Things I shouldn’t have to say about borders

First, for those who may be unfamiliar with my work, my dissertation was on conservative attitudes towards unauthorized migration. I used discourse-historical analysis, a critical theory method which entails an examination of both text and context.[1]

I already knew that dissertations are where a lot of good research goes to die. But I had wished for more impact than this and when I hear the things being said about migrants and borders that I have been hearing especially during the course of the Trump administration, I am, to put it very, very mildly, disappointed. Yes, Donald Trump is an authoritarian populist, verging on paleoconservative (in my dissertation work, I found these two otherwise distinct tendencies were virtually indistinguishable on this topic). And yes, this rhetoric is what you would expect from an authoritarian populist. But 1) authoritarian populists were never supposed to actually gain power, and 2) this rhetoric and policy should be swatted down as the fascist[2] nonsense it is. Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” February 14, 2017,

The tyranny of the minority

Recently, in response to a rather triumphalist tweet predicting the demise of Donald Trump,[1] I offered a summation of the political situation as I perceive it:

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  1. [1]John Oberlin, [microblog post], Twitter, December 1, 2018,
  2. [2]John Oberlin, [microblog post], Twitter, December 1, 2018,