Column on This is Economic Fascism

This is Economic Fascism

Tibor R. Machan

Fascism is a political system in which a country is lead by a charismatic
leader who has full power to order things about because he (or she) is
taken to know best. Obviously this is a mythical sort of regime, with most
of its essential features impossible to come by. No such leader exists,
period, but there are many who pretend that they are fully qualified.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is an excellent current case in point.
So was Mussolini and Hitler and Stalin and so are Cuba’s Fidel Castro and
North Korea’s Kim Jong-il. Fascism in those countries was and is total,
not selective. (In contrast, when Chile was ruled by Pinochet, he left
much of the economy to run by itself and exercised fascistic powers
elsewhere.)

At least the auto manufacturing sector of the American economy has come
under fascistic rule. President Obama and his team have assumed such
powers pretty much on their own, without a referendum–indeed polls seem
to show that most American disapprove of what they are doing, such as
firing the head of GM. (One should ask, who are these people to assume
such powers? By what right or authority do they do what no citizen of a
free country could do with impunity?)

Is this move on the part of Obama & Co. justified? No. GM ought to suffer
the consequences of its bad management, its loss of costumers, and the
influence of the union leadership to which most of the workers belong. Big
or small, there is no justification for a company to stay in business when
it has lost most of its customer base and has become credit unworthy.
Indeed, one of the best features of a genuine free economy is that such
companies go out of business.

When critics of corporate America, such as Ralph Nader and his associates
and co-authors, complain about corporate power, their beef is that the
corporations are immune to market forces. They are all wrong, of course,
and history has shown just how wrong they are, with companies going bust
all over the place and at most periods of time. But when government
confiscates the resources of its citizens and makes promises in behalf of
millions who have no say in the matter, then such companies can be given a
lease on their lives. Maybe the scam will work and some such companies
will recover–Chrysler did so about half a century ago. But it is still
wrong.

Only a country the economy of which is ruled by a fascist economic tsar
has the power to subvert justice and good sense this way. Most genuine
democracies would not comply with their leaders, although some have given
them the power to become arbitrary rulers. (Hitler came to power
democratically, as did Chavez!)

I must say it is very scary to me that this is going on in a country that
once had every right to claim to be the leader of the free world. But no
fascist system can make such a claim since it stands in direct opposition
to liberty. But none of these should be very surprising to Americans. They
have seen their federal and state governments act in fascistic fashion,
for example, via the war on drugs, the Iraqi war, all kinds of intrusive
ordinances throughout the country, and other features that are clear marks
of a command economy. Now the chicken are coming home to roost and America
is becoming something that would really upset its founders, a monarchy
with a monarch who is laying claim to near absolute powers.

Unlike Venezuela, which is now pretty much stuck with Hugo Chavez for an
indeterminate period of time and the citizens of which are mostly
powerless to change the leadership, America still has periodic elections.
Obama can be ousted the next time around if the Republicans can come up
with a halfway decent candidate–which, sadly, is unlikely even if
possible.

Or Americans can take off their rose colored glasses and begin to see
President Obama and his team clearly, as a bunch of power hungry
politicians and bureaucrats who have no other answer to the country’s
troubles than to increase their intrusions in the economy and, who knows,
may be other parts as well. (I can easily imagine that if I were more
widely read and they became aware of my column, they might go to the
lengths of trying to silence me, just as Hugo Chavez has done with his
opponents.)

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2 Responses to Column on This is Economic Fascism

  1. John Selig says:

    You’ve got some interesting ideas I agree with, Mr. Machan, but the Obama administration trying to silence you? That’s a stretch. Look at Glenn Beck. You think he’s leaving FOX because Obama forced him out? Roger Ailes made that decision; I seriously doubt Ailes caved in to pressure from the Obama administration in a quest to “silence Beck.”

    Before Beck joined Fox, around March 2008, he and Mitt Romney posed an interesting question of why the rich must pay on average 37% in taxes. Good question, which demanded a good answer. Liberals will say a progressive tax is just, but is that so? Anyway, Beck became a little too nutty for me, but he’ll be free to air his opinions somewhere else.

    I saw you on Cspan In-Depth and found you to be one of the most interesting guests on that program.

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