"Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose." ~ C. Wright Mills
Fascism Is As Fascism Does
Exclusive to STR
February 23, 2009
The term fascism, as commonly used today, has lost much of its original meaning. Typically, the word fascist brings forth images of goose-stepping, jack-booted, anti-Semitics and horrific crimes against humanity. Forgotten is that fascism is first and foremost a type of political economy. Mussolini's Italy was fascist, but there was no genocide and the landscape was not dotted with crematoria. Italian fascism was called corporativism, the bringing together of government, business and labor into cartels under the direction of the state. German production, under the racially oriented Nazi fascists, was also organized into cartels. Economic fascism, accordingly, has been defined as a political economy where private property and enterprise are tolerated but remain under strict regulation and control for the common good as defined by the state.
As with any planned economy, state control of property and the terms of market exchange can be accomplished only by controlling people, hence a fascist authoritarianism that grows incrementally as the state negates voluntary exchange and voluntary association and weakens the authority of the church and family, i.e., a state that gradually embraces and then smothers civil society. Because fascism does not allow unregulated domestic markets, it must restrict and regulate trade between the nation and foreign states. As with both Germany and Italy , this is often accomplished through a militaristic empire building of client states in an effort to ensure a flow of needed resources, control the terms of international trade and to prop up a weakening currency being inflated to fund domestic programs and military intervention.
Fascist authoritarianism is made more palatable by creating through propaganda in the media, schools, and public events a sense of nationalism embodied in a charismatic leader, an increased patriotism emphasizing a sacred 'homeland,' and a collective identity that scorns individualism. Identification with the state is also promoted by advocating compulsory national service for all young adults and by the introduction of internal and external enemies that allegedly threaten the nation. Fascist states may also rely on national, centrally controlled public welfare programs as a means to mollify the people and unite them in support of the state. In short, fascism claims to offer protection and security against uncertainty and the vicissitudes of life, both domestic and foreign.
If any of this does not sound disturbingly familiar, ponder the following questions. In a free society, what name would you give to a group that provides 'protection' by making you an offer you can't refuse? What organization says it is going to guarantee your safety whether you want that guarantee or not? What group has armed people in the wings to ultimately ensure that you pay for their offer? The Mafia, you might respond, or some other gang. True, if by some other gang you include a fascist state generously offering protection. Yet, we are not allowed to opt out of this protection racket. We must participate. We must pay. If we don't, we will be threatened and eventually punished. The fascist protection racket in the United States currently includes a number of specialties. To name but a few:
Social welfare programs to protect us from poverty and illness, including the near-bankrupt Social Security and Medicare, with an off-budget $90 trillion unfunded liability that our children will be forced to pay;
Nationalizing select industries and financial markets, allegedly to protect us from economic chaos, but in reality tightening a fascist grip on the economy while passing along a $35,000 debt to each American;
National 'defense' to fight brutal wars against the citizens of nations who are not a threat to our shores;
Protection from ignorance through monopolistic indoctrination camps called public schools where government is hyped and children are undereducated, and who we must financially support, even if we send our children to a private school at our own expense;
Thousands of pages of regulatory requirements, allegedly to protect us from an unscrupulous free market, but in reality often designed to favor those who gain from the government racket at the expense of us all; and,
A war on drugs to protect us from ourselves and a war on terror to protect us from those harmed by our foreign policy ' both actually wars on freedom that are turning America into a police state, complete with law enforcement officers wearing uniforms that resemble an occupying paramilitary force.
We who persist in saying, 'No, thanks. I'm not going to pay for any of this. I just want to be left alone and assume responsibility for my own life,' will eventually be branded as criminals and find ourselves looking down the barrel of a gun.
The remedy for all of this is simple and straightforward: we must reject, not embrace, a fascist takeover of our economy and daily affairs; we must accept individual liberty and personal responsibility for our families, our community and ourselves; and, most importantly, we must recognize our moral obligation to ensure that our children and grandchildren do not live under tyranny.