Thursday, October 6, 2011

Are we a Fascist State?

America is supposed to be the land of the free...and the home of the brave. It is hard to imagine that we live under a tyrannical rule, but we do. There are more and more encroaching rules and regulations on businesses, employees, and individuals themselves. As the state expands, individual freedom contracts. The U.S is an empire, along the lines of Great Britain and imperial Rome before then. We have military bases around the world, and we have an ever expanding welfare state. How can we have freedom with an environment like this?
What is Fascism? Lew Rockwell describes it well:

Fascism is the system of government that cartelizes the private sector, centrally plans the economy to subsidize producers, exalts the police State as the source of order, denies fundamental rights and liberties to individuals, and makes the executive State the unlimited master of society.
Scary, isn't it? Tell me, where is freedom in that? The freedom to do as you choose with your money, business, and time? Lew goes further. He describes the "Eight Marks of Fascist Policy" that John T. Flynn writes about in his book "As We Go Marching", along with his comments regarding the current state of the United States:

Point 1. The government is totalitarian because it acknowledges no restraint upon its powers.
This is a very telling mark. It suggests that the US political system can be described as totalitarian. This is a shocking remark that most people would reject. But they can reject this characterization so long as they happen not to be directly ensnared in the State’s web. If they become so, they will quickly discover that there are indeed no limits to what the State can do. This can happen boarding a flight, driving around in your home town, or having your business run afoul of some government agency. In the end, you must obey or be caged like an animal or killed. In this way, no matter how much you may believe that you are free, all of us today are but one step away from Guantanamo.
As recently as the 1990s, I can recall that there were moments when Clinton seemed to suggest that there were some things that his administration could not do. Today I’m not so sure that I can recall any government official pleading the constraints of law or the constraints of reality to what can and cannot be done. No aspect of life is untouched by government intervention, and often it takes forms we do not readily see. All of health care is regulated, but so is every bit of our food, transportation, clothing, household products, and even private relationships.
Mussolini himself put his principle this way: "All within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State." He also said: "The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative."
I submit to you that this is the prevailing ideology in the United States today. This nation conceived in liberty has been kidnapped by the fascist State.
Point 2. Government is a de facto dictatorship based on the leadership principle.
I wouldn’t say that we truly have a dictatorship of one man in this country, but we do have a form of dictatorship of one sector of government over the entire country. The executive branch has spread so dramatically over the last century that it has become a joke to speak of checks and balances. What the kids learn in civics class has nothing to do with reality.
The executive State is the State as we know it, all flowing from the White House down. The role of the courts is to enforce the will of the executive. The role of the legislature is to ratify the policy of the executive.
Further, this executive is not really about the person who seems to be in charge. The president is only the veneer, and the elections are only the tribal rituals we undergo to confer some legitimacy on the institution. In reality, the nation State lives and thrives outside any "democratic mandate." Here we find the power to regulate all aspects of life and the wicked power to create the money necessary to fund this executive rule.
As for the leadership principle, there is no greater lie in American public life than the propaganda we hear every four years about how the new president/messiah is going to usher in the great dispensation of peace, equality, liberty, and global human happiness. The idea here is that the whole of society is really shaped and controlled by a single will – a point that requires a leap of faith so vast that you have to disregard everything you know about reality to believe it.
And yet people do. The hope for a messiah reached a fevered pitch with Obama’s election. The civic religion was in full-scale worship mode – of the greatest human who ever lived or ever shall live. It was a despicable display.
Another lie that the American people believe is that presidential elections bring about regime change. This is sheer nonsense. The Obama State is the Bush State; the Bush State was the Clinton State; the Clinton State was the Bush State; the Bush State was the Reagan State. We can trace this back and back in time and see overlapping appointments, bureaucrats, technicians, diplomats, Fed officials, financial elites, and so on. Rotation in office occurs not because of elections but because of mortality.
Point 3. Government administers a capitalist system with an immense bureaucracy.
The reality of bureaucratic administration has been with us at least since the New Deal, which was modeled on the planning bureaucracy that lived in World War I. The planned economy – whether in Mussolini’s time or ours – requires bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is the heart, lungs, and veins of the planning State. And yet to regulate an economy as thoroughly as this one is today is to kill prosperity with a billion tiny cuts.
This doesn’t necessarily mean economic contraction, at least right away. But it definitely means killing off growth that would have otherwise occurred in a free market.
So where is our growth? Where is the peace dividend that was supposed to come after the end of the Cold War? Where are the fruits of the amazing gains in efficiency that technology has afforded? It has been eaten by the bureaucracy that manages our every move on this earth. The voracious and insatiable monster here is called the Federal Code that calls on thousands of agencies to exercise the police power to prevent us from living free lives.
It is as Basiat said: The real cost of the State is the prosperity we do not see, the jobs that don’t exist, the technologies to which we do not have access, the businesses that do not come into existence, and the bright future that is stolen from us. The State has looted us just as surely as a robber who enters our home at night and steals all that we love.
Point 4. Producers are organized into cartels in the way of syndicalism.
Syndicalist is not usually how we think of how our current economic structure. But remember that syndicalism means economic control by the producers. Capitalism is different. It places by virtue of market structures all control in the hands of the consumers. The only question for syndicalists, then, is which producers are going to enjoy political privilege. It might be the workers but it can also be the largest corporations.
In the case of the US, in the last three years, we’ve seen giant banks, pharmaceutical firms, insurers, car companies, Wall Street banks and brokerage houses, and quasi-private mortgage companies enjoying vast privileges at our expense. They have all joined with the State in living a parasitical existence at our expense.
This is also an expression of the syndicalist idea, and it has cost the US economy untold trillions and sustained an economic depression by preventing the post-boom adjustment that markets would otherwise dictate. The government has tightened its syndicalist grip in the name of stimulus.
Point 5. Economic planning is based on the principle of autarky.
Autarky is the name given to the idea of economic self-sufficiency. Mostly this refers to the economic self-determination of the nation-state. The nation-state must be geographically huge in order to support rapid economic growth for a large and growing population.
This was and is the basis for fascist expansionism. Without expansion, the State dies. This is also the idea behind the strange combination of protectionist pressure today combined with militarism. It is driven in part by the need to control resources.
Look at the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. We would be supremely naive to believe that these wars were not motivated in part by the producer interests of the oil industry. It is true of the American empire generally, which supports dollar hegemony.
It is the reason for the planned North American Union.
The goal is national self-sufficiency rather than a world of peaceful trade. Consider, too, the protectionist impulses of the Republican ticket. There is not one single Republican, apart from Ron Paul, who authentically supports free trade in the classical definition.
From ancient Rome to modern-day America, imperialism is a form of statism that the bourgeoisie love. It is for this reason that Bush’s post-09/11 push for the global empire has been sold as patriotism and love of country rather than for what it is: a looting of liberty and property to benefit the political elites.
6. Government sustains economic life through spending and borrowing.
This point requires no elaboration because it is no longer hidden. There was stimulus 1 and stimulus 2, both of which are so discredited that stimulus 3 will have to adopt a new name. Let’s call it the American Jobs Act.
With a prime-time speech, Obama argued in favor of this program with some of the most asinine economic analysis I’ve ever heard. He mused about how is it that people are unemployed at a time when schools, bridges, and infrastructure need repairing. He ordered that supply and demand come together to match up needed work with jobs.
Hello? The schools, bridges, and infrastructure that Obama refers to are all built and maintained by the State. That’s why they are falling apart. And people don’t have jobs because the State has made it too expensive to hire them. It’s not complicated. To sit around and dream of other scenarios is no different from wishing that water flowed uphill or that rocks would float in the air. It amounts to a denial of reality.
Still, Obama went on, invoking the old fascistic longing for national greatness. "Building a world-class transportation system," he said, "is part of what made us an economic superpower." Then he asked: "We’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?"
Well, the answer to that question is yes. And you know what? It doesn’t hurt a single American for a person in China to travel on a faster railroad than we do. To claim otherwise is an incitement to nationalist hysteria.
As for the rest of this program, Obama promised yet another long list of spending projects. Let’s just mention the reality: No government in the history of the world has spent as much, borrowed as much, and created as much fake money as the US. If the US doesn’t qualify as a fascist State in this sense, no government ever has.
None of this would be possible but for the role of the Federal Reserve, the great lender to the world. This institution is absolutely critical to US fiscal policy. There is no way that the national debt could increase at a rate of $4 billion per day without this institution.
Under a gold standard, all of this maniacal spending would come to an end. And if US debt were priced on the market with a default premium, we would be looking at a rating far less than A+.
Point 7. Militarism is a mainstay of government spending.
Have you ever noticed that the military budget is never seriously discussed in policy debates? The US spends more than most of the rest of the world combined.
And yet to hear our leaders talk, the US is just a tiny commercial republic that wants peace but is constantly under threat from the world. They would have us believe that we all stand naked and vulnerable. The whole thing is a ghastly lie. The US is a global military empire and the main threat to peace around the world today.
To visualize US military spending as compared with other countries is truly shocking. One bar chart you can easily look up shows the US trillion-dollar-plus military budget as a skyscraper surrounded by tiny huts. As for the next highest spender, China spends 1/10th as much as the US.
Where is the debate about this policy? Where is the discussion? It is not going on. It is just assumed by both parties that it is essential for the US way of life that the US be the most deadly country on the planet, threatening everyone with nuclear extinction unless they obey. This should be considered a fiscal and moral outrage by every civilized person.
This isn’t only about the armed services, the military contractors, the CIA death squads. It is also about how police at all levels have taken on military-like postures. This goes for the local police, State police, and even the crossing guards in our communities. The commissar mentality, the trigger-happy thuggishness, has become the norm throughout the whole of society.
If you want to witness outrages, it is not hard. Try coming into this country from Canada or Mexico. See the bullet-proof-vest wearing, heavily armed, jackbooted thugs running dogs up and down car lanes, searching people randomly, harassing innocents, asking rude and intrusive questions.
You get the strong impression that you are entering a police State. That impression would be correct.
Yet for the man on the street, the answer to all social problems seems to be more jails, longer terms, more enforcement, more arbitrary power, more crackdowns, more capital punishments, more authority. Where does all of this end? And will the end come before we realize what has happened to our once-free country?
Point 8. Military spending has imperialist aims.
Ronald Reagan used to claim that his military buildup was essential to keeping the peace. The history of US foreign policy just since the 1980s has shown that this is wrong. We’ve had one war after another, wars waged by the US against non-compliant countries, and the creation of even more client states and colonies.
US military strength has not led to peace, but the opposite. It has caused most people in the world to regard the US as a threat, and it has led to unconscionable wars on many countries. Wars of aggression were defined at Nuremberg as crimes against humanity.
Obama was supposed to end this. He never promised to do so. But his supporters all believed that he would. Instead, he has done the opposite. He has increased troop levels, entrenched wars, and started new ones. In reality, he has presided over a warfare State just as vicious as any in history. The difference this time is that the left is no longer criticizing the US role in the world. In that sense, Obama is the best thing to ever happen to the warmongers and the military-industrial complex.

As for the right in this country, it once opposed this kind of military fascism. But all that changed after the beginning of the Cold War. The right was led into a terrible ideological shift, well documented in Murray Rothbard’s neglected masterpiece The Betrayal of the American Right. In the name of stopping communism, the right came to follow ex-CIA agent Bill Buckley’s endorsement of a totalitarian bureaucracy at home to fight wars all over the world.
At the end of the Cold War, there was a brief reprise when the right in this country remembered its roots in non-interventionism. But this did not last long. George Bush the First rekindled the militarist spirit with the first war on Iraq, and there has been no fundamental questioning of the American empire ever since. Even today, Republicans – except, again, Ron Paul – elicit their biggest applause by whipping up audiences about foreign threats, while never mentioning that the real threat to American well-being exists in the Beltway.
Sounds like Fascism to me. What can we do? First of all, don't believe the illusion that we are free. Then we can take action. Ironically, I am not talkning about revolution. That takes force which ultimately leads to the same ends. It is better to rebel. Here are some ideas:
  • Join forces to end the Federal Reserve.
  • Always push for lower taxes...and a large reduction of the welfare/warfare state.
  • Rebel against laws that make no sense.
  • Use other forms of money for a meduim of exchange and as a store of wealth, such as gold, silver, and maybe copper.
  • Barter.
  • Keep as little money as you can in the banking system. This difusses the money expansion scheme they use.  
  • Discuss and promote ideas about true freedom and peaceful cooperation.
If we all do this, the state loses power and influence. We can gain freedom. The empire will fall.

Here is Lew Rockwell's article. The Fascist threat.