Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance has repeatedly embraced fascism and white nationalism in his effort to secure one of Ohio's seats in the United States Senate.
He's promoted the white supremacist "Great Replacement" theory. He's cited lies to lionize Christopher Columbus. He's falsely claimed to be suppressed by Big Tech. He's defended a "non violent" Capitol rioter who was caught on camera assaulting a police officer.
In his latest rant, Vance attacked professors and intellectuals, embracing an age old tactic of fascist leaders.
"I think in this movement of national conservatism, what we need more than inspiration is we need wisdom. And there is a wisdom in what Richard Nixon said approximately 40-50 years ago. He said, and I quote, 'The professors are the enemy.'"
The writer and former venture capitalist was approvingly quoting Richard Nixon's words to his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, two years before Nixon resigned.
Anti-intellectualism, particularly targeting professors and other educators, has been a key component of fascist ideology.
Jason Stanley, author of How Fascism Works, told Higher Ed:
"Fascist anti-intellectualism sets the traditions of the chosen nation, its dominant group, above all other traditions. It represents more complex narratives as corrupting and dangerous. It prizes mythologizing about the nation's past, and erasing any of its problematic features ... It seeks to replace truth with myth, transforming education systems into methods of glorifying the ideologies and heritage of the members of the traditional ruling class. In fascist politics, universities, which present a more complex and accurate version of history and current reality, are attacked for being places where dominant traditions or practices are critiqued."
Already, Republican hysteria over critical race theory and the party's insistence on so-called patriotic education has become a hot button issue in recent electoral politics. Republican lawmakers and hopeful lawmakers, like Vance, have leapt to demonize teachers and their unions, school board officials, and others in the educational sphere.
One history professor and historian, Heather Cox Richardson, warned of this in her response to Vance's screed.
Richardson warned that she "knows what comes next" if Vance's ideology gains enough momentum to take power.
Others feared what could be to come.
She was far from the only one unsettled by Vance's comments.
Vance is a graduate of Yale Law School. There, his professor, Amy Chua urged him to write the memoir that would catapult him to national relevance. He said, "Amy gave me the permission to chart my own path, both professionally and personally. It's the best single piece of advice I've ever gotten."