Call it Fascism

The difference between "leftist" and "rightist" tyranny is that the tyrants on the "right" have enough sense not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. They understand that pure socialism does not work; and so they erect a corporatist-aligned government, where private industry is encouraged to become an arm of government policy, while being allowed to keep some of the profits.

The term "corporatism" is proper. It was used by Mussolini and Franco, who both produced reasonably stable fascist states. This is what we are facing on the horizon.

To the untutored, the term "fascism" conjures up Hitler, whose Nazi Germany is held up as the prime example of fascism: Der ÜberStaat. In reality, Hitler's Germany was a thuggish state, based on neo-pagan mythologies and pseudo-scientific mystic racism with rather bizarre economic strategies. It was not a good example of fascism.

It was Mussolini who perfected the model, which was later exported to Spain and Latin America. Had Mussolini stayed out of World War II, the model might have taken a more solid root and become more publicly respectable. After WW II, Franco softened the model to appease the Western democracies, and it was used to grow the Spanish economy. Under Perón, Argentina tried the model, but Argentine corruption was so enormous that it collapsed. To be fair, this may be as much the fault of Argentina's national character as a fault with fascism.

In Argentina... payoffs, kickbacks and government corruption are considered part of everyday life... -- NY Times

In a few words, fascism is crony capitalism with a suppression of civil liberties. Labor and proletarian elements are suppressed, but a sop of social legislation is enacted to keep the lower classes from outright revolt. The degree to which social concessions are made determines whether the fascism is leftist or rightist. Mussolini was more to the right. The Peróns ended up being leftist. In all cases, the philosophy is statist.

Facism is not the free market capitalism of Adam Smith by any means. Smith opposed government interference. Fascism can be viewed as much a form of leftism as rightism -- depending on one's point of view. This is a statist envelope where all groups: rich, poor, unions, capitalists are brought under state control.

Fascism, unlike leftist totalitarians, embraces its own corruption. One does not see the massive purges of party membership dispatched over minor doctrinal differences in political theory. The troublemakers get fired from their jobs first. Buying people off is considered a respectable policy, unlike the left totalitarians which considered suspected dissents too dangerous to live. Only the truly defiant are shot. Fascism often allowed enough managed dissent for people to blow off steam, as long as that dissent was kept feckless. Franco embraced Carlists, monarchists, Phalangists, fascists, right wingers, etc. Fascism worked because, unlike the left, Fascism acknowledges the intrinsic corruption of men. It does not seek to make a "new man," but rather merely seeks to control the old one.

What we have emerging around the world are various flavors of fascism. And dare we say it: This is especially true of the West.

It would be wrong to say that transnational corporations now tell governments what to do. Rather what is emerging is a corporation-government alliance, the very essence of fascism. High-tech companies now provide governments with the technologies to enforce totalitarian control over our lives. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay now track all your purchases. If you do not think the government does not have access to this information, then you are not paying attention. Corporations provide governments with the means of control that formerly would have been unacceptable for any government to request.

The recent spat over unlocking an iPhone was all for show. Apple just wanted a clear definition of terms. This is not a bunch of civil libertarians versus Big Brother. Apple is rather notorious for tracking its customers.

Apple is Tracking iPhone, iPad Users' Location; Easily Mapped With OS X App -- Daily Tech

Think of it as turf wars between competing mafia families. Both sides are corrupt, and neither side has moral compunctions about the corruption. They just want the border neighborhoods clearly defined.  Does the Lucchese crime family control the numbers racket in Bensonhurst, or the Gambino family?  Does Apple control encryption protocols, or the NSA?

Apple... received over 30k law enforcement requests, complied with up to 82% -- 9to5 Mac

In reality, Apple is rather compliant with the government. Microsoft's Bill Gates was more nuanced:

"All Apple's doing is delaying the decision," Gates told Zakaria. "So I don't think it's a big deal whether they gave in or didn't give in." -- Money CNN

Privacy is dead.

What distinguishes the fascist state is that the government finally figured out that it does not need to control everything as long as it gets it vig (taxes); and as long as it can set the general direction. Corporations can control the population far more effectively and cheaply. The leftist totalitarian may want purity of concept and party doctrine; but the fascist cares only about results, and embraces the corruption needed to achieve it.

There are quasi-leftist forms of fascism. Hitler's rival, Ernst Röhm, had a leftist view of Nazism. He was also quite homosexual -- take that any way you want. The Peróns of Argentina had some leftist aspects. Perón was a minister of labor. Fascism is corruption that works. Obama spreads a classic leftist variety of fascism.

Fascism tracks back to the deteriorating days of the Roman Republic. Indeed, the the fasces was a symbol of Roman power. Landed families had taken over and corrupted the political system to the point where an effective monarchy prevailed. Sure, it kept up the appearances of a republic; but in reality ruling families ran the show. Subsidized food and entertainments (bread and circuses) kept the people quiet. People's allegiances split along family lines rather than political concepts much the same as we have it today. The party of Bush vs the party of Clinton. Let us not forget that the party of Kennedy still has some clout.

All these are competing mafias, a crime organization that took its inspiration from the Roman Republic. 

This corrupt system is what is taking over the world. China is no longer communist, but corporatist. Putin is a right-wing strongman: a Caesar; but runs a brutal oil company: Gazprom. The European parliament regularly ignores the wishes of its constituency, and imposes corporate requirements. All of this was perfected two thousand years ago in Rome, when the Republic fell to the corruption of monied plutocrats. The forms of a Republic were preserved while the tyranny worsened.

Pretenses were kept up, though. Slaves were freed eventually, but all freeman were enslaved practically. Eventually, everyone but the super rich became a serf.  All the while, the pretense of liberty was maintained.

Right now, we see Trump winning Colorado votes, while the Republican party apparatchiks maneuver to give the delegates to Cruz. Bernie won Wyoming. Hilary got the delegates. The corruption is blatant, in your face now. No one pretends any more.

The parties (or should we say party) will decide what choices you have. If you think the rest of the world does not notice this, you are not paying attention. American democracy is being shown to be a facade. The insiders rule and pick the candidates, and the public be damned.

The various flavors do not matter. It can be a corporatist China pretending to be communist. It can be a corporatist Europe pretending to be democratic. It can be a corporatist America pretending to respect civil liberties. It the end, it is all money and state power. There are degrees of tyranny, but all have some tyranny.

Google bows to China's censorship demands -- Sydney Morning Herald

The corporations become agencies of the government, and in return get protected status. A system of monied corruption perfected by the Romans two thousand years ago is taking over the planet. It has the modern appearance of a democracy, but it is an increasing despotism.

Call it what it is: Fascism. Call all these wars what they are: local mafias defining boundaries.

There is only one remedy for fascism: national virtue. But that will never happen while people are instructed by the media. America had national virtue at one time. No longer.

The book of Revelation hinted at a revived Roman Empire as the final world tyranny. Whether that refers to a literal European Imperial State or is a metaphor for another federal empire is up for debate. What is striking is that the form of that tyranny has been recapitulated almost perfectly.

Call it fascism. We all live under it.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who is neither Latin, nor Arab. He runs a website,, where he discusses the subculture of Arabs in Latin America. He wishes his Spanish were better.