Insurance and fascism are currently linked by government coercion.
From the time I learnt to drive, to the present day, I have never been in a wreck or needed to ‘claim my insurance’, and nor has my wife. And yet, between the two of us, we have paid a combined $8000 over the last four and a half years between all our vehicles. If I had not been forced by the state to buy insurance, I could have re-invested that money, or bought a whole new car by now. Why should I have to pay for other people’s reckless driving habits? I have driven in snow storms and on sheets of ice, and I’ve always maintained my cool. If I crash into someone else’s car, that is my fault, and I should have to pay for damages. But I should not be forced to put money into an insurance program ‘to save myself financial ruin’ at some later point in life. All the while, I’m being strapped down in the present by overbearing insurance costs.
The same applies to healthcare. Why should I have to buy healthcare? Is my health not my own? Who says I am property of the state? Who said I am a burden to the state? It is not up to government to take care of me. If I get sick, I should pay for it myself. If I cannot afford the care, I can make a payment plan with the hospital.
Since the intrusion of government into hospitals and healthcare, costs have only gone up, service has gone down, and people are unable to pay for their own healthcare unless they get insurance. But now insurance has become too expensive, and people can’t afford that, so now we are to be forced to pay for healthcare that we cannot afford. Where does it end?
Does this mean that it is more important for me to finance a healthcare corporation to save me from myself, than to put food on my table to maintain my very existence?
Think about it. If you’re forced to buy insurance, whether for health or auto, or anything, doesn’t it take away from your immediate concerns, such as eating a meal or repairing your property. We have now reached the top of the curve, and the very insurance which was supposed to save us sometime in the future from financial ruin, is now too expensive to buy to begin with, and now that it is mandated, the costs are ever higher, and out of reach. Financially, we are drawn and quartered, before we are even able to pay for our very survival through simple things such as food and shelter.
Fascist systems such as this do not last. Eventually they collapse in on themselves, or the state takes over completely. Either way the end is misery, through famine or bloodshed. The notion of forced compliance, especially with ideas of safety, or saving you from yourself, should be rejected entirely.
Forced insurance is a fascist idea.
Fascism is the merging of corporations with the state. All over the US we see that today.
This article displays many facts about fascism:
The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.
We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist1 regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.
Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.
For the purpose of this perspective, I will consider the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. To be sure, they constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible.
Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame forfailures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and“terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.
5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.
6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.
7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.
9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating an disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.
Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.
The shocking truth is, that much of this has become true in America today:
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
USA! USA! USA! ‘Isn’t this a great country?’, ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us’ and many other slogans, are passed around like candy in today’s society.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
Guantanamo Bay? The NDAA act?
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
Terrorists! Extremist Muslims! Need I name more?
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
Support the troops! I found a site the other day that said ‘if you’re not prepared to stand behind the troops, feel free to stand in front of them’. We hear all the time that the troops are heroes, and where that may be true in certain wars, and in protecting the country, our troops are currently used to protect ‘our oil’ in the middle east, and work for ‘the elite’ and their ‘special interests’.
5. Rampant sexism.
The debate still goes on for womens rights, even though they are equal to men’s in this country, and lets not get started on the gay marriage debate!
6. A controlled mass media.
I’ve written about this before, the media is completely controlled and bias.
7. Obsession with national security.
OK, let’s see; Homeland security, the TSA, grouping at airports, naked body scanners, need I say more?
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
Yes, this is happening too, just look at nutty candidates like Rick Santorum and Michele backman. And what about our wars in the middle east and our love affair with Israel.
9. Power of corporations protected.
‘Corporations are people my friend’ – Mitt Romney
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
I don’t agree with labor unions, but they are being supressed, so I suppose it’s true.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
When was the last time you saw an intellectual debate on TV? When was the last time you heard about philosophies or becoming a better world? Not sure about the arts though.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
The United States has the largest prison population on the planet!
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent elections.
2000 elections? No? Well what about all the lawsuits from the Ron Paul camp, because of election fixing by corrupt GOP members trying to get Romney elected. Oh you didn’t hear about the delegates in Maine a couple days ago?
Is this not absolutely shocking to you? I find it down right scary.
11/10/04 “ICH” — The early twentieth century Italians, who invented the word fascism, also had a more descriptive term for the concept — estato corporativo: the corporatist state. Unfortunately for Americans, we have come to equate fascism with its symptoms, not with its structure. The structure of fascism is corporatism, or the corporate state. The structure of fascism is the union, marriage, merger or fusion of corporate economic power with governmental power. Failing to understand fascism, as the consolidation of corporate economic and governmental power in the hands of a few, is to completely misunderstand what fascism is. It is the consolidation of this power that produces the demagogues and regimes we understand as fascist ones.
While we Americans have been trained to keenly identify the opposite of fascism, i.e., government intrusion into and usurpation of private enterprise, we have not been trained to identify the usurpation of government by private enterprise. Our European cousins, on the other hand, having lived with Fascism in several European countries during the last century, know it when they see it, and looking over here, they are ringing the alarm bells. We need to learn how to recognize Fascism now.
Dr. Lawrence Britt has written an excellent article entitled “The 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism.” An Internet search of the number 14 coupled with the word fascism will produce the original article as well as many annotations on each of the 14 characteristics of fascism that he describes. His article is a must read to help get a handle on the symptoms that corporatism produces.
But even Britt’s excellent article misses the importance of Mussolini’s point. The concept of corporatism is number nine on Britt’s list and unfortunately titled: “Corporate Power is Protected.” In the view of Mussolini, the concept of corporatism should have been number one on the list and should have been more aptly titled the “Merger of Corporate Power and State Power.” Even Britt failed to see the merger of corporate and state power as the primary cause of most of these other characteristics. It is only when one begins to view fascism as the merger of corporate power and state power that it is easy to see how most of the other thirteen characteristics Britt describes are produced. Seen this way, these other characteristics no longer become disjointed abstractions. Cause and effect is evident.
For example, number two on Britt’s list is titled: “Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights.” Individual rights and corporate rights, at the very least conflict, and often are in downright opposition to one another. In the court system, often individuals must sue corporations. In America, in order to protect corporations, we have seen a steady stream of rules, decisions and laws to protect corporations and to limit the rights of the individual by lawsuit and other redress. These rules, decisions, and laws have always been justified on the basis of the need for corporations to have profit in order to exist.
Number three on Britt’s list is the identification of scapegoats or enemies as a unifying cause. Often the government itself becomes the scapegoat when the government is the regulator of the corporations. Often it is lawyers or administrators who take on the corporations. Often it is liberals who champion the rights of individuals, or terrorists who might threaten state stability or corporate profit. Any or all may become scapegoats for the state’s problems because they pose problems for corporations.
All of these characteristics have a fairly obvious corporate component to them or produce a fairly obvious corporate benefit. Even Britt’s last two characteristics, the merger of state with the dominant religion and rampant suppression of divorce, abortion and homosexuality produce at least some indirect corporate benefit.
As I have pondered what could be done about America’s steady march toward the fascist state, I also have pondered what can be done internally to stop it. The Germans couldn’t seem to do it. The Italians couldn’t seem to do it. The only lesson from recent history where an indigenous people seemed to have uncoupled the merger of economic power with governmental power is the French Revolution. The soft underbelly of consolidated economic power is that the power resides in the hands of a few. Cut off the money supply of the few and the merger between economic power and government becomes unglued. The French systematically took out their aristocracy one by one. It was ugly; the French couldn’t seem to figure out when there had been enough bloodletting to solve the problem.
The thought of an American twenty-first century French Revolution is ugly. But the thought of an American twenty-first century fascist state is far uglier. It would be a supreme irony that the state most responsible for stopping worldwide fascism would become fascist 60 years later. But far worse than this irony is the reality that an American fascist state with America’s power could make Nazi Germany look like a tiny blip on the radar screen of history.
For some years now we have lived with the Faustian bargain of the corporation. Large corporations are necessary to achieve those governmental and social necessities that small enterprises are incapable of providing. The checks on corporate power have always been fragile. Left unchecked, the huge economic power of corporations corrupts absolutely. Most of the checks are badly eroded. Is there still time to get the checks back in balance? Or will we be left with two unthinkable options?
America is undeniably under fascist rule right now, many call President Obama a socialist, marxist or communist. But he has all the hallmarks of a fascist, and the terrifying fact is, that Mitt Romney does too.
Many are left to wonder how the nation that defeated fascism could so completely have absorbed it. Joseph Campbell explains this as ‘the hero as the villain’ in ‘the hero with a thousand faces’. But that is for another article.
So how do we get out of this mess?
I say; stay informed, stop seeing things as black and white, and start looking at the grey areas. Obama is certainly not good for this country, but that doesn’t mean ‘anybody but Obama’ will be. And this mess goes far beyond the presidency, since the head of state is simply a symptom and not a cause. People have been guided like sheep, slowly for decades, into ‘left vs right’, instead of realizing that its ‘up vs down’, the state vs liberty. It’s really a case of the individual vs the collective, since both communism and fascism both center around the collective having the power, which essentially snubs out the lowest minatory which is the individual.
So do we need a bloody revolution to stop this? I hope not. But I know that a revolution is currently in full swing. Between the Tea Partiers, the Occupy Wall Street members and the Ron Paul Revolutionaries, we have an intellectual revolution roaring, and if we can find common ground in the constitution and our basic human freedoms, the fascists (or whatever word you want to use) don’t stand a chance!
As for the insurance, this bubble will burst in time, so save your money and only take out what you really need. The mandated provisions won’t last for long.