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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Are Conservatives the Unwitting Proponents of Economic Fascism?

    Taken from:


    The Business of Government

    Are Conservatives the unwitting proponents of economic Fascism?

    by Richard Engle, President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies

    The foundation of American conservative political philosophy is limited government. It is joined by belief in traditional values, economic expansion and the rule of law. On occasion the desire for one conservative value seems to clash with another, at which point conservative politicians and pontificators (like me) are tested in their ability to think the matter through and to stay pure to their ideology.

    Conservatives want to see the economy grow and for individuals to have the opportunity to find employment rather than depend on welfare for their sustenance. However, many have bought into a version of economic development that is antithetical to true conservativism.

    There is an old saying that “the business of government is business”. This saying became popular prior to the Great Depression and largely fell out of favor during the World War that followed. During the Cold War the concept came again to the forefront in an expression that suggested that the government should provide a “pro-business” environment. True conservatives would agree that government should be friendly toward business by adopting policies that encourage enterprise and overall economic growth.

    What has become altogether dominant in American society is an excessive involvement in business by government at every level. Instead of adopting policies that encourage free (and private) enterprise, we see explicit investment of government funds and credit in business ventures. American government entities have long engaged in “fee for service” activities like postal services, admission to public parks, use of public forests, admission to state colleges and city utility services. However, traditionally we have privatized these services when we see that private enterprise is willing to step up to the plate. It is ordinary to have private companies bid to serve as concessionaires at National parks and airports, for example. Despite resistance to privatization the post office has lost most of the business of package shipping and Amtrak continues to be subsidized despite the popularity of just about every other form of transportation.

    Local, Tribal, State, Federal and even foreign governments have engaged themselves more and more in “for profit” ventures within our nation. While I understand that there are other factors to Fascism than the economic ones this type of excessive involvement in business ventures is economic Fascism!

    The Kelo (eminent domain) case was not an unusual circumstance except that the victims worked to oppose the imposition. Kelo’s “reverse Robin Hood” (stealing from the poor to give to a rich business that was unwilling to purchase property on the open market) is going on in nearly every state and to some degree in most localities.

    Additionally, cities, counties, school districts and a variety of non-democratically operated public “trusts” have long used government funds and credit to operate business ventures. Did you know that the World Trade Center was owned and operated by the Port Authority? It seems to me that there are a few folks in Manhattan who are willing to build buildings and rent office space. This was one significant case in which government was not providing a service that would have gone unmet by the private sector.

    More and more we find governments directly owning businesses in competition with private business. These government owned enterprises are not fulfilling any public interest other than the generation of funds. Some are operating businesses that are explicitly contrary to the best interest of public policy. Tribal governments owning smoke shops and gambling establishments certainly exemplify such. Tribes are now expanding beyond those entities to the purchase and operation of all sorts of enterprises from mining to shopping centers and anything else they can operate to the expansion of their government authority. In many jurisdictions government enterprises have garnered a monopoly on particular businesses. State owned lotteries and government owned utilities are just a couple of examples.

    One form of economic Fascism that is particularly troubling is what I call “Reverse Colonization”. We find that foreign governments are creating or purchasing business enterprises to compete with private business. Recent exposure of the Dubai Ports deal had many conservatives crying foul not because foreign business people were going to operate many ports but because a foreign government was a significant investor in the deal. They also (rightly) complained about the Chinese government ownership of the operations of American ports. Let’s go a bit further and we will see that the German government owns and operates the newest kid on the block of shipping, DHL. Why should a government be allowed to use its access to tax dollars and public credit to compete with privately owned FedEx and UPS? Simple answer, they shouldn’t!

    We also find otherwise conservative politicians buying into the concept of “targeted tax cuts” which is a creative way of saying, subsidizing one particular business at the expense of its competitors. I understand wanting to attract business and I also understand when a pro-business elected official is working against the flow to cut any tax he can. He understands that the excessive burden his government has put on business is contrary to the goal of attracting new business or retaining an existing major one. However, when a tax cut, subsidy, or tax credit is designed to go to only one (or very few) specific business then economic Fascism has become public policy.

    We need to remember that Fascism is primarily an economic philosophy in which the government does not directly own all the means of production (like communism) but it directly or indirectly controls it so as to manipulate the economy. We also need to remember that all the horrors of Fascism follow the implementation of its economic policy.

    Government should be in the business of governing! Business alone should be in the business of profiting. The platform of the Republican Party and the public policy of this republic needs to be revised to reflect a complete rejection of Fascism. No government should be permitted to own or operate any “for profit” enterprise in the United States. Finally, the premise of “equal protection under the law” needs to be applied to prevent cronyism in the guise of economic development.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: Are Conservatives the Unwitting Proponents of Economic Fascism?

    I feel.....wow...there are still some real conservatives with independent thought floating around. Thanks Boone, I will have to spend some time on that site to see what other things they have to say.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Re: Are Conservatives the Unwitting Proponents of Economic Fascism?

    You bet'cha...u r welcome! Thank you for your kind words.

    Have a good one!

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