You are on page 1of 2

" 8�Liberal Fascist Economics�1 N RECENT YEARS liberals have largely succeeded in

deftmng�^^Lthe conventional wisdom when it comes to economics.�"Corporations are


too powerful." They have a "stranglehold" on "the�system," the entirety of which
is now cormpted bv the soiled touch�ofcommerce. Every liberal publication in
America subscribes to this�The further you move to the left, the more
this�conviction becomes a caricature. Thus Bill Maher showed up at the�Arianna
Huffington supposedly switched from right to left due to her disgust
with�corporaU�"pigs at the trough." William Greider, Kevin Phillips, Robert
Reich,�Jonathan Chait, and every other would-be Charles Beard on the�American left
hold similar views. Corporations are inherently rightwing, we are assured, and if
left unchecked, these malign and irresponsible entities will bring us perilously
close to fascism. The noble�fight against these sinister "corporate paymasters" is
part of the eternal stmggle to keep fascism#however ill defined#at bay.�Ever since
the 1930s, there has been a tendency to see big business#"industrialists,"
"economic royalists," or "financial�mling�classes"#as the real wizards behind the
fascist Oz. Today's liberals�are just the latest inheritors of this tradition. On
the conspiratorial�left, for example, it is de rigueur to call George W. Bush
and�Republicans in general Nazis. The case is supposedly bolstered by�the widely
peddled smear that Bush's grandfather was one of the industrialists who "funded"
Hitler.1 But even outside the fever swamps,�the notion that liberals must keep a
weather eye on big business for�signs of creeping fascism is an article of faith.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.�The political scientist Theodore Lowi has said that the
Republicans�are "friendly fascists, a dominant effort to combine govemment
and�corporations." The Canadian novelist John Ralston Saul argues in his�There is
much unintentional tmth to this collective diagnosis, but�these would-be
physicians have misread both the symptoms and the�disease. In the left's etemal
vigilance to fend off fascism, they have�in fact created it, albeit with a
friendly face. Lik�Yet for nearly�a century the left and liberals have been using
textbooks brimming�with superstition. The�In reality, if you define "right-wing"
or "conservative" in the�American sense of supporting the mle of law and the free
market,�then the more right-wing a business is, the less fascist it
becomes.�Meanwhile, in temis of economic policy, the more you move to
the�political center, as defined in American politics today, the closer you�get to
tme fascism. If the far left is defined bv socialism and the far�ft. If the far
left is defined by socialism and the far�right by laissez-faire, then it is the
mealymouthed centrists of the�Democratic Leadership Council and the Brookings
Institution who�are ithe tme fascists, for it is they who subscribe to the notion
of the�Third Way, that quintessentially fascistic formulation that claims to�be
neither left nor right.3 More important, these myths are often deliberately
perpetuated in order to hasten the transformation of�American society into
precisely the kind of fascist#or corporatist#�nation liberals claim to oppose. To
a certain extent we do live in a�fascistic "unconscious civilization," but we've
gotten here through�the conscious effort of liberals who want it that way.4�CUI
BONO?�But as Chesterton said, fallacies do not cease to be fallaciesj j�simply
because they become fashions.�Convinced that they alone were on the side of the
people, the Reds�responded to every political defeat by asking, "Cui
bono?"#l^/ho�benefits?" The answer had to be the mling capitalists. "Fascism"�thus
became a convenient label for "desperate capitalists."�Ever since, whenever the
left has met with political defeat, it has�cried, "Fascism!" and insisted the fat
cats were secretly pulling the�strings. MSD�"'Central to all socialist theories of
fascism," writes the historian Martin Kitchen, "is the insistence on the�close
relationship between fascism and industry" Yale's Henry�Ashby Tumer calls this an
"ideological straightjacket" that constrains�virtually all Marxist-influenced
scholarship. "Ahnost without exception... these writings suffer, as do those of
'orthodox' Marxists,�from over-reliance on questionable, if not fraudulent
scholarship, and�from egregious misrepresentation offactual information."6 In
point of�Fascist intellectuals, moreover, were openly contemptuous ofcapitalism
and laissez-faire economics.�Meanwhile, the left-wing press in�Germany and
throughout the West became a transmission belt for�one bogus rumor after another
that German industrialists were�bankrolling the mad corporal and his Brownshirts.
The success of�this propaganda effort remains the chief reason liberals continue
to�This is all nonsense, as we've seen. The National Socialist�German Workers'
Party was in every respect a grassroots populist�-fArty.�i. Upon seizmg�power, the
radicals in the Nazi Party Labor Union threatened to put�business leaders in
concentration camps ifthey didn't increase worknlWages. That is hardly the sort
ofthing one would expect from�a�THE FASCIST BARGAIN�