How durable were the Nazis?
Posted by aogThursday, 18 December 2003 at 15:45 TrackBack Ping URL

Another argument over at the Brothers Judd about WWII. A key issue was the viability / productive of facist regimes. I, as always, ended up agreeing and disagreeing with both sides.

The problem is that the timescale is missing. In my view, facism is in fact superior in productivity and cohesion in the short term (say, 10-20 years). It has two severe problems in the long term.

Fragility
Fascism doesn’t have very good corrective mechanisms. If the Leader goes off the rails, the whole society follows. Even if the Leader is simply mistaken (i.e., that increasing pensions while reducing the retirement age is a good idea) there’s no good for others to correct the mistake. So the system is fragile - it breaks easily.
Brittleness
In addition to being fragile, fascism tends to be brittle as well. When it breaks and comes apart, it tends to come apart in a big way. This also stems to a large part from the lack of correctives so that things get very bad before the system fails. In addition, fascism naturally destroys civil society, which can hold things together if the government falls. This is also why fascism does well short term, because it can draw on these institutions. But over time they are worn away until the government and society collapse en masse.

Like a hit of a stimulant, fascism can boost the productivity of a society, for a while. But the come down is always there and the longer the high the bigger the hole to fall in to. Even beyond the human cost of fascism, it just doesn’t work long term.

P.S. There is another post that describes some fo the corrective mechanisms that have kept the USA on at least a moderately even keel for 2½ centuries.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
trendy Saturday, 20 December 2003 at 05:06

Re WWII It?s interesting to reflect on the dean campaign as compared to the rise of Hitler. No I don?t hate dean and I don?t think he?s Hitler but in a sense there does seem to be a parallel. I never bought the idea that Hitler ?hypnotized? the German people and thus the good German was dragged into hell by a mad man. It seems to me that as dean progresses with his campaign he gets more and more radical and as he gets more radical his supporters as viewed on his blogg site become more hysterical. You see a lot of almost religious terminology like ?dean is the word and the word is dean? and ?we ARE dean?. It seems that the more Dean gets rapped on the knuckles by the main stream the more he panders to the faithful. The guy was a pretty moderate dude back in the day [like two years ago] but as events overtake him he craves the comfort of the congregation. It?s more important to please them than it is to have a broad appeal to all Americans. It seems as if the supporters feed Dean and Dean feeds the supporters. Thank god we?re a divers stew and not a homogeneous horde just a few centuries away from being the barbarians. Dean?s no Hitler but then America?s no Germany

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 20 December 2003 at 08:50

That would be another instance of the over powering syndrome, where one gets attention by shocking but as time goes on one needs to get more and more extreme to get the same response.

End of Discussion