Is the Right Fascist? Or the Left?
A horrific event has occurred. The incident should be condemned, and the guilty punished. Instead of presenting this simple message, the media has managed to get the country up in arms, and incite riots in the streets.
Something else is going on, something subtle that has gone virtually unnoticed. Behind this backdrop of civil strife, a lie is being perpetuated.
It has nothing to do with racist cops, riots, or George Floyd. For a long time now, both Democrats and Republicans have spread a false political narrative. We’ve heard it a lot over the years, but with Antifa back in the headlines, we’ve heard it a lot over the last several days. It is categorizing fascism as the political right.
“What?” I hear you ask. “Everyone puts fascism on the right.” True, almost everyone describes the political spectrum as a straight line with Communism/Socialism on the left, Fascism on the right, and American Democracy somewhere in the middle. This idea is being re-confirmed with media pundits talking about and interviewing members of Antifa.
Antifa, we are told, is short for “Anti-fascist.” Antifa members describe themselves as a left-wing group whose purpose is to fight fascist, alt-right groups like the neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
We are also being told that the left and right are more polarized today than they ever have been. But what exactly do the left and right represent? Since the media never bothers to define Fascism and Socialism, the closest we get to the truth is the vague idea that the left believes in “big government” and the right believes in “limited government.”
When I began to study the various political philosophies as a young man, I used to wonder how Nazis could be on the right as fascists. The word “Nazi” means National Socialist Party. This should have put them on the left. Also, fascists aren’t limited government types. This dichotomy remained a mystery to me for quite a while.
Where Both Sides Lead
As I learned more, I became intrigued with the idea that both political sides, taken to the extreme, led to totalitarianism. The spectrum seemed to double back on itself and form more of a circle than a straight line.
I shared this idea with my politically knowledgeable friend Jim. He assured me the spectrum was a straight line, and I had simply put the wrong things on each end. “Totalitarianism goes on the left, and anarchy goes on the right,” he explained. I wanted to argue, but I knew he was correct.
It made sense. On a straight-line continuum, the opposing ends should be opposites. Communism and Fascism are not opposites. They are simply different types of totalitarian regimes.
Anarchy and Totalitarianism, on the other hand, are most definitely opposites. On one end of the political spectrum is the ultimate freedom where there are no rules (or laws) at all, while the other end represents total control or power concentrated in the hands of one person (or a group of persons) with no freedom at all.
As one moves left along the line, one gives up freedom, thereby granting power to those in control. As one moves right along the line, power returns to the people who, therefore, gain more freedom.
The Most Fundamental Questions
It is the Rosetta Stone of politics. With it we can begin to discuss intelligently the most fundamental of all political questions. How much freedom do we want vs. how many rules do we need? It is the same question that the left and right have been debating since the founding of this country.
This fundamental concept, once understood, makes it much more difficult for the media to mislead and obfuscate. It finds application in a multitude of political discussions from Obamacare to the current debate over quarantining.
And, at the very least, it explains why most extreme leftists and progressives are no different from the fascists they claim to despise.