We’re all fascists now, says Michael Ledeen. He’s right, of course. The cartelization of industry under state control (and partial ownership)—exactly the “bailout’s” mandate—is textbook fascist economics (as the Volgi pointed out frequently when the Clintons attempted to cartelize the health care industry and subordinate it to government control).
My only problem with Ledeen’s piece is that he utterly fails to mention the most relevant, recent, and influential book describing how conventional, mainstream “liberalism” (i.e., statism or soft socialism) tends to slide into seriously disruptive fascist economic planning.
Ledeen is hardly unaware of Jonah Goldberg’s book, having reviewed it (somewhat negatively) for Pajamas Media last January (the review seems to have disappeared from their website). Your Volgi found Ledeen’s critique a bit hypertechnical and academic, making a number of small distinctions between what Ledeen considered to be true or pure fascism and the broader phenomena Goldberg grouped under the (notoriously slippery) rubric of fascism.
As clear a warning as Ledeen’s piece is, interested readers should look at Chapter 8 of Liberal Fascism to look at what Goldberg (a Friend of the Gormogons) calls “Liberal Fascist Economics” and consider the direction of where we’re going and where we’ve been before under the New Deal and War Socialism, not to mention where Europe ended up under Mussolini and Hitler (or arguably, though he doesn’t mention it, Lenin’s NEP). Goldberg argued that our economic system was already fascist-influenced in important respects, and—although he hasn’t written on the topic—I suspect he’d say that the “bailout” is a massive dose of ’roids which will make those fascist elements bulk up and metastasize.
Not to mention the bankers’ and auto executives’ truckling and kowtowing to Congresses’ crackpot mandates is, moreover, classic behavior under fascism: big businesses seeking to protect themselves from competition or failure by giving the state control and sometimes ownership. The Big Three have been particularly egregious in this regard, though what Rich Lowry calls the Zombie Banks pose a related problem if they’re propped up instead of allowed to fail and have their productive assets put to use by healthy purchasers.
As I’ve mentioned before, fascism is a hypertrophied version of some very deep human desires. Its endpoint is not swastikas and concentration camps, but that hardly makes irrelevant the fact that it‘s always—deliberately—taken away freedom and economic opportunity in the name of letting the Smart People, the Great & the Good, run things in a beneficent Third Way, unopposed by the messy multitude of interests that compete in an free, open, democratic system.
Full disclosure: The Volgi did a tiny bit of incidental editorial work on the manuscript of Liberal Fascism.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.