This is a serious question, for the answer to this question is easy. And for the most part, many Americans have made it.
I was at the “Y” today, looking at our parking lot, which was filled because of the soccer matches going on next door. I noticed all the really expensive SUV’s and sedans there. Not an old heap in the lot.
Now, I’m one of those people who can just sit and muse for hours about people going about their daily lives oblivious to the evil swirling around them every day. I’m always asking the questions, “Do they not know?Â Do they not care?Â Can’t they connect the dots?”
But, in truth, the answer is already there. It just really doesn’t affect them all that much.
17% unemployment, but you won’t see it around here. Oh, there are other sections of town where the evidence is abundant; abandoned store fronts, empty factory lots, office space unrented, unkempt properties. For Sale signs up and down every street. In fact, there were several SUV’s here last Spring, that no longer come here with their kids, possibly because their business failed, or they had to cut back on luxuries such as soccer, or they lost their job and had to move. All sorts of reasons, I suppose.
Fascism vs Communism
Fascism (the Nazis) and the Communists (the Soviets) have both been called totalitarian regimes. But I wonder if that is entirely true. How can you have tyranny when from 50% to 80% of the people accept it without question?
Compare. The Communism of Lenin,Â Stalin and his successors was a true dictatorship of misery, where roughly 80% of the people of the country suffered equally and barbarously, deprived of everything but the most basic of human needs, while the other 20%, the Party and apparatchiks, lived lives of power and security.
I doubt, unless circumstances absolutely mandated it (hold onto this thought), anyone would intentionally create a system like that. In fact, historical conditions peculiar to Russia caused them to start their country like this, from the outset, whereas socialism always takes a society…to the same total degradation and misery. “The road to hell is paved…”
In other words, the Soviets created out of necessity in 1921 what socialism naturally creates it over time.
But first consider the Nazis, where these numbers were reversed. From 1935 through 1942-43, before we started bombing the crap out of them and the Russians killed or captured so many of them they stopped bringing them back for burial, the people of Germany lived pretty good lives, somewhat aware, as now, but indifferent, as now, to the misery of the incarceration and murder dished out to approximately 20% of their population.
Is it fair to say that Nazi Germany was “totalitarian” when so many of the people were not seriously affected by its horrid laws?Â In fact, most Germans approved, at least to the extent they actually knew, or would allow themselves to know, about what was happening to the other 20%. (Denial is a still a great personal tool, huh?, especially if you want to keep the SUV.)
To be sure, the Nazis created inconveniences for their people, but most were of the kind you still find in Europe today; i.e, regulations. You have to have papers for everything. Massive bureaucracies. But their cars were big and shiny, the shops bustling, the parties grand, the music wunderbar. This was the bright life of the those who lived in the parts of town where the street lights hadn’t been shot out. The despair was out of sight.
Of these two business models, it’s a no-brainer, and post-war Europe chose early. All they had to remove were the more draconian rules instituted by the Nazis, and get rid of those godawful names, “fascism” and “Nazism.” “Socialist” has a much better ring, and even a better pedigree.
But they are the same.
In the late 20’s, before the rise of Hitler, the Bolsheviks referred to fascists as “middle class socialists.”Â They had very specific reasons for calling them this, for the Communists knew “middle class people” have certain proclivities, and those proclivities would some day win out. To an old Soviet who knew his history he always knew this rise across Europe of “middle class socialism” was still fascism.
As they have proven since the 1950s, the people of Europe were ready, willing, even eager to swap a few “liberties” for a well-regulated society and cradle-to-grave health care. And select businesses were happy to become “allied” with the State. For one,Â it ended competition. In fact, this socialism was so popular, the Euros ran out of people to mop the floors, cleanup after the dogs on the strasse, or pump the gas, so they had to import them…first from Turkey (in Germany) and Algeria and French Africa (France) in the 60’s, to Palestinians in the 80s-90s, to lately, Albanians.
So, even the straw men return eventually.
There’s a lot of history behind why the Soviet model turned out how it did, and why the German model turned out how it did. Both had to work with cards they had been dealt. The old Russian Empire was of medieval design; a royal house, an appointed middle class purveying almost exclusively to the royals, and the rest of the country, 80% or so, in abject poverty and ignorance, living by the skin of their teeth, getting scraps from the royals’ tables by selling their grain to granaries owned by the royals.
The Germans on the other hand had a vibrant middle class; arts, academe, most every one was educated, but for the Gypsies; most everyone was clean and hygienic, but for the Gypsies, great beer, flugelhorns and blond frauleins. Who would voluntarily destroy that?
Most of all, every German had a pecking order of people they could look down their noses at, from the aforementioned Gypsies, to the Slavic people in general, to the Poles out of jealousy because they produced better piano players, and of course, Europe’s greatest straw men since the Dark Ages, the Jews, who, every time something went wrong in Europe, they’d round them up and kill a bunch. A big bunch. Entire villages and regions. Jews were blamed for the Plague, the Black Death, Germany’s humiliating defeat at the hands of the French! in World War I, the ensuing worldwide depression. In Scott’s fiction (Ivanhoe), they were even blamed for Prince John not being able to raise money to ransom King Richard, and bewitching a horny Frenchman.
It’s this racist hatred that separates the Nazis from modern socialism, and has allowed modern socialists to stand and point and say, “Hey, we didn’t do any of that.”
Because of the megalomania of Hitler and to a lesser degree, Mussolini, no one ever got to see how fascism would turn out in Germany or Italy. As economic models they were never tested. We did get a glimpse of it with Franco, who was able to continue his version of fascism until he died in 1975. But Spain was a poor country, and like Italy, a bit too Dionysian (viz Ruth Benedict, not Nietzsche) to be taken seriously as an economic model for anything. Spain simply gravitated into the European model of socialism, more or less as a junior partner.
Since the 1950s Europe has viewed itself as a kind, gentle and urbane socialism, certainly not totalitarian as the Soviets had been. And certainly not barbaric as the fascists had been. Marx with a smiley face.
After all, too many of their citizens approved of the systems and controls they had imposed. There were no concentration camps. Yes, there were lots of forms to fill out, but never the abusive demand to show papers just to get on a street car. The politzei, gendarmes, bangen are uniformly polite. Their crime rates are low, in part because their best defense against crime is to legalize it. Drugs, pornography, under-age anything. And they are 100% ineffectual in “those 20% parts” of the towns where the guest workers lived, so they just don’t go there. Sort of like Minnesota Street in Billings.
And best of all, they did it with funny accounting and no real money.
The problem has always been, the ranks of the voluntary participants rise as the taxpayers retreat, from 80%, to 60% and so on, until, Shazzam, all the producers who paid for the non-producers have either died, moved to Hong Kong, or simply quit. The Bolsheviks were right. The money runs out when all that is left is the government class, at which time…and we see this with unions now…they must turn on themselves.
What comes next, of course, is chaos, then communism/totalitarianism.
1) Middle Class Socialists are fascists, they just don’t imprison and kill in the same way.
2) Communism comes at the end of the socialist cycle, not at the beginning as the Soviet falsely taught us.
3) When things go badly, straw men reemerge. And guess what, in Europe, they need to placate their domestic workers. So they let sharia law rule in “those parts” of town, the new trend seems to be. And since Hitler killed most of them, they can’t just roll out a bunch of Jews to mock and spit at. But there is still Israel. Policies change subtly, so once again the Jew is reviled in Europe.
The long and short of it is that we are seeing how “fascism” would likely have ended up had the Third Reich made it 50 years down the pike. It would have drowned in the same bureaucratic effluent muck that is swallowing Europe today. And with the re-emergence of the straw men, we know it is nearing the time when it is ready to return to barbarism, for as we saw in Greece and will see in Portugal, then across the continent, it will have to pluck its own.
OK, you can see, as the old Cheyenne once said, My Heart is Bad.
This is my annual tax season note, when I am never in a good humor. I send off my return saying I owe this, and they always send me a letter saying “No, you owe this” so then I have to go knock over a liquor store I know to be absentee owned by a crooked Russian in Brighton’s Beach. From one thief to another. It’s all very annoying, and dispiriting.
But for us in the Movement, from time to time we have to have a come-to-tyranny moment, and realize that the left, the fascist left, are still doing a land office business here in America. Even as they are going broke and filing for bankruptcy in Europe, they are having ten-cent sales and membership drives here…not because they believe all that pap about security and social justice, but because they see the brass ring at the end of the line…complete totalitarian control of the human mind, body and spirit.
Which brings us back to my parking lot at the YMCA and the original question in the title.
This is not the sort of thing people can carry in the front of their minds all the time. They’d burn out. But still, it’s worrisome to consider that they may not think about it at all. This is why we pause and reflect, even set aside days for it. This is why we say grace, or pray; to remember those less fortunate.
But none of this matters unless a few of us also pause to remind ourselves that something can be done, must be done, and sooner – not later.
We have all sorts of enemies out there, but this is our one demon… that the majority of the American people will choose fascism as long as 80% of them don’t have to watch the other 20% suffer.
We must make their choice more difficult.