As I was getting ready to prepare today's Rule 5 post, I came across a post on American Power, titled "Understanding Ideology." So I felt I'd jump in the discussion, because in all the mud-slinging and name-calling that has erupted (thanks to a couple of lunatic freaks), the little that's left of our political definitions, are quickly getting thrown out the window!
First, let's take a look at the following illustration (via conservative-resources.com):
More or less, this is the traditional left-right political scale. I know that many folks claim there's more to it than just left-to-right. I'll leave their intentions up to them, but the reality is, you either want more government, or less. Economic, social, whatever ... it's either more government, or less.
The Astute Blogger provides a more useful scale, as illustrated below (one of these days I'll create my own):
With this scale, we have 100% government all the way to the left, and no government (anarchy) all the way to the right. This scale eventually becomes a circle, but I'll leave that for the end of the post.
The United States government is unique in its proclamation that the government shall not have complete power over all human conduct. The only powers possessed by our government are those granted by the Constitution, and it grants the government only limited powers. The powers not granted to the central government are reserved to the states or to the people.
In a totalitarian government, the opposite is true. A totalitarian government is one of unlimited powers.
What is a Fascist?
Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power. - Benito Mussolini.
If any one person can define fascism, it's Benito Mussolini, the great fascist evangelist! The structure of fascism, is the marriage or fusion, of corporate economic power and governmental power. The consolidation of these powers into the hands of a few, is what leads to the demagoguery and violent regimes we commonly equate with fascism.
Mussolini believed that the capitalist economic system should be planned and directed under the supervision of the state. In other words, he accepted that it was capitalism that produced wealth, but that an economy couldn't be left "unfettered," and thus needed to be controlled.
Under a fascist regime, the economy is organized into economic divisions. Employers are organized into local trade associations, workers are organized into local labor unions, and they're brought together in the "corporative," under the supervision of the state. "Corporatism" Mussolini thought, was his greatest contribution to the science of government.
We throw around the word fascism today, as if it means any political idea we don't like. Unfortunately, fascism grabbed the hearts and minds of many Americans during the 1930's, and remains with us today, under the synonym "industrial policy."
A Key Understanding:
Fascism holds a common philosophical belief with other forms of government, such as socialism and communism, that is the antithesis of the classical liberal beliefs upon which America was founded - that government derives its "just powers" only through the consent of the governed. Instead, these forms of government hold that the state comes prior to the individual. As Mussolini said:
The maxim that society exists only for the well-being and freedom of the individuals composing it does not seem to be in conformity with nature's plans. If classical liberalism spells individualism, fascism spells government.
In other words, government is the master, and "we the people" are the servants.
It's hard to argue that we don't have a great deal of fascism in America today. Policy reforms over the past 7 or 8 decades have slowly abolished many of our individual rights, in favor of corporate rights, eminent domain, rent control, zoning, transfer payments and progressive taxation (to name a few).
Can anyone argue that the Bush/Obama Great Bailouts of 2008-09 are anything but corporatism - the fusion of corporate and government interests? Trillions of "we the people's" dollars have been transfered into the hands of private bankers, industrialists, and union officials to "save" the economy. And President Obama has not only hired and fired corporate employees, but he's made decisions on everything from advertising to the type of products they produce.
- The government acknowledges no restraint upon its powers - totalitarianism.
- This unrestrained government is managed by a dictator - the leadership principle.
- The government is organized to operate the capitalist system and enable it to function - under an immense bureaucracy.
- The economic society is organized on the syndicalist model, that is by producing groups formed into craft and professional categories under supervision of the state.
- The government and the syndicalist organizations operate the capitalist society on the planned, autarchical principle.
- The government holds itself responsible to provide the nation with adequate purchasing power by public spending and borrowing.
- Militarism is used as a conscious mechanism of government spending.
- Imperialism is included as a policy inevitably flowing from militarism as well as other elements of fascism.
I'm so sick and tired of the "Democrat vs. Republican" arguments of today. They're trivial, meaningless, and quite frankly, they suck!
The so-called "experts" and "pundits" on TV, in print, on radio and the Internet are nothing more than a bunch of junior-high kids arguing over trivial crap with words they don't understand. Both major parties have moved left-of-center, and both have more belief in the above fascist organization list, than they do with natural rights and our first 10 Amendments.
A "right-wing extremist" is an anarchist, not a fascist. Fascism is the complete rejection of the individual in favor of the state. This puts fascism to the far left on the political scale.
You can blame "Republicans" for using militarism as a mechanism of government spending and I'd agree with you, but over the past 100 years, it has been Democratic administrations who have been eager to go to war. Historically speaking, Republicans are anti-war! It's only a modern phenomena that they've become pro-war. All I'm saying is, it's a two-way street.
And don't forget ... it's Democratic President Obama who is expanding the war machine as we speak.
Many believe the linear political scale is really a circle because anarchy cannot last — those with the biggest guns will eventually take control, hence totalitarianism. I disagree. I think the very idea of government itself is what leads to despotic rule.