John Mackey Was Right the First Time: Obamacare is Fascism

No doubt with his marketing honchos standing over him, tapping blackjacks into their palms, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has been busy walking-back comments he made to NPR in which he described Obamacare as an example of a fascist enterprise. While still critical of the administration's controversial healthcare scheme, which is heavy on government mandates, he now regrets his choice of words. That's a damned shame, since he was dead-on with his original description.

NPR originally reported on Mackey's obviously thoughful, if harsh, assessment of Obamacare:

What he doesn't think is right is President Obama's health overhaul and the new costs that coverage requirements will place on businesses.

When Inskeep asks him if he still thinks the health law is a form of socialism, as he's said before, Mackey responds:

"Technically speaking, it's more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn't own the means of production, but they do control it — and that's what's happening with our health care programs and these reforms."

Mackey took a lot of flack from the usual suspects who strongly resented the linking of a policy they like to an ideology known for being a tad authoritarian. And no doubt Whole Foods, as a business that caters to a customer base that may be more Obamacare-friendly, on average, than Americans as a whole, is vulnerable to political push-back. So Mackey publicly reiterated his criticism of government-dominated healthcare while repudiating his word-choice. From the Whole Foods company blog:

I made a poor word choice to describe our health care system, which I definitely regret. The term fascism today stirs up too much negative emotion with its horrific associations in the 20th century.  While I'm speaking as someone who works hard to offer health care benefits to more than 73,000 team members, who actually vote on their overall benefits packages, I am very concerned about the uninsured and those with preexisting conditions.

I believe that, if the goal is universal health care, our country would be far better served by combining free enterprise capitalism with a strong governmental safety net for our poorest citizens and those with preexisting conditions, helping everyone to be able to buy insurance. This is what Switzerland does and I think we would be much better off copying that system than where we are currently headed in the United States.

I believe that health care should be competitive in the open market to promote innovation and creativity. Despite the criticism of me, I am encouraged that this dialogue will bring continued awareness and a better understanding of viable health care options for all Americans.

Fair enough. I get it that Mackey's main job is running a company and avoiding offending his customers. So spin away. But here's the thing: He was right the first time. Obamacare looks an awful lot like fascism — specifically, like the corporatist economics at the heart of the ideology. If anybody knew a little something about fascism, it was a fellow named Benito Mussolini. In 1935, Mussolini wrote in Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions:

The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

So ... Privately owned businesses under state control is what was envisioned by Benito Mussolini as fascism, and it is what John Mackey very accurately described in his discussion of Obamacare.

Too bad if that accurate description hurts some folks' feelings.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I get it that Mackey's main job is running a company and avoiding offending his customers.

    Except he argued on this very website that corporations shouldn't just maximize profits but also have social responsibilities to help the community as a whole.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    They should do that voluntarily, Tulpa. Team Blue doesn't believe in freedom of choice, except on abortion.

  • jdtuccille||

    He's still making his argument against Obamacare, but softened. Having his entire marketing staff screaming at him probably plays a bit of a part in all this.

  • ||

    I also suspect he is a Hayek sympathizer, as Hayek himself did argue for a more state-involved, centralized approach. I disagree with that premise (I suspect Dr. Tuccille does as well), as it creates a positive right that doesn't exist.

    Hayek was correct that medical care is a very unusual commodity D/T the nature of the high liability costs and risks endemic to the professions of medical care.

  • mr simple||

    Where did he argue that? I am asking seriously, not sarcastically. I know he said once that controls over the whole of the market (e.g. minimum wage) were okay because then no group was disadvantaged. I also heard, from the guy that runs Cafe Hayek, that he moved away from this position later in life, saying he was not prepared to go where his theories would take him. I can't remember the source for that one.

  • ||

    The diaphoretic Matthew Yglasias.

    Here is excellent commentary on the subject. This much better argues and clarifies Hayek on the subject.

  • mr simple||

    Thanks for the links, Doc.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If I ran a grocery store chain, my marketing staff would cower before me. And I'd stock pears that didn't go bad after two days, dammit.

  • Bee Tagger||

    That sounds like GMO to me. Consider yourself re-picketed!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    My Tulpa Peanut Butter & Other Foods locations would have trained attack squirrels come in.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Is this just all one big scheme to see naked PETA members?

  • AlmightyJB||

    "corporations shouldn't just maximize profits but also have social responsibilities to help the community as a whole."

    I don't you'll find too many large corporations that do not have some sort of community outreach, pet issues that they support, charity matching program's, etc. Where I work they have all three. They also make a boatload of cash. It's not just socially responsible, it's good business.

  • JW||

    It's not just socially responsible, it's good business.

    Move that 'just' around and you have a winner.

  • Rasilio||

    Should != Be compelled by force of law.

    That said he is both wrong and right, corporations should always seek to maximize profits, however the they should be seeking to maximize economic and not merely financial profits.

    This means that it is up to each corporations owners and managers to determine how to prioritize financial profit vs their morality, happiness, and sense of community. Doing so will maximize their profits in an economic sense even if it does not in a purely financial sense.

  • An0nB0t||

    Tucille is like Toshiro Mifune, only cooler.

    And that was the most unconvincing apology for calling someone a fascist that I've ever read. "I'm sorry I called your policies technically fascist, but fascism is wrong, and the free market is vastly superior"?

    More of this, please.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Tucille is like Toshiro Mifune, only cooler.

    Therefore, Tucille is Lee Marvin.

  • An0nB0t||

    He never went in for embroidery, just results.

  • ||

    I get it that Mackey's main job is running a company and avoiding offending his customers. So spin away.

    To be fair, Tuccille, and as you pointed out, Mackey knows the bulk of his clientele skew Lefty/Proggie and probably Obama voters. Retail is probably one of the last areas of the market that truly is immediately responsive to market forces. I would argue that restaurant/hospitality is another.

    I give him a pass for clarifying his remarks, and it's not a full on walk-back.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, I read what he said as "I'm sorry many of my customers got offended" not "I repudiate my prior comments."

  • JW||

    "I'm sorry that you're little more than an ill-informed rabble of authoritarian fucktwaddles, who would gladly sell their own grandmothers down the river for better standing and benefits within the party after the revolution, but I'm happy to keep taking your money."

  • Scarcity||

    "I'm giving in to the ignorant idea that fascism=naziism because my customers are too feeble-minded to understand definitions."

  • Scarcity||

    I was disappointed when I heard his walk-back this morning, but far less than I was surprised when I heard him correctly use "fascist" yesterday. And I don't blame him at all, by the way.

  • ||

    The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

    Tuccille could have ascribed this to Obama instead of Mussolini and NO ONE, of any political ideology, would have suspected a thing.

  • T o n y||

    When you apply that description to defense contractors nobody gives the slightest shit.

    Everyone has a mixed economy. What relevantly differentiates regimes is the form of their political systems.

  • ||

    Because citizens employed directly by the government is the same thing as citizens working for other citizens? Sure.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Shorter Tony: Government buys guns from private contractors, therefore government has the right to alter the nature of all your private transactions.

  • T o n y||

    You don't have the slightest clue what the ACA does do you?

  • ||

    I do, and that's why I left. Come and get me, mother fucker.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    As an employer, I'm becoming quite familiar with it.

  • Number 2||

    Sadly, neither does the anyone else. The government included.

  • ||

    When you apply that description to defense contractors nobody gives the slightest shit.

    The government doesn't force defense contractors to build certain things. Contractors submit proposals and the government chooses the most expensive one.

    Everyone has a mixed economy. What relevantly differentiates regimes is the form of their political systems.

    And as long as 50% of the population, plus you, support the regime then they can do no wrong.

  • Proprietist||

    I don't know who you are speaking against. Libertarians are highly critical of the military-industrial complex, while Team Blue coddles them as much as Team Red.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Trouble is, Tony, your Team wants the "mix" to be 90% government and 10% private sector... IF that.

  • T o n y||

    Using the word 'fascist' is not meant to be descriptive but to evoke emotion. I'm sure we're all grown-ups and can handle a description of why the policy is bad without unsubtly referencing 20th century totalitarian horrors.

  • ChrisO||

    Bullshit. Fascism has a specific ideological meaning that absolutely applies to Obamacare and many other initiatives in this administration.

    Yes, it also has a broader pejorative use, but perhaps it's wise to understand that those 20th Century totalitarian horrors you refer didn't just magically appear out of nowhere. The Maximum State inevitably ends in heartbreak and horror.

  • T o n y||

    Fascism describes a form of radical totalitarian nationalism. Obamacare is not radical (relatively minor change to an existing mixed healthcare economy), not totalitarian (argued for in a democratic campaign and passed in Congress), and has nothing to do with nationalism. Calling the policy fascist serves only the purpose of making you sound like an idiot.

  • Cytotoxic||

    WTF does 'radical' have to do with anything? Could you please shovel more bullshit subjectivism or do you have enough to weasel out of words having meanings you don't like?

    not totalitarian (argued for in a democratic campaign and passed in Congress)

    AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • ChrisO||

    No, fascism refers to a specific policy of state control and coordination of private enterprise.

    It tended to go along with totalitarian nationalism, but that's not the specific meaning that Mussolini had, if I recall my history correctly.

    Obamacare attempts to steer and control one-seventh of the national economy without actually nationalizing it. That smells a lot like fascism to me.

  • T o n y||

    So you're clearly horrified at the military-industrial complex, a much deeper and more literally militant form of "fascism" that we've been living under for decades.

  • ||

    Chuckles, the DoD is not encroaching on a commercial area that would be otherwise private.

    At least, not in general.

  • T o n y||

    So what does that make Medicare? The sixth layer of hell? The point is when you start throwing around terms like fascism to describe a relatively minor change to the healthcare system, you shouldn't be surprised if people stop taking you seriously.

  • ||

    The point is when you start throwing around terms like fascism to describe a relatively minor change to the healthcare system

    1/7 to 1/6 of the USA economy, 2400 pages of legislation and potentially 170,000 subsequent and accompanying pages of regulations is not what I would call *minor* (there are ~35,000 currently written).

  • ||

  • ||

    The point is when you start throwing around terms like fascism to describe a relatively minor change to the healthcare system, you shouldn't be surprised if people stop taking you seriously.

    No. The point is that the academic meaning of the word Fascism has been ursurped by it's ties to the Nazi Party and the emotional baggage that carries with it.

    Do you have a convenient non-corrupted synonym you would prefer us to use?

  • ||

    If you haven't noticed shit-for-brains, we aren't big fans of the military-industrial complex. Or the Pharmaceutical-government complex. Or really any other bullshit complex that involves the government telling business how to run themselves.

    But at least defense is called for in the Constitution.

  • ||

    Oh and if you want Medicaid/Medicare or Social Security to be things the government should do then have the Constitution amended like those assholes who thought the government should tell people not to drink.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Yes but for different reasons. In the case of the MI complex, the government is the buyer of products for which it has a legal mandate to obtain. The government has no legal authority to insert itself into and define every private medical insurance transaction, unless of course, you agree with Johnny Roberts.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Cry me a river. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and shits all of your front yard like a duck, then...

  • ||

    "Obamacare is not radical .."

    It has ushered in an era where, in a supposedly free country, the government can mandate any form of behavior it chooses via financial coersion, backed up with the truncheon, shackles and the gun. Nothing radical about that.

    " not totalitarian ..."

    See analysis above. Add in that a Top Men have mandated that everyone in the country purchase products/services from private entities. Nah, that isnt fascist or totalitarian at all.

    You are right T o n y, I am an idiot. And you are such a fucking piece of shit. At least you could admit what you are. You might earn a modicum of respect if you would stop lying.

  • T o n y||

    The government can mandate all manner of private behavior. You're not allowed to steal or murder, for example, or drive a car without car insurance. Obamacare may have indeed have contained novel regulations, but they were hardly radical--and as it turns out they were constitutional.

    A law being passed by a democratically elected Congress is the definition of the opposite of authoritarian.

  • ||

    A law being passed by a democratically elected Congress is the definition of the opposite of authoritarian.

    Then you have no objections to either slavery or DOMA, correct?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    No, he doesn't.

  • T o n y||

    So what defines a law as authoritarian is... you don't like it?

  • ||

    So what defines a law as authoritarian is... you don't like it?

    You tell us. Authoritarianism is your religion. Defend it. I defended my autonomy.

    Assuming you are the real Tony and not a sock, you reside in OK. I used to live there. OK, by the popular will of the residents of the State of OK amending the state constitution to only recognize heterosexual, monogamous marriage.

    You agree then, correct? I assume you still live in OK and haven't fled to MA.

  • ||

    Tony will completely ignore this and bring up some other stupid thing.

  • T o n y||

    JUST BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY DOESN'T MEAN I AM HAPPY WITH EVERY LAW EVER PASSED IN A DEMOCRACY.

  • ||

    JUST BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY DOESN'T MEAN I AM HAPPY WITH EVERY LAW EVER PASSED IN A DEMOCRACY.

    Happiness and agreement are independent of each other.

    You agree with the OK Const. Amend. by your definition and it is perfectly moral, correct?

  • T o n y||

    No I think it's bad law and immoral. But not illegitimate. Nobody did anything outside of the established process.

  • ||

    What parts of don't harm others gives you a hard time numbnuts?

    Theft and murder harms others. Not having health insurance does not.

  • ||

    "Obamacare may have indeed have contained novel regulations, but they were hardly radical--and as it turns out they were constitutional."

    Yes, they are radical, and no, they arent constitutional.
    Also, what DesigNate says. Passed by congress my ass.

    Admit it mother fucker, you are a fascist. We all know it already so it isnt like you have anything to lose.

  • T o n y||

    So the ACA wasn't passed by Congress and wasn't (mostly) deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court?

    Maybe you're not a moron, maybe you're just living in an alternate universe with an Internet connection to this one.

  • ||

    It was gimicked through congress and upheld as a tax that even the governments lawyers weren't arguing it was.

    Jesus Christ you are a mendacious lying sack of shit.

  • ||

    "So the ACA wasn't passed by Congress and wasn't (mostly) deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court?"

    No, it wasnt. No one but the inner circle was allowed to be present for the writing, and no one was allowed to read it before voting on it. They had no clue what they were voting for, the dems rubber stamped the monstrosity under threat.

    Same for the supreme court. I dont give a fuck what they deem. Take away the 'its for the children and poor folks' crap, have any 8 year old read the constitution and the central components of Obamacare and they will tell you it is unconstitutional on it's face. Fuck John Roberts and the rest who voted in favor of it.

    If the SC deemed it illegal for there to be bad weather on weekends do you think it would never rain again on sat or sun?

    You are dodging me, admit you are a fascist piece of shit.

  • Proprietist||

    Plessy vs. Ferguson upheld a law passed by a democratically-elected State Congress as constitutional. They eventually changed their mind.

    Just because a certain Supreme Court finds a law constitutional doesn't mean everyone has to suddenly accept the law as constitutional.

  • ||

    Then you have no objections to either slavery or DOMA, correct?

    We covered this in a different thread yesterday. Basically, he only objects to slavery because the majority does.

  • T o n y||

    I object to slavery on moral grounds.

    I just don't think you can learn that slavery is immoral by studying physics.

  • ||

    "I object to slavery on moral grounds."

    But on supposedly practical grounds you consistently advocate for it.

  • T o n y||

    You know I really shouldn't criticize you Suth. Your inability to see gray areas and to treat everything with the maximum amount of paranoia and hysteria has been demonstrated to have a physical cause in the brains of people who identify as conservatives.

  • ||

    Apparently you cant if you are resorting to ad hominems.

    Go ahead and admit it, you will feel better I promise. Then go kill yourself.

  • ||

    I object to slavery on moral grounds.

    Forcing someone to do something against their will without any alternate avenue is slavery.

    You advocate, by popular will of an electorate alone, that morals are as malleable as silly putty.

    Therefore, you have no moral ground upon which to stand.

    Would you force me to provide medical care to your dying lover at the point of a gun John Q style? A yes or no will do.

  • ||

    No cause guns are icky.

    He'll just have this nice police officer here do it instead.

  • T o n y||

    He's got a shitload of life insurance, so I probably just wouldn't bother.

  • ||

    A yes or no, Tony. It's monosyllabic either way. I'm sure you can handle it. C'mon...

  • T o n y||

    You had to bring up my boyfriend. That makes the issue more complicated than it needs to be. See, the life insurance... and I don't really like him all that much.

    I presume you're doing that thing where people compare the Hippocratic Oath with chattel slavery, in other words wasting everyone's time.

  • ||

    Jesus you are despicable Tony. So you are just giving BJs and cornholing to someone you dont like for the life insurance?

    Wow is that ever telling. I guess that is a better admission than to being a fascist.

  • ||

    A. Yes. Or. A. No. Most children learn these words by age 3.

    You are considerably older.

    Pick one. Either 3 or 4 keystrokes and punctuation. Then a mouse click. Think of it as a manual dexterity test. C'mon...

  • ||

    The government can mandate all manner of private behavior. You're not allowed to steal or murder, for example, or drive a car without car insurance.

    You clearly don't understand the difference between a mandate and a prohibition.

    Mandate = "all citizens must purchase a handgun"

    Prohibition = "no citizen may purchase a handgun"

    In case (a), the citizen is only free to do one thing: purchase a handgun. In case (b) the citizen has a near infinite number of other activities open to him. Hence (a) is far more constrictive than (b).

  • ||

    If by passed you mean rammed through using every dirty trick and deception in the book, then I suppose you're right that it was "passed in Congress".

  • Mickey Rat||

    "argued for in a democratic campaign and passed in Congress" is not dispositive of a charge of totalitarian. "Totalitarian" describes the level of government interference in the decisions of citizens, not how that interference was imposed.

  • ||

    To T o n y, tyranny of the majority is a-ok as long as it's not people saying he can't get married or have buttsex.

  • ||

    I really have no objection to homosexuality. In fact, were I single, I would strongly encourage more men to go that way. More women too...but only while I watch.

    I am always tempted to try and needle T o n y with fag insults, but I know there are others here who dont deserve that kind of treatment....so I restrain myself.

    Good one DesigNate.

  • ||

    I generally only make an exception with the fag insults when I call Shrike a demfag, but that's more a play on his old "christfag" than anything.

  • T o n y||

    As I don't consider there to be anything negative associated with being gay, bigoted comments never affect me, but simply reflect on the embarrassing small-mindedness of the person using them. But how impressive, your ability to restrain your impulse to behave like a cretin.

    To be fair though I do hold some private objections to heterosexuality, though I try to keep them to myself.

  • ||

    Hey, I'm not perfect and I'm always trying to better myself. But what about my comment was bigoted?

    Up until Lawrence v Texas it was the will of the majority that sodomy be illegal. And back in 2005 the majority of Texans decided that marriage was only between a man and a woman. I oppose(d) both of those things, but by your logic you should support them since they were enacted by "democratically elected representatives and passed in congress".

    (Fun fact, there ISN'T anything negative associated with being gay.)

  • T o n y||

    Sorry Nate that was directed toward Suth.

    It is certainly not my logic that because I believe in democratic governance that therefore I approve of every single law ever passed by democratic governments.

  • Proprietist||

    If Alabama passed a law democratically to send all gays to gulags immediately, according to Tony-logic the gays voluntarily went to the gulags because they have a voice in the democracy, which chose to send them there. They have no rights, because rights only exist when a majority approve of them.

  • ||

    I take comfort in knowing that if you have reproduced you are probably maxed out and will no more.

    Privately, I hope if you do have any children that they despise you and have no contact with you, which is probably the case in spite of what you might say.

  • T o n y||

    Why on God's green earth would I have children.

  • ||

    It is a relief to hear you say that. Whew.

  • ||

    To be fair though I do hold some private objections to heterosexuality

    Why? Or do you believe you arrived via stork?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Just because you were conceived by rape doesn't mean you don't object to it.

    Ron Bailey's friends are working on ways to ameliorate his concerns while preventing extinction of the human race.

  • T o n y||

    In a basket full of glitter hanging from the mouth of a unicorn.

  • ||

    I have to be honest that the mental image of that made me laugh.

  • ||

    If fascism is a form of "radical" totalitarian nationalism, then Mussolini could only be described as fascist for, what, a few months, a year? Any system that lasts for 21 years is hardly radical.

  • Proprietist||

    Tony, your a joke. Fascism is at its core a form of economic organization. It does not have to be inherently totalitarian, although when you have a government and corporations scratching each others' backs, it will likely become such.

  • Pippers||

    Fascism is not, and was not an economic method. It was a social political leaning that was based off rulership by physical violence.

  • ||

    That's totalitarianism and national socialism. Do try to keep up.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Is locking someone in a cage if they don't pay up considered physical violence?

  • Proprietist||

    "Fascism advocates a state-controlled and regulated mixed economy; the principal economic goal of fascism is to achieve autarky to secure national self-sufficiency and independence, through protectionist and interventionist economic policies. It promotes regulated private enterprise and private property contingent whenever beneficial to the nation and state enterprise and state property whenever necessary to protect its interests."

  • ||

    So basically what we've had for the last 80 years.

  • DaveAnthony||

    I wouldn't describe anything as 1000+ pages (and that doesn't even include all the open ended rules and regulations the DHHS have written) as MINOR.

    This is a massive overhaul that throws a fucking wrench in a system that was already severely broken.

  • T o n y||

    So stop crying and get people elected who will fix it. Jesus Christ people this isn't kindergarten, and Barack Obama didn't call you a poopyhead.

  • ||

    No, he did much worse. Thanks for reminding us that you think like a child.

  • DaveAnthony||

    SORRY EVERYONE, I forget it's a fucking mindless sock puppet for a second.

  • Zeb||

    So you can read John Mackey's mind now?

  • ||

    If it quacks....

    The term is accurate. I and many others have pointed this out many times. It evokes emotion for good reason, but that doesnt make it inaccurate.

    Why dont you just come to terms with what you are, stand up proudly and admit it like many of your fellow scum on the left?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Using the word 'fascist' is not meant to be descriptive but to evoke emotion.

    We're not all like you Toney. We don't all just reach straight for our emotions in response to words...or, in your case, everything.

  • Rasilio||

    Actually no, as usual you are wrong.

    Had he been attempting to evoke emotion he would have used the word Nazi, not Fascist. It is a pretty good bet that the fraction of the population who knows that Fascism was associated with the Nazi's and are under the age of 50 is somewhere south of 50%.

    Further using the term socialism has come to hold nearly the same negative connotations with it's association to the murderous command and control economies of Mao, Stalin, Castro, Kim, et al.

    No it is pretty clear he was attempting to be technically precise in describing the school of economics that Obamacare would fall under.

  • T o n y||

    Only in this country does socialism have a negative connotation. We're still living with the remnants of the Red Scare.

    I think it's a mistake to describe private-public intermingling as fascism, since a lot of stuff we're all used to would have to be called fascism, and the already near-meaningless term would become even more watered down--but whatever floats your boat.

    The point is what all those bad regimes have in common is totalitarianism. Every country has a mixed economy. And for my money the best ones are the ones that tilt a little more in the socialist direction than ours, but each to his own.

  • ||

    "Only in this country does socialism have a negative connotation."

    And for a good reason. All forms of collectivism require compliance and conformity. Anyone who doesnt conform must be coerced. The coercion escalates.

    Well that and that socialism has a perfect record of failure.

    Admit it mother fucker, you are a fascist.

  • Rasilio||

    And which country is it that Whole Foods is based, which country ij Mackey a citizen of, and which country is it that is attempting to implement Obamacare?

    Oh that's right, this one.

    The fact that Eurotrash view Socialism fondly is rather irrelivant, here in the States it is a unredeemably negative term and had he simply been wanting to fear monger he could have simply said "Oh yeah it is straight out of the box Socialism" and gotten the desired effect.

    And you are right, attempting to call all Public-Private intermingling Fascism would be a mistake. Fascism (at least economically) is a very specific form of Public-Private Intermingling.

    Specifically, Fascisim is a system where private capitalists retain ownership of the means of production and are allowed to reap profits from it however they are very heavily regulated by the government being told who to hire, what to pay them, and what to produce realistically only retaining a small degree of freedom in how to implement that production.

    This is in fact a very good description of Obamacare. Private Insurance providers, Hospitals, and Doctors remain free to offer their services and earn profits from that however they are told at the direction of government bureaucrats what services they may, and even must provide and who they may provide them to.

  • T o n y||

    Well don't yell at me, I advocated for Medicare for all.

  • tarran||

    So you advocated poorly financed mandatory hospitalization insurance for that provides shitty coverage?

    Tony, why do you hate the people around you so much?

  • Rasilio||

    The one place where Mackey is wrong is this is still technically Fascism because contrary to what an earlier posted (can't remember who) said you cannot seperate Nationalism from Fascism, it is an integral part of it but it is not in any way shape or form part of Obamacare.

    The problem is we have no word to describe this system of economic organization, where the government heavily regulates and directs the operations of private corporations for some purpose other than national greatness, Fascism is the closest but is still not tecnically accurate.

  • ||

    (iOnly in this country does socialism have a negative connotation.

    Which is a damn shame, considering socialism has a far higher body count than facism.

  • ||

    Using the word 'fascist' is not meant to be descriptive but to evoke emotion.

    In this case it is meant to be descriptive.

    The fact that it evokes emotion doesn't necessarily mean that the speaker *intended* to evoke emotion.

    If it's impossible to use the word facist in a descriptive way then we should eliminate it from the dictionary.

  • Proprietist||

    Using the word 'fascist' is not meant to be descriptive but to evoke emotion.

    Aw. Is the little compascist gonna cwy now? Come on Tony. Let me see you cwy.

  • ChrisO||

    He didn't actually "walk back" his fascism comment, but merely noted that the term has been converted into an emotionally charged epithet way beyond its original meaning. And good for him, since he was correct. Both major parties have been headed in a fascist direction for years, the Democrats especially.

  • JW||

    Mackey took a lot of flack from the usual suspects who strongly resented the linking of a policy they like to an ideology known for being a tad authoritarian.

    I wish I could say that I was surprised at this development.

  • Zeb||

    I'm a little disappointed, but he really didn't back down from his point. Fascism is the right word to describe Obamacare, but everyone thinks that Fascism = Nazism, so the word is too loaded.

  • ||

    "Too bad if that accurate description hurts some folks' feelings."

    Some yes, but not all. Slate admits that the description is accurate, but hey fascism isnt all that bad is it? A shit ton of commenters on the internet are just fine with it.

  • ||

    JW coined the term "Compassionate Fascism" as the new Orwellian term. I wouldn't be surprised at all if some sort of congruent term is used.

    "Stockholm Syndrome" is becoming epidemic.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I expect "corporatism" to make a comeback as a popular term soon.

  • JW||

    EAP's "Compascism" is an excellent compression of that.

    I suspect that would fly right over the well-patted heads of our lefty wing.

  • Proprietist||

    I like and will use "compascism" from now on.

  • ||

    Compassionate Fascism. I like it. I am not making any more bets around here, but if I were, I would bet you are right. One thing the left excels at is manipulation of the language.

    If some of them are admitting to being fascists, the negative reaction to that will cause them to invent a new and innocuous sounding name.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I seriously doubt they go anywhere near the F-word. it's too brain-shutting-off and they don't have to.

    It actually is a good description of their philosophy, which is precisely why they won't use it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I made a poor word choice to describe our health care system

    "Did you tell President Lincoln I'm an idiot?"

    "No. I thought he knew."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "I'm sorry many of my customers got offended"

    "I'm sorry you're a bunch of thin-skinned idiots who think money grows on trees."

  • eyeroller||

    a strong governmental safety net for our poorest citizens and those with preexisting conditions, helping everyone to be able to buy insurance

    Isn't that a little bit like Obamacare?

  • tarran||

    Nope. Obamacare helps people buy health insurance in the same way my ancestor the titheman* helped people find God.

    *His job was to levy fines on people who skipped church, as well as collecting 10% of their harvests.

  • ||

    Presumably a safety net would have some kind of means testing component and wouldn't force you to buy insurance.

    So no.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Isn't that a little bit like Obamacare?"

    I don't think helping everyone to be able to buy insurance and telling everyone they have to buy insurance are the same.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "telling everyone"

    not quite the same as mandating under penalty of fine or imprisonment for failure to comply either

  • ||

    It can't be facism, because facism makes me feel bad and Obamacare makes me feel good. Therefore, it's not facism.

  • ||

    Now you're just being facile, Warty. LUBA NOT LIKE FACILE!

  • ||

    BTW, how did the weekend with the future father-in-law go? From your description he sounds like a guy I would like.

  • ||

    He, for the most part I believe, likes me. Strong as an ox, he is. Not sure if he is 100% future FIL, but the Magic 8 Ball is pointing to, "So far, so good."

  • John Henry||

    "So far, so good."

    I for one, am happy for you Doc. Nothing like going through life with a good women by your side.

  • Ted S.||

    Nothing like going through life with a good women by your side.

    Nicole and IFH might not agree with that. ;-)

  • ||

    So did you finally make a decision about the woman, then? I don't think I saw anything since you posted your dilemma previously.

  • ||

  • LTC(ret) John||

    That was incredibly funny - thanks Warty! Where in the heck did you find that??

  • ||

    "Find"? I'm pretty sure it's a self-portrait.

  • ChrisO||

    Why do you hate faces, Warty?

  • ||

    That pretty much sums it up for the majority of progressives.

    Alternatively:

    It can't be facism, because facism is bad, and my side is good, and Obamacare was proposed by my side, so it must be good.

  • Pippers||

    " In fascism, the government doesn't own the means of production, but they do control it"

    No, this is simply Capitalism. Fascism is rule of the people by violence.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    govt doesn't control industry in market capitalism (beyond punishing fraud and theft).

  • Pippers||

    You are correct, typically the Government does not directly control the industry. However Capitalism allows for regulations, and sometimes in dire instances Government can take control of industries. See WW2 as an example. See putting a Government official on the board of directors of GM in mid-2008.

    I am just pointing out that the redefining of Fascism is a horrible precedent here.

  • tarran||

    So.....

    Fascism ceases to be fascism when it's doing things you like?

    Okaaay.

  • Pippers||

    Open a history book.

  • tarran||

    I have... in fact, I've even read Mises taxonomy of socialist systems that has a couple of chapters on different varients of fascism, including Kemalism which is the fascist system that formed the basis of the Turkish Republic (my birthplace)

    Sooo. What's magical about the U.S. government that makes it adopting the exact policies of Mussolini's Italy unfascist when it's done here?

    So far, you are engaging in a variant of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Or the One True Troll tautology, perhaps?

  • ||

    Um WW2 and GM are perfect examples of Fascism.

    You might be getting Capitalism confused with Corporatism. Which is understandable since that's what most people are taught capitalism is.

  • Proprietist||

    And let us not forget that FDR had plenty of kind words for Mussolini's fascism before the war, and vice versa. FDR's top adviser Rexford Tugwell on Mussolini's fascist Italy: ""It's the cleanest most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I've ever seen. It makes me envious."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    sometimes in dire instances Government can take control of industries. See WW2 as an example. See putting a Government official on the board of directors of GM in mid-2008.

    Which are both instances of fascism. We're not the ones redefining it. Which industries did the government take control of in WW2, btw? Didn't the war industries voluntarily switch production to what the govt needed (and got paid well for it).

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And of course, Fascists were voted into office voluntarily in many countries.

  • Redmanfms||

    Fascism is rule of the people by violence.

    You don't say....

    You're wrong, but hey, welcome new leftist troll.

  • juris imprudent||

    What a great contrast between Mussolini and his American counterpart Coolidge (a few years earlier): "the chief business of the American people is business".

  • Mandate Amendment||

    No doubt Mackey was right. When government can tax us for NOT doing something, what boundaries do they have? None. We need to reign in the power of government NOW before this precedent in sewn into the fabric of our country. Please help support the Mandate Amendment today - it is our last hope.

    Help us by blogging about it, talking about it, and helping build coalitions in every state. We need you help, please learn more at our website.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement