Sunday, February 24, 2002

Communists on fascism

As threatened earlier, our sage holds forth on "fascism". First, see if you can reconcile this, this and this. Now get your brickbats ready...

In the early part of the last century Communism was intellectually respectable. Few besides Marx had explored the logical consequences, and he got it wrong. It had never been implemented, so no one could see the results. There were large Communist and socialist movements throughout Europe. Even now much of our political vocabulary, including "capitalism", can be traced to Communist theorists.

Meanwhile Italy had only been a state for a few decades. To this day Italian politics are extremely volatile. Conditions were ripe for Benito Mussolini.

Mussolini was a socialist who ran a newspaper. He was expelled from the socialists for advocating Italian entry into World War I. So he demonstrated that he was a political opportunist by starting another newspaper and opposing the socialists. Since the socialists were against the property arrangements of the time, Mussolini wound up on the side of the property holders. Does anybody think Mussolini waited to generate a doctrine before taking steps to grab political power?

You don't get to oppose Communists and socialists without being called nasty names. Once Mussolini chose "fascism" as the name of his doctrine (such as it was), the formidable Communist propaganda apparatus set about blackening it.

Things only got worse after Mussolini sided with Franco and Hitler against the Communists in the Spanish Civil War. Propaganda is expensive, so Hitler and Franco became "fascists" too. Over time the term was extended to about anyone who opposed Communists.

If siding with Fascists makes one Fascist, then we Americans are all Communists for siding with the Russians in World War II. But the propaganda was very successful - although Franco was about as Fascist as Abraham Lincoln, the American Abraham Lincoln Battalion fought against him.

Likewise Hitler led the National Socialist German Worker's Party. He was propagandizing German workers with a spiel that mixed Communist ideas with overt racism (as opposed to Communists, who killed indiscriminately). Was he a heretic Communist? Nope, just another fascist.

The point of the above is not to rehabilitate fascism. But we ought to acknowledge that the word is used indiscriminately.

This isn't just semantics. One of the definitions from above implies that if Vodkapundit's "guns" and "money" are too friendly, you have fascism. Your imagination can take over from there.

I believe it is no accident, comrade, that that definition doesn't require much stretching before you can apply it to the US. It is designed to delegitimize our polity.

Why wouldn't the monied interests try to influence the govt? Why wouldn't the govt actively solicit their input? Even the dumbest of Congressmen knows where the golden eggs come from - it is only through the competence of our capitalists that we can carry the huge weight of our govt, and that is questionable over the long term. If the capitalists are harmed, then the system collapses, and the result is worse than some silly Depression.

The govt has exactly one legitimate reason for existing, and that is to protect property rights. The people who create our wealth by husbanding large amounts of property wisely deserve a large say in our govt and owe no apologies for seeking to do so. They certainly shouldn't be lumped in with Hitler's regime for their trouble.

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