Fintan O’Toole: The logic of Trump and fascism is escalating violence

What can the far right offer in return for people surrendering democratic power?

US president Donald Trump. “What the far right does is to make power very scarce . . . One man embodies all dominion. He invites all citizens to surrender their power to him.” Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US president Donald Trump. “What the far right does is to make power very scarce . . . One man embodies all dominion. He invites all citizens to surrender their power to him.” Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely. The lure of fascism is the glint of collective supremacy through the fog of individual inferiority.

In Gilead, the dystopian country version of the United States in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the handmaids are enslaved as reproductive vessels for the elite Commanders. But now and then they are unleashed for a “Particicution” in which they tear a political prisoner limb from limb. “As the architects of Gilead knew, to institute an effective totalitarian system . . . you must offer some benefits and freedoms . . . in return for those you remove . . . When power is scarce, a little of it is tempting.”

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