Jason Stanley, a Yale philosophy professor who has also written multiple books on fascism and propaganda, has recorded a video for the New York Times that shows how President Donald Trump and other right-wing reactionaries around the world have stolen a page from the playbooks of the fascist dictators who ruled much of Europe in the early 20th century.
Stanley, who is the author of the 2018 book “How Fascism Works,” begins by outlining how fascists begin their propaganda operations by appealing to a mythic past in which peace and prosperity were widespread and where societies were more unified than they are today.
“Fascists create an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for a past that is racially pure, traditional and patriarchal,” he explains. “From Mussolini to Hitler to Erdogan, fascist leaders position themselves as father figures and strong men. As long as he — and yes it’s always a he — remains in power, everything is possible.”
Stanley then goes to explain how fascists then pick out scapegoats as reasons that this mythical past no longer exists — and he says that maintaining power requires “pitting groups against each other.”
“Once you divide, it’s easier to control,” he says.
The next step fascists take is to simply attack the truth — whether it’s in the form of broadsides against the news media or against the scientific consensus on climate change.
“This environment creates a Petri dish for conspiracy theories,” he says. “No one can agree on what’s true anymore — and fascists love it when that happens.”
Watch the whole video below.