One word that is popping up on signs at tea parties is Fascism and it clearly seems to have invoked more than a little fear on the traditional left. In spite of their common use of the word, they have gone to elaborate lengths to obscure it's true meaning and philisophical roots.
Study the meaning of this word. Go to the Wikipedia and you will see the similarities between Obama's current policies and Fascism. The founders of our country were true Liberals and opposed these ideas with their lives.
My last post about the PPIP program implied that many of Obama's policies and methods were not socialist, but corporatist or fascist.
Steve Malanga, who I think I remember from Crains, NY has written a great little primer on this. He correctly points out that corporatist policies often gain popularty in periods of crisis and are in fact attempts by elites and existing power bases to limit and resist change.Let's start with definitions.
"Historically, corporatism refers to a political or economic system in which power is held by civic assemblies that represent economic, industrial, agrarian, social, cultural, and/or professional groups. These civic assemblies are known as corporations (not the same as the legally incorporated business entities known as corporations, though some are such). Corporations are unelected bodies with an internal hierarchy; their purpose is to exert control over the social and economic life of their respective areas. Thus, for example, a steel corporation would be a cartel composed of all the business leaders in the steel industry, coming together to discuss a common policy on prices and wages. When the political and economic power of a country rests in the hands of such groups, then a corporatist system is in place."
I can't paste in the whole definition but corporatism works through a complex of "public/private partnerships which ossify power through force.
"Political scientists may also use the term corporatism to describe a practice whereby a state, through the process of licensing and regulating officially-incorporated social, religious, economic, or popular organizations, effectively co-opts their leadership or circumscribes their ability to challenge state authority by establishing the state as the source of their legitimacy, as well as sometimes running them, either directly or indirectly through corporations. This usage is particularly common in the area of East Asian studies, and is sometimes also referred to as state corporatism."
Fascism, can be described as a much broader ideology but fascist economic ideas are basically corporatist.
"The fascists opposed both international socialism and liberal capitalism, arguing that their views represented a third way. They claimed to provide a realistic economic alternative that was neither laissez-faire capitalism nor communism. They favoured corporatism and class collaboration, believing that the existence of inequality and separate social classes was beneficial (contrary to the views of socialists). Fascists argued that the state had a role in mediating relations between these classes (contrary to the views of liberal capitalists).
An inherent aspect of fascist economies was economic dirigisme, meaning an economy where the government exerts strong directive influence, and effectively controls production and allocation of resources. In general, apart from the nationalizations of some industries, fascist economies were based on private property and private initiative, but these were contingent upon service to the state."
Getting to Malanga's piece
"But we are entering quite a different age right now, one in which the President of the United States and his hand-selected industrial overseers fire the chief executive of General Motors and chart the company’s next moves in order to preserve it. Conservative critics of the president have said that the government’s GM strategy is one of many examples of an America drifting toward socialism. But President Obama is not a socialist. If his agenda harks back to anything, it is to corporatism, the notion that elite groups of individuals molded together into committees or public-private boards can guide society and coordinate the economy from the top town and manage change by evolution, not revolution. It is a turn-of-the 20th century philosophy, updated for the dawn of the 21st century, which positions itself as an antidote to the kind of messy capitalism that has transformed the Fortune 500 and every corner of our economy in the last half century. To do so corporatism seeks to substitute the wisdom of the few for the hundreds of millions of individual actions and transactions of the many that set the direction of the economy from the bottom up."
I urge one to read and think about it and I leave with one last definition. Obama's ideas are in stark contrast those of our nation's founders.
"Classical liberalism holds that individual rights are natural, inherent, or inalienable, and exist independently of government. Thomas Jefferson called these inalienable rights: "...rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law', because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." For classical liberalism, rights are of a negative nature—rights that require that other individuals (and governments) refrain from interfering with individual liberty, whereas social liberalism (also called modern liberalism or welfare liberalism) holds that individuals have a right to be provided with certain benefits or services by others. Unlike social liberals, classical liberals are "hostile to the welfare state." They do not have an interest in material equality but only in "equality before the law." Classical liberalism is critical of social liberalism and takes offense at group rights being pursued at the expense of individual rights."