Saturday, 9 September 2017

Left, Right, What does it Mean

Fascists, Communists and Capitalists

I want to look at this question a bit more closely, because I think it may be the key to current politics in the West.

I was brought up to think that politics was one dimensional:
 left wing = Communist and right wing = Fascist
I guess you were too. Some more observant people made it a circle rather than a straight line, with Communist and Fascist “meeting round the back”.

In my reading over the past few years I've come across authors who say this is NOT correct. Some go further and say it was and is a deliberate obscuration of reality, an Orwellian attempt to prevent us from even being able to think in terms of reality: a Collectivist – Individualist political spectrum.

But what if Communism and Fascism are just the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Collectivism and should be lumped together on the “Left Wing”

OK that may seem weird, so let me first compare and contrast these two ideologies – who naturally each view the other as wicked heresy.

a) What Fascism and Communism have in common:

1. Central control of production: In traditional communism every enterprise is state owned and decisions are made by the central government. Fascists like Mussolini were prepared to have private ownership – as long as all enterprises ran under strict state control. And he warned that corporations should not run for private gain but for the good of the state. In practise there is not much difference between the two. So both are anti- Capitolist.

2. Uniformity of thought. Both Communist and fascist governments ruthlessly suppress dissidents, and, as Mussolini said, use law and education to make everyone think alike and accept the same moral values. The Communists, particularly in China were more effective in using “shaming”, social pressure, deprivation of livelihood and “re-education camps”.
Interestingly These (apart from the camps – so far) are being mercilessly used now in the West by “Progressives” to enforce orthodoxy.

3. Anti-Christian. Both communism and fascism are avowedly atheistic. (Though Hitler did try to re-introduce old Norse paganism and is said to have used astrologers) They have either tried to eradicate Christianity as in Russia, or where faced with a powerful institutional church as in Italy made a compact trading institutional survival of the church for political obedience. In China Christians were persecuted by the Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution, and new opposition seems to be on the rise under Xi Ping.
Modern Western “Progressives” are also coming out stridently anti-Christian.

4. Violently suppress dissent. As Hyack (in “The Road to Serfdom”) demonstrated, the objectives of any state espousing central control of production and redistribution of wealth cannot be achieved without the use of force. Violence has historically been evident as in Mussolini's Black shirts, Hitler's Brown Shirts and later Gestapo, Mao's Red Guard and Tiananmen Square, and the Stalinist secret police.
Some modern “Progressives” such as “Occupy Wall Street” and “Antifas” are singing from the same play-book.

b) what are the main differences between Fascism and Communism?

1. Marx envisioned a class struggle within nations. Mussolini saw this had not happened in England and he could not ignite it in Italy so he changed to a national struggle: Italians all united against “inferior” nations. Similarly Hitler named his party the “National Socialist Workers' Party of Germany”. He also added the racist element (absent in Italy): the Aryan race above all and Jews to be exterminated.

2. Marxism was internationalist, fascist states were, as said above. Nationalist. However currently Communist states Russia, China and North Korea are nationalistic.

3. Marx had an idea of equality, with committees of workers making decisions. Russia started with all being “comrades” (True in practice they ended up with dictator Stalin and the Chinese with Mao) and committees set up at all levels. Fascists had no such illusions: The masses could not organise themselves – they needed leaders. The state needed a strong supreme leader – Hence Mussolini and Hitler. Hitler took it to the extreme with “Germany is the Fuhrer and the Fuhrer is Germany”.
One way authors describe this is: Horizontal collectivism (communist) Vs Vertical collectivism (fascist). Collectivism being their common trait.


As we see, Both of these are fiercely opposed to both Capitalism and the idea of a free market in economics, and individual freedom of thought, speech and association in social structure. They are also both anti-Christian. So lets put them together where they belong!

So what am I (among many others!) suggesting “right-wing” actually looks like?

It is the opposite of collectivism!
(the common feature of communism and fascism)

a) in economics: individual decision making in private enterprise (with only natural monopolies state owned). This is “Darwinian” in that efficient and valuable enterprises succeed whereas less efficient or less socially valued enterprises succumb to competition. Other descriptors are “competition” and “free market” In “moderate-right” government regulations are provided to ensure a “level playing field”, restrict anti-competitive behaviour and provide consumer protection. All of which we see in most Western nations at present.

b) Morals and hence laws: traced back to deistic absolutes (in the West, Christian). So whereas collectivist morals are arbitrary – decided by the State - (and precisely because they are arbitrary, uniformity must be enforced and dissenting opinions ruthlessly suppressed). Morals based on absolute principles allow freedom of thought and debate as to how those principles work out in practice. (This does not work for Islam – it does not set out principles, but rather end practices)

c) in society: the enlightenment ideals of freedom of thought, expression, association and religion have been painstakingly built up in Christian and especially Protestant states (often against church institutions!). We should not take them for granted.
They are incompatible with collectivism, and so can flourish on the “right” but will be extinguished by the “left”.

d) in Academia: truth matters – so free debate is encouraged to test theories. This was the basis of Western scientific achievement. It was also what gave us the enlightenment.
It is incompatible with collectivism.
Today we are seeing dissenting ideas brutally suppressed on campus and in left-leaning corporations. And we are seeing – climate “science” is one example – the prostitution of science to political dogma.

e) in government: Government of the people by the people and for the people. Resulting in small rather than large government. Individual responsibility rather than a “nanny state”, private enterprise rather than state control. Individual freedom rather than “red tape”. Free elections to make politicians answerable to the people. And above all: freedom rather than servitude.

Let's simplify all this into a table of Left-wing Vs Right wing.

Politics 1.01½



Tends to
Tends to

Big government

Small government

More government control of businesses

Less government control & regulation

Less freedom of speech, belief etc.

More individual freedom

The individual exists for the state

The state exists for the individual
In its extreme
In its extreme

State controls all means of production

Private enterprise starts & controls all businesses

Individuals give up their rights to the state “for the greater good”

The rights of the individual are paramount

Historically atheistic so ...
MORALS: are decided by the state – so have to be ruthlessly enforced because no higher power (as Nietzsche said: without God there is no basis for morals)

Historically “nominal” Christian so …
MORALS: are an attempt to live godly lives – left to individual conscience
– This ignores sinful human nature! (some people have no conscience!)

TOTALITARIAN: because its agenda can only be achieved by force (as Hyack demonstrated)
(think, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin & Mao!)

HELLISH: because some humans will use their “freedom” to cheat, defraud, oppress and enslave others (think C18 English factories!)

Aristotle, you remember said that virtue was generally the mean between two opposing vices. So in politics “Ideal Government” is the golden mean between the extremes of Left wing and Right wing.

Do you see our current problem? The present Left – Right definition gives us “the mean between Communism (Collectivism) and Fascism (Collectivism)” … which is … Collectivism! No wonder we can't talk sensibly about politics!

But once we sort things out as above we get:

Ideal Government = the Golden Mean between Collectivism and Individualism

Now we're cooking with gas! On each individual issue we can discuss sensibly with both allies and opponents. We know where our opponents are coming from (collectivist or individualist). So we can understand them. We can now debate whether on a particular issue more or less government control would be better. Not just WHAT the government control should look like!

In Australia at the moment electricity prices are rising because private (and government owned!) enterprises are gaming the system to get windfall profits. One could argue for more government control to protect consumers.

Also at present in Australia gas prices are rising and in part this is the result of state governments banning new gas exploration and development of known gas fields. One could here argue for less government control so the gas can flow.

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