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European Fascism Is Different This Time, Says the New York Times

November 12, 2013 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

A recent New York Times article bemoans the rise of populist parties in European countries, which are stridently nativist and nationalist. In Denmark, some polls show that the Danish People’s Party is now more popular than the incumbent Social Democrats.  Likewise, a recent poll indicates that the National Front, founded by the notorious Jean-Marie Le Pen and now led by his daughter Marine Le Pen,  is the most popular party in France.  According to the article such “disruptive upstart groups” are also making inroads in Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland and the Netherlands.

The article hastens to assure readers, however, that, aside from Greece and maybe Hungary,  ”The trend in Europe does not signal the return of fascist demons from the 1930s.”  Why no cause for concern?  You see  ”Europe’s populists want to strengthen, not shrink, government and see the welfare state as an integral part of their national identities.”   These parties tap into  ”a curious mix of right-wing identity politics and left-wing anxieties about the future of the welfare state.”  In making such an argument the author of the article, Andrew Higgins, demonstrates his complete innocence of any historical or doctrinal knowledge of the phenomenon of fascism.

A strong government and a welfare state was precisely what the the European fascists of the 1930s promoted in their propaganda and instituted once they achieved power.  For example, the 25-point program of Hitler’s National Socialist party, promulgated in 1920, called for an extensive  welfare state enforced by a strong central government.  Point 7 demanded “that the State shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens.”  Point 11 sought “The abolition of all incomes unearned by work” and “The breaking of the slavery of interest.”  Points 13-16 demanded, respectively:  the nationalization of all  trusts; profit-sharing in all large industrial enterprises; the “extensive development” of old age insurance; and the communalizing of large department stores and the subsidization and preferential treatment of “small traders” by the State.  Point 20 demanded that the State reconstruct education “with the aim of opening up to every able and hard-working German the possibility of higher education and of thus obtaining advancement.”  It also demanded “the education of gifted children of poor parents, whatever their class or occupation, at the expense of the State.”  Point 21 would require that the State “ensure that the nation’s health standards are raised by protecting mothers …read more


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