In America, the term Right Wing is misused to imply that conservative Americans are fascists lusting for world domination; in fact, the opposite is true.
Irrelevant intro: As my regular readers (to whom I am endlessly grateful) know, I was away from my blog for some time caring for a relative who had surgery. Being away that long gave me time to think about “going a little crazy,” as Bob Ross likes to say when he adds another tree to a painting. In my case, “going a little crazy” meant wondering if I could do a video as well as a podcast.
In addition to the time spent researching how to do go about making a Power Point video (I’ve got to start somewhere), it took me six hours to create a 35 minute video and companion podcast. They both are a little glitchy, but not bad for a first effort. I will get better. But I will never forget my readers, so here is the same content in written form.
Real post: The idea for this video came when I ended my trip with a much-needed massage. Because this is Tennessee, my masseur is a liberty-oriented man, so, in the midst of a far-ranging conversation, he asked this question: “Why are conservatives called ‘fascists,’ when fascism is a socialist doctrine?” An excellent question and one I wanted to answer here.
The reality is that, even though the media loves to talk about “right wingers” (although never about “left wingers”), there is no “left wing” versus “right wing” in America, at least as those terms are understood in the rest of the world. Instead, we only have liberty versus tyranny, along with the supporters of both those ideologies.
Ironically enough, although the French Revolution post-dated the end of the American Revolution by six years, the terms “right wing” and “left wing” are leftovers from that overseas kerfuffle. Let me explain.
The French Revolution had as its slogan “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.” Liberty, equality, fraternity! In the context of the French Revolution, those words were always lies.
At the start of the Revolution, France had an absolute monarchy that sat on top of a large, equally absolutist aristocracy. It was not a sustainable system, and the revolutionaries intended to topple it. However, unlike the American revolutionaries who envisioned limited government coupled with individual liberty, that’s not what the French wanted. Instead, the revolutionaries imagined an absolutist commune, with the monarchy and aristocracy replaced by an equally controlling cabal of “the people.”
But what, you may ask, does this have to do with “left wing” and “right wing”? Simple. In the French Parlement during the lead-up to the Revolution, the representatives who sought to retain an absolutist government led by the monarchy and the aristocracy sat to the Speaker’s right. The representatives who sought to replace the existing government with an absolutist government led by “representatives of the people” sat to the Speaker’s left.
And that’s where the terms still used today in American and around the world came from: Those on the right seek to “conserve” the old ways; those on the left seek to upend them. Except, as I’ll develop at greater length, America has not traditionally had any cognates to this European left/right divide.
And now we get to my favorite chart, one that, for convenience’s sake, uses a left/right continuum to show how there are two sides to the political spectrum:
On the left is absolutist, totalitarian government, something with which we are all familiar. It exists under many names – monarchy, socialism, communism, democratic socialism, fascism, theocracy, etc. – but it always plays out the same: maximum government control; minimum individual liberty.
Meanwhile, on the right side of the continuum is the political system that has limited government and maximum individual liberty. At its extreme, it’s anarchy. Otherwise, it’s . . . well, it’s really only the American experiment. Everywhere else in the world, government control is the standard.
So what is the American experiment? It was built on Britain’s Magna Carta and its 1689 Bill of Rights. That last document was a statement of limitations on monarchical power. William of Orange and Queen Mary II had agreed to this Bill of Rights in order to attain the British throne in the wake of 1688’s “Glorious Revolution.” (It was glorious because King James II fled rather than going to war.)
If you look at the British Bill of Rights, you’ll see many echoes in our own Bill of Rights. However, the British Bill of Rights limits only the monarchy. Parliament was not limited, which is why it felt free to impose all sorts of restrictions on British citizens in the American colonies.
When the Founding Fathers decided to draft a Bill of Rights, they did it correctly. Instead of stating the items as a “negative charter” (as Obama wrongly put it), one that tells the government what it can’t do, the Founders stated our Bill of Rights as a set of rights inherent and inviolable in every individual. No government – no monarchy, no legislature, no judiciary, no official whatever – should be able to impede those rights without a high showing of necessity.
Hold that thought in mind as we look at the three most common forms of government outside of America in the years since WWI.
First, we have socialism, which exists not only as a free-standing form of government (National Socialists) but also, when used correctly, as an umbrella term for the evil twins of communism and fascism. Under communism, there is no private ownership. Everything – and everybody – belongs to the government. Examples, all of them tyrannical, are the Soviet Union, China (despite its faux market economy), North Korea, and Cuba.
Back in the 1930s, fascism put a softer face on communism because it did not nationalize all private property, instead limiting itself to nationalizing a few major industries, especially fuel and transportation. However, there is no freedom in a fascist country. Mussolini provided the ultimate definition of fascism: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” (I also include today’s oligarchies in the list of fascist states since they function much the same way.) In the World War II era, fascist states sought world domination and, in Germany’s case, included genocide and slavery in the service of an imaginary “master race.”
Today’s Europe is still fascist, although that would no doubt horrify Europeans were you to tell them that. Under both EU rule and the governments of the individual European states, there is private ownership, but major industries, especially transportation, are still nationalized. Moreover, the EU and individual governments tightly control every aspect of people’s lives.
(When it comes to nationalized services, I have a real bee in my bonnet about these “soft” socialized states’ so-called “cradle to grave” care, something my parents’ European-based friends and family boasted about non-stop. These benefits had nothing to do with socialism. They were available in Europe because American taxpayers funded European defense costs during the Cold War. It wasn’t socialized medicine; it was American medicine. Now that the Cold War has ended and the money isn’t flowing as much, European socialized medicine is cratering.)
The difference between today’s European fascism and Hitler’s is that (a) it’s not called fascism today, and (b) it’s not yet engaged in world domination and anti-Semitic genocide. However, given the speed with which Muslims are populating Europe, all in thrall to an Islamic doctrine that calls for world domination and anti-Semitic genocide, I think it won’t be long before Europe starts to repeat the 1930s.
The third type of government in the world today shows up in monarchies or theocracies, both of which thrive and are often intertwined in the Middle East. Whether it’s Mullahs in Iran or Kings in Saudi Arabia, these are totalitarian governments that use religious doctrine to control every aspect of their citizens’ lives. (In Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammed bin Salman is slowly trying to change this but, because he holds the tiger by the tail, it’s a very delicate and dangerous process.)
And then there’s America, which has a totally different system, one that, in its purest form, does everything it can both to limit government power and mob rule. There’s nothing else like it in the world.
The American political system as the Founders envisioned it has a limited federal government composed of three parts – executive, legislative, and judicial – each with unique spheres of power, each with some control over the other branches, and each jealous of its own power as a bulwark against any branch becoming too strong.
The Executive branch eschews pure democracy in favor of an Electoral College, forcing presidential candidates to campaign in every state (as Hillary learned to her cost). Without this, all presidents would be elected out of population centers. If the Democrats were able to do away with the Electoral College, something they’re trying to do through the grossly unconstitutional National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, all future American presidents would be elected by California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Washington.
Under the Legislative branch, we have two organs. The Senate was originally meant to have its members appointed by each state’s governors, ensuring (a) that the Senators would be responsive to their states and (b) that no senator would be enslaved to the passions of the mob. The 17th Amendment changed that in 1912, probably not for the better.
The House controls the power of the purse and, before the 17th Amendment, was the only branch of government with direct democracy. House members must go back to the voters every two years to make their case. This is why impeachment begins in the House and why the current refusal to have a formal impeachment – which would force House members to make their positions known to their voters — is a direct betrayal of the voters.
Finally, the Judicial branch is the least democratic part of our government, for its members get selected by the President, get approved by the Senate, and then sit for life. In theory, it is impartial and rules only on whether matters are constitutional or unconstitutional, a power Chief Justice Marshall arrogated to the Court in the early 19th century.
In recent years, the federal judiciary has boldly grabbed for itself both legislative power and executive power. The legislative power appears in its finding emanations of penumbras to justify federally sanctioned abortion, something never contemplated in the Constitution and writing whole romance novels to allow gay marriage, another concept far afield from the Constitution. Both these issues belong in the states until such time as the Constitution is formally amended. As for executive power, every time some podunk judge in a leftist district blocks a facially valid executive order from President Trump based upon the judge’s interpretation about the purity of Trump’s mind and soul . . . that’s an improper exercise of executive power.
Lastly, as I said before, our Founders gave us a Bill of Rights, which holds that certain rights are vested in the people and that the government cannot infringe them. This is extraordinary and differs from all other constitutions in the world, each of which is an endless book of bureaucratic does and don’ts.
So what kind of cool stuff flows from a limited government and a Bill of Rights? For starters, we have free market capitalism, which has been doing wonders since President Trump reformed taxes to leave more money with citizens and cut back on onerous regulations.
Strikingly, our Democrat party presidential candidates have no room in their platforms for the free market. Bernie is a stone-cold communist. As an aside, given that he’s been alive for the greater part of the 20th century and all of the 21st, he must know about the tens of millions dead and enslaved under communism (a knowledge sadly denied to uneducated millennials). That he still supports communism despite this knowledge means either that he’s the most stupid man ever to walk the earth or an evil tyrant wannabe. Neither reflects well on him or the voters who support him.
Warren also should know better, but I can attest to the fact that she’s stupid. Maybe evil too, but definitely stupid.
The most recent example of the disrespect the left has for the free market comes from Kamala Harris, another candidate who is dumb as a rock, only dumber. Her candidacy is in free fall, so she’s promising to seize private property to prop it up. (Incidentally, I don’t think the government should fund private companies, but it’s important to note that, government aid notwithstanding, these are still companies with shareholders, employees, and profits.)
Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris on if drug companies do not comply with her mandatory set drug prices: “I will snatch their patent so that we will take over”
Audience asks: “can we do that?”
“Yes, we can do that! Yes, we can do that! … I have the will to do it” pic.twitter.com/gpU8nnGt6h
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 23, 2019
Another benefit we have is social mobility of a type that never existed anywhere else in the world before America. I created a little photo montage, just off the top of my head, of people who have attained success in a way that would not have been possible without America:
In America, the fact that your grandparents were rich doesn’t mean you will be, and the fact that they were poor doesn’t mean that is your fate either. We make our own fate in America.
One of my favorite rights – and one that I came to late in life – is the Second Amendment right to bear arms. I think this picture says it all:
In Nazi Germany, the government seized arms as a prelude to seizing people. A government should always stand in awe of its people’s right to defend itself against tyranny.
People should also be able to defend themselves against evil-doers in their own community. Mexico, a rapidly failing state, with appalling gun violence and skyrocketing murders, has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world.
Of course, the Democrat Party desperately wants your guns. Beto, before dropping out, was open about this – and please note the audience roar of delight:
And then there’s the right to free speech. In England, the cradle of free speech, it’s already gone:
Free speech isn’t doing so well in Leftist America either. In New York, you can be fined $250,000 for “misgendering” someone. And in California, when it comes to long-term care facilities, it’s the law that you can be fined for “misgendering” residents there too.
So, going back to my chart and the left/right divide, here’s what you need to know about the rest of the world: it’s not tyranny versus liberty; it’s two different types of tyrants fighting each other for total control over citizens. In America, we have half of that equation. The American left wants total control over American citizens:
“We’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money, but you know, part of the American way is, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product.” – Barack Obama (net worth $40,000,000).
“You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads that the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” — Elizabeth Warren (net worth $18,000,000).
“I will snatch their patent so that we will take over.” – Kamala Harris (net worth $4,000,000).
“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.” Beto O’Rourke (net worth $10,000,000-$15,000,000).
On the opposite side of the political aisle in America, however, things are different. Conservatives don’t crave power. They crave a smaller government that leaves citizens alone to pursue their own lives and that concerns itself solely with such core issues as national security, a stable legal system, functional transportation across the country, and managing (God forbid) major health crises.
“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” – Ronald Reagan
With the above in mind – American conservatives are the sole political movement in the world dedicated to individual liberty – why are American conservatives called “right wing” or “fascist,” terms that are tied to totalitarian control, while American leftists are called “liberal,” implying a dedication to individual liberty? It’s time for a little history lesson to answer that question.
Back in the 1930s, Hitler and Stalin both presided over socialist governments. The former was fascist (private ownership but government control), while the latter was communist (no private ownership of the means of production). They were hideous, evil fraternal twins of socialism.
As is often the case with sibling rivalry, the two countries (and their leaders) hated each other. Nevertheless, in August 1939, a week before Hitler invaded Poland, sparking WWII, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia entered in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Under that pact, they swore to be neutral vis-à-vis each other in times of war.
When Hitler invaded Poland, Soviet Russia did nothing. Taking their cue from Russia, in America, communists also took a very lukewarm stance against Hitler.
The Pact ended abruptly on June 22, 1941, when Hitler initiated Operation Barbarossa by invading the Soviet Union. When America entered the War, it found itself allied with Russia against the Nazis. On the American home front, communists instantly became staunch and fervent anti-Nazis.
However, when the war ended, with the Allies victorious, and socialist/fascist Germany in ruins, American communists had a problem: Fascist socialism stood exposed as one of the most evil ideologies of all time. How were they to protect communist socialism, which was also one of the most evil ideologies of all time?
The answer was to create a false syllogism that took hold in academia and media, and that now controls American thought:
Communists and Fascists were enemies.
Communists helped win World War II, with the war’s end providing unquestioned proof that Fascists were completely evil.
Communists and American Republicans are enemies.
Republicans are therefore akin to Fascists and, like fascists, must be completely evil.
And what’s the moral of this story?
Next time someone accuses you, or any other conservative, of being “fascist” or “right wing,” object vigorously. You are a person committed to individual liberty as opposed to being a slave to an all-powerful government (no matter how woke, intersectional, and politically correct that government claims to be).