I recently wrote an article predicting that the United States was heading towards becoming a fascist state. Since then, I have received some who question my logic as well as reading a fair number of articles purporting America turning to communism. The reasoning for the idea that America is heading towards communism is usually the ever-increasing amount of federally centered power along with increased socialistic programs. The misconception here is that once a government reaches the deep grasp of socialism, there are two different directions they can turn, communism or fascism. So, what are the differences?
One of the major misconceptions when comparing fascism and communism comes from the belief that if residential property is solely owned by the State, then you have communism. This is only half true and thus very misleading. Where all private property being owned by the State is communism, you may have fascism with only residential property being State owned. The real difference between fascism and communism is who owns industrial and economic properties. Communism is the complete State ownership of properties while fascism allows for private ownership of the engines of commerce, industry and other business properties, with the State being a major or even majority partner directing industry. Let see if it can be made clearer.
Both fascism and communism start with collectivism and the spread of socialistic government. Both have extensive welfare, government health care, minimum wages, government run unions, and many other socialist programs guaranteeing equal outcome independent of contribution. It is only when the socialist state reaches the extremes that the two diverge. Communism is communal in nature giving complete control and ownership to the government, the ultimate blending of stateism and socialism. Fascism is the blending of industrialism and socialism where government has a large influence over production and uses of property but said property and industry are still private in ownership. Fascism is more readily equated to a dictatorial government though communism is equally capable of being dictatorial. Both can have the appearance of open election though either will have only one party holding the vast majority of power. So, the only true difference is who owned the economic engines. Is the state in complete control forging communism, or does the leaders of industry and the state share power producing fascism.
The one constant between the two is the total lack of serious concern for the regular every day person. In both systems, there will be an elite and their chosen preferred people of importance. Communism puts loyalty to the state as the first priority; fascism places the owners and planners of industry as equal to the party elite. The everyday worker is equally left from any semblance of power or control over their own lives. Let us hope that we wake up before we reach either of these ends; if not, leave a comment saying which way you think we are headed.
Beyond the Cusp