Reflections on Rockwell’s Fascism
I guess I just don’t find Lew Rockwell’s end of the year column — “The Reality of Red State Fascism” — all that perceptive, as do Steven Horwitz and others.
Fascism has become a buzz word these days, to be applied to anything that a writer dislikes. Nowhere does he define what he means by that term; one surmises some sort of growing statism, which is undesireable to to sure, but rather vaguely described.
Rothbard’s 1994 Memo, quoted at length, enthuses about an emerging libertarianism that just didn’t materialize. As I recall it, Bill Clinton won another term as President in 1996, and in sheer numbers both parties remained closely divided in the elections of 2000 and 2004.
Statism has been around in America since at least Alexander Hamilton’s mercantilist program in the 1790s, and the Leviathan State has been growing ever since as described by writers such as Robert Higgs.
In 1971 Rothbard offered one definition of the reality of Fascism when he described Richard Nixon taking the country off gold as “the day Fascism came to America.”
Empires have always offered a welfare entitlement program, so it ought to come as no surprise that this is pushed by almost all politicians in one form or another. A good book on examining this is Jack D. Douglas’, The Myth of the Welfare State (1989).
Rockwell’s argument that the Oklahoma bombing incident in 1995 “somehow managed” to derail this supposed emerging libertarianism is superficial at best.
To the growing centralized statism of the last two centuries, the last century has witnessed an increasingly aggressive imperialist foreign policy as well, rationalized for years as an opposition to Communnism.
What has declined is a broad anti-imperialism today as compared with the opposition to the emergence of imperialism in 1898. Oh, a pious Senator Robert Byrd will rail in the Senate against the intervention in Iraq, but he has always been at the head of the line for his serving of pork.
The events of 9/11 have enabled the government to accelerate the creation of an empire built on fear, created through a massive manipulation of the media, suppression of information and public lies.
But again, empires have always been characterized by “mass society politics,“ rather than any meaningful democracy
In this climate of lies and massive denial of reality, I am reminded of Japan in the 1930s. Having bogged down in an attempt to control China, the Japanese came to believe that the answer to their problems was to attack the United States, even as the US provoked them into doing so. They could not simply withdraw from China.
Now our leadership elite is pushing the idea that the only way to “solve” the problem of "Terror" is to confront Iran and beyond. I simply don’t see what light Rockwell really sheds on this problem. What does he mean by “secede” in this context?
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William Marina - 1/2/2005
You're right, of course, LRC is just dreaming on about his little "remnant."
What a cheery thought for the new year! Certainly, the Civil War, still being fought by some of the "remnant," ended any real talk of secession.
The options I sketched out in Reason magazine many years ago, although I am less optimistic about any "movement" for same, are still there:
Robert F. Koehler - 1/1/2005
"What does he mean by “secede” in this context?"
Possibly Lew Rockwell sees that American destiny has already passed the horizon of the twilight into the night.
Lew fits into that category of thinkers of the "remnant" as Albert Jay Nock defined it flowing backwards from Rothbard, Garret, the "old American right" and that final last stand for American exceptionalism in the failed anti-imperialism movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. This American world view he espouses has its origins buried deep in the American Declaration of Independence in contradistinction to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that was anathema to the commonality and masses of that revolutionary era. That documents reception was DOA and forced the Federalists to acquiesce and give way to the clamor for a Bill of Rights that curtailed and fenced in their designs for centralized power, at least for a time.
The revolutionary generation as a whole had no need for "parchment rights" as they sarcastically called the American constitution since the ideals of the revolution lived in their minds, hearts and souls. But it could not last as Jefferson & Adams themselves mused and to all intents and purposes the Spirit of 1776 passed from the world with the dual deaths of these titans on 4 July 1826. Its official death arose from the senseless controversies among the unworthy inheritors who ended that argument during the Civil War with the founding of centralized power in Washington, the rise of an elite national establishment, founding of empire and the slow but certain liquidation of unalienable rights and liberty as enunciated in the Bill of Rights. What exists today in 21st century America would have meant a peoples war of total liberation in 1787.
I believe Lew's view is that the battle for liberty has been lost and the duty of the "remnant" is to preserve themselves as America descends into the night. I think here his meaning in seceding is from the struggle that will surely arise between the far left and fascist right, between the dispossessed and oppressors that American Imperium will scourge & inflict upon the world. Its my sense of Lew's meaning, or should I say hope, that either they or their descendants may arise at the end of what comes like a Phoenix from its ashes to rekindle and reawaken ancient liberal traditions and liberty in its heartlands once again.
Men and women dream and for the "remnant" that's all they got. Anyway, that's the way I see it.