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Paul Marks makes a fool of himself – Hillary will win on Thursday

One of the first things I learnt, indeed was taught – with hard words, when I first stuck my British nose in American politics is that one should never predict caucus meetings, especially when the polls are close, because “anything can happen on caucus night”.

However, I now find myself predicting the Iowa caucus – indeed I have even found myself writing about it in on-line games I am involved in, which must make me seem even odder than I do normally. I am not predicting the Republican side – my emotions are too involved in that. But I do find myself predicting the Democrat side – in direct contradiction to the first rule I was taught. Therefore I am almost certainly making a fool of myself. However, I can not see Senator Hillary Clinton losing.

Take the line of policy.

For example, going on television and saying that people should vote for Senator Clinton because if they did she would “cure autism – I have been working on this for many years” and “cure cancer – a women came to one of my campaign events with a bald head from cancer treatment, but she had painted her head in support of me and I will not let her, and all the other people who have placed all their hopes and dreams in me, down”. Or the Christmas ad – Senator Clinton with lots of presents wrapped in ribbons saying things like “universal pre K.”, “alternative energy”, “universal healthcare” and so on. With the Senator indicating how all these presents would be given if she won.

I may think that such an behaviour is terrible and disgusting, indeed a sign of a maniac with delusions of Godhood – but Democrat voters will love it. But it is not just this, it is organization.

For example, what other Democrat will have five thousand cars on Thursday to take people to caucus events – and this is just the full time cars not the ad hoc help. And then there are all the child minders in special centres who will “take care of the children” whilst the parents are at caucus – I trust that nothing bad will happen to the children if the parents vote the wrong way. The campaign has just such a huge organization and such an unlimited amount of money I do not see how Senator Hillary Clinton can lose.

53 comments to Paul Marks makes a fool of himself – Hillary will win on Thursday

  • As per our phone discussion Paul, yes, her sheer will to sincerely felt evil will envelop the caucus attendees and sweep them up in a frenzy of lust-for-power and the goods of others… I think she will win too. The Triumph of the Will.

    Please let us both be wrong.

  • RobtE

    Paul –

    Do you know what is the most terrifying thing about your predection? It’s the fact that you are probably right.

    You are no doubt already familiar with Glenn Reynolds, the Blogfather of the American Right. His wife, Helen, is both beautiful and brainy, a combination which leaves me weak at the knees. Together they host an irregular podcast called, not surprisingly, The Glenn and Helen Show.

    One of their recent podcasts was an interview with Jonah Goldberg, author of a book called “Liberal Fascism”. Download it and put it on your MP3 player. I’ve listened to it three times now. It’s worth the effort. Most illuminating, it deals with the Hillary Clinton “it takes a village” communitarianism thing and show its similarity to Italian fascism.

    And that’s the sort of politician who’s likely to win the next election? God help us all.

  • Ian B

    Five thousand cars?! I hope they’re not SUVs, or the Algorians might descend on them and wreak a most terrible (yet strangely dull) revenge.

  • Ian B

    RobtE-

    I’ve not read that book, but I think one of the great clevernesses of the left has been to pretend that fascism is “of the right”. Fascism is just another collectivism, another socialism. It just happens to be a nationalist form of it, that’s all. Literally, national socialism.

    Roosevelt’s New Deal was (rightly) accused of being fascist in its day, because back then fascism was just used to describe a corporate state system which co-opts private business into rigid government control, as opposed to communism which takes over ownership of industry directly.

    As such, America is already, to a degree, a fascist country- as are all western countries these days. Any government who sets up some industry regulator or control board or whatever is implementing a fascist policy.

  • Ken

    To me-unlearned and unlettered simpleton that I am-the MOST frighting thing is that she is “grooming” Chelsie to take the same track…just call me stupid…or simple works, also.

    (8 yr’s+8 ys’s +8 yr’s=yep, socialism)

  • Cynic

    As such, America is already, to a degree, a fascist country- as are all western countries these days. Any government who sets up some industry regulator or control board or whatever is implementing a fascist policy.

    As I have experienced often though, to suggest such things will only lead the average right-thinking boob to accuse you of anti-Americanism. And more often not, these accusations will come from somebody who calls themselves a ‘conservative’. This is not wholly unexpected though. Many key American ‘conservatives’ openly admire such great small-government presidents as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.

  • Ken

    Cynic-
    with the exception of LBJ & RMN, you just named the faces on my targets-TR and WW get me especialy rilled up. plus, it’s fun to chuck the empty beer bottles at them also- good grief, dosen’t anyone know it’s global warming going on? WHY, pray tell, then; IS it 15 degree F w/wind chill of 05 degree-in AL gorebul warming boys home state?(oh, winter, err… never mind)

  • RAB

    Please Mommy !
    I’ll be good!
    Really I will!!
    Just dont let Hillary win!!!
    I fear you are right though Paul
    The age of the Stepford Presidency
    may be upon us!

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    You are looking at one aspect of our (U.S.A.) inexorable march toward plebescite democracy and away from the Republic that was given us (if we can keep it).

  • James Strong

    Ken,
    In what way is Hillary Clinton ‘grooming’ her daughter Chelsea?
    I don’t follow these things closely, but I think I read in a sort of gossip column some time ago trhat Chelsea was working for a management consultancy in London.

    If dynastic succession is going to become a feature of American politics, that’s not to be welcomed.

    Fortunately, if Chelsea is going to take over (????) she is not a 19 year-old undergraduate, and she has gone some way to earning an honest living.
    Also fortunately, her mother hasn’t banged her head on a car sunroof.

    But we’ve no reason to believe Chelsea is ever going to enter politics; and I think by then our American friends will have more widely understood the problems of dynasties. (I was a Dallas fan.)

  • chuck

    …as are all western countries these days.

    In the game of naming the three most influential socialists of the last century, I usually list them as:

    1) Stalin,
    2) Mussolini,
    3) Lenin.

    Mussolini might actually be at the top these days because, while the legacy of Stalin and Lenin are fading, the corporatist state lives on and thrives in Europe.

  • Alice

    Never bet on anything that can talk, Paul.

    But it does not matter. If Mrs. Rodham-Clinton wins in Iowa, the New York Times and their ilk will treat this as evidence that everyone in the US (nay, the world, the universe) should fall down and worship her.

    And if she loses, it simply sets up the “female comeback kid” narrative when she does better in the next primary.

    (Can a post-menopausal woman be a “kid” — comeback or otherwise? Doesn’t matter, she will get the adulation from the NYT crowd anyway).

  • tranio

    Hillary is not competent enough to be the President. How could she be so ignorant? See this news item.
    Clinton errs on Pakistan

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was praised in the wake of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for demonstrating her command of the players and the issues at stake in Pakistan, even as another candidate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, was criticized for stumbling over details.

    But in two confident television appearances, on CNN and ABC, Clinton made an elementary error about Pakistani politics: She described President Pervez Musharraf as a “candidate” who would be “on the ballot.”

    In fact, Musharraf was reelected to the presidency in October. The upcoming elections are for parliament, and while Musharraf’s party will be facing off against opposition parties, the president himself is not a candidate.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0108/Clinton_errs_on_Pakistan_.html

  • Ken

    James,

    There is this:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22451068/,
    and this:http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h4nM9ZeCSgTBYYDqMHrwVKX2GHKwD8TDLHKG0

    Not that I trust either of those outlets as far as I can throw a 600lb rock…;-[

    And from USA Today-a respectible news outlet if I ever read one-wink wink-politics | 5d 18h ago
    Clinton’s family business hits the stump
    By Mike Glover, Associated Press Writer
    Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign took on the appearance of a family business as she headed into the final week of the race for Iowa’s leadoff precinct caucuses, driving home to activists the stakes in those caucuses and her view that she’s ready for the job.
    FIND MORE STORIES IN: Democrat | Iowa | Hillary Rodham Clinton | Campaign | William Jefferson Clinton | Chelsea Clinton | Lawton
    politics | 19d ago
    Three generations of Clinton women in ad
    By The Associated Press
    TITLE: “Proud”
    FIND MORE STORIES IN: Hillary Rodham Clinton | Mother | Daughter | Chelsea Clinton | Adwatch

    I loath the Clintons and the cows she/they rode in on…

  • David B. Wildgoose

    I am particularly incensed at Hillary Clinton’s description of Autism as an “epidemic”, (i.e. a disease), and that she will cure it.

    Just imagine the reaction if a Republican candidate described homosexuality as a disease and that if elected he would “cure” it…

  • The Snark Who Was Really a Boojum

    We’ll see. If money and organization were all there was to it though, Ross Perot would already have been President. ^_~

  • RobtE

    Ian B –

    …one of the great clevernesses of the left has been to pretend that fascism is “of the right”

    Quite so. Mr Goldberg points out that that definition of the far right, i.e. fascism, was created by the Soviets to distinguish their internationalism from the fascists’ nationalism.

    BTW, I forgot to mention in my original comments that our own Perry gets name-checked in the interview (in a positive way, I hasten to add).

  • Robert

    The Clinton campaign is hiring babysitters and daycares.

    Okay, first thought that came into my head, and I apologize if this offends anyone, but what are the odds one of these kids is molested or beaten? Honestly, if I were a candidate, this is the last thing I’d be doing.

  • MarkE

    Are the Republicans keeping their powder dry in the hope of a Clinton victory or this news to anyone:

    When Bill was president Hillary was (alledgedly) left in charge of the family finances and made various investments, including a real estate project called Whitewater which turned out to be rather smelly. When this made Bill’s position uncomfortably warm a certain Ms Lewinsky went public about her sex life. From Bill’s perspective this was perfect – his democrat supporters would have been really upset about a financial scandal, but sex wouldn’t worry them, while his republican opponents would get excited about the sex and forget the finances. Hillary can’t use the same tactic because people have double standards, and a middle aged woman and a young guy is less acceptable (and Hillary is no Ann Bancroft).

    I’m no conspiracy theorist as I don’t believe any politician is capable of running one, but it’s something to explore. I’m sure more knowledgable Samizdatistas will be only too happy to point out the flaws in my suggestion.

  • debbie

    Meh….She may or may not win in Iowa but it is essentially meaningless.Its a long way to winning the nomination and even longer way to becoming POTUS.

  • Gabriel

    Any government who sets up some industry regulator or control board or whatever is implementing a fascist policy.

    What ignorant cock. Are you completely insane or do you just have no grasp of either
    a) chronology
    b) basic logic
    ?

    (for the really slow I’ll explain
    a) The application of such policies precedes fascism in the historical record.
    b) If A has property Y and B has property Y, this is not sufficient evidence to assert that A=B)

    Seriously, why don’t you people stop masturbating for five seconds about how much cleverer you are than the average “conservative boob” and read a f**king book or something? Yeesh. This website used to be a refreshing change from the usual crap eminating from the deranged, moronic Libertarian blogosphere. (no offence intended to Paul Marks, of course).

    P.S. The ironic things is that Paulians can go on about “the new fascism”, “soft fascism”, “Christofascism” until the cows come home, but all the plain ole vanilla fascists are sending cheques to their favourite candidate. It’s a good joke, albeit a sick one.

  • Gabriel

    P.P.S. The second ironic thing is that such policies were a particular favourite of the Classical Liberals that ignorant Ron Paulite Libertarians usually claim to be the intellectual [sic!] descendants of.

  • Ian B

    Well thanks for that, Gabriel. It’s certainly an opinion.

    You may like to consider, after you stop fulminating, that collectivisms are as old as history. Terms like communism, fascism, socialism etc describe modern variants of these things organised at the state level with deliberate government planning organised by bureaucracies. By your reasoning, we wouldn’t be allowed to use terms like communism or socialism either.

    I’m not sure what you mean by a “vanilla fascist”. Do you mean a racist group? Mussolini’s fascism (if you read a book one day you’ll discover that he was that Italian guy in the funny hat who invented the term) wasn’t a philosophy of race, it was a philosophy of state planning. Hitler’s national socialism combined a generally fascist economic plan with an intense racist philosophy and eugenics policies, but following your own reasoning, the fact that B=A+Y doesn’t imply that A=Y.

  • Hi Gabriel. Firstly, be more polite or fuck off (not a request). Secondly, you are partially correct. More accurate would be “regulating rather than nationalising the means of production was the corner stone of Nazi economics (decoupling nominal ownership from control), as it is in most statist forms of government”.

    It is wrong to imply “regulatory statism = fascism to the exclusion of other forms of statism”. Fascism is only one form of regulatory statism (and a great deal more than just economics). But as Mercantilism and related approaches have little resonance as epithets these days, ‘fascistic economics’ seems a reasonable terms for economic regulatory statism.

  • anonymous

    I think a tv appearance by Hilary can cure autism, when i see her i develop Tourettes.

  • Gabriel

    You may like to consider, after you stop fulminating, that collectivisms are as old as history.

    It depends what you mean by Collectivism. If you mean the moral doctrine it seems more likely that it arose as a response to the conditions of emerging modernity. This is Oakeshott’s view and, as I understand it, Popper’s. If by collectivism you mean any state interference in the economy, then I suppose you are correct.

    However:
    1) “industry regulator or control board”s are not as old as history. They were introduced to Britain by the Benthamites and no-one had conceived of anything remotely like them before about 1520. So they are not timeless, they simply precede fascism, as I said.

    2) Not all people who support “industry regulator or control board”s are in any meaningful sense Collectivist. C.f. Gladstone. These things are wrong, not because they are fascist or collectivist (which they aren’t), but because they’re crappy wastes of money, which worsen the problems they’re desgined to solve and create unjustifiable intrusions into freedom of action.

    Terms like communism, fascism, socialism etc describe modern variants of these things organised at the state level with deliberate government planning organised by bureaucracies. By your reasoning, we wouldn’t be allowed to use terms like communism or socialism either.

    If someone believes in nationalisation of the means of production and exchange to be run for the benefit of the working classes in pursuit of a more equal society they are a socialist. I’ve met many. If someone believes in the abolition of private property as part of the creation of a classless society where the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all, he is a communist. I’ve met a few. If someone believes in establishing”industry regulator or control board”s, they are not necessarily and probably aren’t a fascist.
    Words are powerful. This isn’t a fin de siecle coffee house where we can say anything that pops into our heads without fear of consequences.

    I’m not sure what you mean by a “vanilla fascist”. Do you mean a racist group? Mussolini’s fascism (if you read a book one day you’ll discover that he was that Italian guy in the funny hat who invented the term) wasn’t a philosophy of race, it was a philosophy of state planning. Hitler’s national socialism combined a generally fascist economic plan with an intense racist philosophy and eugenics policies, but following your own reasoning, the fact that B=A+Y doesn’t imply that A=Y.

    This was sloppy on my part. Though it is an open question whether racism is integral to fascism or not. In 1925 it was possible to be a fascist without being a racist, in 1938 it wasn’t, even for Il Duce.
    In any case, my point was something more banal. Very few people nowadays self-identify as Fascists and, given that most of the American ones happen to support your chosen Presidential candidate, it might behoove you better to lay off the term for a while.

    Oh and by the way

    it was a philosophy of state planning.

    If memory serves, it’s mostly a philosophy of the virtues of leadership and the proper response to modern individualism; economics plays a fairly unimportant role and is considered, in contrast to Marxism and his caricature of Liberalism, as subordinate. But then, I read The Doctrine of Fascism a long time ago and found it to be mostly forgettable and incoherent garbage, so I’ll defer to you.

    Firstly, be more polite or fuck off (not a request).

    Your rules, of course. Though I do wonder why you think anything I said is more offensive than calling someone a Fascist. As it happens, I don’t support regulatory statism, but many people I love do and I find the easy accusations that fly around here that they are Fascists grotesquely offensive.

    It is wrong to imply “regulatory statism = fascism to the exclusion of other forms of statism”. Fascism is only one form of regulatory statism (and a great deal more than just economics). But as Mercantilism and related approaches have little resonance as epithets these days, ‘fascistic economics’ seems a reasonable terms for economic regulatory statism.

    First, it may resonate more, but in a bad way. You’ve just seen one reaction from someone who happens to agree with you on almost every concrete policy issue. For most conservatives, as Cynic rightly points out, the resonance is something like “Hippy alert: stop listening”. Occasionally calling people by hyperbolous names works to discredit them, more usually it just discredits you.
    Secondly, resonance notwithstanding, it’s just wrong. There is some scant evidence that statist ideas of the sort you are talking about were introduced to the U.S. via Fascism, but they were the policy of almost all of the Liberal party and a broad section of the Conservative party before fascism ever existed (and, by the way, have nothing much to do with mercantilism, indeed were held most strongly by certain types of Free Trade Liberal).

  • Gabriel

    Two edits:
    1)I forgot to mention that the fellow who wrote the book immediately underneath the gun in the top let corner was a prime example of someone who favoured extensive state intervention (specifically citing Sweden as an example) whilst remaining a dedicated enemy of Fascism in particular and Collectivism in general.

    2) On futher reflection, the main thrust of The Doctrine of Fascism is,of course, the joys of war. I still can’t remember any reference to economic regulation at all, though no doubt it was in there somewhere.

  • Jim

    Latest polls are reporting an Obama surge in Iowa, four points ahead of Edwards with Clinton trailing in 3rd! You may have opened your mouth too early, but sometimes it’s nice to be wrong :-)

    BTW, Some great comments here.

  • Nick M

    Though it is an open question whether racism is integral to fascism or not.

    Well… It does require the creation of an “other” and race is about the most obvious candidate…

    What is it with the 42nd POTUS’s gang? Al Gore is a great climatologist and now Hilary has revealed herself to be ground-breaking neurologist! What next? Madeleine Albright does cold-fusion?

    Paul, I don’t think Hillary can win the presidency. She is just too wildly hated. Obama… nah! No experience, he’d be ripped to shreds by the GOP machine for it. I also think he’s a bit of a thicky too. It’s gonna be a Republican (wish it were a publican) – which is probably not too comforting either given the selection.

    I still don’t get the “crazy uncle” thing wrt Ron Paul. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Oh, he’s dead wrong on some stuff and probably wrong on other things but… he seems perfectly sane to me. A twinkly old geezer no doubt and he certainly doesn’t look “presidential” but cracked? Nah!

  • Very few people nowadays self-identify as Fascists and, given that most of the American ones happen to support your chosen Presidential candidate, it might behoove you better to lay off the term for a while.

    I draw just the opposite conclusion from this line of reasoning. If “very few” people nowadays self-identify as fascists (which is certainly true), and they are universally despised (which is also true), then they are more of a liability than a beneficial voting block to any politician. Ron Paul and his supporters (which includes me) do the pragmatic thing by disassociating ourselves from them. We also, of course, do the morally correct thing by disassociating ourselves from them, which is the real reason why we do it. Not everyone is is as short-sighted as Hillary C.

  • RobtE

    Nick M –

    Well… It does require the creation of an “other” and race is about the most obvious candidate…

    I’ve learnt much here on Samizdata about the development of modern politics, but I’ve still a long way to go before I’m as clued up as some of the commentariat here.

    Please, can you expand on your point? Why does fascism require the creation of an “other”?

  • Nick M

    RobtE,
    Because fascistic groups have essentially an ideology tied to that group specifically (this is rather different from Communism which is in principle at least universally exportable). And the whole point of the “group” as a concept is that not everyone is a member. Now if you’re running a Libertarian or Communist or whatever party it’s a case of “the more the merrier” but not if you’re running a fascist/national socialist outfit. Hitler wasn’t exactly recruiting at synagogues even when the Nazis were tiny and desperately needed recruits. The fascistic/national socialist idea is that it defines one group as better and therefore by implication another group (or groups) must be inferior. Fascistic/NS governments are invariably militaristic as well and those “others” are needed as enemies.

    In short, it’s possible to imagine a global Communist state or a global centre-right state or a global Green state or whatever because these are all inclusive movements. But this doesn’t work with fascists or national socialists. What would Hitler have been without Jews, homosexuals, “defectives”, Gypsies, Slavs… etc. What would bin Laden be without us kufr? Or Mussolini without his demented idea of rebuilding the Roman Empire? Imperial Japan had it’s own untermenschen (basically the rest of Asia). I’m probably treading on more dubious ground mentioning Franco or some of the S American loons but…

    Well, that’s what I meant.

  • Ian B

    Doesn’t communism inherently require an “other”, that other being the bourgeousie? I appreciate that communism is suppsoed to progress beyond that point by eliminating the borue buegre bu… capitalist class, but then Nazism was supposed to progress beyond their “other” stage too by eliminating its opponents until all that were left were the ubermenschen. I suppose you can say that Mussolini had the “other” as people beyond his nationalist empire, but you can say that about any nationalist, Scots nationalists for instance :)

    Ultimately, doesn’t virtually every political system require some “other” to be vanquished, heralding the Golden Age to come? I’d agrue that libertarianism (however one defines it) escapes this trap by, IMV, not being so much a political system as a rejection of political systems. It’s the political equivalent of atheism. By pragmatically not promising anything in particular in terms of ideology, it avoids needing a class enemy to conjure ire in the followers against**. Which is one reason perhaps it doesn’t recruit very well, since like atheism it’s a rejection of promising things.

    **The “other” are generally portrayed as the group who are standing in the way of Utopia. So perhaps statists are the libertarian’s “other”***.

    ***I think I’ve just argued myself into the exact opposite position to the one I started with. Anyone fancy a pint?

  • Nick M

    Only if you’re buying Ian!

    No, the Nazi ultimate goal was for eternal war. Take Western Russia and have a continual low-level war on the Eastern front against the rump of the USSR to keep the Aryans sharp and hard. There was no global golden age like the one the commies envisioned.

  • Eric

    I doubt Hillary will actually win the Democratic nomination. She has very high negatives. She’s just not likable – she has a terrible temper and turns shrill when the slightest thing doesn’t go her way. As long as it looked like she was the only one who could beat the Republicans she had the grudging support of party apparatchiks, but I think Democrats are taking more rational stock of her disadvantages. My sense is Obama will end up crushing her purely on the strength of his abundant charisma.

    Not that it’s necessarily a good thing. Obama’s idea of a sound foreign policy is “we’ll be nice to you and hope for the same in return”. I’m guessing that’ll give Putin a good chuckle. On the other hand he wants to invade Pakistan. Apparently it isn’t a well-thought-out foreign policy.

  • cookie

    The Republicans need a Christian; the Dimocrats need a believer of anything, as long as its not really the mainstream of Christianity.

  • I am delighted to say it looks like we got it wrong… phew… I guess.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Perry – I am glad to have made a fool of myself in this context.

    “But Hillary would be less difficult to beat” – sometimes schemes get too complex for me, and “we want the really evil one to win the nomination because….” is one of those times (schemes like that can blow up in our faces).

    Gabriel.

    Plato’s “The Laws” is (as I think you would agree) a rather collectivist work. And I do not mean that it just wants to regulate things a bit.

    And there are other collectivist blueprints from classical times.

    And many city states did pass so many “laws” that they regulated their economies into steep decline.

    Even the Roman Empire (itself much worse than the Republic in that one man could change the law on a whim) seems to have passed from the stage where regulations were a burden to where regulations made the society basically unfree.

    Not just “undemocatic” I would never make the mistake of consusing democracy with liberty, but a situtation where the bulk of the population (not just the slaves) were unfree – not just regulated.

    I would say that point is reached and passed under the Emperor Diocletion.

    The idea that his “reforms” saved the Empire is total myth. Aurelian had reunited the Empire ten years before Diocletion took power – and Probus had ruled well.

    The structural problem started almost a century before, when Septimius Severus took government spending over what the taxes of an economy at the Roman level of developement could really support (hence the debasement and so on). But it was Diocletion who really turned Roman civilization into a semi collectivist society.

    Although nothing like as extreme as Plato’s “The Laws” of course.

  • Paul Marks

    tranio

    You make a very good point – and one I did not know about.

    It is astonishing that Senator Hillary Clinton thought that the ruler of Pakistan is a “candidate” who will be “on the ballot” in the forthcomming Parliamentary election.

    The Presidential election in Pakistan (dubious as it was) was, as you say, last year.

    Senator Clinton’s repeated error on this point shows her claims of “experience” to be nonsense.

  • Ian B

    I doubt Hillary will actually win the Democratic nomination. She has very high negatives. She’s just not likable – she has a terrible temper and turns shrill when the slightest thing doesn’t go her way.

    That didn’t stop Gordon Brown.

  • Ian B

    Even the Roman Empire (itself much worse than the Republic in that one man could change the law on a whim) seems to have passed from the stage where regulations were a burden to where regulations made the society basically unfree.

    Which brings us full circle really, since Mussolini named his system after the Roman “fasces”, bundles of rods and an axe carried by lictors which symbolised something or other, I’ll be bound. The term dictator of course is a Roman term also. It was the term for an absolute ruler appointed by the senate in time of crisis, who had absolute power for six months, but then it was taken from him, also known as a gordonbrown.

  • Sam Duncan

    Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, Chapter 12, “The Socialist Roots of Nazism”:

    It is significant that the most important ancestors of National Socialism – Fichte, Rodbertus, and Lassal – are at the same time acknowledged fathers of socialism. While theoretical socialism in its Marxist form was directing the German labour movement, the authoritarian and nationalist element receded into the background. But not for long. From 1914 onwards there arose from the ranks of Marxist socialism one teacher after another who led, not the conservatives and reactionaries, but the hardworking labourer and idealistic youth into the National Socialist fold.

    It seems that Goldberg’s book is, in a sense, a modern retelling of Hayek. Good thing, too. This is a truth that has been ignored for far too long.

    The point being that there is no difference between socialism and fascism beyond the nationalism/internationalism argument. Take that away and they’re not just identical in character; they’re the same thing. Arguing that the modern “left” cannot be termed “fascist” because it isn’t as strongly nationalist and didn’t arise from fascistic roots is missing the point. The fact is that with its emphasis on interference in the family, obsession with “the nation’s health”, shift from state ownership of industry towards control without ownership, and, indeed, an apparent belief in a national “family” all pulling in the same direction under a governmental “parent” (as opposed to the Marxist “class struggle”), the “left” today more closely resembles its fascist antecedents than it does its communist.

    Very few people nowadays self-identify as Fascists

    What they call themselves is irrelevant. Indeed, that’s largely Goldberg’s argument. They may not use that word, but what do they believe? What are their policies? Do they resemble the fascist strain of socialism? The answer, in a disturbing number of cases, is “yes”. As Goldberg says in his interview with Glenn & Helen, there is no doubt that their “fascism” would be “nicer” than the Nazis’, (although, again, early Nazism was pretty sweet if you were one of the Volk: universal healthcare, cheap accomodation, Autobahnen everywhere…) but if you ignore the anti-Semitism – and I accept it’s a pretty big thing to ignore – the resemblance is uncanny.

  • Ian B

    Also worth noting that there’s nothing uniquely Nazi about anti-semitism. There’s a very scary amount of it floating around among the Left at the moment, rebranded as “anti-Zionism”.

  • Gabriel

    On Fascism, it requires an other for the simple reason that it is an ideology based upon the ideal of war. As to whether racism is integral to it, there are two arguments suggesting so.
    First, though the original unit of Fascist thought was “the Nation” this was always a too fungible, changable, indeed, artificial entity to sustain the ideals absolute obedience and unity Fascism demanded. Hence, though the original Fascists did not realise it, another fundamental unit had to be found and the best fit for that is ‘race’. Arguments often have momentum beyond the people who first make them.
    Secondly, Fascism, as with all ideologies, is better understood as a process than a list of dogmas. By way of analogy, when most people hear the word Calvinism they think of (double) Predestination, but this would simply have mystified someone in 1560. All the early Reformers (and many people who stuck with Rome) believed in the doctrine and Calvin accorded it no great significance in his writings. What differentiated Calvinism from other ideolgies was a theory of church government and, most important, his theology of the Eucharist. However, things changed and by 1618 all the Predestinarians had become Calvinists, all the non-Predestinarians had gone elsewhere and Predestination became not only the litmus, but the only test of Calvinism. (Many Calvinists abandoned Spiritual Presence and there are myriad divergent views among them on church government.)

    Likewise, though the original Fascists weren’t racist, indeed many were anti-racist, but Fascism the actual historical phenomenon became an ideology with racism and particularly anti-semitism at its core.

    The inheritors of the Fascist tradition do believe in Corporatist economic policies, but, whether you like it or not, it’s not what they really care about. They care about ZOG and miscegination and things like that and, whether you’re prepared to admit it or not, they’ve got it into their heads that Ron Paul agrees with him and they’re going to vote for him.

    Which brings me to

    Ron Paul and his supporters (which includes me) do the pragmatic thing by disassociating ourselves from them.

    But that’s the whole point, he doesn’t do anything of the sort. He’s broken all fundraising records repeatedly, why won’t he just send the bloody cheque back?

    Also worth noting that there’s nothing uniquely Nazi about anti-semitism. There’s a very scary amount of it floating around among the Left at the moment, rebranded as “anti-Zionism”.

    Take the damn mote from your eye. The volume of anti-semitism masquerading as anti-zionism from Ron Paul fans dwarves that of the entire Left combined. (Actually, many of Ron Paul’s supporters are Leftists who either ignore his Libertarianism or see it as a bridge to some form of anarcho-socialism. The Ron Paul coalition truly is one of the ugliest things in recent history).

    What they call themselves is irrelevant. Indeed, that’s largely Goldberg’s argument. They may not use that word, but what do they believe? What are their policies? Do they resemble the fascist strain of socialism? The answer, in a disturbing number of cases, is “yes”. As Goldberg says in his interview with Glenn & Helen, there is no doubt that their “fascism” would be “nicer” than the Nazis’, (although, again, early Nazism was pretty sweet if you were one of the Volk: universal healthcare, cheap accomodation, Autobahnen everywhere…) but if you ignore the anti-Semitism – and I accept it’s a pretty big thing to ignore – the resemblance is uncanny.

    Not really, but even if you were right, all you would prove to Liberals is that the essentials of Fascism are not bad, but only the accidentals such as racism, warmongering etc. Arguing that leftist policies are X,Y, or Z is fruitless; start arguing that they’re wrong (which should be easy because they are).

  • Gabriel

    Plato’s “The Laws” is (as I think you would agree) a rather collectivist work. And I do not mean that it just wants to regulate things a bit.

    And there are other collectivist blueprints from classical times.

    Indeed, but so the theory goes, classical Greece was a period of emeging “modern” individualism, no less than early modern Europe. The moral theory of Collectivism can there be categorised as a degnerate reaction to modernity, categorically different from pre-modern ideas about politics and society and historically placeable rather than timeless.
    To be honest, I’m a lot less beholden to this theory than I used to be, but I haven’t found anything much better.

    And many city states did pass so many “laws” that they regulated their economies into steep decline.

    Even the Roman Empire (itself much worse than the Republic in that one man could change the law on a whim) seems to have passed from the stage where regulations were a burden to where regulations made the society basically unfree.

    Not just “undemocatic” I would never make the mistake of consusing democracy with liberty, but a situtation where the bulk of the population (not just the slaves) were unfree – not just regulated.

    I would say that point is reached and passed under the Emperor Diocletion.

    The idea that his “reforms” saved the Empire is total myth. Aurelian had reunited the Empire ten years before Diocletion took power – and Probus had ruled well.

    Agreed, but was Diocletian really trying to implement an ideology or moral theory, or was he just trying to raise revenue and impose a rather unpleasant form of order? (genuine question, it’s not a period I know much about).

    **

    Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, Chapter 12, “The Socialist Roots of Nazism”:

    Hayek’s theory is a great deal more sophisticated than Goldberg’s seem to be. To say Liberalism is or evolved from fascism, or that fascism is or evolved from socialism is akin to saying humans evolved from apes. That is to say it requires a complete misunderstanding of the process of evolution concerned. (hint: think common sources).

  • On Fascism, it requires an other for the simple reason that it is an ideology based upon the ideal of war.

    And so is socialism and probably all collectivism when you reduce it enough. In fact states themselves only really make sense as a means of facing the few few collective threats that do not have realistic several solutions. War is one of those without a doubt. Plague is another.

    Socialism and its fascist off-shoot and indeed all statism reduces everything to the moral equivalent of war. War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Cancer. War on Crime. War on Whatever. It is why statist approaches to damn near everything tend to be so inept and counterproductive: the entire view of the world is based on a vast category error.

  • but was Diocletian really trying to implement an ideology or moral theory, or was he just trying to raise revenue and impose a rather unpleasant form of order?

    I would say the later, most certainly,

  • Paul Marks

    Gabriel.

    I take your point about ancient Greece – indeed F.A. Hayek makes a similar point in such works as the “Constitution of Liberty” and “Law, Legislation and Liberty”.

    In the later stages of ancient Egypt there does seem to have been a collectivist ideology (indeed this has come back, in various forms, again and again in Egyption history – the last time in the form of Nasser).

    On Germany and modern Europe generally Ludwig Von Mises should be read was well as Hayek. Such works as “Nation, State and Economy” (written just after the First World War), “Liberalism” (1927 if my memory serves) and “Omnipotent Government” (1944 – same year as Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”) can each be read in a few hours and offer valuable insights.

    Diocletion:

    Perry is most likely correct – I doubt that Diocletion read a book (or sat listening to a philospher) in his life.

    However, his moves were certainly radical.

    Before him some prices were rigged – he tried to rig them all.

    Before him some people (slaves) could not move without the permission of their masters – he made it so that the ordinarly peasants (the great majority of the population of the Empire) were tied to the soil (yes as a revenue move – but the implications were still radical, and soon if became accepted that “free” peasants could be loaded in chains and whipped and…..).

    In the towns also tying people to the job of their fathers (and puting such jobs under state control) was pushed vastly further than it had been before. And unlike Elizabeth in the 1590’s (the few mad dead letter Act that mar the last years of the reign) Diocletion had the admistrative structure to try and make his regulations mean something – many historians have denied that such an administrative structure existed but they “reason” backwards. “Bureaucracy is a feature of the modern world, ancient Rome was not part of the modern world so it can not have had a bureaucracy”.

    Before Diocletian it was still possible, even under the Empire, to contrast “Roman freedom” with “Persian slavery”. He made that a sick joke.

    On M.J. Oakeshott:

    He implies in his essay “Rationalism in Politics” that practical experence, rather than book learning or verbal theory, is best for a ruler.

    In England the last ruler who learned the craft of government from practical experience, rather than verbal political discussion or books, was Richard III.

    I do not make that as a pro Richard point or as an anti Richard point.

    Just to point out that practical experence (rather than political theory talk or political writings) is an unusual way of learning about government – indeed even before 1485 being taught theory (verbally and or via books) was the norm.

    Of course this does NOT mean that being taught theory is the best preperation for governing.

    Although practical experience not always good either.

    Richard III had the practical experience of governing the north from the age of 14.

    But Diocletion’s only practical experience was as a soldier – and as really a military organizer-administrator, rather than a battlefield commander.
    Not as the governor of a Civil Association.

    So perhaps it was no wonder he tried to govern the whole Empire as if it was an army.

  • Paul Marks

    If anyone wonders what I mean by a upsurge in collectivism in the context of Egypt, it is simple enough.

    I mean nationalizing everything in sight and ordering everyone about.

    It happens again and again in Egyption history from ancient times (as Hayek points out in the “Fatal Conceit” no civilization, inculding the Egyption STARTS that way) to modern.

    Since the death of Nasser things have got quite a bit better – one can only hope that things continue to improve, rather than swing back to collectivism.

  • Coming third is an odd way of winning.

    One serious problem for Mrs Clinton is that her most plausible rival is black. Where it would be easy to bash a John Edwards win in Iowa as “just a bunch of hicks who hate women,” any attempt to insist that Iowans should not have voted for Barak Obama has to be very careful not to sound like “those fools got seduced by a [not a nice word].”

    For someone who hired dirt shifters to track down a school essay written by Senator Obama when he was seven, it can’t be easy to act gracious.

    Senator Obama’s real win was that he showed he can beat both Mrs Clinton and get a lot more votes than a Republican in a state where ethnic block votes did not really matter. If I were a Democrat, I’d be backing him.

    It’s funny to see that Ron Paul trounced Rudy Guliani.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree with a lot of the above.

    However, as you know Antoine, Rudy Gulinani did not campaign in Iowa.

    If Huckabee pushes Rudy Gulinani into third place in New Hamphire into forth place then Rudy is in very serious trouble indeed.

    And if Ron Paul pushed Rudy Gulinani into fifth place, then Rudy would be finished.

    Why?

    Because Rudy Gulinani is a secular Northeastern candidate and New Hampshire is a secular Northeastern State. People are going to say “if he can not do well there, he can not do well anywhere”.

    Fred Thompson can afford to almost ignore New Hampshire and concentrate on South Carolina.

    Rudy Gulinani can not afford to do badly in New Hampshire.

    My guess is that Rudy Gulinani will fight really hard and end up in third – beating Huckabee.

    But I was wrong about Hillary Clinton.

  • Sunfish

    For someone who hired dirt shifters to track down a school essay written by Senator Obama when he was seven, it can’t be easy to act gracious.

    First off, I’m biased: to me, HRC is just an amazingly nasty and ungracious person.

    That being said, I don’t think that Obama’s school essay was the point of the exercise at all. Everyone in America wants to be President at that age. Healthy people grow out of it. (Hell, I wanted to be a firefighter, which should tell how much people change from grade school!)

    I think HRC was going for blackmail by trying to make Obama ponder what else she might know about him. Hell, wasn’t her campaign the original source for the whole “Barack Obama attended a madrassa” story?