Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

They're ba-a-a-ack!

If you go here http://pajamasmedia.com/michaelledeen/2009/02/12/we-are-all-illiterates-now/

you'll find a very nice article by Michael Ledeen that I meant to write - complete with the title I'd picked for it.

Heavy sigh.

Only goes to show the dangers of procrastination. When there is an obvious truth staring you in the face you should write about it without delay. Because if it is, 1) true, and 2) obvious, somebody else is going to see it and write about it.

The title of the article We Are All Fascists Now, suggested itself. It's a play on words of the title of the Newsweek article We Are All Socialists Now, which is itself a takeoff on Richard Nixon's remark "We are all Keynesians now."*

What Ledeen points out, is that in Obama's Great Plan for the Economy and All of Us, we aren't seeing pure Socialism, but the "Third Way" partnership of government and corporations of Mussolini, i.e. Fascism.**

The term "Fascism" has for a long time had no intellectual content other than perhaps, "position held by people on the Right that I don't like." Or more specificly, "positions held by people on the Right which are so repugnant they ought to be killed for holding them."

I once had an email exchange with a correspondent who referred to an Englishman I recommended listening to, as a "fascist bastard." I then invited him to name a single plank in the Fascist Party platform, either Mussolini's or the contemporary Fascist Party in modern Italy, (yes, it's still around and regularly elects delegates to parliament) your choice.

Of course, he couldn't. Instead he blustered, "I know it when I see it."

Well, actually no. He didn't

Anyone who investigates history seriously runs into the uncomfortable but incontrovertable fact that German Nazism and Italian Fascism are phenomena of the Left.

Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei "National Socialist German Workers' Party" - sound Right-wing to you?

In the words of Jonah Goldberg, "Everything you know about Fascism is wrong."

So, as part of your survival kit for the next four-to-eight years, if we're lucky, I recommend that you read Michael Ledeen's article right now, and follow the link and read the Newsweek article.

Next, I strongly urge you to read Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" without too much delay.

It drags in spots, and at the end it almost seems like his argument is taking him to places even he doesn't want to go. Nonetheless, read it. You need to.

Among other things you'll find are:

-Mussolini's Fascist Party was not at all anti-Semitic. Italian Jews joined in disproportionate numbers and were included in the highest ranks.

-Mussolini considered himself a Marxist and socialist to his dying day.

-Musollini was initially admired by a great many American intellectuals, including Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Dewey, and (this hurts) Will Rogers.

-The Fascist platform included a number of planks many would approve of: abolition of the draft, lowering the voting age to 18, universal suffeage - including women, repeal of titles of nobility, an eight-hour day, a minimum wage. Along with others you'd find very familiar: the obligation of the state to build "rigidly secular" schools for the raising of "the proletariat's moral and cultural condition," and "A large progressive tax on capital that would amount to a one-time partial expropriation of all riches."

According to Goldberg, America has gone through three flirtations with fascism, under Woodrow Wilson, FDR and the National Recovery Administration, and a period of "smiley faced fascism" that started in the 60s and has been sputtering along ever since.

We'll discuss this further. In the meantime - get the book.

*Nixon was invoking the ghost of leftist economist John Maynard Keynes (an English milord no less, 1st Baron Keynes) who advocated strong state intervention in the economy, particularly in the area of monetary policy - deficit spending.

We are now in what is called the "Keynesian revival." Keynes fell out of favor during the Reagan years and is now having somewhat of a comeback.

The irony of it all is, according to people who actually knew him (such as his friend and intellectual opponent Leonard Read,) Keynes confided to them he had second thoughts about much of his theory. However, he didn't publicly revise his opinions because the last act of his professional life before he died of a heart attack in 1946, was to help negotiate a post-war loan from the U.S. to Britain - and much of the argument from the loan proceeded from Keynesian theories he no longer supported!

**I love the response of Vaclav Klaus, sometime prime minister of the Czech Republic, and staunch free marketeer. His comment about a "third way" between capitalism and socialism, he remarked, "The Third Way is the quickest route to the Third World."


  • At 5:05 PM, Blogger Ted said…

    Gee, and all this time I been calling it CORPORATISM...I stand corrected.

  • At 11:14 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    It's about time we started calling it what it is.


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