How Fascism Kills the American Dream

Everyone knows that the term fascist is a pejorative, often used to describe any political position a speaker doesn’t like. There isn’t anyone around who is willing to stand up and say, “I’m a fascist; I think fascism is a great social and economic system.”

But I submit that if they were honest, the vast majority of politicians, intellectuals and political activists would have to say just that.

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.

This describes mainstream politics in America today. And not just in America. It’s true in Europe, too. It is so much part of the mainstream that it is hardly noticed anymore.

It is true that fascism has no overarching theoretical apparatus. There is no grand theorist like Marx. That makes it no less real and distinct as a social, economic and political system. Fascism also thrives as a distinct style of social and economic management. And it is as much or more of a threat to civilization than full-blown socialism.

This is because its traits are so much a part of life — and have been for so long — that they are nearly invisible to us.

If fascism is invisible to us, it is truly the silent killer. It fastens a huge, violent, lumbering state on the free market that drains its capital and productivity like a deadly parasite on a host. This is why the fascist state has been called the vampire economy. It sucks the economic life out of a nation and brings about a slow death of a once-thriving economy.

Let me just provide a recent example.

The Decline

The papers last week were filled with the first sets of data from the 2010 U.S. Census. The headline story concerned the huge increase in the poverty rate. It is the largest increase in 20 years, and now up to 15%.

But most people hear this and dismiss it, probably for good reason. The poor in this country are not poor by any historical standard. They have cell phones, cable TV, cars, lots of food and plenty of disposable income. What’s more, there is no such thing as a fixed class called the poor. People come and go, depending on age and life circumstances. Plus, in American politics, when you hear kvetching about the poor, everyone knows what you’re supposed to do: Hand the government your wallet.

Buried in the report is another fact that has much more profound significance. It concerns median household income in real terms.

What the data have revealed is devastating. Since 1999, median household income has fallen 7.1%. Since 1989, median family income is largely flat. And since 1973 and the end of the gold standard, it has hardly risen at all. The great wealth-generating machine that was once America is failing.

No longer can one generation expect to live a better life than the previous one. The fascist economic model has killed what was once called the American Dream. And the truth is, of course, even worse than the statistic reveals. You have to consider how many incomes exist within a single household to make up the total income. After World War II, the single-income family became the norm. Then the money was destroyed, and American savings were wiped out, and the capital base of the economy was devastated.

It was at this point that households began to struggle to stay above water. The year 1985 was the turning point. This was the year that it became more common than not for a household to have two incomes, rather than one. Mothers entered the work force to keep family income floating.

The intellectuals cheered this trend, as if it represented liberation, shouting hosannas that all women everywhere are now added to the tax rolls as valuable contributors to the state’s coffers. The real cause is the rise of fiat money that depreciated the currency, robbed savings and shoved people into the work force as taxpayers.

This story is not told in the data alone. You have to look at the demographics to discover it.

This huge demographic shift, essentially, bought the American household another 20 years of seeming prosperity, though it is hard to call it that, since there was no longer any choice about the matter. If you wanted to keep living the dream, the household could no longer get by on a single income.

But this huge shift was merely an escape hatch. It bought 20 years of slight increases before the income trend flattened again. Over the last decade, we are back to falling. Today, median family income is only slightly above where it was when Nixon wrecked the dollar, put on price and wage controls, created the EPA and the whole apparatus of the parasitic welfare-warfare state came to be entrenched and made universal.

Yes, this is fascism, and we are paying the price. The dream is being destroyed.

The talk in Washington about reform, whether from Democrats or Republicans, is like a bad joke. They talk of small changes, small cuts, commissions they will establish, curbs they will make in 10 years. It is all white noise. None of this will fix the problem. Not even close.

The problem is more fundamental. It is the quality of the money. It is the very existence of 10,000 regulatory agencies. It is the whole assumption that you have to pay the state for the privilege to work. It is the presumption that the government must manage every aspect of the capitalist economic order. In short, it is the total state that is the problem, and the suffering and decline will continue so long as the total state exists.


Lew Rockwell