by Robert Maynard
Most people associate fascism with violence and oppression. Yes, it often takes that form, but that is not its essence. The essence of fascism is the centralization of power into the hands of the state, coupled with discouraging individualism in favor of collectivism. the idea is that a society can be run more efficiently if it is run from the top down as a collective by a few leaders. Traditional fascist like Mussolini focused on the efficiency of collectivism, whereas socialist of various stripes focused on equality and justice that a centralized state could supposedly provide. The means to achieve these ends were essentially the same. These two ideologies are close cousins and both are opposed to the Classical Liberal notion of sindividual liberty and limited government. This is the understanding of fascism that led a national citzen’s group, interested in health care freedom, to conclude that Vermont’s move toward single payer is a move toward fascism.
First, a closer look at where the term fascism came from:
The original symbol of fascism, in Italy under Benito Mussolini, was the fasces. This is an ancient Roman symbol of power carried by lictors in front of magistrates; a bundle of sticks featuring an axe, indicating the power over life and death. Before the Italian fascists adopted the fasces, the symbol had been used by Italian political organizations of various political ideologies (ranging from socialist to nationalist), called Fascio (“leagues”) as a symbol of .
The “Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom” is a national free-market resource for designing the future of health care, that was incorporated in Minnesota in 1998. The council lists its goals as follows:
- Individual patient and practitioner freedom in health care decision-making
- Protection of patient autonomy and dignity through medical record privacy and strong patient consent provisions
- Reduced dependency on government health care programs
- Free and open health care market, including Medical Savings Accounts, and non-managed care health insurance options.
- Market competition at the patient and consumer level.
- Equal tax treatment for purchase of health care insurance
- Privately-owned insurance independent from employment
- Life-long insurance policies.
- A charitable safety net strengthened through tax incentives
- Elimination of taxes on health care services.
The June edition of their newsletter included an article entitled “Vermont Mandates Mussolini Medicine.” Here is what they thought of our move toward a government controlled single payer health care system:
Vermont passed single-payer health care in 2011. It created a five member Green Mountain Care Board to implement the law and impose price controls. The law allows the board to set fees for all doctors and all hospitals in the state – even those who refuse to join the system. Thus the law eliminates the independent practice of medicine, and prohibits private contracts between a patient and a doctor.
This year, Rep. Cynthia Browning, a Democrat, tried to repeal the boardʼs authority to control prices outside the system. It didnʼt work. As AAPS News reports, this mimics Benito Mussoliniʼs motto “everything for the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state.”
Once again, the determining factor is a drive to concentrate as much power and decision making into the hands of the state as possible.