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“Liberal fascism” and “America is a Communist Country” refuted

There’s this idea, often put forward by Hayekites, that says that what we live under in the West is “fascism”; and they reach this conclusion through the scientific conceit that just examines the functional nature of a system (or, in Machiavellian terms, what it does and not what it says it does). Hence, in this view, “fascism” is just when the state and corporations fuse (“corporatism”)—and, conversely, when you look at Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italy you see much state-involvement in the economy and that amounts to “socialism” (as Hayekites and people like Jonah Goldberg will say, “It’s even in the name—they’re called National Socialists”).

When you first encounter this argument it can seem liberatory—it seems to transcend the hidebound ways most people talk about politics; it appeals to science, the most high-status pursuit in Western societies, and it makes us feel like this very objective and superior person who is above the fray (the blood on some beer hall floor) and has determined, objectively, that FDR’s America was identical to Hitler’s Germany and, in turn, Hitler’s Germany was identical to Stalin’s Russia—since corporatism tends towards socialism and communism.

The problem with the argument is that it is detached from reality. Political systems cannot be understood in the mode of empirical science and if you attempt to do so you will fall into serious error. For a start, you cannot use experimental science in politics: you cannot take “Britain A”, “Britain B”, and “Control Britain” and implement one policy in one and another policy in another and then watch the results and determine which policy worked better. Britain is a holistic entity—she cannot be split up in this way; it’s pseudo-science to try.

This is the problem with the argument “the left is fascist”, as deployed for rhetorical reasons by men like Goldberg and Peterson. You can’t understand politics without the qualitative factor—without values, beliefs, and emotions taken into account (politics is conducted by humans, not copper sulphate solution). So, for example, what is really interesting about Hitler’s Germany is not how it was the same as contemporary America (the same percentage of industry state-owned, or whatever metric you use) but rather how it was different. Do you really find out about people by thinking about how alike they are or how different they are? Most people are alike in most respects, but it’s the tiny differences that determine how they are distinct from other people.

The Hayekite approach is like if you said, “I am also 60% water by volume so we are the same person really.” It’s just obviously not true. So to understand the difference between Hitler’s Germany, FDR’s America, and Stalin’s Russia you have to consider what these regimes believed (or said they believed)—what were their attitudes to race, to class, to history, to their imagined future for humanity, and to religion? As soon as you take these factors into account you find that we in no way live under “fascism”—unless you have autistically reduced “fascism” to a situation where private companies and the state are fused and the private companies are “directed”, if not owned, by the state (and, in fact, many states in history have been “fascist” by this metric).

The same goes for Yarvin’s dictum “America is a Communist Country”. This is actually the Goldberg formulation in reverse, not “liberal fascism” but “communist liberalism”. It works on the same conceit, the scientific functionalist account, that claims to have become “objective” because it took out the qualitative elements. Really, America is not a Communist country if we take “Communism” to mean what it commonly means to most people—that is, a Leninist state. It’s nothing like that at all. Even if we extend “communism” beyond its everyday language use to include a pacifistic commune like the “Oneida” community in 19th-century America then America is not “communist” in this respect either.

The reason people use this approach is, in my view, to evade responsibility. It allows you to pose as a “neutral scientist” above the fray and never make a commitment to a vision for society—“Of course, I’m above it all, I have clean hands.” Behind it lies the dream—actually a leftist dream—that society could be run by neutral and objective experts who would never be sullied with “mob beliefs” and would evaluate everything in a neutral and scientific fashion. This is impossible and is itself a leftist idea.

The “left is fascist” gambit is popular on the right for rhetorical reasons because the left calls even the mildest conservative “fascist” and because in Western societies fascism has become the ur-evil, with Hitler as Satan. This is not because of what the fascists did; they did things no worse than the liberal democracies and the Communists—it’s just that they were inegalitarian, they discriminated; and that is the real crime in equalitarian systems. Anyway, the right loves to call its opponents “racists” or “fascists” because usually they are on the receiving end—yet it never really sticks because, ultimately, what they call for in terms of respect for heredity (the family) is more like fascism than not.

Bottom line: politics is a human activity; humans have beliefs, values, and emotions—any attempt to look at politics “functionally” belies another motive. Hence in the case of Yarvin and Goldberg you have two men who understand the left is wrong and want to preserve order, hierarchy, and responsibility but who cannot endorse the “national family” because, as Jews, they are outside it—hence they take a “neutral technocratic” stance with the idea such a neutral technocracy would include Jews due to their high intelligence. Yet this is not real as regards what humans are—humans care for their families, not just disembodied intelligence; and, as yet, even AI is not disembodied intelligence (you have to direct it to undertake actions). Hence this view as regards human life is unreal—it is in deviation from reality.


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