“Reactionary concepts plus revolutionary emotion result in Fascist mentality.”
Is nationalism inherently evil? Would a one-world government be more preferable? Are appreciating and defending one’s own culture and cultural values somehow primitive instincts that must be overcome by the educational efforts of the enlightened?
We have all heard of Fascism, but our image is usually of a brutal soldier wearing a uniform emblazoned with a swastika. Most people in the U.S. are aware that the U.S. and its allies fought a war against the Nazis, but there is much more to know if one is to learn the important lessons of our recent history.
Adolph Hitler’s Nazis were certainly the most prolific of the Fascist states. The seeds of Fascism, however, were planted in Italy. “Fascism is reaction,” said Benito Mussolini, author of The Doctrine of Fascism, but reaction to what?
Mussolini forged Fascism in post-World War I in Europe. The national aspirations of many European peoples nations without states, peoples arbitrarily assigned to political entities with little regard for custom or culture had been crushed after World War I. The humiliation imposed by the victors in the Great War, coupled with the hardship of the economic Depression, created bitterness and anger. That anger frequently found its outlet in an ideology that asserted not just the importance of the nation, but its unquestionable superiority and predestined role in history.
Italy was the birthplace of Fascist ideology. Mussolini, ironically a former socialist journalist, organized the first Fascist movement in 1919 at Milan. In 1922 Mussolini led a march on Rome, he was given a government post by the king, and began transforming the Italian government into a Fascist state. In 1938 he forced the last remains of democracy, the Council of Deputies, to vote themselves out of existence, leaving Mussolini dictator of Fascist Italy.
Fascism and the Doctrine of Fascism is more complex than popular belief. What, then, is the nature of Fascism?
The doctrine tells of a world where the instinctiveness of man to live a life of selfish and momentary pleasure are subjugated by a moral law. A law which binds together individuals into a mission in which through the denial of themselves and sacrifice of private interests realizes complete spiritual existence. In essence, Fascism attempts to create a state where the citizens do not exist individually, it creates instruments for the state to manipulate. It achieves this under the guise of spirituality. The hopeless, cheerless, and forgotten are the most susceptible to the Fascism virus. By putting them into uniforms and incorporating them into organized movement, Fascism makes them feel as if they belong to something great, something greater than their individual lives. It emphasizes the myth of a national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, Fascism calls for a spiritual revolution against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism. Fascism is opposed to all the individualistic abstractions of a materialistic nature.
The Fascist conception is for the State, and as long as the individual is under the command of the state, it is also for the individual. The Doctrine of Fascism preaches that the true reality of the individual is the state. Therefore, anything outside the state or in opposition to the state has no true value. A citizen cannot believe in anything that the state does not want him to believe in, nor can he do anything the state does not want him to do. The state becomes the citizens supreme authority and the will of the citizen is the state.
The Doctrine of Fascism is hostile towards Socialism, liberalism, and democracy. Fascism rejects the concept of class struggle as a threat to the unity of the state. While Socialism refutes the need for any type of government at all, Fascism is founded by the concept that there is nothing but government. Fascism rejects the liberal doctrines of individual autonomy and rights and representative government. Fascism, according to Mussolini, is for liberty, the liberty of the state that is. Individual liberty is only a facade for a life of trite material pleasure. Only through the state can a man have true liberty. Democracy, as told in the Doctrine of Fascism, equates the nation to the majority, thus lowering it to the level of the majority. A state should be ruled by the quality of ideas, not quantity of supporters. Therefore, the state should be unified and lead by the will of a few good men, perhaps even one great one.
The doctrine forms a symbiotic relationship between the individual and the state. The Fascist state controls the individual and at the same time is the individual. Without the state the individual does not truly exist. The state is absolute. Without the unified multitude the state cannot exist. The doctrine is a writing of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the state as a organic community transcending all other loyalties.
Political and Social Doctrines
Fascism does not consider happiness possible, certainly not individual happiness. It views pacifism as weak and incapable. It rejects all theological theories according to which man would reach a definitive stabilized condition at a certain period in history. Thus, as Machiavelli states in The Prince, there is a need for constant readiness for war. In addition in order to maintain the state, it must constantly expand. To stop the expansion of the Fascist state is to kill it. It must continually test it’s power and limitless. It must make it’s power felt abroad, if through war then so be it
Marxian Socialism, according to Mussolini in the Doctrine of Fascism, is the doctrine of historical materialism. Through Marxian Socialism the history of civilization can only be explained as a struggle of interests between differing social groups, almost as if humans merely assist in the economic process. The Fascist disagrees with this concept, Fascism glorifies heroes and romanticizes about great visions of grandeur not associated with economic motives. The doctrine also argues that class struggles are not the primary agent of social change. The Doctrine of Fascism, also attacks democracies practicality. Fascism denies that a society can be ruled successfully by a majority. Especially through periodical consultation.
The Fascist state is a spiritual and moral fact because it makes concrete the political, juridical, economic organization of the nation. The state is past, present, and most of all future. The State guarantees security; it provides and transmits spirit to the people; it educates them for civic virtue; and it calls them to unity. When the sense of the state declines and the materialistic and selfish tendencies of individuals and groups prevail, the Fascist state will move to their decline.
Surprisingly, the Fascist state does not have a set theology. Mussolini criticizes Robispierre for attempting to create a God, and the Bolsheviks for attempting to end faith. The Fascist state approves of religion. In the Fascist state, faith is defended and respected.
Fascist states are empirical ones, not only territorially, but spiritually as well. Fascism manifests it’s vitality through the empire. The Fascist empire must always grow or it will inevitably fall. Empire is the highest form of human expression of power.
The Doctrine of Fascism by Benito Mussolini is an influential document which has changed the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is my conviction that this document is largely responsible for the deaths millions innocent people. Having read the doctrine, it is frightening to think if a state of men as driven, as ruthless, and most of all as dedicated as Mussolini had described could ever be assembled again. Fascism is not only a form of government, it is a system of manipulation. It transforms human beings into mindless utensils at the bidding of the state. It lessens the value of individual human life and achievement. By creating the facades of the state’s supremacy, Fascism is able to create an atmosphere in which the masses of common folk voluntarily join in a supposedly spiritual and heroic mission. In it’s drive to power, Fascism denies the individual’s very existence outside the state. Peace and tranquillity are not options in a Fascist state. According to Mussolini, war is inevitable, often preferable. A state such as that, guided by the wrong man can only lead to disaster.
“The great masses of people. . .will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.”