San José State University
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

The Classifications of Political Economic Systems
and the Travesty of Mixing Such Classifications

One of the great intellectual travesties of the 20th century that is continuing into the 21st century is the use of a left-right terminology for two different classifications of political system and then mixing up their use. Specifically the problem has to do with the classification of the National Socialism of Germany. The political economic spectrum has to do with how the economy is managed. Left in this classification system denotes reliance upon government management of the economy and Right denotes reliance upon markets. In this system Soviet and Maoist communism are on the left. The right is the system in which government does not interfer in the operation of markets. The name for this system is libertarianism. On this spectrum German National Socialism is to the left, although not as far left as the Soviet system. But there is another spectrum in which the nature of the units of sovereignty is the concern. Internationalism is at one end of this scale and local anarchy is at the other end. Marxist-Leninism is philosophically internationalist. Nationalism is somewhere in between but definitely to the right of internationalism. So on this scale National Socialism is to the right but not to the extreme of local anarchy. (The term anarchy must be used carefully because some those who were called anarchist were not philosophical anarchist but instead were simply trying to destroy a particular government and replace it with a more statist government of the left.)

The intellectual travesty involves classifying National Socialism as being on the right (of communism) on the scale of internationalism to local anarchy and then pretending that that characterization applies on the political spectrum of government management versus market management. That allows the the politcal right to be tainted by an identification with National Socialism. What a travesty! Libertarianism opposes price controls in any form such as rent controls, minium wages and so forth. National Socialism on the other hand instituted such price controls. Furthermore National Socialism generously supported education and other such programs supported by American Liberalism. On the other hand American Liberalism can be and has been quite totalitarian and racist in such things as affirmative action when it has the political power to do so. Jonah Goldberg argues that the first fascist regime was established in the U.S. under the American liberal Woodrow Wilson during World War I.

In any case there needs to be a new terminology for the internationalism-localism spectrum. Instead of left-right this spectrum should be viewed as up-down or above-below. Never should the National Socialist ideology be viewed as somehow the opposite of communism. Both advocated state control of the economy. And on the internationalism-localism scale the ideology of Joseph Stalin was not internationalist is practise but instead promoted a dominance by ethnic Russians that was not far different from the dominance by Germans promoted by Adolph Hitler.

(To be continued.)

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