Sunday, 4 March 2018

Fascism can't happen because government is too big and complicated...

So claims Tyler Cowen:
My argument is pretty simple: American fascism cannot happen anymore because the American government is so large and unwieldy. It is simply too hard for the fascists, or for that matter other radical groups, to seize control of. No matter who is elected, the fascists cannot control the bureaucracy, they cannot control all the branches of American government, they cannot control the judiciary, they cannot control semi-independent institutions such as the Federal Reserve, and they cannot control what is sometimes called “the deep state.” The net result is they simply can’t control enough of the modern state to steer it in a fascist direction.
So, for those with a curious interest in fascism - the actual idea of a corporate state directed my the national will rather than the left's bogeyman - this argument seems to say that we can't have fascism because the corporate state is too developed and complex. It's almost as if, having adopted the idea of government influencing everything (and the USA has a far smaller government than most of the developed world) that government becomes impossible to control and resistant to direction.

The result of this is that, not only is fascism not possible but neither is change deliverable through the established mechanisms of democracy. And, it seems to me, that the bureaucracy Cowen describes, adheres to an ideology somewhat akin to the Douglas Jay idea of the gentleman in Whitehall knowing best. With no effective democratic accountability (if fascists can't influence the multifarious heads of the government hydra there's little chance that others seeking change being able to exercise that influence), the state becomes the definer of 'national will' rather than the leader. The leaders, at least up until Trump, are essentially window dressing for the machine, a smiling illusion of a human face obscuring the beast beneath.

In an odd way, fascism can't succeed because we have the ideological corporate state that fascists wanted.

“You are afraid of it because it is stronger than you; you hate it because you are afraid of it; you love it because you cannot subdue it to your will. Only the unsubduable can be loved.” 



Dr Evil said...

Give me a gun and a heavily armed corps of 100 men and I will give you a fascist state. It moves in waves as you take over different departments of government. You shoot a few, you arrange kidnappings, you do dirty tricks, you subvert. You also engage quislings/traitors.

Sobers said...

Tim Newman makes the good point that the US Left ought to be thanking their lucky stars that a conceited orange right wing blowhard made it to be US president, because the powers and State control apparatus that his predecessors have accumulated would make a real fascist drool with the anticipation of using them. If the US got a Putin or Erdogan there's not much that could be done to stop them taking over the entire country lock stock and barrel.

Anonymous said...

Take away the guns and then Dr Evil's approach sounds very much like how the EU has worked to subvert national governments and the will of the people. Even Italy's working it out now.

The UK quislings/traitors list includes Heath, Major, Blair, Kinnock, Mandelson, Cameron, Clegg, Cable, Clarke and all the other high-profile Remainers who don't deserve to share the air that we breathe.