Sorry, Congressman, but Fascism Didn’t Work that Way

| December 29, 2010 | 3 Replies

Fresh from his being turned out by the voters of New York, soon to be ex-Congressman John Hall could not resist one last lecture for us poor unlearned and unwashed masses. Unfortunately, what he probably intended as a history lesson turned out more like a lesson in histrionics (via memeorandum).

In a wide-ranging interview before he prepares to leave the House of Representatives, Hudson Valley Congressman John Hall warned that the nation could quickly descend into Fascism if more is not done to curb the influence of corporate money in politics.

Speaking about the Citizen’s United decision, which allowed unregulated flow of cash into campaign coffers, Hall said, “I learned when I was in social studies class in school that corporate ownership or corporate control of government is called Fascism. So that’s really the question— is that the destination if this court decision goes unchecked?”

If that’s what he really learned in social studies class, I despair for the rest of his education. There is no doubt that Fascism always did require a very close relationship between corporations and the government, but in every case I know, the corporations were not the ones in control. Hitler offered German companies the option of knuckling under or getting taken over outright. Mussolini used the power of his government to bend corporations to doing work he felt was beneficial to the “common good”. Stalin simply took over the means of production outright. Castro, Pol Pot, Chavez, Kim — pick the fascist and you’ll find in every case that government wagged corporations and not the other way around.

Hall is attempting a little verbal judo here, not on the interviewer, but on the minds of anyone listening to him. He wants us to believe that the real threat to free speech is not from the government’s attempts to actually squelch free speech but from the political group (Citizens United is not a “corporation” in the sense Hall means it) trying to engage in political speech. What Hall really means instead of Fascism is Corporatism, which is what you get when businesses run the government.We aren’t in danger of that either, though it’s a common progressive ploy to try to get us to believe that we are.

Tim Carney gets to the very heart of how ridiculous Hall’s statement is with a simple question:

He was speaking about the Citizens United decision. Let’s recall what was at question in Citizens United: could Congress prevent a non-profit group from distributing a DVD criticizing a sitting senator who at the time was also the front-runner to be president of the United States?

On which side of that question do you think some historical fascists would have come down?

You know the answer to that as well as I. So does lame duck Congressman Hall, and I suspect that his inability to be honest, even when there is no gain to perpetuating the progressive lie about Fascism, is a big reason he’ll be unemployed in a month.

UPDATE: Let me also take quick issue with the reporter’s characterization of the Citizens United decision. It does not allow the “unregulated flow of cash into campaign coffers”. Campaign contributions remain as regulated as they have always been. What the decision did to was allow companies like Citizens United (and labor unions, though Hall and his fellow Democrats always seem to miss that point) to spend as much money as they wanted on campaign ads. The decision did not change the regulations on direct contributions to candidates “campaign coffers”. This is a common mistake I’ve seen more than a few times in media reports on the case. I suspect that the reporters in question are simply aping what Democrats have told them without attempting to find out what the decision actually did.

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