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None Dare Call It Fascism


What else would you call it when a government pressures —  nay, demands — that the nation’s largest bookseller silence any author who takes an unapproved view on the most controversial public health crisis ever?

“Fascism” might just be the most overused and misunderstood word in American political discourse.

Can’t agree on a contentious topic? Fascist!

This label, indiscriminately thrown at conservatives on issues from pro-life advocacy to border security to election integrity, has become a hollow catchphrase for anything progressives don’t like.

But the real peril lies in how this careless talk camouflages the very real specter of fascism when it truly does arise.

Consider a recent news story that should worry us all: The Oval Office leaned on the world’s largest bookseller to suppress titles that it found objectionable.

This incident smacks of textbook fascism — the state bullying a private company to bow to its will. But before we get into the details, we must clarify what fascism truly is, given its rampant misapplication.

In introductory political science classes, students are taught a simple but flawed narrative: Communism sits on the left, while fascism and the Nazis are on the distant, far-right end of the political spectrum — ideological arch-enemies, if you will.

This depiction, however, is totally off the mark.

Communism, fascism, Nazism — they’re all “collectivist variants,” united in their rejection of individual liberty and united in their belief in an omnipotent state.

The Nazis identified as socialists (National Socialist Worker’s Party), while fascism’s founders explicitly scorned “classical liberalism” — the philosophy advocating for personal freedom with very little government interference.

In their book The Doctrine of Fascism, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile, considered the “philosopher of fascism,” described their movement thusly:

“Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity. It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical function when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts: the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual.”

The duo went on to declare that the “Fascist conception of the State is all embracing,” that “no human or spiritual values can exist” apart from the State, and that fascism, correctly interpreted, “is totalitarian.”

Do you know any conservative who talks like this?

Of course not.

This worldview is antithetical to conservative thought on practically all fronts, which holds that the fundamental purpose of government is to protect the divinely granted rights of individuals. Consequently, the role of government is conceived not as expansive or “all-embracing,” but rather as limited and specific.

Fascism and communism manifest in different ways, but the common denominator between the two systems is the deification of the State — both maintain unlimited jurisdiction over the affairs of men in their quest for utopia.  

Today’s political left, as Jonah Goldberg noted in his book Liberal Fascism, carries a similar messianic complex regarding the civil magistrate, albeit with the “smile” of good intentions and not the “action squads” of Mussolini.

The instincts, though, remain unchanged: a readiness to coerce the private sector into serving the government’s agenda, sacrificing constitutional guarantees in the process.

The “Amazon Files,” recently brought to light by the House Judiciary Committee, provide a chilling example.

The investigation revealed that the current regime pressured Jeff Bezos’s baby to censor books that countervailed the government’s position on COVID-19 vaccines. In other words, if a book didn’t include some slant on the slogan “they’re safe, effective, and free” on the cover, and in all the pages in between, it needed to be thrown on the burn pile, so to speak.

“Who can we talk to about the high levels of propaganda and misinformation and disinformation of Amazon?” asked Andrew Slavitt, a former White House official, in the spring of 2021.

Slavitt was incensed because, as he put it, “If you search for ‘vaccines’ under books, I see what comes up. I haven’t looked beyond that but if that’s what’s on the surface, it’s concerning.”

A different White House lackey was troubled that there weren’t “CDC warnings” slapped on certain material.

The White House’s intent wasn’t lost on the online store giant: “Is the Admin asking us to remove books or are they more concerned about search results/order (or both)”? one employee inquired.

At first, Amazon stood its ground and refused to conduct a “manual intervention.” This decision, however, wasn’t a heroic stand against government overreach. Instead, it was a strategic move to shield them from receiving the “Fox News treatment” — bad press from conservative media outlets.  

Then, in a turn of events that was hardly surprising, Amazon’s resistance crumbled. The company discreetly implemented “Do Not Promote” labels on books that cast doubt on vaccine safety and efficacy and sought additional ways to “reduce the visibility,” according to internal communications.

As one congressman correctly observed, “letting Americans think for themselves was unacceptable” for this White House.  

One can’t help but wonder where the Antifa brigade has scampered off to. You know, the ones usually decked out in their dramatic black garb — fashion statements funded by the Bank of Mom and Dad.

They fancy themselves as the bulwarks against fascism, but they’re conspicuously missing in action. Where’s their parade of protest against a powerful political actor hassling a private company to do its bidding?

Seems a bit fascist-y to me.

Actually, it would seem a bit fascist-y to Mussolini too, who bragged that “Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of [classical] liberalism …. The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others.”

In short, you may own your business on paper, but when it comes down to it, a megalomaniac in government is the one calling the shots.

Let’s not forget that the administration exhibited similar fascist impulses with Facebook, insisting that the social media company delete posts that said the coronavirus was manufactured in a lab. The President even accused the company of “killing people” by allowing vaccine-skeptical information to remain published.

The White House has defended its actions, arguing that “when confronted with a deadly pandemic, this Administration encouraged responsible actions to protect public health and safety.” (There’s that fascist “smile” at work)

Yet the issue here isn’t over a vaccine; it’s over the government’s attempt to stifle debate and control information involving something as important as what we inject into our bodies.

Which brings us to an unfortunate realization. If progressives truly fear the rise of fascism, perhaps their protests should be directed closer to home — at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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