While Republicans popularize Howard Dean’s quote that capturing Saddam Hussein “has not made America safer,” they should also promote an earlier comment that explicitly revealed his basic politics. But that the Right fails to recognize its significance further exposes their political foundations.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews in December, Dean suggested large media corporations (e.g., Fox News) threaten “democracy,” and said he would break them up. Being a Democrat, Dean’s coercive position toward corporations is nothing new. But when Matthews properly pointed out that this policy wasn’t capitalism, Dean objected, professed “I am absolutely a capitalist,” and concluded: “[T]he essence of capitalism, which the right-wing never understands…is you got to have some rules.”
Actually, Dean operates on the premise that capitalism has no “rules.” Leftists like him, at root, portray capitalism as a chaotic, unjust political-economic system, not because it is without rules, but because it is without the rules he champions. Capitalism’s “rules” are objective laws. They rest on the premise that all property is individually and privately owned by right, and on the deeper premise that men are innocent until proven guilty strictly of initiating force or fraud against other men.
This is freedom, but to Dean it equates to anarchism. That’s because to power lusting Leftists, “rules” mean regulations — which rest on the premises that individual rights are not inalienable, but can be revoked for any reason the state or “the public” deems fit, and that men are guilty until proven innocent. While Dean seeks arbitrary power to revoke a corporation’s right to free speech and private property, such socialist policies run throughout his politics, from his calls for socialized health care to his professed tax hikes to redistribute wealth.
Again, this is standard Democratic politics. What’s unusual and significant about Dean, however, is that he paints these policies that sacrifice individual rights to the state or “public good” as capitalism — a position that is the essence of fascism.
“The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism),” philosopher Ayn Rand writes, “is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal…”
What makes Dean’s fascism especially ominous for America is that it comes at a time when conservatives are increasingly paying lip service to capitalism’s principles while they push for more socialist controls.
Historically, conservatives failed on moral and intellectual grounds to properly defend capitalism, the system that has produced unprecedented prosperity and the greatest standard of living for all men. The Right has allowed the Left to malign capitalism by spreading falsehoods: it oppresses workers, exploits child labor, causes imperialism, instigates war, and, ultimately, leads to fascism, i.e., Nazism.
This default explains why conservatives, when describing their policies, shun the word “capitalism,” the system they supposedly uphold (at least not consistently), for safer terms such as “free enterprise” and “the free market.” President Bush himself routinely mouths appeals to free markets but increasingly pushes socialist measures; thus doing what conservatives do consistently: appease the Left and its rights-destroying policies.
Note that Bush and many Republicans pressed for a “free” prescription drug program, the most massive expansion of Medicare since this socialist health care system was instituted nearly forty years ago. What’s most significant about this measure is that the Right passes it off as a step toward privatizing the health care system, when in reality it recasts government controls in new forms. This, too, is fascism.
Further, following the Enron scandal in which criminals were brought to justice based on objective laws prohibiting fraud, Bush and the Right unanimously joined ranks with the Left in saddling corporations with more guilty-until-proven-innocent regulations that only generate such fraud. Lastly, Bush promoted campaign finance reform, another measure championed by the Left that violates free speech.
As the Right attacks more of the freedoms on which capitalism rests while posing as “free marketers,” Dean does the same while explicitly fashioning himself a capitalist. And if he wins the Democratic nomination, his only opposition will be Bush, a free-marketer who in every fundamental respect adopts Leftist polices.
In 1982, philosopher Leonard Peikoff published “The Ominous Parallels,” a book illustrating the fundamental fascist similarities between pre-Nazi Germany and contemporary America. Dean’s campaign and Bush’s policies to get elected in November are further illustrations of how America is goose-stepping toward fascism. The true, consistent capitalists must step forward to morally and intellectually defend against both the Left and Right from marching our nation into a fascist camp.