Liberal/Conservative: Two Kinds of Fascism

On the one hand, we have militant social conservatives telling us, “The role of government is to protect religious liberty.”

On the other hand, we have the ruling leftist establishment telling us, “The role of government is to ensure and enforce diversity and tolerance, plus equal economic conditions.”

Actually, the role of government is none of those things. The role of government is to uphold individual liberty, private property and individual rights. That’s it.

Government is not, or should not be, about imposing or coercing. Government should be about outlawing those things.

It’s “religious liberty” you want? The government of Iran — a fascist religious dictatorship — ensures liberty for religion. How well does that work out for anyone who isn’t Muslim — or who is Muslim, but happens to be female, gay, or in any large or small way departs from the inclinations of the ruling regime?

Arizona is the latest state to attempt to pass a bill where religious liberty is offered as the only alternative to our ruling leftist establishment of “liberty when the government says so.” People in Arizona (and elsewhere) are right to be concerned about their individual rights and private property (including their churches or businesses). But granting unfettered liberty to religion in place of unfettered liberty to government bureaucrats and lawyers is no solution. Whether this particular law would do that in practice, the very concept of “religious liberty” will only lead to dictatorship if consistently carried out.

A religion refers to a social organization or institution. Organizations and institutions do not enjoy rights apart from, or even superior to, the rights of individuals.

Increasingly, each of our two political/social movements in America are moving towards fascism. You read that correctly. Allow me to explain.

First, a conventional definition of fascism, offered on Wikepedia:

Fascism .. is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. Influenced by national syndicalism, the first fascist movements emerged in Italy around World War I, combining more typically right-wing positions with elements of left-wing politics …

I much prefer Ayn Rand’s definition of fascism (see the

Under fascism, citizens retain the responsibilities of owning property, without freedom to act and without any of the advantages of ownership. Under socialism, government officials acquire all the advantages of ownership, without any of the responsibilities, since they do not hold title to the property, but merely the right to use it—at least until the next purge. In either case, the government officials hold the economic, political and legal power of life or death over the citizens.

Rand nailed it: Fascism is a state where you hold the responsibilities of living, but none of the freedom. It’s a context where rights exists by permission — i.e., only when the government says it’s OK. It starts out as control and regulation of business. But like all forms of state sovereignty over individual sovereignty, it inevitably collapses into dictatorship.

Social conservatives want permission from the government to associate with whomever they choose. Freedom of association actually is an individual right. Everyone holds this right equally, or at least should. But religious people are trying to pass laws granting them special exception from anti-discrimination laws in the name of “religious freedom.” This is worse than the wrong way of going about it.

Instead of fighting for “religious freedom,” people concerned about their freedom should be fighting for equal individual rights for all. They should support the repeal of any law — or court decision — which forces them to act against their conscience or consent in any matter. But at the same time, they must accept the same right for people with whom they disagree, including gay people or anyone else whose lifestyles, personal arrangements or personal decisions make them uncomfortable.

Under the form of fascism developing today, we have government by permission. You’re allowed to do what the government says you may do, but no more. If the ruling government authorities happen to like gay marriage or smoking pot, then those things are allowed. They happen to dislike smoking cigarettes, so that behavior is heavily taxed and largely outlawed.

Permitting certain behaviors has nothing whatsoever to do with the rights of the individual or the rights of private property.

As we know from enduring five years (and counting) of the Obama Administration, the ruling secular leftist establishment has no more concern for private property or individual rights than does the religious right. It allows what it chooses to allow, individual and property rights be damned.

Outside of America, the choice is between secular-based communism (think: Cuba/North Korea) or fascist religious totalitarianism (think: Iran.) (China is a peculiar case, a country which went from Communism to fascism, but has remained totalitarian all the while.) Within America, our two main political movements offer watered down, heavily rationalized versions of more or less the same thing.

Is this what the Constitution had in mind? Read the Constitution, and decide for yourself.

Of course religious people have a right to discriminate in their own churches, on their own private property, or in their own money-making businesses, if they’re irrational enough (from an economic perspective) to wish to do so.

But they cannot do so in the name of “religious liberty.” If they attempt to try, they’re taking us down the same road of totalitarianism that Obama and his minions are imposing by stealth.

None of us have a political right not to be offended, or not to be uncomfortable. We have a right to our own minds, our own bodies, and our own private property. No matter what differences we may share culturally, economically, socially or otherwise, this is the one thing we all have in common and it’s the only basis for a civilized society.

Neither the authoritarians who rule business and health care on the left, nor the resentful millions among religious conservatives, really understand this point. The only alternative to accepting equal individual rights for all? Civil warfare — verbal or even literal.

Sooner or later, the country will break up over this, until we restore the principle of equal individual rights implied by the U.S. Constitution.

Be sure to “friend” Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest.