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Obama is Not a Socialist

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It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.” He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the “greed” of the insurance companies.

The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.

One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.

Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg’s great book “Liberal Fascism” cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.

Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.

It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the left distanced themselves from fascism and its Nazi offshoot — and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.

What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people — like themselves — need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.

The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, “We the People…”

That is why the left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution’s limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges’ new interpretations, based on notions of “a living Constitution” that will take decisions out of the hands of “We the People,” and transfer those decisions to our betters.

The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.

Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom.

 

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  • DogmaelJones1

    Sowell is right. Obama is not a “socialist” by the strictest definition of that term. Strictly speaking, he is a fascist, as Sowell has described him and his agenda. He is a “socialist” only in the sense that, like Hitler and Mussolini, he wants to “socialize” the citizenry, that is, imbue it with notion that the state is all, and they are mere enablers of their particular agendas, answerable to the state, and submissive to the state. I think it was Hitler or one of his “intellectuals” who wrote that in Nazi Germany, the only private individual was one “who is asleep.” When conscious, how to best serve the race, or the state, or his leader was supposed to be a constant in an individual’s mind, whether in a private capacity or a public one. Our educational policies have been at work to bring about a population of such individuals for decades, most recently Common Core, which is raising a stink among parents. And I think the key to understanding Sowell’s point is Obama’s notorious statement that “You didn’t build that,” implying that one’s business or property wasn’t possible without the government supplying roads and post offices and regulations, etc. What is really scary is how many American businesses and industries echo or submit to that kind of thinking in their public assertions or “stances.”

  • http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/ Capitalism Magazine

    “The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of
    the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property.
    The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men
    retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds
    total power over its use and disposal . . . .

    “Under fascism, citizens retain the responsibilities of owning property, without
    freedom to act and without any of the advantages of ownership. Under
    socialism, government officials acquire all the advantages of ownership,
    without any of the responsibilities, since they do not hold title to the
    property, but merely the right to use it—at least until the next purge. In
    either case, the government officials hold the economic, political and legal
    power of life or death over the citizens . . . .

    “Under both systems, sacrifice is invoked as a magic, omnipotent solution in any
    crisis—and “the public good” is the altar on which victims are immolated. But
    there are stylistic differences of emphasis. The socialist-communist axis
    keeps promising to achieve abundance, material comfort and security for its
    victims, in some indeterminate future. The fascist-Nazi axis scorns material
    comfort and security, and keeps extolling some undefined sort of spiritual
    duty, service and conquest. The socialist-communist axis offers its victims an
    alleged social ideal. The fascist-Nazi axis offers nothing but loose talk
    about some unspecified form of racial or national “greatness.” The
    socialist-communist axis proclaims some grandiose economic plan, which keeps
    receding year by year. The fascist-Nazi axis merely extols
    leadership—leadership without purpose, program or direction—and power for
    power’s sake.” — AYN RAND

    “The Fascist New Frontier,”

    The Ayn Rand Column, 98

  • DogmaelJones1

    I wonder if Sowell has ever read any of Rand’s nonfiction.

  • Brianna Aubin

    Pretty sure he has, though I’ve only seen him bring her up a few times total.

  • IronMaidenaregods

    Bollocks. Mises demonstrated that Fascism is a form of socialism nearly a century.

    Mussolini’s economic policy of ‘corporativism’ was identical the British Labour Party’s theory known as ‘Guild Socialism’.

    Since this was unrealizable, his economic policy in practice was an incomplete version of the theory known as German Socialism.

    Hitler was a National Socialist and his policy was a consistent application of German Socialism.

  • IronMaidenaregods

    He hasn’t read Mises or, if he has, he didn’t take it in.

  • writeby

    Mises was wrong.

    There is a distinct difference between the state owning all property & running all industry/business and the state allowing private ownership of such while defining through law how those businesses are to be run.

    And the difference is culpability.

    In the first, gov bears the blame for failure; in the second, it avoids it.

    And if we’re getting precise, fascism is, imo, the predecessor to outright socialism. If one flips Marx’s economic Hegelian dialectic, one will have a true measure of the actual, real life mechanics of economic disintegration:

    Capitalism, when throttled, degenerates into a Welfare State, which degenerates into fascism, which then degenerates into outright socialism, which then degenerates into (genuine) communism (a.k.a. tribalism), which then degenerates into anarchy & chaos.

  • juandos

    Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague“…

    I find this statement somewhat problematic considering all the extorted tax dollars thrown at what passes for green industry

  • robb

    Sowell is completely wrong. I compended some remarks from a thread on Facebook discussing this article.

    Sowell is dead wrong on this and he is whitewashing Obama. I said elsewhere (combining several responses):

    Wrong on both scores. Obama is a Communist. His mother, birth father, adopted father, grandparents, mentor (who was a KGB agent), and all associates — communists. The distinction: socialists are driven by idealism, altruism and democracy to seize power. Communists are driven by megalomania, hatred, nihilism, powerlust, ruthlessness and conspiracy theories to seize power, and have little idealism. Altruism is merely a rationalization. The psychological and existential consequence are important, though all democratic socialist putsch’s eventially become communist rule, terror, murder. Sowell is a fool for glossing over the facts about Obama.

    Obama has a specific ideology (communism), but the essence of communism is a form of nihilism. Both fascists and socialists aren’t *inherently* nihilist. Communists, are. Also, you have to look at the entire context surrounding Obama, not just the effects of his policies in isolation. Past and present associates, the totality of his ideas, the history of communism and the means they use to achieve their ends (fascism is one), the forms communism *has* to take and always take (forms of fascism), etc. There is no question whatsoever that Obama is a communist, which means he embrace nihilism and fascism as a means to his end (or his handlers, more accurately), but it’s an error to reverse causation here and miss the primacy of communism in driving his fascist and nihilist policies, just as it’s an error to miss the ideological and psychological primaries that motivate his embrace of communism. Ie, Obama feels himself a metaphysical imcompentent, for instance, which drives his hatred of ability and the rationalizations provided by Marxism for that hatred, included an inflated sense of superiority and the lure of other like-minded people who conspirialize to destroy everyone who is an affront to their lack of qualification for existing — communism. To simply label Obama and his ilk nihilists and fascists is to grossly underestimate the destructive ends they seek.

    To expand on “every Communist is a nihilist”…

    The essence of the appeal to socialism is: idealism based on altruism.

    The essence of the appeal to communism is: hatred. Hatred of the bourgeois. Hatred of anyone who has anything more than you. Hatred any achiever, any intelligence, any honesty, any integrity, any happiness, any independence.

    Especially, independence, which is the root of it all. That’s why I say that communists are metaphysical misfits, metaphysical incompetents. At some unadmitted level, they feel this. Emphasis: *unadmitted*. So they compensate: they seek to rule anyone they feel inferior to. They don’t try to rule nature, ie, master reality to live; they seek to rule men. But to rule the men who they don’t want to admit they are inferior to, they have to destroy them. Nihilism.

    This is the point of Toohey’s quote:

    “I don’t want to kill him. I want him in jail. You understand? In jail. In a cell. Behind bars. Locked, stopped, strapped–and alive. He’ll get up when they tell him to. He’ll eat what they give him. He’ll move when he’s told to move and stop when he’s told. He’ll walk to the jute mill, when he’s told, and he’ll work as he’s told. They’ll push him, if he doesn’t move fast enough, and they’ll slap his face when they feel like it, and they’ll beat him with rubber hose if he doesn’t obey. And he’ll obey. He’ll take orders. He’ll take orders!”

    And if he doesn’t take orders — the communist will kill to prove he is superior. Absent in a communist is any true idealism. Marxism is all a rationalization for him. It’s only an ideal for the socialist. This is why socialists use the ballot box and communists use guns. But socialists are the “useful idiots” (quoting KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov), who get killed off by the real communists when they seize control.

    All this is why I say, the unique successful historical appeal of communism is *not* just that is based on altruism, but that it is based on a formulation that is uniquely appealing to psychopaths while disarming the much larger mass of humanity with the morality of altruism. Other creeds of altruism don’t have that distinction. For example, Catholism. You can only neutralize communism by persuading most people to abandon altruism, to eliminate the mass appeal that gives communist their power — hence, Ayn Rand’s exhortations about the power of morality — but it’s important to also understand the nature of the appeal to megalomaniacal malcontents to anticipate and disarm them that way, too. These pathological types seek other pathological types as allies. The Soviet Union used this very effectively, for instance, for decades, right from the beginning.

    Side note: one of the ways you can be sure Obama is a communist: the “Occupy Movement”. It was organized right out of the White House. The joke: they expected it to succeed as a wave of proletarian fervor swept the land. Not. But *they* believed it, and they expected (in my opinion) to be able to accomplish a putsch based on it. They continue to try, and the American people largely continue to ignore it. So they are now biding their time.

    Side-side note: Note that Islam also appeals to psychopathological types. Hence, the unofficial axis between these two groups. (Islam was explictly cultivated by the USSR starting at least in the 60’s for this reason.) Both think that they will emerge on top when the West is destroyed.

    http://robbservations.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-appeal-of-marxism-is-to-psychopaths.html

  • SaulOhio

    It may be simply a difference in useage of terminology, but I agree with George Reisman that fascism is a form of socialism. Since Sowell puts both socialism and fascism on the left, this difference may be minor.

    http://mises.org/daily/1937

    “When one remembers that the word ‘Nazi’ was an abbreviation for ‘der Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiters Partei’ — in English translation: the National Socialist German Workers’ Party — Mises’s identification might not appear all that noteworthy. For what should one expect the economic system of a country ruled by a party with ‘socialist’ in its name to be but socialism?

    “Nevertheless, apart from Mises and his readers, practically no one thinks of Nazi Germany as a socialist state. It is far more common to believe that it represented a form of capitalism, which is what the Communists and all other Marxists have claimed.

    “The basis of the claim that Nazi Germany was capitalist was the fact that most industries in Nazi Germany appeared to be left in private hands.

    “What Mises identified was that private ownership of the means of production existed in name only under the Nazis and that the actual substance of ownership of the means of production resided in the German government. For it was the German government and not the nominal private owners that exercised all of the substantive powers of ownership: it, not the nominal private owners, decided what was to be produced, in what quantity, by what methods, and to whom it was to be distributed, as well as what prices would be charged and what wages would be paid, and what dividends or other income the nominal private owners would be permitted to receive. The position of the alleged private owners, Mises showed, was reduced essentially to that of government pensioners.”

  • SaulOhio

    That difference is one of appearance only, which is all that Obama and his kind need.

    Ownership means control. If you own something, you decide how it is to be used, disposed of, and bought or sold. If there is a car in your garage, and you have the title, registration, bill of sale, and any other piece of paper that says the car belongs to you, but the government tells you when and where you may drive it, assigns passengers and cargo, tells you how you may or may not custromize or upgrade it, do you really own it, or does the government? You are not actually the owner. What you are is a government owned slave taxi driver or slave chauffer. The government owns you, and through you, the car. Or it owns you through the car. Either interpretation is applicable.

    In fascism, private ownership is only a matter of appearance. Sowell is right to categorize fascism and socialism together politically, at the same end of the spectrum. But Mises was right that fascism is a sub-category within socialism.

  • Asok Asus

    “government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands.”

    Goodness me, now that’s the very definition of fascism, isn’t it?

  • Phineas Worthington

    Bastiat wrote that socialism was a spectrum of systems, or even more broadly, any law that acted improperly as an instrument of theft instead of as a proper retaliatory force to protect individual rights.

  • writeby

    “In fascism, private ownership is only a matter of appearance”

    Except in terms of responsibility; that is not appearance. When a business screws up under a fascist regime, the “owner”–not the gov’t–is blamed.

    I’ll admit this distinction between the two is not significant when it comes to the destination: tyranny.
    But where this distinction is significant is how fast we get there–in the beginning, when a nation first turns toward one or the other. One might call this distinction the diff between the “drive-thru route to tyranny” (socialism) vs. the “scenic route to tyranny” (fascism).

    For example, we’ve taken the scenic route in the medical field over the passed, oh, say 1/2 century. But we took the drive-thru in the mass transit industry, almost overnight switching from private trollies, buses & subways over to gov’t run entities (despite their so called “semi-private” billings).

    Culpability under fascism–I will acknowledge–can and often does lead to socialism. “Those Taggarts can’t run a railroad. Let’s nationalize it!”

    Indeed, one might say, continuing my metaphor, the scenic route ends with a drive-thru.

    But it doesn’t begin that way, and because fascism does take the scenic route, it can more effectively be rolled back before it becomes a political fixture. And that (along with culpability) ultimately makes, imo, the distinction between fascism and socialism significant.

  • SaulOhio

    But the distinction is not so significant in terms of the question of whether to categorize fascism as a kind of socialism, or just a different kind of tyranny. Since the government under fascism is acting as if it owns all property, it is de-facto socialism, as von Mises and George Reisman are arguing.

  • writeby

    But if socialism is defined–and ultimately is–government ownership of all property, then fascism–in which private property does yet exist, albeit in a significantly diluted sense–isn’t a kind of socialism. It most likely is, however, a prelude to such. Call fascism the Preface in the Book of Despotism.

    Anecdotal: As a former business owner, I was told two things: 1) My business had to be open to “the public”–for instance, blind people with large seeing eye dogs (banging around in my small front shops with expensive glass antiques everywhere); and 2) when asking police to escort an unruly customer from the premises, citing him with a trespass warning, that “this is private property and you can have him warned off for good.”

    Is or is that not fascism? Or at least a beginning?

    Frankly, though, I wish all politico-economic disagreements today were of this sort, ones of shadings or degrees and not of kinds. So I’ll agree to differ (rather than disagree) and happily so. ;o)

  • Cracovian Crusader

    When I judge the pros and cons objectively, looking primarily at the end result, they are all alike — the left, the right and the democratic
    middle, so-called.

  • Guest

    With all due respect Dr. Sowell, I must disagree with you and I still contend Obama is a socialist. Government ownership of businesses is principally the hallmark of Marxism or Communism. There are flavors of Socialism that giving people the false impression that they can own property or a business; yet, government dictates nearly every aspect of their business and often confiscates the lion’s share of the profits. Just like we have here in America. Socialism is a facade meant to shield Communism from view and to condition people to accept Communism. I submit that 175,000 pages of Federal business regulations and the stream of new regulations coming from the Obama administration is proof that Obama is a Socialist. His handling of GM, Chrysler, coal industry, and many other examples proves he doesn’t recognize private property rights. According to recent polls, fewer Americans oppose Communism and Socialism today than ever before so its obvously working. Communism and Socialism both require government to have absolute authority over those under its rule and that’s how murdering dictators like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Zedong are born.

  • theBuckWheat

    Fascism is yet another “ism” by which rational economic considerations are suppressed in favor of ideologically informed political considerations. The more often economic decisions are put aside in favor of political ones the less rational business seems to behave and the less efficient business becomes. Business executives start to devote more of their finite energies and resources, not to improving the economic factors of their business, but the political factors. Thus we have General Electric with hundreds of people in tax and lobbying positions and also zero net tax due. With more intrusion, we get more boards and commissions with petty chairmen and commissioners, each climbing their own career ladders and each initiative and agenda presenting the opportunity for alignment of corporate interests with political interests. In short, the more that government seeks to intrude into business, the greater the cronyism.

    All of this corrodes the general social climate. Like bits of sand, each time a business is coerced or commanded to make a decision that is less efficient than it otherwise would have, then it is tempted to suggest to government that somehow it needs to be compensated with a subsidy, a tax break, a special waiver or allowance. A government that already runs a big budget deficit gives itself permission to print or borrow the money and now acts as if the money doesn’t really matter. It no longer is restrained by what the taxpayers are willing to pay for. Thus, it can afford all manner of intrusion and special deals because it can afford just about anything it wants. And since a bureaucracy always seeks to expand its power, nothing stops them. The government landlord agency thinks nothing of having its own militarized sniper team, something a private business would never have. The EPA thinks that its competency is so broad and deep that it not only can but should regulate the water in the ditch by your driveway.

    One of the tap roots of rampant government fascism is that near-infinite money enables near-infinite government. We can stop a lot of this foolishness by strictly limiting the ability of government to create money out of thin air. We must do this, or government will use our credit to buy the chains that it will bind all of us with. Not only us but all our future unaborted children.

  • Grizzled_Stranger

    Government control but private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods is the description of fascism. Private property is still taxable – but the owner has no control over it. Or, as various fascist regimes have shown, property owners have no control over their own fate.

    As soon as the Fasscisto-socialsts run out of money, they contrive some scheme to seize the property of some group of property owners. Right down to the gold in their teeth.

  • FedUpLibBS

    Whether the partnership between Business and Government is structured by FORCE, or by AGREEMENT, it is still FASCISM!!!

  • KingAlfredtheGreat

    Or he just doesn’t agree.

  • Geoffrey Middleton

    This system you’re accusing Obama of using actually sounds wonderful! I work for a living and really don’t care what happens to the capitalist class. My solidarity is with the majority, the working class.

  • writeby

    The ones who wouldn’t have a job if there wasn’t investment, invention & incentive?

    Signed,
    A worker who knows which side of his bread is buttered–and by whom.

  • IKapono

    These labels are distinctions without real differences. Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Obama. Progressive,Liberal, Socialist, ALL.These are labels attempting to describe political philosophies which rationalize a radical expansion of state power. The individual is made into the servant of the state, rather than the state serving it’s people! This is the sad state of our nation in 2014. The structure of the EU shows how we are not alone . We are just catching up a little bit. The EU has unelected beaurcrats write the laws/regulations, another group of crats enforce the law/regs and an unelected leadership manages the whole affair! The only nod to representaive government is to have the elected parliment vote ya or nay! Arguably similar to what happened with the ACA. To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi , if you want to know what is in this law you need to pass this law! We live in the shadow of what could have been, for now the Age of Reason has bloomed and faded away.

  • Bongstar420

    Its cute how you tried to create the association of Obama to Hitler and
    Mussolini….as if H & M are the definition of socialist! Yes, Obama is a fascist in the sense that he allowed the government to continue to favor the “establishment”…I voted for him because the question was which “flavor” of fascist I would want. “Free Market” capitalism will not change this and will not happen without rules instituting it which would disqualify it by definition as “free” since the only correct use of the term “free” is “without constraint” (which doesn’t exist).

    Wouldn’t it be just as wrong if a “free market capitalist” (which don’t exist in practice) decided to institute a market distribution ban against the “undesirables” and required the death penalty for violent revolution because the owners have piles of rotting food while they starve in the streets with money in hand?

  • Bongstar420

    In fascism, the owners get all the benefits of ownership while using the public to subsidize their failures while they keep the public from having a fair shot at ownership.

  • Bongstar420

    Since when are “property owners” required to be “non-tyrannical” to visitors on their own “property”?

  • Bongstar420

    http://www.aynrand.org/novels

    Notice: not a single scientific study

    I can’t see how an “objectivist” could be objective without being informed by actual empiricism (she claimed to be, and yet her work is seriously deficient in actual science).

  • Bongstar420

    I jest people with “Mises” jokes all the time. They never get it

    *of course the jokes are not in his favor

  • Bongstar420

    Nope. Fascism is where business/property owners capture the power of government at the expense of the public.

    Sound familiar?

    Free market capitalism is fascism without government. It favors business/property owners at the expense of the general public because open markets get captured the same way that government agencies do. We need rules to ensure markets are “free” which is not really “free.” This issue is like abortion. It is only a political tool, a “truly free market” is never really on the table the same way that a federal early term abortion ban is never really on the table. They are both “untenable” outcomes from an empirical position which the Supreme Court is expect to at least maintain a facade for.

  • SaulOhio

    All the benefits? They get to make money, but only as much profit as the government allows. The Nazis asserted that there was such a thing as “excessive” profits. So by that measure, they do not get “all” the benefits of ownership. They do not get all the profit the market will bear. And even what they do, Mises compared to a government pension rather than earned income.. Also, they do not get to use their property to produce the goods they choose. Many entrepreneurs feel great satisfaction from producing goods which they know to be of value. When they are forced to make guns instead of butter, they don’t get that satisfaction.

  • Bongstar420

    The government in America cannot “arbitrarily” claim titles and operate businesses for government profits.

    Actually read the article:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-09/gm-bailout-ends-as-u-s-sells-last-of-government-motors-.html

    This wasn’t arbitrary. It is more characteristic of fascism because the business subsidized huge losses through the government while the private sector kept a large amount of its profits. A non-fashist government would let the business fail, not buy it and resell it when the problems were fixed. The richest pay the least taxes…Another characteristic of fascism.

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

    Notice its similarities with some “freedom” promoting philosophies

  • Bongstar420

    We could make government money being doled out to businesses illegal. We could also put a living standard into each persons account equally on a monthly basis that would be less prone to capture than what we have now. We could also make owning huge amounts of property illegal. We could also make it illegal for any government agency to do the same.

    These are some things we *could* do

  • Bongstar420

    The richer you are, the less the government is a threat to you in America

  • Bongstar420

    Investment is parasitic since it requires returns for only capital. Incentive is easily attained by social status which effectively is monetary/property status in society. Inventors invent for fun.

    In fact, I’d rather have a whole society of people that are obedient to me while I own no property or money than have absolute ownership against a bunch of oppositional defiants always trying to undermine my position. This is actually cryptic in several ways

  • Asok Asus

    ROTFLOL! You’re hilarious!

    Here’s what wiki has to say about the economics of fascism:

    An inherent aspect of fascist economies was economic dirigisme,[4]
    meaning an economy where the government exerts strong directive
    influence, and effectively controls production and allocation of
    resources. In general, apart from the nationalizations of some
    industries, fascist economies were based on private property and private initiative, but these were contingent upon service to the state.[5]

    Fascism operated from a Social Darwinist view of human relations. The aim was to promote superior individuals and weed out the weak.[6] In terms of economic practice, this meant promoting the interests of successful businessmen while destroying trade unions and other organizations of the working class.[7]
    Fascist governments encouraged the pursuit of private profit and
    offered many benefits to large businesses, but they demanded in return that all economic activity should serve the national interest.

  • SaulOhio

    Your definition of “free” is wrong, in a political context. Freedom is the absence of coercive force. There will always be physical constraints on our actions. The ones that are important in a political context are constraints placed on us by other people, by force.

    Your last paragraph is self-contradictory, since in a free market, ANYONE is allowed to trade with anyone. There is no ban on “undesirables”. What you are describing is exactly what happened in Ireland with the Potato Famine. Irish Catholics were banned from owning land (plus there were the Corn Laws). So the cause was precisely the ABSENCE of free market capitalism. Markets WERE NOT FREE. In fact, the undesirable Catholics were excluded from the market. The result was that they became dependent on the potato crop, and could not turn to the market for alternatives when that failed.

  • SaulOhio

    There has NEVER been any instance where a private business concern captured markets the way you claim without government. The rules you promote to prevent it actually CAUSE it.
    The so-called deregulation of California’s electric utilities was implemented by people who thought as you do, that markets have to be regulated with all sorts of rules to keep them free. They required any business that both produced and distributed electricity to sell off either their power distribution grids or their generators. They required generators and retail distributors to buy and sell ONLY on the California Power Exchange, which had all sorts of crazy rules which were supposedly intended to prevent monopolies. But it was precisely those crazy rules that allowed ENRON to manipulate the electricity market.

    Standard Oil was accused of monopoly, but it never acted like one. It never charged monopoly prices. In fact, the prices of petroleum products fell during its entire history. The couple of times SO tried to manipulate the market using collusion, it failed, and lost money. And by the time of the antitrust suit against SO, it had already lost most of its market share, because the market grew faster than it could.