John T. Flynn, like other members of the Old Right, was disgusted by the irony that what he saw, almost everyone else chose to ignore. In the fight against authoritarian regimes abroad, he noted, the United States had adopted those forms of government at home, complete with price controls, rationing, censorship, executive dictatorship, and even concentration camps for whole groups considered to be unreliable in their loyalties to the state.
After reviewing this long history, John T. Flynn proceeds to sum up with a list of eight points he considers to be the main marks of the fascist state.
As I present them, I will also offer comments on the modern American central state.
Point 1. The government is totalitarian because it acknowledges no restraint on 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 only 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 hometown, 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 healthcare 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 not 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 Bastiat 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 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 United States, 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 postboom adjustment that markets would otherwise dictate. The government has tightened its syndicalist grip in the name of stimulus.
Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.,for The Daily Reckoning
Lew Rockwell, former congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul and founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, is an opponent of the state, its wars and its socialism. He is the editor of The Irrepressible Rothbard , Speaking of Liberty , Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbardand and LewRockwell.com.
Reign of money reactive dictators?
“In the case of the United States, 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.”
We already have a term for this. It is called “crony capitalism”.
What is the reference for, “John T. Flynn proceeds to sum up with a list of eight points he considers to be the main marks of the fascist state”?
In addition, I’ve looked but can only find 4 points. What am I missing?
The other 4 points were redacted by the governmnet for national security reasons. Rockwel ought to be careful lest the Obama administration send a drone through his bathroom window.
Maybe they did send that drone before he could finish the other 4 points.
As an engineer, I’ve never studied government. I was familiar with the term “fascist” but never had a clear definition of it. Thank you for the explanation. If anyone choses to argue with your definition as fascism, it certainly defines the Obama Administration.
I look forward to reading the remaining four marks.
According to Wikipedia, fascism is a far-right philosophy that opposes socialism. Please don’t try to equate fascism with the Democratic party.
Ms. Mrotek, are you serious? Would you honestly rely on Wikipedia to inform you on this point? Fascism as “right wing” has been the lie that the left has tried to sell the world since the 30s, with enormous success and Wikipedia is fully on board with that, I see. It’s the by-now standard tactic used by the left to deflect attention away from the hideous crimes of the far left in modern times.
On the state power spectrum extending from absolute state power (left side) to zero state power (right side), where do you suppose Mussolini (a fascist) would be placed by someone other than that moron over at Wikipedia? Remember, the guy who said “All within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”
The moron governor of N. Carolina recently let it out that she thought that suspending elections would be a good idea so that the politicians can get to work without the bothersome distraction of having to answer to voters. Three guesses as to which political party she belongs to.
This isn’t proof that Democrats are fascists but I’d file it away as one datum indicative of a possible affinity between Democrats (leftists) and others of their companions on the “we love state power” side of the spectrum.
The drones are everywhere, but they didn’t get Lew and won’t.
Welcome to DR Lew. This is the second site of the day I read after yours.
Bill’s going political and will be a Ron Paul supporter before election day, if he isn’t already.
all Totalitarian forms of government stem from socialist ideology when you centralise money and power in the form of government somone or some small group come along to usurp both ( rule by totalitarian regime, fascism, dictatorship, communism or oligarchy ( the very few ruling over the rest ) historically these all stem from socialist governments … that is why its a blatent lie to even imply that capitalists = fascists its a common tactic used by the Fabian socialists to blame capitialism for socialisms failures i norder to push further socialism on the proletariat.
I just happen to trust the government more than I trust Big Business. You people want to get rid of all the safeguards of the working people, like unemployment compensation, social security, medicare, and even public schools. It’s just sick how many public schoolteachers have lost their jobs lately. Also, fascists were racists, and I’m quite sure you know which party is more racist–not Democrats.
The new era suggests that no single standalone dictator could have all his words. Nonetheless it is still dictatorship. It revolves around a gang/band of dictators sharing one common interest of total money motivation. Totalitarian thrives under one all powerful dictator. A gang of dictators would more appopriate run a sub-totalitarian. Similar to our accounting entries where you have sub-totals to be carried forward to arrive at the grand-totalitarian.
The final breakdown of our founding fathers idea of a republic happened when the Supreme Court was bought and paid for and they failed to do their swore duties.
The Congress and President fail to do their duties the second after they take their oaths of office. The Supremes were suppose to be insulated from the corruption, having never to yield to pressures from re-election. But, once bought the Constitution of the United States became nothing but toilet paper to the entire corrupted powers.
There are double-insulated wire for safe wiring. Scan through the whole world, there isn’t a single single-insulated human being.
“Also, fascists were racists, and I’m quite sure you know which party is more racist–not Democrats”
Three words: Sen. Robert Byrd.
You can even look the late US Senator up on Wikipedia.
Whether it is fascism on the right or communism on the left it all boils down to the concentration of power and benefit in the fewest hands possible with the rest getting what ever is deemed appropriate while being told the country is being run for their benefit and how the country is run is not a concern of theirs. In democracies there is a larger group of hands at the top (this may be the benefit of capitalism)
and the fig leaf called elections.
@ allan l.
You don’t seem to grasp the significance of the words “National Socialism.” Think hard about that second word and then meditate on the words “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”
Do you see some kind of a connection there?
Facism, communism, socialism, capitalism, feudalism, chauvinism and all other ‘sm’
suspensions are in fact for the sake of brand name. All problems boil down to greediness, selfishness or delusion. Words are fine, human quality is even finer. Quality would outgun all invented terminologies.
I am a Canadian, watching what is happening in the US, realizing that the same is in progress here. In reading all of the replies a question keeps popping into my mind: If everyone is so upset about what is happening, then why isn’t something being done about it? Do we all just lie back and accept ego governments and that’s it?
Richard Ong said:
You don’t seem to grasp the significance of the words “National Socialism.” Think hard about that second word and then meditate on the words “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”
Richard, try thinking past what name the thing chooses and look at the thing itself.
North Korea calls itself the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. Do you think that North Korea is therefore an example of democracy?
For those that can’t think beyond the indoctrination given to them at government schools, I’d like to enter into evidence the definition of ‘fascism’ as written in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1986): “any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship and forcible suppression of opposition”
For the second graders out there: Wikipedia is in no way peer reviewed nor a reliable source for any form of information. Just like the unedited blog that it is – everything is suspect on it.
The writer who stated that corporations are leading a parasitic existence in the world today is absolutely right. I can’t understand how people can separate corporations and government! In the state described by the writer, corporations and business are always allied with the state. The terrifying thing is that these corporation fly their own flags and have no allegiance to any specific country.
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