Location: MIA, last known position: Bagram AB Afghanistan
Where Fascism Lives: Food, Fascism, and Obama Rules
I have long held the belief that the Progressives were not socialists but fascists.
John Mackey, the feisty CEO of Whole Foods, says Obamacare is “fascist economics” and he regrets having said it, even though he insists — correctly — that it’s a textbook case of Mussolini-style corporate statism. Private property continues to exist, but the state controls all business. That’s why the fascists called their totalitarian system a “third way” between unbridled capitalism and Soviet-style Communism.
Back in the twenties and early thirties, before German National Socialism became the archetypal “fascist” doctrine, Mussolini’s call for a new kind of national economy intrigued many serious thinkers and leaders, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Mr. Mackey was also right to regret using the term “fascist,” because it invokes so many passions and stereotypes that it hinders, rather than advances, understanding. But “fascism” was a very successful mass movement in Western Europe for an entire generation, and it flourishes in many countries today. It behooves us to understand why it was so popular, and how most of our politics differ from it. We have fascist economics, but certainly not fascist politics or foreign policy in America today, even though there are echoes of it every so often.
There are many varieties of fascism, but the principal elements are:
A single party dictatorship, headed by a charismatic leader.
A politics of enthusiasm, involving the masses in ritual public celebration, and direct exchanges between the leader and his followers en masse.
Hypernationalism, or, in the Nazi case, racism, based on the claim that the nation or race is unique, superior, and entitled to play a major role in world affairs.
The aforementioned “corporate state” in which private property is legitimate, but the state dictates its proper use.
The biggest difference between the current Progressives and the European fascists is the lack of nationalism and military uniforms. But even communism has shifted towards fascism. That is what Russia and China did.
Nor is there much in the way of hypernationalism in our current crop of leaders. We’ve rarely had much in the way of traditional nationalism in America; we’re patriots, we celebrate the American dream, but we don’t believe in a unique “people” or “race,” destined to impose its will on the rest of the world.
No doubt there are American political activists who would like their side to totally dominate the country’s affairs, as we can hear in recent calls for Obama to “destroy” the Republican Party once and for all. But it is hard to imagine a mass movement in this country based on an open call for a totalitarian state.
Charismatic leaders are not unique to fascism, and we have had many political leaders, including Obama, who are inspirational orators and who produce crowd behavior — such as the “jumpers” who rallied to Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign — that is reminiscent of the fascist masses. But we are a long way from the cult of personality that dominated Italy and Germany in the fascist epoch.
Indeed, one feature of charismatic leadership seems common to all modern politics: the tendency of people to excuse the leader for the errors of his government. When things go badly, there’s a tendency for followers to say “if only our leader knew what was going on, he’d fix it.” So it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see poll results that show the American people unhappy with Obama’s programs (they don’t like Obamacare, or higher taxes), but largely supportive of the man himself.
If you want examples of contemporary fascism, the easiest place to start is radical Islamists who openly call for totalitarian rule by men chosen by God, and invoke jihad in the “war against the infidel.” No wonder their predecessors in the 1920s and 1930s were inspired by Mussolini and Hitler. And no wonder they despise Obama, who they view as a weakling, a loser, and a pushover.
Socialism is a jumping off point for either Fascism OR Communism. True communism is really not possible in any form as it relies on a utopian anarchy. Since the real world does not allow for utopia, true communism can never be achieved. The practicality of a "communist government" is that they must control the resources (ie industry) in order to "redistribute" them. A private citizen has no impetus to own and run a company only to have their reward (income) stripped and redistributed. Thus the state owns the industry or no industry occurs.