I went to a Tea Party rally on April 15th. There were lots of anti-Obama signs with the S Word on them — Socialism.
There wasn’t a single placard with The F Word — Fascism.
A thread runs from Teddy Roosevelt through Benito Mussolini to Barack Obama. What Roosevelt called Progressivism, Mussiolini realized as Fascism, and now Obama brings it full circle by embracing the once and future American synonym for Fascism–Progressivism.
Like eugenics and socialism, fascism was embraced in the first third of the 20th century by many perfectly nice people. Technocracy, time/motion studies, eugenics, social engineering–the intellectual fads of this time had in common the notion that smart, enlightened, people who like being in charge of stuff would lead the rest of us besotted disorganized self-absorbed pub-crawling job-rutting tax-paying brat-raising fox-watching SUV-worshipping soccer-game-shlepping domino’s-pizza-ordering titty-movie-watching-after-she-goes-to-bed-at-last mouth-breathers to the kind of lives we would earn as their relatively pampered pets.
Mussolini, the most successful of all Progressives, Italianized the movement by calling it Fascism, and brought it into actuality and inevitable disrepute. I hope Obama similarly taints the term Progressive.
While socialism and Fascism usually result in similar real outcomes and use the same coercive methods, there are fundamental differences. One of them is that socialism uses helping the poor as its excuse; fascism justifies its my-mommy-told-me-to-tell-you attitude by appealing to a common social purpose and moral vision that everyone must support. I hope people who are calling Obama a socialist will look at what he’s actually doing and realize that it’s far more accurate to call him a Fascist.
Not only is it more accurate, but it is the right thing to do if you really want to piss off his supporters. Socialist doesn’t have any sting anymore. Too many people on the right have used it inaccurately. So it’s come to mean “anything government does that conservatives don’t like.” Similarly, on the left, the term fascism has come to mean “anything conservatives want the government to do that we don’t like.”
But when each side switches it up, the words get rehydrated. Liberals who accused George Bush (rightly) of socialist tendencies left conservatives nonplussed or embarrassed. Similarly, using the F word, and backing it up with specifics about Obama’s fascist agenda, knocks liberals off balance and opens them to reason–or at least to the need to prove why a particular Obamanation isn’t fascist.
Finally, for now, there is another important difference between fascism and socialism: fascism tends to demonize multiple domestic groups, even ones that aren’t fighting it. Fascism fights multiple little skirmishes against scapegoats–Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, etc. Socialism tends to just lump people under Enemy of the State/People. I think this is because the Fascist moral platform has separate enemies for each of its tenets.
How many groups has Obama gone after already?