Weak Fascism

     Republicans are living down to their self-proclaimed role as the party of ideas. What they have been proposing for years is a form of weak fascism: not one in which the corporations are put in harness to strengthen the government, but one in which the government is shackled to the power of corporations.
     Fascism, Webster’s Second Edition tells us, is “a system of government characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of the opposition (unions, other, especially leftist, parties, minority groups, etc.), the retention of private ownership of the means of production under centralized government control, belligerent nationalism and racism, glorification of war, etc.: first instituted in Italy in 1922.”
     The only difference between Mussolini’s Fascism and Republican fascism is the four words under centralized government control, yet if private corporations control or can dictate to the government, that’s a distinction without a difference.
     Mussolini harnessed the corporations to the state. Republicans would harness the state to the corporations. They claim they want to free the corporations from the shackles of government. That’s nothing but right-wing anarchy.
     Anarchists, a political movement contemporaneous with Italian Fascism, believed – I quote from Webster’s Second again – that “formal government of any kind is unnecessary and wrong in principle.”
     That’s an oversimplification of anarchism. Most anarchists believed that local government – “local control” – was acceptable. Local control – states’ rights, in voting, racial policies, “science” and religious curriculum in public schools, what women should be allowed to do, and so on, is, of course, a banner cause of the so-called tea party – the Republican fascists.
     Modern American fascism, then, has just one essential difference from Italian or German fascism of the bloody 20th century: whether the controls should be exerted by government or corporations.
     Tea party Republicans are squarely on the side of the corporations, and this is a place where Republican fascism and Libertarians meet.
     Libertarians famously believe that the federal government’s role should be limited to national defense, and that’s about all. Even highways should be privately built and maintained, the pure Libertarians claim to believe.
     That’s an easy claim to make, now that the highways are built, but it was government taxes that built the highways that made it possible for private enterprise to prosper in the United States. And since interstate highways are built and maintained by federal taxes, which come from everyone, highways are, in a sense, built and maintained by individuals – by all of us.
     Pure Libertarians also claim – and I used to edit a Libertarian newspaper, so I have grounding in this – that the government should not have a monopoly on printing money. This, of course, is balderdash. It would bring back the days of wages paid in company scrip, which can be spent only at the company store. It would bring back wage slavery, and as Groucho said: “What makes wage slavery? Wages!”
     Republican Party regulars are finally, belatedly, reacting to their fascist wing and trying to suppress it. The Democrats are too cowardly to mention it.
     It’s a sad fact that the Democrats’ best hope for the 2016 elections is that the fascists bolt from the Republican Party and run their own candidates. This would assure a Democratic victory, and the continuing slow erosion of our civil liberties, instead of having them pushed off the roof of a corporate headquarters.
     It looks like the best outcome we can hope for is a weakened Democratic Party holding on to the White House while the fascists strut their stuff in Congress and in the statehouses. That’s pretty grim. But it’s what the Republicans claim to want: a weak government.

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