Jeffrey Tucker explains that the Trump Nationalist agenda is just another version of Socialism, and that the world has seen the rise of precisely this kind of nationalist socialism before.
The rise of Fascism and Nazism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period,â€ wrote Hayek, â€œbut a necessary outcome of those tendencies.â€ In Hayekâ€™s reading, the dynamic works like this. The socialists build the state machinery, but their plans fail. A crisis arrives. The population seeks answers. Politicians claiming to be anti-socialist step up with new authoritarian plans that purport to reverse the problem. Their populist appeal taps into the lowest political instincts (nativism, racism, religious bigotry, and so on) and promises a new order of things under better, more efficient rule.
Hayekâ€™s thesis is very similar to Misesâ€™: that the greatest threat in the world today comes from a version of socialism â€” a rightist socialism â€” cobbled together in the name of fighting authoritarianism abroad and countering leftism at home. The road to serfdom, in Hayekâ€™s view, is paved by a blind pursuit of unified nationhood and central planning in the name of national greatness. Or, to use todayâ€™s language, â€œmaking America great again.â€
Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton agree on a lot, especially on the need to protect and enlarge state power. None of them accepts any principled limits on what the state may rightfully do to the individual. Even on big issues where one might think they disagree â€” healthcare, immigration, and control of lands by the federal government â€” their positions are more alike than different. …
Most of these candidatesâ€™ supporters donâ€™t see it that way, of course. They imagine themselves to be rebels fighting power itself, however they want to define it: Wall Street, the party establishment, the paid-off politicians, the bureaucracy, the billionaires, the foreigners, the special interests, and so on.
But notice that neither Trump, Sanders, nor Clinton attacks government authority as such. Instead they aspire to use it and grow it for their purposes. â€œThe conflict between the Fascist or National-Socialist and the older socialist parties must indeed very largely be regarded as the kind of conflict which is bound to arise between rival socialist factions,â€ Hayek wrote. â€œThere was no difference between them about the question of it being the will of the state which should assign to each person his proper place in society.â€
As the campaign progress over 2015, the close relationship between right and left socialisms became more obvious. On the surface, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump represent opposite extremes. But in their celebration of the nation state as the peopleâ€™s salvation â€” their burning calls to overthrow the existing elites and replace them with a more intense form of top-down rule â€” they are morally indistinguishable, and equally un-American.
Read the whole thing.