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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rockwell on the State, the Military, and Propaganda

Mises Daily: Saturday, July 12, 2014 by
Editor's note: this is a transcript of this interview, courtesy of The Tom Woods Show.

TOM WOODS: This book Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto is getting plaudits from everybody. Charles Goyette likes it, Ron Paul likes it, I like it. Everybody who reads it seems to be thrilled with it. It's readable in the sense that it's got interesting, compelling, punchy prose. It's packed with information, and it's short enough that the length of it is not daunting. It doesn't put people off. By the way, length of books does not always put people off. It amazes me how many people read The Creature from Jekyll Island. It amazes G. Edward Griffin how many people read that book. But all the more will read a book of this length. I am really pleased about it.

So I want to continue our conversation because we peeled away only a few layers of the onion last time, and I want to start off with a concept that we talked about on this program just a couple of weeks ago in connection with Teddy Roosevelt. We had the author of a little book called American Fascist talking about Teddy Roosevelt, and I wanted to give him a chance to show that his use of the word fascism was not just hyperbole. That even though we're not necessarily talking about Hitler himself, there are ideas in fascism that are present to a greater or lesser extent in various regimes. What are you talking about when you say American fascism? What do you have in mind?

LEW ROCKWELL: Well, of course, as you and your interviewee pointed out, fascism comes from the Progressive Era. It's not a coincidence that Teddy Roosevelt came to power in that time, and this is when Mussolini developed his ideas. This is before Hitler. So fascism antedates Hitler, and it's not just an epithet. It is an actual, maybe not a very systematic, but it's definitely an ideological system, a political system, and an economic system. Mussolini himself said really it's better described as corporatism than fascism because they represented the melding of state power and corporate power, of course, under the politicians and applied against everybody else in society. So what is fascism? And I think the American system, certainly Teddy Roosevelt had his fascist impulses.

Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was entirely fascist. It really was ripped off from Mussolini, and it benefited the big companies that were in cahoots with the federal government—hurt all the companies and the consumers and everybody else who was not in cahoots, and it set out to change American capitalism, and they didn't do it. So now I would say there have been many, many advances in fascism. The fact that we don't have death camps is not a refutation that the American political and economic system is not fascist. So it's the corporate state. It's a combination of the welfare state, of massive regulation of business, of hatred of the other—in our case maybe it's Muslims, Islamists and so forth who allegedly justify total surveillance and total control of the American population. It's government that—in Mussolini's case it was the labor unions, big business, and government in a combine. Thank goodness in our own country the labor unions are not a significant force anymore and are becoming less and less. But nevertheless, we have big corporations and big government cooperating together against the rest of us. It also involves militarism. Unfortunately most people accept as just the norm, the worship of the police and the military and the so-called first responders. That's entirely a fascist impulse. The idea that we're supposed to think that these are higher-level beings, they are far better and more significant people than just regular, what Will Grigg calls "the mundanes." That it should be—and it's perfectly plausible and really moral that it's a far more serious crime to, say, touch your elbow to a cop who's arresting you, and therefore you're resisting arrest, than it would ever be to touch a regular person with your elbow by mistake. It's the glorification. It's the constant warfare system, the constant wars going on everywhere—Mussolini, Hitler, Teddy Roosevelt all believed that war was in some sense the highest result of civilization, that not only was the flowering of civilization—war—but that it advanced civilization. Well, it advances something, not of course civilization. So the constant wars, the constant militarism, military worship, and planning by the government and the big corporations of all of economic life, and then we have the total surveillance state, and we have unfortunately what is still, as compared to some other regimes, a soft fascism, but it's becoming increasingly hard, and it's more than slightly alarming.

On the other hand, I think there's more and more, especially young people are becoming awakened to what the American system is, what it's become, how their own lives are being stunted by it, their own economic possibilities in the future—and Ron Paul, of course, is the major factor in this.

All the ideas of the great libertarians and Austrians, Murray Rothbard and everybody else, they are, of course, the foundation for all of this. But Ron by all of his work has awakened the young people not only in this country but all around the world as to the importance of freedom, how it's being attacked, and why we don't want a corporate state, a fascist state. Why it goes against every value of decency, and religion, and the Golden Rule, and it just is an attack on, of course, private property, which is the real basis of civilization, of course, not war. You don't actually have, for the most part, government ownership of the means of production, that is, you have the TVA. You have the VA single payer socialized medical system