15 February 2009 Main Posts wow … just wow Jeff Sparrow In his most recent column, the American conservative commentator Michael Ledeen responds to a Newsweek feature entitled ‘We are all socialists now’. Ledeen calls the piece ’embarrassingly ignorant’. Socialism rests on a firm theoretical bedrock: the abolition of private property. I haven’t heard anyone this side of Barney Frank calling for any such thing. What is happening now–and Newsweek is honest enough to say so down in the body of the article–is an expansion of the state’s role, an increase in public/private joint ventures and partnerships, and much more state regulation of business. Fair enough, you might say. No sensible person thinks Obama’s tepid reforms are really marching America down to the Finland Station. Ah, but then, when you least expect it, Ledeen delivers his knock-out punch: Yes, it’s very “European,” and some of the Europeans even call it “social democracy,” but it isn’t. It’s fascism. Nobody calls it by its proper name, for two basic reasons: first, because “fascism” has long since lost its actual, historical, content; it’s been a pure epithet for many decades. Lots of the people writing about current events like what Obama et. al. are doing, and wouldn’t want to stigmatize it with that “f” epithet. According to his bionote, Ledeen is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a former consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department and the Defense Department and a special adviser to the Secretary of State. In other words, he’s a reasonably serious intellectual of the Right. Obama has been in power a few weeks and has proved almost Clintonianly centrist. Yet already conservatives are convincing themselves they’re living under the jackboot. Whether Lebeen believes the stuff he bangs out is an open question but assuredly some of his readers do. And what’s the response if you think fascists are taking power? Why, you fight back by whatever means necessary. Given the American Right’s fondness for guns (remember the militias during the Clinton years?), we’re shaping up for some ugly times ahead. Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 11 November 202211 November 2022 Main Posts On the last day of Subscriberthon, our amazing online editor gives you one last (very good) reason to subscribe Editorial team What's in store for the last day of Subscriberthon? First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202210 November 2022 Main Posts On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, our favourite editor-duo give you reason #1002 to subscribe to Overland Editorial team What's in store for the second-last day of Subscriberthon?