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In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey revised his previous description of Obamacare as socialist. “Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism,” said the self-identifying libertarian, offering a loose-at-best Marxian analysis:
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 healthcare programs and these reforms.
Fascism does certainly involve the regulation of private industry by and in the name of the State. Predictably swift in its defense of the Obama administration, Think Progress noted, “Mackey seems to have forgotten that [fascist states] usually utilize warfare, forced mass mobilization of the public, and politically-motivated violence against their own peoples to achieve their ends.” Without wading into the troubling ways in which such a description could also apply the U.S. at present, a better counterargument to Mackey’s point would be that technically, a fascist government would not have healthcare reform written by, and in the interests of, the health care industry.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.