For most of the post WWII era, Fascism was but a bad memory, and America was united against the communist Soviet empire. During this period, there were two natural parties at play in the United States, both of which wanted some semblance of free markets. The parties differed in terms of how regulated they wanted those markets to be, and in terms of what kind of social safety net they wanted to exist alongside the markets, and they were centered on the writings of John Maynard Keynes, and Milton Friedman.
The break down is very different today. Over the past thirty years Marxism and Fascism have re-entered the fray.
Totalitarian ideologies have very different views of morality than do traditional Western ideologies. Morality was, according to Marx, based on group affiliation rather than on what people think or do. According to Marx, the proletariat was good and the bourgeoisie was bad, and as as a result the proletariat was justified in taking any actions it wanted against the bourgeoisie.
Marx’ version of morality might sound foreign, but really it’s just the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ (and through the king, of nobility) flipped upside down. Before the Magna Carte, the King’s morality was unquestionable. Marx made the serf’s morality unquestionable instead.
Of course, in practice the proletariat could not do anything themselves. It was the Communist PARTY that took action. Any action the Party took was justified as a part of class warfare conducted on behalf of the good guys. And if a member of the proletariat got out of line with the Party, that person was a traitor to their class, and the Party took care of traitors too.
Mao Zedong took over China by talking communities into defunding their police, and relying on ‘community policing’ instead. As police departments disbanded, Mao made his followers the ‘community police,’ and began enforcing his own edicts, rather than the law. Mao then consolidated the areas of China under his control, and attacked the other parts of China. Mao then began his ‘Cultural Revolution,’ tearing down statues, and demanding radical change.
Critical Race Theory takes Trotsky’s interpretation of Marxist morality, and applies it against identity groups (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). According to Critical Race Theory, oppressed people are good, and whatever identity group is ‘in power’ is evil. Once again, the Party of the oppressed is justified in taking any actions it deems necessary in the interests of the oppressed. Today, the American left is all about Critical Race Theory, and is also engaged in defunding the police, and in creating an American Cultural Revolution.
I try to be very careful with terminology, lest I become a victim of what I call the left’s ‘war on words.’
Fascism is a specific term created by the Italian philosopher, Giovanni Gentile. Gentile noted how the Soviets eliminated profit, and then created the gulag system to threaten the public with punishment or death, forcing them to work. Every communist system has had this failing.
Gentile made what he considered a ‘new and improved’ Marxism. Under Giovanni Gentile’s system, CONTROL of the means of production was centralized by government (in a one party system), but ‘ownership’ stayed private.
Without control over something, it is difficult to claim ownership. The ‘owners’ under Gentile’s Fascism were really just managers. The level of profit allowed was strictly state controlled, as were wages and everything else related to labor.
Fascism has had supporters in the United States, such as FDR. If you read FDR’s National Recovery Act (which the courts struck down), it was straight up fascism – and almost identical to Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Accountable Capitalism Act.’
The left likes to confuse the means fascists use to seize and maintain power, with the definition for the term ‘fascism.’ The truth is that the communists in Italy, Spain, Germany, and other countries where fascists and communists competed, all used the same tactics the Fascists used. The two groups were identical, other than when it came to the question of profit.
The left ignores that Mussolini was a fascist (Mussolini’s Italy was what FDR tried to copy), that fascism was popular in much of Europe and South America in the 1930s, and that Spain remained fascist into the 1980s.
The communists also viewed themselves as globalists at heart, whereas Fascism was designed to be national in scope, but given that communism has never occurred outside of a nation-state, this difference has always been hypothetical more than literal.
Most countries view a ‘nation’ as a geographic construct, but the Germans of Hitler’s time viewed it in ethnic terms. There was no German state until shortly before WWI. ‘Greater Germany’ was, rather, a series of countries dominated by Prussia and Bavaria, with Austria running an empire of its own. German culture was deeply steeped in the dream of uniting ‘Greater Germany’ into a single nation, and this is why the Nazi invasion of Austria was such a big deal to the Germans and the Austrians – they called it the ‘Anschluss,’ which means, literally, ‘The Joining.’
Because of this, the ‘nationalist’ part of the Nazi movement was based on ethnicity and race rather than geographic boundaries. There was, however, no movement to exclude or to kill anyone in Italy, Spain, or across South America – the racist aspects of fascism were unique to the Nazis.
The left ignores all of this, and yet it is important to understand that era of history, if we are to understand what is going on in America today.
We do not have two political movements in the United States today, but four. We have two free market movements, one of which still follows a very Milton Friedman style of free markets, and the other one of which still wants something more akin to Keynesian markets.
On the other side, you have the non-market solutions of fascism and communism.
Democrats have built a coalition of Keynesians, Fascists, and Communists, and have done this largely by equating Milton Friedman style free markets with the word ‘fascist’. I know that sounds crazy. Freedom and Fascism are totally incompatible. And yet the left equates them.
The Democrats get away with this slight of hand by using Critical Race Theory. In addition to flipping Trotsky’s version of morality into something based on race, Critical Race Theory also claims that if a people are left free, they will design power hierarchies based on race, gender, sexual identity, and other identity groups. According to Critical Race Theory, freedom is the CAUSE of oppression, making free market economies, and countries with liberty, deeply oppressive places, like Nazi Germany.
And boom – based on that, if you believe in freedom, suddenly you are a literal Nazi. It is easy to build a coalition against Nazis, and the Democratic Part sees itself today as a coalition against Trump and his Nazi Republicans.
The thing to keep in mind is that there are still deep divisions on the left. The Keynesians have far more in common with today’s Republicans than with today’s Democrats, in spite of the fact that they are the traditional Democrats. The Fascists, in the meantime, are still in favor of using profit as an incentive system, which is morally repugnant to communists.
Critical Race Theory is the lynchpin that holds these groups together. Destroy Critical Race Theory and the left will tear itself apart.
And really the left will tear itself apart anyway. It’s just that with Critical Race Theory the left will destroy the right first. Once free markets are off the table (sorry traditional Democrats, but your Keynesian markets are on the chopping block too), the left will have to decide whether to be fascist or communist, and those two groups will turn on each other with the religious ferocity of rabid dogs.
If the political right can somehow tear down Critical Race Theory, we may find that the fascists and communists turn on each other without first destroying free market thought. We may also find that the Keynesians suddenly realize they are now Republicans.
This election is a truly pivotal moment. I do not believe that the majority of Americans are fascists or communists. I believe that the vast majority of Americans want to live in a free country with some semblance of free markets, and that we still differ primarily in terms of how free those markets should be, and in terms of what the social safety net standing alongside those markets, should look like.
In this election, the Keynesians have a tremendous amount of political sway. If the Keynesians align largely with the Republicans – as they did in 2016 – then Trump will win again and we may find that the modern, radical left has already passed its high water mark.
If, on the other hand, the Keynesians align against Trump, and vote Biden… The left has already promised structural changes that will destroy the political strength of the right, and the Keynesians will find themselves without a seat at the table.
If Trump loses the election, look for the Democrats to consolidate power. You’ll see House committees investigating all things Trump, both to see if Trump can be thrown in prison, as well as to see what changes the country needs to make to ‘ensure that no racist, xenophobic, sexist like Trump can ever become President instead.’ The term for that, politically speaking, is ‘checkmate’ against Republicans, free markets, freedom, and democracy.
If the Democrats win this election, expect it to be the last true election we ever have.