Enemy of the People: Trump Tries Stalnism
He”s been rightly compared to Hitler. As we speak his chosen group of jackbooted thugs is a newly ’empowered’ ICE. They feel a new freedom to deport lots of people. This has clearly won Trump their allegiance as he was their first Presidential endorsement.
But his jibe at CPAC that the press is the ‘enemy of the American people’ is right out of Stalin. Indeed, Stalin’s successor, Khrushchev, saw the phrase as beyond the pale.
Trump's epithet for the media was favored by Stalin and considered too toxic to use by Stalin's successor https://t.co/6SiukMKj2I
— Noam Scheiber (@noamscheiber) February 27, 2017
“The phrase was too toxic even for Nikita Khrushchev, a war-hardened veteran communist not known for squeamishness. As leader of the Soviet Union, he demanded an end to the use of the term “enemy of the people” because “it eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight.”
Of course, for Trump ending the possibility of any kind of ideological fight is what they call feature not a bug.
“The formula ‘enemy of the people,’” Mr. Khrushchev told the Soviet Communist Party in a 1956 speech denouncing Stalin’s cult of personality, “was specifically introduced for the purpose of physically annihilating such individuals” who disagreed with the supreme leader.
“It is difficult to know if President Trump is aware of the historic resonance of the term, a label generally associated with despotic communist governments rather than democracies. But his decision to unleash the terminology has left some historians scratching their heads. Why would the elected leader of a democratic nation embrace a label that, after the death of Stalin, even the Soviet Union found to be too freighted with sinister connotations?”
“Nina Khrushcheva, the great-granddaughter of Mr. Khrushchev and a professor of international affairs at the New School in New York, said the phrase was “shocking to hear in a non-Soviet, moreover non-Stalinist setting.” Her great-grandfather, she said, “of course also used Soviet slogans and ideological idioms but still tried to stay away from sweeping denunciations of whole segments of the Soviet population.”
“By using the phrase and placing himself in such infamous company, at least in his choice of vocabulary to attack his critics, Mr. Trump has demonstrated, Ms. Khrushcheva said, that the language of “autocracy, of state nationalism is always the same regardless of the country, and no nation is exempt.” She added that, in all likelihood, Mr. Trump had not read Lenin, Stalin or Mao Zedong, but the “formulas of insult, humiliation, domination, branding, enemy-forming and name calling are always the same.”
“The White House did not respond to a request for comment.”
No matter how you want to look at it, the phrase ‘Enemy of the people’ is never an innocent one. It traces it’s etymological roots back to Jacobinism.
“The phrase “enemy of the people” first entered the political lexicon in 1789, with the French Revolution. The revolutionaries initially used it as a slogan that was hurled willy-nilly at anybody who opposed them. But, as resistance to the revolution mounted, the term acquired a far more lethal and legalistic meaning with the adoption of a 1794 law that set up a revolutionary tribunal “to punish enemies of the people” and codified political crimes punishable by death. These included “spreading false news to divide or trouble the people.”
In other words it was used as a pretext to the Great Terror. Then it was used for Stalin’s purges.
Trump likely knows nothing of the history of this-though perhaps Bannon does. Perhaps Bannon is who wrote the phrase for him.
George W. Bush weighs in:
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” former President George W. Bush says on @TODAYshow
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 27, 2017
"Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it's important for the media to hold people to account," George W. Bush on NBC.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) February 27, 2017
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