Progressivism is fascist

To the Editor:

Progressivism in general and specifically the more virulent kind found in Vermont's capital city of Montpelier is both fascist in nature and totalitarian in its beliefs. It's hard not to come to this conclusion -- though it is my conclusion -- after reading Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism," an excellent historical account of the intersections of Italian Fascism, German Nazism, Soviet Communism and --yes-- American 'Liberal Fascism'... albeit with a smiley-face.

What if I was to tell you that Progressivism in general and specifically Vermont's Progressive Party Platform contain or once contained the following six objectives:

(1) Reform of the old-age and pension system and the establishment of age limits for hazardous work (2) The creation of various government bodies run by workers' representatives... (3) Promote cooperative, worker-owned enterprises as an alternative to huge profit-driven multinational corporations (4) Promote a public education system, that provides equal and equitable opportunities for all our children [and] reduces postsecondary tuition costs...; include free housing... (5) [F]undamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious [student] to obtain higher education (6) Elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness... of the young

These six objectives are all familiar to Progressivism, but not all are Progressive sources. Objectives one and two are from Mussolini's 1919 founding of "Fasci di Combattimento," the beginning of Italian Fascism. Three and four are from Vermont's Progressive Party Platform. And five and six are from the 1920 Nazi Party Platform, as translated at the Nuremberg Trials.

Correlating Progressivism with Italian Fascism and German Nazism isn't to imply any diabolical intent. Until the mid-1930s, many fascist objectives or tenets were supported by many American Progressives, as evidenced by the overlapping six objectives I've outlined here. And Progressives saw many of the fascist tenets as useful "social experiments" to learn from. It's important to note that this support occurred before the horrific Holocaust. It was only after the Holocaust became known, that the Left began to distance itself from Fascism and Nazism and began a propaganda campaign to associate these two ideologies as "right-wing" or conservative.

Fascism is "the view that every nook and cranny of society should work together in spiritual union toward the same goals overseen by the State. Fascism is a religion of the State. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore defined as the enemy," writes Goldberg.

"Everything in the State, nothing outside the State," is how Mussolini defined Fascism.

Mussolini coined the word "Totalitarian" to describe not a tyrannical society but a compassionate one in which everybody belonged, where everyone was taken care of and contributes equally: Ominously sounding like Montpelier's political formation.

Comedian George Carlin unwittingly described Progressivism's means to a "tyrannical society but a compassionate one" when he quipped: "When Fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts, Smiley-smiley, Fascism."

What's missing in today's debates is moral-clarity. And here we turn to President Ronald Reagan:

"They preach the supremacy of the State, declare its omnipotence over individual man and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth.... The Soviet Union is an Evil Empire, and Soviet communism is the focus of evil in the modern world."

Who in today's America "preach the supremacy of the State, [declaring the common good] over individual man...."?

Going by the very definitions I've provided here, declaring Vermont's Progressive-Democrat dominated Legislature and Governor's office fascist in nature and totalitarian in their beliefs - albeit the gradualist and "Smiley-smiley" kind - is arguably not only not beyond the pale of argument but the beginning of moral-clarity: For individual inalienable rights can neither be bargained for nor coerced from, regardless how "compassionate" our subjugator's motives may be.

Tom Licata

Burlington, Vt.

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