Tommy De Seno
Attorney/Editor, Justified Right.com
President Obama is taking over production in the American economy.
President Bush admitted to doing the same with the banking, real estate and insurance industry bailouts, proclaiming he “abandoned the free market to save the free market.” Besides being oxymoronic, he was admitting he moved from a system where people control production (capitalism) to a planned economy where government controls production (there are three main types of planned economies – fascism, socialism and communism).
While refusing to similarly label his own actions, President Obama at least admits he is following what President Bush did first.
I have been arguing since November that the type of planned economy we are moving toward is most like fascism, not socialism.
President Obama is creating government/business cartels, he has limited compensation, he is attempting heavy government regulation, he wishes to tax profits on an increasing scale, he challenges the Constitution’s contract clause and wants political control of the census so he can direct spending on the state level.
Those efforts pale in comparison to President Obama’s largest power grab to control production: the proposed Cap and Trade program. If that passes, the President will have the power to close down your business mid-year if you don’t have enough money to pay a huge tax on carbon emissions. He will put himself in direct control of American production.
These are the hallmarks of early 20th century European fascism. We know by Italian and German example that civil rights fall after the government assumes economic production.
Fascism never announces itself as a totalitarian regime. To the contrary, European economic fascism convinced the people it was a problem solver. When first proposed, economic fascism, or “corporatism” was heralded as good. It was considered a “third way,” reducing the classes caused by capitalism without the burdens imposed on the merchant class by Marxism.
For proof of its initial popularity, read this glowing endorsement of Fascism made in 1927:
“I was charmed by his [Mussolini’s] gentle and simple bearing and by his calm, detached poise in spite of so many burdens and dangers. If I had been born an Italian, I am sure I should have been wholeheartedly with you from start to finish on your triumphant struggle against the bestial passions and appetites of Leninism. The Fascist Movement has rendered service to the whole world.”
Who said it? Winston Churchill. Ironically, Churchill would serve his first tenure as prime minister defeating the fascism he lauded; fascists who bombed London for 57 consecutive nights in The Blitz.
The economic fascism put together in Italy — a hybrid of direct control of production by government, purchasing interests in banks, and manufacturing and indirect control through strong regulation, created a political philosophy that elevated the importance of government and business above the individual and his civil rights.
Consider these two quotes from Benito Mussolini:
“The maxim that society exists only for the well-being and freedom of the individuals composing it does not seem to be in conformity with nature’s plans. If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government.”
“Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.”
This theory of government/ corporate importance above the individual is what the Bush administration accepted when Henry Paulson changed the purpose of the bailout from buying troubled assets to help people out of foreclosure, to re-capitalizing banks to continue foreclosures.
The economic theory of government intervention in business employed by Mussolini is precisely the theory employed by Barack Obama today:
“State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management.”
~ Benito Mussolini
“At this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life.”
~ Barack Obama
This quote from Mussolini, I fear, may be prescient:
“Democracy is talking itself to death. The people do not know what they want; they do not know what is the best for them. There is too much foolishness, too much lost motion. I have stopped the talk and the nonsense. I am a man of action. Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day.”
In the face of President Obama’s policy similarities to fascism, American journalists continue to mistake Obama’s policies as socialism, despite the glaring absence of socialized profits for direct public services.
The mistake is excusable. Many in Europe wrongly believed that fascism was where a capitalist ran when he saw socialism coming (like Churchill, above). That notion was disabused by perhaps the greatest economist and philosopher of the 20th century, Friedrick Hayek. In his book The Road To Serfdom Hayek points out that both the fascist and socialist economies wellspring from the idea of controlling production, and the failure of the producing class (bourgeoisie) to stop it:
“What then, caused these views held by a reactionary minority [Fascists] finally to gain the support of the great majority of Germans and practically the whole of Germany’s youth? It was not merely the defeat, the suffering, and the wave of nationalism which led to their success…On the contrary, the support which brought these ideas to power came precisely from the socialist camp. It was certainly not through the bourgeoisie, but rather through the absence of a strong bourgeoisie, that they were helped to power.”
Friedrich Hayek’s award-winning work on free market capitalism and the importance to the preservation of individual freedom philosophy of Jefferson and Madison should remind us of what worked in America for 233 years. Hayek’s book — a warning about how fascism sneaks up on a country — should be revisited today.