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):

right_wing_vs_left_wing

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):

political-spectrum

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.

Social Organization of Fascism:

  1. The government acknowledges no restraint upon its powers - totalitarianism.
  2. This unrestrained government is managed by a dictator - the leadership principle.
  3. The government is organized to operate the capitalist system and enable it to function - under an immense bureaucracy.
  4. 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.
  5. The government and the syndicalist organizations operate the capitalist society on the planned, autarchical principle.
  6. The government holds itself responsible to provide the nation with adequate purchasing power by public spending and borrowing.
  7. Militarism is used as a conscious mechanism of government spending.
  8. Imperialism is included as a policy inevitably flowing from militarism as well as other elements of fascism.

Summary:

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.

The Circle:

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.

  • http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com reliapundit

    thanks for the link!

    btw: in Itsalisn, corporatism meant UNIONS not corporations.

    wiki:

    This was to be achieved by a form of government control over business and labour (called "the corporate state" by Mussolini).[12][13

    [YOU SEE::::::: HE DID NIOT MEAN CORPORATIONS AT ALL!!!]

    Fascism opposes class conflict, blames capitalist liberal democracies for its creation and communists for exploiting the concept.[9] In the economic sphere, many fascist leaders have claimed to support a "Third Way" in economic policy, which they believed superior to both the rampant individualism of unrestrained capitalism and the severe control of state communism.[10][11] This was to be achieved by a form of government control over business and labour (called "the corporate state" by Mussolini).[12][13]

    Mussolini claimed that Italian Fascism's economic system of corporatism could be identified as either state capitalism or state socialism, which in either case involved "the bureaucratisation of the economic activities of the nation."[27]

    Mussolini denounced supercapitalism for causing the "standardization of humankind" and for causing excessive consumption.[168]

    Health and welfare spending grew dramatically under Italian fascism, with welfare rising from 7% of the budget in 1930 to 20% in 1940.[190]

    • Mike Smithy

      So there you have it. Mussolini and Obummer have a lot in common. In addition, let's not forget that Obummer admires Hitler's "Brown Shirt" program and has eluded to the fact that the USA should have one as well. POWER TO THE SHEEPLE.

  • theCL

    Thanks for the additional info!

  • Ryan

    No. Corporatism does not equal fascism. Corporatism pre-existed fascism and has nothing to do with the modern business corporation as many believe as it pre-existed the modern business corporation as well. Economic corporatism is all about organizing functional corporate groups like labour unions, business managers, and consumers to negotiate with each other. Many democratic countries in Europe have corporatist economies and both left-wing and right-wing parties in Europe support corporatism. The alleged quote by Mussolini saying that corporatism equals fascism is actually false and is a rumor. Why? Because the Fascists called their system "corporativism" and has been translated as that. Furthermore fascism's focus is on mobilizing a militant and violent nationalist movement that is typically very xenophobic and racist towards people that the fascists deem are threatening them.

    Fascist political language is very bizarre and is not exhibited by any contemporary American politician explicitly. Fascists portray themselves as NEITHER wholly left-wing or right-wing. Fascists try to rally workers to their cause while at the same time condemning trade unionism and radical class conflict ideas.

    Fascists tend to be placed on the political extreme-right because their mutual opposition to liberal democracy and communism made them very similar to reactionaries who are extreme-right. Remember in France where left-wing and right-wing was derived, left-wingers included capitalists while right-wingers included people who favoured state-intervention to protect the feudal system. The more equality one wants in society, the more left-wing one is. The more social hierarchy that one wants or accepts in society, the more right-wing one is. Right-wing and left-wing actually has nothing to do with the level of state intervention - it is what any intervention is used for that determines it's political position.

    • A_leader

      Incorrect, Ryan.
      You are looking at Fascism as though it is a governmental system in the same likeness as Communism or Republicanism or Monarchy, etc.
      But that's not what Fascism actually is.
      Fascism is actually an economic system, in the mold as Capitalism is an economic system.
      Fascism is the economic model which Mussolini advocated.
      The governmental system is merely what follows.
      The governmental system is what is established in order to put the economic system into effect.

  • theCL

    Fascists tend to be placed on the political extreme-right because their mutual opposition to liberal democracy and communism made them very similar to reactionaries who are extreme-right. Remember in France where left-wing and right-wing was derived ...

    In America, we don't draw our political scale along socialistic lines. Instead, we measure by the amount of government authority. You either have totalitarian government or anarchy. Don't be fooled by the "team" mantras.

    And yes, back in the day's of fascism's birth, corporatism and fascism were synonomous.

  • JJ

    It doesn't matter how you divide up everyone. The fact is that the U.S. is a country in decline, going bankrupt, while all this bickering goes on.We would be better off with a few intelligent dictators running this country than a bunch of short term greedy, long term ignorant American voters using the vote and power of big govt to steal from one another. No signs of a bottom anywhere in sight. Got Gold?

  • Steve Thomas

    What I find so incredibly frustrating is the simplicity of mind so many people in the world exhibit. Indeed, Ryan seems to that merely because the word corporativism existed prior the word corporation, that they’re of entirely different meanings – wrong. Historically, corporatism or corporativism (Italian: corporativismo) is a political system in which legislative representation is given to industries. Albeit, in the US, corporations are not given overt representation but rather covert representation – usually through special interest groups, lobbyists or slight-of-hand deals; the end result is the same. He claims that, “Fascist political language is very bizarre and is not exhibited by any contemporary American politician explicitly.” This is breath-taking inanity at its best. Idiomatic phrases such as, “Support the troops,” “Love it or leave it,” or “English is America’s language” don’t qualify I suppose; there exist myriad others. Indeed, Ryan’s little history lessons amounts to little more than Ann’s redefinition of the political spectrum. Indeed, much like Bush; it’s not torture if we call it something else. Sorry, Ann, I know you support torture. Yes, this is what historically we would call fascism. Jackboots anyone?

  • http://referendumforanewdemocracy.blogspot.com/ Mr. King

    Perhaps beyond identifying parties we should look at the bigger picture...

    Do we need a Referendum For A New Democracy?

    Are you concerned about the future of democracy? Do you feel democracy is under attack by extreme greed in countries around the world? Are you sick and tired of: living in fear, corporate greed, growing police state, government for the rich, working more but having less?

    Can we use both elections and random selection (in the way we select government officials) to rid democracy of undue influence by extreme wealth and wealth-dominated mass media campaigns?

    The world's first democracy (Athenian democracy, 600 B.C.) used both elections and random selection. Even Aristotle (the cofounder of Western thought) promoted the use random selection as the best way to protect democracy. The idea of randomly selecting (after screening) juries remains from Athenian democracy, but not randomly selecting (after screening) government officials. Why is it used only for individual justice and not also for social justice? Who wins from that? ...the extremely wealthy?

    What is the best way to combine elections and random selection to protect democracy in today's world? Can we use elections as the way to screen candidates, and random selection as the way to do the final selection? Who wins from that? ...the people?

  • http://www.avatarsequels.com Robert Andrew Sutherland

    "If it is admitted that the nineteenth century has been the century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy, it does not follow that the twentieth must also be the century of Liberalism, Socialism and Democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "Right," a Fascist century. If the nineteenth was the century of the individual it may be expected that this one may be the century of "collectivism" and therefore the century of the State." source: http://www.historyguide.org/europe/duce.html

  • luxfero

    since when was anarchism rightwing? throughout anarchism's history the most known anarchists have been socialists(bakunin, kropotkin, proudhon ect)

  • luxfero

    Liberals in the united states are not the same liberals Hitler and Mussolini denounced. They denounced classical liberalism which is known for it's individualism and it's free market tenets. the guy in a comment impied or said that a liberal democracy is left wing. a liberal democracy would be right wing because it's based on classical liberalism which is definitely a right wing ideology.

  • luxfero

    whenever a communist, socialist or fascist speaks of liberalism, they mean classical liberalism(freemarketeers)

  • jovine

    The confusion you suffer is that you assume Right = less government, Left = more government, but that is only the 21st century Tea Party definition of left - right. It is not the historical definition and it was not the definition in 1930, either. No one assumed then that fascism = left-wing--least of which Mussolini who described fascism as "of the right" (Doctrines of Fascism, 1932). This TeaParty revisionism is wrong. Just plain wrong.

  • Pal

    It is a caricature of reality to say that fascism is really a phenomenon of the left and that social democracy is equated with fascism---given that fascism was overwhelmingly an anti-liberalism with an antipathy to all things leftist. Its polemics structured around stereotypes not scholarship. It's an old theme that comes from the Right who refuse to take responsibility of the worst of regimes that they have spawned via their ideology - and to ignore the real American fascism---skinheads, neo-Nazis, the Klu Klux Klan, white supremacists, nativists, the Montana Freemen and right wing militias etc --lurking in the Right's closet. The economic shockwaves are going to continue for some time from the failures of an unfettered financial capitalism, and so the Right are going to contaminate the shift to government intervention and an expansion of the welfare state to deal with unemployment and social unrest with state repression, tyranny and dictatorship. The implication is that anything that enhances the power and reach of the state is bad. Only the state threatens us--not rogue corporations or Wall Street.The economic strategy is to bail out the banks, pay off the bond traders, keep the basic infrastructure working, and make the poorest bear the cost through welfare cuts in phrased steps.

  • Mmm hmm

    Left-Wingers like to associate the Right with anything and everything that people consider bad. Everyone says that Hitler was a Right-Winger even though the Nazi Party was anti-capitalism and started as the Socialist economic DAP.
    Mussolini considered himself an advocate of Third Position. "Third Positionists tend to advocate for the ownership of the means of producing goods and services to be distributed as widely as possible." Goods distributed between the people of the nation... sounds a lot like US (modern) Liberal Welfare system that every Right-Winger hates. We all know that Communism is a left form of politics so there's no need to go into that. The left are masters of demonizing the opposition, it's all they use to get votes. They know that there ideas don't work so they make it out like the right are a bunch of satanists or something.

  • jeffreak

    goes to show that these tags of left/right are ridiculous and don't apply, they are used to simplify concepts for the under educated and overly emotional masses

  • Mike Smithy

    The author's illustration is wrong. Anarchism is extreme right wing. Facism is a a doctrine of the left. Musolini's brand of fascism was to the right of communism and to the left of socialism. Hitler's National Socialist Party (Nazi's) were left wing. The fundamental difference between Mussolini and Hitler was that Mussolini was pro-union and Hitler was against unionization of labor.