by Locker Room contributor
“This tool is a fantastic statement by the General Assembly that North Carolina is focused on the future and determined that our citizens will compete and win in the new world economy. This legislation will create cutting edge economic competitiveness in North Carolina, unlike any state in America.” — Gov. Mike Easley
Yeah, more like 1930s Italy there, sparky.
What a disaster. What a complete and utter fraud, on so many levels, intellectually especially so.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo explained it all over a decade ago:
Few Americans are aware of or can recall how so many Americans and Europeans viewed economic fascism as the wave of the future during the 1930s. The American Ambassador to Italy, Richard Washburn Child, was so impressed with “corporatism” that he wrote in the preface to Mussolini’s 1928 autobiography that “it may be shrewdly forecast that no man will exhibit dimensions of permanent greatness equal to Mussolini. . . . The Duce is now the greatest figure of this sphere and time.” Winston Churchill wrote in 1927 that “If I had been an Italian I am sure I would have been entirely with you” and “don the Fascist black shirt.” As late as 1940, Churchill was still describing Mussolini as “a great man.” …
One of the most outspoken American fascists was economist Lawrence Dennis. In his 1936 book, The Coming American Fascism, Dennis declared that defenders of “18th-century Americanism” were sure to become “the laughing stock of their own countrymen” and that the adoption of economic fascism would intensify “national spirit” and put it behind “the enterprises of public welfare and social control.” The big stumbling block to the development of economic fascism, Dennis bemoaned, was “liberal norms of law or constitutional guarantees of private rights.”
Government officials in North Carolina manifestly recognize no constitutional guarantee of equal standing under the law — some taxpayers exist to directly support other taxpayers in their profit-making ventures. Ventures deemed important and valuable by the State.
Nothing new there either.
Mussolini thought it was unnatural for a government to protect individual rights: “The maxim that society exists only for the well-being and freedom of the individuals composing it does not seem to be in conformity with nature’s plans.” “If classical liberalism spells individualism,” Mussolini continued, “Fascism spells government.”
A government that props up and subsidizes target corporations. The 1930s fascists selected industries based on perceived strategic need in time of war. Our 21st century strain selects them based on political pork, lobbyists, and campaign contributions.
Italian social critic Gaetano Salvemini wrote in 1936 that under corporatism, “it is the state, i.e., the taxpayer, who has become responsible to private enterprise. In Fascist Italy the state pays for the blunders of private enterprise.” As long as business was good, Salvemini wrote, “profit remained to private initiative.” But when the depression came, “the government added the loss to the taxpayer’s burden. Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social.” The Italian corporative state, The Economist editorialized on July 27, 1935, “only amounts to the establishment of a new and costly bureaucracy from which those industrialists who can spend the necessary amount, can obtain almost anything they want, and put into practice the worst kind of monopolistic practices at the expense of the little fellow who is squeezed out in the process.” Corporatism, in other words, was a massive system of corporate welfare. “Three-quarters of the Italian economic system,” Mussolini boasted in 1934, “had been subsidized by government.”
Mussolini also considered himself a “futurist” working to ensure his State’s place in the new world economy. One of his first key supporters was Alberto Pirelli.
He ran a tire and rubber company.
As stated eloquently by the American fascist economist Lawrence Dennis, fascism “does not accept the liberal dogmas as to the sovereignty of the consumer or trader in the free market…. Least of all does it consider that market freedom, and the opportunity to make competitive profits, are rights of the individual.” Such decisions should be made by a “dominant class” he labeled “the elite.”
This is what stings the most. That anyone remotely associated with the brazen shakedown this week could consider themselves clever or smart or the least bit accomplished. But they must be.
Otherwise, how do they keep winning?