In which Michael Ledeen channels Eddie Izzard:

It’s not surprising that Newsweek won’t call the dramatic expansion of state power over the private sector by its proper name: it’s fascism, not socialism (which rests on the abolition of private property). To be sure, the political consequences—loss of individual liberty, concentration of wealth and regulatory clout in the central government—are much the same, which is the main point.

In the proper ideological sense, Ledeen is right, as much of what both Bush and Obama have been proposing – and what the Congress has been legislating – is not socialism proper but rather something more akin to an internationalist spin on Italian-style fascism. He’s entirely correct to point out that no one on the Left side of the aisle is openly considering, much less proposing, the abolition of private property. All the public-private partnerships, the government authorities overseeing industries and corporations, the militarization of the populace for non-military purposes, etc., are quite familiar, it’s the old Third Way that has been of such grand appeal to politicians such as FDR, Bill Clinton, and England’s Tony Blair.

However, I still suspect that where Bush is a fascist at heart, Obama is a socialist by inclination. Obama may settle for what HG Wells approvingly called liberal fascism because it’s achievable at the moment, but it’s fairly obvious that he’s a run-of-the-mill international socialist of the sort so common in Europe.