The Fascist New Frontierrnby Peter EricksonrnOn December 16, 1962, Ayn Rand delivered a lecture atrnthe Ford Hall Forum in Boston entitled “The FascistrnNew Frontier.” She began by quoting from an unidentified politicalrnplatform which demanded profit-sharing, governmentrncare for the aged, legislation favorable to small businesses, governmentrnscholarships, public health and “the Common Goodrnbefore the Individual Good.” She then surprised her audiencernby identifying this as the program of the National Socialistrn(Nazi) Party of Germany in 1920. Throughout her speech, shernargued that the Democratic Part}’ of John Kennedy was actuallyrnimplemenhng fascism, hi her April 18, 1965, speech beforernthat same forum, entided “The New Fascism: Rule by Gonsensus,”rnshe attempted to equate Lyndon Johnson’s Great Societvrnwith fascism.rnThis equation carried conviction not only with her loyal admirersrnbut also with many other conser’ahves. Throughout thern1960’s and 70’s, it was a set-piece of rightist rhetoric. Even toda-,rnone can find evocations of this thesis in consen-ative literature:rna recent cover of the New American portrayed Bill Clintonrnstanding with Hitler and Mussolini, haranguing the massesrnabout his proposals for youth.rnTo understand the significance of Rand’s charge, one mustrnconsider when her first speech was delivered. By the first yearrnof the Kennedy administration, it was evident that the anticommunistrnmovement had not completely recovered from the fallrnof Joseph McCarthy six years earlier. The left saw its chance.rnOne of its favorite techniques was to link its opponents to fascism.rnAt that time, tales about the Nazi’s murder of millions ofrnJews were reaching the average American for the first timernsince the close of the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. There hadrnbeen little national discussion of the subject in the late 1940’srnPeter Erickson is the author of The Stance of Adas (HeraklesrnPress, 1-888492-2001), which examines the philosophy of AynrnRand.rnand early 50’s. In many public schools, it was not taught. Onernreason is that the head of the Republican Party, Senator RobertrnTaft, had denounced the Nuremberg verdicts: “About thisrnwhole judgment there is the spirit of vengeance and vengeancernis seldom justice. The hanging of the 11 men convicted will berna blot on the American record which we shall long regret.” Thernensuing attempt by his opponents to link him with the defeatedrnAxis was unsuccessful, and he retained his position of leadershiprnin his part)-. Even as late as 1957, in Profiles In Courage,rnSenator John Kennedy was able to praise Taft’s stand onrnNuremberg without fear of inviting widespread protest. Hollywoodrnproduced a movie starring Marlon Brando, Dean Martin,rnand Montgomer)’ Cliff, in which a German soldier was depictedrnin a positive way. The sight of Spencer Tracy’s visage imitatingrna stern but wise judge would come later.rnBut times were a-changin’. In 1961, a bestseller was writtenrnabout German atrocities during World War II. Movies werernmade about them, and “holocaust” slowly became a householdrnword. Labor boss Walter Reuther and some New Frontiersmenrnbegan to speak of “thunder on the right.” Manv young peoplernstarted thinking that the defeated Nazis were the real enemy,rnnot the Marxists; the latter were seen as heroes in the legal battiernover segregation. Teachers of history harshly berated conservativesrnfor opposing FDR’s efforts to get America into thernwar. Young conservatives were baffled: How does one accountrnfor all this?rnThen came Ayn Rand.rnHer major thrust was against the Kennedy New Frontier andrnLyndon Johnson’s Great Societ)’. She emphasized the economicrnaspects, arguing that—like fascism—American liberalismrnadopted neither orthodox socialism nor laisscz faire capitalismrnbut the middle position of seeking to control therndirection of private investment.rnThis counterattack against the left had some success. But itrnis not the whole truth. Fascism did not initiate the idea of cen-rnMARCH 1998/21rnrnrn