Published August 26, 2022
President Biden’s claim that the MAGA philosophy is “semi-fascism” has understandably outraged Republicans. Biden is no stranger to fevered bloviation. The human gaffe machine frequently engages in rhetorical hyper-exaggeration. His calumny is nonetheless inaccurate and inflammatory.
Classic 20th-century fascism was a political philosophy that comprehensively denounced modern liberal democracy. Fascists believed that multiparty democracy weakened the nation, and that competitive capitalism was wasteful and exploitative. Their alternative was a one-party state that guided the economy through regulation and sector-based accords between labor and business.
Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.