Mark Bickhard on scary political parallels
Professor Mark Bickhard, who had been reading biographies of Mussolini during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, recently published as essay on "Scary Parallels Between Trump and Mussolini." The essay can be accessed here.
While acknowledging differences in historical circumstances, Professor Bickhard focuses on comparing Trump and Mussolini in terms of character and style, and finds the similarities frighteningly strong, which, he maintains, gives some guidance concerning future concerns. This comparison is based primarily on quotations from Mussolini by R.J.B. Bosworth (Bloomsbury, 2010) and from Giuseppe Finaldi's Mussolini and Italian Fascism (Routledge, 2008). Bickhard notes that both books were published years before similarities between Trump and Mussolini became politically relevant, and, thus, were not written with Trump in mind. Bickard's comparison focuses in particular on similarities regarding arrogant ignorance and incoherence, nepotism, pervasive contempt, and the exploitation of ultra-nationalism/alt-right movements. The essay ends with attention to Trump's attacks on central institutions of American democracy--the judiciary, the press, and moves to undermine and take over the institutions of public safety--as “enemies of the people,” which Bickhard notes "has a horrible and horribly dangerous historical background." The scary paralles lead Bickhard to conclude that "We live in dangerous times."