Mike O’Bric’s inflammatory statements this past Sunday regarding “Republican fascism,” written in response to Dan Dayton’s letter, “Who’s rabid? Democrats,” of Oct. 10, while a transparent, somewhat weak attempt at trolling, nonetheless begs a few responses to set Mike straight.

Identifying Trump with conservatism is a mistake. Republican Party politicos do indeed seem to be supporting his administration beyond reason, but there’s a clear rationale behind their efforts: the progressive agenda, as currently embodied in the more extreme Democrats (some of whom are running for president), must be stopped. Trump may well be impeached; he may well be removed from office. But as long as a Republican remains in the office, that rationale is served. And progressives will probably be less happy with a President Pence than with Trump, but time will tell.

Trump’s actions are not consistent with promoting a free market; ergo, they are not conservative.

I don’t agree with the actions of the party in all regards, including with respect to this rationale. But I do agree with the principles the Republican Party generally espouses.

And Mike is sadly mistaken if he truly equates Republican with fascism, Nazism or authoritarianism. The party of small government is not the party of authoritarianism. Big government is authoritarianism. Ergo, progressivism is authoritarianism.

Nazism and racism are not the same thing. And Nazism and fascism are not the same thing. They both have roots in socialism, so there’s that. The Nazi Party platform is a multi-point statement on socialist values; Mussolini, the founder of fascism, was a prominent socialist before making the shift. Fascism, socialism and Nazism are all cut from the same collectivist cloth but vary considerably in the policies they espouse.

In discussing ideology with progressives, I frequently ask them to define “fascism.” None ever can. They, like Mike, simply assume it’s synonymous with “authoritarianism.” They ignore the fact that fascism has a corporatist economic basis; this is probably because, as the party of regulatory burden, the Democrats are in fact the party of corporatism. And they’ll never let it be heard or acknowledged that all these ideological camps sprang from the leftism of the early 20th century and the decades preceding it.

But the irony in Mike’s case goes deeper. If fascism and authoritarianism are equivalent, then Mike, as a member of the strictest, most authoritarian branch of the military — the USMC — is himself a fascist.

Berry Muhl, Prairie Hill

* * *

I was wowed by a letter on Sunday’s opinion page, “Republican fascism” by Mike O’Bric. I noticed Marine Corps next to his name. I believe it should read “ANTIFA Corps.”

This guy has a great future with the fake news. Mike, you have been reading too many of those propaganda leaflets dropped from CNN. You need to take off the blinders and see how many of “our people” can now buy food with hard-earned cash instead of having to use food stamps. “Our people” are now working with a higher wage. When was the last time so many of “our people” were employed?

President Trump was elected on getting us out of endless wars. It’s time that Germany gets its one tank out of mothballs and takes on these crazy countries. Look in the Bible and you’ll see these same countries at war. I guess you can call that endless.

I won’t even remark on the immigrant problem. Mike still thinks the pictures of the chain-link cages were taken on Trump’s watch. His hero had nothing to do with it.

William Bregan, McGregor

* * *

I have heard this old adage all my life: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I wrote a letter last week, only to see it hijacked. The gentleman [Mike O’Bric] — and, yes, he is a gentleman — is on the polar end of the earth politically from me. I will not question his motives. I know he has a deep and abiding love for this country, having taken the same oath to protect and defend America [in the U.S. military] as I did more than five decades ago.

Spoke to Trib editor Bill Whitaker some weeks ago and he cautioned against political parties labeling or categorizing one another for political expediency. Fair enough: I am not a Nazi and Mike O’Bric is not a socialist. We just offer differing opinions amidst a supercharged, divisive time. If only others would imitate our candor.

There is plenty of mud in the swamp that is Washington. Leave it there!

Dan Dayton, West

EDITOR’S NOTE: So far as we’re concerned, if those on the right are going to readily and recklessly brand progressives as “socialists” or “communists,” then they must themselves be prepared to be similarly branded “fascists” and “Nazis,” however appropriate or inappropriate. Generally, one term is no more justified than the other among most Americans. While we remain arguably too lenient in publishing our readers’ views in all candor, articulating factual, rational, dignified arguments is far more compelling than mislabeling or maligning fellow citizens, left or right, for their legitimate political views.

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