Friday, September 05, 2008

Ayn Rand more of a fascist in the Pinochet sense than in the Nazi or Italian Fascist sense

In a previous article I made the wrong move of suggesting that Rand was an out and out fascist because she believed in an essentially social darwinistic society, complaining about the √úntermenschen who were dragging down the productive workers (who were the capitalists and scientists). Someone e-mailed it to one of the directors of the Ayn Rand Institute and many LOL's occurred as we went back and forth about whether or not Rand really was a Fascist. I had to concede that Fascism as classically structured was not a free-market system and that it did have collectivist features, although not nearly as many as a real socialist economy. But perhaps we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water; after all, there have been regimes that have combined fascist social ethics with much less emphasis on anything collective, one of which was Chile under Pinochet. Pinochet, after seizing power and slaughtering opponents who had been corralled into a football stadium, imported economists from the Chicago school, lead by Milton Friedman, as consultants on how to restructure the society that was in danger of becoming too beneficial to the collective under Allende. They advocated pure free market controls on foreign investment and internal economic life enforced by a very unfree secret police force loyal to the military Junta. 'Communist subversion' was outlawed, as well as elections. As opposed to Peronism, the fellow authoritarian ideology in Argentina, there doesn't seem to have been any sort of collective sentiment in the Chilean government beyond patriotism and catholicism. Peron was much closer to being a Fascist in the Italian or German sense, not surprising in light of the steps taken by his government to ferret Nazi war criminals into safe hiding in his country.

Here's the original article with ensuing drama. Nazi Germany wasn't free market but had a considerable commitment to informal corporatist agreements as opposed to enforced central planning.

1 comment:

Brian said...

"I had to concede that Fascism as classically structured was not a free-market system and that it did have collectivist features, although not nearly as many as a real socialist economy."

That's like saying, "I only killed a few people, not nearly as many as Hitler." Violating individual rights is still immoral, no matter if you're only doing it less often than a fascist.

"Pinochet...slaughtering opponents...imported economists as consultants..."

You're claiming this is something Rand would advocate?

The rest of your examples show no regard for individual rights. Regardless of whether they advocated certain aspects of a free society, and were superficially opposed to certain aspects of collectivism, they still relied on false premises and the use of force to violate individual rights. They are thus fundamentally at odds with everything Rand asserted.

The red herring that you are continually clinging to - whether in reference to social darwinism, Fascism, or Nazism - is the association fallacy.

(Note: I'm not an Objectivist, but am interested in their arguments.)