Is the American Right Fascist?
We have all heard it many times: everyone on the American right is a fascist, racist, misogynist, homophobic, bigot bent on establishing some kind of white supremacist regime. The idiocy of stringing words together without any consideration for the connotation of those words or their formal definitions (denotation) is plainly obvious to anyone capable of independent thought. Yet, these insults continue to be slung at the American right as if the repetition of the lie will somehow make it a truth. How can those who advocate for a less powerful government be considered fascist? It should be plainly obvious to anyone that fascism has nothing to do with the American right. Nevertheless, the accusation is level daily with the assumption that it is simply a fact.
In order to understand the intellectual laziness of this approach let alone its apparent bigotry, one must understand what fascism is, because that is at the root of the matter. Socialism and Communism are essentially the same thing born from the same events with the same intentions. Since the rise of the Soviet Union, Communism as a word has become more closely associated with the internationalist totalitarianism of the Soviet system. While the goal of socialism is communism, these two words essentially mean the same thing. In the west socialists have tried to distance themselves by degrees of nuance from the Soviet Union and for this reason alone socialism has taken on a slightly more moderate meaning. European socialists or so called “Democratic Socialists” (an oxymoron) attempt to maintain the appearance of choice and democracy as they implement their utopian socialist vision; totalitarian by its very nature.
Fascism is National Socialism
Socialism, simply defined, is government control of the economy. In a more complete form of socialism, which may as well be called Communism, the economy is completely controlled by the government (command economy) while more moderate forms of socialism retain certain aspects of the free market and democracy; albeit under the yoke of government control. As the Soviet Union came to represent a terrific threat to Europe in the 1920’s, a socialist “right” appeared. This lot believed in popular ownership of the means of production but for the benefit of a particular ethno-national group. Thus, Benito Mussolini established a socialist “rightist” state in Italy for the benefit of ethnic Italians and on the premise of Italian racial supremacy. Racial supremacy was a convenient way to replace the “dictatorship of the proletariat” concept of Karl Marx as an excuse for the oppression of a society and the total destruction of dissent.
Hitler and later Franco seized on this approach using the very real threat of attempted takeover of their respective countries by “leftist” socialists loyal to Stalin and the USSR as an excuse for their campaigns of terror. Racial supremacy added to Hitler’s rise to power, especially in that Germans felt that they had been wronged by the victors of the First World War. How convenient to portray Germans as a master race beaten down by their inferiors and betrayed from withing by Communists, Jews, and “degenerates” (read: whatever Hitler felt to be undesirable).
Fascism is thus “rightist” in that it represents the right wing of the socialist ideology. Nevertheless, it is totalitarian like all other forms of socialism, even those that purport to retain a greater degree of choice. If one makes choices outside of what a pseudo-totalitarian socialist regime deems acceptable, then force is applied. If a family tries to homeschool their children in Germany, for example, and the state will take the children from the home.
Unlike European countries that were founded as ethno-states built around approximately common languages, geographies, and cultures, the United States was founded as an ideological state. The settlers who came to the Americas from varied parts of Great Britain largely came to escape oppression and conformity. Pilgrims and Puritans seeking the freedom to establish their own “model” societies, Catholics seeking freedom from bigotry and exclusion in Britain, and other non-conformists of various kinds. Added to these were the downtrodden of British society: the desperately poor, petty criminals, and Celtic minorities arrived in great numbers either having been forced to come or looking for some desperate hope of a better future. Yes, likewise, African slaves sold to European traders by Sub-Saharan African states of the time were brought against their will. Native Americans added only a more fiercely defined individualism and independent spirit as they fought, joined, or tried to coexist with these newcomers to the Americas.
By the mid-Eighteenth Century the Americas had become the home of large numbers of individualists largely living free of the yoke of European conformism. Sadly, African slaves and Natives did not yet enjoy the blessings of such liberties, but they would come to feel some of its benefits in the future. The greatest American political scientist Clinton Rossiter, who wrote in the mid-Twentieth Century, described Liberty best in his book Seedtime of the Republic. In that work, he argues that even as Americans began to describe their belief in Liberty as an ideology in the lead up to the American War of Independence, they were already experiencing a de facto version of Liberty in their own lives. John Locke’s assertion that government existed to “protect life, liberty, and [private] property” was nothing new to Americans who read these words for the first time already enjoying such liberties.
King George III sought to assert authority over these liberty minded colonies in the late Eighteenth Century, in the years following the Seven Years War (French and Indian War in American parlance) which had been fought largely for the benefit of the American colonies. King George was dumbfounded to find his “loyal subjects” arguing that they had a divinely granted right to manage their own affairs without his interference. Naturally, this could only mean war. The Americans ultimately prevailed in that war and the United States of America was born. America is not an ethnic state since it was made up of many ethnic groups. At first, White English (Anglo-Saxon) Protestants (WASPs) certainly had the upper hand, to be sure. Yet, those same WASPs established a system that would not perpetuate their own power. Since no religious test could be required in order to serve in Congress, neither could there be an ethnic or racial qualification, the Framers created the very means by which this group would lose its supremacy.
Catholics and Jews could serve in Congress or on the Supreme Court, moreover, they could not be legally excluded. This ensured that, in time, the march of Liberty would expand rights and equality to an ever greater number of people. Although it feels to us as though it took too long for slavery to be abolished, for women to achieve the vote, for civil rights to be established, for Natives to be given greater rights and protections, and for our society to reach its present state of openness, it is in fact, rather miraculous that these things were achieved at all. History is replete with stories of the dominance of one group over another in a given society. There are few and rare stories of large and varied groups of people coming together to live in equality and freedom with one another. America is a precious example of such a miracle. A fragile miracle that is now in grave jeopardy.
What is Liberty?
Liberty is an ideology that Rossiter defined best in his book Seedtime of the Republic; and which he reiterates in Marxism: A View from America where he contrasts it with what he, himself described as a religion-like Marxism. Here in a fascinating contrast between Liberty and Marxism he defines both belief systems to a great degree of completeness. To define Liberty briefly and therefore somewhat clumsily: Liberty is the belief that each individual is endowed by their creator with “unalienable” rights and that governments must be formed on the basis of the “consent of the governed.” Rights are neither granted nor usurped by King or state, but are innate, undeniable, and cannot be violated. Society should, thus, be formed by the voluntary transactions of free individuals. A worker signs a contract of his or her own free will with an employer who must offer compensation for the worker’s time. The government intervenes only to a minimal degree to ensure fairness in the open marketplace, to prevent fraud, and to protect the rights of the populace. Violence, coercion, and force are antithetical to Liberty and can be employed only when society deems them to be justly applied.
Within the ideology of Liberty right and left are defined by degrees of adherence to tradition, levels of government interference, and the willingness to explore changes in society. Conservatism within the tradition of Liberty is based upon the words of Edmund Burke. In arguing against the radicalism of the French Revolution Burke asserted that each generation owes the next generation a functional tradition. When inhibition is thrown to the wind and radical changes take place in society, social order melts down. It isn’t long before thousands go to “Madam Guillotine.” Whereas slow, considered change over time allows to a more careful exploration of changes while also exposing their drawbacks. The sexual revolution was a hit in the 60’s and 70’s, for example. The children of broken families, those who suffered terrible abuse as social mores broke down, and the young today who report feeling used in sexual relationships, demonstrates that there are downsides to every social revolution.
Thus, within the system of Liberty Conservatives are those who seek slow change and the greater adherence to the tradition of the previous generation as a path to greater success and happiness. In that it was largely Protestant Christians and to a lesser extend Catholics who settled and established the United States, these provide the essence of this tradition. In that these Christian traditions are also part of a society built on volunteerism, conservatives cannot force or coerce anyone to follow their path. They must make the case to the next generation that the traditions of the previous generation are worth following.
The left wing of the ideology of Liberty can now be seen more clearly: Liberals are those who seek a greater departure from the traditions of the past. Why not experiment more readily with new social mores and new lifestyles? Likewise, Liberals cannot coerce or force anyone to agree with them and must make the case for greater social change in open society. As the American philosopher Will Durant describes it, conservatives seek no change, radicals seek broad and sweeping change, and Liberals are the open minded masses in betwixt who use reason to navigate between tradition and change; between order and chaos.
Liberals may also argue that government can be involved to a greater degree in order to promote social change or greater economic opportunity, while Conservatives will argue that government should reinforce tradition and not promote change. In both instances, the decision to support one side or the other belongs to the individuals who make up the society. Both groups must, in order to continue to plead their case to the public, defend freedom of speech, religion, and the press. Without such freedoms one side or the other will be unable to make their case. If traditionalist churches could persecute more liberal churches, if liberals could silence conservatives, that power would become a cancer in the society causing harm to all. Power exercised against one group for one reason, can be used by the other to the opposite end.
Each individual, naturally remains responsible for his or her own words. So, using your freedom of speech to spread hate will soon find an individual isolated by their own bigotry. Silencing those whose speech one does not appreciate actually weakens the argument being advanced.
For a conservative the best argument for their case is the crazed stammering of a radical eager to bring about change to a degree that most people are unwilling to accept. Likewise, the best argument for a liberal is when a conservative can mount no argument against his or her case other than “that is the way things have always been.” If there is no reason to oppose a social change other than that one wishes to avoid all change, then the case is already made. This reinforces the freedoms that each side enjoys as they compete in the open forum of civil society. If one finds their arguments defeated and society looking to their opponents for leadership, their response should be to field better arguments.
The Right is “Fascist”
Since the days of Stalin, Marxists the world over have called their opponents fascist. As if somehow fascism is in any way worse than communism. Everyone who is not a Communist is “literally Hitler.” They have an almost comical inability to recognize that there in fact people in the world who are not socialists. There are many people who are neither national socialists or communists. In perhaps the most classic “strawman” argument, Marxists ignore who their opponents are and what they believe and instead paint them with the broad brush of fascism and Nazism. Vladimir Putin believes anyone who opposes him to be a Nazi and sees Nazis everywhere. Ukraine has been portrayed as a Neo-Nazi state to justify the invasion and occupation of that country. When Kazakhstan began to distance itself from Russia, suddenly it was likewise described as a Neo-Nazi state.
Richard Nixon was paranoid and held few ethical qualms about using the government to pursue his enemies. This cannot be denied. He used many of the methods Franklin Roosevelt had used to pursue his own opponents in his day. In the aftermath of Nixon’s resignation (he should not have been President in the first place) Americans rightfully recoiled. In the days after that the American left likewise joined this strange phenomenon of calling their political opponents “fascists.” In the days of Ronald Reagan, a book entitled “Friendly Fascism” attempted in inane pros to argue that Reagan represented a new form of fascism.
The strange argument here is that Ronald Reagan’s populism, that is the pursuit of popular support against the powerful elites and “experts” of government, represented some form of national socialism. The author of Friendly Fascism could not explain how reducing the power of government and creating a prosperous economy for all Americans of every kind is in any way related to national socialism. Yet, the obvious ridiculousness of this argument escaped not only that author but many since. The far right in America is made up of Libertarians and minarchists bent on having a government so small and weak that it cannot interfere in the lives of the people at all.
This is an extreme, to be sure, and most conservatives believe that government has a role to play in our society, although one far weaker than that which we experience today. How is the effort to reduce government, the defense of freedom (of speech, religion, the press, and gun ownership) compatible with a totalitarian ideology of state control of media, repression of dissent, and the advancement of a particular ethnic group’s interests to the exclusion of all others? Obviously, no intellectual argument exists here.
White Nationalists, by their own admission, seek a government that is very powerful. One that can oppress minorities, suppress dissent, and ensure that “white people” come out on top. They embrace national socialism because only within a totalitarian system wherein the government controls the economy is their vision remotely possible. In the aftermath of American independence northern states ended slavery. The former slaves, benefiting from Alexander Hamilton’s economic plan, worked as paid laborers. Black women often continued in domestic service now as paid employees. Within a generation African-Americans in the north had banks, businesses, and community organizations of their own. They began to prosper and rise in society.
Taking notice of this, WASPs then in power and under the auspices of the purportedly libertarian Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson began writing laws at the northern states to deny African-Americans their economic rights. These laws peaked in 1822 before slowly declining. The American socio-economic system was so democratic that even that minority began to prosper. Those who opposed this disruptive and revolutionary aspect of the ideology of Liberty promptly used the law and in a classically unAmerican way began to repress this minority. These laws foreshadowed the “Jim Crow” laws implemented in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. It would take almost another century after that war to end this oppressive and unAmerican regime, yet it nevertheless came to an end with the era of Civil Rights.
Slowly and with difficulty, Liberty disrupted the maladaptive traditions of the past and led to greater freedom for all Americans. As freedom expanded, so too did the momentum with which freedom expanded. In a few short decades, our society dismantled the institutions of racism, vastly expanded women’s rights, accepted different sexual orientations, and opened our minds to new cultures, beliefs, and ways of looking at the world. Yet, what should be celebrated as a massive victory for Liberty, is instead derided as a system of oppression. Why is the miracle of America viewed in this way?
Marxism and the New Left
Over the course of the past fifty years the American left has become ever more Marxist in its outlook. A new “woke” ideology has arisen that is a mixture of Marxism and Maoism. Like all totalitarianism it seeks to grow its own power. For this reason, adherents of this ideology (more of a religion in fact) believe that others of their persuasion can do no wrong and those not inclined to their ideology can do nothing right. That is why the most corrupt and backward politicians, including those who cannot even make coherent sentences, enjoy the support of the woke left regardless of their flaws. Andrew Cuomo, the former governor of New York, was a notorious misogynist, but was celebrated by groups that purported to advance women’s rights. Eventually, his reprehensible behavior overwhelmed even this unqualified support, but in this case only. It is rare for a woke politician to take the fall for behavior that, in theory, should be completely unacceptable to the woke left.
Perhaps the most surprising instance was the choice of Joe Biden as a presidential candidate. The left made every effort over the years to portray Donald Trump as a racist. Trump had actually won many awards from antidiscrimination organizations in his lifetime. Then the left chose a candidate for president who began his career by aligning with racist “Dixiecrats” against school desegregation and made many racist statements at the time. Again, to the woke Neo-Marxists Joe Biden can do no wrong and Donald Trump can do nothing right.
This extremist and totalitarian ideology has no place in American society. It is inherently unAmerican. It does not celebrate freedom of speech, it seeks censorship of dissenting views. The woke Neo-Marxists want to use government (and are using it) to persecute those who dissent from their views. They seek to impose only their own views and to destroy all who oppose them. Anything they do toward this goal is “holy” and anyone who opposes it is “unholy.” For this reason, locking Americans in their homes without cause to weaken the economy and radically altering election laws at the last minute to the benefit of one political party are okay so long as the “right” people win. Anyone opposed to these totalitarian policies is a “threat to democracy” and a terrorist.
Today, most of the ideology of Liberty is contained within the American right. The left has mostly fallen to those who seek only greater power for their ideology/religion. This explains in part, while true Liberals like Tulsi Gabbard and Kyrsten Sinema are departing the Democrat Party and distancing themselves from the woke left. The woke left seeks to unmake the fundamental liberties derived from “our creator” that America was built on. From freedom of speech to gun ownership, from education freedom to the right to travel freely, the left seeks ever greater and ever tightening constraints.
As the Neo-Marxist left seeks everywhere to expand its power, destroy dissent, and coerce compliance with its extremist, totalitarian ideology/religion they continue to portray their opponents through the strawman of “fascism.” How can people who seek the censorship of free speech, the subversion of honest elections, and who use the government to persecute their opponents get away with arguing that it is fact their opponents, and not they themselves, who are totalitarians?
It is a delusion that can arise only from religious beliefs, mental illness, or both. Naturally, they are the good guys! They are right and are therefore incapable of doing anything wrong. Breaking the law, oppressing others, and denying the rights of others is permissible when they do so, because they do so for a good cause. Everything their opponents do must, therefore, be for an evil cause. An evil cause that they call “fascism,” even as the woke crowd have no idea what this word even means.
Marx is like Jesus Christ to wokeness, his ideas are pure and infallible. Opponents of wokism are all under the influence of Satan (fascism) and the institutions of the woke (universities, public schools, the Democrat Party) are the Universal Church of Wokism. Only evil people could possibly oppose these puritans who strive zealously for their righteous vision of a utopian world. Meanwhile, the rest of us must look askance at this dangerous mass narcissism and hope that our efforts to remove them from places of power is not too little, too late to preserve the American Miracle.