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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

America: Participatory Fascism?

In a previous post, I wrote,

How can Russo use the F-word ("fascism") when our Fearless Leader keeps telling us that "the terrorists hate us for our freedoms"? Stay tuned: this could be the subject of yet another post!!!

Well, here we are in "yet another post"!

At http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0308c.asp, Sheldon Richman reviews two books, "Crisis And Leviathan", by Robert Higgs, and "Dependent on D.C.", by Charlotte Twight.

Richman writes,

The books’ themes are so complementary that it would be a grave mistake to read one but not the other. Both are necessary to get the full picture of how and why governments grow. No libertarian education is complete without these books.

I've read "Crisis And Leviathan" and I agree whole heartedly with Richman's summary of it. I'm now reading "Dependent On D.C.", mostly because of Richman's strong recommendation. Based on what I've read, Richman is right once again.

About Higgs's "Crisis And Leviathan", Richman says the following:

Readers will very likely find his rich historical brief highly persuasive.

The bulk of the book is that historical brief. Beginning in 1893, he discusses in depth the government’s response to economic panics, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and “that permanent emergency known as the Cold War” into the 1980s.

He shows that the result of it all was the end of capitalism. What replaced it? Not socialism, which entails state ownership of the means of production. For Higgs the successor is more like fascism, in its economic sense — a façade of private ownership with the terms of property use increasingly dictated by the state.

But since America’s political process is formally (if not actually) open, he invokes the term “participatory fascism,” which was used by Charlotte Twight in her excellent earlier book, "America’s Emerging Fascist Economy".


So there you have it: the end of capitalism in America and the beginnings of participatory fascism.

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