Radical authoritarian nationalists (thank you Wikipedia) exist in virtually every territory in the world.
They are locked in an eternal struggle with the forces of democracy. They view themselves as the only legitimate patriots and everyone else as subversives, fools or other sweeping generalizations that might be used as a pretext to disqualify them from their right to political participation.
A Fascist government tolerates no dissent – no protesting in the street, no criticism of the state on blogs. To challenge the ruling regime under fascism is to commit heresy/treason and face the harshest of consequences.
To quote JFK, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”
In 2011, at the dawn of the 21st century, it appears to me fascism is on the rise. And I’m not talking about Islamic fascism in the Middle East, I’m talking about Capitalist Fascism in the US, China, Russia and Europe.
In effect these states may also be Plutocracies, but since they could never admit to being as much publicly, they parade around under the guises of nationalism and conservative tradition. Trans-National Capitalists (TNCs) are the effective royalty of the globalized Plutocratic empire.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” -Sinclair Lewis
That prophetic quote is from 1975. Since 1980 however, the “Pro-Business” rhetoric strikes me as a much better vehicle for fascism than religious nationalism characteristic of the 70s (though such sentiments remain active even today).
President Calvin Coolidge summarized this post-1980 doctrine well ahead of his time in 1925 when he said, “The business of America is business.”
To counter the trend of Progressivism and reform that FDR set into motion in the 1930s, it took Reagan’s famous, “Government is the problem” ideology. Reagan’s policies were supported by the prominent economist Milton Friedman, who became famous for harshly criticizing Keynes – the British economist on whose theories the American New Deal was based.
Libertarianism, that Ayn Rand-esque philosophy of today’s super-rich that seeks absolute freedom for individuals, is a product of this mentality, which sees as evil any restrictions on one person’s success for the betterment of the community.
It is a continuation of Neo-Liberalism that seeks to deregulate businesses and lower taxes on the wealthiest earners in the name of “Trickle-Down” theory. A theory that has proven never to really trickle-down at all over the last 30 years, but has dramatically enriched the already-wealthy (which, arguably, was its only intention from the beginning).
The fundamental difference between Keynesianism and Trickle-Down theory is called multiplicity.
Keynes advocated getting maximum money into the poorest hands during hard economic times – because they would spend it immediately and it would have a high rate of turnover.
Friedman sought to reduce restrictions on the wealthiest business owners theorizing this would lead to their expansion and the creation of more jobs. (It has, in fact helped business expansion, but instead of more jobs created, the money was mostly directed toward higher bonuses for CEOs and bankers/investors/realtors in the financial sector).
The multiplicity in Trickle-Down theory is very low, because when extra money is given to the wealthiest they don’t tend to spend it immediately, but rather invest it as *savings* – which does not stimulate the economy or provide job growth for the community, and instead only serves as financial security for the wealthy.
This simple difference in effectiveness lies at the heart of all modern political struggle. Keynesian economics is about 3 times more effective than Trickle-Down is, by this measure of multiplicity.
Similarly, all the talk of “job killing” regulations is largely propaganda and nonsense. Do you want to get rid of the Clean Air or Water Acts? Regulation on derivative securities trading could have prevented the 2008 mortgage financial crisis.
Such regulation was seen as dissent against the ruling Fascists however – it targeted the very root of their most profitable-ever global fraud scheme.
Graham-Leahy-Bliley repealed Glass-Steagall, the 1930s banking regulation that separated investment banks from commercial banks and prohibited the former from speculating with its depositors’ money. This set the stage for the financial collapse. Though Dodd-Frank has attempted to revive Glass-Steagall, its implementation has been fought at every turn by elements loyal to the TNCs.
After 30 years of the TNCs holding global dominance and espousing Trickle-Down theory, popular backlash has begun – in the form of the Arab Spring revolutions and Occupy Wall Street protests.
The Fascists are quick to denounce these dissidents. They are the unwashed masses! Communists! Socialists! They want something for free! They are terrorists! They represent the worst of society! [implicit in fascist mythology is the idea that the most successful (richest) businessmen represent the best of society]
As the challenge for dominance in society escalates, Fascist governments (pulled by the puppet strings of the Plutocrat TNCs) will begin to employ greater use of violence to suppress the rebellion – and this will be their fatal mistake.
When the people begin to realize their rulers don’t respect their right to live – the people will begin to stop respecting the rulers’ right to rule. And once that legitimacy is lost, it is almost impossible to regain. At that point it is not a matter of if the Fascist government will fall from power, but when.
Conformity by force might keep stability in the short run, but in the long run it stifles diversity and innovation, ultimately leading to stagnation and deterioration. By suppressing political dissent, a regime hamstrings its own ability to evolve.
The regime’s competition however evolves rapidly – as heavy handed abuses of power act as catalysts to create the very dissent authorities intended to discourage.