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Monday, November 15, 2010

COMPARING FASCISM

"A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers."
Friedrich August von Hayek

On Right Wing News a few weeks ago, a commenter brought up an interesting point. He asked, in essence, what are specific policy proposals conservatives bring up which are actually policies and ideals that real fascists embrace? This came up in the context of a discussion in which someone was accused of being a fascist simply because they were conservative. This isn't rare, you've likely heard it or read it in the past if you're a conservative. Usually its more broad than a personal attack ("conservatives are fascists") or its used as allegory ("well the conservatives are out again, here comes the night and fog") but it comes up pretty regularly with certain sorts of leftists.

So what about conservatives is similar to fascism, as it really is and was practiced, not the "duude, you're harshing my mellow! what are you, a fascist?" sort. The two things he suggested were "patriotism and a strong national defense." And really, in terms of policy, that's pretty much it. Conservatives tend to be patriotic and desire a strong national defense. So do Fascists. The only addition I could come up with is a love of tradition and the past, which is a similar theme for both groups.

And really, if that's the best you can do, you're not really damning conservatives at all when you call them fascists. That's like saying you're Stalinist because you love movies and your family. Uh, okay.

But then I asked another question: what are specific policy proposals leftists bring up which are actually policies and ideals that real fascists embrace? And that was a different sort of list entirely.
  • Speech control
  • Strong central government
  • Socialized Medicine
  • Food Stamps for all
  • Free clothing from the government
  • College education for all kids
  • Free housing from the government
  • Government price controls
  • Government controls over stock in all stores
  • Government controls over farming and production
  • Government child care
  • Exclusively government schools
  • Remove religion from education
  • Replace parental teaching with government education
Really, when you look at what the left calls for and fascists actually did while in power, the similarities are astounding. Now, unlike some, I'm not specifically calling leftists "fascists" because that's just silly. Hillary Clinton isn't going to strap on the SS uniform and you won't see goose-stepping professors down Pennsylvania avenue.

I just thought it was particularly ironic that the left, whose policies much more closely match fascism in practice, who accuses others of being fascist. Like I said I don't think leftists are fascist, but I know fascists were leftists.

As Friedrich Hayek argued powerfully in The Road to Serfdom, Fascism and Communism have very similar roots: collectivism. The power in the hands of the whole rather than the individual, with the central government controlling all rather than the people (technically Communism seeks eventually to eliminate the central government but in practice that never happens). They're about liberty taken away from the individual for their own good and to achieve a higher goal. They're sinister evils packaged in pretty bows with candy and smiles to seem good.

And usually, that's the worst kind of evil.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sinclair Lewis had Father Coughlin in mind.

11:41 AM, November 16, 2010  

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