Dear Class of 2021:
As you begin your college career you will inevitably become confused about the subject of “fascism,” which has been in the news quite a bit recently. On the one hand, you will be taught that there is nothing more evil, more insidious, more despicable than fascism and fascists. You might even be invited to become a member of “antifa,” the violent criminal gang that sets buildings and cars on fire, clubs people with baseball bats, sprays mace in their faces, throws cinder blocks through store windows, hurls bottles filled with urine and feces at the police, etc., in supposed protests against “fascism.” (“Antifa” is said to stand for “anti-fascism”).
But on the other hand you will also be taught that the very things that real, twentieth-century fascists believed in and stood for are what you should believe in and stand for, and that you should have zero tolerance for anyone who disagrees with you. These things will not be called what they are – fascism – but pleasant-sounding euphemisms like “social justice,” “economic democracy,” “liberation theology,” or “democratic socialism.” You will also be instructed that of all the politicians on the planet, the one whom you should revere and idolize is the seventy-five –year-old self-described socialist Bernie Sanders (who spent part of his honeymoon in Moscow, of all places, during the height of the Cold War).
The truth is that fascism – named “national socialism” by the German socialists of the early twentieth century known as the “Nazis” – was always a form of socialism. Benito Mussolini, the founder of Italian fascism, was an “international socialist” before he started calling himself a national socialist. Nationalist socialism was content to allow private business to exist – unlike the international socialists in the Soviet Union – as long as it was directed, controlled, and micromanaged by politicians with all kinds of regulations, controls, subsidies, bailouts, and taxes.
Very few, if any, of you will run across a professor who will assign or encourage you to read the famous book, The Road to Serfdom, by Nobel prize-winning Austrian School economist F. A. Hayek, but you should make yourself a college-years bucket list and include reading this book on the list. One of the things you would learn in the 2007 University of Chicago Press edition is that Hayek recognized that the economic policy positions of the Nazis were “full of ideas resembling those of the early socialists.” The “dominant feature” of fascism, he wrote, was a fierce hatred and denunciation of anything capitalistic –“individual profit seeking, large-scale enterprise, banks, joint-stock companies, department stores, international finance and [private]loan capital, the system of ‘interest slavery’ in general . . .” The Nazi economic program, wrote Hayek, was nothing less than “a violent anti-capitalistic attack.” One of the slogans of the Nazis was in fact “the end of capitalism.” All of the “leading men” of German and Italian fascism “from Mussolini on downward . . . began as socialists” said Hayek.
Another book that few, if any, of your professors would ever recommend is Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition, by Ludwig von Mises. (Yours truly is using this as well as The Road to Serfdom in his “Capitalism and its Critics” course this semester). Liberalism outlines the philosophical and cultural support structure for free markets and the civil society to thrive and prosper. These ideas, which evolved over centuries, are: property rights, freedom, peace, equality under the law, free markets and economic freedom, the acceptance of inequality of income and wealth based on the reality of human uniqueness, limited constitutional government, and tolerance.
All of these key ingredients of classical liberalism (the exact opposite of today’s American “liberal” who is essentially a totalitarian-minded socialist) were viciously denounced by all socialists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Indeed, the first “plank” of the ten-plank platform of The Communist Manifesto was “ABOLITION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY.” In his book, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions (p. 29), Mussolini wrote that “the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State . . . . It is opposed to classical liberalism . . . [which]denied the State in the name of the individual.” “If the XIXth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism),” Mussolini wrote, “we are free to believe that this is the ‘collective’ century, and therefore the century of the State. If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government.”
Of course by “individualism,” as Hayek explains, the classical liberals simply meant having respect for every human being, every human life, and not viewing people as pawns to be used by politicians, or as experimental rats to be experimented upon by government’s social engineers.
Like all socialists, Mussolini denounced capitalism as “the selfish pursuit of material prosperity” and implored Italians to “reject the economistic literature of the 18th century,” presumably referring to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Be an economic ignoramus, in other words, was Mussolini’s advice. You, dear students, will be taught these same things, over and over, and over again during your college careers.
The German national socialists (Nazis) said almost the exact same things as the Italian national socialists. For example, in his book, Three Years of World Revolution (p. 176), Paul Lensch wrote that German socialism (i.e., Nazism) “must present a conscious and determined opposition to individualism.” He denounced classical liberalism and sneered at the ideas of “freedom” and “civic right” (i.e., civil liberties), constitutionalism, parliamentarianism, and especially capitalism. Indeed, in the “25 Point Program of the Nazi Party” it is clearly stated that German fascism must “proceed” under the slogan, “The Common Good Comes Before the Private Good.” Of course, politicians like Hitler would define “common good”; citizens themselves are never meant to have anything to do with such definitions under any kind of socialist regime.
In addition to nationalizing banking and ending “the slavery of interest,” the Nazi economic program called for what many American environmentalists are today calling for, “the socialization of land.” The Nazis “demanded” the “education of . . . children . . . at the expense of the state” so that they could be thoroughly brainwashed in the political correctness of the day, namely, national socialism. The nationalization of key industries was also “demanded,” along with “expansion on a large scale of old age welfare,” or as Hitler’s contemporary, Franklin D. Roosevelt called it, Social Security.
German and Italian fascism, and Soviet socialism, all denounced and denied the legitimacy of states’ rights or what Americans call “federalism” while advocating an all-powerful, totally centralized state. “We demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich,” the Nazi 25-Point program screeched.
Twentieth-century fascism also of course included militarism and anti-Semitism, the latter because the German national socialists declared that the Jews of Europe were symbols of the hated system of capitalism that they wanted to destroy. The Nazis eerily denounced the “Jewish materialistic spirit” in their “25-Point Program.
So, freshman class of 2017, keep these things in mind and you will not be bamboozled by all your left-wing professors who themselves do not even understand that the socialist ideas which they espouse and preach in class were also warmly embraced by all of the evil twentieth-century fascists. The only real difference between the German and Russian socialists of the twentieth century was that the Germans called themselves national socialists, whereas the Russian socialists called themselves international socialists.