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What is Fascism?

As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. The word derives from fasces, the Roman symbol of collectivism and power: a tied bundle of rods with a protruding ax. In its day (the 1920s and 1930s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and revolutionary Marxism, with its violent and socially divisive persecution of the bourgeoisie. Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism—“blood and soil”—for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism. Read the full thing

Things to Keep in Mind During the Health Care Debate

Politicians, of course, can declare a right to medical care, but those are mere words. What counts is what happens after the declaration. Since a system in which everyone could have, on demand, all the medical care they wanted at no cost would be unsustainable, the so-called right to medical care necessarily translates into the power of politicians and bureaucrats to set the terms under which medical services and products may be provided and received. Read the full thing

Trump Assumes Command of the American Church

As Donald Trump demonstrated in his first address to Congress, no matter how loathsome a ruler may be, he can bring an assembly of politicians to its feet and disarm some critics simply by invoking the quasi-secular faith — Americanism — and eulogizing the latest uniformed war-state employee to sacrifice his life for it. Trump has indeed shown he can fill the job expected of any president: supreme head of what Andrew Bacevich calls the Church of America the Redeemer. Read the full thing

What’s a Secular Heretic to Do?

Secular and religion-based political systems can bear an uncanny resemblance. Observing their respective dogmas, catechisms, and sacraments, we might even wonder, with William Cavanaugh, whether the divide is as sharp as we commonly think. Recent events certainly call the distinction into question. We see that a secularist can be as much a fanatic who is willing to denounce heresy and impose his will through violence as any religionist. Read the full thing

Thank You, Donald Trump

We advocates of liberty owe Donald Trump a great debt of gratitude. Thanks to Trump it is clearer than ever that most people who call themselves conservatives, and not just those who have lined up with Trump, are no cousins of ours. Freedom is not on their list of priorities. Neither is free enterprise. Nor civil liberties. And I need not mention war, peace, and empire. Read the full thing