Left, Right and, Center … and Fascism?

Over at MY BLOG today, Patricia (loopyloo305) has a video posted of Ms. Wasserman-Schultz saying that the Tea Party is un-American and a aright wing extremist group. I had to laugh at that but it got me to thinking about the political spectrum. It seems to be human nature to want to put labels on things and then to try to put them in some ordered fashion as they relate to one another; e.g., a political spectrum of left, right and center.

Even if we narrow our focus to America, we must decide: are we talking about  the spectrum of the political ideology of the American populous or are we talking about the spectrum of political ideologies that exist as categories with which people can identify themselves. Let’s start with the later.

One of the nice things about having your own blog is that you get to frame the discussion. So, with that in mind, what follows is my opinion and nothing more. I do not claim to have made any kind of scientific analysis.

With Wasserman-Schultz’s words echoing in my ears, I wondered how could she think the Tea Party was un-American and extreme right-wing in its nature? I also wondered what she would define as the center of the political spectrum?  Because I can not know what Wasserman-Schultz thinks the center is, I decided that I would define what the center is. (See what I mean about owning your own blog?) For me this was easy.

To me the “political center” in American was defined on day  one of our nation. The day the representatives of the Colonies ratified the constitution defined what America is;  a constitutional republic guaranteeing our inalienable rights of life , liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and enumerating certain limited powers to the federal government. Although there were certainly those that wanted a stronger central government and those that want an even weaker central government, on that day our constitution was ratified as it is. The constitution, therefore, defines the political center for America.

My definition of the “left” of the spectrum then is made up of those that would augment some people’s  inalienable rights with goverment granted privileges by usurping some of the inalienable rights of others.

The “Right” side of the spectrum, by my way of thinking, is made up of those that do not believe in the concept of inalienable rights, in other words, they would favor dictatorships.

So, using my admittedly simplistic view of the political spectrum in America, where are we today and where are the Tea Party conservatives.  I would say that Tea Party conservatives are in the absolute center of the spectrum as defined on day one of our nation.  Our government today, however, is anything but centrist as I have defined it. It is decidedly to the left. It is so far to the left that people like Ms. Wasserman-Schultz see the centrist Tea Party as being right-wing extremist. That should worry you. It certainly worries me.

Who in America stands to the “Right” in my political spectrum? Do we have a “Right” side in our politics? Do we have any group(s) that support the dictatorial concept of government? If we do, they are very small in number, in my opinion. But, what about fascism?

We don’t talk much about fascism, do we? What is fascism? Does it belong on the right or the left of my political spectrum? After googling fascism, this explanation made the most sense to me:

As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. The word derives from fasces, the Roman symbol of collectivism and power: a tied bundle of rods with a protruding ax. In its day (the 1920s and 1930s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and revolutionary Marxism, with its violent and socially divisive persecution of the bourgeoisie. Fascism substituted the particularity of
nationalism and racialism—“blood and soil”—for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism.

Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by
requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright,
fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions. (Source)

If we accept the definition of this source that fascism is “socialism” with a veneer of “capitalism”, we would have to put fascism on the left of my spectrum. I am inclined, however, to see fascism as dictatorial with veneers of socialism and capitalism and, therefore, I put it on the right side of the spectrum.

Does America have a fascist element? Although we do not often hear people verbbalize fascist beliefs, I believe that fascism is alive and well in the hearts and minds of some Americans and most importantly in th hearts and minds of those we call The Powers That Be (TPTB).

In the world of TPTB, people like Wasserman-Scultz are no bodies. But presidents of the United Sates are definitely among TPTB.  Further, I think we have seen some elements of fascism in both Bush presidencies and in the Clinton presidency and most certainly in the current presidency of Barack Obama.  Do you think that Obama wouldn’t love to have dictatorial power?

But wait a minute. Fascism is associated with nationalism and Obama is no nationalist. But we are now talking about TPTB and that means we are no longer talking about America but the world.

We know that TPTB have long had a dream of a One World Order (OWO). Because TPTB have been seen to support socialism, we have assumed that their OWO would amount to universal socialism. I don’t believe it. I speculate that they dream of a fascist OWO with veneers of socialism and capitalism. maybe some day I will expand on my theory; but for now, I offer it only as food for thought.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

37 thoughts on “Left, Right and, Center … and Fascism?

  1. I think you have a well reasoned argument Jim, and thanks for the mention and the link. I think that you are totally right in your analysis!

  2. Well, the OWO isn’t looking too good in its European incarnation. That, of course, won’t stop the totalitarians, just as the failure of communism in every country in which it’s been tried hasn’t stopped the communists. There’s nothing more inimical to good civic order than busybodies with guns.

  3. Like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz says, it’s all the TEA Party’s fault for this anti-semitic rhetoric and hatred.

    Now get in line and be good Democrat/Socialists, will ya?

  4. I often wonder, do they really believe what they say? Can they deny reality? With Europe going down the tubes, and we on the fast track to follow them, can they not see that “A” leads to “B” and so on? Just asking. Besides, Wasserman-Shultz and her arrogance are most annoying, and I would think others would believe the same.

  5. I think “left” and “right” are useless for anything but a shorthand, as we all know what someone who uses them is talking about, but beyond that, they are of no use.

    The left-right spectrum should be replaced by a freedom-tyranny spectrum. Socialism, statism, fascism… it’s all tyranny.

    1. I agree with you, Kurt, that the better spectrum is from freedom to tyranny. But, because Wasserman- Schultz used “right-wing extremist”, I had to stay with her spectrum in order to tie her in to my story.

  6. I just recall a post I made not too long ago. Since it is short and sweet, I’ll just share it with you here.

    [There is] a false opposition between socialism and fascism that excludes the middle ground of Constitutional republican government and individual rights.

    Let’s debunk a few myths that drive the comparison between fascism and American conservatism.

    1. American conservatives are for individual rights, not statism.
    2. They believe individuals are ends in themselves, and not a means to an end.
    3. They are for liberty, not totalitarianism.
    4. They are for free markets, not corporatism or state capitalism.
    5. They are for private property, not state property.
    6. They are for a color-blind, legally equal society based on individual rights, not group rights.
    7. They are for freedom of religion, not theocracy.
    8. They are suspicious of government authority, not obeisant.
    9. They tend not to deify political leaders, though they revere leaders like Ronald Reagan.
    10. They are for less government intervention, not control over every aspect of life.
    11. They are patriotic, not nationalist.
    12. They are for federalism, not centralized government.
    13. They are for checks and balances, not unification.
    14. They support gun rights not because the seek to harm others, but to protect and defend themselves.
    15. They display judgment in the context of moral and cultural relativism.

    Not much “fascistic” about that, is there?


  7. Jonah Goldberg wrote a stirring book called liberal fascism, he proves to those who listen and are open to reason [which obviously excludes liberals] that fascism was and remains of the left in the western world.

  8. I’ve never thought about the term center being right. As a conservative/libertarian leaner, I always considered my self right of center. But YOU are correct and I’m rethinking things. What we consider right, is in many cases center because right-thinking people are centered in their thinking, putting the constitution front and center. And that’s gotta be right.

  9. I think that is one of the best definitions of the economic theory of fascism that I have read and is in alignment with what I believe is part of a fascist state. Obama is no nationalist, that is for sure, but nationalism is only one aspect of fascism.
    I put fascism on the right, although it does has leftist tendencies also and yes I believe that there is a fascist element to American government. Not just from this president, but from presidents on both sides of the aisle.

  10. I sometimes wonder if some of these people really know what they believe. I tend to think they are for whatever suits their purpose of the moment.

  11. Interesting how the current power base has moved so far left that the center is deemed by the leftists and the media to be extreme right. This is the Overton Window that Beck described on his shows, where the center keeps getting shoved back and forth and the tug of war goes on and on. You said it just correctly here, though…the Constitutionalists (Tea Party) are the center and God willing we will hold that center while the other extremes go off the edges into the abyss of their own making. We can try anyway.
    Cheers, Jim.

    1. Hey! Welcome back, Cheryl. Yes, I see the tea Party constitutionalists as occupying the center of the our political spectrum. Where the center of popular sentiment lays is another matter. But isn’t it amazing that many people today think that our constitutional principles are radical concepts. That is scary.

  12. Great conversation. I wanted to follow up on Steve Dennis’ comment, specifically. I’m going to steal from another old article I wrote because it sums up what I think pretty well. It is kind of straight-forward and meant to argue with leftists, and that is why it is overly parsed, so please don’t find it “lectury.” because a lot of conservatives know this already.

    The popular image of the tea party spread by opinion-molders is that it is a right-wing extremist movement within the Republican party. But actually, it is a coalition of American conservatives near the center of two extremes in the traditional framework of political theory. Actually, leftists are the extremists.

    “Right-winger” is an epithet reflexively hurled by socialists and progressives at any party, movement, faction, or individual that opposes the left-wing agenda. The smear tactic is intended to confuse those people who support the traditionally American tenets of liberty, limited government, and individual rights with European fascists and ultra-nationalists. The terms “right-wing” and “left-wing” are derived from the French Revolution; nationalists who supported the Ancien Regime (monarchy, or “Old Regime”), the church, and the aristocracy sat in the right-wing of the French assembly, while radical democrats, whose egalitarian ideals implied a leveling of institutional, traditional, political, and economic barriers to absolute freedom sat in the “left-wing.”

    In European history, those who supported the maintenance of the monarchical and aristocratic status quo were conservatives. These conservatives’ preferences for maintaining the spoils of privilege must still be distinguished from the philosophy of Edmund Burke, who was a proponent of incremental reform in Europe. Both kinds of European conservatives, statist and Burkean, must be distinguished from American conservatives, whose adherence to tradition springs from a deep-seated belief in the truth of the country’s founding principles, which are a reflection of the non-conservative Enlightenment. […]

    Ultimately, the Constitution, the embodiment of those founding principles that tea party movement adherers cherish most, is specifically designed to protect American citizens from political threats arising from both the right and the left.

    1. “Ultimately, the Constitution, the embodiment of those founding principles that tea party movement adherers cherish most, is specifically designed to protect American citizens from political threats arising from both the right and the left.”

      You have made my point perfectly, thanks, Rogue.

  13. I stay away from labels because they are used by TPTB to steer our conversations into channels that don’t threaten them. But the way I visualize the political spectrum is thus:

    The middle are couch potatoes who don’t really think about anything but their own little isolated lives very much. Then you have your left and right wings, which wrap around in a giant circle where communism/socialism and fascism meet each other at a big totalitarian party thrown by TPTB.

    Fascism is where the government gets corporations to do their dirty work. Oh and there are no-bid contracts, so only the corporations that play totalitarian ball get the business. Mussolini coined the term corporatism. I see this today on the local level in what they call “public-private” partnerships, a term that makes me want to wretch.

    Whether by socialism or fascism, the end goal is the same, a totally controlled and captive population serving a small Elite.

    1. I regret having used the word “middle”. These folks, in my opinion do not have a place in the spectrum at all because they have no political philosophy. They do, however, determine elections. Many believe they are only amenable to centrist political ideas and that any thing else to radical for them. I’m not sure that is true. These folks will have opinions on thins like war, religion (cultural issue) and most certainly about their economic well being. If we learn what issues they are worried about, we have a chance to influence them with our ideas no matter that the left consider them radical.

      1. You are right that these are the people who hear that election day is tomorrow and they go in there to just push some buttons and will do it totally on how they feel that day. It’s not uncommon for me to get calls from a couple of my relatives to ask me who to vote for the day before the election because they just don’t pay attention.

        Jennette Rankin said something a long time ago about how it is rigged so the middle will determine elections. These middle are the ones who still watch the boob tube and are under the Elite’s influence (except the college-educated Marxists types) without knowing what is going on. I’m thinking that the hard times are going to snap more of them out of the trance however.

  14. I tend to over complicate things, so I do not picture this in 2 dimensions. I look on this as a sphere, with the x, y and z axis’ labelled as Individual Liberty, Economic Freedom and Social Issues (kind of a take on the so-called three legs of Conservatism…i.e. national security, economic and social conservatism). The Tea Party would not be in the exact Center in my opinion, as our founding principles emphasized Individual and Economic Freedoms while (in my opinion) leaving Social Issues alone as not the province of the Federal Government (which could mean maximizing those issues toward Freedom since they mostly left them alone…hmmm, not sure).

  15. (Coming from someone in “the middle” who “knows nothing about what’s going on”). I am in the middle because I vote and make my decisions of what I think is correct and not what any political party, ideology, movement, or constitution tells me what I should think is
    correct. Sometimes I vote “left” and sometimes I vote “right”. I’m all over the place yes.

    I think the reason many people get “right vs. left” confused, is because of what was said previously. The fact that in the United States it means something different than in Europe or South America. The rest of the world views right vs left as seen after the french revolution. In the USA “right” is considered small federal government with very little economic regulation. My family lived under Salazar’s Portugal. I am in Europe quite often and I can tell you the “spectrum” (if we can give it any merit in today’s society) over there, is not the same there as it is here. Realistically, cultural and social issues are on a seperate scale from that of economic issues. On cultural and social issues, the more right you go, the more the government imposes it’s beleifs on you. The more left you go, the less the government cares about what you think, beleive, or who you want to bang. However on the economic scale, the more left you go, the more the state has control of the economy. On the economic scale (as seen from the international view), Fasicm stands a tiny bit to the right of the center. On the cultural/social scale, it is to the far right. In the viewpoint of the American, Fascism can be seen as left of center due to the government having some dictation over the private companies. This is because in the USA, government having no intervention in corporations has been the norm from the beggining. That is why people get into much debate on what is left or right. Personally I think we should abolish that damn scale all together because I think it hinders our ability to think for ourselves.

    If you really wanted to make a political spectrum relevant to today’s world that would fit both the USA and the rest of the world, I think it would be more looking like a map with coordinates. In this map, East and West represent economic ideoligies. North and South represent government control on the individual. West is total state control of economy (communism). East is no control of economy (capitalism in it’s purest form). North is total control of the individual. South is total anarchy.

    For example, Stalin would be completely in the North West. Hitler would be completey North being a little to the East of 0. The founding fathers would be in the southeast quadrant of the map, valuing individual freedoms and free market, (varying positions depending on the indivual). Hippies would be in the far southwest quadrant (wanting no rules from the governement but at the same time wanting government to take of their financial needs).

    1. Ivan, thank so much for visiting Conservatives on Fire and sharing your thoughts. You and I may not agree on every thing; but, I bet we would agree on many things. I like your map concept of coordinates to view the political spectrum. Please come by any time and join in the conversation. Who knows? Maybe we can get an interesting dialog going.

  16. You fellows in the USA seem to live in a different world. In Canada, where I live,
    (I am no jingoistic patriot, and in European nations,according to my
    understanding, universal or nearly universal state-funding health care has
    been taken for granted even by staunch conservatives for decades and yet I hear
    Americans fuming among ‘communism’ whenever even partial medicare is
    discussed. Provision of free basic medical services to the helpless, including the
    poor and the newborn, seems to me a simple matter of decency, and a reasonable
    use of tax money. So what if the rich and middle classes have to forsake a few
    unnecessary luxuries as a result?
    Political spectrum analysis has been oversimplified for demagogic purposes for
    too long. A multiaxial model does make a lot of sense and gets very interesting
    because life experiences, personality, and core beliefs affect political leanings
    in surprisingly various ways and people do go through an evolution across the
    life span. What is the quote from Clemenceau? Something to the effect that
    if a man is not a socialist in his youth he has no heart, and if not a conservative
    by thirty he has no head? As a youngster I considered myself a left nationalist,
    leaning towards state control of vital economic resources with preservation of private
    property (especially on the farms, my family background was largely rural). In the
    19th century the radical non-Marxist left went hand in hand with nationalism, especially
    of the non-xenophobic variety, and a lot of 20th century nationalist movements had
    leftist, secularist social platforms. I used to admire Lincoln, Wilson, and the two Roosevelts
    from a distance based on limited reading. Now, as a Christian, I no longer view politics
    as a matter of ultimate importance, looking forward to the return of Christ, who will
    reign in righteousness. However, the state has a commission and duty from God to
    protect its citizens and defend justice. We are to obey the state within the bounds of
    conscience, yet it will not last forever and a regime can forfeit its right to exist by an
    excess of wickedness. Therefore causes which you consider ‘social conservative’,
    insofar as they concern life and death, may matter more than economic matters;
    yet because capitalists are sinners who cannot be expected to act perfectly justly,
    and because the churches and charities which could, might, and do help with social
    relief cannot carry the full burden, it is not reasonable to expect the state to
    step in for the preservation of life and social order? If man’s heart weren’t evil,
    libertarianism and free enterprise might make sense, but as it stands the ‘invisible
    hand’ is a convenient fiction and ‘liberty’ is elusive and relative. Even representative
    democracy is rarely very representative or democratic, but it beats tyranny.

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