High School Class Taught That Libertarianism is First Cousin to Fascism

The syllabus (above) is from East Chester High School.

This is one confused teacher, or else one angry and mendacious teacher. Let’s hope it is the former. Intentionally deceiving young people in your charge is not a moral act.

For centuries, people who believed in more personal liberty and smaller government to serve that end were called “liberals.” By the way, these were the chief opponents of slavery, and they pointed out that slavery in America was only possible because of strong government support.

In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt performed some political jiu jitsu by calling his dramatic expansion of government “liberal.” That was intended to confuse and succeeded spectacularly.  In response, some classical liberals began calling themselves “libertarians” in order to be able to continue to differentiate themselves. The message remained the same: more personal liberty, consistent with respecting the rights of others, along with an effective but small government devoted to protecting citizens from force and fraud.

Following the Trump election, Hillary supporters have begun blaming “libertarians” and “neoliberals”  for that outcome, even though Trump himself is clearly not a libertarian or neoliberal, whatever that last phrase means. To further the confusion, we have people like the high school teacher who imply that libertarians are somehow semi-fascist, the exact opposite of what they represent. In this context, it may be helpful to recall that both Hitler and Mussolini referred to themselves and their parties as socialist. They differed from other socialists of their day by emphasizing nationalism, but that did not change their belief in socialism as their guiding economic principle. What they actually invented, along with other tyrants such as Stalin or Mao,  was just one more variant of crony capitalism in the long history of crony capitalist systems on this planet.

Bottom line: East Chester High School should be ashamed of itself. Its students deserve an education, not confused or deceptive propaganda without a scintilla of truth behind it.