PragerU recently released a video with the title, “Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism?” While I appreciated the video and thought it highlighted some excellent points, I think it could have gone a little further, or even taken a different direction. It was obvious the video was trying to educate and expose Communism’s fatal flaws, which it did tremendously well. But there is one truth PragerU, and everyone else I have spoken to or heard speak, always misses.
With the classical “Left vs. Right” scale Communism sits the furthest left while Nazism and Fascism sits polar-opposite on the right. Socialism and Capitalism fall somewhere in between with Socialism being more of a leftist leaning ideology and Capitalism more to the right. Herein lies the greatest flaw. This spectrum of political ideologies, loosely based on policies and some historical relevance, is erroneous and makes little to no real sense. It is erroneous because it is difficult to define what the spectrum is measuring or based upon. Why is Communism on the left? Why is Fascism on the right? What standard of measurement puts them on either side?
A more accurate and complete standard of measurement would lump Communism, Socialism, Fascism, and Nazism on one side of a scale with little to no government, or Anarchy, opposite. This may come as a surprise to some, but bear with me and you’ll understand.
The reason for this opposition is inherent in the amount of power centralized in each type of government, not the policies those governments enact. With Communism, Socialism, and Nazism, power is concentrated in the government. Look at the definitions of these political ideologies and you will see a common thread of consolidating power. In each case the people have little to no say about its government’s operations. There may be an illusion of participatory politics, but it is generally just an illusion. There are also few, if any, checks and balances. The power to create and enforce laws is concentrated, along with the power to judge someone’s guilt or innocence against such laws, in a single person or group of people. This side of the political power scale is most commonly known as ‘Ruler’s Law’ because the ruler(s) have the freedom to enact and enforce laws at their will and pleasure. They are not restrained by arbitrary checks on the government or the people at large. (Note, a ruler isn’t always a singular person. In the USSR a lot of the power was concentrated in the Central Committee of the Communist Party.)
The opposite end of the spectrum is anarchy. Anarchy results when there is no law and subsequently no order. Some people actually advocate for and desire a stateless society. They view any government intervention in their personal lives, or in society, as being too much government overreach. But, inherent in anarchy, is the fact that criminals are free to come and go, committing whatever crimes they desire, without fear of retribution or consequences. As a result, people begin to take the law into their own hands. This results in a downward spiral that produces more and more chaos and confusion. Laws are needed to keep the peace, protect rights, and punish infringements and infractions thereof.
In the middle of these two opposites sits ‘People’s Law’. People’s Law, which was what the United States began as, leaves the power in the hands of the people being governed. It recognizes that just governments derive their power from the governed. A solid test of the legitimacy of a government, or any program thereof, is whether the government is still seeking permission from the people, or whether the people are continually seeking permission from the government. A government abiding by People’s Law is also restrained with written rules, such as a constitution. This is one of the key differences between a Republic and a Democracy. A Republic is limited by a charter or other governing document whereas a Democracy is subject to the will of the majority, a form of Mobocracy to say the least.
This is what PragerU did not elaborate on or even mention. It did compare Nazism and Communism, but did not educate about the spectrum of political power that too many people are ignorant of. If we understood this principle and concept we would innately know the evils inherent in an ever stronger government. The stronger a government gets, whether through Communism, Socialism, or any other ‘ism’, the fewer and fewer liberties and freedoms its people will retain. This is precisely people’s fear of President Trump viz. that he is a Nationalist that will consolidate too much power. It’s a legitimate fear depending on your perspective. But, the fear shouldn’t be about Trump or Nazism, it should be about consolidation of power with the government.
Whether you’re liberal or conservative, too much consolidation of power should be concerning and alarming. The Truth of the Matter is the government has been consolidating power for too long now and it may be too late to get it back. But, we should still work to restore power to the States and to the people and thereby regain our precious liberties and freedoms. If we begin to recognize these flaws in our thinking, I am positive we will find more and more mutual understanding with each other; we will see that our beliefs and political ideologies aren’t all that different. By increasing our knowledge and understanding of true principles of government, I believe we will be better equipped to dialogue with those around us, especially those we haven’t always agreed with, and thus discover common ground. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking!