The unavoidable contradiction in leftist ideology is that their egalitarian, everybody-is-equal, social justice, every-vote-must-count, power-to-the-people rhetoric must necessarily be implemented by an insulated elite who is waaaaay more equal than those who support them. The reality of true democracy is that it simply doesn't exist. It can't. It has no structure to function if everyone remains in the decision-making process and every freaking voice is taken into consideration on every freaking thing. Can't work. That, kittens, is chaos. So it inevitably morphs into the masses handing over everything to a select few who get to "speak for you." Rule by committee. Think of the same nice kids who were on the Senior Prom committee and decided everything. Remember how great that turned out? Thank GOD the years of "Stairway to Heaven" were slightly before my time. Did ANYONE ever listen to the words of that song? Stupid on steroids...but I digress.
ALL leftist ideas are eventually expressed through some variant of rule by committee, because they are all based on the ideal of absolute democracy. So you can just quit worrying your pretty little heads about this, okay? Socialism, communism, Nazism and fascism are ALL ON THE LEFT. They are all collectivist political structures. They are all essentially rule by committee. They are all throwbacks to the first political structure known to man - the tribe. It was only with the truly progressive idea that each man belonged to himself and NOT to the tribe that we developed any other political idea on which to base a government. And they gave it a name. Republicanism.
For the first time in human history, it was decided that the individual had natural rights that could never be removed by a majority vote...or by the rule of that special and wise Senior Prom committee. This was truly radical and progressive.
Republicanism believes in the RESTRAINT of power; all other forms of government believe in the EXERCISE of power.
Limited government, rule of law, enumerated rights of the individual, a system where the majority could not vote away an individual's right to life, liberty, or property - no matter how necessary it might seem to everyone else - is an idea created by the right.
Socialism, communism, Nazism, fascism. All are political systems where the power of the government has no restraints and dictates the actions of the market and, therefore, the individual. They are all ideas of the left. The difference between these variants of collectivism is who appears to actually own the means of production. This is splitting hairs. It matters not who owns them if the government makes every single decision as to what the "owners" can do, what they can produce, and what they can keep.
So what especially peeves me is that apparently bright people, well...okay...EDUCATED people actually believe that while socialism and communism are on the left, Nazism and fascism are phenomenons of the right. This is a degree of stupid that can make the blood vessels in my eyes pop from the pressure.
With that in mind, Thomas Sowell, in his inimitable style, goes into details about some of the finer distinctions between socialism and fascism.