Liberalism- Fascism with a smile?
Benito Mussolini was the socialist leader of Italy when he instituted fascism in Italy. His program included progressive income tax, a minimum wage, forming secular state schools, and stripping the upper classes of their wealth by seizing land holdings.
The Nazis were leftists who emulated Mussolini’s fascism. They also wanted to drive Christianity from public life and were very much opposed to the capitalist system. Instead of controlling the means of production as the communists had, they choose to control industry and the private sector through regulation. They, like the Italian fascists looked to modernize and secularize society. Both looked to an all-powerful state as the vehicle to bring about the “change” they sought.
Today’s Leftists look to the supposed racism and the militaristic sentiments of the right to justify their fascist label. But racism or anti-Antisemitism has little in common with those on right, but if you looked at communist Russia, it was very anti-Semitic. Leftists often welcomed the war economy as a means to shape and mobilize society. Conservatives, by enlarge large are deeply suspicious of such big government, favor traditional Christian morality, and the free markets
Fascist economic programs bear a close resemblance to today’s liberal agenda. American Progressives of the early 20th century looked to Mussolini’s fascist policies as something to emulate. Many leading liberal progressives such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G Wells, Woodrow Wilson and FDR looked very favorably to many fascist policies and American progressives grew impatient with the constitution constraints of American government.
FDR used the great depression as a pretext to organize society to bring about war socialism. The many agencies created under FDR enacted policy resembling fascist economies. It was only the WW2 atrocities that caused fascism to fall out of favor with the left.
The leftist youth movement of the 1960’s saw many parallels to fascist movements. Traditional values were held in contempt, youthfulness and violence were exalted. The left sought to use the power of state to overthrow tradition. Its cohorts went about it with the zeal of a religious crusade, with a self righteous detain for the christian values of their fathers, seeing the free market supported by an outdated constitutionally limited government, to be a source of great evil and injustice.
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