In recent articles reporting on the situation in Ukraine, journalists have taken to comparing the various players and forces at work in that region to fascists. Everyone from Obama to Putin to the government in Kiev have been described as fascist. Pundits on the Left and the Right toss the term about as an instant incrimination of the person so portrayed.
On May 2, comedian-turned-commentator Rob Schneider joined the chorus, telling CBS Radio host Chris Stigall, “Democracies don’t end well. We are sliding very fast towards fascism. It’s an ugly kind of thing. There’s this kind of mob mentality that we have to be careful of.”
A Google search of “obama fascist” returns nearly five million hits. While that’s certainly not a scientific study of the accurate use of the term or of the president’s legitimate qualifications for that title, it does reveal a common conception that the term is apt when used in connection with the president’s policies.
To determine the accuracy of the charge of fascism, regardless of the accused, it is helpful to explore the historical roots of the term and the value of the evidence offered to prove that President Obama is guilty of perpetuating the philosophy during his six years in office.
The word "fascism" has etymological roots in the political/social system of ancient Rome. In Rome, the fasces were a bundle of rods about five feet long made of elm or birch wood, together with a single-headed axe. The fasces were bound together by red strips of leather and were carried by lictors.
The purpose of the fasces were to be the outward manifestation of the magisterial authority and therefore symbolic of the legitimacy of the magistrate's power and the unifying role he was meant to play in the complex Roman government. As the leather strips bound the rods and axe together, so the magistrate (consuls, proconsuls, praetors, etc.) was to wield his power in the binding together of the citizens, subjects, and leaders of Rome.
In an op-ed published April 28 in the Washington Post, Eugene Kontorovich describes how the symbol shows up all over the nation’s capital. “Federal buildings throughout Washington, and across the country, are decorated with “fasces” — the bundle of rods with an axe that Benito Mussolini adopted for his political movement,” Kontorovich writes, evoking the name of one of the most notorious admitted fascists to ever wear that label.
While it may not be perfect, the analogy between the ancient Roman symbol of power and the policies of our current president is apt and educational.
In concert with describing the president as fascist, many of those on the right side of the political spectrum have taken to referring to President Obama and those of his ilk as “progressives."
In truth, “progressives” are not progressive at all, but are rather regressive. That is to say, their opinions and worldview are so dated and have been so often proven ineffectual to the government of a free people, that to call them progressive is to allow them the claim to insight that underlies their paternalism.
These regressives fancy themselves the gnostics of our day. They claim to have special access to a knowledge of the higher purpose of government that is unattainable by the benighted many over whom they are duty bound to rule.
The principle plank of the regressives' absolutist platform is what renowned Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek called the "fatal conceit." This brand of hubris occurs when a person assumes that if the boundaries of his power were extended indefinitely then he could make perfect order of his dominion. He issues fiats and executive orders that haughtily and purposely bypass other elected officials in order that accomplishment of his perfect plan of government might progress unimpeded.
While the tedious work of carrying out this leader's vision will be left to the nameless bureaucrats who toil in the myriad agencies created to facilitate the rapid expansion of his control, the regressives of today prefer an attractive, often boyish face to represent the glory that comes with adherence to his often radical policies. This leader will draw millions to his side through words, gestures, and photos all artfully manipulated to disguise the egotism and slavery that sit just beneath the "hope and change" surface.
This is a version of fascism, and under it the formerly free society is divided into rods (black, white, workers, managers, young, old, etc.). These several sticks are then bound together by the confining (they would argue “uniting”) strap of governmental control. Left to their own devices, these various factions would destroy one another and cause their own mutual destruction. Thanks to the bureaucracy, they are held peacefully in check and all are thus able to contribute to the stability and growth of the state.
The axe, of course, is as it was in the Roman Republic, the symbol of the punishment meted out to all who work against the unity of the state. The axe in today's American Republic is generally some form of social marginalization followed by economic enslavement.
In this system, a charismatic leader pacifies the people with speeches, chastises them with stern warnings when he deems necessary, and later relieves them with handouts and endless diversions.
In the United States today, this path is being faithfully followed by an embryonic dictator and his posse of fasces-bearing lictors. President Barack Obama uses speeches, pictures, and press conferences to appease the masses while at the same time portraying those who oppose him as enemies of good government or ignorant followers of self-satisfying demagogues.
There is yet a way to break the spell that the regressives have cast on so many of our fellow countrymen. Education is the first and most important step toward breaking free of the shackles these pretty words are placing on us. Our liberties and our sacred Constitution will be cast quickly onto the scrap heap of history if our efforts are not well-aimed and persistent.
All of the promoters of the nanny state who believe they know what is best for everyone must be disabused of that notion and the house of cards they have erected as palaces of power must be razed and their dominions laid desolate. The American people are sovereign in this Republic and as such we have the exclusive right to reform our government according to the timeless principles promulgated by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution of 1787.
We must assert our natural dominion and resist tyranny in all its forms lest we finally be bound together with unbreakable straps of regressivist statism and tossed one and all into the furnace of fascism.
The best and most constitutionally sound method of breaking the federal government’s control over nearly every area of life dear to free men and women is to demand that state legislatures and governors begin asserting their authority to force the president and Congress to remain inside the boundaries drawn around their power in the Constitution.
Fascism can ultimately only be defeated by those willing to withstand the collectivist federal policies and programs and defend the timeless and fundamental individual liberties that our Founding Fathers intended to protect from violation by future leaders who would embrace the power and intimidation of centralized authority.
Photo of President Obama, Benito Mussolini (with hand upraised), and Adolf Hitler