Liberal Fascism on National Review Online: Debates about economics these days generally enjoy a climate of bipartisan asininity. Democrats want to "rein in" corporations, while Republicans claim to be "pro-business." The problem is that being "pro-business" is hardly the same thing as being pro–free market, while "reining in" corporations breeds precisely the climate liberals decry as fascistic.
The fascist bargain goes something like this. The state says to the industrialist, "You may stay in business and own your factories. In the spirit of cooperation and unity, we will even guarantee you profits and a lack of serious competition. In exchange, we expect you to agree with—and help implement—our political agenda." The moral and economic content of the agenda depends on the nature of the regime. The left looked at German business's support for the Nazi war machine and leaped to the conclusion that business always supports war. They did the same with American business after World War I, arguing that because arms manufacturers benefited from the war, the armaments industry was therefore responsible for it.
It's fine to say that incestuous relationships between corporations and governments are fascistic. In fact, I'm saying it right now. The problem comes when you claim that such arrangements are inherently right-wing. If the collusion of big business and government is rightwing, then FDR was a right-winger. If corporatism and propagandistic militarism are fascist, then Woodrow Wilson was a fascist and so were the New Dealers. If you understand the right-wing or conservative position to be that of those who argue for free markets, competition, property rights, and the other political values inscribed in the original intent of the American founding fathers, then big business in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and New Deal America was not rightwing; it was left-wing, and it was fascistic. What's more, it still is.
How could this happen?
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