of this trend toward judgmental self-righteousness, perhaps we can resist demonizing those who disagree with us and avoid the societal polarization that results from it. A truly great society is one in which being unpopular can be safe.

In a free market Capitalist country like this one, consumers ideally have the power. We tell the corporations what to do, not the other way around. The more we migrate to online spaces, the less power we will have as consumers.

Neil Howe marks 2008 as the year that sparked the Fourth Turning. The Wall Street meltdown and subsequent crisis supposedly kick into gear events that will eventually take us to a major shift, a war, or some kind of revolution. We can feel the battle underfoot right now with the complete takeover of all institutions of power and government vs. the populist uprising of the working class. The ultimate outcome remains uncertain.

But 2008 is also the year Vivek Ramaswamy targets as the moment the corporations swapped “woke” ideology for any sort of concrete solutions to the problem of rising monopolies. He says that marriage was one of convenience. It meant the activists felt heard and catered to while the corporations had the freedom to do whatever they wanted without the activists breathing down their necks:

And the net result was the birth of this new woke industrial complex, a new force a new Leviathan. In modern American life that was far more powerful than what Thomas Hobbes envisioned 400 years ago, far more powerful than what our founding fathers envisioned 250 years ago when they put into motion, a three part system of government with checks and balances not envisioning a fourth branch of government in the private sector itself.

That would suck the lifeblood out of the constitutional government that we put into motion. And it is a new monster that actually duped both sides into submission.

The old left that used to be skeptical about the aggregation and misuse of corporate power was defined and deflected by the fact that actually, they were distracted by the fact that these new guys are going to advance the causes the progressive causes that we love so much that they forgot about their principled opposition to settling political questions through corporate power.

Conservatives were duped into submission by memorizing and reciting slogans that we all memorized back in the 1980s, saying that the free market can do no wrong without recognizing that that free market does not exist today. And that's the story of how both sides actually contributed to the creation of possibly the most powerful force in modern American life, this merger of state power and corporate power.

“Woke capitalism,” as Ramaswamy calls it, is still not “semi-fascism.” Once Biden took power in 2020, however, he then took the iron throne at the top of all of it. It’s more than just the activists and the corporations. Now, it’s the administration executing top-down activism for much of the same reasons the corporations did it - so that we would all look the other way as they abused their power against ordinary citizens.

In other words, how convenient to have a scapegoat like MAGA where suddenly their Constitutional rights no longer matter because they’ve been so dehumanized by the media, the blue-checks and now, Joe Biden. But if their Constitutional rights no longer matter, neither do ours.

Now is the time to push for a new amendment to the Constitution, an “Internet Bill of Rights” of sorts to protect ordinary Americans against the “semi-fascist” forces that seem to be all around us in just a few short years. At the very least, all Americans should have access to the new “town square” and hub of most of our growing economic systems online.

We still live in a Democracy, but it is something we will have to fight for. The Democrats won’t. It will have to be up to the Republicans, should they take back Congress, to stand up to the powerful monopolies that now threaten the very foundations of our free country.

The six-year-long hunt to get Trump, the FBI’s involvement in suppressing potentially damaging information, the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, and the inevitable indictment of Trump we know is coming are all much bigger threats to our Democracy than Trump will ever be.

Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Essays on politics and culture from Sasha Stone's Substack. A former Democrat and Leftist who escaped the bubble to get to know the other side of the country and to take a more critical look at the left.