Fascist Doctrine

Straight from “The Horse’s Mouth”….

(This is long, but it needs to be to make the point clearly that “this isn’t about me” and it “isn’t about what I think something is, or isn’t”. This is what they said they were…)





(This article, co-written by Giovanni Gentile, is considered to be the most complete articulation of Mussolini’s political views. This is the only complete official translation we know of on the web, copied directly from an official Fascist government publication of 1935, Fascism Doctrine and Institutions, by Benito Mussolini, Ardita Publishers, Rome, pages 7-42. This translation includes all the footnotes from the original.)

It points out that Fascism is both a political and economic system and includes many spiritual aspects as well. I’m not going to comment on the political / spiritual aspects here ( you can read them at the link should you wish) but instead will focus just on the “Third Way” economic system it created.

The political leanings of Fascism are the root, IMHO, of most of the “dirt” it (deservedly) gets. Folks conflate the Nationalist Racist and often Authoritarian and Militarist aspects of the political Fascist Doctrine with the economic form it adopted. ( Then again, politics and economics are often highly intertwined and there is even a specialty of “Political Economy”… so it’s not all that unusual a thing to do). But here I am looking at the economics of it. Was it a “right wing” (in the post 1990 era American sense of “Republican”) or a “left wing” (in the post 1990 era American sense of “Democrat” and “Social Liberal”… “Liberal” in the American sense of “Progressive” and not in the older and European sense of “Liberal” that is more of a Libertarian preservation of liberties…. See why I don’t like “left” and “right”? You need to define them with each use as to who, when, where… or they are meaningless.)

Obligatory Disclaimer: Just so it’s clear: I despise the evil done by both Fascist and fascist governments (Fascist with a capital “F” is the Italian original, with an “f” is the generic and applies to places like Spain and Germany at various times in their evolution). They were evil. Why say the obvious? Because some of their economic polices actually worked, and rather well. So when I say something like “And that works well”, some fool somewhere will assert I’m in favor of Fascism. I’m not. I’m admiring the mandibles on a destructive pest and saying “gee, they cut well!”…

OK, with that out of the way, some selected parts of the Fascist Doctrine as the Fascists wrote it:

Thus many of the practical expressions of Fascism such as party organization, system of education, and discipline can only be understood when considered in relation to its general attitude toward life. A spiritual attitude (3). Fascism sees in the world not only those superficial, material aspects in which man appears as an individual, standing by himself, self-centered, subject to natural law, which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure; it sees not only the individual but the nation and the country; individuals and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which suppressing the instinct for life closed in a brief circle of pleasure, builds up a higher life, founded on duty, a life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual, by self-sacrifice, the renunciation of self-interest, by death itself, can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists.

It includes public education.

It expects you to suppress your “material aspects” and “self-centered” aspects in service to society and to the State.

The conception is therefore a spiritual one, arising from the general reaction of the century against the materialistic positivism of the XIXth century

It is anti-materialistic. (Not sounding very capitalistic at the moment…)

In the Fascist conception of history, man is man only by virtue of the spiritual process to which he contributes as a member of the family, the social group, the nation, and in function of history to which all nations bring their contribution. Hence the great value of tradition in records, in language, in customs, in the rules of social life (8). Outside history man is a nonentity. Fascism is therefore opposed to all individualistic abstractions based on eighteenth century materialism; and it is opposed to all Jacobinistic utopias and innovations. It does not believe in the possibility of “happiness” on earth as conceived by the economistic literature of the XVIIIth century, and it therefore rejects the theological notion that at some future time the human family will secure a final settlement of all its difficulties. This notion runs counter to experience which teaches that life is in continual flux and in process of evolution. In politics Fascism aims at realism; in practice it desires to deal only with those problems which are the spontaneous product of historic conditions and which find or suggest their own solutions (9). Only by entering in to the process of reality and taking possession of the forces at work within it, can man act on man and on nature (10).

OK, that’s a mouthful… The bits of interest to me: It clearly sees the individual as a “nonentity” other than through their expression in a collective of some degree: “which he contributes as a member of the family, the social group, the nation”. Then we get a repeat of the “anti-materialist” theme a couple of times and an assertion that by “taking possession of the forces at work”, (and here I make a leap… to me the “it” in question is “society”) ~within society, “can man act on man”… Gee, sounds like a central control urge. The first step to “central planning”. A key feature of Socialism.

Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity (11). It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical function when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people.

Well, that makes it pretty clear. No ClassiLiberal “Libertarian” and “right wing Capitalist” point of view to be allowed in here. Free markets ala “classical liberalism” have “exhausted its historical function”.

At this point it is helpful to remember that Mussolini was raised in a Socialist home and steeped in Socialist doctrine. (In this era, Socialism had yet to mutate into it’s many more recent “softer” forms and was substantially Marxist-Leninist doctrine. That point become very important later when folks assert “fascists killed all the Socialists”. You must be careful of the slippery nature of terms, here. What they did-in were the Marxist-Leninist clans of Classical Socialism as they wanted to invent the new “Third Way”…) In that context, the Marxists doctrine was that Capitalism had a ‘historical role to play’ of preparing the world for the inevitable “class struggle” from which would arise The People and their Socialist Utopia. So here we have a clear statement (at least, clear when you know your Marx and history) of a Marxists root. That the State would arise on the ashes of Classical Liberal market economies as they filled out their “historical function”.

Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts

The rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual (12). And if liberty is to he the attribute of living men and not of abstract dummies invented by individualistic liberalism, then Fascism stands for liberty, and for the only liberty worth having, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State (13). The Fascist conception of the State is all embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism, is totalitarian, and the Fascist State – a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values – interprets, develops, and potentates the whole life of a people (14).

I suspect a ‘scanning artifact’ and that “liberty is to he the” ought to be “liberty is to be the”… but I’ve left it as posted.

Here we have the classic “Left Spin” of redefining inconvenient words. “Liberty” is now bondage to the State. As long as you are a good little worker in the party and the State, then you are free. Just follow orders exactly… Typical. But they do go on to note that “the State is all embracing”. Remember that prior to Mussolini the word “Totalitarian” had not been invented. At this point we are seeing it be born. The individual is only of worth as part of the collectivist State.

Somehow I’m not feeling the love for that individualist capitalist free market libertarian ideal… and I’m reading a whole lot more collectivist State central plan and control.

No individuals or groups (political parties, cultural associations, economic unions, social classes) outside the State (15). Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle.

Remember, here, that at this point in history Socialism IS Marxism-Leninism. What we would today call “Communism”. What they are saying here is again best understood in the context of that M-L doctrine of the class struggle. M-L Socialism saw the world as a ‘class struggle’ where labor and labor unions would be pitted against capitalists and capital in a grand battle. They are saying, instead, we can pull them both into the government and eliminate the “struggle” aspect. This, of course, was heresy of the worst kind to M-L Socialists who had their whole world view tied up in “class struggle”… Thus Stalin accusing fascists of being “right wing” as they denied the “class struggle” center of Communism.

In essence, they are saying “We’re a new kind of collectivism that abolishes the class struggle”.

Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon. But when brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognizes the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State (16).

At this point the “Fascism as right-wing” folks like to blow long and hard about “They ABOLISHED the UNIONS.!!!” as though that made them Old School Capitalist Cronies. But that’s not how this plays out. Notice it says “as a class weapon”? That’s straight out of M-L doctrine. Unions were to engage in a grand battle against capitalists. These folks are saying “Um, no. We’ve got a better way to win”. Key point is they have the same objective…

Notice that next sentence? Under the guidance of the State, the “real need” (i.e. that “class struggle”) will be met via the “guild” or “corporative system”. More on that corporative bit later. For now, just notice that the “union” is transformed into a state sponsored “guild”. Not exactly abolishing unions for the free run of Capitalist Running Dogs… and the purpose? “divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State”. Not sounding all that different from M-L Communism to me.

I know I said I’d stay away from the Political aspects, but this one quote has a very important point.

When in the now distant March of 1919, speaking through the columns of the Popolo d’Italia I summoned to Milan the surviving interventionists who had intervened, and who had followed me ever since the foundation of the Fascist of revolutionary action in January 1915, I had in mind no specific doctrinal program. The only doctrine of which I had practical experience was that of socialism, from until the winter of 1914 – nearly a decade. My experience was that both of a follower and a leader but it was not doctrinal experience. My doctrine during that period had been the doctrine of action. A uniform, universally accepted doctrine of Socialism had not existed since 1905, when the revisionist movement, headed by Bernstein, arose in Germany, countered by the formation, in the see-saw of tendencies, of a left revolutionary movement which in Italy never quitted the field of phrases, whereas, in the case of Russian socialism, it became the prelude to Bolshevism.

There are some very important points here to note.

1) Mussolini (he is the “I” here) clearly states he was a Socialist, through and through.
2) He demonstrates understanding and knowledge of the history of Socialism.
3) He distinguishes it from the Bolshevism that took over in Russia.

So his whole “doctrine of which I had practical experience” as he put it, “was that of socialism” (which at that point was Marxist-Leninist doctrine).

What happened in 1905? That whole Russia / Lenin thing:



where Socialism stopped being pure Marxist doctrine and got the first of many “revisions” of scope and style…

Now, pause for just a moment.

Here we have a foundational document being written. Does it reference capitalist and market theory? Does it build on a tradition of libertarian thought? Or does it spend time carefully delineating the small ways in which it diverges from Marxism and Leninism? Proudly proclaiming, in Marxist inspired language, how it avoids the “class struggle”? While still achieving those anti-capitalist and anti-Classical-Liberal goals?

So, walks like a Goose, talks like a Goose… I think it’s a Goose Stepper…

Reformism, revolutionism, centrism, the very echo of that terminology is dead, while in the great river of Fascism one can trace currents which had their source in Sorel, Peguy, Lagardelle of the Movement Socialists, and in the cohort of Italian syndicalist who from 1904 to 1914 brought a new note into the Italian socialist environment – previously emasculated and chloroformed by fornicating with Giolitti’s party – a note sounded in Olivetti’s Pagine Libere, Orano’s Lupa, Enrico Leone’s Divenirs Socials

And by golly, even the founder himself sees it as an outgrowth of Socialism (of the Marxist sort)…

Some reference points for folks who might not recognize some of those names:


Georges Eugène Sorel (2 November 1847 in Cherbourg – 29 August 1922 in Boulogne-sur-Seine) was a French philosopher and theorist of revolutionary syndicalism. His notion of the power of myth in people’s lives inspired Marxists and Fascists.
In 1893, he publicly affirmed his position as a Marxist and a socialist. His social and political philosophy owed much to his reading of Proudhon, Karl Marx, Giambattista Vico, Henri Bergson (whose lectures at the Collège de France he attended), and later William James. Sorel’s engagement in the political world was accompanied by a correspondence with Benedetto Croce, and later with Vilfredo Pareto. Sorel worked on the first French Marxist journals, L’Ère nouvelle and Le Devenir social, and then participated at the turn of the century in the revisionist debate and crisis within Marxism. He took the side of Eduard Bernstein against Karl Kautsky. Sorel supported acquittal during the Dreyfus affair, although, like his friend Charles Péguy, he later felt betrayed by what he took to be the opportunism of the Dreyfusards. Through his contributions to Enrico Leone’s Il Divenire sociale and Hubert Lagardelle’s Mouvement socialiste, he contributed around 1905 to the theoretical elaboration of revolutionary syndicalism. In 1906, his most famous text, Reflections on Violence, appeared in this last journal. It was published in book form in 1908, and was followed the same year by Illusions du progrès.


Charles Péguy (January 7, 1873 – September 4, 1914) was a noted French poet, essayist, and editor. His two main philosophies were socialism and nationalism,
From his earliest years, he was influenced by socialism. From 1900 to his death in 1914, he was the main contributor and the editor of the literary magazine Les Cahiers de la Quinzaine, which first supported the Socialist Party director Jean Jaurès.

And “what are syndicalists?” I can hear someone mutter:


syndicalism, also called Anarcho-syndicalism, or Revolutionary Syndicalism, a movement that advocates direct action by the working class to abolish the capitalist order, including the state, and to establish in its place a social order based on workers organized in production units. The syndicalist movement flourished in France chiefly between 1900 and 1914 and had a considerable impact in Spain, Italy, England, the Latin-American countries, and elsewhere. It had ceased to be a strong, dynamic force by the end of World War I, but it remained a residual force in Europe until World War II.

Not exactly the “pedigree” of a Capitalist Market Libertarian…

But back to Fascist Doctrine. There is a fairly long section extolling the virtues of a militaristic stance, then a bit that tries to define Fascism as distinct from Socialism (which, remember, is Marxist-Leninist at this point):

That the vicissitudes of economic life – discoveries of raw materials, new technical processes, and scientific inventions – have their importance, no one denies; but that they suffice to explain human history to the exclusion of other factors is absurd. Fascism believes now and always in sanctity and heroism, that is to say in acts in which no economic motive – remote or immediate – is at work. Having denied historic materialism, which sees in men mere puppets on the surface of history, appearing and disappearing on the crest of the waves while in the depths the real directing forces move and work, Fascism also denies the immutable and irreparable character of the class struggle which is the natural outcome of this economic conception of history; above all it denies that the class struggle is the preponderating agent in social transformations. Having thus struck a blow at socialism in the two main points of its doctrine, all that remains of it is the sentimental aspiration-old as humanity itself-toward social relations in which the sufferings and sorrows of the humbler folk will be alleviated. But here again Fascism rejects the economic interpretation of felicity as something to be secured socialistically, almost automatically, at a given stage of economic evolution when all will be assured a maximum of material comfort. Fascism denies the materialistic conception of happiness as a possibility, and abandons it to the economists of the mid-eighteenth century. This means that Fascism denies the equation: well-being = happiness, which sees in men mere animals, content when they can feed and fatten, thus reducing them to a vegetative existence pure and simple.

This section blends a lot of threads. Near religious zeal along with economic and political threads.

The key points, though, are fairly easy to pick out. In essence: ~”We’re not Capitalists, and we don’t believe in the Class Struggle as essential to gaining social goals; besides, life’s a bitch and then you die. So we’re going to have a Third Way form of the Social Agenda.”

Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and the economic sphere. The importance of liberalism in the XIXth century should not be exaggerated for present day polemical purposes, nor should we make of one of the many doctrines which flourished in that century a religion for mankind for the present and for all time to come. Liberalism really flourished for fifteen years only. It arose in 1830 as a reaction to the Holy Alliance which tried to force Europe to recede further back than 1789; it touched its zenith in 1848 when even Pius IXth was a liberal. Its decline began immediately after that year. If 1848 was a year of light and poetry, 1849 was a year of darkness and tragedy. The Roman Republic was killed by a sister republic, that of France . In that same year Marx, in his famous Communist Manifesto, launched the gospel of socialism.

For Americans, remember that this is the Classical Liberal definition, rather close to our Jeffersonian Libertarian principles. And I think that’s a pretty clear rejection of libertarian and Classi-Liberal beliefs…

Gospel? Well, yes…

He then basically claims a bit of a buffet approach to design, a bit of various things:

A party governing a nation “totalitarianly” is a new departure in history. There are no points of reference nor of comparison. From beneath the ruins of liberal, socialist, and democratic doctrines, Fascism extracts those elements which are still vital. It preserves what may be described as “the acquired facts” of history; it rejects all else.

If the XIXth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the “collective” century, and therefore the century of the State.

Here we clearly see stated that this is a “collective” State. Where do we here about the virtues of The Collective? Oh yeah, from the Socialists (both the old Marxist-Leninist form and the more modern forms right on down to Lange Type Socialism).

. The State educates the citizens to civism, makes them aware of their mission, urges them to unity; its justice harmonizes their divergent interests; it transmits to future generations the conquests of the mind in the fields of science, art, law, human solidarity; it leads men up from primitive tribal life to that highest manifestation of human power, imperial rule.

We also get the mechanism of State Education as a control vehicle for the masses. Shades of Communist “re-education camps”…

Next up, we get a large dose of “State collectivism good; individual capital and free markets bad”:

Since 1929 economic and political development have everywhere emphasized these truths. The importance of the State is rapidly growing. The so-called crisis can only be settled by State action and within the orbit of the State. Where are the shades of the Jules Simons who, in the early days of liberalism proclaimed that the “State should endeavor to render itself useless and prepare to hand in its resignation “? Or of the MacCullochs who, in the second half of last century, urged that the State should desist from governing too much? And what of the English Bentham who considered that all industry asked of government was to be left alone, and of the German Humbolt who expressed the opinion that the best government was a lazy ” one? What would they say now to the unceasing, inevitable, and urgently requested interventions of government in business? It is true that the second generation of economists was less uncompromising in this respect than the first, and that even Adam Smith left the door ajar – however cautiously – for government intervention in business.

If liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government. The Fascist State is, however, a unique and original creation. It is not reactionary but revolutionary, for it anticipates the solution of certain universal problems which have been raised elsewhere, in the political field by the splitting up of parties, the usurpation of power by parliaments, the irresponsibility of assemblies; in the economic field by the increasingly numerous and important functions discharged by trade unions and trade associations with their disputes and ententes, affecting both capital and labor; in the ethical field by the need felt for order, discipline, obedience to the moral dictates of patriotism.

So government ought to be doing intervention in business, and trade unions are important to decisions about capital and labor. What we today would call “Market Socialism”… I have trouble with the notion that a Classi-Liberal free market capitalist would be in favor of “government intervention in business” and “trade unions and trade associations” deciding what to do with capital…

Fascism desires the State to be strong and organic, based on broad foundations of popular support. The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its corporative, social, and educational institutions, and all the political, economic, and spiritual forces of the nation, organized in their respective associations, circulate within the State.

OK, so we have “State lays claim to rule in the economic field”… Sounds a whole lot more “communist / socialist” to me than it does “free market capitalist”…

I note in passing that it sidesteps the Communist demand to abolish religion. Kind of an “issue” in a devoutly Catholic place and time. Another thing that caused Stalin to define them as “right wing”…

The Fascist State is not indifferent to religious phenomena in general nor does it maintain an attitude of indifference to Roman Catholicism, the special, positive religion of Italians. The State has not got a theology but it has a moral code. The Fascist State sees in religion one of the deepest of spiritual manifestations and for this reason it not only respects religion but defends and protects it. The Fascist State does not attempt, as did Robespierre at the height of the revolutionary delirium of the Convention, to set up a “god” of its own; nor does it vainly seek, as does Bolshevism, to efface God from the soul of man. Fascism respects the God of ascetics, saints, and heroes, and it also respects God as conceived by the ingenuous and primitive heart of the people, the God to whom their prayers are raised.

And for that, along with denial of the central nature of the Marxist “Class Struggle” as the only path to Socialism, they are “right wing”, per Stalin. To me, there’s a whole lot more bird to get through before you are off of the “left wing”…

Then, from down in the Appendix, some words about their use of Corporations. These are not like our corporations, where you just raise some capital and run off to make a new gizmo, electing to your Board of Directors whomever you wish, no….

The Ministry of Corporations is not a bureaucratic organ, nor does it wish to exercise the functions of syndical organizations which are necessarily independent, since they aim at organizing, selecting and improving the members of syndicates. The Ministry of Corporations is an institution in virtue of which, in the centre and outside, integral corporation becomes an accomplished fact, where balance is achieved between interests and forces of the economic world. Such a glance is only possible within the sphere of the state, because the state alone transcends the contrasting interests of groups and individuals, in view of co-coordinating them to achieve higher aims. The achievement of these aims is speeded up by the fact that all economic organizations, acknowledged, safeguarded and supported by the Corporative State, exist within the orbit of Fascism; in other terms they accept the conception of Fascism in theory and in practice. (speech at the opening of the Ministry of Corporations, July 31, 1926, in Discorsi del 1926, Milano, Alpes, 1927, p. 250).

We have constituted a Corporative and Fascist state, the state of national society, a State which concentrates, controls, harmonizes and tempers the interests of all social classes, which are thereby protected in equal measure. Whereas, during the years of demo-liberal regime, labour looked with diffidence upon the state, was, in fact, outside the State and against the state, and considered the state an enemy of every day and every hour, there is not one working Italian today who does not seek a place in his Corporation or federation, who does not wish to be a living atom of that great, immense, living organization which is the national Corporate State of Fascism. (On the Fourth Anniversary of the March on Rome, October 28, 1926, in Discorsi del 1926, Milano, Alpes, 1927, p. 340).

Clearly the “corporation” is seen as an arm of the State. A subdivision with limited autonomy, guided by the central authority. Rather like Fanny Mae, Freddy Mac, The Federal Reserve, Amtrak, and:

Florida Virtual School (Florida)
National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)
Tennessee Valley Authority
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
Millennium Challenge Corporation
St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Corporation for National and Community Service (Americorps)
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Legal Services Corporation
Conrail (former)
Resolution Trust Corporation (former)
Panama Canal Commission (former)

those listed here:


For the “government acquired”. Their description sounds rather a lot like the “soft budget” category of “avoid bankruptcy” defined as one of the traits of “Market Socialism”:

The second category is government-acquired corporations, which are corporations whose stock or assets have been purchased by the Federal Government as a result of the corporation being adjudged too big to fail, that is, their liquidation would present too much of a systemic risk to the total economy of the United States to allow the corporation to be liquidated, bankrupted, or otherwise wound up.

So yes, “Market Socialism” in America…

General Motors (and others)
AIG (American International Group) (and others)
Bank of America
JPMorgan Chase
Wells Fargo
GMAC Financial Services
Goldman Sachs
Morgan Stanley

There are a whole lot more listed on the link under those state owned corporations at the State level, as we have two levels of Sovereign in the USA. When folks say “Fascist America”, they usually have no idea how right they are, and for all the wrong reasons…

Under Fascism, ALL corporations were like The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and GM. (Though his Train Company was better at being on time than our Amtrak…)

And, just as a fun little note to show I’m not the only one who sees these Fascist Corporations as more of a ‘gift to the guilds’ than a capitalists dream, from a progressive site:


Who’s standard says “Researching the Right for Progressive Changemakers”…

It is unlikely that Mussolini ever made this statement because it contradicts most of the other writing he did on the subject of corporatism and corporations. When Mussolini wrote about corporatism, he was not writing about modern commercial corporations. He was writing about a form of vertical syndicalist corporatism based on early guilds.

Remember that definition of “syndicalist”? Unions in charge? “Management” would meet with the Government and the Guild. Collectively, they would decide what to do, then labor and the government would tell management to make sure it got done…

In Conclusion

So, there you have it, in their own words. Central government planning. Labor in charge over capital. Managed markets. Corporations, but for the syndicalist not for the capitalist. Government directing every aspect of the society.

Yes, it is different from the Socialism of 1905. That we would call Marxism or Leninism or even Communism today.

Yes, it said there was a “Third Way” using the “cooperation” of the corporation with labor, under government guidance, and that one could avoid the “Class Struggle” if you just put government in charge of everything instead of the workers directly. (And for that, Stalin called them “right wing”.)

But hardly what one would call a Market Capitalist society, nor even a Classical Liberal one.

However, it DOES fit into the category we today call “Market Socialism” and even under the “Third Way” of Clinton and Blair.


(Yes, it’s the wiki, but I’m deliberately using them as they are clearly “left wing” biased, so if they say it, it must be accurate… though note that they DO managed to redefine “Third Way” as “centrism” even though it historically was the name for Fascism during the time of FDR…)

The term “Third Way” has been used to explain a variety of political policies and ideology in the last few centuries. These ideas were implemented by progressives in the early 20th century. The Third Way philosophy was extended in the 1950s by German ordoliberal economists such as Wilhelm Röpke, resulting in the development of the concept of the social market economy. Most significantly, Harold Macmillan, British Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963, based his philosophy of government on what he entitled in a book, The Middle Way (1938). The phrase also figures in the early thought of Mussolini, looking as he was to define a Fascist path between the two alternatives of liberalism and bolshevism in post-Great war Italy.

So just repackage, relabel, and call your fascist version of socialism “market socialism”…

In the United States, Third Way adherents reject fiscal conservatism, and advocate some replacement of welfare with workfare, and sometimes have a stronger preference for market solutions to traditional problems (as in pollution markets), while rejecting pure laissez-faire economics and other libertarian positions. The Third Way style of governing was firmly adopted and partly redefined during the administration of President Bill Clinton.

After Tony Blair came to power in the UK, Clinton, Blair and other leading Third Way adherents organized conferences to promote the Third Way philosophy in 1997 at Chequers in England. The Third Way (think tank) and the Democratic Leadership Council are adherents of Third Way politics.

In 2004, several veteran U.S. Democrats founded a new Washington, DC organization entitled Third Way (think tank), which bills itself as a “strategy center for progressives.”


While failing to outline a coherent program, fascism evolved into a new political and economic system that combined totalitarianism, nationalism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism in a state designed to bind all classes together under a corporatist system (The “Third Way”). This was a new system in which the state seized control of the organization of vital industries. Under the banners of nationalism and state power, Fascism seemed to synthesize the glorious Roman past with a futuristic utopia.[9]

While they then go on into the usual “left wing” name calling of “right wing” at Fascism, they at least did recognize the long and honorable history of “The Third Way” as a Market Socialism root first cultivated by Mussolini in the soil of Fascist Italy…

And that it works well does not change what it is.

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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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48 Responses to Fascist Doctrine

  1. From a personal point of view, I value personal freedom above any form of government or economics.

    I fear tyranny by any name – fascist, socialism, communist, etc.

    The climate scandal frightened me because I saw evidence that world governments were using government “science” to deceive the public.

    In 1980 I travelled to the old USSR, knowing that the US space science community was not following basic scientific principles, uncertain what I would find behind the “Iron Curtain.”

    I was treated very well there, and my lecture, “Heterogeneity of isotopic and elemental compositions in meteorites: Evidence of local synthesis,” was published in Geokhimiya (12) 1776-1801 (1981) [In Russian].

    However, the sense of oppression there was frightening!

    Recent events in the world remind me of the tyrannical government that I once read about in George Orwell’s book, “1984.”


    Although I am approaching the end of a very fulfilling life, I will do anything in my power to prevent that from happening.

  2. Level_Head says:

    Very nicely found, detailed, and analyzed, sir. And a lot of rich veins for further exploration.

    To Oliver: Orwell — Eric Blair — got his start writing propaganda for a living. He knew a fair amount about the evils of government he described. I’ll wager that he was good at that, as well.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  3. David says:

    Intresting post, I think I will run it by my Uncle, Lenoard P Wessel. He was banned from East Germany for his writings on Marx, “The mythopoetic orgins of Marxism.” among others.

    “And that it works well does not change what it is.”
    I may have missed it, can you clarify what worked well, and what did not?

    Humm?? So is China moving more Fascist, with organizations like Foxconn?

  4. Sera says:

    Here is an interesting quote about China:

    ” Too many people—not just third-world dictators but Western business tycoons—have fallen for the Beijing consensus, the idea that state-directed capitalism and tight political control are the elixir of growth. In fact China has surged forward mainly where the state has stood back. “Capitalism with Chinese characteristics” works because of the capitalism, not the characteristics.

    It’s gratifying to hear The Economist driving home the point I made back in August, when discussing the phenomenon of guo jin min tui (“the state advances, the private sector retreats. ”


  5. David says:


    What is cogent is that as China’s wealth has grown through international markets, the leadership is more strongly shouting the virtues of communism.


  6. Malaga View says:

    politics and economics are often highly intertwined and there is even a specialty of “Political Economy”…

    That was my degree subject… that was when I realised that sections of the History, Politics and Economics being taught should be filed under FICTION… that probably explains why I ended up working with computers… and for many years I laboured under the illusion that the hard sciences had integrity and were free from intellectual corruption… then I started looking at the hard science used by climate scientists and my perspective changed… now there are several sections of Science that I have filed under FICTION.

  7. pyromancer76 says:

    Excellent research for “truths”. Now I understand why Obama chose a Roman Temple — Emperor of the Third Way. Even though his Rev Wright hated garlic noses as the image of Western Civilization, now we know why Obama chose an Italian symbol for Hope and Change to the New Way. Wonder how many other allusions to Mussolini can be found in Obama’s actions?

  8. Espen says:

    I’ve seen the same observation made by a couple of independent thinkers here in Norway (in fact, I think a rather anarchist writer made this observation some 30 years ago) – that social democracy is indeed a close relative of fascism. But it’s important to stress that there are important differences – wrt militarism and – most importantly – democratic values.

    Dividing politics into left and right is for the 1-dimensional brains among us…

  9. @Malaga View

    Unfortunately your are exactly right.

    Several sections of Science should be filed under FICTION.

    Here are a few that I personally know belong there:

    1. The Standard Solar Model of a Hydrogen-filled Sun.

    2. The collapse of interstellar clouds to form stars.

    3. H-fusion as the primary source of solar energy.

    4. CO2-induced global warming.

    I strongly suspect that a fifth tale (below) was promoted by some members of the same unholy alliance* that promoted the fourth (above).

    5. Solar neutrinos from H-fusion oscillate away before reaching our neutrino detectors.

    *Al Gore, world leaders, the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK Royal Society, the International Alliance of National Academies of Science, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee and editors of formerly respected scientific journals like Science, Nature, PNAS, etc.

  10. pascvaks says:

    It’s really strange how human people were, are, and ever will be. Must be genetic. Hummmm… Bet there’s an “environmental” component to it too.

  11. @Malaga View

    And here are a few unpopular experimental facts:

    1. The Sun exploded 5 Gyr ago to produce the Solar System.

    2. Neutron repulsion is the primary source of solar energy.

    3. The most abundant element in the Sun is iron (Fe).

    4. H and He are waste products of the Sun and other stars.

    On one side of this brightly glowing sphere of waste products (photosphere),

    5. Neutrons evolved into atoms of H, He, etc.

    6. Atoms evolved into life on the other side.

    These videos summarize the data:

    1. Origin of Solar System: youtube.com/watch?v=AQZe_Qk-q7M

    2. Composition of Sun: youtube.com/watch?v=yLjQSSHIe6k

    3. Source of Solar Energy: youtube.com/watch?v=sXNyLYSiPO0

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    In the “early days” of both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany there was great praised heaped on both by the majority of the world as “things worked well”.

    Though the History Langoliers (especailly of “the Left”) are busy trying to erase this from their past, “The facts just are. -E.M.Smith”, and you can find historical records of folks such as FDR and Wilson praising Mussolini for how well run and effective his government was.

    He was fetted in Hollywood, and even appears in a movie in person.

    “The Third Way” has a very high “coordinative ability” that avoids the ‘messy bits’ of competition. Why, for example, ought you have GM go into bankruptcy court, shut down operations, have sales cease, end the workforce paychecks for 6 months; THEN try to resusitate it all after 1/2 year on the deathbed? Is it not more “effiicent” to bypass “bankruptcy” and just let the workers keep on working? That it violated existing law and abridged bond holders property rights may make it wrong, but it did not make it inefficient…. So, in fact, the “Market Socialism” dictum of the “soft budget constraints” and avoiding bankruptcy IS a more “efficient” solution. Then again, so is shooting anyone suspected of a crime… That something works well does not make it right.

    There are more places where The Third Way can be praised, and you find folks all over the world doing it (though often careful to HIDE behind a new lable… I was very surprised to see the Democrats openly embracing the Third Way label… maybe they figured they had re-written enough history or most folks with clue where dead? Who knows…) even the Republicans have embraced the “soft budget constraints” and they LOVE the added profits of a coordinating “bureau” that keeps the oligopoly corporations from having new competition…

    So yes, it had / has many “good points”. THE major “bad points” are the non-economic. It pushes a totalitarian life. It abridges personal liberty and property rights. And, IMHO, most important: It inevitably marches to insider dealing, self dealing, corruption, and eventual dictatorial excess. “Power corrupts” and by definition with The Third Way there is concentration of power in the hands of the few doing the “coordinating”. Thus books like “The Road To Serfdom” and “The New Road To Serfdom”. And my statements that “I hate socialism with a passion”. Even the “soft” kinds, as they slowly corrode their way to the hard kinds and then to tyranny…

    China is an interesting point. Yes, China is becomming more fascist (not “Fascist” as you wrote, that means Mussolini in Itally in the 1940s – unless the first word of a sentence when it is ambiguous). The ‘strange bit’ is that it is doing so from the Communist side. (Or the historic “Marxist Socialist” side, though every socialist seems to need to redefine their flavor of the month with a new label, so it’s called “Maoist Socialism” there…)

    So China was wallowing in the cesspool of Full Blown Communist Socialism and as it moves ever more toward markets, improves it’s performance and it’s personal liberties. There is a clue in that… At present, it is in a pretty good match to an early fascist state form. The big question is: Can this work? Can they really migrate out of the hell hole and “swim up stream” through fascism and into liberty and free markets? Or will they stop, hold at fascism, and as that generation dies and the next forgets, begin the inevitable slide back into the oblivion of The Collective?

    Only time will telll…

    At the same time, we’ve (the Royal We, including the British Empire and USA and some others) continued to slide toward fascist economic forms with every passing decade (some faster than others). We’ve got workers councils that sit on boards of directors (in some cases) and we’ve got partitial or full government ownerships of companies. In the case of GM, we had Government at the table making deals, er, pardon, “negotiations” with owners and labor. That is just so exactly out of the Fascist playbook as to be spooky. Yet no one notices, or cares…

    Where it the optimal point? HOW MUCH free market vs HOW MUCH ‘government / private enterprise partnership’ is the right balance to make a “best of the best” Third Way Hybrid? I don’t know, nor does anyone else… but I do know that you need to be very cautious embracing that Dark Side Of Economics. We’ve got a few “existence proofs” that it can easily slide into decay and ruin…

    BTW, I suspect “the powers that be” know this. Have figured out it is the “Nationalist” and “Racist” components that made Fascism and Naziism (and even to some extent Stalinism and Maoism that had some nationalistic and racist components – as a Soviet Jew…) truely horrific. Thus the incessent din of propaganda against those aspects. I suspect they are trying to innoculate against the worst parts of The Third Way to see if without them in the mix “This time will be different”… and that’s what makes me worry the most…

    So we know that “The Mixed Economy” works better than unmanaged markets. We know that pure Marxist Socialism works OK for about 1/2 a generation (but with horrific human rights and liberty abuses) then starts to collapse. We know that any move from there toward markets brings increasing prosperity and freedom (vis modern Russia and China vs their former Salinist and Maoist forms). AND we know that fascism works very well, for a while, economically as it has done so many times. What we don’t know is just how much of it can be followed before you trigger that eventual slow decent into hell that is The Road To Serfdom… But we’re going to find out, because “this time is different”… and we’re headed that way.

  13. [ Moderators Note: This was first posted yesterday to a different thread. I’m moving it here where it is more in appropriate context. Original thread here:

    Well you have thrown in a mixed bag of stuff under the rubric “market socialism” that makes a wide enough umbrella for just about any liberal government action you want to include. Will the GM bailout still be market socialism after the government sells the rest of its shares?Will it remain market socialism if GM stays turned around and continues to be a successful corporation.? You are really stretching the long bow.

    “The real quesion is “At what level of minimal intervention in markets, what “minimal market socialism”, is the greatest good for the greatest number to be found?”. IMHO, it’s a bit to the “more property rights” than at present, but a bit to the “less property rights” than we had under Daddy Bush. (But that level of find detail is lost on most folks as they would never want to admit that Daddy Bush had some socialist mechanisms in his government nor” …

    Aha, here we have a much more nuanced view than you are prone to. Perhaps it is your black and white certainty, and allegations of bat-shit, and declarations that your opinions are facts that make you misunderstood. But also it is clearly evident that you can find socialism everywhere.

    “so I generally leave it out and just say “Socialism is evil” as most folks correctly map that to stages 1-3 of Socialism above).””

    I seriously doubt that most folks do that. The ding bat Obama hating conservatives that inhabit WUWT might, but then, they wouldn’t know 3 stages of socialism if bitten in the ass by them.

    “that Obama is a clear Market Socialist”

    Opinion, not fact, and to my way of thinking, perverse opinion.

    And then I have the problem that you not infrequently introduce non-sequiturs like emminent domaine in the above. Your original property rights issue was with liberalism. Emminent domaine is practised by all sides, maybe more often by Conservatives, so why are you tarring Liberals with that brush?

    Your litany of reasons why you are not a conservative simply shows that you are not in full agreement with current non-moderate Republican ideology. Your normal rhetoric is pure conservatism. It seems that you are unaware of how you come across to others, or at least to non-conservatives.

    The long rambling essay that led to this exchange seemed like a perfect example of a touched nerve leading to a full case of “methinks he protesteth too much”. Some of the above is in the same vein.

    Based on your “non-conservative” issues I think we agree on more than would be expected, but I still find your view on taxes and your confounding of social liberalism with socialism pretty bizarre for someone with your ability to handle complex issues.

    As an aside, I was raised as a Canadian “Progressive Conservative” (they weren’t very progressive), and when I moved to the USA one of the first things I did was to join the “Young Conservatives”, a pretty constructive Republican organization in California. I remained a Republican, sometimes with qualms, until 1988 when I realized Rush Limbaugh was becoming the voice of the party. Republicanism by then had moved way to the right of me and into crazy territory that put the politics of confrontation way ahead of good for the country, and it continues to get worse. Living in Europe for many years showed me how much better social liberalism could be, even if I remain a fiscal conservative, but the American view that most of liberal Europe is socialist is nonsense. There is little to no government guided economy, no government directed or controlled economy except for sensible regulation, and almost no attempt to use taxation to influence individual and corporate behaviour that is so prevalent in the USA. Also citizens retain property rights, to touch one of your hot buttons. And there is much less evidence of poverty, homelessness, unavailability of health care etc than there is in the USA. Even the Italian government wouldn’t have a major deficit problem if tax evasion wasn’t an Italian national sport.
    Interestingly I read an analysis recently that gave Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden 4 of the top 6 or 7 places as the best countries to start a company, and to run a small company with growth prospects. Also Denmark is recognized as the country with the most contented citizenry. Not bad for countries the the American conservatives mischaracterize as socialist.

    You certainly do dig into things, and you always provide me some food for thought, which is enjoyable, but I think we have exhausted this issue. At least we have for me. Let’s get back to old sol.

    Best regards, Murray

  14. Murray Duffin says:

    E. M. – very good exposition. Now research the actual progression to achieve the fascist state. Real corporations did exist. Real corporate leaders saw Mussolini prevail politically and could see where things were going. Real corporations had to find ways to cooperate, and to build something different from all of that rhetoric, but that still satisfied to a degree Mussolini’s ideas. Simultaneously there was no way for Mussolini to nationalize all of the real corporations overnight, or to build his new concept corporation. the result was a protracted process of quasi cooperation, where the corporations tried to protect themselves by usurping state powers from behind the curtain, Mussolini sought cooperation or partnership from the corporations, and the most reactionary fascist believers sought to assume direction of the corporations. You have discovered some writings about “market socialism” (a new term to me and I’m not sure how widely it is accepted). what was growing in Italy was corporate fascism. Mussolini also pursued empire through invasion of North Africa, and he needed the corporations, so he had to subject one set of his ideals to a different set of his ambitions. the practical result was an approach to fascism by the route to the right, through the corporate structure, rather than the route to the left through class struggle, and the Italian communists saw it as a totel betrayal of socialism, and in the end hung Mussolini by his heels. I fear corporate direction of government more than I do any risk of socialism in the USA, and I am a retired corporate executive. Murray
    Cheers, Murray

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @Murray Duffin:

    You again persist in making this about me. “you have thrown”. It’s not me making the definitions. I’m just using them.


    returns 1-10 of 5,640,000 results

    There’s even a (biased) wiki on it:


    and it has been part of “mainstream economics” since at least the 1940s. I learned about it in my economics mandated sections on Socialism and Marxism in the 1970’s as an Econ Major. (The good news is that at last I’m getting some benefit out of those mandated studies of the various forms of Socialism, Communism and Command Economics…)

    Most of the economies of the world run under some form of Market Socialism today, though they frequently try to pretend they do not. Vis China, Russia, the EU (well on its way to a classical fascist state), and large parts of the old British Empire. Frequently labled “labor government” or “Democratic Socialist”.

    That you are unfamiliar with Market Socialism does not make it new, nor does it make it my creation.

    Per GM: It will REMAIN a market socialist act, no matter what is done to the shares in the future. It is right out of the “soft budget constraint avoidance of bankruptcy” page. That process HAS HAPPENED and is now IN THE PAST and the past, as much as “progressives” like to try rewriting it, does not change.

    At some future date GM might become a normal company again, however as something like 1/3 of the shares were issued to “labor” at GM (a gift from Il Duce Obama to Labor Guilds) it will take a long time before “labor” is not running GM in a classical corporatist fascist model.

    So no, I’m not “stretching a long bow”, nor any bow at all. I am accurately reporting what happened using the definitions as crafted by others with Ph.Ds in the field in published peer reviewed literature and widely accepted as consensus around the world. Of course, that means you are completely free to be skeptical. Just don’t attribute to me as personal acts that which is the standard in the field and defined by others.

    And as to what level of “nuance” I am “prone to”, I think you will find that most folks (at least per the complaint level) find that I have far too much time spent exploring the detailed “nuance” of things. IMHO, my level of “nuance” is just fine, and is proportional to the level needed to demonstrate a point. No more, no less.

    And no, “Facts just are”. All I do is demonstrate them. That some folks are slow on the uptake is not a reflection on me, nor does it make those facts my opinion. Misunderstandings are in the mind of the misunderstander. So where there is a clear history of “Market Socialism” and I point it out, it is not up to me to type the term into a search engine and go do some reading and it’s not up to me to correct the ‘misunderstanding’ of the person who doesn’t do that but instead asserts I’m making a new term of art and stuffing into it all sorts of things that don’t belong. You own what you think, not me.

    And I asserted that this focus on things drove some folks “batshit” (not that they or what they thought were batshit, so it’s not an “allegation”) and your responses (along with some still in the moderation queue from another) are clear attestation to that fact. It drives folks on “the left” batshit to find out (or have it forced in front of their eyes) that their most common behaviours in the economic field come directly out of fascist doctrine and socialist doctrine. And it’s not about me as I can’t change what they think, how they react, nor the facts of history. I’m just the messenger here.

    And yes, you can find socialism everywhere as there are darned near NO free market capitalist economies left on the planet. The last major “Mixed Economy” was the USA and we’ve now moved clearly into the “Market Socialism” camp under Clinton, Baby Bush, and Obama. See the above glorification of “The Third Way” by Clinton.

    I’ll let the rest of your rant about the kind of persons who “inhabit WUWT” stand for all to see. They can judge for themselves. I was going to ‘snip’ it as a “class insult”, but I think it has “educational value” as to your biases.

    Per Obama as Socialist: I suppose to some extent that IS my “opinion” as I’ve had to measure his actions against the attributes of “socialism”. Then again, that would mean that my computer has “opinions” and that any pattern matching process has “opinions”. But it’s a pretty easy “opinion” to support.

    1) Labor Unions as key to Social justice. Check.
    2) Soft Budget no-bankruptcy. Check.
    3) “Higher Social Good” outweights law and precident. Check. (More a communist “virtue”, but hey, it’s socialiist too.) And if you think they didn’t sidestep bankruptcy law with the GM takeunder, well, ask the bond holders about their quality of life in retirement…
    4) Govenment / Labor partnership in managing business relationships. Check.
    5) Government direction of industry seen as good. Check.

    It’s a long list, so I think I’ll stop there…

    Please note: I don’t care if Obama is, or is not, inside the definition of Market Socialist. I just care that I get it right as it has predictive value when right and fails to predict when wrong. I can make money of either side of the coin, but I must know which side is really “up”. He could be a Flaming Communist or a Nutty Laissez Faire Libertine and I would not care. He’s elected. He will do what he does. We will live with it. And he’s no worse than Baby Bush on most things.

    Also, as noted many times above: SOME form of market socialism is most likey THE highest “performance point” for economies. My only concern about them, really, is that once you PASS that point performance drops off and you start down that long Road To Serfdom. Appearances are that we’ve done just that or are ‘on the cusp’, so I’d like us to take just a tiny step back to the “Mixed Economy” and with a bit less “Socialist Capitalism”. But none of what I want changes what the economy is and what it will do.

    Per “eminent domain” and “my issue with liberalism”: Again, you are making the error of personalizing this and having some kind of “me issue”. It’s NOT about ME. Until you internalize that you will continue to run off the rails on where my comments come from. If you take the “me” out of those statements you will find the simple example of: “Why it’s GOOD for governments to abridge property rights from time to time.” It is ESSENTIAL to abridge property rights. BUT it ought only be done to the minimum degree. I’ve no “issue” with “liberalism” (I’m presuming you mean the American ASoLiberal and not the ClassiLiberal of Europe) indulging in SOME abridgment of property rights as that is ESSENTIAL to all governance.

    So I was not “tarring liberals with that brush” but showing that it is an essential for ALL SIDES.

    That was the whole point of the example.

    Where Socialisms of all sorts “run off the rails” is that they stretch that abridgement too far. In the case of GM, they stole the wealth (and income and livelihood) of the bondholders and gave it to the union. That’s just a fact. The evaluation of merit of that fact is a separate thing. Was it GOOD? is a political question. ASoLiberals will say “yes” while ClassiLiberals will say “no”. AND I HAVE BEEN SILENT ON THAT QUESTION

    (You can make a case either way, and like most things of this sort the answer is likely mixed. Many bond holders were old retired folks of small means looking for a secure retirment income. They were damaged so “no” not good. Large chunks of bonds were bought up by “greedy leveraged buyout artists” and I don’t give a fig about them getting screwed by Obama so “yes” it was good to stick THEM with the pension costs of the Union and not dump it onto the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp and through it onto the rest of us. Net? I have no clue it net it is a ‘social good’ or ‘social ill’. Thus my silence on it. BUT the fact remains that bond holders were screwed and the unions got the benefit. That’s just a fact. There was a predefined process for balancing those needs, that’s bankruptcy court. The whole structure exists solely to deal with this balance. The Obama administration bypassed it all with The Deal. That, too, is just a fact. The evaluation of that fact is still unknown. It could be that the ‘soft budget constraint no-bankruptcy’ approach works wonderfully and becomes the model for the future. It could be that it causes FORD to fail as it now has an unfairly “free of debt competitor with government backing” and things get much worse. Time will tell. But that they bypassed established rule of law is, in my OPINION, very bad policy. That I have taken a position upon.)

    Per “how I come across”: Don’t care, not my problem.

    Think that’s harsh?

    Here’s why: I can only be who, and what I am. They can only be who, and what, they are. I will be as clear as I can be, and fretting over any failure beyond that is a waste of time and emotional energy. It’s a dead end.

    Then they will “do what they do” (which is completely out of my control or influence). It can be (and often is) highly nutty. I’m sure folks can find examples… Oddly, I’m often faced with “nutty” responses both claiming that I’m too far in each of opposing directions (and they come at the same time). So I’m accused of being both too prolix and too lacking in nuance. Not covering important points “forgetting” things, and going on at far too much length. Being told my “rhetoric is pure conservatism” and that I’m not a good conservative. And the interesting bit? It’s not my problem.

    You, and only you, own what you think and feel. It doesn’t come from me. You may chose to think me evil, or kind, brilliant, or a flaming idiot; and all from the same exposure to the same “input”. I know this as I’ve seen it happen in opposing directions from the same input. Things that have opposing results from the same input are not causally driven. Period. Full stop. Look inside yourself to see why you feel what you feel and think what you think. Everything else is a distraction from that point of wisdom.

    So no, Murray, I don’t care at all what you evaluate my “rhetoric” to be nor if you find my “reasons why I’m not a conservative” to just be “not in full agreement”. I look inside myself for those answers. I look at “conservatives” and find I’m outside my comfort zone with that label. And on major key points, too. So I’m just me. Not a “conservative” and not an “ASoLiberal”. I’m more of a “Social issues progressive – Economic issues Libertarian” “middle of the bird”. And no, you don’t get any say in the matter and I don’t care about that.

    Then you go back to asserting I have emotional drivers to a detail listing of technical points. OK, you seem to have a high “emotional index” and apply that to others. Here’s a clue:

    Aspes are often called ’emotionless’ or ‘mechanical’ because we ARE often that way. I don’t quite fully understand how much different, but it’s clearly there. Neurotypicals are always bouncing off all the walls with emotional baggage, from my point of view. Gets really tiring. So realize that all the emotion you read into things is going to be about 99% you and not about me because most of the time I’m feeling nothing about the topic. Now I’m “High Function” and that means I do have a fair degree of emotional capability. But the number of times I’ve been told I was being “emotionally dead” on an issue or reacting “like a dead fish” is fairly high. I’ve been known to look at a gash in my arm and start exploring the inside of it ‘as it was interesting’…

    Now take just a minute to re-read that. Twice.

    If I type “He was a murderous buffoon” that does not mean I have any feeling at all about the word “murderous” or that I find humor in the word “buffoon”. It means I’ve got a pattern match of the definition of “murder” to his actions and of the word “buffoon” to his appearance or the evaluation of others of his social skills.

    Neurotypicals, and especially the highly emotive ones that seem to predominate on “the left”, always project emotional baggage onto that kind of statement. That baggage does not come from me and their response shows they don’t “get it” that “It’s not about me”. It’s all about you, and what you bring to it.

    So when I say “Mussolini was a murderous buffoon”, I have no baggage in that statement, only a checklist.

    Sidebar: A couple of times I’ve said I didn’t read the phone book as a kid, instead I read the dictionary and the encyclopedea. That isn’t quite complete… I DID read the white pages and most of the yellow pages, but didn’t read the other bits. They were too messy… Now the town only had 3028 people in it, so the listings were about 800 lines or about 16 pages for the white pages. So it wan’t that much time… and there were very interesting patterns to the names and numbers… you could see where the original assignment had been to older families, and newer families had higher numbers. Essentially, you could date familes by their number (with a minor adjustment for wealth, as poor folks got phones later).

    Now Murray, you will call that a “non-sequitor”. To me, it is illustrating the kind of person I am, and that there is little emotional reason to read the white pages, yet “it’s what I do”…. A valuable illustration of what sets an Aspe apart from you, and other neurotypicals. We don’t care about emotional “hits”, so it’s “fun” to read the white pages as you “see interesting things”….

    Over the years I’ve grown “more normal” and I’m no longer able to read the white pages. (Besides, now they fill a giant volume). I’ve also learned more “emotional range”, though if I don’t try, if I’m just in “focus land”, emotions shut down and go away. Probably part of why I like doing such “thought trains”… So it’s not like, now, I’m a Vulcan. (Besides, they had deep emotions, but suppressed them, this is different… it’s more like the volume knob is so low you can sort of follow the plot, but the background music is a blur… and if I concentrate I can turn the knob up…)

    And that, Sirrah, is why I keep stressing: it’s not about me; because in some significant ways “I don’t exist” as you do. And projecting your expectations that I am, onto what I type, will fail.

    So it’s not “protesteth too much” so much as it is: If you raised a point that is not accurate, I provide more information until sufficient is provided for it to be clarified.

    AND I will continue that “escallation of data” until it is clear. All without an emotional driver. The cycle is:

    Edit to brief-enough but covered. Person complains. Add data. More complaint. Add more data. Repeat until clear. (Or until the time cost is too high and I’ve got other things more important to do).

    When someone is “slow on the uptake” that can result in a lot of added text…

    As per your littanly of places with Market Socialist governments that have good social safetynets (yet you assert are not socialist):

    That fascist and or Market Socialist methods WORK WELL does not change what they are.

    You have emotional baggage on the terms that is clouding your ability to see clearly. That’s not my problem.

    On your second note:

    That Mussolini had bumps in the road, and that not all of the folks he was shoving into his paradigm went willingly into that long dark night, also does not change what fasism was, where it came from, nor the class to which it belongs.

    Furthermore, you seem surprised that socialism, even a ‘socialism light’ of a Market Socialism can lead down “The Road To Serfdom”. It’s not at all a surprise. That’s where pretty much all of them have eventually ended up. The more virulent in 4 years (Nazi), some longer (Soviets about 30 years?), and other even longer. The EU had been an exception with places like France and Sweden as shining examples of success without falling into the abyss, but the present EU government form is well on the path to usurpation of liberty and centralized power, so, well, I’d have to count the EU as now being a “very long term path” example of about 50 years duration. So Mussolini went from Hero Of The Left in 1920 to Evil Tyrant in 1940. 20 Years is not so bad for The Road To Serfdom…

    But don’t ever confound the end point with the starting point of Socialism. Time’s Arrow is very important…

    It was, and is, the very first and very successful example of what is now called “Market Socialism” and both founded the term and defined the properties of “The Third Way”. And those are just facts.

    (Fascist Italy was widely lauded for their successes right up until they threw in with Hitler some decades later. Lots of folks forget that Mussolini was around long before Hitler. They even had a load of Jews in positions of authority, until Hitler took over. Were it not for that “left turn” into a Nazi pact, we’d likely have them around today. FDR praised them, and even wanted to model some things on them. More on that in another posting later… It was only later that we’ve revised that part of history to be in line with the “evil fascists” doctrine of “Hitler Bad and Right Wing”. In fact, Mussolini was seen as good and a bringer of the new Third Way to Social Justice by the “American Left” and they loved him for it. Until that whole Nazi thing made him “so last war”… He was on the cover of Time in 1920 too and invited over for a cameo in a Hollywood film so the stars could hang with him…)

  16. pyromancer76 says:

    I am grateful for the commitment to “just the facts”; “facts just are”. Once we have research and agreement on the facts, we can have a valid discussion, one with focus and detail, and from there identify the unknowns (except for the unknown unknowns). To be able to research and evaluate in depth beginning with “the facts” — you say that you as an “aspe” have a built in inclination to research (or find a fit) in this way — is also about your commitment to follow the truth of those facts. I read Murray Duffin as engaging in something like post-normal science re economics and the history of fascism, obfuscating “facts” all the way.

    I am not adding this comment to the current top thread on purpose. In this special area, I think you don’t know yourself very well — to be able to be “emotionally cold” to emotional distraction from “truths” is a real skill and (IMHO) a commitment to life and truth that is rare. “It’s not about me; because in some significant ways “I don’t exist” as you do. And projecting your expectations that I am, onto what I type, will fail.” My suggestion to you is that you “exist” (my emotional meanings, I guess) far more than he; I worked with many, too many, Murrays for so many painful years. I will take the hard, cold truth any day. Pllease, continue with those “check lists”.

    To me this is about you. Because of your experience and commitment, you don’t suffer fools gladly, nor do you spend much time with them — the topic is the focus. Thanks for “chiefio”.

  17. doyle says:

    Don’t be too hard on Mr Duffin; I read the comments on this topic with growing dread that you were talking unintentionally about me and the way I deal with some folks I disagree with. In reality of course that isn’t possible, but I certainly identified, and was duly chastised.
    To be truly cold with the facts should be the goal of those who seek the truth. I all too frequently burn with the passion of opinion, which most definitely is not a good place to be regardless of one’s position on a topic. I’m 42 and finally learning this about myself; many might go through life never even considering the possibility.

  18. E.M.Smith says:


    I think there is also a tendency for “peer pressure” as distinct from “politics” and “confirmation bias” too. (Though in some ways politics can be seen as “applied artificial peer presure and authority pressure” where “power” is what I think you used to mean ‘authority pressure’…)

    For folks in, for example, an Earth Sciences major to NOT find AGW at this point would result in a great deal of dread of peer pressure.

    Per the rest: I think you’ve got it!

    Per Buddhism: I think there is some awareness of the “acceptance” of the “empty vessle” state in Buddhism that is a comfort… the idea that it’s not “broken” but is a feature ;-)

    BTW, I know it seems like an oxymoron, but perhaps not when expanded a bit… I can have intense empathy, but can also shut it off entirely. Go dead cold.

    I can easily ‘shut it off’ with mean / adult people. I have great difficulty shutting it off with young children and animals. Part of that, I think, is the inherent purity of emotive communications in them. Aspes often don’t “pick up emotional or social cues” well. IMHO, this is because so many adults are so good at hiding and confounding them. Basically, they lie.

    If you look at the “baby scene” in the video clips here (where this probably really belongs):


    they pick up on that theme of baby pure visual cues; and the ‘low response’ person responding to them.

    So from adults we get this strong and very clear message that says:

    “I love you / I hate you; you nice person / who’s an idiot and I wish was gone from the room.”

    That causes confusion and, in the limit case, IMHO, causes low function Aspes to “turn away” from that empathetic / social connection. How can you “get it” when the whole message is a lie?

    So you get tired of the “nice looking girl who smiles a warm welcoming smile and says a sweet hello” then rejects you when you say “would you like to be my girl friend?” and it’s seen as a social awkwardness on your part by everyone else… Why? IMHO because you had a Very Strong “Come Hither” reading from a very good ‘pattern matcher’ but didn’t realize there was a “lying game” in the way. And you get tired of the lies. (Even if “the polite lie” is central to “polite society”) At that point many Aspes withdraw. (Again, my poorly supported hypothesis…)

    With animals, there is no such lying game, no “social niceties” in the way. You can just let that pattern matcher run and read full on 100% and trust it; and it becomes intense enough you can FEEL what they feel. For example, with my bunnies, there is a very slight change of ‘tension’ in the eyelid that says “I’m fearful” vs “I’m comfortable”. Once you recognize it, you look at a bunny and can SEE the tension, then the relax and acceptance. And I FEEL that acceptance and the tension drops in me too. You can ‘let go’ and let the sync / match happen and trust it.

    I call it a “people reader”. ( A term I picked up from somewhere else when I was kid). Every twitch, eyelid position, curl of mouth, tilt of head, breath, skin moisture, ALL of it is observed along with tone of voice and the actual words said. It’s a marvelous gift.

    Once you know how to use it.

    But I strongly remember as a kid having “burned fingers” many times as I ran headlong into “The Lie”. As the lips and words said “That’s OK” and the eyes and the posture and the nose flair said “You little bastard”… and I said “Is it really OK, or am I a little bastard?” and things would blow up. You go through a couple of those and you either decide to:

    1) Never Trust The Gift and withdraw. Feel broken.
    2) Trust The Gift, and distrust all people as they lie.
    3) Spend a very long time tuning The Gift, learning how to use it, and when, but in the process becoming a bit emotionally damaged from the trauma people inflict on you with their lies, deception, and the vapid nature of their character.

    Some folks take one path, some the other. A few will start with one, and end with another. IMHO, “low function” Aspes took paths 1 or 2 and stayed there. No, no real evidence, just speculation.

    I tended to wobble about between them for a while. At about 6 or 7 years old I went through #2 for a while, came back to #1 after some “burns”, eventually settled on #3 about High School.

    FWIW, I think the “lower volume” of a Neurotypical “people reader” lets them learn how to play the social game / use the lie; and not be damaged by it. Politically adept folks learn to use the lie and not get caught too much. Non-politic folks don’t see the lies enough to be bothered. So for them, I think there is the more common #4 option:

    4) Slowly learn to read folks a little bit, maybe even enough to exploit the lie (as either maker or reader of it) but never have so much conflict shoved on them from it that they feel emotionally traumatized by it and withdraw.

    So one thing I simply do not know about myself:

    Was I always a “cold fish”, or is it a “learned thing” from wandering over #1-3 above? Did I learn at some “way early age” that Buddhist way of “be the empty vessel” and pains end; and internalize it without realizing it? Perhaps…

    But animals never lie…

    BTW, many Aspes are helped with animal therapy… just a thought…

    FWIW, after many years, I’ve gotten “pretty good” at the political and social lies that are the fabric of “human society”. I can “pass”, and at fairly high corporate levels too. ( I set it as a goal for myself once, long ago…) I’ve even learned the trick of switching the people reader on and off at will and to some extent, how to “not care” about other people. (An essential part of social order). So I can see someone and know they are coping badly with their death, just around the corner, and know they are preoccupied with their illness and feel terrible; flip the switch and mute the volume and just feel very little while smiling and saying “My, but you look nice today! How was lunch?” and NOT feeling the conflict of the lie they give in return of “Oh, I’m just great today!”…

    If you can get a copy of the show “Dexter” you can see what is to some extent a similar process. Dexter is a serial killer (but a good one! he only kills folks who deserve it!!). The show spends a long time dwelling on the ’empty emotional state’ of the main character, the serial killer. He is “highly functional” and he “can pass”, yet all the time he knows he is different. As the series unfolds, he slowly learns how to feel normal, how to empathize. Per the plot line his damaged emotional state came from watching his mother be murdered when he was an infant.

    OK, what does that have to do with Aspes and with me? Aspes typically have low tendencies to violence and are more withdrawn than predatory. More often the victim than the attacker. Placid more than active. Not at all the same.

    I think it is a common root of the theme of trauma, but that the nature of it is different. One is catastrophic, the other is just an ongoing “boot to the head”… so leads more to withdrawl to avoid repeats. But I think there is some truth to the notion that it also leads to an internal dampening; and from that a distrust of ‘reading’ others. IMHO, the “high function” folks are the ones who learn how to get past that. How to revist and tame that beast.

    Then you can ‘turn it off’ and do the “polite social lie” thing (even if sometimes it’s through gritted teeth or takes studied effort) and sometimes you can “turn it on” and feel every single whisker twitch and tongue flick of a bunny… and the joy of a sage twig of fresh leaves…

    OK, the final point: None of the “people reader stuff” is in the way when at a keyboard. It’s all just gone. There are only the words, as typed.

    IMHO, this causes great grief for Neurotypicals as they are ‘hobbled’ by the lack of all those social cues they are used to reading and using, perhaps subconciously. For Aspes, it means the “gain” is turned way down low on that “conflicted people reader”… They are on level ground.

    So the N.T. gets an emotional load out of a bunch of text and runs off to some tangent based on a belief in some emotive content that isnt’ there in the words, that they put into them (we’ve all had the experience of reading something like “I ate sushi” and having one person read “I ate sushi” while another read “I ate sushi!” and another “I ate sushi (and wanted to feel sick)”… So different implied emotions.) While the Aspe is more likely to just read the words and take them at zero grade… not trusting their emotional meter so not using it to fill in the missing intonation.

    I suspect this is part of why so many computer geeks are Aspes of one type or another, and why ‘typing therapy” helps… Also why emoticons were invented ;-)

    OK, back on me:

    I’m “on the cusp”. Just a bit over the line. Aspergers is a “spectrum disorder” so you range from way extreme have it, to just barely, to not quite, to way far away. Many folks ‘on the cusp’ don’t even know it and might even fail a traditional diagnostic test. I was never diagnosed nor detected (and being a 50 something, they didn’t even look for it when I was a kid). However, the spouse is a specialist in all sorts of Special Ed ( I’ve lost track of her total of credentials and certificates, but it’s just about all of them…) and she works extensively with Aspes and gets to decide who needs what. In her opinion (given without any notice from me that I had already self-diagnosed) I’m “on the spectrum” but just barely.

    It’s not “formal” but it is professional diagnosis.

    It is also quite probable that my descriptions above only hold for “on the cusp” folks and that more severe bits of the spectrum have orthogonal results. Basically, it may be that the “people reader” just completely breaks or is absent in full blown Aspes and I’m just blowing speculative smoke about how it impacts them.

    It may be like Epilepsy, where the trait that gives it, when in low levels, causes irritation at flashing lights, but also makes for really good airline pilots. (It is detected with 3 CPS lights and that irritation response) but in high levels, causes catastrophic seisures (the flicker results in something quite different from irritation, just after the irritation…). So I may be very accurate in my assesment of someone on the “High Function” end, and way off on what happens at the other end.

    So now you know all that I know…

  19. David says:

    Thanks for a fascinating series of posts dealing with social structure theories and historic application, and there definitions, verses the historical context of efforts to hide or diffuse said definitions. At the same time you have highlighted how emotion and attachment to one’s views leads to a lack of clarity. Perhaps your emotional detachment is part of your attraction to Buddhism?

    Einstein stated ” I do not WANT to be right, I just want to know IF I am right.” Through honest introspection I have to admit to my ego, and can at best hope to state, “My desire to know the truth exceeds my desire to be right.”

    Pyromancer’s equation to “Post Normal Science” here is right on. My finale comment to Tallbloke on Post Normal Science directly incorporated on a larger social scale your observations of emotion, confusing objective views. I am posting a portion of that response as I think it cogent to how basic human tendencies can not be ignored or legislated away.

    “Tallbloke, I appreciate the opportunity to further correspond on this issue. Perhaps many PHD papers will be written in the future concerning the entire CAGW movement and how it developed and prospered. I certainly hope that I never indicated that it was s simple matter of rounding up and ‘dealing with’ a small number of ‘ringleaders’.

    I will attempt here to spontaneously develop a short summary of the numerous causes. Being a blog comment, please to not consider it robust or complete, but explorative.

    1. Group Think. The tendency to conformity, and “confirmation bias” is certainly a factor in all human endeavors. There are many studies on this phenomena in general that can be applied to CAGW in particular.

    2. Power, and Money. There cannot be any that doubt the potential corruption of any human endeavor as these factors become active players in a process.

    3. Politics. Policy, activated through the political process requires power and money, but I list it separately here to explore how political ideology can cause one to form an initial reaction (pre-judge) to a circumstance or idea. In summary, a conservative has a tendency to see any central government control of resources with great caution, where as a progressive democrat” a socialist or communist sees government as THE solution.

    My initial thought is that the concept of group think and confirmation bias will be the least controversial here as it is recognized and in general not denied. Once a theory gains some acceptance within a circle, then confirmation bias certainly becomes a factor within the social group holding an idea. Few people can honestly state that they do not want to be correct, they just want to know the objective truth. The desire to be right is always present to some degree. The ideals of the scientific method are, in my view, the best antidote to this understandable human condition. However a person can state, “my desire for truth exceeds my desire to be right“, and through rigorous application of the scientific method avoid many of these pitfalls.

    However, when power, money and politics enter the process, then confirmation bias and group think become far more potent factors. And here we see that the processes above (group think, confirmation bias, politics, power and money) do not exist in a vacuum, but work together in a symbiotic fashion against the objective unbiased truth, which the very structure of the scientific method is designed to illuminate.

    And this brings me to the message critical of Post Normal Science which I and others are trying to convey. First let me start with the words, Post Normal Science, which I consider to be a misnomer, as it attempts to cloak the complex social decisions of policy with the certainty of respect that true science generates in its reproducible applications of technology and the mathematical certitude that guides pure science. As soon as scientific theory moves to policy, then the science is subjected to the most potent forces that act against the very ideals of the scientific method, confirmation bias, group think, power, politics and money.

    The first thing PNS does is to move a scientific theory to the policy stage via central planning, thus instantly subjecting the science to far greater measures of the potentially corrupting influences of group think, confirmation bias, politics, power and money, all of which can work against the objective truths science can reveal. This is why I say that the first objective of policy makers, those with integrity to objective truth, should be to protect the science from these influences, before implementing policy….”

    BTW E.M., I may have missed it, are you formally diagnosed with some degree of asperger? Yet also you have stated that you are cognizant of a high degree of compassion.

  20. Pingback: Volcanoes next | LOVE FREEDOM TRUTH

  21. PhilJourdan says:

    Murray Duffin –

    As an aside, I was raised as a Canadian “Progressive Conservative” (they weren’t very progressive), and when I moved to the USA one of the first things I did was to join the “Young Conservatives”, a pretty constructive Republican organization in California. I remained a Republican, sometimes with qualms, until 1988 when I realized Rush Limbaugh was becoming the voice of the party.

    You lie poorly (or are simply delusional). Rush started in 88, and was not a major factor until the 92 election, and then you see how much (Bush still lost). I doubt you were ever a “young conservative” if you doubt that Obama has socialistic policies or are arguing with the nomenclature of “market socialist”.

    I guess given the facts, the rest of your speculation of people can be taken in the same light – i.e. worthless.

  22. Jerry says:

    @E. M. Smith

    ‘Mussolini ”… He was on the cover of Time in 1920 too and invited over for a cameo in a Hollywood film so the stars could hang with him…)’

    So which stars did they hang with him? and did they shoot them first? I could learn to like this practice – hope it is still in vogue when Hugo Chavez goes down.

    Sorry, could not resist that hanging curve ball I will be out in the back yard talking to the neighbor kid. :)

  23. pouncer says:

    I offer a couple of links for your pleasure


    Climatologist Judy Curry refers to an article comparing single minded prognosticators (hedgehogs) to generalists who hesitate to predict (foxes) http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/15/foxes-hedgehogs-and-prediction/

    The hedgehog apparently knows “one big idea” and runs with it, too far.

    Now, bearing that in mind, the economic comments of political economic Fox Jim Manzi


    “Any sustainably great collective — IBM, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the U.S. Marine Corps, the University of Cambridge , or the United States of America — appeals to the rational self-interest of its members, but also creates a sense of irrational identification with the enterprise. Individuals within each will, to some extent and in some circumstances, sacrifice narrowly-construed perceived self-interest for the good of the whole. This kind of motivation is far more central to the lives of most real people than it is to most economic theories.”

    It appears to me that Mussolini’s hedgehog-ish belief in how individuals subsume their own interests, in the interests of “the state” has some small basis in fact. People do want to be part of something larger than themselves alone. (Perhaps NTs, as you put it, have more of this desire than most “Aspies”) Mussonlini’s mistakes appear to me to be (1) going way too far and (2) assuming all “joiners” want to join the same group.

    I’m largely in favor of VOLUNTARY societies. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. The United Commercial Travelers. The Union of Concerned Scientists, even, (though I’d shoot any of that ilk who came to my door… ) It’s the forces imposition of membership that seems to me most dangerous. Even in school, where attendence at the “pep rally” for the football team is required. WRONG LESSON.

    But that’s a whole nother hobby horse.

  24. E.M.Smith says:


    No way, I’m escorting you to the punch bowl!

    A howler like that lights up a good party!!

    (Though reminds me, I ought to make another run to the store… some guys in green coats cleaned me out yesterday…)


    Ooohh.. nice stuff too…

    Yes, N.T.s are much more social. ONE of the markers for Aspes is lower (to zero…) need to “belong”. The “bright kid that gets picked on for not fitting in” and who is happy to be alone and doesn’t “need to belong” has very high odds of being an Aspe or related. There are other markers, too… maybe I’ll do a “Know your Aspe” posting ;-)

    Oddly, that “generalists predict better” meme is used by Asimov too… and it’s right. ;-)

  25. Level_Head says:

    John F Kennedy was a guest of Mussolini in the 1930s, and wrote about how impressed he was with Fascism. The big draw for him was that the country could prepare for war, despite the public not being inclined to do so. Kennedy was at the time very unhappy about Britain’s difficulties arming themselves for the war with the Nazis that Kennedy thought was inevitable.

    His thesis paper, “Appeasement in Munich,” treats this subject at length.

    Later, JFK grew less enamored with Fascism.

    I see that Wikipedia just describes the trip as “Europe.”

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  26. David says:

    Thank you Chiefo;

    I very much appreciate your response. As to the education on “the third way” I appreciate it. I find political thought relatively uncreative as people fall into set camps. I , of course, do not agree with all that you say , but the areas where we disagree are areas where my views are less educated then my stronger views on other political aspects, and therefore less firm. For instance I am often confused on the role of the US and other nations in foreign affairs. What are our obligations to prevent a Rwanda from happening? What is the proper role in the middle east and what is our obligation to Israel. Without US involvement in this area would war break out as Israel tried to defend itself from those who wish to wipe it off the planet? Would Israel deploy nuclear weapons in its defense? Has the US military been a “not so subtle” power which prevented more wars then it participated in?

    I think that there are actions outside the box never considered, yet the main point here is I could discuss all of this with you and never feel discord, even in disagreement. When I read Murray Duffin’s posts several things happen. First I find such writing harder to understand as his own emotions come through, and I find that I must then first discount those emotive statements, while forcing myself to objectively view his expressions which are actually cogent to the subject. This is not easy as insults, subtle or direct, invoke my own emotions which I am also required to control if I am to understand the ideas being conveyed.

    When I read someone’s words on a subject that is not really difficult to understand, (and this post was such a subject) and I find myself struggling to understand a contrary view full of conflicted statements and weakly supported conclusions based on a false conclusive logic that is not warranted, my brain begins to object. At first I question my own capacity to understand. Then I force my self to logically critique the errors my brain cells are objecting to. I do not enjoy these efforts, and as I see little chance in actually influencing such a person, I rarely consider the effort worth it. (How many times have you read a blog debate where someone said, “Oh wow, I did not think of it like that, my view is probably changed“) I find Jeremy Ravits writing, as an example, extremely challenging as I am required wade through way to many words to make a simple point which I usually, after I finally figure out what he could have said in much simpler terms, find illogical in the end. I much prefer writings that bullet points assertions, and THEN breaks them down in detail. It is nice to know the objective one is approaching to understand the veracity of the route taken. Emotion clouds the person writing as well as the reader attempting to understand. I am not Aspe. and so this is more challenging for me.

    Your details and observations on asps. are interesting. Coincidentally my wife has worked in special education for thirty five years. I am certain if they ever got together they would have many tales to share. Her daughter, my stepdaughter, is getting her PHD in international education with emphasis on special-ed at Oxford. (Do not get me going on the limitations on ideas in the ivory tower of our elitie education systems) When she worked in the school system here in San Diego the teachers had a T shirt made up with a picture and the words “ I ride the small bus” on it. Sometime they have come to the conclusion that folks like you are just fine, you just come from a different planet and have incarnated here. (-; Your points about how dogs aid Aspes are very cool and I think I will end this post with a link or two you and anyone else can enjoy.

  27. Graeme Rodaughan says:

    “At this point we are seeing it be born. The individual is only of worth as part of the collectivist State.”

    And if you are outside of the state – you have no value and can be done away with without loss.

  28. BlueIce2HotSea says:


    Thanks for bringing some clarity to the topic of fascism. Clarity is difficult because since Stalin won the war, he got to write the history. That is why we have a Marxists.org, but not a Nazis.org.

    Marxists like to claim that a major cause of WWII was the rise of nationalism, but what they mean is that the major cause of war is resistance to extermination. After all, the goal of communism was to bring all countries under control, preferrably by fomenting revolution and/or civil war.

    If Trotsky had prevailed instead of Lenin, Japan might have been the lone Axis power. Trotsky was soft on fascism – calling it “Patriotic Socialism” – and he argued that trade unions to ought be used for solving the problems of production and for the management of industry – and not as Schools of Communism or as a tool to control workers.

    The main fault-line between Soviets and the socialist fascists was over the administration of economies: competitive capitalism vs. central-planning. But the Nazis get the last laugh. Not only are modern socialists adopting Nazi Germany’s economic model, they are adopting the green spiritual values as well. (Nazi spiritual values? anti-smoking, animal rights, vegetarianism, organic farming, environmentalism, alternative energy, etc.) Greens are unaware of their Nazi heritage and so with foot firmly on the accelerator we are driven down the dead-end alley way at 100 mph, at night, with the head-lights off.

  29. David says:

    Regarding my poorly worded comment here, on 19 March 2011 at 11:52 am David
    …”When I read someone’s words on a subject that is not really difficult to understand, (and this post was such a subject) and I find myself struggling to understand a contrary view full of conflicted statements and weakly supported conclusions based on a false conclusive logic that is not warranted, my brain begins to object.

    Meant to say, “When I read someone’s words on a subject that is not really difficult to understand, (and this “Facist Doctrine” post was such a subject) and I find myself struggling to understand a comment about such a straightforward post which expresses a contrary view full of conflicted statements and weakly supported conclusions based on a false conclusive logic that is not warranted, intermingled with non cogent personal remarks, my brain begins to object.”

    That is better. Also EM I never “expect” you to respond to every post, and of all the blogs I have read you do respond FAR more then any other.

  30. H.R says:

    David wrote:

    “That is better. Also EM I never “expect” you to respond to every post, and of all the blogs I have read you do respond FAR more then any other.”

    Yup. Same here.

  31. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting point on Trotsky… I’ll have to hunt up some referenced quotes from him as “evidence”…

    I’ve been pondering doing an article on the “other values” of the Nazi movement, but not gotten around to it. Maybe a few months from now… It is facinating, though, to see their “system” being implimented all over the place… FWIW, the “Gun Control Law” that was proposed at the national level some years back was substantially that of Nazi Germany. Saw the two compared side by side once. Looked like they picked up the Nazi one and just ‘tidied up’ a few spots…


    I answered the “diagnosis” question on the original thread. (Short form: Only by spouse who works in the field).

    @David & H.R.:

    Well, I respond because I like to ;-)

    Besides, a one sided conversation is kind of dull…

    Then there is that “completion need” thing… I just need to ‘check in’ on any active thread and see if it’s not “completed” yet… 8-)

  32. BlueIce2HotSea says:


    About 10 years ago, in a two year span, I read about 15,000 pages on socialism, mostly from socialist sources, which has been supplemented over the last eight years with related materials of around 50,000 pages from non-socialist sources in History, Economics and Philosophy. As a result, I have a reservoir of startling reductionist opinions on Marxist/Nazi values and references I would be happy to share with you.

    One quote tough to provide a citation for: “The definition of fascism: Patriotic Socialism – Leon Trotsky”. (It may be cached on one of my retired computers). The Trotsky quote was in one of his 1920’s photocopied pamphlets that I read on Marxists.org (2001?). It disappeared shortly after I read it. Trotsky was anomalously soft on fascism so I still wonder if it was really authored by him. On the other hand, it explains why Trotsky’s later ideas on how to fight German Fascism were so vehemently rejected by the head of the German Communist Party who called Trotsky “a completely ruined fascist and counter revolutionary”.

    You get an idea of a fundamental difference between Lenin, Trotsky and future fascists from this quote by Lenin:

    “This is a glaring theoretical error. I said again in my speech that politics is a concentrated expression of economics, because I had earlier heard my “political” approach rebuked in a manner which is inconsistent and inadmissible for a Marxist. Politics must take precedence over economics. To argue otherwise is to forget the ABC of Marxism.” (my bold)

    Lenin seems to be a cultist who obsesses over potential ideological and theoretical deviations from Marx’s ideas.

  33. E.M.Smith says:


    What a treasure trove to dig through…


    But there is a Marxist analysis of fascism. It was made by Leon Trotsky not as a postmortem, but during the rise of fascism. This was one of Trotsky’s great contributions to Marxism. He began the task after Mussolini’s victory in Italy in 1922 and brought it to a high point in the years preceding Hitler’s triumph in Germany in 1933.

    In his attempts to awaken the German Communist Party and the Communist International (Comintern) to the mortal danger and to rally a united-front against Nazism, Trotsky made a point-by-point critique of the policies of the social-democratic and Stalinist parties. This constitutes a compendium of almost all the mistaken, ineffective, and suicidal positions that workers’ organizations can take regarding fascism, since the positions of the German parties ranged from opportunistic default and betrayal on the right (social democratic) to ultra-left abstentionism and betrayal (Stalinist).

    The Communist movement was still on its ultra-left binge (the so-called Third Period) when the Nazi movement began to snowball. To the Stalinists, every capitalist party was automatically “fascist”. Even more catastrophic than this disorienting of the workers was Stalin’s famous dictum that, rather than being opposites, fascism and social democracy were “twins”. The socialists were thereupon dubbed “social fascists” and regarded as the main enemy. Of course, there could be no united front with social-fascist organizations, and those who, like Trotsky, urged such united fronts, were also labeled social fascists and treated accordingly.

    How divorced from reality the Stalinist line was may be illustrated be recalling its translation into American terms. In the 1932 elections, American Stalinists denounced Franklin Roosevelt as the fascist candidate and Norman Thomas as the social-fascist candidate. What was ludicrous as applied to US politics was tragic in Germany and Austria.

    Strait up from Stalin himself. “Twins”. And they even recognized that FDR was enamored of Mussolini’s Fascism and was pushing a similar agenda as a “Progressive”.

    Snag a copy quick before the Langoliers get to it…

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    The movement in Germany is analogous mostly to the Italian. It is a mass movement, with its leaders employing a great deal of socialist demagogy. This is necessary for the creation of the mass movement.

  35. H.R. says:


    You brought to our attention this quote:

    You get an idea of a fundamental difference between Lenin, Trotsky and future fascists from this quote by Lenin:

    “This is a glaring theoretical error. I said again in my speech that politics is a concentrated expression of economics, because I had earlier heard my “political” approach rebuked in a manner which is inconsistent and inadmissible for a Marxist. Politics must take precedence over economics. To argue otherwise is to forget the ABC of Marxism.” (my bold)

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’ve not spent much time studying or contemplating Marxism. When I read that I pondered for a moment and the thought struck me that economic systems can exist without politics (think primitive, now), but I can’t think of a single political system that exists without economics.

    I’d be happy to have someone point out the exceptions to my observation because I’ve only thought briefly about it.

    Thanks again, BI2HS.

  36. BlueIce2HotSea says:

    @E.M. Smith

    Yes, Marxists.org is a pretty good site. But I am still upset that while the pamphlets are now searchable, the photocopies are no longer available. Sometimes it appears that all we get are excerpts or selected pamphlets of interest.

    And isn’t it interesting, when we read Mussolini (and we includes Stalin) what we see is socialism. But whether or not academia agrees depends entirely upon the circumstances of the day.

    Ten years ago, some professors of socialism liked to label fascism as “State Capitalism”. Yet Trotskyist Tony Cliff calls Stalinism “Bureaucratic State Capitalism. So it appears the only difference is the level of the bureaucracy. That’s worth +100,000,000 deaths? There is so much internecine squabbling and illogical hair splitting it can be dizzying.

  37. BlueIce2HotSea says:

    Hi H.R.

    Basically I think Lenin was correct in a trivial sense based on he how would define the terms as an authoritarian.

    political system – method by which social agreements are reached and enforced
    economic system – social agreements governing the exchange of goods and services.

    So if we vote to use barter, then our political system is a democracy. If the economic system is forced upon us, the political system is authoritarian.

    So you can have the case of a political system with no economic system. Suppose a group of people form an alliance to protect each other from predators. This is a non-economic security agreement that does not require an underlying system of economic agreements.

    But if Lenin believed in innate natural rights such as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, he would understand that a free market economic system is what naturally forms when no party resorts to force or dishonesty to gain an advantage. Only when bad actors come on the scene is it necessary to build a political system to enforce the natural rights of people to have unforced, honest transactions. So in that case, the economic system comes first.

  38. BlueIce2HotSea says:


    Don’t forget, 30,000,000 people starved to death in the USSR while bureaucrats were putting politics ahead of economics.

  39. David says:


    Have you by chance read “The mythopoetic origins of Marxism?

  40. E.M.Smith says:


    I think that a monestary where the monks live on donations is a theocracy without an economy. “Who makes what for whom” breaks down when there is no making… and the “for whom” is a random act of kindness…

    Though in theory even gifts of food fits the “who, what, whom”… so as soon as you include the folks outside the monestary it’s a sort of an economy…

    Armies have a political structure (authoritarian militaristic dictatorship) but no economy. They are just handed money from outside that they spend outside… (Or ship home to the spouse who spends it ;-)

    They get “gifts” of beans, bullets, and Buck Rodgers periodically from home, though ;-)


    Didn’t the USSR have a penchant for being nasty to Jews too? Seem to remember a “convert to atheist or die” thing…

    FWIW, having been forced to study Marxism (and several other isms…) the hardest part is just sorting out the name calling, and lies via name calling.

    So “capitalist” is evil and empires of the west are evil making “imperialist” evil (and “colonialist”), and “right wing” is evil and “fascist” is evil. Then anything or anyone that you don’t like gets labled {capitalist | right wing | fascist | imperialist | colonialist} in any combination. Oh, and the facts don’t matter. (It’s a social cuing thing only understood by leftists, but they are allowed to change the facts as needed to support their view of reality that they have all agreed is the “nice one”… so must be right… and any facts to the contrary are just wrong.)

    That’s why I simply start from a chart of attributes and do the check box thing.

    Central Planned Economy? => Socialism
    CPE with corporate form under state thumb => fascism
    CPE / Corporatism + Racism + Nationalism => Nazis
    CPE / Corporatism + Nationalism + Militarism => Fascism
    CPE / Corporatism + rabid anti-racism anti-nationalism => USA Progressives wet dream
    CPE / Propery Confiscation => Communism

    Private planning of capital => Capitalism
    PPC + Royalty => Monarchy, Feudalism, et. al.
    PPC + Jeffersonian Republic => Old USA Libertarian Republic
    PPC + Dictator => Old School dictatorship (still seen sometimes in Latin America and Africa, see Libya)

    And I ought to add that we had a “Mixed Economy” from about 1940 to 2010 or so. Most capital “privately planned” but some fair amount “centrally planned or regulated”. Trying to be a halfwayhouse between PPC and CPC. So we had “Amtrak” and Greyhound bus, and we had GE making Jet Turbines, but the FAA deciding if they could be sold, and to some extent “to whom” along with influence over the “makes what”. Now we’ve moved firmly into the Lange Type Socialism with such things as the State dictating “makes what” (as in “You must make MTBE Gasoline”) and “who” being set via regulatory hurdles (try to make a new Oil Refinery without State agreement… just try…) But we have now moved from “Mixed Economy” to “government nationalized GM and healthcare to be provided as government dictates”. The dream of the “Mixed Economy” would seem to be unstable.

    you get the picture…

    So in Marxist doctrine, there was to be a great Class Struggle as Capitalism inevitably failed due to the inherent strains between labor and capital (i.e. Evil Monopolist Bastards and Good Downtrodden Masses).

    The result was to be the Workers Revolt, the foundation of the Collective Workers Paradise, and the abolition of private property. Globally.

    Fascism said, in essence: We can skip that whole “Class Struggle” thing and go right to “Collective” just by having the central government call the shots. Put the workers in “Guilds” and they, with the government, just tell the “corporations” what to do. Who cares if they are nominaly someone elses property, we call the shots in the collective. Then they added in: Oh, and we can just do it inside our own country, so that whole “Global” thing is just not our problem.

    That really pissed off the Marxists (i.e. Stalin and Friends) who defined them as “Right Wing” as they were saying the central doctrin of “Class Struggle” might be wrong. And no class warfare with no destruction of the evil capitalist running dogs? YIKES! You just put a noose around them and make them slaves of the state? What kind of communism is that?!

    In the meantime, the Nazis saw it was working well for Wilson, FDR, and Mussolini, so they did it too; but added a very racist element of the Aryan Myth. THAT P.O.ed the commies too, as how can you have a CLASS struggle if you are having a RACE WAR instead! Must be a damned “Right Winger”!!!

    While all that is going on, the real “Right Wing”, folks who were Monarchs and The Church and not keen on The Revolution (i.e. the French Revolution) were wondering why these folks that hated them and had been “socialists on the left” were suddenly being pushed into their lable. The answer being that Stalin felt there was only enough room under “Left Wing” for Stalinists. Everyone else must be Right Wing… Even Trotsky …

    So that’s the thumbnail sketch. Since W.W.II, we’ve had a proliferation of various kinds of fascist light and socialism lite forms as they just won’t stay dead. So you see “Democratic Socialists” and “Peronists” and now Chavez in Venezuel trying to become a “Little Hitler” with the same socialism programs and very similar political moves.

    The basic thing we are NOT seeing, is any movement toward a real Libertarian Republic (like in the USA prior to the Progressive Era of the 1930-40s Think, Roaring 20s).

    We’ve had fits and starts trying to get back in that direction (like Ike and Reagan) but they just keep getting swamped.

    So look around the world today and it’s mostly various kinds of Socialism. Some with more property confiscation (though it’s out of favor at the moment. Now when folks Nationalize an industry, they tend to give it back later… except the broken ones like Amtrak and Fanny Mae) Most with heavy “regulation” as a PC Analog of the old Politbureau telling the industry what to do. Sounds better if you call it Regulation instead of The Peoples Commisar… though Obama does like his tZars..

    So most of the world now is in fact fascist in economic structure. Socialism with a corporatist face. However, it’s being done without the strong Nationalism and with reduced levels of Militarism (though I think Kadaffi might not agree…). It has been relabled as “Market Socialism” too, as “fascists” are bad, but “Markets” and “Socialism” are good. Never mind it’s the same economic policies and structures. The real question is just “When will it break down?” It always does. The end game is always a dictatorial collapse.

    And that Marxist “class struggle” and the great revolt of the proletariat against the capitalists? Well, that’s been put off for a while… After all, when the socialists are in charge, you don’t need a class struggle against your masters comrades…

    Hope that helps make it clear…

  41. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. Your preceeding post is about as good a quick explanation of 20th Century political forms as I think I have ever seen. Oh, and yes, you are correct that most political labels are used (at least in common usage) more as curse words than as accurate political descriptions. “Why, that is fascist!” “Uh, how so? This has nothing to do with big business or government.” “Business? What does that have to do with fascists?!” Sigh…

    To simplify grossly (as opposed to your much more prudent simplification), politics varies continuously between the “Personal Freedom Party” and the “Boot On Your Neck Party.” Sure, there are factions within the Boot Party who argue about whether the boot should be polished or suede, whether the sole should be high traction or have a corrugated stomping sole, cow hide or human skin laces, etc. The fact is, ALL government is force and violence. Remember Washington’s famous quote on the subject. The only question is who shall hold the gun. Even a parking ticket is a death sentence if you continue to refuse long enough and hard enough to comply with its provisions. The beauty of the U.S. founding philosophy is that it stated clearly up front that all political power started with the individual and then (and this was even more radical) it affirmed not just the wisdom of, but the need for, the populace to have just as much access to the gun as did the government. I know that armed citizens and Militias are considered anachronistic now, but how else can you keep the keepers honest?

    I suspect that in the long run, any form of government that retains the ability of its people to overthrow or reform the government, will achieve a pretty fair level of satisfaction. Mild socialism? Fascisim lite? Most people don’t care, as long as they are mostly left alone and do not have too much of their property taken away. You or I might care — but most people don’t. However, once the populace no longer has the ability to overthrow the government, it is only a matter of time until the government devolves into tyranny — and then people will wish they had been more diligent. “Later, how we burned in the camps!”

  42. H.R says:

    @BI2HS & E.M.

    Thanks! That was excellent stuff and very clear.

    Now I know, at least from a Marxist standpoint, what the meaning of “is” is. ;o)

    When I wrote, “think primitive,” I was thinking that the two basic economic systems are:

    1) Force – “You have something I want so I’ll beat you up or kill you and take it.”
    2) Barter – “Since we weren’t in the mood to kill each other on sight when we met in the forest, you wanna’ trade me that shiny thing around your neck for a dozen spare arrrowheads I’ve got?”

    No politics involved in the two basic ‘natural’ economic systems.

    Once people start forming bands, clans, or tribes, you have to have some sort of political system.

    (BTW, my reading on the Celts was they employed both 1 & 2 as they began expanding their territory and they had a particular fondness for #1. That was why they were so mobile. “Hey guys! We’re tapped out here. Let’s go get some more food, booze, & and loot from the next valley over. Whaddya say?”)

  43. E.M.Smith says:


    Glad you found it of some use.

    BTW, you left out the Third Basic Economy and the one that makes the foundation of Celitic society.

    3) Sharing in family groups.

    Not via force. Not via barter. Dad brought home Elk groceries, Mom made a berry compote, kids and cousins made some twine from that tough plant, Uncle Timmy didn’t do much as he’s too old and his leg doesn’t work anymore, but Aunt Ida made some nice “spear poles” while she was sitting with him (she still loves him, even if he can’t run) and Crazy Harry from the next clan over kept hanging out with Sue and showing off how he makes better spear points than anyone else. He gives them to Sue (who gives them to Dad after Harry goes home…)

    Basically, the “Commune” in the form of a Family.

    The Family is a communist system of “government”. There is little to no “private property” (clothes, personal items) and the “capital stock” is shared by all. (House, food, garden, etc.) Work flows “from each according to his ability” and “to each according to their need”. Mostly “Mom & Dad” to “infants and children” but historically it then turned to “from grown children to aged Mom & Dad”.

    IMHO, that is why people are so inherently drawn to socialism & communism. They have “lived the dream” and long for the good old days with Mommy & Daddy taking care of everything again.

    But they don’t realize that everything has economies of scale, and dis-economies of scale. If you have the one “Evil Bastard” Dad, you can eventually just move out to the next clan over, or snuf him in his sleep. Not so easy if he lives in a Palace 2000 miles away surrounded by tanks and guards… and it’s great to have the kids tending Aged Mom & Dad, but not so great when “Aged Mom & Dad” become “Everyone who ever worked for the government living the high life for 30 years while you get crushed in debt”. Then there is that whole “giant power attracks the wrong kind of power hungry megalomaniac thing’…

    At any rate, if you use the word Celt in the same paragraph with “economic system” or “political system” you need to have the word “Clan” in there somewhere, or you are missing their most characteristic feature…

    Clans and Tribes were the original “social order”. They then expanded into Kingdoms and on up from there. Intertribal trade evolved into specialized commerce and kingdoms grew to empires. Then some folks got cranky about being subjugated all the time and started to innovate things like Republics and Democracies et.al. as ways to try and limit the Evil Bastard Kings & Emperors that would pop up from time to time.

    Best results so far have been from the USA pre-Progressive era. Lots of “Social Ills”, but darn near no loss of individual liberty. Since then we’ve been slowly working our necks back into that “Fearless Leader” noose and finding it ever nicer to sleep in that nice pen he thoughfully stocks with fodder that he takes from other people (but they seem happy in their pens too…)

    So it goes…

  44. E.M.Smith says:

    I realized I’d left the “Mixed Economy” off the economic guide, so I’ve gone back and added that bit. Also, I’ve added an asnide about “Market Socialism” as “fascism lite” (without the milatarist and nationalist elements… “This time for sure!”…)

  45. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. Really good points you make, E.M., especially about the dis-economies of scale. Not only is there a time and place for each thing, but a size as well.

    “you need to have the word “Clan” in there somewhere”

    Oh! One other word as well: “outlaw”

    When using a clan based system, we need to remember that one of the main things that keep it going is that anyone within the system (not just the Evil Bastard Dads) can — either by choice or by their folly — find themselves outside the system and fair game for attack. I guess these days we could use social shunning as a milder replacement, but I swear, some folks need something stronger than shunning!

  46. H.R says:


    “[…] you need to have the word “Clan” in there somewhere […]”

    Hey! Whoa up there. I did have the word clan in there. ;o)

    @Jason Calley

    I was thinking of the Jerimiah Johnson types wandering around (or the Neanderthal reasonable facsimile) but I wasn’t thinking “outlaw,” although my basic economic system #1 seems to cover that.

  47. E.M.Smith says:


    Ok, so it was in there… but you didn’t talk about it… much… that I noticed… before coffee…

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