An Ominous, Fact-based Comparison of Trump’s Agenda and the Nazis

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“Trump’s followers believe that no matter how many things he says are false, he’s channeling a deep truth and the deep truth is that their traditions, their identities should dominate.”

On May 1st Ian spoke with Jason Stanley, a Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of “How Propaganda Works”. They discussed Jason’s article in The New York Times “Who is a Criminal” and investigate what agenda might be behind the dark and dystopian vision of chaos and carnage in American inner cities and at the border that Trump and Sessions are pushing.

Hear Ian’s Interview with Jason Stanley

More by Jason Stanley

Who Is a ‘Criminal’? – In the United States, Donald Trump rode to victory with a call to expel “criminal aliens.” In his announcement of his run for office, he spoke of Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” Since he has taken office, he has harshly targeted immigrants in the United States; at his rally on Saturday in Harrisburg, Pa., he compared immigrants — as he did last year — to poisonous snakes, to great applause. It is worth noting that this tactic of dehumanization — referring to humans as animals — has historically been used to foment hatred and violence against chosen groups. In the lead up to the Rwandan genocide, for instance, Tutsis were regularly described as snakes.

While President Barack Obama set deportation priorities by making a distinction between undocumented immigrants with serious criminal convictions and everyone else, Trump’s executive orders vastly expand the criminal category — so much so that it essentially criminalizes anyone in the country who is without status and makes the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States a top priority for deportation.

How Propaganda Works  Our democracy today is fraught with political campaigns, lobbyists, liberal media, and Fox News commentators, all using language to influence the way we think and reason about public issues. Even so, many of us believe that propaganda and manipulation aren’t problems for us—not in the way they were for the totalitarian societies of the mid-twentieth century. In How Propaganda Works, Jason Stanley demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid. He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy—particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality—and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Focusing on the shortcomings of liberal democratic states, Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda’s selfish purposes.