The Conversation

Government and industry

Speaking of the fusion of government and industry, I've been trying to decide whether Obama's weird claim that "consultation with businesses all across the country" authorized him to violate the Affordable Care Act is a laughable example of a desperate politician trying to keep his poll numbers up, or a truly disturbing flirtation with fascism.  I don't understand why anyone wants to flirt with fascism, Marxism, communism, or the other collectivist horrors of the past century, not even a little bit.  Shouldn't we be doing the exact opposite of what the monsters we defeated in the Axis and Soviet Union were doing?  But instead, it seems like our academic Left is bent on adopting and "improving" their ideas.

The blurring of government and industry was a large element of fascism.  All the death-camp atrocities came later.  The original idea - celebrated as brilliant, indeed the ultimate political evolution, by intelligentsia around the world - was to preserve limited autonomy for industry while placing control over production in the hands of State planners.  Instead of showing hostility and contempt for industry, or nationalizing it, the State and ruling Party would blur the lines between government and private investors.  The State wouldn't own the means of production, but those who did would jolly well do what the government's best-and-brightest planners told them to do.  The captains of industry would be made rich and powerful while pursuing the collective good of the nation, as defined by the ruling Party, rather than their own selfish interests.

Right after he talked about consulting with businesses all across the country before violating the Constitution to re-write ObamaCare, President Obama said he did it because he doesn't think we're in a "normal political environment" where he could have done things the right way, through the legislative branch.  That's music to the ears of fascists - they would all have been nodding their heads in agreement, especially in Mussolini's Italy.  H.G. Wells gave a famous speech where he called for "liberal fascism," using almost exactly the same line of thinking as Barack Obama - "the world has grown sick of parliamentary democracy," so it was time for enlightened dictators to sweep quarrelsome legislatures aside, subjugate the foolish, shortsighted, selfish citizens they represented, and Get Things Done.

Obama does all these things because he knows the American electorate and their representatives are too weak, degenerate, and fearful to stop him.  They're not going to impeach him, or even make a big deal about his usurpations of power.  The maze of laws American citizens are trapped within seems suffocating to us - you can unwittingly become a criminal subject to fines and imprisonment for the most whimsical "offenses," as the folks over at Gibson Guitars could tell you.  Government at some level could find a reason to prosecute virtually any American taxpayer if they really wanted to.  But that same suffocating mass of laws is extremely liberating for those at the top of the political and bureaucratic heap.  They can find a "close enough for government work" legalistic justification for almost anything they want to do.  The worst consequences they have to worry about are some shout-show theatrics, and maybe a few uppity Tea Party types raising heck at town halls.

The fusion of State and industry, Big Government and Big Business, is starting to feel like the endgame moves in a chess match between the ruling class and independent American citizens.  We don't even talk seriously about holding the government accountable or binding it with laws any more.  They impose; we obey.  And no matter what they decide to do, they're confident they can win applause from somewhere in the electorate.  When it comes from the lower echelons of the dependency class, the State boasts of its compassion, and when the applause comes from the upper echelons of the increasingly dependent business elite, the State brags about its technocratic brilliance.


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