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Saturday, February 07, 2009

The founders understood the primary political dynamic was never faction versus faction but rather the people versus the state. I think the left has completely lost that concept. They think that bad people in the police or military could hurt people but it never occurs to them that any other form of state power or the people who control it could be dangerous.

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I remember discussions in civics class in high school (yes, I remember that long ago; I had an excellent teacher. Thank you, Mr. Horton.) in which we talked about right v. left, and compared socialism with fascism. You can draw a chart with


and list the characteristics of the "left" and "right" schools of political thought. Welfare v. personal responsibility (or sink-or-swim, depending on your own views) and so forth. I see liberalism being called "left-wing" and conservatism "right-wing". Perhaps it's really "socialism" and "capitalism" on the left and right? But when you look at fascism under Hitler and Mussolini, and communism under Stalin, you should use a u-shaped chart.

anarchy<-----limited gov't---->totalitarianism

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __communism
|__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __fascism

Now "left-wing" and "right-wing" don't mean anything.

Under socialism, of course, the state was supposed to wither away, which makes socialism (in its pure form) and communism opposites, on this chart. Not that we've ever, ever seen that happen, of course, and given human nature, we never will.

Then conservatism, which in ITS pure form limits the power of government (which we learned in civics class was the underlying purpose of the writers of the Constitution) distances itself from both fascism and communism, and is a middle ground between these and socialism.

Actual free-market capitalism falls between conservatism and socialism on this chart, because any restrictions on the free market (truth-in-advertising laws, anti-trust laws), while not necessarily inconsistent with conservatism, are inconsistent with a free market.

Of course, the "Nazi" party, which we think of as the quintessential fascists, were the party of National Socialism. So maybe the chart should be a circle.

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