But that is not what stunned me, what did stun me was how many actors around FDR and even around Hoover were admittedly fascistic. The best example is the National Industrial Recovery Act(NIRA). As I did with my previous post on Duplessis, I use the definition of the economic policies of fascism from The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:
Under fascism, the state, through official cartels, controlled all aspects of manufacturing, commerce, finance, and agriculture. Planning boards set product lines, production levels, prices, wages, working conditions, and the size of firms. Licensing was ubiquitous; no economic activity could be undertaken without government permission. Levels of consumption were dictated by the state, and “excess” incomes had to be surrendered as taxes or “loans.”
The similiraties with the economic policies of fascism are striking. What is more striking are quotations from policy advisers to FDR which, more than the praise of Mussolinni motivated by the hatred of communism, show a deep commitment on their part to fascism. A staunch supporter of FDR and one of his advisers, Charles A Beard of DePauw University was actually enthusiastic for the NIRA who proved that "FDR accepts the inexorable collectivism of the American economy . . . national planning in industry, business, agriculture and government" (as quoted from Burton Fulsom's New Deal or Raw Deal). Others like General Hugh Johnson, who was in charge of the National Recovery Administration, were commited fascists. Johnson actually distributed copies of The Corporate State originally printed by the Italian Fascist party to members of his administration. Even Rexford Tugwell, a close adviser to FDR, was actually quoted saying that the Italian fascist transformation was the "the cleanest … most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I've ever seen. It makes me envious". They actually believed that the right sets of policies to pull the United States out of depression were fascistic policies.
It is stunning to see that the United States actually had such a fascist movement in the 1920-1930 and how it actually resisted it and remained a democracy. I believe it shows the strengh of American democratic institutions (especially the Supreme Court who struck down most of FDR's policies as unconstitutionnal and who withstood threats by FDR to boost the number of justices on the SC by nominating more justices of his likings).