The New Fascism
Michael Kirwan SJ is a theologian with a particular interest in political theology who lectures in the Loyola Institute of Catholic theology in Trinity College Dublin.
In this piece with Pat Coyle, he looks at what some commentators are calling ‘new fascism’. He says that it appears today as if we are almost replicating the processes of a century ago, with a similar mix of populist fear and resentment, aligned with a crisis of identity and disillusionment with democracy.
Politics is regarded more and more as spectacle, Michael argues. There is a fascination with strong charismatic leaders, and the issue is exacerbated by the presence of social media and a new culture of ‘post-truth’.
Michael cites Donald Trump as someone who is attractive to his supporters because he carries himself like a king, not a president – as do other leaders, of course, such as Putin in Russia and Bolsonaro in Brazil. And that the powers of immunity and the ability to create your own reality appeal to his followers who would also like to feel that way.