Nationalist Socialists

Fascist Flag a 'bundle' of sticks

Fascist Flag a 'bundle' of sticks

original Image

So what makes a Fascist or a Nazi a Socialist?

First off, there is the name.

From the wiki on “Nazi Party”:

The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP)

So your first clue is the prominent word “Socialist” and your second is “Workers’ Party”. If you are thinking this sound pretty “left wing”, you are right. So we ought to be on the lookout for things like labor unions, wealth redistribution, nationalization of industries, direction of industries via various kinds of central planning, boards, commissions, or Komissars…

From the Wiki on “Nazism”:

Nazism (Nationalsozialismus, National Socialism; alternatively spelled Naziism) was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany. It was a unique variety of fascism that involved biological racism and antisemitism. Nazism presented itself as politically syncretic, incorporating policies, tactics and philosophies from right- and left-wing ideologies; in practice, Nazism was a far right form of politics.

One of the nice things about the Wiki is that it not only lets you get some facts and references, it lets you uncover the bias and lies of the Looney Side Of Left as they regularly overdo the revision of reality on the pages. It just takes a bit of the “forensics mindset” and some skepticism. So here we have the clear oxymoron of “National Socialism” being assigned to “far right”. We’ll explore that little lie a bit more further on down. The way to use this to advantage is simple: when you have cognitive dissonance from an oxymoron, do not assume you are confused or slow, simply look for the lie and manipulation of terms. For now, we just note the semi-circular definition of Nazi as fascist. They do manage to correctly note the racist characteristic that tends to make them different.

But we are left with “What’s a Fascist?”

First off, I’ve run into a convention used some times that when capitalized, Fascist is specifically the form under Mussolini in Italy. When lower case, fascism is the generic form wherever it might turn up. I’ll try to adhere to that, but it can be a bit sloppy especially as I tend to capitalize for emphasis some times and the first word of sentences will be problematic.

Again from the Fascism wiki:

Fascism
For the Italian political movement so named, see Italian Fascism.

Fascism (pronounced /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a country according to a particular nationalist strand of corporatist values and perspectives, with an emphasis on enforcing a collectivist form of political and economic organisation based on a tightly prescribed national identity. Fascism was originally founded by Italian national syndicalists in World War I who combined extreme Sorelian syndicalist political views along with nationalism. Though normally described as being on the far right, there is a scholarly consensus that fascism was also influenced by the left, but with a focus on solutions from the right.

I also note in passing that the root of Fascism means “bundle” in Italian and was often used to mean ‘trade union’ from the notion that a ‘bundle of sticks’ was stronger than any one stick. Hmmm… Trade unions… strength from unity against the capitalists…

OK, another ‘left then right definitional game’… That’s your first clue you’ve got some detangling to do. First notice that the words “corporatist” and “syndicalists” feature prominently. These are being tossed in to make you think Big Business Friends and thus non-socialist, IMHO. The reality is that socialism is quite happy working with businesses, but likes to have control of them and central planning. It’s not a ‘conservative’ thing at all. Syndicalist comes from a French word that is, wait for it, another name for Trade Union and NOT a “Monopoly or Oligopoly Syndicate” as one might expect from an English or American point of view.

So what this is basically saying with those two words is that rather than being outright Communists (who believe in the confiscation of ALL means of production) the Fascists were happy to work with various corporations and trade unions as long as they followed the Central Authority and the Central Plan. Wait a minute, isn’t that what central planning socialism is all about?…

For reference purposes, here is the first paragraph of the wiki on syndicalism, then we’ll go back to the fascism page:

Syndicalism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Part of a series on
Organized labour

Syndicalism is a type of economic system proposed as a replacement for capitalism and state socialism which uses federations of collectivised trade unions or industrial unions. It is a form of economic corporatism that advocates interest aggregation of multiple non-competitive categorised units to negotiate and manage an economy.

For adherents, labor unions are the potential means of both overcoming economic aristocracy and running society fairly in the interest of the majority, through union democracy. Industry in a syndicalist system would be run through co-operative confederations and mutual aid. Local syndicates would communicate with other syndicates through the Bourse du Travail (labor exchange) which would manage and transfer commodities.

Syndicalism is also used to refer to the tactic of bringing about this social arrangement, typically expounded by anarcho-syndicalism and De Leonism, in which a general strike begins and workers seize their means of production and organise in a federation of trade unionism, such as the CNT. Throughout its history, the reformist section of syndicalism has been overshadowed by its revolutionary section, typified by the IWW or the Federación Anarquista Ibérica section of the CNT.

Shades of Obama handing GM ownership in large part over to the Auto Workers Union and being oh so strongly behind the public employees labor union. Nothing like a nice union dominated public sector to advance down that syndicalist socialist road…

Not exactly sounding like a Classi-Liberal Free Enterprise Capitalist ‘syndicate’ … sounding a whole lot more like a ‘workers take control of means of production’….

But at least we have the answer to why Fascism and Naziism were not taking the factories for the state. They were not communists (or as the wiki puts it ‘state socialists’) but were trade union socialists. It still is not a classi-liberal free market capitalism, nor even close to it.

OK, back to the issue of fascism and the fascist wiki… (God that’s got a nice ring to it… ‘fascist wiki’ ;-)

Fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. They claim that culture is created by the collective national society and its state, that cultural ideas are what give individuals identity, and thus they reject individualism. Viewing the nation as an integrated collective community, they see pluralism as a dysfunctional aspect of society, and justify a totalitarian state as a means to represent the nation in its entirety.

Here’s your next clue. They reject the freedom and liberty of a Classical Liberal view of things (and that is NOT the American perversion of the term “liberal” into an American Social Liberal that is more like a common socialist) and the fascists see the good in life as coming from The Collective. This is a classical socialist Marxist root.

So we can start to assemble the de-propagandized core: It is a form of Collectivism that is in favor of suppression of the historic liberties of western capitalist countries (all that messy ‘individualism’ and private direction of capital – they let you ‘own’ it as long as they control it…) and is in favor of a nation regimented and centrally controlled and planned. Wait a minute, that sounds much more “left wing” than “right wing”… in fact, it sounds down right Marxist. And it ought to. Mussolini was raised by a socialist father in a socialist home and some of his first work was as a translator for Marxists and socialist literature as well as being a socialist organizer. He was a socialist through and through. The only salient point that makes Fascism particularly different is that they blend in a heaping helping of Nationalism (as, IIRC, did Stalin when he drifted away from Marx…) and add some Militarism (shades of Red Square May Day parades…).

Yet we get the gratuitous “right wing” bomb tossed into the mix. Hmmm… smells like propaganda to me…

So what happens when we trace back “right wing” and “left wing”?

Right-wing politics
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist are generally used to describe support for preserving traditional social orders and hierarchies. The terms Right and Left were coined during the French Revolution, referring to seating arrangements in parliament; those who sat on the right supported preserving the institutions of the Ancien Régime (the monarchy, the aristocracy and the established church).

Use of the term “Right” became more prominent after the second restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 with the Ultra-royalists. Historically it has been primarily used to refer to conservatives, reactionaries, monarchists, aristocrats, and theocrats. Later on the term would be used to describe those who support free market capitalism, and those who support some forms of nationalism, including fascism.

OK, here we get the ‘game’ laid out. It WAS simply the folks at the French Revolution who wanted to keep Kings, Aristocrats, and The Church in charge. Later, after some Marxists get their hands on things, it has “reactionaries” tossed in. (For those not steeped in Marxism, the Marxists are the “revolutionaries” and then any folks not interested in collectivist, socialist, and communist methods are called ‘reactionaries’ as they react badly to the “revolution”). OK, now I’m having even more trouble putting a collectivist anti-religion anti-aristocracy fascism on the ‘right wing’ side.

I note in passing the assignment of ‘conservatives’ to the ‘right wing’ as well. While this is true in the context of the French Revolution, it becomes more vague and essentially a ‘polite lie’ in modern America. Literally a “conservative” is one who wishes to preserve the present state, whatever it is/was. So when that was Monarchs and The Church, the “right wing” was “conservatives”. Update that to modern America and I don’t think you will find a lot of Republicans and Libertarians looking to support a King or Theocracy… (In fact, IIRC, wasn’t it the French REPUBLIC that was ‘left wing’ and on which our Republic was modeled? (we were first, them second so I’ve sticken the wrong order comment)… Hmmm… my ‘manipulation’ buzzer is going off. At a bare minimum I’m going to need some consistent personal terms to keep things straight here.)

Now, to the meat of it. At the bitter end we get “nationalists and fascists” tossed in along with ‘free market capitalists’. This is starting to look more and more like a list of “Anything the Present Day Socialists / Leftists don’t like” and less and less like a rational classification… So who decided Nationalism was ‘right wing’? And why?

So, our first Ah Ha! moment is to realize that “right wing” means exactly nothing. It’s a catch all for “collectivists don’t like it” and they don’t like the history of Fascism being scored on their side, so they’ve pushed it over here on the “right wing” too and drug Nationalism along for the ride to assure you get both Italy and Germany assigned to “not us over here on the left!!”. So what IS now counted as ‘left wing’?

What about “left wing”?

Left-wing politics

In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist are generally used to describe support for social change to create a more egalitarian society. The terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution, referring to the seating arrangement in parliament; those who sat on the left generally supported the radical changes of the revolution, including the creation of a republic and secularization.

Use of the term Left became more prominent after the restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 when it was applied to the “Independents”. The term was then applied to a number of revolutionary movements, especially socialism, anarchism and communism as well as more reformist movements like social democracy and social liberalism.

So, in the beginning it was those Nasty Republicans… Who knew? Then as hangers on we got the “independents” mixed in that brought the early French socialists and communists along for the ride. Note, too, sneaking in “social liberalism” that we’ve discussed earlier is actually NOT Liberalism at all, Classical Liberalism was the stuff of Republics, Libertarians, and Individual Freedom.

Social liberalism is just a back door way to try to hide socialism under the (then) more popular Liberal label (in the USA at least, the “Progressives” such as Woodrow Wilson and FDR had tarnished “Progressive” pretty badly what with mass arrests, propaganda machines, railing against the constitution as it constrained what he could do with the country, attempts (often successful) at control of the media, and a couple of world wars along with some economic depressions; so they rebranded as ‘social liberals’)

Our major clue here is to discover that whenever you see the word Social as a modifier, suspect fraud is being done to the modified word. Also, watch for the ‘redefinition rebranding’ game being played. It may not be 100%, but it is a very fruitful clue.

So where are we now? We’ve got those in favor of the Republic being moved from “Left Wing” over to “Right Wing” and stuck with the folks who want to keep the King on the throne (don’t think they’d like that…) and we’ve got “Classical Liberals” who were dead set against having their liberties stolen being stripped of their good name so collectivists socialists can hide behind it. Oh, and they shove their National Socialist and Fascist attempts at collectivism over with the Republicans and Monarchists and reactionaries and capitalists and all the others that Marxism doesn’t like. Can’t ‘rebrand’ Fascism as good so may as well stick that Tar Baby on the guys who fought to kill it.

OK. conclusion time: “right wing” and “left wing” are entirely useless terms with the possible exception that “Left Wing” is consistently used by the Socialists, Communists and other Marxist Collectivists at least since the time that they shoved the Republicans over into the same (propaganda driven definition) side as the reactionaries and Monarchs.

Basically, I “smell a big fat commie rat” at work manipulating the language.

(Reference: George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove about 2/3 of the way thru the movie with the Russian Ambassador present, just after they find out that one plane is not responding to the return code and not shot down. He says ” Mr. President , I’m beginning to smell a big fat Commie rat ” More quotes.)

That has significant implications for much of our day to day speech. For one thing, I’m not comfortable with using “Right Wing” to mean anything other than “Marxists and Socialists don’t like it”. For another, it’s pretty clear that “Left Wing” is only usable for recent history and only as a marker for Marxists and Socialists, and even there they have thrown out the National Socialists as they didn’t like the press…

This implies we’ll need to actually look at the HISTORY and the ACTIONS of the Fascists and Nazis to know if they were good socialists or not…

Some History

So what “Commie Rat” decided National Socialism was not Socialism? Why, it was Stalin.

If you remember your Marx, it was a class struggle and it was international.

How can you have a proper socialist state if you are not being an internationalist but are instead a nationalist? Worse, both Fascism and Naziism were ‘middle class’ socialisms and accepted that professions and small shop keepers were part of the proletariat and not part of the evil capitalist bourgeoisie.

(Sidebar: Golly, I guess that Marxism I was required to learn to get an Econ degree is finally being useful for something… the theory of mandating it was that it WAS a kind of economic system and we needed to know how all of the major ones worked and / or were defined. At any rate, I was schooled in Marxism along with Capitalism and a couple of other ‘isms’ in order to graduate.)

So the Fascists and National Socialists had committed 2 sins. They were not Globalist / Internationalist in focus and they were not looking at things as a class struggle of only the workers against all others but as being, roughly, “all the little guys” against the giant capitalists. An amusing note here is that if you dig into their history, one of the big thing the Fascists and National Socialists railed against was “The Department Store”… See, they run ‘the little guy’ with a shop selling, oh, socks, out of business. Shades of protests against the Evil Walmart…

From the book (ASo type) “Liberal Fascism”:

pg.70

The Nazis’ ultimate aim was to transcend both left and right, to advance a ‘Third Way’ that broke with both categories. Bit in the real world Nazis seized control of the country by dividing, conquering, and then replacing the left.

This is the monumental fact of the Nazi rise to power that has been slowly airbrushed from our collective memories: the Nazis campaigned as socialists. Yes, they were also nationalists, which in the context of the 1930s was considered a rightist position, but this was at a time when the “internationalism” of the Soviet Union defined all nationalisms as right-wing. Surely we’ve learned from the parade of horribles on offer in the twentieth century that nationalism isn’t inherently right-wing – unless we’re prepared to call Stalin, Castro, Arafat, Chavez, Guevara, Pol Pot, and, for that matter, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, right-wingers.

It then goes on to discuss some of the nationalism of Stalin and that the French Revolution was a nationalism of sorts, but placed on the left wing, as was German Romanticism.

The Nazi ideologist – and Hitler rival – Gregor Strasser put it quite succinctly: “We are socialists. We are enemies, deadly enemies, of today’s capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, its unfair wage system, its immoral way of judging the worth of human beings in terms of their wealth and their money, instead of their responsibility and their performance, and we are determined to destroy this system whatever it happens!”

Hmmm… Kind of hard to misunderstand that.

But maybe Hitler was different?

Hitler was just as straightforward in Mein Kampf. He dedicates an entire chapter to the Nazis’ deliberate exploitation of socialist and communist imagery, rhetoric, and ideas and how this marketing confused both liberals and communists.

In 1934 Abel took out an ad in the Nazi Party journal asking “old fighters” to submit essays explaining why they had joined. […] The essays were combined in the fascinating book Why Hitler Came Into Power. One essayist, a coal miner, explained that he was “puzzled by the denial of race and nation implicit in Marxism. Though I was interested in the betterment of the workingman’s plight, I rejected [Marxism] unconditionally. I often asked myself why socialism had to be tied up with internationalism – why it could not work as well or better in conjunction with nationalism.” A railroad worker concurred, “I shuddered at the thought of Germany in the grip of Bolshevism. The slogan “Workers of the World Unite!” made no sense to me. At the same time, however, National Socialism, with its promise of a community… barring all class struggle, attracted me profoundly.” A third worker wrote that he embraced the Nazis because of their “uncompromising will to stamp out the class struggle, snobberies of caste and party hatreds. The movement bore the true message of socialism to the German workingman”.

These were the folks who made up the rank and file of the Nazis, and THEY did it because it was socialism, but with an appeal to the nation, not the international… I have trouble telling the people who make up a movement that they don’t know why they did it.

pg. 76

Many communists probably didn’t buy the Trotskyite claim that committed socialists like Norman Thomas were no different from Adolf Hitler, but they were soon under orders to act like they did. In 1928, at Stalin’s direction, the Third International advanced the doctrine of “social fascism,” which held that there was really no difference between a Social Democrat and a Fascist or a Nazi. Fascism was “a fighting organization of the bourgeoisie, an organization that rests on the active support of social democracy [which] is the moderate wing of fascism. According to the theory of social fascism, a liberal democrat and a Nazi “do not contradict each other,” but in Stalin’s words, “complete each other. They are not antipodes but twins.” The strategy behind the doctrine of social fascism was as horribly misguided as the theory behind it. The thinking was that the center would not hold in Western democracies, and in a conflict between fascists and communists the communists would win. This was one reason – aside from a common outlook on most issues – that communists and Nazis tended to vote together in the Reichstag. The German Communists were operating under the Moscow-provided motto “Nach Hitler; kommen wir” (“After Hitler, we take over”). Or, “First Brown, then Red.”

Hmmm… Propaganda like a duck, recruits like a duck, votes like a duck…

The doctrine of social fascism had two consequences that are directly relevant to our discussion. The first is that forever afterward, anyone who was against the far left was seen as being in league with the fascist far right. For decades, even after the launch of the Popular Front, if you were against the Soviet Union, you were open to the charge of being a fascist. Even Leon Trotsky – the co-founder of the Soviet state – was labeled a “Nazi agent” and the leader of a failed “fascist coup” the moment Stalin decided to get rid of him. Indeed, charges of rightism, fascism, and Naziism were leveled at countless victims of Stalin’s purges. Eventually the international left simply reserved for itself the absolute right to declare whomever it desired to delegitimize a Nazi or fascist without appeal to reason or fact. In time, as Nazism became synonymous with “ultimate evil,” this became an incredibly useful cudgel, which is still wielded today.
The second consequence of the doctrine of social fascism was that it caused Hitler to win.

So, if you take your orders from as far to the Left Side as it is possible to go, yes, fascism and Naziism are ‘to the right’ (largely because they don’t buy the ‘international’ part and accept shop keepers into the proletariat).

For the rest of us, though, they are still a kind of Socialism and only a little bit to the right of Marxist communist left.

Rather like the Catholics getting their panties in a bunch about Martin Luther and the Protestants. They were all a kind of Christians, and seen from the point of view of a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist pretty much the same; but boy did they hate each other, as each saw the other as a heretic. We forgive folks far from us much more readily than we forgive our siblings or children when they wander astray…

(See the Sunni / Shia conflict for another example)

In the next posting in this series we will look just a bit at some of the actions of the fascists and Nazis on their road to National Socialism. For now, I think it is pretty clear that we must abandon the use of “right wing” as meaning anything other than “Not Marxist” and stick to root definitional characteristics (like support for individual economic self determination) for our “sides”.

I’d also suggest not letting The Left have control of the definitions. They aren’t stable enough to handle it…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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55 Responses to Nationalist Socialists

  1. BCC says:

    OK,

    So you’re reading von Hayek and finding a one-dimensional political axis flawed, and you don’t mention (in ~4,000 words) the Nolan chart? That would seem a logical place to turn. It even more or less lumps the Nazis and Fascists. But you’ll see that much of the American Left is actually in the box above that, the yes-to-personal-freedoms, regulate-economic-freedom box.

    I think it’s a fair guess that you’re in the upper right libertarian box (the Nolan box!). Where many people profess to be, except when in the voting booth, apparently!

    I’m north of the center, myself. Maybe north north-east. It’s a fun exercise to plot where people, e.g. Adam Smith, would be on this chart.

    [ Perhaps because I’ve never heard of a “Nolan Box”. Though a google of “Nolan Political Chart” did turn one up, “Nolan Box” was, er, ‘different’ in results. FWIW, looks sort of useful, though I’m thinking we need at least 3 axis…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Chart
    -E.M.Smith]

  2. pyromancer76 says:

    Seems like good history and fine sleuthing to me. I would like to see the Teaparty Republicans refuse all the labeling nonsense by talking history, truth, and confiscation of meanings. “I’d also suggest not letting The Left have control of the definitions” — best advice.

  3. PhilJourdan says:

    Wow! This is mostly a place holder as I have to run. But I love the observation that if you take your orders from as far to the Left Side as it is possible to go, yes, fascism and Naziism are ‘to the right’

    Given who edits Wiki, I can see how they would claim it is rightwing.

    great reading! Thanks

  4. kuhnkat says:

    Very nicely done.

    Thank you!!!

  5. BCC says:

    This is Chiefio’s blog, and he can do as he pleases.

    But his failure to approve my civil and constructive comment from 1:37pm leaves me unimpressed!

    [ My, but some folks can be incredibly demanding and impatient. FWIW, I was writing, then editing, then re-proofing the newest posting from first thing this morning until now, 3pm. (Oh, and baked a loaf of bread that I’ve just gotten out of the oven too…) So my order of process was “New posting. Check comments already published for any ‘issues’, double check new posting – as often ‘after it’s up a while’ I see more “issues” in the wording or spelling that I didn’t catch when ‘fresh’ and it can be a bit of an embarrassment even if I don’t embarrass worth a damn, get bread out of oven, check moderation queue.” And that’s what I’m doing now. What, about 1 1/2 hours after your very first comment ever? Took nearly 3 days from my first comment on WUWT to be posted as he did a ‘mail service’ check on me… So “patience grasshopper” and don’t go running off any cliffs of conclusion. Sometimes folks are just busy or slow or even asleep… -E.M.Smith]

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    BCC

    OK,

    So you’re reading von Hayek and finding a one-dimensional political axis flawed, and you don’t mention (in ~4,000 words) the Nolan chart? That would seem a logical place to turn. It even more or less lumps the Nazis and Fascists. But you’ll see that much of the American Left is actually in the box above that, the yes-to-personal-freedoms, regulate-economic-freedom box.

    Well, I’ve looked it over. IMHO it’s “got issues”. First is that we’ve got a diagonal that runs from “left wing” to “right wing” but we’ve just shown that those are substantially meaningless and certainly meaningless in any non-relative sense. They only have meaning at a moment in time (rather like ‘conservative’ vs ‘revolutionary’ that depend on who is revolting against whom…). So I’d have to figure out what he DID mean by them and fill that it.

    Next issue is to equate “populist” with “totalitarian”. Don’t think you can do that. While many populists ARE totalitarian, there are many who are not. George Washington comes to mind as an example.

    So, could I ‘fix it up’ by putting “totalitarian” at the origin and then changing “left wing” to “social liberal quasi-socialist” and “right wing” to what? “Christian Theocratic influenced conservative”? or “Islamo-fascist’? or “Dear Leader”? I suppose that would work, kind of…

    Except that the thesis of Hayak is that a “social liberal quasi-socialist” is just the early step on the road that ends up in a full blown Totalitarian state. (It is probably worth noting here that “totalitarian” was invented as a word by Mussolini to describe his brand of total social control in his socialist workers paradise…). Then there is the issue that a traditional Republican is for a Republic as a form of government precisely because it grants protection from the tyrany of the masses, the tendency for a democracy to ‘vote for itself the largess of the public purse’ and to enact laws that suit the 51% at the expense of the 49% so not exactly a form of ‘economic freedom’.

    IMHO, the best way to look at Nolans Box is that you may start with “social control” or with “economic control” but you slide down the Road To Serfdom in either case and end up in Totalitarian. And yes, that would put me as a Classi-Liberal / Libertarian at whatever corner is further from all of those.

    But as it stands, with “wings” and populist tyrants, I’m not really excited about Nolans box…

    Oh, and there is no way you can ‘regulate economic freedoms’ without also resticting ‘personal freedoms’. If The Collective decides not to make Porn Movies, they just are not made. If it decides to ban “incandescent lightbulbs” then I’m not at liberty to make a ‘light oven’ to roast my turkey, have a ‘Susy Homemaker Easy bake Oven” or even just have a 100 Color Rendering Index lightbulb for esthetics. The two are completely joined, inseperable, and intermixed. So the basic thesis that you CAN have one without the other is fundamentally flawed.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Thinking about it some more… It’s not so much that I mind things being on a one dimentional line, as that the end points are fluid, often change places over time, and ill defined.

    So, for example, I could easliy see having “an axis” of “private ownership of property”. Clearly “communism” goes on one end, “classi-liberal” goes with “Libertarian” and “indvidualism” on the other. You could then grade out Fascism and Naziism as having more private property than communism but less than either Republican France or The French Monarchy (presuming the Monarch was not, in fact ‘the state’ incarnate but a private owner of the property… echo’s of c’est mois in my brain…) and with ASo-liberals as more to the ‘communal’ end than the ‘classi-liberals’, then with US Republicans as somewhere between ASo-liberals and Libertarians. No real problems other than some need for data and evaluation.

    Similarly you could have a single axis of “sexual freedom” with Isam at one one end with the Pope right next door and at the other far end the ’70s Flower Power Generation (which likely puts the party they dominate, the Democrats, and the movement they define, the ASo-liberals, down near that end as well). Somewhere in between but toward the Pope would go folks like the Christian Right and a bit closer to the middle would be the run of the mill US Republican with Log Cabin Republicans over milling around in the ASo-Liberal Party apre vote ‘mixer’ ;-)

    You could even take those two axis and make a 2-D chart out of them. Repeat with a “Unions and Regulation” axis or a “Green Mandate” axis or… as much as you find useful.

    No Problem.

    But…

    When you have “rubber wings” defining the X vs Y it’s a bit too ‘rubber chicken’ for my tastes…

    Simple example would be the Nazis. Do you put them on the “social freedom” “Left Wing” as they had “Gays in the Military”? (Oh boy, did they have gays in the miilitary… top ranks and admired the Greekness of it all quite publicly… Snappy uniforms too ;-) Or do you put them on the “social oppressive” “Right Wing” as they were none too keen you you choosing your religion, especially if it was Jewish or Romani in origin. They were none to keen on run of the mill Christianity either, preferring a kind of new-Paganism, but endorsed it as a method for social control. So which is that: Social “freedom” or “not”?

    That leaves me back at “totalitarian” vs “libertarian” as an axis works for me. The “left / right” is too much rubber wings. But with some other better defined axis it would probably work OK. And using “social vs economic” freedom as axis choices doesn’t work as they can not be pulled one from the other.

  8. boballab says:

    In fact, IIRC, wasn’t it the French REPUBLIC that was ‘left wing’ and on which our Republic was modeled?

    No it’s not. The French Republic came after the adoption of the US Constitution.

    The US Constitution is the document that lays out the structural groundwork of the Republic of the United States.

    The United States Constitution was written in 1787, but it did not take effect until after it was ratified in 1789, when it replaced the Articles of Confederation. It remains the basic law of the United States.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States_Constitution

    What happened was that the French tried to copy what happened in the US in 1792 when they passed their new constitution (prior to that they were a constitutional monarchy) forming the first French Republic in 1793. However the Committee on Public Safety would not give up power so it never went into effect. They passed another constitution in 1795 after Robspierre was himself introduced to the Guillotine in 1794.

    As a result of the spike in public violence and the political instability of the constitutional monarchy, a party of six members of France’s Legislative Assembly was assigned the task of overseeing elections. The resulting Convention was founded with the dual purpose of abolishing the monarchy and drafting a new constitution. The Convention’s first act was to establish the French First Republic and officially strip the king of all political powers. The King, by then a private citizen bearing his family name of [Capet], was subsequently put on trial for crimes of high treason starting in December of 1792. On 16 January 1793 he was found guilty, and on 21 January, he was guillotined[3].

    Throughout the winter of 1792 and spring of 1793, Paris was plagued by food riots and mass hunger. The new Convention did little to remedy the problem until late spring of 1793, occupied instead with matters of war. Finally, on 6 April 1793, the Convention created the Committee of Public Safety, headed by Maximilien Robespierre, and was given a monumental task: “To deal with the radical movements of the Enragés, food shortages and riots, the revolt in the Vendée and in Brittany, recent defeats of its armies, and the desertion of its commanding general.”[4] Most notably, the Committee of Public Safety instated a policy of terror, and the guillotine began to fall on enemies of the republic at an ever-increasing rate, beginning the period known today as the Reign of Terror.

    Despite growing discontent with the National Convention as a ruling body, in June the Convention drafted the Constitution of 1793, which was ratified by popular vote in early August. However, the Committee of Public Safety was seen as an “emergency” government, and the rights guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the new constitution were suspended under its control. The Committee carried out thousands of executions against supposed enemies of the young Republic, to the point that the guillotine came to be known as “the national razor”—because it seemed to be falling on everybody’s neck[5]. The Committee’s laws and policies took the revolution to unprecedented heights—they introduced the revolutionary calendar in 1793, closed churches in and around Paris as a part of a movement of dechristianization, tried and executed Marie Antoinette, and instituted the Law of Suspects, among others. Under Robespierre’s leadership, members of various revolutionary factions and groups were executed including the Hébertists and the Dantonists, many of whom had been Robespierre’s personal friends[4].

    The war efforts were improving for France by 1794, due in part to the military excellence of Napoleon Bonaparte. Many in the National Convention were calling for a return to normalization, but Robespierre disagreed. Between the mass executions, the wild fear of the populace, and the institution of the Festival of Reason, by the middle of 1794 there was “a great deal of enthusiasm for ending the terror, [but] no one could figure out how to do it…The only thing that would end the terror, and apparently the only thing they could all agree upon, was the fall of Robespierre”.[6] He was arrested on 27 July and executed on 28 July 1794 without trial.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_First_Republic

    As you can see the French Republic came after the Republic of the United States. Matter of fact the 1789 French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was heavily influenced by the US Declaration of Independence and by correspondence between the French Revolutionaries and Thomas Jefferson who was an ambassador to France at the time.

    As can be seen in the texts, the French declaration is heavily influenced by the political philosophy of the Enlightenment, and by Enlightenment principles of human rights, some of which it shares with the U.S. Declaration of Independence which preceded it (4 July 1776). Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, was at the time in France as a U.S. diplomat,[4] and was in correspondence with members of the French National Constituent Assembly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_the_Rights_of_Man_and_of_the_Citizen

    Matter of fact under Jefferson’s Bio you find this:

    Minister to France

    From 1784 to 1789, Jefferson lived outside the United States. He was sent to Paris initially as a commissioner to help negotiate commercial treaties; then in 1785 he succeeded Benjamin Franklin as minister to France. Most European countries, however, were indifferent to American economic overtures. “They seemed, in fact,” Jefferson wrote, “to know little about us. . . . They were ignorant of our commerce, and of the exchange of articles it might offer advantageously to both parties.” Only one country, Prussia, signed a pact based on a model treaty drafted by Jefferson.

    During these years Jefferson followed events in the United States with understandable interest. He advised against any harsh punishment of those responsible for Shay’s Rebellion (1786-87) in Massachusetts. He worried particularly that the new Constitution of the United States lacked a bill of rights and failed to limit the number of terms for the presidency. In France he witnessed the beginning of the French Revolution, but he doubted whether the French people could duplicate the American example of republican government. His advice, more conservative than might be anticipated, was that France emulate the British system of constitutional monarchy.

    http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/tjefferson.html

    If you want to really get under a Frenchman’s skin point out the fact that for the last 218 years France has followed the US lead and screwed it up by the numbers. :)

  9. pyromancer76 says:

    The more one studies, the more the American evolution/development of a governmental model has been the most impressive, the most liberating of individuals’ creativity and productivity. I hope it will continue. It seems to me that it has the seeds of a unique form of liberation (even with all its excesses and faults) in its origin that will enable Americans to right the ship of state (appropriate role for government).

    Thanks, E.M. for asking for historical accuracy rather than an ahistorical chart mapping left and right out of someone’s fantasy. And yes, the French Revolution followed the American, and they did a very poor job of it compared to us. Ah, but what can one expect of Europeans; they just don’t get it and they never will. (Boballab, always insightful).

    Those Europeans who refused to Americanize when they immigrated — marxists/socialists in particular — keep beating their repetitive drum of “social justice”. To me the perfect storm might be marxist totalitarianism, plus that of Islam, plus the mob-drug cartels (which origin is in “free enterprise profits” from selling at a very high price that which has been forbidden — alcohol first).

    The geographical center of this current virus, IMHO, is Chicago/Illinois. When one studies the development of Chicago as a city, it (this version of the American way) is scary. Perhaps the first example of the urban serial killer comes from Chicago (Herman Webster Mudgett, aka HH Holmes) around the time of the Chicago World’s Fair 1893. It seems to be the urban folk who are having a terrible time remaining outside the clutches of the totalitarian elitists. Will this virus be too much for us?

    I apologize for the dark thoughts. I can almost smell that bread. Balm for the stomach and the soul.

  10. Adrian Vance says:

    There are two kinds of socialism: Fascism from the top down and Communism from the bottom up. Fascists start with the big money, banking and business people to sell the masses lies about all the free stuff they will give them. Communists start with the unions, or create them, telling lies about all the stuff they will take from the rich and give to the poor. It all comes down to the same thing: A concentration of power.

    Free ideas, science and humor at: http://adrianvance.blogspot.com The Two Minute Conservative for radio/TV hosts, opinion page editors and you. Also on Kindle.

  11. BCC says:

    A few things:

    – I rescind my moderation complaint. My issue was not with response time so much as with the apparent lack of FIFO- 3 fawning moderations had been improved while mine was still in moderation limbo. Regardless, given how it annoys me when people complain of moderation injustice, I am sorry to be guilty of the same.

    – Nolan was a libertarian, so he goes in the upper right quadrant, which I called, for shorthand, the Nolan box. I will not dare Google for that term, especially in Google images. But Nolan’s 2-axis framing (there are many others with alternate dimensions) has been around for awhile.

    – I reject the supposition that it’s the left manipulating nomenclature. It smacks of global conspiracies and cries of victimization (aside: it galls me when those who criticize e.g. “victim studies” are so often so adept at acting the victim- see, e.g., Palin, Sarah). The left has been on the run for years in this country.

    – Left and right wing terminology are necessarily ambiguous simply because of the multidimensional nature of politics. The problem with coining new classifications is that no one else will have any idea what the hell you’re talking about. I think the best approach is to be as precise as possible with existing terms. Choose 2-3 axes, figure out the spectrum, and hyphen away. E.g. I’m socially liberal, economically mixed (this regresses back to the Nolan chart).

    – Struggling with a conception of right wing? Here: Singapore. China. Left wing? Cuba & Venezuela, of course.

    – Here’s a bit by Geoffrey Nunberg that resonates with me: ” Over the last few decades, the right has managed to reconfigure the polarities of American politics so that economic divisions are trumped by the bogus cultural distinctions of the “red-blue” divide, and in the process “liberal” and “conservative” have been redefined as opposing social styles or personality types, rather than as contrasting philosophies of government. Indeed, listening to the talk shows on Fox News, you might have the impression that the two sides are really distinct political genders. As it happens, that picture of an America riven into two distinct nations–“more divided than at any time since the Civil War,” as people sometimes say–has no empirical reality for the mass of ordinary Americans, as researchers as politically diverse as Alan Wolfe and Morris Fiorina have shown at some length.”

  12. BCC says:

    I concur with Mr. Vance’s conclusion (it’s about concentration of power), if not his nomenclature (socialism…. “You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means).

    And that hints at a fundamental difference between the left and right.

    Both the left and right fear concentration of power.

    – The left fears the concentration of power in the private sector, seeing the negative outcomes of the free market as severe wealth stratification & resultant oppression of the poor, excessive pollution, etc. The left seeks to control this perceived threat through the means of government, and *fears control of government by private sector entities.*

    – The right fears the concentration of power in government itself.

    Both have legitimate concerns. The case for the right’s fear is easy: the true monsters of the 20th century did their deeds via governmental entities, either with the pretense of social equality (left: CCCP, Pol Pot) or not (right: Nazis, Mussolini).

    But the left has a case, as well. The best example that comes to mind is the Scramble for Africa, which was driven heavily by economic interests. And the results weren’t pretty, with body counts also in the millions.

    So, where does that leave us? In my mind, the common ground for the left and right lies in preserving the mechanisms of our democracy, which, for all its imperfections, has done a decent job of avoiding too much concentration of power, public or private.

    In particular, this means, to me: preservations of checks and balances, particularly of the executive branch (be it Bush or Obama). Integrity of elections (which unfortunately means much different things to the left and right; verified paper ballots vs. voter ID cards). Some sort of conception of long-term fiscal viability (and here, the R/R/R government of 2000-2006 looks no better than the D/D/D of 2008-2010). Etc.

    It does not mean that those who advocate a more activist role for government than you might like are socialists, evil, or loony.

    OK, I’m done; carry on-

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @Boballab:

    Serves me right for being in a hurry. I tossed it in with an “IIRC” instead of doing a fact check as was behind on things and just wanted to get this posting done. At any rate, I’ve patched the posting. Thanks.

    So I’ve got my French Revolution out of place by a couple of decades… too bad that makes the order 100% wrong 8-{

    I ought to have remembered that Ben Franklin was a vistor to the French Court and that it was the French King, grumpy at Old King George who fronted us some money and not a newly formed republic in disarray…

    @Pyromancer76:

    The second loaf just went into the oven as the first one is nearly all gone. I always bake 2 and the first one never lasts more than 1/2 a day…

    IIRC one of our founding lights commented that if we ever crowded ourselves into cities like the Europeans our Republic would not last much longer. I know, I ought to look it up but I’m behind on a lot of things at the moment…

    At any rate, yes, cities are the center of the “issue”. They are much more prone to ‘voting for themselves the largess of the public purse’ and folks are conditioned to the idea that they are always dependent on loads of other folks, so no one is actually ‘at liberty’ or ‘independent’. It conditions the mind to the ideals of The Collective… But I think you will find the same issues, be it Chicago, NYC, N.O., Miami, SFO, …

    FWIW, I think there are as many (or maybe more?) immigrants who came here to escape such tyranies as those with fond memories of ones left behind; and I’m pretty sure our own home grown supply of Socialists is far larger…

    @BCC

    Um, it’s not a “notion”, it’s a stated fact, down to person and time. Stalin, as quoted above. Issued orders and documented. Per the creation of “social liberal” that is a self assigned name, not one given by Republicans. On down the line. So there is no conspiracy and no ‘notion’ to reject. Just facts well documented (though not all of them documented here.)

    Don’t get me wrong, the Radical Right plays some games too, but just not this particular one. At least not well enough to win at it.

    Finally, the PRESENT use of “right” and “left” in the USA is fairly clear, but that PAST use is different as is the use in other countries and all are subject to change. That’s what makes “right” and “left” practically useless as terms. As documented above.

    That makes it a poor choice for an axis / chart such as Nolan’s unless you placard it by Nation and Date (and then it become more accurate, but far less generally useful).

    Is “Republican” right or left? Now you must decide France vs USA and 1700s, 1800s, 1900s, 2000s ….

    Is “Liberal” right or left? Well, are you talking about Australia, the UK, or the USA? Prior to 1940 or after 1960?

    I’ve no problem sorting present countries into odd ‘left / right’ boxes, I’ve got a problem with having it be generally useful for more than a few weeks… and entirely ambiguous without it being festooned with a set of dates and locations.

    General tools of broad utility ought not to be made that way.

    There is the same problem with “conservative”. At present, the old Stalinists are the “conservatives” in Russia. They have little in common with a USA Republican nor with an 1800 French Monarchist. All they share is a desire for “the old ways” and the name “conservative”. Not very useful…

    So when you’ve got such lousy catagories to work with and such poor terminology with which to do it, the better answer is to start over with better categories and cleaner terminology.

    Please note: That does not mean “Nolan’s Box” is bad, useless, clumsy, whatever. It may well be a wonderful thing for, oh, a moment of enlightenment for folks at that particular point in time and space as they decide that both Republicans and Democrats (of that time and place) have no place left for them as a truely Classical Liberal (and discover that the Social Liberals have corrupted the term Liberal so even calling themselves Liberal no longer works).

    It does mean that it’s a poor tool for general understanding spread over long periods of time and space. Since I’m more interested in that, the tool is not very useful for me, for my purposes.

    Put bluntly: It may be a fine hammer for that particular nail, but I’m looking for a for a complete driver set including sockets and screwdriver bits as I’ve a bunch of things put together with nuts, bolts, and screws that I’m looking to take apart.

    BTW, as an example of the “left right” problem, Stalin would have put Venezuela on the “Far RIGHT” as it is a nationalist regime… The present move of Cuba to allow a merchant class would also put it on the Stalinist “Fascist Right” as it is no longer a true ‘workers proletariat’. At the same time, you could put China on either the left (as it is nominally a Communist country, complete with 5 year plans and Kommissars) or on the right (as it is a Lange Type Socialism in transistion from a Syndicalist that prior was a fairly pure Marxist form) and per Stalin, that makes them a Fascist RIGHT wing….

    When you can take your pick where to place an economy on a metric, that metric is useless for analysis as it is no longer an objective ruler, it is a rubber ruler based on subjective ideas.

    And yes, Fox drastically oversimplifies things. They must, as they have an audience to retain and can’t live with the 1% share they would have that wants a detailed analysis presented by dour old Economists debating the relative merits of Syndicalist vs Lange type socialisms as the appropriate hair splitting for China…

    Frankly, I’m not sure I even care that much (even though I know it… for reasons I can hardly ken… ;-)

    Back at “new terminologies”. Yes, they are relatively limited for use in broad communications. No, they are not to be disposed lightly. They are incredibly useful for ‘keeping a tidy mind’. One of the best tools I’ve ever found. One of the “odd bits” of who I am is that what goes on inside my head is different from what I communicate most of the time. Early on I learned that the outside world often ‘tells lies’, and I started flagging things by ‘degree of truth’ and ‘degree of persistance’. When I find things that need a new term to give me stable persistent truths, I create one. A very useful thing in keeping a tidy mind…

    For example, I use Dimocrat to distinguish the most DIM among the Democrats (such as Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, etc.) from the more bright and stellar ones (J.F.K., my Uncle Ken, the Florida Friend, even Joe Lieberman from before he decided to change to ‘decline to state’) Sometimes that confuses some folks (who take it as a broad slander of all Democrats, when it isn’t) but it lets me keep ‘tidy’ about who is whom. The Radical Right is that part of the Republican party that is most off their particular deep end and the Bushs are “Daddy Bush” and “Baby Bush” as I can keep them straight better that way.

    So yes, I’ll make my own very precise and useful “terms” for how to sort out the (soft of right mush) from the (sort of left mush). Then I’ll find ways to translate that into something that works for talking to others. Rather like the “classi-liberal” and “ASo-liberal” translate into “Classical Liberal prior to circa 1940” and “American Social Liberal of post 1950 or so”.

    FWIW, I’ve spent about 2 hours tonight fooling around with my own version of ‘the chart’ based on what you posted. On one axis is “Voluntary / compelled” on the other is “Individual / Collective”. This turns out to be far more useful. For example, the top row of the chart (all fully compelled) has:

    Empire, Monarchy, Nation, Tribe, Family, Shunned

    (A person who is involuntarily alone as an individual got there by being ‘shunned’ or being lost on a desert island or… so there are a few more details that could be put on the chart, for now I’m using ‘shunned’ as the ‘compelled to be alone’ marker).

    We are compelled without choice to be born into a family, for that family to be part of a tribe, for our tribe to be part of a ‘nation’ (in the older sense of group of people of common type / interests such as “Navaho Nation”… slighly less so for the nation-state meaning of, say French as we can choose to leave it, so “expat and emigrant” are under nation on the voluntary end of the axis; we are born into a Nation but may choose to emigrate). A Monarch may rise and bind nations into Monarchies (as in the U.K.) and these may be bound into Empires (as in Imperial Rome, Japan, and the British Empire).

    I’m still filling in the rest of the chart, but you get the idea.

    The “Individualist” is in the far “volunatary / individual” corner with “Libertarian” just a bit more toward “collectivist” as they band together in voluntary groups.

    The “Corporation” is a ‘voluntary collective” with Monopoly being a bit less voluntary than a competative corporation as folks may have no choice but to work “for the post office”…

    In the highly involuntary highly collective corner you also get all the sorts of Socialism: Communism (pure Marxism, Maoism, Stalinism, etc.), Fascism and Naziism (open to the petty merchant as well as the ‘workers’ and with more of a syndacalist bent), and eventually, moving diagonally toward more individualism and less compulsion, into Lange Type and such. With some work I can probably fit in the Social Democats and the Conservative Socialists and all the other zillions of minor hair splits.

    Now this tool, when I’m done with it, will be very useful, is not subject to the ‘time and place’ issues, and has a very non-subjective criteria set. Is one compelled or not? Is it collective and how much so? Things that can be observed or measured.

    I was surprised to realize, 1/2 way through it, that it did fit the “nation / tribe / clan” as well as the various corporate forms as well. I’d not set out with that in mind as my first step. That is the sign of a good tool, it does more than expected and more easily. A poor tool keeps putting problems in your face that are hard to avoid.

    Once this is done, would it be ‘useful’ to have a Z axis of some sort of economic vs non-economic ‘freedom’ axis? Perhaps. There is still that nasty problem of economics being the method by which non-economic freedoms are limited. (Try setting up a Porno Movie Theatre in Saudi Arabia or a Bible Shop… then tell me the economic and social freedoms are not linked. Or just go try to buy a joint or a night of sex on a downtown streetcorner near the police station… And when the economic and social freedoms are that tightly bound, it makes a poor comparative axis. Everything ends up on the diagonal of correlation…)

    So I’m sorry, but “Nolan’s Box” is a ‘one trick pony’ and I’m not in need of that particular trick. I find the “Freedom/ compulsive VS. Collective / Individual” chart much more generally useful.

    Though I do owe you a debt of gratitude for sending me off to think about it, otherwise I’d not have done it…

    It also has no emotional baggage to it like “Fox news said” or “Stalin called them Fascists” or even just “right wing’ and “left wing” that are emotionally loaded too.

    And I think you would have to admit that an origin (as in Nolan’s box) that puts George Washington as a populist in the same place as Mussolini as the prototypical “totalitarian” has some issues to work out…

    Again: That does not mean I’m calling your kid stupid or your dog ugly (or is that your kid ugly and your dog stupid?) it just means that I’m in need of a ‘driver set’ and you have a very nice hammer…

  14. Mooloo says:

    So your first clue is the prominent word “Socialist” and your second is “Workers’ Party”. If you are thinking this sound pretty “left wing”, you are right.

    What a load of old cobblers.

    Here’s a few names for you:

    German Democratic Republic (the old DDR). Obviously a democracy. Some democracy.

    United States of America. Obviously united. How about in 1861, when it was rather obviously not?

    European People’s Party. Obviously left wing, due to the the use of “People’s”. Except they’re right wing.

    Seriously, the use of the word “socialist” in nazi means nothing. Not a thing. No more than “democratic” in all those communist regimes.

    If you want to be a right-winger, fine. But it is not fine to bend the world’s reality in order to make it fit your preferences. Their are fascist regimes and they are utterly different to left-wing regimes.

    Fascists are nationalistic, racialist, anti-feminist, do not believe in redeeming people and do not believe in common ownership of property. The far left belive the exact opposite.

    Please, please, give up trying to tar your opponents as fascists, just because they are your opponents.

    This behaviour makes me think of all those climate scientists you loathe, in the desire to bend the facts to fit the theory.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @BCC

    Be Advised: Now that I’ve shown that “left” and “right” are ambiguous if not adorned with something that makes it clear WHICH left and WHICH right, when you use those terms “unadorned” you will run right into a “that is ambiguous, what do you mean” marker. Otherwise, they are just nonsense, as much as you might have some meaning inside your particular head that makes perfect sense to you.


    I concur with Mr. Vance’s conclusion (it’s about concentration of power), if not his nomenclature (socialism…. “You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means).

    I’ve not seen anything to indicate he’s vauge on it at all. But, for clarity:

    Socialism is a collectivist form of economic organization. It is a broad term that encompases several more detailed forms of collectivization. It includes as a subset “communism” where ALL the means of production are directly owned and controlled by the state (also called “State Socialism”). It also includes such partial and limited forms as “Lange Type” where only major industries are directly owned by the state and with minor enterprises, such as hot dog stands or restaurants, run as private enterprises (though subject to various forms of ‘regulation’ and ‘commision’ direction). The Syndicalist form uses the Trade Unions and some “corporations” (though strictly that is called corporatist) as as the collectivist form of control; so property may be nominally ‘owned’ by someone else, but collective control rests with the government (via the syndicates). A particular instantiation of the last form as Fascism and its first cousin Naziism. Both Collectivist, Socialist, Syndicallist, Corporatist forms, but adding in a Military aspect ( “millitarist”) and in the case of the Nazis, a strong Racist aspect. I can give more exacting details on the what, when and how, but would rather reserve that for future planned postings.

    And that hints at a fundamental difference between the left and right.

    Define, please, EXACTLY which left and which right. From what country, and in what period of time. Otherwise these terms mean exactly nothing.

    Does your “left” include republicans? Are the French from 1800 or American from 1980? Does your right include, or exclude Leon Trotsky? Are Monarchists on your left or on your right? What about the king of Sweden?

    Do you see the problem? You are using words with no usable definition and no specific content.

    Both the left and right fear concentration of power.

    Regardless of WHICH left and right you are using, there are existence proofs that this is not so.

    Mussolini in Itally was in favor of TOTAL concentration of power. Just in his hands. Thus he coined the term “totalitarian” to describe his state. BTW, when preparing to leave Italy:

    He selected a socialist journalist to record his final chapter as Il Duce, according to whom Mussoline declared “I bequeath the republic to the republcans not to the monarchists, and the work of the social reform to the socialists and not to the middle classes.” In April 1945 Mussolini feld for his life – back to Switerland, ironically – with a column of German Soldiers ( he was disguised as one of them) as well as his aides, his mistress, and his acolyte Bombacci in tow. They were captured by a band of communist partisans, who the next morning were ordered to execute him. Mussolini’s mistress allegedly dove in front of her lover. Bombacci merely shoute, “Long live Mussolini! Long live Socialism”

    So is that a leftists Socialist or a rightest dictator? Think about it… I’d go with LEFTist Fascist Socialist, but some folks would not. In either case, he as quite in favor of power in the hands of the government.


    – The left fears the concentration of power in the private sector,

    Unless that is the French Revolution left that was the republicans…

    seeing the negative outcomes of the free market as severe wealth stratification & resultant oppression of the poor, excessive pollution, etc. The left seeks to control this perceived threat through the means of government, and *fears control of government by private sector entities.*

    Um, several ‘issues’ here. “excessive polluion” knows no left / right nor any socialists / libertarian axis. Soviet Russia and Red China have been quite polluted, as were early England and the USA. It’s an orthogonal trait.

    Also, a ‘private sector entity’ is pretty darned ambiguous. In theory, a democracy or even a republic can have very low levels of ‘private sector entities’ bothering it (unless any voter is a ‘private sector entitiy’ in which case the whole discussion is kind of silly as anything with a vote is in that bucket and even in the USSR they had a vote…)

    – The right fears the concentration of power in government itself.

    Would that be the Fascist Totalitarian RIGHT (as defined by Stalin and as defined by most ASo-liberals today) ? that included Fascism? Or would that be the Monarchist Right from just about all periods of time?

    Both the Fascists and the Monarchs were all over themselves in love with the concentration of power into the government… Just ask King Louis XIV …


    Both have legitimate concerns. The case for the right’s fear is easy: the true monsters of the 20th century did their deeds via governmental entities, either with the pretense of social equality (left: CCCP, Pol Pot) or not (right: Nazis, Mussolini).

    Um, Nazis were from the Socialist mould, so that’s not exactly “right”… or have you not been following along?

    Are you starting to see the problem with your ‘right / left’ paradigm? It’s more mud slinging than it is descriptive.

    But yes, powerful governments tend to do a lot of evil with the power. One could also add the millions killed by the USA, UK, and French governments as well. Oh, and were they “right” or “left”? Is the UK Crown “right” or “left”? During W.W.I? W.W.II? Post war in their adventures around the ex-empire?

    What about during all those loverly UN “Peacekeeping” missions? Was the US destruction of Yugoslavia a “right wing” or a “left wing” horror? (Reminder: Bill Clinton was in charge then…)

    So my suggestion to you is that if you would like to see the world CLEARLY, take off the LEFT / RIGHT colored glasses. All they do is distort the view and lead to lousy conclusions. Never leap to a conclusion. Step only as far as the data, facts, and evidence paves the path. Base nothing on a squishy foundation nor on squishy words (and the squishy ideas behind them).


    But the left has a case, as well. The best example that comes to mind is the Scramble for Africa, which was driven heavily by economic interests. And the results weren’t pretty, with body counts also in the millions.

    Would that be the present Chinese buying up of African resources? (And are they LEFT wing communists or RIGHT wing capitalists when doing all that buying and lending?)

    Would that be the SOVIET supplied arms and advisors and all the “wars of revolution” they fostered? Or the Nazi and Fasist invasions of North Africa? Or the Monarchy lead colonialism? And which of those is “right” vs “left”?

    Are you seeing where the “left” and “right” just lead to false conclusions and muddly problematic ridden mush? Was it a “right wing” Spanish colony under the King, then “left wing” under the republic? Was Algeria subject to “left wing” or was it “right wing” oppression under France? There were Kings, Republics and even some Socialist years bound up in that relationship… so take your time…

    Was Egypt a victim of “left wing” or “right wing” oppression? Start with the Pharoes and Alexander the Great, then work your way up through the French, British, and Ottoman / Turk years. Finish with a stucy in the changing hands in world wars and the post war cycle as well. For “bonus points” define if the Islamic Conversion was “left wing” or “right wing” and what that implies about the SOCIALIST Islamic governments that have, from time to time, been in the region.

    When an approach makes more problem cases with every use, it’s best to abandon it and get a better approach…

    Every time you apply “left” and “right” you are stepping into a quagmire that will give you nothing but grief… While I’m sure you THINK you know what they mean, they are too slippery to have usable meanings. Thus the conclusions drawn from them become ever more ad hoc, just as the terms are ad hoc.


    So, where does that leave us? In my mind, the common ground for the left and right lies in preserving the mechanisms of our democracy, which, for all its imperfections, has done a decent job of avoiding too much concentration of power, public or private.

    Yet you arrive at a decent conclusion. “Keep what has worked”. But I think one could have avoided the 40 years wandering in the Left / Right desert of the Sinai …


    It does not mean that those who advocate a more activist role for government than you might like are socialists, evil, or loony.

    No, it doesn’t. Their stated goals, objectives, and methods say that they are socialists, evil, and / or looney…

    Collectivism is the Road To Serfdom. It always has been, and it always will be. The only reasonable solution is to tie it up on knots tight enough that it can only do a little damage and watch it closely. That has been the lesson of all time and all forms of government.

    It does not matter if your collective form is the the Monarchy, Empire, Communism, Socialism (in all it it’s forms including Naziism and Fascism) or even just the Evil Rich Bastards Monopoly Corporation. In fact, even a Republic and a Direct Democracy can be oppressive collectivists (vis slavery under the Romans, the Greeks, and even the early USA – though we outgrew it).

    It is understanding that which is what clarity of method brings. If flushes all the “right / left” “liberal / conservative” “revolutionary / reactionary” clap trap down the drain and leads to the very clear and simple truth:

    Collectivism in any guise leads to exploitation and oppression. Only INVIDUALISM preserved through classical-liberal and/ or Libertariain ideals and a republic form of government has lead to any significant measure of freedom with prosperity.

    (Other systems can give prosperity, with opression, or freedom, with poverty, but so far the track record is pretty clear on where you can get both. It is unclear if it can persist longer than 200 years.)

    It’s a whole lot easier to see that if you take the red / blue glasses off…

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    Mooloo

    So your first clue is the prominent word “Socialist” and your second is “Workers’ Party”. If you are thinking this sound pretty “left wing”, you are right.

    What a load of old cobblers.

    Note that I said “clue”, not ultimate proof. It tells you where to look.

    Seriously, the use of the word “socialist” in nazi means nothing.

    Actually, it means a great deal. It is, and was, quite socialist. Please take the time to look up their policies. I think you will be surprised.

    If you want to be a right-winger, fine.

    As discussed above (please, go back and read it…) “right wing” is a synonym for “Stalin doesn’t like it”. So yes, I’m “right wing” by that definition; but by what I think you mean, no, I’m not.

    I’m against collectivism, but also think the state has no right infringing on your natural liberties. I’m in favor of a republic (so by French Traditional standards, I’m “left wing”).

    Since we’ve already seen that “wings” are rather useless terms, please stop trying to use them as insults. Insults are one of the things that get people moved to the moderation queue full time.

    But it is not fine to bend the world’s reality in order to make it fit your preferences. Their are fascist regimes and they are utterly different to left-wing regimes.

    I’m not “bending the world’s reality”, I’m discovering it. I have NO preference for where Fascists end up. In fact, if you had asked me 6 months ago I’d have said something along the line of “Right Wing Oppressive Dictators” and not thought twice. I did know that the Naziis were a bit on the socialist left, but frankly didn’t care much about it. Only lately have I started to look closely; as there have been some modern parallels and ‘the issue came up’ in a couple of contexts. The fact that the Fascists (note the capital F indicating Itally, early 1900s) and Naziis were two sides of the same coin was actually a bit of a surprise to me and I’d never really looked closely into Fascism, only noted that fascist was used as a generic insult.

    So please, do not do the “I accuse” thing, OK?

    Also note: It’s very very easy to find the history that shows that Fascism came directly from a socialist collectivist root and that so did Naziism. Also the moment in time when, at the direction of Stalin, they were labled as “right wing” despite being socialist collectivist societies. So you can rant all you want, but those facts do not go away because you do not like them. If that “gores your ox” as you feel you are somehow a Socialist, well, I’m sorry, but I can do nothing about that. Only you can control how you feel when confronted with historical facts.

    Mussolini was raised a socialist. NEVER repudiated it, Did not have a falling out with his dad about it. Was employed in his early years promoting it. Advocated for it in Italy. Constructed it in his goverment forms. Even (as noted in the comment above) dictated his final decrees to a Socialist and had his closest aid profess at his dying that they were Socialists. Can’t get much more ‘defined’ than that.

    Yes, I’ll be putting up much more evidence for those things in future postings. No, I can’t fit it all in some ad hoc comments. If that is going to cause you to bust a gusset, well, I suggest some valium.

    Per the question of ‘left wing”, also as discussed at length above, the term is largely useless. I would grant they are not ‘left wing’ but only to the extent that they are neither ‘right wing’ either as both terms are void. They ARE (or rather WERE) a syndicalist form of socialist economy. There isn’t really any doubt about that.


    Fascists are nationalistic, racialist, anti-feminist,

    OK, you have Fascist at the start of the sentence, so I don’t know if you mean “Italian Fascist of early 1900s” or the “fascists of all sorts”. Assuming Fascist (as in Italian Fascist) as the lower case form is too ill defined to be usable, you may want to do a bit of historical research before running off a cliff of conclusion.

    They most definitily WERE nationalistic. That was one of the key features that separate Fascists and Naziis from Marxists and WHY Stalin (and the other Marxists) got pissy at them and called them “right wing”. They violated the “international” part of the communist manifesto…

    Racist? The Nazis were very racist. The Fascists much less, and not really much at all in comparison. Jews were only exported from Italy AFTER the Nazis invaded and many Jews were of high rank in Fascist Italy. The history is pretty clear on that. They did have the myth of Roman Superiority, but if you are going to tar every nation that thinks its population is better than the next, you will have precious few nations left un-tarred. If going for a broader racism tar brush, then would you call the ALIED powers fascists as they had separation of blacks and whites.

    But to make sure this is not a he said / she said, here is a partial list of what the Italian Fascist program included:

    He (Mussolini) began to formulate the idea – known as trincerocrazia – that veterans deserved to run the country because they had sacrificed more and had the discipline to improve Italy’s plight (echoes of the conviction can be found in the “chicken hawk” epithet today). “Socialism of the trenches” seemed so much more plausible than socialism of the factory floor, for Mussolini had in effect seen it. On March 23, 1919, Mussolini and a handful of others founded the Fasci de Combattimento in Milan, aiming to form a popular front of pro-war leftists, from socialist veterans groups to Futurist, anarchist, nationalist, and syndicalist intellectuals. Some highlights of their program:

    Lowering the minimum voting age to eighteen, the minimum age for representatives to twenty-five, and universal sufferage including for women

    Ooops…. There goes your ‘anti-feminist’, busy pushing for womens right to vote.

    “The abolition of the Senate and the creation of a national technical council on intellectual and manual labor, industry, commerce and culture”

    End the draft.

    Repeal of titles of nobility.

    “A foreign policy aimed at expanding Italy’s will and power in opposition to all foreign imperialisms”

    The prompt enactment of a state law sanctioning a legal workday of eight actual hours of work for all workers.

    A minimum wage.

    The creation of various government bodies run by workers’ representatives.

    Reform of the old-age and pension system and the establishment of age limits for hazardous work.

    Forcing landowners to cultivate their lands or have them expropriated and given to veterans and farmers’ cooperatives.

    The obligation of the state to build “rigidly secular” schools for the raising of “the proletariat’s moral and cultural condition”.

    “A large progressive tax on capital that would amount to a one-time partial expropriation of all riches”

    “The seizure of all goods belonging to religious congregations and the abolition of episcopal revenues.”

    The “review” of all military contracts and the “sequestration of 85% of all war profits.”

    The nationalization of all arms and explosives industries

    Ah, yes. Those anti-elitest, stock-market-abolishing, child-labor-ending, public-health-promoting, wealth-confiscating, draft-ending, secularists right-wingers!

    In Novemeber the newly named and explicitly left-wing Fascists ran a slate of candidates in the national elections.

    Fascist slogans included “The land to him who works it!” and “To every peasant the entire fruit of his sacred labor!” Mussolini still employed warmed-over Marxist theory when convenient – as many populists did – to explain his new fondness for the small landowner. Italy was still a “proletarian nation.” he explained, and so needed to develop economically before it could achieve socialism, even if it meant making a pragmatic nod to capitalist expediency in the form of trade. Lenin had made the same identical adjustment under his New Economic Policy in 1921, in which peasants were encouraged to grow more food for their own use and profit.

    So there you have their program and their slogans. Looks pretty clearly Socialist to me. (remember the time period, too. Things like minium wage and an 8 hour work week were heady stuff then.)


    do not believe in redeeming people

    I have no idea what that means. It’s not a common ecconomic issue, whatever it is, so is not important in defining an economic system (and Socialism IS an economic system).

    and do not believe in common ownership of property.

    Um, note the above policy goal of “farmers coopertives”?

    Also note that the syndicalist form is an attempt at socialism by bites. The government doesn’t have to have formal ownership to have formal control.

    So they didn’t always take the “property”, just the profit. Oh, and told you how much to pay for labor, and how much of it to use, and under what conditions. Expropriation of the property only came after that, if you somehow didn’t deliver.

    The far left belive the exact opposite.

    Yes, quite so. The far left. (One presumes by this you mean collectivists of the communist and Marxist sorts). That is EXACTLY why Stalin branded them “Right Wing” (and it was he who did the branding) as they were not toeing the “international” nor the “workers” lines. They were doing “national” and “workers plus small shop owners”. As stated above (does anyone who blows up at me actually read the stuff I’ve already written? Sometimes several times?) they are only “right wing” from the point of view of Stalin. But the whole ‘wings deal’ is really a bad method of measuring.


    Please, please, give up trying to tar your opponents as fascists, just because they are your opponents.

    Sirrah, you are again indulging in the “I accuse” mode. Please stop.

    First, I have no “opponents” in this. It is, at its core, a fairly abstruse discussion of the form of government and economy practiced by two long defunct governments. Heck, even the USSR is defunct, so make that THREE long defunct governments.

    I have trouble figuring out who you think my “opponents” are, but I figure it’s someone you are fond of; judging by the way you are exploding about the whole thing.

    Frankly, other than for academic reasons and as a nice thing to toss back at someone the next time they call you (me?) a fascist or a Nazi; it isn’t of much practical use to folks.

    So it is YOU who are bringing any “conflict” to the discussion, not me.

    Second, I’m not “tarring” anyone. I’m just placing Fascism and Naziism where they properly belong in the pantheon of economy types. To the best of my ability, I can detect no existing government of the Nazi form and few that are of the Fascist form (and not many of them that are very interesing… Venezula, for instance, isn’t very imporant. They MUST export their oil to survive, so who does the exporting or what they believe isn’t very important.

    The biggest ‘feature’ it has to me is that it lets me see more clearly how to classify existing governments so it’s easier to see who is likely to end up where. Venezuela again is a good example. Once you realize that the Socialist rhetoric is NOT incompatible with a fasicst regime, it all snaps into focus. The Militarist bent with talking about imminent US invasion and buying arms. Nationalizing while up to their eyeballs in oil money. The promotion of labor unions, but only as subservient to the state.

    Best I can figure you probably see yourself as some kind of “good socialist” and find it threatening to have the Fascists placed near your camp. (Yes, that is wild speculation based on not knowing nearly enough about you, but it’s the only answer I can guess at. Feel free to state otherwise if in fact you are not from the “social liberal / socialist” camp.) But if that’s the case, that you don’t want them as ‘neighbors and relatives’, there is not much I can do to help you.

    “Reality just is. -E.M.Smith”

    All I can do is find their history, sort their type of economy to where it belongs, keep a tidy mind, and move on.

    So, to be blunt: Get over it.

    As near as I can tell from your postings, you have a “prior position” that is not supported by facts nor citations and is long on “being incensed” and short on “facts on the ground”; long on “biases and long held bigotries” and short on “history and records.” Now, I could easily be wrong on that. It’s also possilble you are just not the sort to spend 2 hours composing a reply and doing the ‘looking up’ to do things like post the Fasisti agenda… But being lazy about proof for your position does not improve it’s strength…

    So I’ve ciited 2 particular books, and they contain even more citations. You’ve cited your opinions.

    This behaviour makes me think of all those climate scientists you loathe, in the desire to bend the facts to fit the theory.

    Since you have cited no facts, only your opinion, I think it rather cheeky to be talking about ‘bending facts’.

    Look, I make no bones about my dislike of Socialism. BUT it is not because I have any political agenda about them. I would rather that it worked as it is attractive to me personally and it would make my life much easier. But it has a long history of being repeatedly tried, and failing. Often spectacularly and badly. Occasionally only after a long slowly festering period. It has known and specific modes of failure. It has known and specific modes of injustice. (As does capitalism, BTW.)

    But the difference is that we’ve largely found out how to prevent the worst that capitalism has to offer, but not so with socialism.

    Now, here’s the crux of the reason for posting about Nazis and Fascists at all:

    IMHO, the mostl likely best form of economy, from a mix of both “social justice” and ‘economic performance” methods of measure, is most likely what is called a “Mixed Economy”. This can be a mostly capitalist type with an admixture of some aspects of “central planning” and some bits of “redistributive process” (think inheritance taxes and / or land use commissions) or it can potentially be a light handed “Lange Type” socialism when wrapped up inside a republic form of government.

    BUT…

    Both of those (as do all governments) are prone to ‘creep”. They wander around a bit. So it becomes VERY important to know which way is an OK way to wander and which way has a great big “Here There Be Dragons!!” sign. Lying to ourselves about where those signs belong does not make the dragons go away.

    So, we’ve already seen that a “Nationalist” form of socialism is a recipe for rapid decent into hell. Best to assure that any nationalistic fervors get dampened pretty quick (or at least get your money out if they start up.)

    We’ve already seen that a “Racist” form of socialism is a direct path to hell in about 5 years or less.

    We’ve already seen that a Marxist form of socialism can be very effective for a few decades at pulling a dirt poor nearly 3rd world country into modernity, then stagnates (and can kill off 10s of Millions of citizens along the way). Marxism probably “not so good”.

    We are currently seeing a Marxist (via Moaist) stagnated sociliast empire turning into a world dominating economic force beyond belief. It would be very nice to know if this is going to be like the Fascists who ware LAUDED AROUND THE WORLD IN THE 1920’s and 1930’s and then “blew up” suddenly when they started hanging out with their bad boy neighbors and going on adventures in Africa. China is moving from Marxist type through syndicalist toward Lange Type. Will they end up at “mixed economy”? Or stop at syndicalsit?

    And China is a “Nationalist” country (with some overtones of racisism. No, don’t bother ranting at me about it. I’ve had enough reasonably close Chinese friends over the years to know the truth and I’m OK with that. Chinese frequently feel themselves racially superior. Not a big surprise and I’m not really bothered by it. MOST folks think they are racially superior… it takes work to get past that, work that most folks won’t do.) So, the problem: We’ve got a country that may be headed toward or passing through a mild mix of the same ‘factors’ that were present in Facism (though, interestingly enough, from the other direction). Will it be a new “Italian Miracle”? (AS Fascist Italy was lauded during much of the 1920’s and 1930’s) Or will it all ‘turn out badly” as did Nazi Germany?

    Being ignorant of the parallels will not make the question / problem go away.

    Being in error in the assignment of economic traits will not make the question / problem go away.

    Being paralized by your political biases and desires will not make the question / problem go away.

    etc.

    And it is a very interesting question…

    But that is only ONE of the interesting insights and quesiton sets that this understanding lets you explore.

    Obama wants to move us more to a classical Socialist model, but he’s stopped by the fact that most of the citizens don’t want it. So he is advancing by a syndicallist mode.

    AS the USA moves to a more socialist / collectivist model, will we be an “Italian Fascist Miracle” as they were in the 1920’s and 1930s? (I’ll be citing magazine articles and similar in future postings but would rather not do it in comments here. I’ve already ‘blown” about 2 intended postings by typing it into comments. So if you intend to ‘go off’ about how Italy was NOT lauded, please, check your facts first… Start by doing a google of Cole Porter and “you are the top, you are the Mussolini”… )

    Or will some more sinister nationalism rise to the surface and move us down that Road To Serfdom? … America can be a Jingoistic / Nationalistic place.

    So, you see, rather than being interested in this as a way to “tar my opponents”, I’m much more interested in it as a way to see my potential futures and know what’s likely to come. That, even just 6 months ago, I didn’t have this insight means that I was unable to predict many of the likely outcomes. (Often they were just sort of ‘dark’ as I knew the mental model wasn’t propery handling the reality and got null returns). Now I’ve got a much better model of what leads which way and which factors matter in sending the road toward “Italian Miracle” or “Hell in a Nazi Basket”.

    So questions like:

    Does China end up in W.W.III with Japan and Taiwan (and the USA?) due to a Nationalist / Milatarist twist? Or does it end up our great ally as it dodges those two factors?

    Does the USA decend into a Socialist Stagnation? Or do we too put on our “Nationalist / Milatarist” hat as we dive with increasing paranoia into a “Terrorist Threat driven Fascism”?

    KNOWING that one key factor is a Socialist centralization of planning and control is one thing. ADDING that a bit too much Militarism and Nationalism causes a catastrophic outcome makes it all the more critical to guard against them. Observing that at present the USA is moving toward more of all three is “not good”, for all of the world…

    But perhaps if we can come to understand the factors, we can find ways to mitigate them. Just like Lange Type Socialism mitigates a large part of the flaws of Capitalism (the Monopoly problem, in particular, and some of the unequal wealth distribution excesses as well; then there is the whole issue of ‘quality of life’ via things like medical access and old age care. There is much that is attractive in The Socialism Shiny Thing…) Perhaps we can identify those things about collectivism and in particular the Fascist and Nationalist Socialist forms that cause them to turn out so very very badly. (And it is not most of the items you listed… it has more to do with the Militarist and Authoritarian internal controls, IMHO, not questions of womens sufferage..) Then we could ‘patch up Socialism’ in the same way that anti-monopoly laws and regulatory agencies patch up Capitalism.

    And if it’s not ‘patchable’ at least we would know where to put the “Here there be dragons!” signs. Much like we do with the “No Monopoly Allowed” signs…

    That is where my interest lies. Not in some hypothetical ‘opponent’.

    Put more poetically: I despise Socialism as she is so beautiful and attractive, but has had all her husbands die suddenly… but if I could learn what antidote to take…

    Sidebar on Lange Type: At present there are several seemingly successful Lange Type socialist governments. This is ‘very promissing’ for The Socialism Shiny Thing. The problem with them is their young age. A system needs to demonstrate that it can cross a generational boundry or two without imploding, and that has not yet been done. So while I’m quietly hopeful, I’m also of an age where I know I will never see the answer. Nor, most likely, are any of the folks reading this now. That, too, is part of what makes Economics a “Dismal Science” as it can take a few lifetimes to ‘run an experiment”. If it turns out that we can identify a short list (for example “racism”, “nationalism”, ‘militaristic”) that are the cause of the short cycle blow ups, then the probability is that we can live with the things that cause ‘very long cycle’ blow ups, as we’ll have time to see them and take corrective action. Basically, a 400 year Lange Type is just as good, and maybe better in many ways, than a 400 year “Mixed Capitalist” society. And once you are talking 400 years from now, maybe that’s not a very important problem…

    But if you are not brutally honest about what each type of economy really is, you end up with a great deal more blow ups and collapes and a whole lot less chance of success. So above all else, be honest about your history.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    A selected sample from The Nazi Party Platform with emphasis on the more socialist terms. (Not a comprehesive list):

    7. We demand that the state be charged with providing the opportunity for a livelyhood and way of life for the citizens. […]

    11. Abolition of unerned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of rent-slavery.

    12. In consideration of the monsterous sacrifices in property and blood that each war demands of the people personal enrichment through war must be designated a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

    13. We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).

    14. We demand the division of profits [profit sharing] of heaviy industries.

    15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

    16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its concervation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county, or municipality.

    17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purpose of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.

    20. The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. […]

    21. The state is to care for the elevating national health […]

    Looks like a mighty socialist agenda to me. Mostly what is lacking is the ‘owenership of the means of production” but as discussed before, in a syndicalist type of socialism the ‘control’ is achieved without the confiscation. Labor unions, government agencies and boards, cartels and taxes pretty much do the job.

  18. mrpkw says:

    One simple comment:

    You demonstrated why I laugh at the people that use Wiki as FACTS and as their only source !!!!!!

  19. BCC says:

    Interesting discussion, but I remember the dictum “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”

    My closing thoughts:

    – My left/right comments were focused on the current US 1-D political spectrum. Agreed, over time and space, left and right get quite ambiguous.

    – I am not tied to the Nolan chart; it’s a useful approach but certainly not perfect. It does provide one definition of left/right that’s slightly more workable.

    “Collectivism in any guise leads to exploitation and oppression. Only INVIDUALISM preserved through classical-liberal and/ or Libertariain ideals and a republic form of government has lead to any significant measure of freedom with prosperity.”

    Well, there’s the fundamental disagreement. My problem with libertarian principles, as applied to the real world, is that they don’t provide adequate protections from the rise of e.g. Evil Rich Bastards Monopoly Corporation. An “unfettered free market” simply doesn’t provide sufficient checks and balances for those who win power via e.g. natural or artificial monopolies.

    Here’s my test case for non-collectivist oppression: King Leopold’s handiwork in the Congo (which he ran as a private colony). No collectivist pretense there. Just good old-fashioned thirst for power, greed and oppression. Millions enslaved, millions dead. Heart of Darkness, baby!

    Ta ta for now…

  20. pyromancer76 says:

    E.M. I think you are taking a too jaundiced, and cliched, view of “urban masses”. Isn’t this a marxist idea? Aren’t these are the proletariat, these “unthinking” masses? I suggest that American history (especially that of the 19th century) shows that when offered opportunity to recreate themselves (from farmers to entrepreneurs), people jump at the chance. I think the greatest challenge of Republicans is to remove themselves from their elitist parties and address people in the cities where they live. Cities are not, ipso facto, bad places; they can be made that way by bad governmental policies and poverty (from lack of opportunity). Much of the vital energy for American entrepreneurial energy came from the synergy of people gathered in cities.

    The old guard — e.g., California politicians who offer something for nothing — have just about sucked all the juice out of our fossil-fuel derived prosperity and savings. Today they can offer nothing so attractive as those who can provide opportunity to work and thrive. This will require cheap, efficient energy resources; no affluence can be built without it. (I think cheap energy from the sun is why “civilizations” have thrived in warm weather Now we have technology, if it is not spoiled by “green” subsidies.)

  21. Beth Cooper says:

    I have an excellent book:Varieties of Fascism,” by Professor Eugen Weber published by D Van Nostrand Co 1964 which examines the fundamental similarities and differences of Fascist, National Socialist , Communist and Socialist Movements in Europe between the two World Wars. It include official documents, reports and speeches, readings from Italy, Germany, Hungary, Rumania etc. Of the characteristics of fascism discussed,eg, ‘Revolt against parliamentary democracy ‘Extending the state monopalist organization of industry and finance,’ ‘Limiting and repressing independent working class movements,’ ‘Closer concentration of each imperialist block into a single economic-political bloc,’ the characteristics of Fasciism are similar to Soviet Communism. In Germany, Weber shows how Hitler exploited capitalist enterprises for his nationalist agenda. it little matteredwhether an industry was state owned or in private ownership.everyone had to to conform to the state’s directives.

  22. PhilJourdan says:

    I made it back only to see that boballab on 20 January 2011 at 6:01 pm had beaten me to the punch on the one item of contention I detected in the article. Being of French Ancestry (1/2), some may say my allegiances are questioned. However, I am an American first and foremost and I find my relatives across the pond to be juvenile and petty about their supposed accomplishments – the main one being the origins of the modern republic state (or democracy as it is incorrectly termed at times).

    I am glad boballab set the record straight, and did so in a much more thorough manner than I would have (had I not been rushing to an appointment). That correction however, did not change the overall excellence of the whole post.

  23. PhilJourdan says:

    Your long responses are very good reading and I enjoyed them as much as the article (and note you almost made them new articles). But being so long, I am only going to highlight and comment on a few items. Nothing earth shattering here, but statements that caught my fancy.

    Best I can figure you probably see yourself as some kind of “good socialist” and find it threatening to have the Fascists placed near your camp. (Yes, that is wild speculation based on not knowing nearly enough about you, but it’s the only answer I can guess at.

    Good observation. I think it perhaps bothers some so because they use it in that manner – as an epitath. A lazy approach to debate, but one all too often used. But by analyzing the history of the terms, and finding out that the “left” and “right” (in the present day sense) are very closely connected, he feels threatened to be that which he has used as a curse word.

    We are currently seeing a Marxist (via Moaist) stagnated sociliast empire turning into a world dominating economic force beyond belief.

    Just opinion, but I think their emergence has nothing to do with socialism, but rather an embracing of capitalism (not 100%, but the stronger aspects of it). Hernando de Soto wrote an excellent book on how current 3rd world countries can do the same thing with capitalism, and where they fail. His point was that without the concept and practice of private property (which is of course forbidden in Communist countries, and hard to come by in many socialist countries in Central and South America today), capitalism cannot succeed and thus is doomed to failure. In otherwords, exporting capitalism without capital is fruitless. But the Chinese seem to have grasped that concept and will allow some minimal form of the owning of capital, and that is leading to their economic revolution.

    AS the USA moves to a more socialist / collectivist model

    Clearly, reading this article and de Soto’s ideas, the problem with the American version of socialism is not socialism itself, but the revocation of property rights. That is why the US economy has not been the engine it has been in the past, and that can be traced back to the EPA, DEQ (what it is called in states) and their removal of property rights for the “greater good” of snail darters.

    BTW, as an example of the “left right” problem, Stalin would have put Venezuela on the “Far RIGHT” as it is a nationalist regime…

    While you have gone way above and beyond to keep this as a very scholarly exercise, and not tar anyone with a brand based upon perjorative terms, this one made me smile – a lot! Can you imagine how Sean Penn or even Danny Glover would feel to find they are palling around with the latest incarnation of Mussollini?

  24. George says:

    BTW, as an example of the “left right” problem, Stalin would have put Venezuela on the “Far RIGHT” as it is a nationalist regime…

    I am not sure I completely agree with that. Chavez is somewhere in the middle. While he is nationalistic, there is something of a regional “Bolivarian” approach he is using with other countries in the region.

    In fact, I would not be surprised to see him attempt to merge Cuba and Venezuela and possibly even attempt the same with Ecuador and Bolivia. He seems more interested in a Bolivarian nationalism than a Venezuelan nationalism.

  25. PhilJourdan says:

    In fact, I would not be surprised to see him attempt to merge Cuba and Venezuela and possibly even attempt the same with Ecuador and Bolivia. He seems more interested in a Bolivarian nationalism than a Venezuelan nationalism.

    The best part of these articles are when you read something and get a DOH moment! Something so obvious yet I have never thought of it before! Great point. While that does destroy my glee at the look on Sean Penn’s face, given the information at hand, I would have to agree with you.

  26. George says:

    Chavez said yesterday that he has no intention of giving up his power to rule by decree once it expires. Basically we see a repeat in Venezuela of what happened in Germany in the 1930’s. Now substitute a “Bolivar Nation” for “Arian Nation” and substitute “Gringos” for “Jews” or maybe not even make that substitution:

    Venezuela’s Jewish community, amounting to less than 1 percent of the country’s total population of 26 million, is among the oldest in South America, dating back to the early 19th century. During the struggle for independence from Spain, the fugitive revolutionary Simón Bolívar found refuge among a group of Venezuelan Jews, some of whom later went on to fight in the ranks of his liberating army. Today, the majority of the country’s Jewish population is descended from an influx of European and North African immigrants who arrived during the years surrounding World War II. Most reside in the capital city of Caracas, comprising a tightly knit community made up of roughly equal numbers from Ashkenazi and Sephardi countries of origin.

    Venezuelans pride themselves on living in an ethnic and religious melting pot. Their homeland, unlike its neighbors Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile, has no history of having harbored Nazi fugitives. Before Chávez came to power, members of the Jewish community reported little animosity from either the government or the populace, and sharply anti-Zionist rhetoric was relatively uncommon. Nor did Venezuela’s fifteen synagogues (all but one of them Orthodox) experience much of the anti-Semitic vandalism common in other Latin American countries with tiny Jewish populations. The Hebraica center—its building functions as a lavish social hub, elementary school, country club, sports facility, and gathering place for Caracas Jewry—was largely left in peace.

    No longer. Since Chávez took the oath of office at the beginning of 1999, there has been an unprecedented surge in anti-Semitism throughout Venezuela. Government-owned media outlets have published anti-Semitic tracts with increasing frequency. Pro-Chávez groups have publicly disseminated copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the early-20th-century czarist forgery outlining an alleged worldwide Jewish conspiracy to seize control of the world. Prominent Jewish figures have been publicly denounced for supposed disloyalty to the “Bolívarian” cause, and “Semitic banks” have been accused of plotting against the regime. Citing suspicions of such plots, Chávez’s government has gone so far as to stage raids on Jewish elementary schools and other places of meeting. The anti-Zionism expressed by the government is steadily spilling over into street-level anti-Semitism, in which synagogues are vandalized with a frequency and viciousness never before seen in the country.

    The details are arresting.

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/hugo-ch-vez-s-jewish-problem-11455

    In my opinion, Chavez is closer to a Hitler than a Mussolini. Barack Obama is closer to Mussolini, in my opinion.

  27. PhilJourdan says:

    @George – Whether he is closer to Hitler or not, the problem is the excess baggage the name Hitler carries. Comparing him to Mussolini removes the immediate defensive hackles that many experience when Hitler is mentioned. Not that it is more accurate (I am unfamiliar with the Jewish issue in Venezuela), just more open to discussion.

  28. There is no “nationalism” whatsoever and no need for complicated three-dimensional or worst fourth-dimensional interpretations, but the existence, out there, of a small “black hole/pocket” trying to suck in all the profits using any theoretical justification. In order to reach that goal there must not exist any competence at all: That is why, from the “Illustration” up to the present, all local “elites” or local “aristocracies”/powers should be removed from the scene (which becomes the easiest in “democracies”where authorities-just to be mild-can be adequately “convinced”), to be replaced by the secret universal black hole, where the hardwork of the people is turned into Gold Metal. In just two words: The Golden Calf
    Then what really would be a surprising outcome, is seeing Abraham coming down from Mount Tabor to put things in place. :-)

  29. Barstooler says:

    Actually good to see someone else exploring the true origins of Nazism and Fascism. The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. This web site has been around for years. Check it out:
    http://ray-dox.blogspot.com/2006/05/american-roots-of-fascism-american.html

  30. j ferguson says:

    E.M.
    I’m finding this all a bit murky. It could be that relying on party platforms and publications might be misleading when you are considering organizations that make it their business to lie.

    What might be more useful would be to look at what the 3 flavors of fascists who found their way to power actually did. How did they level their countrymen politically, financially, other?

    What industries were nationalized to the degree that they went from private ownership to government ownership – and was it a complete break?

    What industries were left in private ownership? Seems like almost every industry in Germany until the end of the war remained in private hands, although in some cases a lot of the employees were slaves provided by the government.

    The thing I’m getting at is that suggesting that anyone on the US right might be fascist is almost certainly inaccurate. But I continue to suspect that the things we consider socialist were not actually done extensively in Germany or Spain. I suspect that there was more done along these lines in Italy.

    Socialism may point to totalitarianism, but totalitarianism isn’t necessarily socialist.

  31. BCC says:

    Venezuela’s treatment of Jews is indeed very concerning (as are so many aspect of Chavez’s rule.

    But “In my opinion, Chavez is closer to a Hitler than a Mussolini. Barack Obama is closer to Mussolini, in my opinion.”?

    Ok, let’s review this. It’s important because when people conflate people they don’t like with the great monsters of modern history, it becomes easier for them to justify extreme behaviors.

    Hitler: Ruled for a dozen years. Invaded/attacked over a dozen countries, responsible for deaths in the mid 8 figures through war and direct, systematic killings)

    Chavez: Ruled for a dozen years (as of Feb). Has messed with one neighbor. Has caused (X <<< 8 figures) deaths. A bad dude? Sure. Close to Hitler? NO.

    Conflating Mussolini with Obama is just comical, were it not ultimately dangerous. I've lost track; I thought the problem with Obama was that he was a closet Muslim bent on destroying America? Now he's a nationalist bent on establishing one party rule?

    If Obama tries to ban the Republican party, or serve more than 8 years, we can talk. Until then, he's a legitimate President that you don't happen to like. Remember: there's a difference between oppression and losing.

  32. George says:

    For the more Hitler brand of fascism you need a “deamon” around whom you can rally support (the “Gringos”, for example) while Communism uses a “class”, national socialism seems to have a specific nationality or ethnic “bogeyman”. National socialism also tends to be expansionist under a despot where areas having something in common (be it Germanic people or “Bolivarian” ties) are to be assimilated while Italian style is more focused internally.

    We also need to get over this squeamishness of saying someone looks like a Hitler when they look like a Hitler. That supposes that such a thing could never again happen and that somehow Hitler was unique and will be unique across all time. I am not prepared to say that.

  33. George says:

    Conflating Mussolini with Obama is just comical, were it not ultimately dangerous. I’ve lost track; I thought the problem with Obama was that he was a closet Muslim bent on destroying America? Now he’s a nationalist bent on establishing one party rule?

    I said “closer to”, not “an exact copy of”.

    The reasons are quite clearly stated by E.M. in the original posting.

    His “czars” where he basically creates a shadow cabinet and does an “end run” around the Senate is disturbing as his handing over of major industries to the labor unions.

  34. David says:

    EM and all

    Great discussion as usual. People reading this might be interested in an article mentioning that France’s “far-right” FN party is gaining support that was traditionally going to the socialist parties.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/france%e2%80%99s-far-right-gathering-support-%e2%80%a6-on-the-left/

    The same questions presented here as to who is really right or left are presented in the article and comments.

    I have similar questions relating to the use of red and blue to symbolize left and right leaning parties. In Europe red has almost always been associated with the left. Somehow that has been switched around since 2000 in this country.

    Casual research shows that it has never been a static association as it has in Canada or Europe, at least when reviewing how the press used colors to represent parties. It still bugs me that red is now associated with “the right” in this country now. “Better dead than red” flows off the tongue so easily.

  35. George says:

    Somehow that has been switched around since 2000 in this country.

    National TV networks used to alternate. The colors would alternate from one election year to the next. But for some reason, Republicans keyed on “red” during 2000 and have come to put their stamp on that color (Redstate.com for example) and so it seems the alternating has stopped.

    As for “right or left” I tend to use socialist for left and free market for right. When you get to the “far” left and right, that distance is a measure of how much government control there is and if the party tends to have a cult of personality around a specific individual. To me “the left” sees government in some sort of parental role with the people. It really all boils down to role of government issues with me.

    I see Obama as far left. I see Clinton as center-left. I see Reagan as center-right but to the right of the Bushes and both Bushes to the right of Teddy Roosevelt.

    To me, anyone who believes it is the responsibility of the government to “take care of” the people is left of center.

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    mrpkw
    One simple comment:

    You demonstrated why I laugh at the people that use Wiki as FACTS and as their only source !!!!!!

    I hope you mean that in a good way ;-)

    I actually like Wiki, and I’d like it to work. But as a collective effort it is sadly prone to collectivist hijack and propagandizing. The good thing is that once you know this you can use it to advantage. It shows the agreed facts, but also shows the places that are being gamed. All it needs is a bit of ‘compare and contrast’…

    So I use them, but it’s a “Trust but verify” thing with a little mixture of Forensics Compare / Contrast side lighting…

    @BCC:

    I do tend to be prolix some times… part of being ‘high function Aspe’ is being unable to let go of details that are not correct. They simply must be addressed. Helpful in ‘detail oriented work’, not so much in ‘discourse’.

    Per the Monopoly Problem: That’s why I favor a “mixed economy” over a Libertarian Paradise, but realize that Libertarian is a bit slippery too, that’s why I married it with “classical-liberal”. Those parts are necessary (so far!) for delivering both freedom with prosperity. To get more ‘equitable distribution’ you need to solve The Monopoly Problem (one way or another).

    Per Monarchy: I’d assert that IS a collectivist form. Everyone is “collected” under the direction of the Monarch. It is a very un-equal collective, but then Stalin was not exactly shoveling coal for a living and Mao didn’t spend a lot of time picking cotton by hand… It is not an egalitarian collective, but it is an authoritarian collective.

    @Pyromancer76:

    I probably am. I’m as easily influenced by Marxist Propaganda as the next guy… But there is a grain of truth in the idea of the urban folks as less ‘independent’. You live on a farm 20 miles from nowhere you ARE independent and self dependent. That tends to instill attitudes that are not present in someone living in a coop apartment over the Super-Mart with a welfare check…

    Also, living in the Workers Paradise of California has probably also jaundiced my view of cities… (L.A. riots come to mind… from several generations.)

    I do have hope that cities are functional in a classi-libertarian way, but I take careful notice of the warnings of the Founders…

    @Beth Cooper:

    “Varieties of Fascism” sounds like a very interesting book. I’ll look it up. Thanks!

    http://www.amazon.com/Varieties-Fascism-Doctrines-Revolution-Twentieth/dp/089874444X

    @PhilJourdan:

    Glad you liked it (and still wondering how sleepy I had to have been to have forgotten Ben Franklin at the Royal Court…)

    BTW, IMHO, it is the move from Marxist/Maoist toward capitalism that is letting China blossom. Along they way they will / are passing through different types of Socialism / Socialist Forms. (And doing it quite fast). What’s very unclear is “are they pausing, stopping, or just passing through them?” on their move to(ward) capitalism?

    But yes, “property rights” was one of the early and more critical issues. (Still is, as “A” shares and “H” shares have different rights…). So far folks have been willing to bet on the direction of change in ambiguous circumstances. (Oddly, same in the USA where the direction is the exact opposite… and with exact opposite outcomes…)

    @George:

    Per Hugo C… yes, he’s got that “urge to merge”… kind of like that ‘pan German’ guy… what was his name again? Histler? Himsler? Hitler? Something like that ;-)

    But as long was you were not clearly INTERNATIONAL you were not Marxist, thus “right wing reactionary”… So I guess it comes down to “How Far Chavez?” If a Bolivista, then “right wing” (per Stalinists) if a Globalist, then Marxist and very “left wing” (per Marxists…)

    So yes, there is some ambiguity in that example as we don’t know the ultimate size of his ambitions…

    (I’m going to break now and get a Mocha refill… back for the rest of the comments in bit. Yes, at Starbucks again as the network is being a pain at home…)

  37. H.R says:

    @E.M.
    on 20 January 2011 at 10:55 pm E.M.Smith
    @BCC

    “FWIW, I’ve spent about 2 hours tonight fooling around with my own version of ‘the chart’ based on what you posted. On one axis is “Voluntary / compelled” on the other is “Individual / Collective”. This turns out to be far more useful. For example, the top row of the chart (all fully compelled) has:

    Empire, Monarchy, Nation, Tribe, Family, Shunned

    (A person who is involuntarily alone as an individual got there by being ‘shunned’ or being lost on a desert island or… so there are a few more details that could be put on the chart, for now I’m using ‘shunned’ as the ‘compelled to be alone’ marker).

    We are compelled without choice to be born into a family, for that family to be part of a tribe, for our tribe to be part of a ‘nation’ (in the older sense of group of people of common type / interests such as “Navaho Nation”… slighly less so for the nation-state meaning of, say French as we can choose to leave it, so “expat and emigrant” are under nation on the voluntary end of the axis; we are born into a Nation but may choose to emigrate). A Monarch may rise and bind nations into Monarchies (as in the U.K.) and these may be bound into Empires (as in Imperial Rome, Japan, and the British Empire).”

    Super! I was thinking about the Nolan chart last night and “tribes and clans” popped into mind. Anyhow, I was looking to see if bringing up tribes would be too OT and found the above in one of your replies.

    Tribes Where do they fit it? Can they be right or left? Is there some natural law s.t. tribes always/never try to expand and increase their power? And ” And? And? Oh, there are dozens of things to kick around regarding tribes.

    BTW, I think we’re headed that way (tribes) if there’s a major meltdown. Pick your tribe and pick your colors now, folks. Don’t wait ’til the last minute!

  38. E.M.Smith says:

    @George:

    Disturbing to hear that about Venezuelan Jews. Not good. Very not good. I fear Hugo has read his Mein Kampf and thinks it is a Road Map…

    @PhilJourdan:

    The major differences between Fascists and Naziis (de-personalizing it from the individual leaders…) has to do with the extreme racism and anti-semitism of the Nazis. In Fascist italy, there were more Jews in the Fascist government as a percentage than in the general population and they held very high ranks.

    The economic policies were about the same and both were militaristic. Fascist Italy was lauded right up until they invaded Ethiopia, then “the USA Left” of the era decided maybe they didn’t like him so much…

    So to me it comes down to “Rabid Racists?” or not?

    The addition of the anti-semitism in Venezuela (if it can be tied back to Hugo promoting it) moves him closer to the Nazi program. (many of the items left off the Nazi agenda posted above are of the form “German Good / Jew Bad”… )

  39. mrpkw says:

    E.M
    Of course I meant it in a good way. You pointed it out your self:
    “One of the nice things about the Wiki is that it not only lets you get some facts and references, it lets you uncover the bias and lies of the Looney Side Of Left as they regularly overdo the revision of reality on the pages.”

    If one were to only use wiki as a source, they would be able to prove that CAGW was fact. (because we all know that the wiki global warming pages are not biased)

  40. mrpkw says:

    And on a humorous note:

    I had to chuckle when I saw the graphic of your post !!

  41. E.M.Smith says:

    @Barstooler:

    Thanks, I’ll take a look.

    @J Ferguson:

    Yes, it is murky. A major part of the problem is the time available for action. Nazi germany didn’t last very long.

    The idea was that “syndicalism” was a transitionary form. Then Hitler found he really needed the large industries to wage his wars and that set back the collectivization plan a bit…

    It is because of that short term and the ‘in the process of becoming’ nature that it’s helpful to look at where they came from and where they were headed.

    Mussolini had longer to work and use more threat of collectivizing than actual collectivizing, but it’s unclear to me how much of that was by desire and how much due to practical needs (much as even Lenin and Mao had to back off a bit from some of their goals…)

    So you look at the speeches, the publications, the actions. It’s all pretty clear where they were coming from. That they didn’t manage to get all the way to done in a very few years isn’t really all that surprising.

    But it does lead to the ability to confuse the issue with saying “He never actually confiscated the factories”… and answering “Yes But. He was going to.” ends up a weak bit of ‘evidence’.

    But history just is, and that is what happened. Distracted by lust for land and military conquest so made a ‘pack’ to only use the labor unions as a cudgel on the industrialists and not actually make them paupers. Kind of like the UAW / GM deal… or maybe more like the Ford vs UAW now that they’ve seen the GM shareholders clock cleaned…

  42. E.M.Smith says:

    @BBC: Only 9 years. 1933 – 1945 (and that last one was not so much of an effective ‘rule’…)

    Also, you are comparing “Damage / year” where others are comparing “desires and goals”. Different things, so different results.

    But, OK, so Chavez is no Hitler, he’s only a “Little Hitler” who isn’t as effective. (At least, that would be the logical conclusion from the comparision of the two axis of measure…)

    Frankly, that’s part of why I think the Mussolini comparison holds better. A slower approach and with less of a racist expansionist fervor.

    Oh, and a comparison is not the same as ‘to conflate’. You might want to watch out for that… conflating compare with conflate is not so good….

    So I’m happy to COMPARE and CONTRAST Obama and Mussolini, but have no fear that I would ever conflate them (as conflate means to mix so much as to lose track of which is what, and Obama is black while Mussolini is dead…). To look at the PRO LABOR and PRO UNION and PRO NATIONALIZATION actions of Obama and compare them to Mussolini is no conflation…

    Also, I’m quite happy to say: Obama IS my president, he has the office, and he gets to manage it as he sees fit inside the Rule Of Law. (Though if the birthers ever get any real dirt, that could change ;-)

    That you should run off to things NOT said, like banning the Republicans et. al. is to indulge in imaginings. But to ask “Given the pattern of actions of a syndicalist sort and the history of advocacy for social justice ideals, might this president be moving our economy toward a dangerous mixture of policies? And are their significant similarities to Fascism?” Those are quite legitimate questions. That the answer is disturbing is not up to me, but to the facts.

    @David:

    The color thing bugs me too. Accident of the way one network did news reporting as far as I can tell. Frankly, I think they have the colors backwards too. Perhaps, quoting a Microsoft Website when researching a bug in their product “This behaviour is by design.”…

    IIRC it was NBC who started talking about “red states” and “blue states” and did it consistently enough to make it stick.

    @HR: Yeah… I’m working on that chart…

    In a way the “nationalism” of Germany was a “tribalism” of the Aryan Myth….

    @mrpkw:

    I figured as much, but I can’t project my hopes onto others when there might be another interpretation, only express my hopes ;-)

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @mrpkw:

    Per the video… someone has a wonderful grasp of the history of words, along with the history of the world, and absolutely no respect for being P.C. Gotta Love It.

    Now trying to explain that to folks without a long and deep understanding of English and our P.C. foibles would take a long time… trying to convince all the folks headed for ballistic because of it that their skin is too thin and their funny bone too small is a lifetime of frustration….

  44. PhilJourdan says:

    George,

    We also need to get over this squeamishness of saying someone looks like a Hitler when they look like a Hitler. That supposes that such a thing could never again happen and that somehow Hitler was unique and will be unique across all time. I am not prepared to say that.

    I agree that we can have another Hitler, however like a Mao, Stalin, or even Ghengis Khan, there has been only one and they serve a special purpose to warn us of the extent of evil man can do. So while Chavez perhaps some of the same non-military traits as Hitler, so did Mussolini (Ethiopia). And Mussolinis are a dime a dozen. Chavez is a very corrupt and bad person, but he lacks the extra oomph of deeds that would warrant a comparison with Hitler. The closest we have today is Amadenijad. The only difference there is the opportunity.

  45. PhilJourdan says:

    David on 21 January 2011 at 12:54 pm

    David, the colors for the democrats and republicans is just an accident of the 2000 election. There was no talk of each party having a color prior to that and it stuck because of the neat divide of the country into liberal and conservative.

    It is as arbitrary as why the right is right and the left is left.

  46. mrpkw says:

    E.M.
    I would never insult the host of the party !!!!!

    “someone has a wonderful grasp of the history of words, along with the history of the world, and absolutely no respect for being P.C. Gotta Love It.”

    There is some incredible brilliance behind the writing of “The Simpsons” (OK, some of the episodes are crap)

  47. Douglas R. Fix says:

    I hesitate to jump in since this isn’t (wasn’t) a discussion of all ‘isms’, but:

    @BCC

    “My problem with libertarian principles, as applied to the real world, is that they don’t provide adequate protections from the rise of e.g. Evil Rich Bastards Monopoly Corporation. An “unfettered free market” simply doesn’t provide sufficient checks and balances for those who win power via e.g. natural or artificial monopolies.”

    Libertarianism (small l) allows for ‘Evil Rich Bastards Monopoly Corporation’ in the free market but only natural monopolies. Artificial i.e. state granted monopolies would not exist under libertarianism.

    Libertarianism (small l) allows for anyone to be evil, rich, and a bastard as well as corporations, or anyone else for the matter, to be a natural monopoly. As long as my right’s are not infringed upon we’re good.

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  49. H.R says:

    @E.M. replying to H.R.

    “@HR: Yeah… I’m working on that chart…

    In a way the “nationalism” of Germany was a “tribalism” of the Aryan Myth…. “

    I can see that. The reason ‘tribes’ popped into my head is that they are the first step up from the family unit and the lowest form of political organization. There is strength in the “bundle.” They are almost always governed by a chief; either the strongest or best warrior or hunter or by the ‘wisest’ such as a matriarch or patriarch. They are typically communal with the chief in command of the activities and outputs of the tribe.

    Tribes are the start of nations and nations require a political structure to remain cohesive. Monarchies and dictatorships are just tribal chiefs governing the ‘tribe’ on a larger scale. Any time a leader can maintain an “our tribe against the rest of the world” and “the rest of the world is out to get us because they are inferior to our tribe and jealous” mindset amongst their subjects, it serves to strengthen their position as a much needed leader. It’s also pretty easy to convince the ‘tribe’ (nation) that they are somehow superior and deserve to rule all the other ‘tribes.’ The German nationalism and Aryan myth is a fine example.

    The wonder of it all to me is how a republic or democracy ever gets a foothold when tribalism is so ingrained in the human race.

    It seems to me that perhaps the economics of entrepreneurialism and trade start ‘tribes’ (nations) down the road to classi-liberal systems. The best, most innovative flint knapper gets the mastodon steaks without hunting and the freshwater pearl beads and funny soft yellow metal baubles just because everyone else wants their superior spear heads. This flint knapper builds economic power. When you get a guy in a tribe with economic power and the chief with power given/taken by traditional means, then the political dynamics of the tribe have to change. Others may start specializing and all of those specialists begin trading with other tribes and they don’t particularly feel like handing over all of the fruits of their labor to the chief. And chiefs don’t really want to give up their power. So some other sort of political organization has to be devised to keep the tribe happy yet cohesive.

    Everyone knows there is more strength in the “bundle” than any one individual has. By and by, a bunch of the sharper knives in the drawer figure out a system that allows them to keep doing what they want (individual liberty) and rewarding what their achievements (economic freedom) and still keep the ‘tribe’ together for the benefits of a larger society, such as protection from invaders and dispute resolution and an economic system that makes it easier to trade their specialized output. So they devise some sort of a classi-liberal system that achieves those goals.

    But the ‘tribe’ still needs a ‘chief’ to run the tribe’s business while everyone is off doing their own thing. And I think that’s where the trouble begins. Eventually the tribe get’s a chief in place that sees the opportunity to be “supreme top dog of the universe” and soon that tribe is headed down “The Road to Serfdom.”

    It seems it can happen regardless of the size of the tribe (nation) but does it always have to happen? Do all the axes of a Nolan chart or any other similar chart always run downhill back to the tribe with a strong chief and some form of communal living?

  50. mrpkw says:

    HR

    I look at it this way.

    “tribalism” is social organization with uncivilized people. The more advanced a society becomes, the further it gets from “tribalism”.

    I would not use “tribalism” in any comparison or discussion with modern nations. (not counting The Amazon etc)

  51. H.R says:

    @mrpkw

    Define ‘civilized.’

    I see tribes such as the Amazonians you refer to (often numbering only in double digits) as the smallest units of civilization. They have a rudimentary economy, a system of government, religion, arts, history (oral), and body of law. They make decisions wheter or not as a group to make war or keep peace with other tribes. They can cooperate to accomplish works greater than any individual in the tribe. So what defines civilization?

    Mowgli was uncivilized. (Well, it’s debatable, as pack behavior has many parallels to tribal behavior ;o) )

  52. alcuin says:

    Go easy on the disparaging tribalism. Grinde and Johansen, in their book Exemplar of Liberty, present a case that the contact of the American Indians with the Europeans and European settlers affected all parties. As one example, Rousseau was much influenced by the contact in his concept of the state of nature. Of interest here is that Grinde and Johansen claim that elements of our federal constitution copy, to some degree, the Iroquois federation, and that several of the Iroquois were consulted in planning the Republic. It is also interesting to note that the symbolism of the strong bundle of sticks was used by Iroquois in urging the federation of the colonies, though they used arrows rather than simple twigs.
    Incidentally, it is interesting to note that the fasces, axe and all, are used for decoration in an auditorium in a U. S. government building, I think in the Department of Commerce, though I saw it about 40 years ago and I may have the department wrong.

  53. E.M.Smith says:

    @HR:

    Very well put.

    I think you have it right. But I’m going to be thinking about that for a while….

    You may need to add something about how things change over time. The aged wise chief as the smart-ass flint napper makes petition to be an independent… for example.

    but basically, I ‘smell truth’ in it….

    @mrpkw:

    Unfortunately, as near as I can tell, “civilized” is inversely proportional to group size. Few famillies are prone to genocide or mass murder. Many “National” and “supranational” organizations kill millions for little cause.

    So a basic foundation stone of your thesis is a bit, er, compromised.

    There is likely still a truth hiding in there to be found, but… I think there is a bit more polish needed.

    Basically, my position is simply that I’ve seen more “civilization” from “tribes” than from any society of more than 10 Million population. Yes, they have their foibles (like chopping off your head to save your soul) but they are generally far less prone to capricious behaviour than, for example, the UN Security Council authorizing the murder of tens of thousands.

    A tribal king who is cruel and potentially insane is much more likely to “wake up dead” than, for example, Stalin.

  54. H.R. says:

    @alcuin
    “Go easy on the disparaging tribalism. […]”

    I wasn’t disparaging tribalsim but my questions I’m pondering are 1) how do we go from tribes to a classi-liberal nations(where your points fit in) and 2) do all roads eventually lead back to serfdom?

    You bring up some good stuff. I too remember the bundled arrows story. Oh, I’m thinking all those symbols you saw were probably in a Thomas Hart Benton mural or one of the other WPA-commissioned murals.

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