The New Clarion

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How Fast We’re Moving

March 30th, 2009 by Myrhaf · 9 Comments · Politics

When the federal government bailed out auto makers last fall, did anyone think that by March the President of the United States would ask the CEO of General Motors to step down? This comes after President Obama told bankers on Sunday that bonuses are “not acceptable.”

I know a lot people don’t like calling our current mixed economy “socialism” or “fascism.” (I’ve noticed an increase in the word “statism” on the right. Before this year the word was rarely used, except by Objectivists and other free market “extremists.” My Microsoft Word program still thinks the word is a typo.)

I have a few question. If the state is firing CEO’s and telling businesses how much in bonuses they can get, how is this not fascism? At what point does a mixed economy that is heading toward fascism actually cross the line to fascism?

[UPDATE (Bill Brown): Megan McArdle entreats us to avoid using the “f-word” and David Henderson disagrees. Commenter L-C has the best take on this subject: “Do those who advance socialism and fascism deserve to dodge those labels all the way up until they’ve reached this goal?”]

9 Comments so far ↓

  • L-C

    I think fascism is something that a lot of people regard as something that’s not so much a specific kind of society and a type of relationship between government and corporations, and what that entails for property rights, but as something vague that is “worse than whatever we have”, even if what we have is constantly getting more and more consistent with facism.

    If you don’t think in principles, is it only fascism if (or once) the government has complete control over property?

    Do those who advance socialism and fascism deserve to dodge those labels all the way up until they’ve reached this goal?

  • Rachel

    I wonder if your last two questions were strictly rhetorical. If not, I’d have to say the answer is: when the predominant industries of the country have been nationalized. The government has been dictating terms to the educational industry for ages. This is just another step.

    Oh, and I don’t care if it’s in vogue or not. Any spellchecker that doesn’t know the word fascism is strictly amateur in my book.

    And as for predicting that the pres would fire a CEO, all the Objectivists knew it would come to this and know one can predict the hour. That anyone non-Objectivist should be surprised is just more sadness. (Big L on forehead!)

    I’m sure it’s not news to you, but the game at this point is all about timing. Will rational ideas spread far enough to strangle statism (of any flavor) before it wipes us out? Who can say?

  • Rachel

    To add to L-C’s comment, if I may, the other big component of the popular conception of fascism is its association with virulent militarization. Everyone “knows” that Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy were fascist, but that was WWII, “and anyway they attempted genocide”.

    As long as fascism is restricted to that image, the socialists and fascists will indeed dodge the label until they achieve totalitarianism.

  • Let’s call it what it is. | John and Ansley

    […] As Myhraf, of The New Clarion, says, “If the state is firing CEO’s and telling businesses how much in bonuses they can get, how is this not fascism? At what point does a mixed economy that is heading toward fascism actually cross the line to fascism?” Category: Uncategorized | Tags: None […]

  • o hai

    Hitler didn’t start out to commit genocide, and Italy never did commit genocide as an active planner and participant. Yet the label “fascist” suits them perfectly fine.

    Genocide is not the goal of fascism but it is the inevitable result. The more you feel compelled to stick a gun in people’s faces in order to make them accept your “help”, the more you will fail to accomplish anything lasting and concrete, and the easier it becomes to blame other people for betraying what you consider to be the shining promise of your government planning and control.

    That is how fascism ends and that is where Obama will take you – if you allow him.

  • EdMcGon

    It’s times like this that make me feel prescient. From my own blog last August: http://politicsandpigskins.blogspot.com/2008/08/obama-and-nazis.html

  • L-C

    The deviously effective quality of incrementalism, or gradualism if you will, is that it aims to make resistance futile.

    Why would any one generation sacrifice itself for a future they’ll probably not live to enjoy? People don’t have enough to lose by simply carrying on with their business as usual. If increasing statism transcends generations but resistance to it does not, we’re stuck on a downward slope.

    Principled thought must take the place of pragmatism if this course is to be reversed. Statism must be seen for what it is; it must be identified in essentials, not in degree.

    People have to realize that the reason modern fascists are so much more careful than those of the 1930’s is that they know what works, not because they aren’t as bold. Their relatively slow progression toward tyranny isn’t weakness, it’s success in the making.

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