Green Room

The Eff Word

posted at 12:51 am on September 7, 2009 by

Fascism.

It’s the ultimate political epithet, the atomic blast that ends calm and measured debate. This makes those who seek to be reasonable and persuasive understandably reluctant to use the word… and those who aren’t interested in either reason or persuasion eager to hurl it at their opponents. There is nothing surprising about the visceral emotions conjured by the mention of its name. The history of fascism is written in the blood of innocents, on a scale that challenges the limits of human imagination.

Our natural repulsion from the concept of fascism, coupled with the way it has been cheapened by decades of use as a casual insult by the Left, makes it difficult for us to study it dispassionately. It is important to make that study, because fascism was not a mystical phenomenon, a curse inflicted on the Axis nations through the supernatural charisma of Mussolini and Hitler. Too many people recall the garish and horrifying trappings of Nazi Germany, and think “it couldn’t happen here.” It has happened here. It’s happening again now. We do ourselves no favors by refusing to see it, any more than we would be helping ourselves by throwing around baseless accusations of fascism where it does not exist.

Fascism, like communism and socialism, is a form of collectivist politics. As the great author H.P. Lovecraft put it, when describing the dark gods of his horror stories: “Many names, one nightmare.” These philosophies share a belief in the supreme power and virtue of the central State. Under communism, government owns the means of production – there is no private industry. In a socialist system, the State is nominally separate from private industry, but it siphons large amounts of money from the private sector to fund the socialist agenda. Fascism maintains private industry, but places it under the direct control of the government. Private industry still exists, but the State sets production goals, directly controls economic activity, and dominates the management of corporations. Industry becomes enslaved to political goals.

Modern audiences, raised on a steady diet of movies about World War II, think of fascism as either inhumanly horrifying, or completely absurd, and wonder how anyone in their right minds could have fallen for the fascist sales pitch. In fact, fascism did not seem absurd at all to the intellectuals of the early twentieth century. They thought a wise and all-powerful State, run by the most brilliant minds, would be able to engineer a more advanced society, much as engineers were designing increasingly advanced scientific marvels. The pioneering author of modern science fiction, H.G. Wells, was an outspoken advocate of authoritarian control by a benevolent government of geniuses and academics. His novel The Shape of Things to Come envisions such a government seizing control of the entire world to create a global utopia, called “The Dictatorship of the Air” because the government controls the technology of air travel – which it occasionally uses to drop bombs on those who resist. Here are some excerpts from a famous speech Wells gave to the British Young Liberals Society at Oxford in 1932, reprinted in Jonah Goldberg’s indispensable Liberal Fascism – a phrase Wells actually coins in the speech:

We have seen the Fascisti in Italy and a number of clumsy imitations elsewhere, and we have seen the Russian Communist Party coming into existence to reinforce this idea… I am asking for a Liberal Fascisti, for enlightened Nazis… And do not let me leave you in the slightest doubt as to the scope and ambition of what I am putting before you… These new organizations are not merely organizations for the spread of defined opinions… the days of that sort of amateurism are over-they are organizations to replace the dilatory indecisiveness of democracy. The world is sick of parliamentary politics…

The world is sick of parliamentary politics. This is an idea that occurs in every strand of collectivist thought. Collectivists only revere democracy until it has voted them sufficient power… then democracy becomes a cumbersome inconvenience that allows selfish, ignorant fools and corporate shills to interfere with the brilliant work of great men. The Democrats fleeing from town hall meetings are also sick of parliamentary politics, as is the President who defiles American government with dozens of unelected, unconfirmed, unaccountable “czars.” Parliamentary politics proved very inconvenient for the President’s health-care takeover and cap-and-trade bills, and have been driving global-warming cultists mad with frustration for years.

Why is fascism bad? It seems like a ridiculously understated question, similar to asking why cancer is bad, but the answer is important. The grisly ornaments fascism has worn in the past should not distract from the deeper reality of what it is, and why it fails. The essential flaw of fascism is that it elevates the State to control of its citizens, because controlling the economy requires control of the people. A corporation is a voluntary association of people, not an inanimate machine that can be reprogrammed painlessly by wise government advisers. The people who comprise corporations must be kept alienated from the government’s supporters – fascism requires enemies, and turns feral quickly. The government does not require a majority of the people to support it, in order to maintain power. It can make do with much less than fifty per cent, if they are sufficiently motivated and obedient. In fact, maintaining control through an energized minority is much easier than keeping the majority of the population on board, especially in a large country.

The proposition that enlightened government officials should control the economy sounds appealing to those who feel capitalism has not treated them well. No matter what name it operates under, fascism never works. It can’t work. Fascist control might produce short-term gains for its favored constituencies, and the sense of organization it brings might benefit a highly disorganized or demoralized population, such as prewar Germany, for a while. In the long run, fascism falls apart because political control is always less flexible and innovative than free-market competition. The political masters of the economy have a list of alternatives they will not consider, mistakes they will not admit to making, and explanations that simply cannot be true. Since they see the free market as inferior to their intellect and moral judgment, they never study it carefully enough to understand how it really works. They become highly adept at killing the geese that lay golden eggs.

Government is a terrible senior partner for any industry, because it has only one thing to bring to the partnership, and that is compulsive force. Everything government does is an expression of force: it collects taxes under the threat of imprisonment or death, blocks access to markets through licensing, and changes the rules of market competition through regulation. A well-run government uses force to protect its citizens, from external threats and internal lawbreakers. As the size of government swells, so does the amount of force deployed to enforce its will. This is inevitable, because force is what a government is. The fascist views private industry as a work horse, yoked to the will of the State… and when the State has exhausted its minimal patience trying to talk the horse into moving faster, there remains only the lash. Political control of the economy never produces the results that would be needed to keep the vital constituencies of the politicians happy, and the only method they can imagine to make their industrial horses work harder is to swing the whip, with increasing anger.

The fascist impulse expresses itself differently in different societies. In America, it was first embraced by President Wilson and the Progressives, because it made sense to them, and everyone else in the industrialized world was already doing it – if you’re unfamiliar with the intellectual literature of the Thirties, you would be surprised how often British and American academics fretted about “falling behind” marvelous, fascist Italy and Germany. Fascism’s second life in America began because socialism failed. The system of providing social benefits to an increasingly large dependency class, by taxing a dwindling group of productive citizens, went utterly bankrupt. This is dramatically illustrated by the failure of Obama’s health care plan, which even the most politically disinterested Americans can see we clearly don’t have the money to pay for, with trillions of dollars in debt towering over us. Exit the tax collector… enter the “czar.” When the American Left saw that it could no longer extract enough tax money from an increasingly grumpy, overtaxed electorate, it became logically necessary to compel industry to provide what the Left desires. Wrapping this strategy in high-minded language like “green jobs” does not change its essential nature.

The grim pathologies we associate with fascism come as consequences of its original sin, the assertion of direct State control over the economy. The cult of personality forms because the mighty politicians who command the economy must be brilliant supermen – how else could they handle the enormous task they have set for themselves? To support Obama’s domestic policies, you must believe he understands medicine better than doctors and insurance companies, knows more about monetary policy than all the banks he has asserted control over, and has a greater mastery of energy production than the industries he plans to destroy with the cap-and-trade bill. He even knows more about making cars than General Motors… and all of the other auto-makers combined, since the automobile market wanted GM to die, and Obama commuted the death sentence to community service. No wonder the media loves to photograph the man with a halo, and Hollywood celebrities pledge their obedience to him on their knees!

Fascism acquires militaristic aspects because a society organized for war is easier to control, and opponents of the State are more easily dismissed as traitors. The American fascists, evolved from socialists and liberals, dislike aggressive wars of military conquest, so they co-opt the language of warfare for domestic policy issues, declaring their policy preferences to be the “moral equivalent of war.” Fascism becomes violent because its supporters develop a tribal hostility to their domestic enemies, which eventually leads them to beat those enemies, and maybe bite off a finger or two. Fascism incubates racism because racial animosity is a powerful glue for holding constituent groups together, and milking them for political support.

Is America sliding into fascism? Not completely, or quickly… but it’s a potent venom, deadly in small doses. We should not dismiss the menace of fascism by reasoning that it always comes dressed in black uniforms and jackboots, patrolling the perimeter of concentration camps – so we’re in good shape as long as those horrors are not in evidence. We shouldn’t be fooling around with such a toxic ideology at all. No matter how noble the stated goals at the beginning of the collectivist journey, it always ends at the same destination. Promoting his latest propaganda film, Michael Moore said that “capitalism is evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to replace it with something that is good for all people, and that something is democracy.” This is more than just laughable hypocrisy from a millionaire leftist. Capitalism is the exchange of goods and services between free men and women. In the end, there is only one alternative to it, and it is not “democracy.”

Many names, one nightmare.

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Mr_Magoo on September 7, 2009 at 2:55 PM

Norman’s problem (besides not knowing how to argue effectively) is that he sees “Government” as some sort of living entity, capable of acting under it’s own direction, apparently.

So, one day, the Government decided to end slavery? And acted on that decision?

You, I and others know; that’s not how it works.

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Riveting yes, but shorter would mean exponentially more people would read it. And we really need more people reading and thinking about the issues Doc brings up.

doriangrey on September 7, 2009 at 1:34 PM

While I too struggle with expressing myself pithily, and must ruthlessly edit my work down to keep it readable, it appears to me that the discussion of how long this post is has exceeded the length of the post itself.

The Monster on September 7, 2009 at 3:13 PM

This is of course bullsh*t. Doctor Zero doesn’t know what he’s talking about. How do you explain the existence of slavery, child labor and the oppression of women and minorities in a capitalist society like America? If it weren’t for government, these things would still be in America today.

… blah blah blah ….

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 1:06 PM

There’s something wrong here. This comment was made in response ot DZ’s

Capitalism is the exchange of goods and services between free men and women.

How do you explain “the existence of slavery, child labor and the oppression of women and minorities” in a democratic society like that of ancient Greece. Democracy was abandoned there and the Roman Republic offered the best alternative to GOVERNING. CAPITALISM is an economic system. It exists under monarchies, religiously ruled societies, like Islamic states, and authoritarian societies like “one child” China.

Rights obtained from CAPITALISM include the right to private property, the right to transfer that property (now extended to intellectual property), and right to keep the gain from the use of the property.

I see no people risking their lives to cross the Caribbean to get TO socialist Cuba on a raft or a tire tube but plenty coming our way from the Cuban island of Castro’s hegemonic homeland. What can people own in Cuba?

Question: did Obama take a page from H. Chavez in his effort to nationalize the two auto companies? Chavez nationalized corporately owned oil companies to serve the state, more specifically, the objectives of Chavez. What did Chavez pay for these oil companies? Nada. Zip. Nothing. Government takes away rights, does not grant them.

ExpressoBold on September 7, 2009 at 3:16 PM

I’ll probably be accused of being syncophantic, Doctor Zero, but here’s my chance to use a different kind of “Eff word.”

Write what you want.
Eff ‘em if they don’t like it.

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 3:16 PM

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 3:16 PM

I agree completely! I always find a lot to consider and think about after reading Doctor Zero’s posts. Top shelf!

ExpressoBold on September 7, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Capitalism is the exchange of goods and services between free men and women. In the end, there is only one alternative to it, and it is not “democracy.”

The Coca-Cola company has no police force to arrest me for drinking Pepsi. KFC does not get my money by threatening to imprison me if I eat Popeye’s or Church’s. Oklahoma Joe’s can’t fine me for eating Rosedale BBQ or Jack Stack. Leftists desperately want people to fail to appreciate this distinction, because they cannot push their agenda so long as we grasp it.

Underneath every “there ought to be a law” campaign is the reality that what is actually proposed is the threat that those who do not behave as the law demands will be compelled to give up some portion of their lives, liberties, and/or property, by armed state agents. So the question you have to ask yourself is “Am I willing to have people who won’t obey this command subjected to confiscation of property, incarceration, and beating or killing those who resist such encroachments upon their liberties?”

Put that way, how can anyone support Cap-n-tax(-n-tax-n-tax…) or ObamaScare?

The Monster on September 7, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Question: did Obama take a page from H. Chavez in his effort to nationalize the two auto companies? ExpressoBold on September 7, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Obama’s approach to the Auto Companies (which has been control, not really nationalization/seizure) is more in the model of facism than of Chavez-style socialism.

I’ll quote from Doctor Zero above, here:

Fascism maintains private industry, but places it under the direct control of the government. Private industry still exists, but the State sets production goals, directly controls economic activity, and dominates the management of corporations. Industry becomes enslaved to political goals.

Sounds exactly like the GM and Chrysler thing, no?

Plus, Obama did substantially whatever he wanted to with those companies (firing management, setting up deals that changed the ownership of the companies, etc..) all the while maintaining that he “didn’t want to” run the car companies.

If you haven’t yet – check out Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Facism.” He calls this kind of thing “Smiley Face” Facism.

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Most of the Abolititionist movement, and nearly all of the Women’s suffrage movement, was carried out, and funded by, people who had the two elements I describe; (the freedom from immediate want, and the time and money to work for social change.)massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 2:37 PM

Man are you thick. The Abolitionist movement did not free slaves nor bring social change on its own. It finally took the government (i.e., Lincoln and the new formed Republican party) to do it. And it was the government that finally brought an end to institutional racism. I even mentioned the Civil War and the 1964 Civil Rights Act and you still make an ass out of yourself.

Ol’ Norman got mighty quiet, after we started smacking him with logic.

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 2:51 PM

The only thing you smacked me around with is your stupidity. I had to leave to get some fresh air. I’m not on the computer every minute like you and your ilk are.

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 3:40 PM

If you haven’t yet – check out Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Facism.” He calls this kind of thing “Smiley Face” Facism.

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Thanks for reminding me!

My main point, that I wanted to emphasize, was that capitalism as an economic system can exist apart from a form of government. Expressing ideas in a pure form is quite different from practice.

Thus, “Capitalism is the exchange of goods and services between free men and women” expressed as an unencumbered idea, is an ideal but probably unreachable in practice – there must be some government regulation to maintain a fair market of resources and capital.

ExpressoBold on September 7, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 1:06 PM

this and your ‘Marx enlightenment’ post are probably the two dumbest posts I’ve ever seen on the internet. Kudos, Norman.

Slavery was created and maintained by government; if you took the time to read a book, you’d know about the lengthy ‘Slave Codes’ of the Southern states, where the power of government was used to enforce this system. Slavery is a pre-capitalist proto-fascist remnant that survived into the 19th Century in the West because ruling elites controlled some state and British Caribbean governments.

Marx understood the inherent brutality of UNREGULATED capitalism and barely-regulated capitalism ( which existed in the early years of the Industrial Revolution ) but he was wrong in every aspect of his predictions and wrong about the role of the middle class–a group which he dismissed as tools of the rich.

There’s too much to contest here: Everything you say is Crap. Take a pill; read a book; think; clean the Scheiss out of your head…….

Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 3:49 PM

“Industry becomes enslaved to political goals.” = Enviornmental Justice.

You can make it up as you go along…

… What could go wrong?

Excellent post, Doc!

Seven Percent Solution on September 7, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Slavery was created and maintained by government; if you took the time to read a book, you’d know about the lengthy ‘Slave Codes’ of the Southern states, where the power of government was used to enforce this system. Slavery is a pre-capitalist proto-fascist remnant that survived into the 19th Century in the West because ruling elites controlled some state and British Caribbean governments.
Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 3:49 PM

More mindless blather from an idiot. Who owned the slaves: the government or the plantation owners?

What other country had a civil war to abolish slavery?

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 4:37 PM

BTW, the mindless blather from an idiot is you Janos.

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Wonderful work here, Doc. I appreciate your quality as well as your quantity. HotAir isn’t Twitter, after all. Stay with us, please, and continue your mission to educate, we aren’t all ingrates here!

Maquis on September 7, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Nice try, Norm. A Marxist like you knows that in a pre-capitalist system like the South, the government is a apparatus of the ruling class. You ‘argued’ that government came along AFTER slavery; my point was that government CREATED slavery because that institution suited the interests of the ruling elites in the Southern colonies.

They tried indentured servitude, which worked in Britain to suit their need for cheap labor, but that failed miserably in the colonies. As a last resort, they turned to slavery.

Your odd rancid statements don’t make enough sense to refute–you apparently hink that’s a clever strategy, but you look ridiculous.

You’re in far over your head here: Your comments to DocZ are pigmy shouts to a far superior intellect.

Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Thanks again for another thoughtful post. I am so glad that you are posting on hotair. You are providing a great service – education. I believe the best defense of our republic and individual liberty is a well informed populace. Your posts continue to inform and educate me so that I can better understand what is happening to our country.

frank58 on September 7, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 3:40 PM

So, now I’m “thick” and “stupid.”
Here it is, the troll trifecta.

You started with simple, mindless gainsaying – “Am Not/Are To” argument.

You went to “Oh, Yeah?”

And finally, with the namecalling, you’ve sunk to “Neener, Neener.”

No logic. No refutation, with citatations.

Nice job, skippy!

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 6:40 PM

No logic. No refutation, with citatations.

Nice job, skippy!

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Then you are freakin’ illiterate.

You’re in far over your head here: Your comments to DocZ are pigmy shouts to a far superior intellect.

Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 5:50 PM

I’ve rebutted all your points with questions you are unable to answer.I am intellectually light years ahead of you Janos.

As for DocZ, DocZ’s bullsh*t doesn’t address the fact that America had capitalism and slaves, and that capitalism didn’t free them or stop discrimination, government did!

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 9:03 PM

You claim superiority, without proofs.
We demolish you, with facts and logic.
You call names, and assert (again, without proofs,) that you are superior.

You’re too lazy to even bring a knife to a gunfight.

Off you go now; this here’s the big leagues.

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 9:13 PM

As for DocZ, DocZ’s bullsh*t doesn’t address the fact that America had capitalism and slaves, and that capitalism didn’t free them or stop discrimination, government did!

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 9:03 PM

In case any of you were wondering: no, this guy is not some sock puppet I created just to make myself look good. There really are people like this in the world.

You’ve got a compelling argument there, Comrade Blitzer. Because governments played a role in abolishing slavery, we owe fascist and totalitarian governments unquestioning loyalty forever? And you even threw in some cuss words with the good parts asterisked out. That always makes you look like less of a moron.

You know those virtuous governments you keep prattling on about? None of them were fascist, totalitarian, or communist governments.

And while we’re on that subject, let me remind you of one other evil the American government defeated: communism. It held more slaves than any of the “capitalist” societies that haunt your fever dreams. It killed more people than any religious crusade, imperialist government, or fascist power. It died at the hands of the United States of America. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Now, why don’t you run along to your cell or einsatzgruppen or whatever you belong to, go back to hugging your copy of Das Kaptial and weeping for the glory days, and hope that maybe Van Jones will slip down the chimney like Santa Claus and sign your portrait of Chairman Mao? You’ve done your bit for the glorious revolution here today, and you served a very useful purpose for me as well. You’ve earned a little reward.

Doctor Zero on September 7, 2009 at 10:16 PM

Yer still way to damned long winded Doc. You might as well go sit on a dusty library shelf if you cant shorten your posts, because only a small handful of people are wading through all that you have to say.

I’m not saying what you have to say is bad, I think what you say is very important, far to important for it to get lost in a vast wasteland of excessive verbiage.

doriangrey on September 7, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Out of curiousity, doriangrey, after catching Comrade Blitzer’s act on this comment thread, do you still think my original post was too long? Fair enough if you do, but I don’t think any part of this argument is redundant, or unnecessary to make.

Doctor Zero on September 7, 2009 at 10:21 PM

We demolish you, with facts and logic.
You call names, and assert (again, without proofs,) that you are superior.
massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 9:13 PM

What facts? I totally abolished your contention that slavery was ended by abolitionists alone. Other than that, you’ve provided nothing.
You’ve been schooled my boy. Now go home and get some sleep so you can be alert when watching President Obama’s speech.

That goes for you too, Doctor Zero.

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 10:32 PM

In case any of you were wondering: no, this guy is not some sock puppet I created just to make myself look good.

I was wondering if that guy could possibly be real. How could anyone be truly that ignorant of actual history? And worship the greedy rich capitalist pig Michael Moore as the Oracle of Marx? Then again, has anyone checked if Obama’s been online for the last hour?

There really are people like this in the world

Good Lord, that’s a scary thought, isn’t it?

inmypajamas on September 7, 2009 at 10:48 PM

I’ve rebutted all your points with questions you are unable to answer.I am intellectually light years ahead of you Janos.

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 9:03 PM

In your Mom’s basement, Norm, you ‘rebut’ arguments by asking questions–but not outside of the dank pit you dwell in ( figuratively and literally )

Your questions were non sequiturs, Norm, and you never actually rebutted anything I wrote. Capitalism began under feudalism and eroded it into insignificance; it existed under absolutist monarchies and aristocracies, also eroding their authority; capitalism continued on under several forms of democratic government structures, from elitist to the current welfare state bureaucracies.

Slavery has no causal relationship with slavery; until you comprehend that you’re still the Pygmy, dancing around the campfire with a rotting bone in your nose.

Slavery existed under Greek democracy and Roman republic and empires–and exists today in bits of Mother Africa under a weird blend of tribal-communal rule and militarized anarchy.

The gains in ‘freedoms’ you noted took place alongside capitalism–which again, to repeat, is an economic system compatible with many forms and structures of government–BUT NOT COMMUNAL TOTALITARIANISM like communism and…..fascism.

Capitalism doesn’t deny or negate personal freedom; on the contrary it strongly tends to create and maintain just those freedoms you say you’re so happy about.

You’re a mess, Norm: ignorant and excitable and poorly educated, with the typical Lefty simplistic views that fall apart as soon as they’re challenged.

=====

to you DocZ: il miglior fabbro

Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 10:50 PM

I meant to write “slavery has no causal relationship with CAPITALISM” at the beginning of the 3rd paragraph of my Ode to Norm

Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 10:52 PM

The fact that all the Dictatorships – I mean, Paradises – of the Proletariat that have followed dear old Marx’s grand ideas have had to put up fences with guards and dogs to keep all the happy, lucky enlightened souls from running away should be enough fact for anyone but the most delusional.

inmypajamas on September 7, 2009 at 10:56 PM

Capitalism doesn’t deny or negate personal freedom; on the contrary it strongly tends to create and maintain just those freedoms you say you’re so happy about.
Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 10:50 PM

What freedoms for Blacks and women were created by capitalism?

You’re a mess, Norm: ignorant and excitable and poorly educated, with the typical Lefty simplistic views that fall apart as soon as they’re challenged.

Au contraire, the stupidity of the Right Wing is illuminated with your long winded posts and by my short but witty replies.

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Witty Norm, the self-bloated child. You have the attention span of an ADD teenager, so more than two sentences disorients you.

One last time, Norm: Capitalism and the marketplace provide choices; choices provide opportunity ( to succeed or fail ); opportunity erodes the power and authority of ruling elites.

Most of all, capitalism creates a middle class: It did that in the 13th Century to dislodge feudalism, and it was capitalism which created the 19th Century middle class that Marx somehow totally overlooked.

Were those paragraph too long for you, Norm? The words too long? Did the ideas perplex you?

Poor Norm……….

Freedoms for Blacks and women ( and everyone else ) come from several sources, including political action and having ruling parties in democracies adopt those freedoms as part of their platforms. Capitalism was the major force in creating the middle class where most of that political action took place, so capitalism should share the credit for the emergence of those freedoms.

Tinkers to Evers to Chance……..

Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 11:38 PM

Capitalism was the major force in creating the middle class where most of that political action took place,so capitalism should share the credit for the emergence of those freedoms.

Tinkers to Evers to Chance……..

Janos Hunyadi on September 7, 2009 at 11:38 PM

You don’t know what you are talking about. Just the reverse happened. The major forces at work like community organizations(e.g., unions) and government changed capitalism. That’s why we had the 1964 Civil Rights Act. People were being denied services and proper wages because of their race and gender.

Go to sleep Janos, your posts are just getting dumb and dumber.

Norman Blizter on September 8, 2009 at 12:06 AM

Au contraire, the stupidity of the Right Wing is illuminated with your long winded posts and by my short but witty replies.

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Would that it were true.

Jim Treacher on September 8, 2009 at 8:14 AM

People were being denied services and proper wages because of their race and gender.

…due to laws enacted by racist legislatures in the South. The railroads didn’t want to have separate cars for whites and blacks; they were quite willing to seat black passengers in whatever accomodations they wished to purchase. Segregating by race deprived them of the ability to maximize revenue.

Also note that the capitalist North defeated the feudal South in the war.

The Monster on September 8, 2009 at 8:36 AM

Au contraire, the stupidity of the Right Wing is illuminated with your long winded posts and by my short but witty replies.

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Would that it were true.

Jim Treacher on September 8, 2009 at 8:14 AM

You know who else was big on the short and witty reply? Karl Marx. Reading Das Kapital is like browsing through a Twitter feed of pure enlightenment. Beneath all the empty bluster, childish insults, and dim-bulb defenses of totalitarianism, Comrade Blitzer channels the wit of that other noted Marx: Groucho.

By the way, Blitzie, the magic word today is “kulak.” Say the magic word, and a duck will come down from the top of the blog and give you a pile of worthless Communist propaganda, and the deed to a radioactive lighthouse.

…due to laws enacted by racist legislatures in the South.

The railroads didn’t want to have separate cars for whites and blacks; they were quite willing to seat black passengers in whatever accomodations they wished to purchase. Segregating by race deprived them of the ability to maximize revenue.

Also note that the capitalist North defeated the feudal South in the war.

The Monster on September 8, 2009 at 8:36 AM

An excellent point, although one that is likely to be drowned out by the Soviet anthem blaring through Comrade Blitzer’s head on endless loop. People like him rarely have the courage to put down Marx and pick up Thomas Sowell.

Even if we granted that governments had some crucial role to play in defeating slavery or racism, Comrade Blitzer’s defense of fascism is a weird non-sequitur. Fascist and communist governments played absolutely no role in these noble deeds – that is an indisputable historic fact. One of the noted features of such governments is the way slavery and racism flourish under them. The idea that we should embrace fascism to honor Abraham Lincoln would be a knee-slapper if it wasn’t such a disgusting insult.

Doctor Zero on September 8, 2009 at 8:58 AM

Just the reverse happened. The major forces at work like community organizations(e.g., unions) and government changed capitalism.

Norman Blizter on September 8, 2009 at 12:06 AM

“The reverse”? None of your comments or questions make any sense. Norm. Noting you said ‘reverses’ my point: I said that one of the forces creating new rights ( and all entitlements ) was political action and democratic governments adopting ( co-opting ) the goals of political actors.

My point, which of course you ignored, is that capitalism was the major force in creating those groups. As as economic system, capitalism can flourish under any sort of democracy as well as under aristocratic rule. The slave-ridden South was mostly pre-capitalist, and in those areas where industry flourished ( Birmingham, Alabama and Petersburg, Virginia ) slaves were few and the factories were filled mostly with white workers.

Nearly all slaves were owned by the top 20%, and that 20% bitterly resisted capitalism because they knew what capitalism would bring: the end of slavery.

Janos Hunyadi on September 8, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Dr. Z congrats for the fine article and shout out from Jonah G at The Corner.

clorensen on September 8, 2009 at 11:01 AM

His novel The Shape of Things to Come envisions such a government seizing control of the entire world to create a global utopia, called “The Dictatorship of the Air” because the government controls the technology of air travel – which it occasionally uses to drop bombs on those who resist.

Never made the connection before between that and Heinlein’s The Long Watch. Heinlein’s Dahlquist — who appears by name in other stories as an unquestionable hero — single-handedly prevents the formation of a “Dictatorship of the Air”.

Crawford on September 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Capitalism had and has nothing to do with human rights.

Well, except that minor little idea that what you earn is yours, and the liberty to exchange it for the goods and services you want, rather than what some central bureaucracy says you want.

Do you own the minutes of your life or not? Capitalism says you do — collectivism say you don’t.

What human right has ever been acquired because of capitalism? Minimum wage? Equal pay for equal work regardless of sex and race?

None of those are human rights. Equal treatment by private individuals is a nice-to-have; the minimum wage is, in fact, a form of price-fixing that actually harms low-skill workers.

Crawford on September 8, 2009 at 12:06 PM

from Mark Steyn’s website, Sept 6th 2009

It took the workers’ tribunes a while to catch on: Even today, when your average union leader issues his annual Labour Day address, you can tell at heart he still thinks it’s 1926 and Metropolis is just around the corner. But the intellectual left has been scrambling for decades to come up with explanations as to why, if everything’s so bad, everything’s so good: Noam Chomsky’s theory of media manipulation – “manufactured consent” – can stand for an entire school of philosophers who believe a subtler breed of capitalist overlords are maintaining the workers in some sort of fools’ illusion of content.

But, inevitably, this was only going to be an intermediate stage, given that the shimmering mirage seems to be holding up pretty well. The new received wisdom – forcefully articulated by, among others, Maude Barlow’s Council of Canadians at the laugh-a-minute Johannesburg “Earth Summit” – is that the masses themselves are the problem. The oppressed masses refuse to stay oppressed. If they were down in the basement chained to the great turbines, all would be well. But, instead, they insist on moving out of their tenements, getting homes with non-communal bathrooms, giving up the trolley car, putting a deposit down on a Honda Civic and driving to the mall. When it was just medieval dukes swanking about like that, things were fine: That was “sustainable” prosperity. But now, everyone wants in. And, once you do that, there goes the global neighbourhood.

Janos Hunyadi on September 8, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Man are you thick. The Abolitionist movement did not free slaves nor bring social change on its own. It finally took the government (i.e., Lincoln and the new formed Republican party) to do it. And it was the government that finally brought an end to institutional racism. I even mentioned the Civil War and the 1964 Civil Rights Act and you still make an ass out of yourself.

Ol’ Norman got mighty quiet, after we started smacking him with logic.

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 2:51 PM

The only thing you smacked me around with is your stupidity. I had to leave to get some fresh air. I’m not on the computer every minute like you and your ilk are.

Norman Blizter on September 7, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Good Lord. Obama has really resurrected the dinosaurs. It’s like Jurassic Park.

ddrintn on September 8, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Doctor, America has a fever and the way to cure it is for you to write books for high school and college levels. You not only do the research but are a brilliant writer.
Thanks for sharing.

tim c on September 7, 2009 at 1:03 PM

My take is Doc’s ‘essays’ are to themselves an upperclass study on American Government.

Doc, you just keep up the good work. Some days I’m in the mood for brevity, some days not. Most of the time, when I start reading one of your pieces, I can’t stop.
Maybe, you should collect them and sell them online as the “Capitalist Papers”?

Blacksmith8 on September 9, 2009 at 8:44 AM

The money quote:

Capitalism is the exchange of goods and services between free men and women. In the end, there is only one alternative to it, and it is not “democracy.”

Thank you Doctor Zero.

Blacksmith8 on September 9, 2009 at 8:46 AM

The Nazis did not, as their foreign admirers contend, enforce price control within a market economy. With them price control was only one device within the frame of an all-around system of central planning. In the Nazi economy there was no question of private initiative and free enterprise. All production activities were directed by the Reichswirtschaftsministerium. No enterprise was free to deviate in the conduct of its operations from the orders issued by the government. Price control was only a device in the complex of innumerable decrees and orders regulating the minutest details of every business activity and precisely fixing every individual’s tasks on the one hand and his income and standard of living on the other.

What made it difficult for many people to grasp the very nature of the Nazi economic system was the fact that the Nazis did not expropriate the entrepreneurs and capitalists openly and that they did not adopt the principle of income equality which the Bolshevists espoused in the first years of Soviet rule and discarded only later. Yet the Nazis removed the bourgeois completely from control. Those entrepreneurs who were neither Jewish nor suspect of liberal and pacifist leanings retained their positions in the economic structure. But they were virtually merely salaried civil servants bound to comply unconditionally with the orders of their superiors, the bureaucrats of the Reich and the Nazi party.

-Ludwig von Mises

N. O'Brain on September 9, 2009 at 7:39 PM

Everything in the state, nothing outside the state.

-Benito Mussolini

N. O'Brain on September 9, 2009 at 7:42 PM

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