Why the Whole World will be at Risk of a Takeover by Fascists

One can make an argument that this is really a time of such emergency that the political niceties and routine strategies, as we see–quite understandably –in the Jan. 6 committee–are outmoded. The congressional January 6th committee is important, vital. But it cannot go far enough. As Paul Waldman just said in the Washington Post:

And at this intense period in the conflict between the Republican and Democratic parties, the audacity gap between the two has seldom been more striking…On March 16, “Eastman and others spent nearly two hours behind closed doors pressuring Republican Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to nullify the 2020 election and reclaim the electors awarded to Biden.”

This is how people behave when they believe there are no consequences for their actions. And you can understand why they might think that. Trump — whose entire life is a tribute to the power of audacity — pardoned Manafort, along with a rogues’ gallery of crooks and grifters who made up his cronies, from Roger Stone to Stephen K. Bannon. And who in the Republican Party has condemned Eastman, or Manafort for that matter? Almost no one. They know that there are no ethical or moral transgressions that will get you banished from the GOP; the only meaningful sin is disloyalty.

We see a hard, mindless turn to the right in many of the American people as well as in the GOP congress. But that’s just the beginning. There are other factors that may spread this rightist extremist reactivity vastly farther. Something is going to happen, socially and politically, likely in our lifetimes, and it’s going to be the great  defining challenge for humanity. Climate change is going to drive a vast redistribution of populations. Climate change will make vast swathes of the world unlivable and other areas essentially non-arable. It will be tremendously difficult to cultivate enough food crops or protein sources in those conditions.

People who are now friendly to immigrants, will be challenged to keep that quite-laudable spirit of acceptance. Hundreds of millions of people will–in desperation–crowd into Europe from other places, far more swiftly and overwhelmingly than now. And North America will have its own increase in immigration. It will be a humanitarian necessity-but there will be resistance, even from people who politically moderate. Some liberals may lose their liberality… When people feel their lives really pressed upon, when they feel sacrifices are asked of them, they may lose that margin, that latitude, for acceptance. Easy to support people in the Third World when they’re not rushing in to your own environs and competing with you. (Again–these immigrants will have no choice, and cannot be condemned for their emigration.) As a consequence of all this, true fascism will have its best opportunity in decades... In our own nation we’ll see scarcity like we’ve never seen before…And that will spark an instinctual turn to xenophobia. Good people, trying to feed their children, can suddenly become very cold…

Our only hope is to prepare for this vast displacement of populations. The decent, and truly necessary response, will be to find room for these people. To help them. But will even good people do the decent thing? Or will they surrender to fascist anti-immigrant demagogues? We must be pro-active in fighting the new GOP here, in preparation for the greater fight against fascism to come.