Fascism versus Socialism: Take Your Pick

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I was recently contemplating the run-off election for president in Brazil between right-winger Jair Bolsonaro and left-winger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the Brazilian people, given that their choice was between economic fascism, which Bolsonaro represents, and socialism, which Lula represents. What a horrible choice!

Jair Bolsonaro. Creative Commons.

But it’s not the only time that Latin Americans have been faced with such a choice. In fact, the entire modern-day history of Latin American countries has been a choice between right-wing fascism and left-wing socialism.

One of the best examples of this phenomenon was in Chile in the early 1970s. The Chilean people were saddled with socialist Salvador Allende as president, who had been democratically elected. Then, in a violent U.S.-inspired military regime-change operation, Allende was ousted from power and replaced by the fascist right-wing military general Augusto Pinochet. 

Or consider Cuba. The pro-U.S. fascist dictator Fulgencio Batista, who the Pentagon and the CIA loved, versus the socialist Fidel Castro, who the Pentagon and the CIA hated. 

But as I was reflecting on Latin America, it hit me that the American people are pretty much faced with the same choice, election after election. 

For example, consider the upcoming midterm elections. On the one hand, we have the right-wing candidates, who favor the principles of economic fascism, just like Bolsanaro and Pinochet. And then we have the left-wing candidates, who favor the economic principles of socialism, just as Lula and Allende.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Creative Commons.

The fact is that the American people, just like the people of Latin America, are being squeezed between a vise. On the one side of the vise are the right-wingers, led by such people as Donald Trump, Ron de Santis, and Greg Abbott. On the other side of the vise are the left-wingers, led by such people as Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Just as in Brazil, Chile, and Cuba, both sides here in the United States pose a grave threat to the freedom and well-being of the American people. If the right-wingers succeed in returning Trump to power, we will continue to have a highly regulated and controlled economy, along with a strong deference to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, which characterized Trump’s term as president. If the left-wingers remain in power, we will continue to witness an ever-growing expansion of welfare-state socialism in America.

One of the fascinating and disturbing aspects of this phenomenon is that both sides have actually converged in many ways, so that there really isn’t much difference between them anymore. For example, both Trumpsters and Bidenians favor such fascist programs as government-business partnerships, government regulation of the economy, minimum-wage laws, trade wars, sanctions, and corporate bailouts.  At the same time, they both favor such socialist programs as Social Security, Medicare, public (i.e., government) schooling, immigration controls, and the Federal Reserve. 

In fact, this convergence has become most manifested in the area of foreign policy. It used to be that the right-wingers were the warmongers. But today, the left-wingers are doing their best to outcompete the right-wing on being the biggest warmonger. Example: Ukraine, where both sides are competing to see which one can bring us a nuclear war sooner.

There is one ray of hope in all this though. That ray of hope is the libertarian philosophy. It provides he way to extricate our nation from the deep fascist-socialist morass in which we find ourselves, especially the one in Ukraine that is getting us perilously close to a life-destroying nuclear war. 

Unfortunately, however, over the past 25 years, the rightwing has succeeded in polluting much of the libertarian movement and, in the process, destroying the libertarian brand. Examples include libertarian support of Social Security “privatization” (such as the Pinochet plan), health-savings plans (which keep Medicare and Medicaid intact), school vouchers (which keep public schooling intact), Federal Reserve reform (which keeps the Fed intact), “securing” the border (which keeps immigration controls intact), regulatory reform (which keeps the regulated economy intact), selective foreign interventionism (which preserves foreign interventions), and much more.

In fact, when was the last time you heard conservative-oriented libertarians calling for the dismantling of the CIA, which is undoubtedly the most evil agency in U.S. history? The conservative-oriented libertarian silence on the CIA, including its state-sponsored assassinations, reflects the strong influence that the right-wing has had on the libertarian movement. In fact, much of the libertarian movement can now legitimately be described as the movement of welfare-warfare-state reform, even if conservative-oriented libertarians who support such reform persist in calling it “freedom.”

Indeed, during the Covid chaos, many of the conservative-oriented libertarians limited their critiques to the lockdowns and mandates and to criticizing Anthony Fauci’s misdeeds and misstatements, while remaining silent about abolishing the Centers for Disease Control, the FDA, Medicare, and Medicaid and, for that matter, totally separating healthcare and the state. The implication was that if we could just get libertarian-leaning conservatives to replace Fauci and other healthcare officials, everything would be hunky dory.

Moreover, don’t forget the out-of-control federal spending, debt, and inflation that is needed to pay for all this statism, which occurred under both Trump and Biden. After all, it was Trump who sent out the first Covid stimulus checks, a practice that was followed by Biden. There are few better ways to destroy a nation from within than by having its government amass massive debt and then destroy its currency through inflation.

Both economic fascism and socialism will continue to plunge out nation into greater depths of crisis and chaos. The only hope for saving our country from the Trumpsters, DeSantises, and Abbotts and the Bidenians, Pelosians, and Ocasio-Cortezes lies with principled libertarianism. That’s the only thing that can bring America the liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony for which we yearn. 

The post Fascism versus Socialism: Take Your Pick appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

* This article was originally published here


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