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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Fascism’

Freedom Eliminates The Evils of Socialism & Fascism

Posted by M. C. on March 26, 2021

Socialism & Fascism are two sides of the same totalitarian coin, with the latter ideology being an offshoot of the former. While Socialism preaches the State being the sole owner of the means of production, Fascism preaches a partnership of State (Power) and Corporations (Money). Socialism leads to rapid ruin, while Fascism leads to a longer and drawn out ruin. The destination is the same regardless of the speed in getting there. Freedom and free markets are the only escape from this totalitarian vice.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : When Fascism Comes, It Will Be Wearing a Mask

Posted by M. C. on January 26, 2021

Mask and social distancing mandates, government control of private industry, and some of Biden’s other executive actions, such as one creating a new “Public Health Jobs Corps” with responsibilities including performing “contact tracing” on American citizens, are the type of actions one would expect from a fascist government, not a constitutional republic.

Joe Biden, who is heralded by many of his supporters as saving democracy from fascist Trump, could not even wait one day before beginning to implement fascistic measures that are completely unnecessary to protect public health. Biden will no doubt use other manufactured crises, including “climate change” and “domestic terrorism,” to expand government power and further restrict our liberty. Under Biden, fascism will not just carry an American flag. It will also wear a mask.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/january/25/when-fascism-comes-it-will-be-wearing-a-mask/?mc_cid=4115c2c90e

Almost immediately after his inauguration, President Joe Biden began creating new government dictates via executive orders. Many of these executive orders concern coronavirus, fulfilling Biden’s promise to make ramping up a coronavirus-inspired attack on liberty a focus of his first 100 days.

One of Biden’s executive orders imposes mask and social distancing mandates on anyone in a federal building or on federal land. The mandates also apply to federal employees when they are “on-duty” anywhere. Members of the military are included in the definition of federal employees. Will citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where US troops are or will be “spreading democracy” be happy to learn the troops shooting up their towns are wearing masks and practicing social distancing?

Another one of Biden’s executive orders forces passengers on airplanes, trains, and other public transportation to wear masks.

Biden’s mask mandates contradict his pledge to follow the science. Studies have not established that masks are effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus. Regularly wearing a mask, though, can cause health problems.

Biden’s mask mandates are also an unconstitutional power grab. Some say these mandates are an exercise of the federal government’s constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce. However, the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to regulate interstate commerce. The president does not have the authority to issue executive orders regulating interstate commerce absent authorization by a valid law passed by Congress. The Founders gave Congress sole law-making authority, and they would be horrified by the modern practice of presidents creating law with a “stroke of a pen.”

Just as important, the Commerce Clause was not intended to give the federal government vast regulatory power. Far from giving the US government powers such as the power to require people to wear masks, the Commerce Clause was simply intended to ensure Congress could protect free trade among the states.

Biden also signed an executive order supporting using the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of vaccines, testing supplies, and other items deemed essential to respond to coronavirus. The Defense Production Act is a Cold War relic that gives the president what can fairly be called dictatorial authority to order private businesses to alter their production plans, and violate existing contracts with private customers, in order to produce goods for the government.

Mask and social distancing mandates, government control of private industry, and some of Biden’s other executive actions, such as one creating a new “Public Health Jobs Corps” with responsibilities including performing “contact tracing” on American citizens, are the type of actions one would expect from a fascist government, not a constitutional republic.

Joe Biden, who is heralded by many of his supporters as saving democracy from fascist Trump, could not even wait one day before beginning to implement fascistic measures that are completely unnecessary to protect public health. Biden will no doubt use other manufactured crises, including “climate change” and “domestic terrorism,” to expand government power and further restrict our liberty. Under Biden, fascism will not just carry an American flag. It will also wear a mask.


Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Would You Choose Communism or Fascism?

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2021

People are angry. People have good reason to be angry, whether it is over unjust police killings, or a completely corrupt political process. People feel no agency or control over their own situation, or their government. And people want to take that control back. But in Germany, if power hadn’t gone to the Nazis, it would have gone to the communists, funded by Soviet Russia which had a much higher death count than Nazi Germany. There comes a point where there is no political solution, no good party to throw your support behind, no collective action that can right the ship. Start crafting your Plan B- https://www.sovereignman.com/

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What Is Fascism? It’s the System We’ve Been Living under for Decades. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on January 16, 2021

Fascism is the system of government that cartelizes the private sector, centrally plans the economy to subsidize producers, exalts the police state as the source of order, denies fundamental rights and liberties to individuals, and makes the executive state the unlimited master of society.

This describes mainstream politics in America today. And not just in America. It’s true in Europe, too. It is so much part of the mainstream that it is hardly noticed anymore.

It is ever more widely known that statism does not and cannot work. Statism is the great lie. Statism gives us the exact opposite of its promise. It promised security, prosperity, and peace; it has given us fear, poverty, war, and death. If we want a future, it is one that we have to build ourselves. The fascist state will not give it to us. On the contrary, it stands in the way.

https://mises.org/wire/what-fascism-its-system-weve-been-living-under-decades

Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

[Editor’s Note: In 2011, Lew Rockwell penned this thorough explanation of what fascism really is and what must be done to combat it. Fascism, unlike what the dominant media narrative asserts, has virtually nothing to do with people expressing politically incorrect opinions, or people refusing to wear masks, or a group of disorganized rioters smashing windows in the US Capitol. Fascism, rather, is an ideology of state control, and one that has been immensely successful over the past seventy years in the United States. As Rockwell explains below, the “eight marks of fascism” are all clear and powerful trends within the United States regime today.]

Fascism is the system of government that cartelizes the private sector, centrally plans the economy to subsidize producers, exalts the police state as the source of order, denies fundamental rights and liberties to individuals, and makes the executive state the unlimited master of society.

This describes mainstream politics in America today. And not just in America. It’s true in Europe, too. It is so much part of the mainstream that it is hardly noticed anymore.

If fascism is invisible to us, it is truly the silent killer. It fastens a huge, violent, lumbering state on the free market that drains its capital and productivity like a deadly parasite on a host. This is why the fascist state has been called the vampire economy. It sucks the economic life out of a nation and brings about a slow death of a once thriving economy.

The talk in Washington about reform, whether from Democrats or Republicans, is like a bad joke. They talk of small changes, small cuts, commissions they will establish, curbs they will make in ten years. It is all white noise. None of this will fix the problem. Not even close.

The problem is more fundamental. It is the quality of the money. It is the very existence of 10,000 regulatory agencies. It is the whole assumption that you have to pay the state for the privilege to work. It is the presumption that the government must manage every aspect of the capitalist economic order. In short, it is the total state that is the problem, and the suffering and decline will continue so long as the total state exists.

The Origins of Fascism

To be sure, the last time people worried about fascism was during the Second World War. There can be no question of its origins. It is tied up with the history of post–World War I Italian politics. In 1922, Benito Mussolini won a democratic election and established fascism as his philosophy. Mussolini had been a member of the Italian Socialist Party.

All the biggest and most important players within the fascist movement came from the socialists. It was a threat to the socialists because it was the most appealing political vehicle for the real-world application of the socialist impulse. Socialists crossed over to join the fascists en masse.

This is also why Mussolini himself enjoyed such good press for more than ten years after his rule began. He was celebrated by the New York Times in article after article. He was heralded in scholarly collections as an exemplar of the type of leader we needed in the age of the planned society. Puff pieces on this blowhard were very common in US journalism all through the late 1920s and the mid-1930s.

In Italy, the Left realized that their anticapitalistic agenda could best be achieved within the framework of the authoritarian, planning state. Of course our friend John Maynard Keynes played a critical role in providing a pseudoscientific rationale for joining opposition to old-world laissez-faire to a new appreciation of the planned society. Recall that Keynes was not a socialist of the old school. As he himself said in his introduction to the Nazi edition of his General Theory, National Socialism was far more hospitable to his ideas than a market economy.

Flynn Tells the Truth

The most definitive study on fascism written in these years was As We Go Marching by John T. Flynn. Flynn was a journalist and scholar of a liberal spirit who had written a number of best-selling books in the 1920s. It was the New Deal that changed him. His colleagues all followed FDR into fascism, while Flynn himself kept the old faith. That meant that he fought FDR every step of the way, and not only his domestic plans. Flynn was a leader of the America First movement that saw FDR’s drive to war as nothing but an extension of the New Deal, which it certainly was.

As We Go Marching came out in 1944, just at the tail end of the war, and right in the midst of wartime economic controls the world over. It is a wonder that it ever got past the censors. It is a full-scale study of fascist theory and practice, and Flynn saw precisely where fascism ends: in militarism and war as the fulfillment of the stimulus spending agenda. When you run out of everything else to spend money on, you can always depend on nationalist fervor to back more military spending.

The Eight Marks of Fascist Policy

Flynn, like other members of the Old Right, was disgusted by the irony that what he saw, almost everyone else chose to ignore. After reviewing this long history, Flynn proceeds to sum up with a list of eight points he considers to be the main marks of the fascist state.

As I present them, I will also offer comments on the modern American central state.

Point 1. The government is totalitarian because it acknowledges no restraint on its powers.

If you become directly ensnared in the state’s web, you will quickly discover that there are indeed no limits to what the state can do. This can happen boarding a flight, driving around in your hometown, or having your business run afoul of some government agency. In the end, you must obey or be caged like an animal or killed. In this way, no matter how much you may believe that you are free, all of us today are but one step away from Guantanamo.

No aspect of life is untouched by government intervention, and often it takes forms we do not readily see. All of healthcare is regulated, but so is every bit of our food, transportation, clothing, household products, and even private relationships. Mussolini himself put his principle this way: “All within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” I submit to you that this is the prevailing ideology in the United States today. This nation, conceived in liberty, has been kidnapped by the fascist state.

Point 2. Government is a de facto dictatorship based on the leadership principle.

I wouldn’t say that we truly have a dictatorship of one man in this country, but we do have a form of dictatorship of one sector of government over the entire country. The executive branch has spread so dramatically over the last century that it has become a joke to speak of checks and balances.

The executive state is the state as we know it, all flowing from the White House down. The role of the courts is to enforce the will of the executive. The role of the legislature is to ratify the policy of the executive. This executive is not really about the person who seems to be in charge. The president is only the veneer, and the elections are only the tribal rituals we undergo to confer some legitimacy on the institution. In reality, the nation-state lives and thrives outside any “democratic mandate.” Here we find the power to regulate all aspects of life and the wicked power to create the money necessary to fund this executive rule.

Point 3. Government administers a capitalist system with an immense bureaucracy.

The reality of bureaucratic administration has been with us at least since the New Deal, which was modeled on the planning bureaucracy that lived in World War I. The planned economy—whether in Mussolini’s time or ours—requires bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is the heart, lungs, and veins of the planning state. And yet to regulate an economy as thoroughly as this one is today is to kill prosperity with a billion tiny cuts.

So where is our growth? Where is the peace dividend that was supposed to come after the end of the Cold War? Where are the fruits of the amazing gains in efficiency that technology has afforded? It has been eaten by the bureaucracy that manages our every move on this earth. The voracious and insatiable monster here is called the Federal Code that calls on thousands of agencies to exercise the police power to prevent us from living free lives.

It is as Bastiat said: the real cost of the state is the prosperity we do not see, the jobs that don’t exist, the technologies to which we do not have access, the businesses that do not come into existence, and the bright future that is stolen from us. The state has looted us just as surely as a robber who enters our home at night and steals all that we love.

Point 4. Producers are organized into cartels in the way of syndicalism.

Syndicalist is not usually how we think of our current economic structure. But remember that syndicalism means economic control by the producers. Capitalism is different. It places by virtue of market structures all control in the hands of the consumers. The only question for syndicalists, then, is which producers are going to enjoy political privilege. It might be the workers, but it can also be the largest corporations.

In the case of the United States, in the last three years, we’ve seen giant banks, pharmaceutical firms, insurers, car companies, Wall Street banks and brokerage houses, and quasi-private mortgage companies enjoying vast privileges at our expense. They have all joined with the state in living a parasitical existence at our expense.

Point 5. Economic planning is based on the principle of autarky.

Autarky is the name given to the idea of economic self-sufficiency. Mostly this refers to the economic self-determination of the nation-state. The nation-state must be geographically huge in order to support rapid economic growth for a large and growing population.

Look at the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. We would be supremely naive to believe that these wars were not motivated in part by the producer interests of the oil industry. It is true of the American empire generally, which supports dollar hegemony. It is the reason for the North American Union.

Point 6. Government sustains economic life through spending and borrowing.

This point requires no elaboration because it is no longer hidden. In the latest round, and with a prime-time speech, Obama mused about how is it that people are unemployed at a time when schools, bridges, and infrastructure need repairing. He ordered that supply and demand come together to match up needed work with jobs.

Hello? The schools, bridges, and infrastructure that Obama refers to are all built and maintained by the state. That’s why they are falling apart. And the reason that people don’t have jobs is because the state has made it too expensive to hire them. It’s not complicated. To sit around and dream of other scenarios is no different from wishing that water flowed uphill or that rocks would float in the air. It amounts to a denial of reality.

As for the rest of this speech, Obama promised yet another long list of spending projects. But no government in the history of the world has spent as much, borrowed as much, and created as much fake money as the United States, all thanks to the power of the Fed to create money at will. If the United States doesn’t qualify as a fascist state in this sense, no government ever has.

Point 7. Militarism is a mainstay of government spending.

Have you ever noticed that the military budget is never seriously discussed in policy debates? The United States spends more than most of the rest of the world combined. And yet to hear our leaders talk, the United States is just a tiny commercial republic that wants peace but is constantly under threat from the world. Where is the debate about this policy? Where is the discussion? It is not going on. It is just assumed by both parties that it is essential for the US way of life that the United States be the most deadly country on the planet, threatening everyone with nuclear extinction unless they obey.

Point 8. Military spending has imperialist aims.

We’ve had one war after another, wars waged by the United States against noncompliant countries, and the creation of even more client states and colonies. US military strength has led not to peace but the opposite. It has caused most people in the world to regard the United States as a threat, and it has led to unconscionable wars on many countries. Wars of aggression were defined at Nuremberg as crimes against humanity.

Obama was supposed to end this. He never promised to do so, but his supporters all believed that he would. Instead, he has done the opposite. He has increased troop levels, entrenched wars, and started new ones. In reality, he has presided over a warfare state just as vicious as any in history. The difference this time is that the Left is no longer criticizing the US role in the world. In that sense, Obama is the best thing ever to happen to the warmongers and the military-industrial complex.

The Future

I can think of no greater priority today than a serious and effective antifascist alliance. In many ways, one is already forming. It is not a formal alliance. It is made up of those who protest the Fed, those who refuse to go along with mainstream fascist politics, those who seek decentralization, those who demand lower taxes and free trade, those who seek the right to associate with anyone they want and buy and sell on terms of their own choosing, those who insist they can educate their children on their own, the investors and savers who make economic growth possible, those who do not want to be felt up at airports, and those who have become expatriates.

It is also made of the millions of independent entrepreneurs who are discovering that the number one threat to their ability to serve others through the commercial marketplace is the institution that claims to be our biggest benefactor: the government.

How many people fall into this category? It is more than we know. The movement is intellectual. It is political. It is cultural. It is technological. They come from all classes, races, countries, and professions. This is no longer a national movement. It is truly global.

And what does this movement want? Nothing more or less than sweet liberty. It does not ask that the liberty be granted or given. It only asks for the liberty that is promised by life itself and would otherwise exist were it not for the Leviathan state that robs us, badgers us, jails us, kills us.

This movement is not departing. We are daily surrounded by evidence that it is right and true. Every day, it is more and more obvious that the state contributes absolutely nothing to our well-being; it massively subtracts from it.

Back in the 1930s, and even up through the 1980s, the partisans of the state were overflowing with ideas. This is no longer true. Fascism has no new ideas, no big projects—and not even its partisans really believe it can accomplish what it sets out to do. The world created by the private sector is so much more useful and beautiful than anything the state has done that the fascists have themselves become demoralized and aware that their agenda has no real intellectual foundation.

It is ever more widely known that statism does not and cannot work. Statism is the great lie. Statism gives us the exact opposite of its promise. It promised security, prosperity, and peace; it has given us fear, poverty, war, and death. If we want a future, it is one that we have to build ourselves. The fascist state will not give it to us. On the contrary, it stands in the way.

In the end, this is the choice we face: the total state or total freedom. Which will we choose? If we choose the state, we will continue to sink further and further and eventually lose all that we treasure as a civilization. If we choose freedom, we can harness that remarkable power of human cooperation that will enable us to continue to make a better world.

In the fight against fascism, there is no reason to be despairing. We must continue to fight with every bit of confidence that the future belongs to us and not them.

Their world is falling apart. Ours is just being built. Their world is based on bankrupt ideologies. Ours is rooted in the truth about freedom and reality. Their world can only look back to the glory days. Ours looks forward to the future we are building for ourselves. 

Their world is rooted in the corpse of the nation-state. Our world draws on the energies and creativity of all peoples in the world, united in the great and noble project of creating a prospering civilization through peaceful human cooperation. We possess the only weapon that is truly immortal: the right idea. It is this that will lead to victory.

This article is adapted from a longer version published in 2011. Author:

Contact Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and editor of LewRockwell.com.

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The Coming of Corporate Collectivism – Doug Casey’s International Man

Posted by M. C. on October 28, 2020

Benito Mussolini stated that “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.”

https://internationalman.com/articles/the-coming-of-corporate-collectivism/

by Jeff Thomas

Benito Mussolini stated that “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.”

Quite so.

Interestingly, many, and perhaps most people today, lack an understanding as to the system under which they are ruled.

In the US in particular, most people who vote Republican take pride in believing that the US is a capitalist state.

Democrats, too, regard the US as a capitalist state, and take the view that that’s what’s wrong with America today. Increasingly, they seek a move in the socialist (or collectivist) direction to save them from the perceived evils of capitalism.

Interestingly, though, the evils to which they refer are the socio-economic inequalities that exist and the fact that those on the lower levels of society have decreasing opportunity to improve their lot in life. And, of course, since they believe they live under a capitalist system, they assume that capitalism must be the problem.

But this is not the case.

It can be said that the first major introduction of corporatist collectivism occurred in 1913, with the introduction of the Revenue Act and the Federal Reserve Act.

These were enacted under President Woodrow Wilson and were peddled to the American public as being anti-corporatist. The Revenue Act, which introduced income tax, was touted as creating a tax primarily for the rich, which would even out income disparities. The Federal Reserve was claimed to be a government agency that would ride herd over the greedy banking interests on Wall Street.

However, those few who actually read the bill learned that the Federal Reserve was neither federal nor a reserve. It was to be owned by the larger banks and would give them the power to control the currency of the US.

By promising collectivist changes, the goals of corporatism were advanced.

And so it is today. Virtually all the ills of American society, as described by liberals, have been caused by the introduction of collectivist concepts, capitalized upon by the plutocracy of the US.

The US is not a capitalist state. If we were to define it accurately, the economic system is corporatist and the social system is collectivist. It is, however, true that there exist the remnants of a free market, or capitalism.

Yet, to most – either liberal or conservative – this would seem impossible. We’ve been taught to regard Wall Street as a denizen for greedy capitalists. Surely, they would never support collectivism – the saviour of the masses.

Well, yes and no. Wall Street has dominated the American economy for over one hundred years. And in all of that time, they’ve sought a greater level of collectivism. They understand that collectivism (under any of its guises of socialism, fascism or communism) is a highly effective means by which to rule over others.

Collectivism does not raise up the masses, as Karl Marx suggested. Instead, it evens out the classes by lowering the great majority of people to an equal level of poverty.

The premise is a simple one: Promise largesse from the government, with the stipulation that basic freedoms must be relinquished in order to receive the largesse. Then, once all have been subjugated under collectivism, the largesse is steadily diminished. Corporate leaders convince the people to give up their rights, but then fail to deliver on their end of the bargain: to bestow riches upon the now-subjugated populace.

And again, this is nothing new. In 1917, one Leon Trotsky was hosted in New York by the most prominent banking and industrial firms. He was provided with funding, along with a US passport, courtesy of President Wilson. A contingent then went with Mister Trotsky to Russia with the funds necessary to wrest control of the new Soviet Union – to replace the Mensheviks with the Lenin/Trotsky-led Bolsheviks. The bargain was that the Soviet Union would be collectivist and that the goods needed by Russians would be supplied from New York, in perpetuity, unseen by the public in either Russia or the US.

Within a decade, the same firms began funding an up-and-coming Adolf Hitler. They funded his rise to power in 1933 and spent the remainder of the decade taking control of much of German industry, in addition to installing American-owned plants in Germany.

Prior to Hitler’s rise, Germany was flat broke and heavily in debt, but the massive monetary shot in the arm from Wall Street firms ensured that Germany would rise quickly and come to dominate Europe. Indeed, without US funding, the creation of the German war machine would have been impossible.

The term “Nazi” is an abbreviation for Nationalsozialistische – the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Like the Russian people, the German people had been sold the collectivist promise, believing that their lives would somehow be better if they agreed to give up their liberties and accept totalitarian rule.

What they received was the totalitarian rule without the promised largesse.

The effort to create the same situation in the US has long been in the works. In the 1930s, great strides were made toward collectivism under the New Deal. However, post-war prosperity made Americans unwilling to give up liberties for largesse.

But today, increased governmental regulation has diminished the free market, diminishing opportunities for the average American. This has created a condition in which roughly half of Americans now buy into the empty promise of collectivism.

America no longer has true “liberal” and “conservative” parties. They now have “liberal” and “liberal-light” parties. Regardless of who is president, the US is on course to go full-bore in 2021 into dramatic social and legislative changes that will complete the transformation into Corporate Collectivism. All that’s needed is a trigger, as occurred in Germany in February of 1933.

Just two weeks prior to the 1933 German national elections, Adolf Hitler hosted a secret fundraising meeting for German and American industrialists, which netted him millions in donations, upon which he could finance a totalitarian corporate collectivist government.

He then surreptitiously created the Reichstag fire, blaming it on dissidents and political opponents, ensuring that he would be elected.

In his address at that fundraiser, he stated,

“There are only two possibilities, either to crowd back the opponent on constitutional grounds, and for this purpose once more we have this [upcoming] election, or a struggle will be conducted with other weapons, which may demand greater sacrifices… I hope the German people thus recognize the greatness of this hour.”

Germany was about to receive a totalitarian corporate collectivist rule, either through election or through the creation of civil unrest.

Similarly, the US today is about to undergo dramatic change. The remaining question is whether that will take place through election or its historic alternative.

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How Fascism Comes to America – Doug Casey’s International Man

Posted by M. C. on August 20, 2020

It’s most unfortunate, but the U.S. and its allies will turn into authoritarian police states. Even more than they are today. Much more, actually. They’ll all be perfectly fascist – private ownership of both consumer goods and the means of production topped by state control of both. Fascism operates free of underlying principles or philosophy; it’s totally the whim of the people in control, and they’ll prove ever more ruthless.

https://internationalman.com/articles/how-fascism-comes-to-america/

by Doug Casey

I think there are really only two good reasons for having a significant amount of money: To maintain a high standard of living and to ensure your personal freedom.

There are other, lesser reasons, of course, including: to prove you can do it, to compensate for failings in other things, to impress others, to leave a legacy, to help perpetuate your genes, or maybe because you just can’t think of something better to do with your time.

But I’ll put aside those lesser motives, which I tend to view as psychological foibles.

Basically, money gives you the freedom to do what you’d like – and when, how, and with whom you prefer to do it. Money allows you to have things and do things and can even assist you to be something you want to be. Unfortunately, money is a chimera in today’s world and will wind up savaging billions in the years to come.

As you know, I believe we’re well into what I call The Greater Depression. A lot of people believe we’re in a recovery now; I think, from a long-term point of view, that is total nonsense. It will be far more severe than what we saw in 2008 and 2009 and will last quite a while – perhaps for many years, depending on how stupidly the government acts.

Real Reasons for Optimism

There are reasons for optimism, of course, and at least two of them make sense.

The first is that every individual wants to improve his economic status. Many (but by no means all) of them will intuit that the surest way to do so is to produce more than they consume and save the difference. That creates capital, which can be invested in or loaned to productive enterprises. But what if outside forces make that impossible, or at least much harder than it should be?

The second reason for optimism is the development of technology – which is the ability to manipulate the material world to suit our desires. Scientists and engineers develop technology, and that also adds to the supply of capital. The more complex technology becomes, the more outside capital is required. But what if sufficient capital isn’t generated by individuals and businesses to fund further technological advances?

There are no guarantees in life.

Throughout the first several hundred thousand years of human existence, very little capital was accumulated – perhaps a few skins or arrowheads passed on to the next generation. And there was very little improvement in technology – it was many millennia between the taming of fire and, say, the invention of the bow.

Things very gradually accelerated and improved, in a start-stop-start kind of way – the classical world, followed by the Dark Ages, followed by the medieval world. Finally, as we entered the industrial world 200 years ago, it looked like we were on an accelerating path to the stars. All of a sudden, life was no longer necessarily so solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, or short. I’m reasonably confident things will continue improving, possibly at an accelerating rate. But only if individuals create more capital than they consume and if enough of that capital is directed towards productive technology.

Real Reasons for Pessimism

Those are the two mainsprings of human progress: capital accumulation and technology.

Unfortunately, however, that reality has become obscured by a morass of false and destructive theories, abetted by a world that’s become so complex that it’s too difficult for most people to sort out cause and effect. Furthermore, most people in the OECD world have become so accustomed to good times, since the end of WW2, that they think prosperity is automatic and a permanent feature of the cosmic firmament. So although I’m very optimistic, progress – certainly over the near term – isn’t guaranteed.

These are the main reasons why the standard of living has been artificially high in the advanced world, but don’t confuse them with the two reasons for long-term prosperity.

The first is debt. There’s nothing wrong with debt in itself; lending is one way for the owner of capital to deploy it. But if a society is going to advance, debt should be largely for productive purposes, so that it’s self-liquidating; and most of it would necessarily be short term.

But most of the scores of trillions of debt in the world today are for consumption, not production. And the debt is not only not self-liquidating, it’s compounding. And most of it is long term, with no relation to any specific asset. A lender can reasonably predict the value of a short-term loan, but debt payable in 30 years is impossible to value realistically.

All government debt, mortgage debt, consumer debt, and almost all student loan debt does nothing but allow borrowers to live off the capital others have accumulated. It turns the debtors into indentured servants for the indefinite future. The entire world has basically overlooked this, along with most other tenets of sound economics.

The second is inflation. Like debt, inflation induces people to live above their means, but its consequences are even worse, because they’re indirect and delayed.

If the central bank deposited $10,000 in everyone’s bank account next Monday, everyone would think they were wealthier and start consuming more. This would start a business cycle. The business cycle is always the result of currency inflation, no matter how subtle or mild. And it always results in a depression. The longer an inflation goes on, the more ingrained the distortions and misallocations of capital become, and the worse the resulting depression.

We’ve had a number of inflationary cycles since the end of the last depression in 1948. I believe we’re now at the end of what might be called a super-cycle, resulting in a super-depression.

The third is the export of dollars. This is unique to the U.S. and is the reason the depression in the U.S. will in some ways be worse than most other places. Since the early ’70s, the dollar has been used the way gold once was – it’s the world’s currency. The problem is that the U.S. has exported perhaps $10 trillion – but nobody knows – in exchange for good things from around the world. It was a great trade for a while. The foreigners get paper created at essentially zero cost, while Americans live high on the hog with the goodies those dollars buy.

But at some point quite soon, dollars won’t be readily accepted, and smart foreigners will start dumping their dollars, passing the Old Maid card. Ultimately, most of the dollars will come back to the U.S., to be traded for titles to land and businesses. Americans will find that they traded their birthright for a storage unit full of TVs and assorted tchotchkes. But many foreigners will also be stuck with dollars and suffer a huge loss. It’s actually a game with no winner.

What’s Next

These last three factors have enabled essentially the whole world to live above its means for decades. The process has been actively facilitated by governments everywhere. People like living above their means, and governments prefer to see the masses sated.

The debt and inflation have also financed the growth of the welfare state, making a large percentage of the masses dependent, even while they’ve also resulted in an immense expansion in the size and power of the state over the last 60-odd years. The masses have come to think government is a magical entity that can do almost anything, including kiss the economy and make it better when the going gets tough. The type of people who are drawn to the government are eager to make the state a panacea. So they’ll redouble their efforts in the fiscal and monetary areas I’ve described above, albeit with increasingly disastrous results.

They’ll also become quite aggressive with regulations (on what you can do and say, and where your money can go) and taxes (much higher existing taxes and lots of new ones, like a national VAT and a wealth tax). And since nobody wants to take the blame for problems, they’ll blame things on foreigners. Fortunately (the U.S. will think) they have a huge military and will employ it promiscuously. So the already bankrupt nations of NATO will dig the hole deeper with some serious – but distracting – new wars.

It’s most unfortunate, but the U.S. and its allies will turn into authoritarian police states. Even more than they are today. Much more, actually. They’ll all be perfectly fascist – private ownership of both consumer goods and the means of production topped by state control of both. Fascism operates free of underlying principles or philosophy; it’s totally the whim of the people in control, and they’ll prove ever more ruthless.

So where does that leave us, as far as accumulating more wealth than the average guy is concerned?

I’d say it puts us in a rather troubling position. The general standard of living is going to collapse, as will your personal freedom. And if you’re an upper-middle-class person (I suspect that includes most who are now reading this), you will be considered among the rich who are somehow (this is actually a complex subject worthy of discussion) responsible for the bad times and therefore liable to be eaten. The bottom line is that if you value your money and your freedom, you’ll take action.

There’s much, much more to be said on all this. I’ve said a lot on the topic over the past few years, at some length. But I thought it best to be brief here, for the purpose of emphasis. Essentially, act now, because the world’s combined economic, financial, political, social, and military situation is as good as it will be for many years… and a lot better than it has any right to be.

One more thing: Don’t worry too much.

All countries seem to go through nasty phases. Within the lifetime of most people today, we’ve seen it in big countries such as Russia, Germany, and China. And in scores of smaller ones – the list is too long to recount here. The good news is that things almost always get better, eventually.

Editor’s Note: As these trends continue to accelerate, what you do right now can mean the difference between coming out ahead or suffering crippling losses.

That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a free report with all the details on how to survive an economic collapse.

It will help you understand what is unfolding right before our eyes and what you should do so you don’t get caught in the crosshairs.

Click here to download the PDF now.

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Today’s Anticapitalists Are Closer to Fascism Than They Think | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

The viscerally anti-individualistic philosophical approach of fascism is clearly laid out throughout the whole essay. For instance, in the paragraph appropriately titled “Rejection of Individualism and the Importance of the State,” the fascist ideology is explicitly labeled as “anti-individualistic,” insofar as fascism “stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State.”

https://mises.org/wire/todays-anticapitalists-are-closer-fascism-they-think?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=11bfb92865-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-11bfb92865-228343965

On the back of the economic crisis brought about by the covid-19 pandemics, we are witnessing—once more—so-called economists, historians, and pundits attempting to proclaim the failure of capitalism. Their criticisms of the capitalistic organization of human cooperation and coexistence are various, but there are three strains of ideological attack against capitalism which seem to me to occur more often than others.

There is an element about anticapitalism that is often neglected: even though anticapitalism is usually associated with socialism and leftist movements, we can find the very same anticapitalistic mentality in the fascist ideology. As Thomas DiLorenzo pointed out in his latest Mises U lecture on the topic, fascism is just a particular kind of socialism—just like communism itself is. Hence, the fact that fascists and communists share the same contempt for capitalism should not surprise anyone.

The best way to understand the anticapitalistic mentality of fascism—and how close the arguments of contemporary anticapitalists are to those of Benito Mussolini—is to read Mussolini’s 1932 essay titled “The Doctrine of Fascism,” written together with Giovanni Gentile (the acknowledged philosophical ideologue of fascism).

The attack Gentile and Mussolini carry out against capitalism is (at least) threefold, and its underlying rhetoric is no different from the one of contemporary anticapitalistic and allegedly antifascist movements. First, Gentile and Mussolini advocate a greater role for government in the economy. Second, they condemn both methodological and political individualism, asserting the importance of collectivism and collective identities. Third, they blame “economism” and the role economic constraints play in shaping human behavior, deploring materialism and advocating governments that transcend the praxeological and sociological laws of economics.

Arguing for Ever More Government Intervention

The first step anticapitalists take when it comes to arguing in favor of bigger government is to belittle freedom and classical liberalism. In the paragraph titled1 “Rejection of Economic Liberalism – Admiration of Bismarck,” Gentile and Mussolini write that “fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of [classical] liberalism, both in the political and the economic sphere.” Doesn’t that have a familiar ring? Is it so different from the calls of many leftists for rethinking neoliberalism and capitalism?

A couple of paragraphs later (“The Absolute Primacy of the State”), the two fascists—commenting upon what they believed to be the epitomic failure of capitalism, namely the 1929 world recession—assert that economic crises “can only be settled by State action and within the orbit of the State.” Does that differ so much from the advocacy of contemporary “liberals” (better: social democrats) for interventionistic policies and their attempts to put capitalism under stricter governmental control?

If it wasn’t clear enough, just a few lines earlier (at the very beginning of the same paragraph), Mussolini and Gentile show what they mean, in practice, by their contempt for classical liberalism. In fact, they blame the classical liberal minimal state for “restricting its activities to recording results” stemming from economic dynamics, instead of “directing the game and guiding the material and moral progress of the community.” Where, again, is the difference from leftists promoting greater interventionism? Or calling for a bigger government, able to steer markets so as to foster their own idea of social justice?

In the end, when it comes to economic affairs, both modern (leftist) anticapitalists and “classical” fascists are in favor of a highly nonneutral state.

Fascism Eulogizes Collectivism and Despises Individualism

The viscerally anti-individualistic philosophical approach of fascism is clearly laid out throughout the whole essay. For instance, in the paragraph appropriately titled “Rejection of Individualism and the Importance of the State,” the fascist ideology is explicitly labeled as “anti-individualistic,” insofar as fascism “stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State.”

Again, doesn’t this kind of rhetoric have a familiar ring? Is it so different from contemporary antiglobalization advocates and anticapitalists arguing against, say, economic globalization, because—in their illiberal perspectives—it benefits only capitalists and entrepreneurs, neglecting the needs of the collectivity and the ultimate well-being of the nation? Can’t they see how close their interpretation of modern sociological and economic phenomena is to the fascist viewpoint? Should an entrepreneur refrain from freely trading with global partners just because the alleged interest of his nation (or collectivity) would be to preserve domestic national employment? Classical liberals would definitely answer no, whereas anticapitalists, antiglobalization activists, and fascists would all together answer yes.

In the end, when it comes to balancing the interests of individuals against the interests of collectivities and the nation, many modern anticapitalists are no different from “classical” fascists.

Fascism: Antimaterialism and Omnipotent Government

Lastly, many contemporary (leftist) anticapitalists share with the fascist rhetoric both a sort of utopian antimaterialism and a kind of mystical idea of the mission that states and governments are vested with.

As a matter of fact, the idea that a state should not passively accept the outcomes of freely chosen economic interactions and voluntary exchanges is widely held by modern (leftist) anticapitalists. Analogously, in the last lines of the paragraph titled “Rejection of Economic Liberalism – Admiration of Bismarck,” Mussolini and Gentile blame classical liberalism for the “agnosticism it professed in the sphere of economics and…in the sphere of politics and morals.”

In other words: fascists, just like modern anticapitalists, cannot accept that welfare-maximizing human beings naturally seek to engage in exchanges that each person thinks will make him or her better off. Instead, anticapitalists would like to substitute “morally superior” choices forced on consumers by the state.

Conclusion

As Cicero stated, “Historia magistra vitae.” Knowledge of history is helpful to avoid past mistakes. When it comes to anticapitalism, all its branches share more than their promoters are willing to admit. More precisely, every anticapitalistic ideology promotes government interventionism, contempt for individual freedom, antimaterialism, and a mystical view of government’s role and nature. They all start with anticapitalism; they all end with dictatorships, slaughters, wars, and misery.

  • 1. Paragraphs are not titled in the original version: titles have been added to make the essay more readable.
Author:

Fabrizio Ferrari

Fabrizio Ferrari is a graduate student in economics.

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Brave New Normal – Part 2 – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on May 22, 2020

https://off-guardian.org/2020/05/21/brave-new-normal-part-2/

CJ Hopkins

My columns haven’t been very funny recently. This one isn’t going to be any funnier. Sorry. Fascism makes me cranky.

I don’t mean the kind of fascism the corporate media and the fake Resistance have been desperately hyping for the last four years. God help me, but I’m not terribly worried about a few hundred white-supremacist morons marching around with tiki torches hollering Nazi slogans at each other, or Jewish-Mexican-American law clerks flashing “OK” signs on TV, or smirking schoolkids in MAGA hats.

I’m talking about actual, bona fide fascism, or totalitarianism, if you want to get technical. The kind where governments declare a global “state of emergency” on account of a virus with a 0.2% to 0.6% lethality (and that causes mild, flu-like symptoms, or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever, in over 97% of those infected), locks everyone down inside their homes, suspends their constitutional rights, terrorizes them with propaganda, and unleashes uniformed goon squads on anyone who doesn’t comply with their despotic decrees.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism where the police track you down with your smartphone data and then come to your house to personally harass you for attending a political protest, or attack you for challenging their illegitimate authority, and then charge you with “assault” for fighting back, and then get the media to publish a story accusing you of having “set up” the cops.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism where the secret police are given carte blanche to monitor everyone’s Internet activity, and to scan you with their “surveillance helmets,” and dictate how close you can sit to your friends, and menace you with drones and robot dogs, and violently pry your kids out of your arms and arrest you if you dare to protest.

I’m talking about the kind of totalitarianism that psychologically tortures children with authoritarian loyalty rituals designed to condition them to live in fear, and respond to absurd Pavlovian stimuli, and that encourages the masses to turn off their brains and mechanically repeat propaganda slogans, like “wear a mask” and “flatten the curve,” and to report their neighbors to the police for having an “illegal” private party … and to otherwise reify the manufactured mass hysteria the authorities need to “justify” their totalitarianism.

Yeah, that kind of stuff makes me cranky.

And you know what makes me really cranky? I’ll tell you what makes me really cranky.

It is people who publicly project themselves as “anti-authoritarians” and “anti-fascists,” or who have established their “anti-establishment” brands and “dissident” personas on social media, or even in the corporate media, either zealously cheerleading this totalitarianism or looking away and saying nothing as it is rolled out by the very authorities and media propagandists they pretend to oppose.

I don’t know exactly why, but that stuff makes me particularly cranky.

I’ll provide you with a few examples. Read the rest of this entry »

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Everything you know about Europe is wrong – UnHerd

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2020

https://unherd.com/2020/01/both-brexiteers-and-remainers-know-nothing-about-europe/

BY

The apocryphal newspaper headline — “fog in the channel, continent isolated” — famously said something about the British mindset. It’s hardly surprising that we are insular — we are literally an island after all — but this insularity is something that curiously crosses all barriers in British social and political life, whether of Left or Right, middle or working class, and on almost every issue.

This is true even for British liberals who, reeling since the night of 23 June, 2016, have made the continent a sort of spiritual home as they’ve become alienated from their countrymen.

Right-thinking Britons see their country as an embarrassment sliding towards populism, a sad contrast to the moral superpower that is Germany and France under centrist leader Emmanuel Macron. Yet the Continent of the Anglo liberal imagination is as unreal as the supposed nostalgic Britain of yesteryear loved by Leavers.

 

Italy

Britain, many people fear, is moving away from the European dream and towards fascism. It’s such an established meme that even the most recent BBC Agatha Christie adaptation was a thinly-veiled analogy about 1930s fascism and Brexit.

Yet people keep on coming to this Nazi hellhole, with the fabled “Brexodus” of migrants leaving the country actually seeing an extra 212,000 people arriving last year, and with record numbers of foreign students, too.

The fascist Brexit Britain theory is held among a minority of Remainers because they’re measuring the country by a theoretical ideal rather than comparing it to other — real — countries. So while the hate crime “surge” following the referendum mostly involved very minor incidents, Italy saw a number of openly racist murders during the late 2010s.

Whether they’re connected or not, Italy has also had a populist Right-wing government in power for most of the past four years, and the Lega may well return — at around 33% in the polls, it is by some distance the most popular party. Italian politics has been, as long as anyone can remember, chaotic and unstable, which makes me wonder if Mary Beard’s Italian colleagues who make her feel “embarrassed” about Brexit have been paying attention to their own country.

 

France

A central theme of fascism is a love of violence against ideological opponents, and so a visitor from outer space with a vague understanding of our human political philosophy would probably conclude that there was only one fascist state in the EU — France, where the brutality of the police is on a scale that would be unfathomable in England.

Among the recent victims of the gleefully violent French police is a teenager who lost an eye in Strasbourg and an elderly woman in Marseilles who died from her injuries after being hit by a rubber bullet. Just this month prosecutors launched a probe after a video appeared to show a policeman firing point-blank at protestors with a riot control gun.

France is quite far down from Britain in the Freedom International rating, and treats minorities like Roma in a way that would do more than embarrass liberal Brits.

Right-wingers often complain that the horrific behaviour of the French police towards the gilets jaunes has received scant coverage in the BBC; certainly if Hungary or Poland treated their citizens like that, I’m pretty sure it would be on our news more. But then France has always been a politically violent country.

The last mass murder of protesters in England occurred in 1819, when 18 people were killed by authorities in Manchester; in France police in Paris killed up to three hundred unarmed protesters in 1961.

Had anything even vaguely comparable happened during the US Civil Rights era it would have been the subject of about 500 films and even my children in an English primary school would now be learning about it now. But then Anglo liberals are fascinated with the Anglo world; not so much by the continent.

France is different to England, in some ways far more traditional; for example, the same-sex marriage campaign there was opposed by enormous protests, while, like many continental countries, it has a 12-week limit for abortion, when even talk of a 20 weeks-limit would have the Anglo commentariat dressing up in those Handmaid’s Tale outfits.

Germany Read the rest of this entry »

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Mike Bloomberg Just Called for a Higher Minimum Wage…and Then It Got Worse

Posted by M. C. on January 12, 2020

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/01/mike-bloomberg-just-called-for-higher.html

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has released his economic plan. He calls it his “All-in-Economy” agenda.

It is full of typical lefty interventions in the economy that will do nothing but lower the general standard of living in the U.S. if his plan were to be implemented.

His plan calls for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, indexed to inflation, affordable child care, paid family leave and the right to sue employers for harassment and discrimination related to characteristics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability.

He also calls for the spending of billions “communities across the nation to help create jobs and grow incomes,” as if the free market doesn’t create jobs.

He says he is in favor of health insurance that would be administered by the federal government but paid for by “customer” premiums.

In short, Bloomberg’s policy is interventionist to such a degree, it is difficult to differentiate his plan from early-stage Mussolini economics.

In 1930, in the Doctrine of Fascism, Mussolini wrote, “The so-called crisis can only be settled by State action and within the orbit of the State.”

From My Autobiography by Mussolini:

I have wanted the Fascist government, above all, to give great care to social legislation…I think that Italy is advanced beyond all European nations; in fact, it has ratified laws…for obligatory insurance against tuberculosis…All this shows how, in every detail in the field of labor, I stand by the working labor…from insurance against accidents to the indemnity against illness.

RW

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