Family Values Fascism, from Vichy to Donald Trump

Fascists often soften their call for national purification and the deportation of alien elements with invocations of family values.

In 1942, as the Vichy regime began handing over the foreign-born Jews of France to the Nazis, it made the decision to deport their children (about six thousand) with them. In order to fulfill the Nazis’ quota—but also, Vichy proclaimed, to keep the families together.

At the time, Robert Brasillach wrote, “We must separate from the Jews en bloc and not keep any little ones.” Defending his position after the liberation of France, he explained: “I even wrote that women must not be separated from children and that we must arrive at a human solution to the problem.” A month later, he doubled-down on the notion that family values might somehow soften his fascism:

I am an anti-Semite, history has taught me the horrors of the Jewish dictatorship, but that families have so often been separated, children cast aside, deportations organized that could only have been legitimate if they hadn’t had as their goal—hidden from us—death, pure and simple, strikes me, and has always struck me, as unacceptable. This is not how we’ll solve the Jewish problem.

Deportations are acceptable, then, if they do not have as their goal the extermination of the Jews, and if they do not break up families. That is how we solve the Jewish problem.

(And long before Vichy, there was slaveholder Thomas Dew contemplating the pragmatics of emancipation in the South: “If our slaves are ever to be sent away in any systematic manner, humanity demands that they should be carried in families.”)

Now comes Donald Trump, speaking today on Meet the Press.

Donald Trump would reverse President Obama’s executive orders on immigration and deport all undocumented immigrants from the U.S. as president, he said in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd.

“We’re going to keep the families together, but they have to go,” he said in the interview, which will air in full on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this Sunday.

Pressed on what he’d do if the immigrants in question had nowhere to return to, Trump reiterated: “They have to go.”

“We will work with them. They have to go. Chuck, we either have a country, or we don’t have a country,” he said.

The genius of family values fascism is that it’s twofer: you get to don the mantle of humanitarianism by keeping families together, and by deporting the children along with their parents, you also get rid of more undesirables.


  1. Edward August 16, 2015 at 5:17 pm | #

    The United States is required by treaty (law?) to receive refugees fleeing persecution.

  2. dtr August 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm | #

    Trump’s minions could easily mine Brasillach’s writings for ideas. The following could easily be changed from:

    We grant ourselves permission to applaud Charlie Chaplin, a half Jew, at the movies; to admire Proust, a half Jew; to applaud Yehudi Menuhin, a Jew; and the voice of Hitler is carried over radio waves named after the Jew Hertz … We don’t want to kill anyone, we don’t want to organize any pogroms. But we also think that the best way to hinder the always unpredictable actions of instinctual anti-semitism is to organize a reasonable anti-semitism.


    We grant ourselves permission to applaud African and Eastern European sportsmen, Asian doctors, Indian software programmers. We don’t want to kill anyone, we don’t want to organize any pogroms. But we also think that the best way to hinder the always unpredictable, violent actions of the instinctual anti-immigrant is to organize reasonable anti-immigrant protection.


    Speaking of Family Values, here’s a strand of techno-Fascism that also needs to be covered:

  3. xenon2 August 16, 2015 at 7:41 pm | #

    Yes, but the law is not for refugees from Central America.The US has an asylum program for Christians from Myanmar, but not the Rohingya from Myanmar, b/c the Rohingya are Muslim, and god knows, the US doesn’t like Muslims. Meanwhile, the US has made nice-nice with the Buddhists in Myanmar, b/c it has resources the US wants, like uranium.

    In 19th century, US support for corporations, and governments who would uphold unfair laws in Central America,
    brought us we we are today.

    United Fruit? Hudbay? Goldcorp?

  4. krypton2 August 17, 2015 at 12:02 am | #

    Funny how Brasillach is so blinded by his anti-Semitism that he ends up spewing venom against folks who probably never considered themselves Jewish (Chaplin on principle declined to ever answer that question and “Hertz the Jew” considered himself a Lutheran throughout his life). Probably the same reflex that causes backcountry racists to label Obama a “Muslim”.

    Techno-fascism is ugly, but still no match for the real thing: a land (“The Holy Land”) where the collective urge to national purification is so strong that manuals are written on how to burn children. Ministers don’t bow down to any Family values pablum and openly call kids “little snakes”.

  5. Daniel George Floros, Esq. August 19, 2015 at 9:25 am | #

    Is it possible to recognize Trump’s error in his judgment of Mexican, Central, and South American immigrants while granting him the broader point? By any statistical measure, immigrants from the South have been a boon to America. They work for nothing, commit fewer crimes than natives, and pay their taxes. But just because these immigrants happen to be desirable doesn’t mean that all immigrants (or natives) are desirable. For that matter, “undesirable” is not a false category.

    Political correctness has dictated that certain terms are taboo. I would like to see an end to that nonsense. “Undesirable” means what is says: a class or category of people who detract rather than add to the common weal.

    If America was serious about bettering itself, it would increase Southern immigration while sharply curbing the breeding habits of its own home-grown undesirables. Every trailer-park and inner-city ghetto would be seeded with family-planning services. Even better, we would put every teenager in the country on compulsory birth control at puberty, and only remove it when a committed couple could show, by some modicum of evidence, that they were capable of sustaining a family.

    “Undesirables” exist. Just because Trump is wrong about immigration doesn’t mean that all people have equal social value.

  6. HooperHands August 23, 2015 at 1:32 am | #

    You spelled “Francis Galton” wrong. And I’m pretty sure he wasn’t an Esquire.

  7. Linde M. Brocato August 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm | #

    Trump reiterated: “They have to go.”

    Sounds to me like he’s echoing Dylann Roof’s comments to the folks at Mother Emanuel…

Leave a Reply