Mar 03 2016

Misunderstanding Fascism

Many liberal pundits today use the label “fascist” to tag conservatives they don’t like. They describe fascism as a populist movement that taps into a festering rage among a blue collar (mostly) segment of the population, based primarily on the frustration of economic suppression. Populism is a movement of popular opinion, usually involving some form of struggle against a ruling and privileged elite class. Populist movements are often associated with authoritarian and fascist leanings. This kind of movement eventually elevates a “strong man” leader to a position of dictatorship. The strong leader can then release the pent up popular rage, and it often manifests as racism, sexism, and general ridicule of anything they don’t like. A continuation of the sequence often leads to war.

This description of fascism is accurate to a degree, but it only describes the product of the movement. Fascism is a branch of socialism. Socialism involves public (social) control of the means of economic production, meaning industry and business. Historically, Communism has accomplished this goal by taking control of business and industry and turning that control over to social organizations (central planning committees). Wealthy business owners react to this by leaving the country to find a better environment for their endeavors. Fascism offers a “softer” alternative where control of business and industry remains in private control, but is strongly “regulated” by central planning social organizations. It is hoped that this will encourage business owners to remain in the country, creating a synergistic fusion of capitalism and socialism. This solution has also been described as Social Democracy.

Both forms of Socialism (Communism and Fascism) negate free market exchange (Capitalism) in the name of “social justice” and “redistribution of wealth” and “economic equality”. Motivated by a desire to create some ethical form of equality, both forms of Socialism fail at promoting innovation and efficiency because of the planning by committees. They also concentrate power in fewer hands, spawning the inevitable coagulation into tyranny. The end result is the above description of populism elevating a dictator and releasing pent up rage in destructive waves. This is always the end result of all forms of Socialism.

The term “fascist” cannot be used to describe a conservative advocate of free markets, because the term itself implies the opposite. It can only be used in a comparative sense when a conservative acts like an authoritarian, but then that candidate cannot really be a conservative who believes in limited government or free market exchange.