Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Political Spectrum: Right vs Left or Citizen vs State?

I have always loved history. In conducting research for the Homeland series, I have had to go back and reexamine some of the things I thought I knew about history, politics, and the way the world works. This post is dedicated to a long-held paradigm that was challenged and ultimately changed by this research.

Conventional wisdom places communism on the extreme left of the political spectrum and fascism on the far right, but is that really true?

I submit that it is not.
The mutual fanatical hatred and savagery toward each other by the Nazis and the Soviets in World War II is usually pointed out as the prime example of the opposing natures of the two systems. But this point of view overlooks the fact that Hitler and Stalin were allies at the outbreak of the war. Stalin watched with glee for years as Germany consumed much of Europe. He even helped, invading Poland from the east shortly after Germany blitzed the country from the west. Those arrangements were made between the two dictators before the first panzer rolled. This mutual admiration society lasted until Adolf screwed his neighbor to the east in 1941 via surprise invasion. Stalin was so shocked by the betrayal of his ‘friend’ that it literally took him days to regain his senses and put up a defense. Thus, the hatred toward the evil fascists was born of betrayal and brutality more than from philosophical differences.

The similarities of communism and fascism are brought into focus when we consider the life at the ground level of each government.
Both fascist and communist regimes have centrally planned economies. Both control the internal movements of their people (papers, please). Both spy on their own citizens. Both have secret police (Gestapo vs KGB) to quell dissent. Both imprison or execute those who dare criticize the regime.  Both have government-controlled healthcare. Both control the media. Both systems claim to promote ‘the greater good for the greater number.’ Both populations live in perpetual fear.

I could go on, but you get the point.

Is life appreciably different for citizens living under these supposedly opposite systems? If you found yourself in 1938 Berlin, would your thank your lucky stars you weren’t living in Stalin’s Russia? Would the opposite be true? The truth is, life under both states would be pretty similar.

In both systems, the rights of the individual are trampled by the needs (or whims) of the all-powerful state. Additionally, said individual has no recourse to correct harm to himself, his rights, or his property. He is powerless to resist, thus the individual has no rights save those arbitrarily granted by the State. It should be noted that what the State giveth, the State also taketh away. As such, communism and fascism are merely different breeds of the same animal. That animal is Statism, also known as collectivism.

When we adjust our view to see fascism and communism less as opposing ideologies and more as estranged siblings, we see that they are just two of the most recent forms of statism to join socialism, despotism, monarchy, and others among the ranks of collectivist systems which crush the individual under the weight of centralized governmental authority.

This is why The United States was designed to be a Republic and not a democracy. Democracy may appear on the surface to be the best defense against State tyranny. In reality, it is also a form of collectivism.

But that is for another post.

This false paradigm may also help explain why many people don't believe their vote matters. If your choices are between two flavors of the same tyranny, how could your vote matter?

Voters sense this false dichotomy at some level, though may not be able to put their finger on why it doesn't make sense. I was in that spot for a long time.

The popularity of candidates like Sanders and Trump demonstrate voters' desire to break free of 'the Establishment' by electing people they see as outsiders. But as long as we are still operating (and voting) under false assumptions, little will change aside from the natural growth of the State.


  1. Thanks, Rob. Good post and good graphics.

    Fascism and Communism have always been 2 sides of the same coin. One is nationalist and the other is globalist--and that is the most significant difference. That difference explains why opinion-makers still rail against Hitler but are mostly uninterested in Stalin or Mao. Adolph, as a mass murderer, was a distant third place after those two. Yet Stalin and Mao's atrocities were whitewashed or ignored while their empires were subsidized or otherwise nurtured by FDR and his ilk, who were conversely hell-bent on going to war with Hitler.

    And when you look at a world map, pre- and post-WWII, what exactly was accomplished? Just sayin'.

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