I was out commenting on a post of Morgan's on HKB, and as often happens when I'm commenting on something Morgan brought up, it turns out I have something to say. It had to do with this thoughtful story, and the side issue of why it doesn't so much matter to me whether Obama is a Socialist or a Fascist.
The main difference between fascism and socialism is the degree of ownership the government has over the means of production. With fascism, it's "yeah, well you technically own it, but we get to tell you what you can do with it and how much of the proceeds you can keep". Which isn't quite as ownershippy as a free market system, which is what we have. Not that some government regulation is needed in a free market system ... but the regulation should have more to do with protecting others' property rights -- whether it be public property (air, streams, water, national parks) rather than how much of your profit those with their paws on the levers of power get to swipe to buy friends and influence and yachts they keep in states with lower property tax rates ... for instance ;-) ... or others' private property (no swindling people, and honor your contracts) and the like.
I've said somewhere before that capitalism isn't a system, per se. Not a consciously designed one, anyway. It just falls naturally out of human nature. These other "isms" are attempts at changing what humans are, and they run contrary to our nature. Our inner nature will act as a resistor to their imposed currents, and we'll heat up like light bulb filaments and burn out. Every. Time. They're just too opposed to what we are, which is imperfect, fallible creatures who, like all other creatures will work to make things better and easier on ourselves given the opportunity.
Capitalism uses the force of the stream and natural law channels it constructively. The other "isms" say "to hell with this stream, it causes erosion and floods" and they attempt to replace it with an ugly pipe which isn't worth flowing through. Then eventually the pipe strains under natural pressures and starts to spray water out every which way, and then it bursts. See Greece. Spain. Wiemar... and hopefully not coming soon to a theater near you.