Fascism after Taft's War?
Justin asks if there might be troublesome Nazism and/or Communism despite the deaths of Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin after Taft’s War. Probably.
The founder of Fascism, Benito Mussolini, survived Taft’s War and Italy was grabbing Libya from the Ottomans in 1911. As a victor, the government of Italy proceeds without reform. On reflection, mankind’s fascination with discipline, solidarity, courage, loyalty and ability probably date back to the days when we hunted mammoths with spears. Armies, including the United States Army, rely on these principles; perhaps to the exclusion of others favored in Democratic Republics. One key element is the treatment of dissent. In the US Army, questions may be asked but a refusal to follow orders (in violation of oath) will be addressed by court martial. Failure to follow a lawful order will result in dishonorable discharge in peacetime and the loss of several rights.
Mussolini’s Black Shirts would beat, even kill, opponents and vandalize or burn their property without due process of law. Spartans would hunt down dissenters and kill them in the dark of night.
The Jewish tradition is to share a communal meal every week. A rich family might provide an ox and the poor would recognize them as part of the community and not rob or kill them. American (voluntary) communes foundered when the children grew up and disagreed. Christian Priests, Monks and Nuns sidestep that pitfall with sexual abstinence as did the Shakers. The Oneida and Amana colonies transitioned into corporations selling silverware and microwave ovens. Teens of the Amish are free to leave the community but may be shunned, forfeit all property inheritance and medical care.
Russian forced Communism is stained with famine and genocide. Despite these examples, socialist ideas such as equity, progressive income tax, inheritance tax and price controls remain popular in the United States. I suspect Communism is easily understood by children being provided by their parents.
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, wrote the rule of law was required to suppress crimes of violence and fraud. Only then could, and would, people work to produce goods and services for trade. Trade allows specialization and development of labor-saving-tools that benefit the economy of the whole country. That’s a lot more complicated than government taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
United States Republicans stalled world trade with high tariffs after World War One. Several nations turned to preying on neighboring countries or domestic pariahs (such as the Jews) as an alternative route to national wealth.
Human nature hasn’t changed much. We can establish better institutions such as rational taxation, government transition by election, patents, copyrights and universities. Our Constitution which may not be overwritten by mere legislation is a wonder of the world. If we can keep it.
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Rick Kester is a Viet Nam era veteran living in Northern California with his wife Nancy.