Is America on Its Way to Fascism?
In his 1954 book entitled Today's Isms: Communism, Fascism, Socialism, Capitalism, Dr. William Ebenstein cogently describes the various "isms" that continue to convulse the world.
As personal liberty is eroded in this country and Americans are uninformed about the "violence and terror of totalitarian communism and fascism," a reflection of Ebenstein's ideas is very much warranted.
When countering whether fascism is a threat to democratic nations, Ebenstein maintains that "the danger in a democracy like the United States is not outright fascism ... but the insidious and unnoticed corroding of democratic habits[.]" Consider the burgeoning growth of intolerance against dissenting ideas that permeates so many American universities.
Ebenstein maintains that "the danger of not recognizing this pre-fascist attitude is that, should it become full fledged fascism (as it well might in an economic depression or in some other disaster of the sort that periodically shakes men's faith in democracy) recognition of it as a threat may come too late for those whose earlier judgment was too lenient." That so many people cannot see the inherent danger of a Bernie Sanders is disturbing. Matthew Vadum has written:
Communism is a political movement whose adherents believe that markets are fundamentally unjust [.] Suffice it to say that socialists and communists all want government or the collective to be master. In ideological terms, there is no bright line or safe harbor that neatly separates socialism from communism.
Throughout his life, Bernie Sanders has been working for socialism, the transitional stage of society before communism. He calls himself a socialist, specifically a 'democratic socialist.'
[Sanders] declared that financial inequality 'is immoral, it is bad economics, it is unsustainable.' This is tantamount to saying that the only just society is one in which everyone has the same amount of money or that anyone who has the ability to make a lot of money is an enemy of the people.
Sanders described the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as a 'modest' step towards forcing the U.S. to 'join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all as a right.'
But as David Horowitz asks, "[w]hat is Obamacare? And single payer? Why do we call it single payer? It's communism. If the government controls [a person's] access to health care which is what this is about, as to what you can have and to what you can't have, ... that is communism" [see 3:43 on the video].
And that's exactly what Obama and congressional Democrats did in 2010 when they brought in Obamacare. Obama accepted the wealth-redistributing socialist half-measure that is the Affordable Care Act because he knows that it is destined to collapse, at which point he is gambling the American people will demand a single-payer system, the kind of thing desired by the people who raised him, including Communist Party USA operative Frank Marshall Davis.
Dinesh D'Souza in his latest book, entitled Stealing America, asserts that "American liberalism, is not a movement of ideas at all; it is but a series of scams and cons aimed at nothing less than stealing the wealth of the American people." And lest one think this is hyperbole, consider that "President Barack Obama's Fiscal Year 2016 Budget ... includes a number of provisions targeting retirement accounts. With the mountain of debt that the government has incurred, "Obama now wants to extract money from personal retirement accounts."
Ebenstein asserts that "freedom from fear is basic in the Western concept of democracy. No society can be called free unless its citizens feel safe from unwarranted intrusion into their affairs by governmental authorities." Yet the government is collecting Americans' phone records and condoning spying that targets Americans. Ariel Dorfman experienced such spying during the Pinochet era in Chile. Dorfman's warnings about government spying on its citizens are not to be ignored.
The fact that technology now allows eavesdroppers to collect every conversation, every intimate exchange, every secret or joke should make Americans tremble. Tremble not only because the potential for abuse is so enormous, but also because such suffocating scrutiny will inevitably corrode and corrupt free expression.
"Rational empiricism is perhaps the most important single element in the free way of life" according to Ebenstein. Yet daily we see dogmatism, and not an application of reason, at work in this country. George Will recounts a litany of examples where students claim "absolute certainty of knowledge [leading] to intolerant repression[.]"
The democratic process is meant to "prescribe how truth is to be ascertained, not what specific truth is going to be discovered." But anyone who dares to debate and argue is made a pariah. Mob rule reigns. Anti-Semitism is on the upsurge in the bastions of higher education. To the dogmatist, even climate science is a settled idea, and evidence to the contrary is ignored. As Ebenstein explains, "[h]istory is full of opinions held by one age as the last truth only to be considered false and absurd by subsequent ages."
Yet, intellectual brownshirts are marching through American classrooms and preparing the next generation to accept that the "state is the master, [while] the individual [is] the servant." This is totalitarian doctrine in a nutshell.
In fact, "the political liberty of a society can best be measured by the margin of unorthodoxy that is tolerated in that society ... where unorthodox opinions may be freely presented, without legal, social, or economic penalties." Yet freedom of expression in this country is now hampered, denied, and punished. Edward Morrissey explains that "[a]ll of this amounts to an attempt to control the political sphere by either silencing dissent or demonizing it as 'bullying,' 'bigoted,' and worse."
Finally, Ebenstein notes that "since dogmatism robs truth of its vigor and vitality, and is more likely to destroy truth than keep it alive," it is obligatory that "truth needs to be fully, frequently and fearlessly discussed," especially since "fascist movements must make the most contradictory promises to satisfy all their adherents."
While utopian dreams promulgated by the likes of Obama and others promise everlasting happiness, "this artificial [utopian] calm builds up tremendous resources of hatred." For "when the lid comes off, the accumulated frustrations break out into open violence." Is this one reason for the increase in anger in communities where Obama's hope and change has resulted only in greater misery, even though the messiah promised otherwise?
In 1916, the Rev. William J.H. Boetcker, in a leaflet entitled "Lincoln on private property," wrote the following:
- You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
- You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
- You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
- You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
- You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
- You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
- You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
- You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
- You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
- And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
Perhaps more important are the "Seven National Crimes," also attributed to Boetcker.
- I don't think.
- I don't know.
- I don't care.
- I am too busy.
- I leave well enough alone.
- I have no time to read and find out.
- I am not interested.
Americans need to tremble at the stealth totalitarian forces that are encircling the nation – and be reminded that "[t]hose willing to repress individual liberty for the sake of a strong state" create a citizenry of "docile instruments."
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.