Democratic Socialism

Not sure where this came from:

bernie sanders democratic socialism

Thomas Sowell writes:

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama's point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely -- and correctly -- regarded as being on the political left. ....Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.

People get blinded (probably for good reason, given the heinousness) by Hitler's rounding people up in camps and can't really get beyond that in thinking about fascism.  Which is why I sometimes find it helpful to use the term "Mussolini-style fascism".   And the US Left, led by FDR, was very much in thrall with portions of Mussolini-style fascism, so much so that the National Industrial Recovery Act was a modelled on Mussolini's economic management of command and control by corporatist boards.   Here is one description:

The image of a strong leader taking direct charge of an economy during hard times fascinated observers abroad. Italy was one of the places that Franklin Roosevelt looked to for ideas in 1933. Roosevelt's National Recovery Act (NRA) attempted to cartelize the American economy just as Mussolini had cartelized Italy's. Under the NRA Roosevelt established industry-wide boards with the power to set and enforce prices, wages, and other terms of employment, production, and distribution for all companies in an industry. Through the Agricultural Adjustment Act the government exercised similar control over farmers. Interestingly, Mussolini viewed Roosevelt's New Deal as "boldly... interventionist in the field of economics." Hitler's nazism also shared many features with Italian fascism, including the syndicalist front. Nazism, too, featured complete government control of industry, agriculture, finance, and investment.

The NRA has to be in the top 10 best overturn decisions by the Supreme Court.  Thought experiment -- do you think you could buy a Honda, Toyota, Tesla, Nissan or Kia in the US today if GM and the UAW were running the automotive board?

  • tmitsss

    I drive a Pontiac Solstice, when the government was running GM they killed Pontiac and the Solstice, limiting everyone's choice

  • Douglas2

    At the time of the Auto bailouts, I said to a lot of people that it was hard for the admin to be more symbolic of their view of government than to forcibly relieve the more-secured creditors of an auto company and essentially hand that ownership interest directly to a grandson of Giovanni "Gianni" Agnelli.

  • J K Brown

    Fascism arose in the non-communist socialists as a response to the violent attacks by the communists on who they considered "social traitors", i.e. peaceful-imposition socialists. Once in power, they pushed their socialist takeover of the institutions and means of production. Their economic policies were highly interventionist. Unfortunately, the fascists were militaristic and nationalists so their foreign policy was conquest and their domestic policy, a seen in Nazi Germany, was easily devolved into a racist ideology that kept the interventionist policies justified.

    Outside of the countries where the government was unable to stem the revolutionary socialist (international communism) tide, the economic difficulties of the 1930s created an opportunity for the incremental socialists (national socialists) to advance economic interventionism. When the fascist foreign policy forced war, the interventionism was even further advanced in the wartime economies. Wartime economies that persisted for years after the defeat of the fascists and weren't well and good overcome even in the US until the deregulation of the early 1980s.

    I appears in this manner. In countries with a history of classical liberalism, violent revolutionary socialism was similar to dropping a frog in boiling water and as did does the frog, the nations reacted to avoid the fate. However, the incremental "peaceful" socialism slowly turned up the heat. The violence of the communist facilitated the rise of violent fascist (socialists) in response to the crisis. The crisis of violence distracted the populace and permitted the imposition of far more interventionist economic policies, i.e., turn up the heat of socialism faster. In the US, Britain, etc. the fascists violence was suppressed along with the communist violence, but the US/British incremental socialists were able to sell the "trains running on time" and the 1929 crash as reasons for increasing interventionism although not without some pushback. The outbreak of war facilitated a rapid expansion of economic interventionism with the wartime economies.

    However, while the economic interventionism was pushed back as it proved to impede economic progress, this only represented a change in the rate of heat increase. The rise of the welfare and regulatory state were just gentler, kinder? means to boil the frog. In the end, the frog still dies.

    All in all communism, fascism, socialism, increasing interventionism can be explained by the following:

    "The worst thing that can happen to a socialist is to have his country ruled by socialists who are not his friends."
    --Ludwig von Mises

  • Earl Wertheimer

    1st para is quoted twice...

  • Zachriel

    Coyote Blog: People get blinded (probably for good reason, given the heinousness) by Hitler's rounding people up in camps and can't really get beyond that in thinking about fascism.

    Oh gee whiz. Is it really necessary for people on the right to redefine terminology just so it suits their personal preconceptions? When fascism came to power, it was considered on the political right, and supported by conservatives. Fascism has been considered on the political right by generations of scholars, and by common usage. That's because fascism is a hierarchical ideology. Extremist means are used by, well, extremists, whether on the left or the right.

    Coyote Blog: Which is why I sometimes find it helpful to use the term "Mussolini-style fascism".

    "Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century." — Benito Mussolini

    Nothing makes sense when you invert the definitions in that manner. Take the example of avowed fascists in Belgium protesting immigration. They are universally called right-wing.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/belgian-peace-march-canceled-but-right-wing-hits-streets/

  • Zachriel

    Constitutional Republic: The government takes the fruits of your labor. If you refuse, the government arrests you.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Ah, our old friends the Zachs have returned.

    Are you being intentionally obtuse, or are you (futilely) attempting to impart some obscure irony, Zachs?

    Prior to Mussolini’s ascendance, he was a leader of the Italian Socialist Party, and editor of the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti!

    Given your past extreme, pungent ignorance, it is very likely that you are unaware of this information, but no matter.

    Warren’s point above, and which I have repeated many, many times, is that the current regressive socialist rulers are neofascist/corporatist in their belief and execution, given Oblunder’s extreme and heavy-handed, illegal and corrupt tactics.

    What, if anything, do you disagree with in that characterization? Be specific, with citations.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Correct.

    If the Constitutional Republican government stays within it's constructed bounds, this isn't a problem.

    What, exactly, is your point here, Zachs?

  • Bram

    After the 16th Amendment, yes. That was the beginning of the end for limited government.

  • Bram

    I had a Saab I really liked.

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: If the Constitutional Republican government stays within it's constructed bounds, this isn't a problem.

    Even in a Constitutional Republic, you might have to pay taxes you don't agree with — under threat of arrest.
    http://www.cc.com/video-clips/04rkt0/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-back-in-black---glenn-beck-s-nazi-tourette-s

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: Prior to Mussolini’s fascist ascendance, he was a leader of the Italian Socialist Party, and editor of the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti!

    Yes, then he moved to the political right.

    mesaeconoguy: Warren’s point above, and one which I have repeated many, many times, is that our current regressive socialist rulers are neofascist/corporatist in their belief and execution, given Oblunder’s extreme and heavy-handed, illegal and corrupt tactics.

    Associating the Obama Administration with fascism is exaggeration and smear by association. Furthermore, it's a distortion of language.

    mesaeconoguy: What, if anything, do you disagree with in that characterization? Be specific, with citations.

    • Mussolini's own characterization of fascism as on the right, and his association with conservative elements in society
    • Current media usage of the terms left and right, as exemplified in the link above.

    Standard definitions of the political left and right.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left%E2%80%93right_politics
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left%E2%80%93right_politics

    Scholarly references concerning fascism and the political right:
    • Nazism and the Radical Right in Austria 1918-1934, Lauridsen.
    • The Routledge companion to fascism and the far right, Paul Davies.
    • The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain, edited by Gottlieb & Linehan.
    • Fascism Past and Present, West and East: An International Debate on Concepts and Cases in the Comparative Study of the Extreme Right, Griffin et al.
    • France in The Era of Fascism: Essays on the French Authoritarian Right, edited by Jenkins.
    • Fascism and Neofascism: Critical Writings on the Radical Right in Europe (Studies in European Culture and History), edited by Weitz & Fenner.

  • Zachriel

    In 1794, President George Washington subdued a tax insurrection, the Whiskey Rebellion. Yup. A Constitutional Republic takes the fruits of your labor, and if you refuse, they arrest you.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Not in dispute.

    We are all aware of this requirement.

    Again, what is your obtuse point here, Zachs?

  • Zachriel

    It's the point raised in the original post, playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," except there's just one degree and Kevin Bacon is Hitler.
    http://www.cc.com/video-clips/04rkt0/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-back-in-black---glenn-beck-s-nazi-tourette-s

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Yes, then he moved to the political right.

    No, he was a socialist.

    If you wish to delude yourself further, by all means, have at it.

    Associating the Obama Administration with fascism
    is exaggeration and smear by association. Furthermore, it's a distortion of
    language.

    Oh, I see. We’ll ignore your linguistic ignorance for now.

    Then I will call him what he is (and you, by extension): a cocksucking regressive tyrant.

    Is that better?

    Your misunderstanding of left and right exposes your abject and complete economic ignorance of fascism and socialism. They are sides of the exact same coin:

    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/Fascism.html

    Good to see that your stupidity has remained constant, Zachs.

    I’m highly impressed by your ability to retain your inherent elevated ignorance.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    No, you are Hitler, only you think you are better, because you are ignorant, and a leftist (redundant).

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Do you have an actual defense of Democratic Socialism, or are you just stupid?

    [trick question]

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: Do you have an actual defense of Democratic Socialism

    We're not defending democratic socialism, just pointing out that the argument in the original post is fallacious.

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: No, you are Hitler

    It's six degrees of Kevin Bacon, but there's only one degree, and Kevin Bacon is Hitler.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    So Kevin Bacon is your defense of Democratic Socialism?

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    You have failed to substantiate that claim.

    Kevin Bacon is your defense?

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: No, he was a socialist.

    While fascism incorporated some aspects of socialism, Mussolini's fascism was rightist. Your position conflates statism with leftism. There are statist philosophies on the left and on the right. There are libertarian philosophies on the left and on the right.

    We've provided contemporary evidence of usage, historical evidence of usage, encyclopedia references, and scholarly citations. Your handwaving doesn't substitute for argument.

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: So Kevin Bacon is your defense of Democratic Socialism?

    We're not defending democratic socialism, just pointing out that the argument in the original post is fallacious.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    You’ve provided no evidence of your comprehension of fascism. Your sources are incomplete, and inaccurate.

    You have, however, referred to Kevin Bacon multiple times, in some bizarre attempt to justify your ignorance of Democratic Socialism.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    You have failed to substantiate that claim.

    Are you the Kevin Bacon fan club president in your geographic area?

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: You’ve provided no evidence of your comprehension of fascism.

    We've provided contemporary evidence of usage, historical evidence of usage, encyclopedia references, and scholarly citations.

    mesaeconoguy: Your sources are incomplete, and inaccurate.

    Handwaving. To make an argument, you have to address the specifics.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Your arguments are inaccurate, and incomplete.

    Again, are you the Kevin Bacon fan club president in your locale?

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: You have failed to substantiate that claim.

    The argument is that fascism has mandatory taxation, and democratic socialism has mandatory taxation, therefore democratic socialism is akin to fascism. Constitutional republics also have mandatory taxation, so by that logic, constitutional republics are also akin to fascism. It's a facile argument, and a fallacious one too.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Incorrect.

    Many forms of social organization rely on taxation.

    Only recently have we seen unprecedented leftist corporatism and fascism practiced by Obungle and his henchmen
    in direct opposition to the rule of law.

    This has had dangerous deleterious effect on contract law and private property rights, the cornerstone of our previous society.

    Again, are you a regional director of the Kevin Bacon fan club?

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: Many forms of social organization rely on taxation.

    In fact, all forms of government rely upon some form of taxation. Hence, trying to draw an equivalence between any such government and fascism is facile and fallacious.

    mesaeconoguy: This has had dangerous deleterious effect on contract law and private property rights, the cornerstone of our previous society.

    That's not the issue that was raised by the graphic.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Incorrect.

    Anarchy, theoretically, involves no government and therefore no required taxation. Anarchy is a form of governance.

    No, I am not advocating for that, before you misconstrue this comment.

    So you again fail to understand the issue at hand.

    The issue raised is fascism and corporatism, which has been rampant under Oblunder, as illustrated by my example above.

    The lack of prosecution of Jon Corzine is another example of Oblunder’s fascistic lawlessness, and for which Eric Holder should have been indicted.

    You have failed to deny this, and have in fact failed to post anything of substance.

    Do you have Kevin Bacon’s home phone on speed dial?

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: Anarchy, theoretically, involves no government and therefore no required taxation. Anarchy is a form of governance.

    "involves no government" but "form of governance".

    mesaeconoguy: The issue raised is fascism and corporatism

    Fascism is not based on an economic model.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Incorrect, again.

    Fascism is nominal private ownership of production to serve state-defined goals.

    Zachs, the graphic above shows how you leftists invoke false legitimacy using tyranny of the simple majority.

    Taxation is only one aspect of your tyrannical and neofascist preferences.

    After Kevin Bacon obtained a TRO against you for stalking, did you battle your depression with whisky, or old Yanni albums?

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: Fascism is nominal private ownership of production to serve state-defined goals.

    Fascism entails all aspects of society subservient to the state, where violence is the ultimate expression of nationalism. Consequently, fascism is ensconced on the political right.

    "Right-wing politics hold that some forms of social stratification or social inequality are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_politics

    mesaeconoguy: the graphic above shows how you leftists invoke false legitimacy using tyranny of the simple majority.

    Turns out that constitutional republics also have mandatory taxes, so the comparison is facile and the conclusion fallacious.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Fascism entails all aspects of society subservient to the state, where violence is the ultimate expression of nationalism. Consequently, fascism is ensconced on the political right.

    Entirely incorrect, and factually baseless.

    Communism and socialism both require economic (and social) violence against all participants, and complete state subservience, with only a tiny minority permitted to control socioeconomic outcomes, and both are firmly entrenched on the political left.

    The political left is home to the most violent, deadly tyrants on record, most of whom you agree with.

    Turns out that constitutional republics also have mandatory taxes, so the comparison is facile and the conclusion fallacious.

    You have failed to establish this assertion.

    Did Kevin Bacon sue you?

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: Communism and socialism both require economic (and social) violence against all participants

    Communism and socialism have primary economic components.

    mesaeconoguy: and complete state subservience

    Communism, as envisioned by Marx, had an interim dictatorship of the proletariat. Socialism, on the other hand, is much more varied, and in modern mixed economic systems has democratic components.

    As already pointed out, fascism isn't an economic system, but a form of radical authoritarian nationalism.

    mesaeconoguy: The political left is home to the most violent, deadly tyrants on record

    The right has also used violence and tyranny.

    mesaeconoguy: You have failed to establish this assertion.

    That constitutional republics have mandatory taxes? You could look at the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1. For enforcement, you might consider the Whiskey Rebellion.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Communism and socialism have primary economic components.

    Fascism has primary economic components.

    As already pointed out, fascism isn't an economic system, but a form of radical authoritarian nationalism.

    As already established, incorrect.

    Fascism is a socialist economic system with a capitalist veneer.

    The right has also used violence and tyranny.

    Not nearly as effectively and broadly as the left.

    That constitutional republics have mandatory taxes?

    No, that the comparison is facile and the conclusion fallacious.

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: Fascism has primary economic components.

    No. For instance, Mussolini changed economic models several times, all the while remaining a fascist.

    mesaeconoguy: As already established, incorrect.

    You're saying fascism is not a based on radical authoritarian nationalism? Seriously?

    Oxford Dictionary: An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

    Britannica: Although fascist parties and movements differed significantly from each other, they had many characteristics in common, including extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and political and cultural liberalism, a belief in natural social hierarchy and the rule of elites, and the desire to create a Volksgemeinschaft (German: “people’s community”), in which individual interests would be subordinated to the good of the nation.

    mesaeconoguy: Fascism is a socialist economic system with a capitalist veneer.

    Written by a chair of an anarchist think tank. That doesn't mean his opinion doesn't have value, but is unlikely to represent a neutral or consensus point of view.

    mesaeconoguy: Not nearly as effectively and broadly as the left.

    The radical left, in particular, communism, has had a sorry history over the last century. The radical right, such as Nazism, also has had a sorry history over the last century. Hierarchical society had a virtual monopoly on state violence before the French Revolution.

    mesaeconoguy: No, that the comparison is facile and the conclusion fallacious.

    Mother Teresa had a mustache. Hitler had a mustache. Mother Teresa was Hitler!

  • MJ

    When fascism came to power, it was considered on the political right, and supported by conservatives.

    No, it wasn't. It was a populist movement, much like the ones we're seeing now. It combined the latent nativist sentiment that underlies many Western European countries with a belief in technocratic ability of the government to direct the economy (hence the name "national socialist" in Germany). Fascist parties were political rivals to emergent Marxist parties (communist, socialist) in many countries, but that doesn't mean their ideologies were diametrically opposed. Both advocated a much larger role for the state in economic affairs, they just different on what form that intervention would take.

    It is a common tactic of the European Left to refer to anyone who opposes their ideas as "fascist" or "far right". This goes back to the early days of socialism. In Germany, the socialist party of the 1920s and early 1930s (the SPD) used to commonly refer to any party that opposed its ideas as "fascist", including the center-left Social Democrats, whom they derogatorily referred to as "social fascists". In the post-WW II period, there weren't really any genuine fascist regimes in Europe, so the European socialists took to applying the term generically to any right-wing party.

    This practice continues to this day, to the point that the term "fascist" has become devoid of any real meaning. European news outlets, many of them state-funded, have taken to applying the term "far right" or fascist to any organization opposed to unlimited immigration in EU member states. Note how the news story you linked to causally refers to the protest groups as "far right". This is de rigeur for European journalists. Whatever link this may have to the original tenets of fascism is tenuous at best. In the US, we have seen the term leveled at Donald Trump. The charge is equally meaningless here as well.

  • Zachriel

    MJ: No, it wasn't.

    Fascism was populist, but populism on the right. Nativism and anti-Semitism were common on the political right in Europe then — and now. Hitler drew wide support from conservatives and the business community who saw him as a bulwark against communism.

    MJ: It is a common tactic of the European Left to refer to anyone who opposes their ideas as "fascist" or "far right".

    That is correct. Just because fascists are generally classified on the political right doesn't mean that everyone on the political right is a fascist.

    MJ: Note how the news story you linked to causally refers to the protest groups as "far right".

    The protesters are self-described fascists and rightists.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    For instance, Mussolini changed economic models several times, all the while remaining a fascist

    No, Mussolini was a socialist. You are factually historically incorrect, as always.

    As much as you would like to revise history, you cannot.

    You're saying fascism is not a based on radical authoritarian nationalism? Seriously?

    No, you are saying that fascism isn’t an economic paradigm, which is incorrect.

    Again: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

    Written by a chair of an anarchist think tank

    You really are an exceptionally poor reader, because you are quite stupid.

    This also explains most of your economic ignorance, but I do find your clueless musing highly entertaining. Please, do continue, rube.

  • Zachriel

    mesoeconoguy: No, Mussolini was a socialist.

    From your citation: "While associated with socialism, Mussolini's writings eventually indicated that he had abandoned Marxism and egalitarianism in favor of Nietzsche's übermensch concept and anti-egalitarianism." In other words, he moved to the political right. By the way, there are right-wing versions of socialism.

    mesoeconoguy: No, you are saying that fascism isn’t an economic paradigm, which is incorrect.

    As the fascist Mussolini tried many different economic systems, it's clear that fascism doesn't have an economic paradigm other than everything, economic or otherwise, must be subordinate to the state.

    mesoeconoguy: You really are an exceptionally poor reader ...

    Actually, we read the article carefully, noted the heterodox interpretation, and looked into the writer. He's with an anarchist think tank implying he is far from the mainstream of economic interpretation. In other words, while interesting, the opinion isn't authoritative.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    I recommend you re-read your previous comments, including

    fascism isn't an economic system

    And

    Fascism is not based on an economic model.

    Both of which are incorrect.

    You are a fascinatingly dumb individual, and an exceptionally poor reader.

    Have a stupid day.

  • Zachriel

    mesaeconoguy: Both of which are incorrect.

    Mussolini's fascist government started with a laissez-faire economic program, and orthodox trade policy. When the lira declined, Italy rejoined the gold standard and instituted a syndicalist model. During the Great Depression, they avoided nationalizing industry. Once war started, due to trade embargoes, there was a push for autarky.

    Overall fascist economics are subservient to the fascist belief in the state as the primary institution, and domination as the natural aspiration of the nation.

    "Once in power, fascists usually adopted whatever economic program they believed to be most suitable for their political goals. Long-lasting fascist regimes (such as that of Benito Mussolini in Italy) made drastic changes to their economic policy from time to time."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_fascism#General_characteristics_of_fascist_economies

    From your citation: "While associated with socialism, Mussolini's writings eventually indicated that he had abandoned Marxism and egalitarianism in favor of Nietzsche's übermensch concept and anti-egalitarianism." In other words, he moved to the political right. By the way, there are right-wing versions of socialism.

  • irandom419

    Need to dumb down socialism for our modern crop of students, imagine a group project you can never quit for the rest of your life.

  • klgmac

    Thanks for your patient and entertaining banter. It was enjoyable reading someone else deal with these fools for a change. Insufferably ignorant and always pretentious, they think they are smart enough to control the temperature's of the planet down to the degree. When history would suggest that everything they touch turns to dust.