Political Terminology: Fascism, Nazism
The terms fascism and nazism are virtually identical in definition. Fascism is a system under which the government and private sector business interests are so closely aligned that the division virtually disappears, with government using force to run the businesses through extensive regulation. A similar state of affairs exists with nazism.
Both fascism and nazism have come to signify evil and degradation. Just ask any left-winger about the policies of the right, and they will gladly inform you that their opponents are nazis and fascists.
Adolf Hitler, circa 1933
Mussolini Fascism, Hitler Nazism
Fascism is associated with Benito Mussolini and nazism with Adolf Hitler. Both ideologies are left-wing because of the fact that government controls the means of production just as in the left-wing ideology of socialism. The right upholds less government, lower taxation in order to achieve both less government, capitalism, and individualism.
The fact that fascism and nazism are now considered right-wing is widespread, mostly among low-information voters. During the 1960s, the American left-wing, in order to garner votes and power, began to use those terms to smear their right-wing opponents.
It had become common knowledge that Mussolini and Hitler were bad actors on the stage of history. Left-wingers simply started claiming that the policies of Mussolini and Hitler were right-wing.
In the case of Hitler, the absurdity is easily refuted by the actual name of his party, The National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. "Socialist" is left-wing, liberal ideology, which no one can refute. The left has relied on the fact that low-information citizens will not bother to find out the basic facts about these historical definitions and transactions.
But in Mussolini’s fascism, the emphasis was the power of the state not the individual. It opposed classical liberalism whose principles align with modern conservatism and the right-wing. Leftists made the claim and it stuck because the perception of fascism was negative. As Jonathan Swift once quipped, “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.”
In his book, Liberal Fascism, Jonah Golderg explains that despite the flabby definition of fascism, many on the left seem to know exactly what it means when it comes to battling the right:
And yet even though scholars admit that the nature of fascism is vague, complicated, and open to wildly divergent interpretations, many modern liberal and leftists act as if they know exactly what fascism is. What’s more, they see it everywhere—except when they look in the mirror. Indeed, the left wields that term like a cudgel to beat opponents from the public square like seditious pamphleteers. After all, no one has to take a fascist seriously.
The American experience with fascism and nazism is mixed. The US government has moved decidedly toward leftish ideological positions beginning with the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The elements of fascism/nazism exist in the US government which now has a too close relationship with business interests.
The “too big to fail” syndrome leaves little doubt that bailing out businesses brings the government closer to a fascist run outfit. Social security, medicare, and medicaid, plus the welfare programs are definitely socialist programs, ensconced in the US government.
But at least for now, the US government is still basically a republic—not generally fascist, nazi, or socialist.
It is, of course, the members of the Democratic Party, however, that embrace government positions of fascism and nazism, even as they name call their Republican opponents with fascism and nazism slurs.
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes