Thinking About Fascism
The 2016 presidential election made me think about 1933 and Hitler’s rise to power. I’ve known that he came to power through constitutional means and then used that power from the inside to destroy a constitutional system of government. This seemed like a good time to better understand the way that someone who was a megalomaniac, not taken seriously by elites, brought to power by pandering to people’s fears, could take control of the levers of power.
I just read Robert O. Paxton’s The Anatomy of Fascism. For me it helped clarify the tasks before us. In discussing Hitler’s and Mussolini’s rise to power Paxton says it is important to look at the means through which these fascists translated an ability to mobilize popular discontent into an almost unlimited ability to control the machineries of governmental power.
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