William Connolly

In William Connolly’s novel ‘Aspirational Fascism’, he seeks to compare manifestation of tendencies with the current American setting. In addition, he wants to identify uncontroversial elements about the sovereignty, the idea of rights by reading them in a different way by systemic shock, humanitarian, or cultural crisis and interpret how they play into specific tendencies. Fascism is a political philosophy or regime that idolizes a nation and most often a race above the individual and then stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader with severe economic and social regimentation to go along with forcible suppression to opposition. Connolly tends to explain fascism genealogy and its philosophically understanding context. For Connolly, he puts it at by joining engagements to exploration of subliminal and affective modes for cultural communication, “You focus on characteristic bodily disciplines and selective modes of attunement active within different segments of populace.” (Connolly 5). The main focus in a genealogy of fascism is on the present; the first thing: we must pay very close attention and notice to how things just were before in history, like with the Nazi or Italian Fascism, and with that we must compare how different those circumstances help ourselves deal with new perils today.

In this genealogy, Connolly solely focuses on the comparative strategies of Hitler and Trump. The first thing that is understood is that Trump is not a Nazi. Nazi was a manifested fascism of 1930’s Germany and was successful because of Hitler mannerism and inspiring movement. In Connolly’s debate, he believes Trump is not a Nazi. Instead, he is a “an aspirational fascist who pursues crowd adulation, hyper aggressive nationalism, white triumphalism, a law-and-order regime giving unaccountable power to the police, a militarist, and a practitioner of a rhetorical style that regularly creates fake news and smears opponents to mobilize support for the big lies he advances.” (Connolly 7).

If you take a minute to understand Hitler’s speaking style in relation to Trump’s, it may turn out that Hitler was exceptionally smart in one retrospective: that educated individuals are the ones that pay closely to writing; however not nearly enough to the modes of speech. In 1927 and 1928, Hitler had published ‘Mein Kampf’ and it began the Nazi movement in Germany because of it. William Connolly explains that not much people have read the text, both for individuals who reside in Germany and in the United States. “I consult it now not because Trump is on a course that must end in death camps, or because the scapegoats he attacks are the same as those marked by Hitler, or because the institutional restraints against Trumpism are as weak as those earlier in place against Hitlerism, or because Hitler launched a world war and Donald trump will necessarily lead to nuclear winter. The latter is indeed possible.” (Connolly 6).

Trump’s speeches look all too incoherent if you pay close attention to them, but magically his speeches have coherence when delivered to a crowd. He also may rehearse those theatrical gestures and grimaces, walking back and forth on stage, circling around while pointing to the crowd to draw its acclaim, and so forth. When one notices his speaking style you will see that he has constructed a mode of communication that speaks to unfairness circulating in those crowds. Of course, he also speaks to the super rich or 1% of America. But the speeches are pitched to one prime constituency. His rhetoric and gestures tap, accelerate, and amplify those unfairness thoughts and he seeks to channel them in that one-way direction. He appoints Immigrants as sole responsible for deindustrialization. Since Trump can’t go in hand as a traditional fascist, the correct term that should be labeled on him is Aspirational Fascism as Connolly termed it.

“This new type of fascist aspiration would seek to retain party competition while pursuing legal and illegal means to erode voter turnout of African Americans, the poor, and other minorities.” (Connolly 185). The majority of it would stimulate white working class individuals with false promises and push devotees of Islamic faith into the forefront the hate list. With everything said, Connolly has a perceived explanation that if things settle for Trump it may be up for a period of uncertainty. By the time things have settled, comparisons may be then valuable. Trump could easily be compared to Berlusconi, Mussolini, or even Marine Le Pen. “Yet, it is next to impossible that the Trump regime will take the course followed by Hitler from the middle 1930s until the end of the World War II, though the danger of a nuclear winter ushered in by an impulsive president with fascist dispositions is nothing to sneeze at.” (Connolly 201).

Heterogeneous connections live on today; the most common comparison is to compare apples and oranges. It is to highlight differences across the scale, for instance they are both fruit and edible. But if one what if one were to compare it to tomatoes, the differences would certainly be keen. Back in history, Nazism was a toxic infection democracy during a period of major crisis; like a black rot of infecting apple trees.

For Michael Foucault’s thinking of Power, he suggests that the most important kind of power does not repress at all. Most thoughts on power, is like violence whether its physically or verbal. You want to do one thing and the other person forces you to do their bidding with power. Like States only have to lock up criminals if they broke the rules. Repressive power forces us to do things, and normalize power uses a silent way of controlling that makes us as the individual to do things without telling us to. For Foucault, knowledge is incomprehensible apart from power. In his perspective, there is no pure knowledge apart from power, but knowledge also has real and clear construct for power. Foucault’s man argument is that modern state has moved away from enforcing their author physically to enforcing it psychologically.

To demonstrate his point, Foucault examines a new type of prison as a society at large in which Bentham’s “Panopticon” (a circular prison with cells around external walls) inmates would assume they were being watched and as a result would act accordingly. This self-governance is the epitome of Foucault’s theory of modern power. In modern times, surveillance is being used as a key instrument to control and govern the people. “It is an important mechanism, for it automatizes and dis-individualizes power. Power has its principle not so much in a person as in a certain concerted distribution of bodies, surfaces, lights, gazes; in an arrangement whose internal mechanisms produce the relation in which individuals are caught up.” (Foucault 202).

“The general recipe for the exercise of power over men: the ‘mind’ as a surface of inscription for power, with semiology as its tool; the submission of bodies through the control of ideas; the analysis of representations as a principle in a politics of bodies that was much more effective than the ritual anatomy of torture and execution.” (Foucault 102). For Foucault, power is manifested in everyday living. For example, like the Supreme Court, or parliament, or the President. It’s manifested in these invisible institutions.Power to Foucault is not exercised through physical attributes; it’s channeled through each one of us. Embedded in hospitals, prisons, and even education institutions. Power is everywhere and productive. Foucault’s views do successfully built into America democracy today. Like for example, in today’s world Trumpism spreading of fascism is passed through the subconscious exercise of power. Trump manipulates individuals by sending his message through the use of an illusion of care to brainwash and discriminate other individuals. To further justify how Trump controls his followers, he uses the big lies scenario starting when he insisted that our first African American President, Barrack Obama, that he was not born in this country and was born into Muslim heritage with no evidence to support his statement. That lie was soon helped to weaken Obama and put light into the radical view. “The Lies, repeated on campaign stops in front of a screaming audience of ardent supporters, are designed to further outrage a base that energizes him as he brings it to a boil.” (William 2017)

A huge real world example of aspirational fascism is around mid 2017, a group of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Ku Klux Klan members took demonstrations against the city’s approval to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee, who was the general of the confederacy during the Civil War. During the protest, one individual drove his car to a bystander and killed a woman and injured many others. Soon after, President Trump took initiative to condemn many of the individuals who protested in this violent racist event, “In a passive voice a condemnation that focused on the neo-Nazis or “whatever you want to call them.” (Connolly 316). He later took back the statement in an act to condemn all sides again, along with the fake news media that have refused to pretend that the rivals of neo-Nazism are equivalent to them. Trump’s messages motivate the kind of vigilante physical violence that he claims to criticize. Donald Trump teaches us that the propaganda that one promotes has much to do with the quality of disposition one develops. Aspirational fascists are catastrophic to society and in their acts that they so hardly believe brings the world to harmony.

In other words, Connolly makes argumentative strong remarks on fascism today in the looks of Donald Trump leading American society. How Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler compare, they both have obviously numerous views on politics, but they both relate in how their speaking style manipulate to gain an audience and therefore individuals who will lead their cause. Aspirational fascists are destructive individuals who will let society go down with their turbulent acts of impulse. Foucault and Connolly’s views are quite alike in the manner that physical discipline or violence is not needed to raise awareness to a certain law or biding. Like how nowadays, Trumpism spreads fascism through the subconscious exercise of power. Trump manipulates individuals with an illusion of care to discriminate others. It’s using repressive power, so that the individuals are controlled by invisible restraint, so that the use of torture or execution is never needed.