Fascism Is Not Conservatism
Someone recently emailed and asked me to rebut the claim that fascism is a right-wing system.
I have given this question considerable thought over the years; even when I was in college, liberals routinely smeared conservatism as a fascist political ideology. Indeed, how many times have we heard the mantra that communism and Nazism represented the two extremes of the political spectrum, left and right, respectively? This never made sense to me, as I knew that conservatism championed political and economic liberty and that communism and fascism were the direct antithesis of these.
I am thankful that my friend Jonah Goldberg has written the definitive work on this subject and set the record straight, in his scholarly and entertaining “Liberal Fascism.” I strongly recommend it.
But let me share some thoughts I’ve developed over the years as to how the misunderstandings on these terms evolved, points which may or may not be addressed in Jonah’s book.
Both communism and Nazism are evil totalitarian systems characterized by enormous power in the central government. It’s true that in theory, Karl Marx predicted the eventual withering away of the state and the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” when the people would rule, which was sheer fantasy because it was based on grossly erroneous assumptions about human nature, as history would repeatedly demonstrate.
But no one can deny that communism, in practice as well as theory, is a form of socialism, as evidenced, among other things, by the Soviet Union’s proud self-identification as a “socialist republic.” Likewise, Nazism and fascism, by definition, are socialist systems, with the state owning or controlling the major means of industry and production.
But there are differences in these systems, and I think these differences, along with historical reasons so well chronicled in Jonah’s book, contribute to the left’s soft identification with one and strong rejection of the other.
Apart from being centralized political systems, Nazism and fascism were nationalistic, patriotic and militaristic. Some have even said they were religious, but I see little authentic evidence of that. The Soviet system was more international in its orientation, being driven less by national fervor and more by world expansion. I’m not disputing that Hitler and Mussolini were expansionist, as indeed they were, but the Soviets were more focused on making communism a global system and diminishing the role of the nation-state in comparison with Nazism and fascism.
But there’s something even more telling. Communism, as conceived by Marx, was based on the perceived class struggle. Marx envisioned that the “workers of the world” would unite against so-called capitalist oppression. Marxism was thoroughly materialistic and rooted in class warfare. Nazism was probably not so virulently anti-capitalist — at least in terms of its ideological emphasis. It was more racially and nationally driven.
So where does that leave us? Well, today’s liberals see themselves as champions of the “working man” and enemies of corporate interests and the wealthy. Their political lifeblood is class warfare on behalf of the “working man” (read: labor unions). Redistributionism is at the heart of their philosophy.
When those on the left today call conservatives “fascists” or liken Bush to Hitler, they are betraying their contempt for what they perceive to be excessive nationalism, patriotism and militarism on the part of conservatives. But there’s a darker side to their thinking. The left’s worst-kept secret is that many liberals believe — or would at least like the electorate to believe — that conservatives are racist. So there you have it. Conservatives are nationalistic, jingoistic and racist. Point, set, match. They’re fascists.
But it’s as divorced from reality as it is sinister. Conservatives are driven by liberty and a healthy skepticism for centralized government. They aren’t enemies of the federal government but believe it ought to be limited in its powers and scope, as contemplated and designed by the Constitution. They are the opposite of racists, aspiring to colorblindness and equality of opportunity and rights for everyone. We will proudly accept, however, the charge that we are nationalistic, patriotic and firm believers in American exceptionalism.
Liberals can definitely identify with communism, as indeed they have through the years, as in their glorification of the Soviet Union in years past and their romanticizing of communist dictators, such as Cuba’s Fidel Castro. But they also have far more in common with fascism than conservatives do, given their penchant for centralized governmental power and too much state control over business and industry, as we’ve seen most strikingly under President Barack Obama.
As political theory and actual practice throughout history demonstrate, both communism and fascism are left-wing political and economic ideologies — as far as they can be from the right wing of the spectrum.
Here is a brilliant analogy of liberals. It is reposted from Mangy Redbones blog and I have supplied a link to his blog. He has a lot of intelligent stuff to say about a lot of things. I would highly recommend his blog to your readership.
Blessings on all who read it.
Growling At Whatever Bothers Me
Jim Treacher and Professor Jacobson and many others are noting that the liberal website Wonkette decided to attack and mock (again) Sarah Palin’s three-year old disabled child. What is wrong with these people?
Here is what is wrong with them. Liberals claim to be tolerant, but are lying to themselves and everyone else about it.
Gays must be embraced in the name of inclusiveness. Conservatives must be shunned.
9/11 “truthers” are welcomed or politely ignored. Obama “birthers” are anathema.
Piss on a picture of Jesus and you are an artist. Piss on a Koran and you are an Islamaphobe. Embrace Christianity and you are a dangerous proponent of theocracy.
If you are black or hispanic or a woman running for office, that alone is a sufficient qualification for election (see Obama, President). Unless you are a conservative, in which case you are never qualified; in fact, you are a traitor who must be stopped at all costs (see Palin, Sarah).
Free speech is essential. Unless you are a conservative addressing a crowd in Madison, Wisconsin(see Althouse, here), or any college campus.
And on, and on. It is not diversity they want, but a certain kind of uniformity of views that correspond with their own. If your views fit within that framework, you will be welcomed. But if not, you will be attacked in the most hostile and unpleasant ways.
That is in part because a large percentage of liberals do not want a debate on the merits. They are losing the debate on the merits. So they want to stop debate.
To do so, they try to delegitimize those who disagree with them:
If you are against affirmative action, you hate minorities and women. Let’s never discuss whether affirmative action is appropriate, necessary, successful, or harmful even to those who “benefit” from it.
If you are skeptical of global warming claims or the policies advanced to combat it, you hate the environment, or are in bed with big oil, or are “anti-science.” Let’s never discuss whether the models actually predict anything accurately.
If you are against uncontrolled spending, you want grandma to starve and disabled children (such as the child being mocked by Wonkette) to be abandoned in the street. Let’s not consider what happens to grandma and kids when the Ponzi scheme collapses.
If you don’t want to shovel ever more money into public schools, you hate children. Let’s not consider why we have had continual massive increases in school funding without achieving better results.
If you don’t want above-market public employee pay and benefits, you want to destroy the middle class. Let’s not consider whether public employees deserve to be paid more and have better benefits and more job security than those who pay for them.
The problem for liberals is that they lose these debates when they have to argue the merits. So they attack, deride, shout down, and distract as much as possible.
That is, essentially, what the whole new civility nonsense was this Spring. Liberals are not in favor of civility in discourse. The most vile stuff comes from the left, not the right. Instead, they want to impede the ability of conservatives to present their arguments.
Conservatives must push back, refuse to be silenced, call them out on their arrogance, disingenuousness, and shallowness, and continue to fight the good fight. We must, in the immortal words of Chief Lone Watie, “Endeavor to persevere.”
UPDATE: At NRO’s The Corner, Mark Kirkorian has similar thoughts in the context of immigration. A taste:
[The goal of the the open-borders smear campaign against immigration skeptics] was to drive all immigration skeptics out of the public debate by labeling any skepticism about immigration as inherently racist. In other words, to make questioning mass immigration the same as questioning the desegregation of lunch counters. . . .
Metaphorically speaking, they don’t have to learn our language because everyone they know speaks theirs. On the other hand, restrictionists, as the underdog faction perpetually on the defensive, have no choice but to try to understand the concerns and thinking of the expansionists. This is a phenomenon people on the right are very familiar with; conservatives at the most left-wing colleges, for instance, are often better prepared for intellectual combat than those from more conservative schools because they’ve been forced to engage and think through the arguments of their pervasive opponents rather than just dismiss them.
This is so typical of libs everywhere. They try and make their points by screaming, name calling and hate speech rather than discussing the issues intelligently. It is even worse with union thugs as this jerk obviously demonstrates for the camera. He has no shame and no respect for someone’s little girl.
Get a clue libs as to how truly ugly you are. See the video for yourself.
Video_ – http://pulsene.ws/1lakX