Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Worst Social Fascist...

...is the one who indignantly refuses the label.

First, allow me to be maximally explicit about my terms. A fascist is one who deems the State to have no limit to its authority and no limit to what it may do to its subjects in the application of its authority. In theory, a fascist State would have the authority, if not the de facto ability, to regulate your breathing and elimination, and to punish you for a violation by executing you. The implication of such an unbounded State is that individuals possess no rights whatsoever.

A social fascist is a fascist whose rationale for his fascism is "the greater good of society." Such persons speak incessantly of chimeras such as "social justice." He might be sincere in his belief that an omnipotent State can achieve that undefined goal, or it might be a veneer, a cosmetic representation intended to disguise his true priorities. Either way, he'll maintain to his dying breath (and may that happy moment come sooner than later) that the eggs he's broken or proposes to break are for the greater good of the omelet.

Thus, we have a creature who, whatever his protests to the contrary:

  • Denies that individuals have rights but maintains that "society" does;
  • Deems the State the sole arbiter of all things, including what rights "society" possesses;
  • Accepts that some can, should, and must wield absolute and unbounded power over others for "the greater good of society;"
  • Refuses to define any of the end states he claims to seek, nor will he posit delivery dates his policies will meet for delivering them.

You have your template, Gentle Reader. How many of the members of our contemporary political class would you say are good fits to it?

Anyone with the patience required to read Liberty's Torch will undoubtedly remember that, during the 2008 presidential campaign, when an interviewer pressed Barack Obama about whether he would raise the capital gains tax even if it were proved to reduce federal revenues, Obama unhesitatingly replied that he would do so "as a matter of fairness."

That statement should have shocked the entire nation into maximum alertness. Sadly, it garnered less attention, and far less outrage, than it deserved. Of course, there were pseudo-Americans, utterly consumed by envy of the better-off, who thought the idea a splendid one. But decent Americans who heard the statement mostly shrugged it off, whether because they failed to grasp its implications or because they were confident that such an attitude would come to nothing in practice.

What concept of "fairness" in taxation would be consistent with a practice that would make both the federal government and the taxed individual worse off? Only one imbued with antipathy toward wealth -- and to a degree that would embrace a reduction of the federal government's resources for meeting its bills. That's irrational by any standard. The suggestion waved a huge red flag over Obama's candidacy... sadly, a red flag that an insufficient number of decent Americans took seriously.

As for those who greeted the idea with approbation...well, envy will do that to you. They prattle about "social justice" without deigning to elaborate on how a purely destructive practice could meet any standard of justice. (The esteemed Jonah Goldberg does a terrific demolition of "social justice" in this brief YouTube video.) But it's merely distracting twaddle intended to deflect examination of their real priority. As Helmut Schoeck has noted, envious Smith thinks that breaking his neighbor Jones's leg would enable Smith to walk better.

How many such pseudo-Americans are there? Perhaps more than we'd like to think. After all, Obama is in his second term as we speak.

The Obamunist Ascension has emboldened others of similar sentiment. Matt Yglesias, long a prominent presence in the SinistroSphere, recently added his brain splinter to the subject. Read the whole thing if you can; it's about as bald a case for the deliberate, tax-code-engineered destruction of wealth in service to an abstract notion of "social justice" as you'll encounter anywhere. Familiarity with the social-fascists' approach to such propositions is important if we're to have a hope of defeating them.

Yglesias does decorate his screed with a few de rigueur "practical" offerings: assertions that "sin taxes" reduce the "sinful" practices, and carbon taxes would reduce pollution (unproven). But his core priority, the one that trumps all else, is never concealed:

  • "in an era of surging inequality..."
  • "endlessly growing inequality can have a cancerous effect on our democracy..."
  • "it would help break the doom loop of oligarchy..."

Inasmuch as all Yglesias's claims for beneficial effects from confiscatory taxation -- e.g., in terms of employment, the compensation of workers, and additional resources for "the poor" -- are unsubstantiated by historical evidence, the question this social-fascist should be compelled to face is "What if your suppositions about such a policy leading to "the greater good" were to be proved incorrect? Would you then renounce the policy, cry mea culpa for the damage you'd caused, and concede that your claim to expertise was arrogant at best?"

Don't expect Yglesias to answer that question directly. Indeed, don't expect him to be required to face it. He would never agree to be interviewed by a Bret Baier, a John Stossel, a Megyn Kelly, or any other interviewer who might pose such a question. Social-fascists dislike to have their pretensions spotlighted in such clarity; it reveals them all too clearly for what they are.

At the deeper level of justice in public policy, Yglesias and his fellow travelers operate from premises utterly divorced from the foundations of Western thought. Their prattle about "social justice" is nothing but froth and gas. They cannot define it and will not suffer to try. The key word in their lexicon, inequality, speaks of a natural attribute of men that cannot be effectuated without killing us all. Those who are aware of it have practiced evasion of the subject to the heights of the rhetorical art.

But this is of a piece with the social-fascist mentality. Once you have chosen "everything for the State; nothing outside the State" as your touchstone, all else is merely jockeying for position. Friedrich Hayek, in The Road To Serfdom, shows us where that would lead us -- where it will lead us, unless a sufficiency of Americans should rise against it in the little time we have left before it becomes impossible to reverse.


Bitmap said...

First of all, the issue with "sin" taxes is in who defines the "sin". The power to tax is the power to ban or destroy. Remember the idea of a 1000% tax on each round of ammunition?

The first part of your post about destructive "social justice" reminds me of a story I heard once about two Russian peasants, Boris and Ivan.

Boris and his wife lived simply and saved every bit of their meager income to buy a goat so that their children could have milk. Ivan spent all of his money on vodka and envied Boris for having a goat when he didn't. One day Ivan was digging through some trash at a dump and found a lamp.

He idly rubbed the lamp and a genie popped out and said "For freeing me from my prison you can have one wish. Anything you want, just name it and it is yours."

Ivan said "One wish. Anything I want?"

The genie replied "Anything you want."

Ivan thought for a moment and finally said "I wish that Boris's goat would die."

Anonymous said...

If you recall, more Americans did not vote in 2008 than voted for Obama.

Col. B. Bunny said...

Excellent, Fran.

RobertW said...

I'm assuming that all the social fascists, as you call them, think that, come the glorious total ascendency of the State that they will be among the people at the top calling the shots. Well there will simply not be a need for as many at the top of the hierarchy as think they deserve a spot. They will actually be the first ones to be liquidated as Stalinist history shows us.

emdfl said...

And that, Robert, would almost make the trip worthwhile... ALMOST, I said.