I’ve been told that Rush Limbaugh has decided to correct those who call Obama a socialist. He’s not a socialist. He’s a fascist. According to Rush.
“Fascist” is one of those cuss words that people toss around without really knowing what it means, although I think it’s generally used to mean “authoritarian bully.” On that definition, Obama might well be a fascist, but we need to dig a little deeper.
In the rest of this post I’ll go through Wikipedia’s definition of the term and see if Obama qualifies. (I can’t get through it all. This is just part 1. I might do the rest later.)
Nationalism — “Fascists see the struggle of nation and race as fundamental in society.”
Obama might qualify on the race part, to some extent, but not so much on the nation part. He doesn’t seem to emphasize the struggle between nations, and he doesn’t seem that big on “national pride,” which seems like a key part of fascism.
In this connection I’m reminded of Michelle Obama’s comment that she was never proud of America until it embraced her husband. That doesn’t sound like the wife of a fascist. Although I suppose you could argue it the other way, since she is essentially linking national pride to “getting with the Obama program.”
Imperialist Foreign Policy — “For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence.”
I don’t see this in Obama at all, unless you replace the concept of territorial expansion with the concept of an expansion of government power.
“Fascists oppose pacifism and believe that a nation must have a warrior mentality.”
Once again, I don’t see that in Obama.
Authoritarian Government — “All fascist movements advocate the creation of an authoritarian government that is an autocratic single-party state led by a charismatic leader with the powers of a dictator.”
Obama gets close on this point. Although he hasn’t (to my knowledge) advocated a single-party government, he has done essentially the same thing by marginalizing the Republicans and trying to pass legislation that only Democrats like.
There has also been a disturbing concentration of powers in the presidency under Obama, although he’s following a well-worn path in that regard. The presidency has way too much power these days. But under Obama it’s getting silly — with the president having the power to tell corporations where to have their annual meetings and so on.
Social Darwinism — “Fascist movements commonly follow the social Darwinist view that in order for nations and races to survive in a world defined by perpetual national and racial conflict, nations and races must purge themselves of socially and biologically weak or degenerate people while simultaneously promoting the creation of strong people.”
I haven’t heard a peep of that from Obama.
Social interventionism — “Fascist movements endorse social interventionism dedicated to influencing society to promote the state’s interests.”
This is an essential part of the entire American left, from government-run education to speech codes in schools to government meddling in what kind of toilet we use.
Indoctrination — “Fascist states have pursued policies of indoctrination of society to their fascist movements such as through propaganda deliberately spread through education and media through regulation of the production of education and media material.”
Obama and the left are somewhat guilty on this point, but not to the extent outlined in the Wikipedia article. Also, fascists “despised intellectuals and university professors,” which is the complete opposite of the American left, which believes in the egg-headed central planner.
(That is one of the key differences between left and right today. The left believes in central planning by policy wonks while the right believes in the “invisible hand” of the market. At least they’re supposed to.)
Abortion, eugenics and euthanasia
Clearly the left is in favor of permitting abortion (and to some extent euthanasia), but not for eugenic reasons.
Culture and gender roles — “Fascism tends to promote principles of masculine heroism, militarism, and discipline.”
That is totally not like the American left, which seems to promote the Alan Alda model of masculinity. Obama and the American left also don’t believe in keeping women at home raising babies, and they don’t oppose homosexuality.
It’s difficult to say if “fascism” is more of a “left” or a “right” movement, according to modern political divisions. I think there are elements of fascism in both.