Many bloggers (including me), analysts, and commentators have described Barack Obama’s policies as socialistic. Michael Ledeen begs to differ. He argues they aren’t socialistic because he’s not recommending the abolition of private property. Instead they’re fascist because they promote state/private joint ventures as he calls them, meaning people keep their private property while government owns and/or manages business. Ledeen also wrote that this isn’t the first time Fascism has made an appearance in the US. It was seriously discussed as a solution to our woes in the 1930’s. Here’s a portion of Ledeen’s piece:
It’s fascism. Nobody calls it by its proper name, for two basic reasons: first, because “fascism” has long since lost its actual, historical, content; it’s been a pure epithet for many decades. Lots of the people writing about current events like what Obama et. al. are doing, and wouldn’t want to stigmatize it with that “f” epithet.
Second, not one person in a thousand knows what fascist political economy was. Yet during the great economic crisis of the 1930s, fascism was widely regarded as a possible solution, indeed as the only acceptable solution to a spasm that had shaken the entire First World, and beyond. It was hailed as a “third way” between two failed systems (communism and capitalism), retaining the best of each. Private property was preserved, as the role of the state was expanded. This was necessary because the Great Depression was defined as a crisis “of the system,” not just a glitch “in the system.” And so Mussolini created the “Corporate State,” in which, in theory at least, the big national enterprises were entrusted to state ownership (or substantial state ownership) and of course state management. Some of the big “Corporations” lasted a very long time; indeed some have only very recently been privatized, and the state still holds important chunks-so-called “golden shares”-in some of them.
Back in the early thirties, before “fascism” became a pure epithet, leading politicians and economists recognized that it might work, and many believed it was urgently required. When Roosevelt was elected in 1932, in fact, Mussolini personally reviewed his book, Looking Forward, and the Duce’s bottom line was, “this guy is one of us.”
No matter what you call Obama’s policies, socialism or fascism, they will end up doing one thing: denying us our God-given freedoms to live our lives and make our livings as we see fit while overstepping the negative liberties the US Constitution has clearly laid out. Ronald Reagan said it quite correctly:
And I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.
While we’re on the topic of Obama versus Reagan, I saw this at The Anchoress and thought I’d share it: