The New fascism.(COMMENTARY)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

The New fascism.(COMMENTARY)


Byline: Richard W. Rahn, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Chances are we will be less free in the coming years because of a rising statist authoritarianism primarily emanating from Europe.

The increasing assault on financial privacy is an example of this new threat to individual liberties. Financial privacy, a fundamental liberty necessary for individuals to protect themselves from corrupt or despotic governments, kidnappers and other assorted criminals, is increasingly attacked by the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations and even elements of the U.S. government.

Proposals from these organizations would limit or eliminate all financial privacy. One of the most odious of these is a proposal by the United Nations to create an International Tax Organization that would require the U.S. government to share detailed personal and business financial information on U.S. citizens and others with U.N. member governments, no matter how corrupt. As a result, our Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections would be stripped away.

Furthermore, this information could end up in the wrong hands, putting our lives and fortunes at risk.

The classical liberal (in the European sense) believes in small government, low taxes, and a minimum of government regulation, coupled with a stable currency (traditionally by the gold standard) and a strong commitment to the rule of law and individual liberty. In the U.S. this is known as free-market conservatism or libertarianism. The father of modern economics, Adam Smith (1723-90), was a classical liberal, as were the Founders of the American Republic. The world is moving away from classical liberalism and traditional socialism, toward a new fascism.

Until World War I, classical liberalism was the dominant political ideology in Western countries. The trauma of the War shook people's faith in existing political order and institutions, particularly in Europe. Russia, just emerging from feudalism, was seized by the communists. Socialists and fascists began to acquire political power. The Depression, although caused by poor government fiscal and monetary policy, made people hunger for the stability and order the statists offered. Adolf Hitler's National Socialism (Nazism) was a particularly virulent form of this new statism.

While most of the media and political class refer to communism and socialism as leftist ideologies and Nazism and fascism as ideologies of the far right, these ideologies are merely different forms of statism. Socialists believe in government ownership of all economic entities and land. Fascists realized that government did not have to own enterprises in order to have total power over them. Thus, fascists tend to be extremely authoritarian and comprehensive regulators. Both ideologies are based on the subjugation of individual liberty and free markets by the agents of the state.

The true political and economic dichotomy is statism vs. libertarianism.

Communists, socialists, fascists and welfare state advocates are, to varying degrees, statists. …

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