Breaking News         Latest US News              New York News              Fx Tribune

How to Deal With German Shepherd Aggression
Despite his jutting jaw and comical bravado, Donald Trump is not another Benito Mussolini. The Italian dictator had six children, one wife and several mistresses, the most loyal of whom, Claretta Petacci, chose to die with him and was hung upside down in...

Cohen: Mussolini, the pope and the amoral pragmatism of Trump’s enablers

Despite his jutting jaw and comical bravado, Donald Trump is not another Benito Mussolini. The Italian dictator had six children, one wife and several mistresses, the most loyal of whom, Claretta Petacci, chose to die with him and was hung upside down in...

Cohen: Mussolini, the pope and the amoral pragmatism of Trump’s enablers

Despite his jutting jaw and comical bravado, Donald Trump is not another Benito Mussolini. The Italian dictator had six children, one wife and several mistresses, the most loyal of whom, Claretta Petacci, chose to die with him and was hung upside down in a Milan gas station. Most of Trump’s women have fared better.

On the other hand, the similarities between Trump and Mussolini are so obvious that it would amount to journalistic malpractice not to mention some of them. Mussolini was vain, bombastic, vulgar and, while the creator of fascism, he believed in nothing aside from himself. A former Italian prime minister, quoted in David Kertzer’s book “The Pope and Mussolini,” thought that Mussolini’s chief attribute “was his devotion to the cult of his own personality.” Is this our guy or what?

Kertzer’s book was first published in 2014 at a time when Trump’s presidency seemed likely only to Jared Kushner. So clearly no analogy was intended, although one is certainly there. The most cogent parallel is contained in the book’s very title: the pope. Strip him of his vestments and Pius XI becomes a politician much like Reince Priebus, Mike Pence or any other member of the Republican establishment for whom, in exchange for something of value — lower taxes, less regulation or, in the case of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a comforting certainty in the loo — a deal can be made. These Republicans and others would accept Trump and gamble on American democracy and world peace.

In Mussolini’s day, the Catholic Church, too, had its demands and grievances. The Italian state had seized church lands, reducing the pope’s realm to itsy-bitsy Vatican City. The state had taken over the schools. It was no longer financially supporting the church. It had permitted divorce. Pius XI wanted to return to the status quo ante. In exchange for recognition of Mussolini’s fascist government, by 1929 Il Duce was willing to oblige.

Mussolini was hardly religious. On the contrary, as a one-time doctrinaire socialist, he reviled the church, considering it an anachronistic picker of the average man’s pocket. Still, he was willing to do business with the Vatican. Mussolini’s only principle was his own self-interest.

As for Pius XI, he had many principles — but none of them stood in the way of making a deal with a fascist whose goons routinely beat up priests, attacked Catholic social centers and murdered the occasional dissident. Violence displeased the pope. What displeased him more, however, were current church-state relations. What the pope feared most of all was the threat of communism and, of course, the entirely hallucinatory power he attributed to the Jews. Mussolini was willing to destroy them both.

Pius XI did not like Mussolini — not his swagger, not his use of violence, not his libidinous ramblings and not his vanity. Bit by bit, however, he came to terms with what he loathed and instead concentrated on what was good for the church. This amorality is often called pragmatism.

In today’s Republican Party, a similar process is under way. The princes of the GOP have elevated business concerns to the level of national interest. This accounts for the procession of Wall Street types who have backed Trump almost from the start — Wilbur Ross, Carl Icahn and Steve Schwarzman, who once said of a possible tax increase on private-equity firms: “It’s a war. It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

Breaking News Headlines

banner30
MACRI sweeps in legislative elections
MACRI sweeps in legislative elections
A safe fair for America
A safe fair for America
Families of the dead in the Galician fires will receive 75,000 euros
Families of the dead in the Galician fires will receive 75,000 euros
Legislative elections in Argentina, live and direct
Legislative elections in Argentina, live and direct
Incident at a bowling alley in Nuneaton, east of Birmingham
Incident at a bowling alley in Nuneaton, east of Birmingham
Sold for 16,000 dollars a drawing of the Empire State made by Trump
Sold for 16,000 dollars a drawing of the Empire State made by Trump
The legal situation of medicinal cannabis in the world
The legal situation of medicinal cannabis in the world
Who wants to disguise Anne Frank for Halloween?
Who wants to disguise Anne Frank for Halloween?
At least 43 dead in a Taliban attack on military base in Afghanistan
At least 43 dead in a Taliban attack on military base in Afghanistan
May open letter to European citizens: "We want you to stay"
May open letter to European citizens:
Portugal retrieves grenades and rocket launcher stolen on military base
Portugal retrieves grenades and rocket launcher stolen on military base
Arrested ten people in France in an alleged ultra plot
Arrested ten people in France in an alleged ultra plot
POLLS Results ALL
Who is the most powerful actor in Syria

banner31
Front Pages
  • The Sun
NEWS ARCHIVES