Monday, August 09, 2004
RFK Jr: Everyone who isn't a communist is a fascist
1. Fascinating Hannity interview with R.F.K. Jr.
Quoting Jr.’s book, Hannity cited Jr.’s definition of communism as government take-over of business and his definition of fascism as business take-over of government.
Historically this definition of fascism is incorrect. The NAZI National Socialist party was, as its name suggests, a socialist party, not a business party. Still, the RFK formulation does have the virtue of correctly identifying communism and fascism as THE SAME THING. Both are national socialism, where the government achieves totalitarian power by melding the economy and the government into a single system of force.
But Jr. is not done. In addition improperly identifying fascism with business, he also disassociates fascism from illiberalism. Fascist parties in democratic nations (from various European fascists to the Islamists in Algeria) have always had the same objective that communist parties in democratic nations do. Their stated goal is to gain power democratically, then use that power to end democracy and civil rights. Jr., in contrast, calls it fascism whenever business gains democratic representation. Thus the Bush administration is fascist because the Republicans believe in economic liberty (at least compared to the Democrats).
In sum, Jr. is a communist: he rejects both democracy and economic liberty. Further, he calls anyone who DOES believe in democracy and economic liberty a fascist. This isn’t just sick. It is weird beyond belief, like Michael Moore. In place of reason, these moral freaks substitute a kind of free form six-degrees-of-separation type associational method for connecting A to Z in whatever way serves their biases, unconstrained by the zillion non-sequiturs that the connection entails. So long as they can come up with a pseudo-logic, that is good enough for them. They can pass the meme on to like-minded people who are also guided by bias, and no one can force any of them to bother with the illogic of it all.
What else could explain the ultimate weirdness of RFK Jr: that in addition to calling anyone who cares about the interests of business a fascist, he thinks of himself as a champion of free-markets. Earth to RFK: free markets are the primary business interest.
Of course it is true that business will seek to use the law to restrict competition. That is the purpose of 99% of government regulation of the economy. For instance, almost every kind of business in America is now subject to licensing requirements, prompted by lobbying from established businesses who seek to raise a barrier against new competition. (Hat tip to Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom.) But government regulation of the economy is Democrat ideology, not Republican ideology.
Both parties have their special interests. That is unavoidable. But it is the Republicans whose principled position looks to create a larger pie and it is the Democrats who focus on fighting over shares. The larger pie comes from de-regulation, allowing easy entry and free competition. Fighting over shares is unionization, affirmative action, price-supports, etcetera. If anyone is fascist, in Jr.’s perverse definition of fascism, it is the Democrats. They are the party of special interests.
The same hold true for Jr.’s pet hobby horse: environmentalism. When property rights are missing, markets cannot function. Republicans seek to mimic what markets would achieve either by creating missing property rights (e.g. tradable pollution permits) or by using cost-benefit analysis to try to figure out how to target efficient outcomes by regulation. The environmental movement on the other hand (in its present radicalized form, a pure Democrat franchise) consistently opposes both market solutions and the weighing of environmental costs and benefits.
Recall Democrat/environmentalist opposition to drilling for oil in A.N.W.R.. The project's tiny footprint—2000 acres total, spread out at wide intervals across 1.5 million acres of coastal plain—was rejected on the gounds that ANY footprint would violate the “pristine” quality of this mosquito-infested swamp.
This was a pure rejection of cost-benefit analysis. The actual weighing of environmental harms was explicitly rejected. Ditto with Kyoto and with the Clinton administration’s last minute standards for arsenic in the water and mercury in the air. These poison-pill policies utterly fail any cost-benefit analysis, yet environmentalists are full of outraged charges that any rejection of them gives up the public interest in favor of special business interests. Wrong. It is the Democrats who are rejecting efficient solutions in favor of their special interest in an environment untouched by human activity.
For an emotional trump, Jr. hit Hannity with the claim that asthma rates are rapidly increasing due to air pollution, adding for good measure the race angle that black kids have several times the asthma rate of white kids, supposedly because of the high level of fine particulate pollution in inner cities.
As with Michael Moore’s lies, this kind of claim handcuffs a respondent until he can look into the issue and find what the truth is. In the case of asthma, no one knows what is causing rates to go up. One theory is increased allergic reaction to cockroach and dust-mite allergens, thanks to the shrinking amount of time that kids spend playing out-doors, especially in inner city black neighborhoods ravaged by gang warfare. What we CAN say is that the increasing rate of asthma is almost certainly NOT caused by air pollution, given that air pollution rates have fallen drastically over the last thirty-five years. (Hat tip Michael Fumento.)
Horrible to think that my home state of Massachusetts has gone from bad (Teddy Kennedy) to worse, now being an incubator for the worst of the Michael Moore wing of the Democrat party. To think that she was once the home of the Minutemen....