As I pondered the direction our Government had taken over the previous year, I looked at the definition of socialism by typing "define: socialism" into Google. The first definition presented was from Princeton's wordnet and read as follows; "a political theory advocating state ownership of industry." The definition feels woefully lacking.Mr. Gee calls this style of government "Regulationism." I think it fits the pattern of classic Fascism. Fascism has two distinguishing characteristics. Unlike Communism, which styles itself as an international movement of the workers rising up against their capitalist exploiters, Fascism is a national movement. Fascists often create, or manipulate local myths to strengthen their own ties to the people, and distract people from the fact of their slavery. Hitler, for example, created the myth of the Aryan people, and borrowed heavily from the old Norse mythology to support it. Mussolini, on the other hand, pointed to ancient Rome, and fed the Italians a steady diet of what they had once been. The other distinguishing characteristic is that whereas Communists actually own the means of production, and therefore the responsibility for the failure to perform, the Fascists have found a way out of that predicament. Instead of owning outright the industrial capacity of the country, they just control it, and take the profits. But if there is a failure, they can always point back to those evil capitalists.
Ownership denotes control, and the state is certainly getting into the business of controlling industry. Over the last year our government has exerted more control over enterprise via legislative fiat than at any other time since FDR's power grab during the Great Depression. From the thousands of pages of ObamaCare, to the thousands of pages of the Dodd-Frank "financial reform" bill, government power is firmly entrenched in business and expanding. The more regulations the state adds the more control it exerts.
Fascism enslaved not just the so called capitalist class, but everybody who worked for a living as well. Any time you illegitimately take the money that someone has rightfully earned, you violate that person's natural rights and use him to further another's interests. That is slavery. Of course, you can outright steal from him, hold him up at gun point. More subtly, you can get the government to do it for you. So, if you are taxed at a different rate than you neighbor, whether because you make more, or you have more hair on your head, that is illegitimate. If the government decides to tax certain legitimate activities in order to discourage them, that also is illegitimate. The other way Fascism enslaves people is to limit their legitimate choices so that, while believing themselves free, they really are not.
Once a company has cleared all of the hurdles of getting the oil out of the ground and turning it into a product for market, the tax man comes. For every gallon of gasoline the government collects between 30 to 50 cents in taxes (18 to the feds, and on average 22 to the states and quite often 2-5 cents to a local municipality). In 2007 Exxon made $40 billion dollars in profit, but it paid $100 billion in taxes and royalties. In other words government made 2.5 times more from Exxon's oil production than Exxon and its shareholders did.
Good to see that government is on the case and sticking it to those evil capitalists again. Except, they really aren't. You see Exxon passed the costs of the royalties, taxes, and all the regulations on to drivers. It is built into their cost of a gallon of gasoline. YOU paid, not them. Exxon was merely the tax collector for the State. To the degree you paid too much for gasoline, you had less discretionary cash to spend for other things. In other words, by stealing your money, they have also stolen your liberty. But hey, it was done for a noble cause.
It has been said that our Constitution creates a capitalist, free market society. It does no such thing. Rather, unlike Marxism, which is concerned exclusively with materialism, and who gets what stuff, the Constitution is concerned with maintaining the liberty of the people. A necessary part of that is scrupulously maintaining their individual rights in contracts and property. We have let too much slip away through clever language that encouraged muddled thinking. Aaron Gee again:
The goals of regulationism and socialism are the same, control over a company or business. The end result of regulationism and socialism is also the same, a lifeless economy filled with uncompetitive businesses. November's election wasn't just a rejection of a political party, or a fight over personal taxes; it was also the rejection of regulationism.And here you have more of the same. By saying that the fight is between business and the government, the writer encourages you to yawn and go back to sleep. After all, you are not a businessman. But in reality, the fight is yours and mine. Taxes and regulations put huge burdens of excess cost on every product we have to purchase, reducing our discretionary cash and our choices, and our liberty.
* With a nod to Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism: A Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning