Wings Are For The Birds

Certain terms and expressions are used because they are familiar, though not necessarily true.

So it is with the wings, right and left. We hear the terms used so often by pundits on the tube or in the newspaper that we assume that the terms are politically significant. Shame on us.

The left wing is, of course, Communism. Socialism is nudged right up against it, also very far to the left. Nazism and fascism, we are told, represent the right wing. Therefore, a politician who resembles Hitler in his policies (even if the resemblance is infinitesimal) is termed a "right-winger," while those in favor of increasing the power of the state may be termed "left-wingers," although it is true enough that there does not seem to be any such thing as an "extreme" left-wing, while the right wing is hardly anything but "extreme."

But you can immediately see the inanity of the distinction. Wasn’t Hitler, the ultimate right-winger, desirous of increasing and extending the power of the Nazi state? Isn’t the very word Nazi an acronym for National Socialism? And isn’t socialism left wing?

Look into the matter even a bit more closely and you’ll find that Communism/Socialism refers to state ownership of the means of production — at least the big ones. Private property, at least as regards major industry, is out; government ownership is in. On the other hand, nazism/fascism allowed private property. Krupp owned his own factories. So that’s the difference!

But Krupp could not produce what he wanted. His ownership was nominal; his factories were directed by state policies. The very essence of the nazi/fascist state is the government regulation of private activities — at least the big ones. The final result, obviously, is the same: the major industries function according to government rules and regulations, i.e., "laws." So if communism is at the extreme left on the political spectrum, fascism is to its right — by about a millimeter.

The fascist system, however, is infinitely superior, which is why it has survived and is thriving, while communism has scarcely any adherents willing to admit it. The shortages and hardships imposed by the communist system could only be laid at the feet of the bureaucracy. The government, after all, owned the plants, and if they produced too much of the wrong stuff, or not enough of the right, whose fault was it? On the other hand, if Krupp’s production was not satisfactory, whose fault was that? Why, Krupp, of course. It was his plant, after all. True, it was controlled by the government, but if it failed, it could only be because it did not properly carry out the guidelines issued by the Nazis. The solution, of course, was more and better guidelines: more government, in other words. How very left-wing fascism is.

What, then, would be the right wing? Anarchy. If the left wing represents total government control, whether by actual government ownership, or private ownership under government control, the right wing, logically (assuming logic has anything to do with it) means the absence of government control, and that cannot be possible as long as there is a government. It’s either big government, or no government at all. The Founders thought they would establish a limited, small government of few, enumerated, powers. They failed, because their view of human nature didn’t take into account the intoxicating effect of power, even limited power. Government of the right is an oxymoron.

The politician’s ultimate necessity, as we’ve mentioned before, is an enemy. Hence, the Democrats have the Republicans, and vice-versa. No one seems to be able to differentiate the policies of the two parties, except in the most abstract terms, but never mind. The enemy can be blamed for your own mistakes, and provides a justification for an enhancement of your power. The left wing needs the right wing for the same reason. The "enmity" existing between the wings is like that which existed between Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, or Abbot and Costello. Only we’re not laughing.

Dr. Hein [send him mail] is a retired ophthalmologist in St. Louis, and the author of All Work & No Pay.

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