I have been engaged in a long drawn debate with my college history professor about the New Deal. The essence of the debate, was the ND fascist?
The more meaningful question; is it expedient to label the ND fascist, does it help in understanding?
I believe that it is in fact a useful definition. Here is my teachers response:
“I continue to refute the notion that the New Deal was “fascist.” Firstly, of course, the New Deal was a collection of various sorts of programs and policies. Secondly, in my view its centralizing and socializing aspects were much less pronounced than they would be in a fascist regime (if FDR was going for fascism, he certainly failed).
I feel that labeling the FDR and the New Deal as fascist is a misrepresentation of both the intent and the result of Roosevelt’s policies. We may simply have to agree to disagree on this one.”
I would like to see a thread develop about dealing with leftie professors in the social sciences.
Another part of our debate included the application of methodology and theory to historical phenomenon. She has written two books on welfare and is admittedly(emphasis) ignorant on the subject of economics. I took her to task and this was her reply:
“I write about social policy and politics with an emphasis on the ideas and assumptions of the various individuals and organizations who discussed, debated, designed, contested, lobbied, and participated in those policies. Many scholars write about welfare from various methodological and disciplinary perspectives: economics, sociology, anthropology and ethnography, political science, etc. Economists have no monopoly on understanding welfare. Historians and historical methods are legitimate players in the study of welfare states and can illuminate aspects that economists (and other kinds of scholars) cannot.”
I think it gives a nice comparison of the fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and yes the United States. Comparative history is “sexy” so this should be appealing.
Also, read anything by John T. Flynn. You can find his stuff online for free at Mises. I leaned heavily on him for my brief “Fascist Fraud” chapter on FDR in my forthcoming PIG to Real American Heroes.