Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Fascism and socialism have conservatives confused

This has been covered previously, but since it is the Republican brain we're dealing with here, more explanation is required. They still won't understand it, but you will.

Some very abridged recent history is in order. The 20th century saw the rise of two significant offshoots of totalitarianism: communism and fascism. Communism represented the far left and fascism, the far right. The American left and right can sometimes resemble, faintly, the excesses of 20th century totalitarians, but neither willingly choose to be associated with them. Now it's a shame that Adolph Hitler's party was named the National Socialist German Workers' Party because this terribly confuses American conservatives. They see the words 'socialist' and 'worker's party' and they think that the Nazis were some kind of party of the proletariat.

In fact they were anything but:

The Nazi Party presented its program in the 25-point National Socialist Program in 1920. Among the key elements of Nazism were anti-parliamentarism, Pan-Germanism, racism, collectivism, eugenics, anti-semitism, anti-communism, totalitarianism and opposition to economic liberalism and political liberalism.

That's not to say that the Nazis didn't engage in populist demagoguery. They equated finance capitalism with a Jewish conspiracy to screw regular working folks. They proposed nationalizing all corporations.

The onset of the Great Depression, which preceded the coming to power of Hitler and the Nazis, greatly discredited capitalism in the eyes of the world. The Nazis were not capitalists, but (at least on economic policy) tried to establish a middle ground between capitalism and Soviet communism. So if you are a late 20th century-educated American right-wing laissez-faire capitalist, much of the rhetoric and many of the actions of the Nazis are going to appear in retrospect to be left-wing in nature. But the economic policies of the Nazis, of course, are not what earned them eternal condemnation. Take a look at the following terms -- from the first excerpted link above -- and tell me if they better describe America's right-wing or left-wing.

--Anti-parliamentarism (anti-Congress)
-- Pan-Americanism
-- Racism
-- Anti-semitism
-- Anti-communism
-- Opposition to economic liberalism
-- Opposition to political liberalism

On those last two, 'liberalism' doesn't mean left-wing per se but more like principles of free markets, private property, and human and political rights.

The modern-day American right supports economic liberalism but they're pretty weak on political liberalism. There's a reason, for example, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood, ACORN, etc. are considered enemies by the Republican Party.

In any case, nationalizing the auto industry is something Nazis might do. But you know what else they might do?

1. Demonize ethnic and religious minorities like Hispanics and Muslims.
2. Discriminate against homosexuals.
3. Exalt female fertility and discourage female employment in the work force.
4. Characterize the homeland as the rightful property of ethnically pure (white) citizens.
5. Promote a nationalistic and imperialistic foreign policy.
6. Call all of their opponents 'communists' or 'fifth-column communist sympathizers'.
7. Suppress the black vote.
8. Call President Obama a 'magic negro'.
9. Support torture and do warrantless surveillance on political enemies and reporters.
10. Exalt an idealized past when the 'United States was the greatest country on Earth'.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Shorter version -- when Obama fires the CEO of General Motors, that's more socialism than it is fascism. Try to keep this straight, Sparkle: Bush is the fascist. Right down to his multi-hectare hideaway in Paraguay.


Unknown said...

This is the most muddled explanation of anything I have ever read ...hey professor I think you smoke way much ganja man.

Unknown said...

The professor nailed it MUCH better than any radio-jock, TV news pundit or pretty much anyone babbling about it.