He’s more like a fascist.

(The great Thomas Sowell)

It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.”

He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots, but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, so that he no longer has to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be

blamed on the “greed” of the insurance companies.The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.

One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.

Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg’s great book Liberal Fascism cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the Left, and of the Left’s embrace of the fascists during the 1920s.

Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the Left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W. E. B. Du Bois, as a man of the Left.

It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the Left distanced itself from fascism and its Nazi offshoot — and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the Right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.

What socialism, fascism, and other ideologies of the Left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people — like themselves — need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, i.e., the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.

The vision of those of the Left is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, “We, the People . . . ”

That is why the Left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution’s limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges’ new interpretations, based on notions of “a living Constitution” that will take decisions out of the hands of “We, the People,” and transfer those decisions to our betters.

The self-flattery of the vision of the Left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider — regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the Left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.

Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom.

— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

  • Gary M

    Well, he’s going to Cleveland to play the blame game on jobs. Really, does anyone want to hear the guy whine about how things are everyone else’ fault at this point?
    His administration has had arguably, one of the worst 2-3 weeks since he’s been president, and that is saying something. He’s got Bill Clinton contradicting everything he says for god’s sake. He and Axelrod are throwing darts at Romney and praying anything sticks.
    I think this guy can expect two votes this election, his and poster Dan (who believes that Obama was the most compromising president of ALL TIME in his first two years)
    Honey, the toast is burning…..

  • oksteeler

    I saw a bumper sticker this morning that made me think of Obama and others like him in government.

    The only difference between the government and the mafia is the mafia turns a profit.

    And in other news NY may not stop at soft drinks but may include movie popcorn and milk. What’s worse is 46% of NY city residents support it. Why doesn’t the government just come feed us and tuck us into bed at night while they’re at it?


    • John Steigerwald

      They start messing with movie popcorn and I have a real problem. The arrogance o these busybodies is stunning.

  • Dan

    Oh look, Hitler comparisons. How intellectual.

    And yet some people wonder why the Tea Party is a laugh factory for every single late-night show in America.

    • Heisenberg

      Are you trying to say with your sarcastic “intellectual” comment that Obama isn’t a big government, central planning socialist? That’s ridiculous. If he could have gotten it through congress, he would have the federal government owning GM. He couldn’t, so he settled for swindling the bondholders to benefit his union supporters. Speaking of intellectuals, how does Jay Leno making wise cracks about tea party types make Obama less of a facist/communist/socialist? I think he’s the spawn of Lucifer himself, but I can’t show evidence for that. But the socialist part is well documented.

      • Dan

        No, I’m saying you’re a stooge for using Hitler as a comparison to anything.

  • gmuny2002

    I’ve been saying this for years now that it’s just like Hitler and the brown shirts in the 30’s & 40’s, only now instead of brown shirts they wear Armani suits!

  • Heisenberg

    There’s not much difference between Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini. And the ecomomic philosophy of the modern elected Democrat is very similar to theirs. This whole “left/right” analogy makes socialism and facism seem like polar opposites. In reality, they’re very similar. A more accuarate analogy would be the face of a clock. The socialist would be around 7, the facist about 5, and the modern elected Democrat coming in around 6. The conservative/Jeffersonian/libertarian/republican would be the polar opposite at the 12:00 postition. It would IMO be accurate to label any recent/current elected liberal Democrat a facist, or a socialist.

    • Mike from Boston

      There’s an entire chapter of Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” illustrating the similarites between fascism and socialism. And consider that was written when both of those terrible philosophies were new and fashionable in Europe.