Critics of libertarianism often regard it as a species of fascism. Libertarianism seems both “extreme” and “right-wing,” and what is fascism if not “right-wing extremism”? Even conservatives have repeated the charge: In his review of Ayn Rand's novel, Whittaker Chambers wrote that, “from almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: ‘To a gas chamber—go!’

Libertarians justifiably object that fascism advocates unrestrained government power, not laissez-faire. However, this response often raises more questions than it is taken to answer. Inasmuch as libertarianism is anathema to the left, how can it simultaneously be diametrically opposed to the fascism of the extreme right? The study of comparative politics is able to shed a great deal of light with respect to this ...

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