Saturday, July 18, 2009

The F Word

The following is a list of the policy proposals of a political movement which took shape early in the 20th century.

Lowering the minimum voting age to eighteen, the minimum age for representatives to twenty five, and universal suffrage, including for women.

The abolition of the Senate and the creation of a national technical council on intellectual and manual labor, industry, commerce and culture.

End of the draft.

Repeal of titles of nobility.

“A foreign policy aimed at expanding (the country’s) will and power in opposition to all foreign imperialisms.”

The prompt enactment of a state law sanctioning a legal workday of eight actual hours of work for all workers.

The creation of various government bodies run by workers’ representatives.

Reform of the old-age and pension system and the establishment of age limits for hazardous work.

Forcing landowners to cultivate their lands or have them expropriated and given to veterans and farmers’ cooperatives.

The obligation of the state to build “rigidly secular” schools for the raising of “the proletariat’s moral and cultural condition.”

“A large progressive tax on capital that would amount to a one-time partial expropriation of all riches.

“The seizure of all goods belonging to religious congregations and the abolition of Episcopal revenues.”

The “review” of all military contracts and the “sequestration of 85% of all war profits.”
The nationalization of all arms and explosives industries.

This list appears in a recent best selling book. As the book’s author notes, this was an “anti-elitist, stock-market-abolishing, child-labor-ending, public-health-promoting, wealth-confiscating, draft-ending, secularist” program. In other words the program is not dissimilar from the President’s and his party’s, if you overlook a couple of anachronisms. (Titles of nobility is not a major issue and instead of women’s suffrage, the Democrats now want voting rights for convicted felons). So whose program was it?
That of Mussolini's Fasci di Combattimento, founded March 23, 1919 in Milan, Italy. The book is Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism". As Goldberg makes the point repeatedly, fascism is an ideology of the left. He defines it as

"...a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore defined as the enemy."

Maybe these goals and ideas are a bit more extreme than what the Democrats are working towards, but not by much. Considering that they have to contend with America's tradition of independence and self-reliance, some ideological restraint is necessary. There's no question though, that the more radical party members, i.e. - Waxman, Kennedy, Pelosi, Obama, et al, would, if they could, "take responsibility for all aspects of life".

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