It’s important to understand what fascism actually is if one is going to cry “fascism.” Many people have an extremely confused understanding of what fascism is. They think it’s about a certain style. They think it’s about social norms. It’s not primarily.
Fascism is an economic system first and foremost as is explained below. It is about big government control over everything with nominally private firms. (Sound familiar?) That is what fascism is about. It’s not necessarily jack boots, and racial rhetoric. But some people, particularly a certain brand of big government fan, do not want to acknowledge that it is actually their economic disposition that most closely resembles fascism. They don’t want to associate themselves with people like Hitler and Mussolini.They are of course tolerant and enlightened people of the Left. Hitler was on the Right right? Right?
But if one is for big government and for heavy regulation of industry with close ties between industry and government (sound familiar) one might be a fascist – or at least a crony capitalist. (Which is a nice term for fascism-lite. And often not so lite.)
(From The Independent Institute)
With all the voices warning of the rise of fascism in America, it would serve us well to define fascism to ensure we understand each other and can discuss the matter with intelligence and civility. Our friend Sheldon Richman is helpful on this point with his thorough entry in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Here is an excerpt:
As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. . . . Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism –”blood and soil”–for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism. . . .Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. . . . Under fascism, the state, through official cartels, controlled all aspects of manufacturing, commerce, finance, and agriculture. Planning boards set product lines, production levels, prices, wages, working conditions, and the size of firms. Licensing was ubiquitous; no economic activity could be undertaken without government permission. Levels of consumption were dictated by the state, and “excess” incomes had to be surrendered as taxes or “loans.”