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Is China Fascist?

One of the most notable trends in modern history has been the rise of China. After a Century of Humiliation and a bloody civil war, China has achieved superpower status.

China is more authoritarian than Western democracies and employs a “state capitalism” economic model. The decision-making apparatus is more efficient, not burdened by elections, judicial review, or checks and balances. The GDP results are impressive, but the state-controlled media obfuscates social problems simmering below the surface.

China’s political leaders proclaim who they are – the Chinese Communist Party – but China’s embrace of private property and supply and demand make China less communist and more socialist. Some might balk at calling China socialist, due to China’s human rights abuses and economic colonialism, but free market capitalism it is not.

Or would it be more accurate to call it the Chinese Fascist Party?

Consider the definition of fascism offered by world renowned hedge fund manager Ray Dalio in his book The Changing World Order. According to Dalio, each country has three big choices to make when selecting its approach to governance:

1. Bottom-up (democratic) or top-down (autocratic) decision making.

2. Capitalist or communist ownership of production (with socialist in the middle).

3. Individualistic (which treats the well-being of the individual with paramount importance) or collectivist (which treats the well-being of the whole with paramount importance).

With these three choices, Dalio defines fascism as autocratic, capitalistic, and collectivist.

However, selecting capitalistic conflicts with Dalio’s own definition of capitalism: “free market control of the economy and capital markets.” A fascist government “directs the production of privately held companies,” which is not free market control. The middle option of socialist or “state capitalism” is the best fit. After all, Hitler was a self-proclaimed national socialist who eschewed both capitalism and communism.

If China is autocratic (check), collectivist (check), and socialist or “state capitalism” (check), then the Chinese Communist Party is indeed fascist.

There’s more. Dalio notes that China is guided by three philosophies.

The first, Confucianism, “seeks to bring about harmony by ensuring that people know their roles in the hierarchy and how to play them well.”

The second, Taoism, “teaches that it is of paramount importance to live in harmony with the laws of nature.”

The third, Legalism, “favors the rapid conquest and unification of ‘everything under heaven’ by an autocratic leader … The Western equivalent of legalism is fascism.”

Add to this China’s oppressive policies against racial minorities, with “re-education camps,” organ harvesting, and citizens welded inside their apartments to enforce COVID lock down policies, and you have modern day fascism.

Dalio analyzes China objectively, with pragmatic observations about the potential benefits of the China model, so he isn’t manipulating his analysis or definitions to paint China in the most negative light possible.

Given that our Constitution and culture is bottom-up, capitalistic, and individualistic – the opposite of China – we should avoid the China model with all our might.

Why does this matter?

This matters because our own elected officials are turning a blind eye to the crimes of the Chinese regime, to include China’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have been caught sleeping with Chinese spies or profiting from family or business ties to China.

This matters because influential organizations like the World Economic Forum and it leader Klaus Schwab are making public statements about China being a “role model for many countries.”

Since when is fascism a role model?

If we were consistent, we would apply the same level of vitriol and sanctions to China that we apply to Russia, which poses less of a threat to our national security.

To close with a rhetorical flourish – if you’re not “anti-China” you’re “pro-fascism.”

Yes, the China model allows for more efficient decision making and avoids the gridlock of democracy, but that’s precisely the point. We’ve already learned this lesson. No one can be trusted with absolute power – the potential benefits aren’t worth the cost.

The world seems to be spinning out of control at times and in desperate need of leadership, but we should avoid the temptation to imagine what we could achieve by sacrificing individuals for the greater good – each of us is the greater good. Those who admire the China model are probably seeking wealth or power at your expense.

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