AMERICA, INC.: LAND OF CORPORATE REIGN
by Phillip D. Collins
July 16, 2008
Benito Mussolini said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
This model of economic fascism was adopted by Germany and Italy in the 1930s. And, I submit to you that such a marriage between the state and corporate power has taken place here in the United States.
Does this sound like a baseless contention? Allow me to substantiate it with history.
A form of Corporatism began to infect our constitutional republic in the 1930s. It propagated itself under the euphemistic appellation of “planned capitalism” and was hailed as a desirable inevitability. In 1936, Lawrence Dennis published The Coming American Fascism, a polemic contending that America’s adoption of stringent public regulation and the enshrinement of corporate power would invigorate “national spirit.” However, Dennis believed that economic fascism had a major obstacle to overcome.
Dennis wrote, “It cannot be repeated too often that what prevents adequate public regulation is liberal norms of law or constitutional guarantees of private rights.”
Dennis proffered a chronocentric portrait of America’s traditional republican model of government, caricaturing it as an outmoded “18th-century Americanism” that would eventually be supplanted by “enterprises of public welfare and social control” (i.e., economic fascism).
Further expounding on the prerequisites for the Corporatist restructuring of America, Dennis wrote, “(Economic fascism) does not accept the liberal dogmas as to the sovereignty of the consumer or trader in the free market… Least of all does it consider that market freedom, and the opportunity to make competitive profits, are rights of the individual. Such decisions should be made by a ‘dominant class,’ an ‘elite.’”
The deconstruction of America’s “liberal dogmas” would be facilitated by the Great Depression and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Contending that “government restrictions henceforth must be accepted not to hamper individualism but to protect it,” FDR successfully installed his National Recovery Administration. Roosevelt’s argument was laced with vintage Orwellian semiotics. In essence, FDR was presenting statism as individualism’s savior. Given statism’s mandate for the subordination of the individual to the collective, this contention would have appeared to have been hopelessly flawed. So, what was Roosevelt actually proposing?
Perhaps Mussolini had already answered the question when he said, “If classical liberalism spells individualism, fascism spells government.”
By depicting the state as the individual’s ersatz savior, Roosevelt was actually empowering the very antithesis of individualism. Roosevelt’s doublespeak worked and America was set on the path to statism, which is a precursor to Corporatism. The National Recovery Administration would be deemed unconstitutional later, but not before it left its indelible mark on America’s federal government. In turn, the burgeoning federal government has gradually wedded itself to corporate interests that are unelected and unaccountable to the citizenry.
And, the rise of Corporatism continues unabated. Presently, there are more private contractors in Iraq than there are American soldiers. One of those contractors is Halliburton, a Texan company formerly owned by Vice-President Dick Cheney. In most instances, these private contractors were merely handed billion dollar contracts by the United States government. Divided up by state-sanctioned monopolies, Iraq has become the playground for war profiteers. Presently, there are 70 court cases against private contractors in Iraq. U.S. gag orders are in place to prevent any discourse over the allegations. With the Administration of George W. Bush firmly entrenched in Washington, there appears to be little hope of those gag orders being lifted. Meanwhile, not a single private contractor has been brought to trial on charges of mismanagement or fraud.
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According to a recent CNN poll, 69 percent of Americans believed that the Founding Fathers would be disappointed with the state of America. Is there any wonder why? The system they fought hard to establish is swiftly being supplanted by the prerogatives of corporate reign.
© 2008 - Phillip D. Collins - All Rights Reserved