GOP backs 'anti-free speech fascism' as Ron DeSantis grooms Florida kids 'to be stupid': analysis
Florida governor Ron DeSantis. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Republicans are embracing fascism to wage their culture wars as society increasingly rejects bigotry, according to a new analysis in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Columnist Will Bunch examined the war on Disney World and Orlando being waged by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Florida Republicans.

He noted Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) accusing Disney of being communist for standing up and Republicans' anti-LGBTQ legislation widely derided as the "Don't Say Gay" bill that resulted in Republicans ending a special tax district.

"The punitive move — whether or not it’s constitutional, and I’d argue it’s not — makes a mockery of right-wing wailing about 'free speech' and 'cancel culture.' It’s also inspired a growing mob of QAnon types — taking their cues from elected officials who know better — to accuse decent folks who work for Disney of serving as pedophilic 'groomers' of young children, first online and then in mobs outside Walt Disney World. Surely innocent people will get hurt," he wrote. "But a place like DeSantis’ Florida, which has become a kind of laboratory for the mad science of post-Trump neo-fascism, isn’t only attacking so-called woke corporations like Disney with the heavy, blunt object of punishing their free speech. Republicans pushing dark censorship in the so-called Sunshine State also want to pull up the very roots of 'woke corporations' — which is any schooling that might have taught these people to embrace diversity and fairness in the first place. At the risk of verbally sinking to their crude level, DeSantis seems to be 'grooming' Florida’s kids ... to be stupid."

Bunch argued that Republicans have chosen fascism over America's Constitution.

"The threatened loss of Disney’s donations was surely one reason why DeSantis was willing to toss the First Amendment onto the bonfire, but the biggest threat was a challenge to the governor’s authority, in a moment of rising authoritarianism. Florida Republicans were forced to choose between capitalism and anti-free speech fascism. They didn’t seem to think about it very long," he wrote. "They are embracing fascism not because they are winning, but because modernity is winning and they are losing. This is no time to cede the high ground."

Read the full column.