?We were all libertarians back in the day. I mean, everybody knows this.? ? Mike Enoch, white nationalist, Charlottesville rally attendee and host of the ?Daily Shoah? podcast.
Libertarianism and Fascism are usually thought of as conflicting, if not ideologically opposed to each other. Fascism is characterised by authoritarian and totalitarian State control over the economy and society in a militaristic and hierarchical order, in which all classes are mobilised and regimented by an authoritarian State. Libertarianism, on the other hand, is a more individualistic ideology which purports to reject the State in favour of voluntary association and the allocation of resources by the free market. Yet, in modern Libertarian and Anarcho ? Capitalist circles across the world, a prominent and alarming tendency exists for those on the Libertarian Right to devolve into outright fascist politics. Vox Day, Stefan Molyneux, Lauren Southern, Christopher Cantwell (also known as ?the Crying Nazi?) and Richard Spencer, just to name a few, are prominent voices on the ?Alt Right? who were once Libertarians. This piece will analyse the primary similarities between Libertarianism and Fascism, and the reasons for the transition from one to the other. The commitment to class ? collaboration in the interests of racial hegemony and national identity, the notion that racial discrimination can be considered a private property right and, therefore, that scientific racism is a justification of any inequalities that may result from a capitalist mode of production, and a visceral opposition to communism are the central tenets of this transition.
Class Collaboration in the Interests of Nation
Fascist theorists became disillusioned by the class ? based analysis and perceived economic determinism of the Marxist approach to socialism, preferring to emphasise loyalty to one?s nation over loyalty to one?s class. Mussolini?s ?Doctrine of Fascism? for example, stated ?Fascism?is opposed to socialism to which a single unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle?, going on to argue that ?such a conception of life makes Fascism the resolute negation of the doctrine underlying so ? called scientific and Marxist socialism, the doctrine of historical materialism which would explain the history of mankind?by changes in the processes and instruments of production?. Oswald Spengler?s ?Prussianism and Socialism? affirmed that Fascists were perfectly at ease with the maintenance of private property, as he argued that socialism would inevitably take on different characteristics according to the country in which it was implemented, and that the German worker had far more in common with a German boss than with a worker in another country. He stated that, ?The Old Prussian method was to legislate the formal structure of the total productive potential while guarding carefully the right to property and inheritance.? Spengler referred to Marxism as ?the capitalism of the working class?, arguing that the reduction of identity to economic categorisations obscured a far more important distinction, predicated on national lines. The class collaborationist ethos of Fascism, which underpinned many of the economic policies pursued by Fascist leaders during the 1930s, led to the outright rejection of socialism as an internationalist, rather than a nationalistic ideology. The first victims of Nazi concentration camps were Communists and Socialists, a recurrent theme to which I will return later.
In Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and many of the Nazi ? occupied states during the 1930s and 40s, corporatisation and privatisation became the order of the day. For example, Spanish economist Germa Bel has argued that both the Commerz ? Bank and Deutsche Bank were reprivatised in 1937, in transactions amounting to 50 million and 57 million Reichsmarks, respectively, having initially been nationalised following the 1929 Wall St Crash. Additionally, when, Hermann Rauschning, President of the Danzig Senate questioned Hitler on privatisation, he responded, ?Why need we trouble to socialise banks and factories? We socialise human beings.? Significant evidence exists that the Nazis sought to gain an alliance with prominent industrialists who had previously been reluctant to support them. Krupp and I.G. Farmen, two major industrial firms, had bailed out the Nazi Party early in 1933 in exchange for political support. Mussolini was also a keen advocate for privatisation; between 1922 and 1925, metal machinery firm Ansaldo was privatised, in addition to phone networks, motorways and an end to the State?s monopoly on life insurance. This demonstrates that although Fascists did not support untrammelled market allocation and the dictates of supply and demand regulating the economy, they certainly supported private enterprise establishing corporate monopolies under the direction of an authoritarian State. Antonio Salazer dissolved the upper chamber of his government, replacing it with a corporatist chamber. Therefore, right wing Libertarians and Fascists are united in a respect for private property rights, and in ensuring that the working class and bourgeoisie work together in the interests of race and nation.
Advocates of free markets and laissez ? faire economic ideology have long used class collaborationism as a means of ?dividing and ruling? working people into supporting their interests, advocating a feigned ?populism? which targets perceived elites while actually working in the interests of organised capital. The ?Tea Party? in America radicalised a discontented cohort of the white working class, small businesspeople and middle class professionals against both big business and a perceived ?communist? threat. Paradoxically, an agenda to lower corporation tax, gut the social safety net, drastically reduce spending and deregulate the economy, to which the Tea Party remained committed during the 2014 midterms, was shared by much of the capitalist class. Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, both of which received substantial funding from the Koch brothers, were instrumental in funding the Tea Party. Furthermore, millionaire media personalities such as Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity earnestly promoted the Tea Party as a radical alternative to the nepotistic collusion between big government and big business. For decades, much of the discourse around welfare in America has attempted to persuade white working class Americans to vote alongside the billionaire class, asserting that left wing politicians seek to expand and deepen welfare payments , which are distributed from hard working, industrious whites to lazy, feckless blacks. For example, in 1961, Barry Goldwater complained that public money subsidised ?children born out of wedlock?, later opposing the Civil Rights Act on the grounds of ?States? Rights?. In 1976, Ronald Reagan deployed the same trope to attack a woman in Chicago who allegedly used 80 different names and 30 different addresses to obtain as much welfare as possible. This demonstrates that Libertarian tendencies toward class collaboration often took on a racial dynamic that invoked the need to gut welfare and end government ?entitlement? programmes that were perceived as being disproportionately received by African Americans. Despite this being demonstrably false, as more white Americans receive welfare per capita than other groups, it nonetheless provides a starting point for right wing Libertarians to embrace fascistic politics.
Racial discrimination as a private property right
The idea that racial discrimination can be considered a private property right is perhaps the biggest similarity between Libertarians and Fascists, and the key turning point in the transition from one to the other. As aforementioned, Barry Goldwater, then Republican Presidential candidate, opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the basis of ? States? Rights?. Defence of private property and the rights of ?self determination? dominated the so ? called ?Southern Strategy? of the Republican Party for decades.This sentiment has persisted until the present day, as for those members of the modern ?alt right? movement who were once Libertarians or ?Anarcho? ? Capitalists (itself an oxymoronic term), it was the repudiation of the State?s right to impose restrictions on the rights of private property owners to discriminate on racial grounds that began their descent into fascism. Christopher Cantwell or ?The Crying Nazi? stated ?if blacks are committing crimes or Jews are spreading communism?, disassociation from them can be considered a moral imperative.
Murray Rothbard and Hans Herman Hoppe, both major exponents of the ?anarcho ? capitalist? ideology, espoused similar sentiments. In the case of Rothbard, ?racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors.? In this respect, so ? called ?race realism? is not just a private property right, but a rationale for the existence of anti ? egalitarian hierarchies. If such hierarchies require the existence of an authoritarian and militaristic State to defend themselves from those who are ?lower? on the socioeconomic ladder, then according to the logic of these ?anarcho?- capitalists, this is not inconsistent with libertarian principles. Libertarianism and Fascism thus converge in the defence of racial and social hierarchies.
It is no accident that defence of private property rights seems to correlate with belief in scientific racism among the fringe elements of the Libertarian Right, as Libertarians respond to episodes of political turmoil and brewing discontent among oppressed peoples which threaten to challenge the status quo. Stephen Jay Gould?s ?The Mismeasure of Man? argues that tax breaks for the wealthiest in society can be more easily sustained, and the economic ramifications of capitalism ignored, if one accepts that the failure of any group to succeed is due to inalienable biological realities such as inherent stupidity, violence and impulsiveness. Scientific racism obviates the need for advocates of the free market to look inwards and consider the cruel and inhumane consequences it may have.
The contention that non ? whites are less individualistic and even less able to espouse Libertarian principles than whites is a common theme in Libertarian and Anarcho ? Capitalist discourse, indicating that racial homogeneity is a necessary prerequisite for the establishment of a genuinely Libertarian society. An article on the Alt ? Right?s Website read: ?Without a high trust society, you won?t have a significant capitalist class developing and, without that, you can kiss the manifestation of libertarian institutions good-bye. In short, if you love freedom, you?ve got to love homogeneity?. The implication that libertarianism will be eclipsed if non white immigration is permitted into Western countries raises many questions, an authoritarian state to maintain strong borders. Accordingly, many Libertarians tend to transition from supporting free trade and unrestricted immigration to supporting protectionism and enforced racial separation.
The realisation that the ?free market? is a malleable entity that reflects the broader sociocultural values of the society it exists within was a pivotal realisation for former Libertarians such as Stefan Molyneux and Vox Day. If mass non white immigration and so ? called ?degeneracy? are the dictates of supply and demand, then Libertarians can either accept this or endorse authoritarian State control to change it. For the ?tyranny of the majority? to ride roughshod over their right to discriminate against others on the basis of race, and to threaten private enterprise, is simply anathema to them.
A virulent anti ? Communism
If there is one thing that Libertarians and Fascists share, it is an unequivocal and unwavering contempt for Communism, and anything that could be construed as remotely Communist. In times of economic turmoil, when the contradictions of Capitalism heighten to the extent that the entire edifice of the system looks set to collapse, Libertarians and mainstream Conservatives have historically turned to the authoritarian forces of the far right to safeguard profits and maintain capitalistic property relations. The Fascist State provides a bulwark against egalitarian and socialist solutions to capitalist crises. Eric Hobsbawm?s ?Age of Extremes? presciently argues that ?The common cement of these movements was the resentment of the little man in a society that crushed them between the rock of big business on one side and the hard place of rising mass labour movements on the other.?
Fascism, a movement of the petit ? bourgeoisie who resented the ramifications of both the 1789 revolution and the 1917 revolution, was predicated on the mobilisation of white collar workers against the interests of organised labour. This was clearly a factor in the Anti ? Semitism that characterised these years, with Jews being demonised as caricatures of both shadowy financiers and revolutionary insurrectionists. Iterations of this can even be seen in the modern day, as the populist right ramps up resentment towards ?Big Tech? and the ?Globalists?, characterising George Soros as the central figure in an international banking conspiracy. In asserting that large corporations have a leftist ideological bias (a demonstrably absurd proposition if one considers it for more than a couple of seconds), they imply that ordinary, patriotic people are being ground between the (Jewish) millstones of international capital and organised labour. It is unsurprising that Fascism has again shown its malleable, chameleon -like tendency to latch on to the social, political and economic norms of the time in which it emerges and adapt to these.
As Fascism entailed a reaction against organised labour, particularly in Germany and Italy, where the Freikorps and Squadrati put down socialist uprisings with astonishing rapacity, capitalism and fascism became bedfellows. As aforementioned, the German ?moderate? Right recognised that if it took supporting Hitler to assuage the threat of Communism, this was a sacrifice worth making. In 1924, the Nazis only had 3% of the vote. By 1928 this had risen to 18%, and again to 37% by 1932. Without the support of the German National People?s Party and major Industrial barons, it is highly unlikely that Hitler would have acheived this.
The tendency of Libertarian Rightists to support Fascistic politics as an ideological buffer against a perceived Communist threat is exemplified by F.A. Hayek?s support for the Fascist regimes of Antonio Salazer in Portugal and Augusto Pinochet in Chile. He wrote a letter to the Times supporting Pinochet in which he said the following: ?I have not been able to find a single person even in much maligned Chile who did not agree that personal freedom was much greater under Pinochet than it had been under Allende.? For Hayek, the market was indispensable to personal freedom, whereas the ballot box was not.
Hayek?s disentangling of liberalism from democracy provided the basis for his justification in supporting Fascist regimes. Differentiating between ?negative? freedoms such as the freedom not to be killed or to have one?s property infringed upon, and ?positive? freedoms which asserted rights to education, healthcare etc, Hayek delineated that the responsibilities of government were to uphold the former. He concluded that the advancement of positive rights by organised labour, engendering a ?tyranny of the majority?, ought to be curtailed in the interests of maximising freedom. Democracy was a tool for achieving such a tyranny. Asserting that ?it may be said that effective and rational economic policies can be implemented only by a superior leader of the philosopher ? statesman type under a powerful autocracy?, Hayek completed the descent from free ? market Libertarianism into Fascist apologia. Private property and negative rights must be enshrined by a State.
The prominent and disturbing phenomenon of Libertarian Rightists devolving into support of militaristic and authoritarian Fascism is not merely a correlation; rather, there are significant parallels between the two ideologies, from their views on property relations to their mutual hatred of Communism. The desire to maintain private property rights in the face of a perceived Communist threat, with the force of the State if necessary, is a key parallel. The demonisation of other groups as welfare ? dependent and inadequate is an important tactic in regimenting all classes behind ethnic homogeneity and national pride in times of crisis, preventing class divisions. Most importantly, the desire to prevent the ?tyranny of the majority? from abrogating their right to discriminate against others on the grounds of race, and the belief that Libertarianism and individual liberty are at risk from more ?collectivist? non white groups, forms the underpinning for the Libertarian ? Fascist conversion. For the Libertarian Rightist, the unwashed, toiling masses who will inevitably envy the successes of the rich must be kept at bay somehow, if necessary at gunpoint. It is here that the invisible hand clenches to form an iron fist.