Fascism Defined

In Nevada Somewhere In America

Historians seem to have a hard time coming up with a definition of Fascism that they can agree on. My suspicion is that a large part of the problem is that many of them come to the table with their mind already made up as to what they expect to find and are just trying to line up enough facts to superficially justify that conclusion and to hell with any inconvenient facts.

One of the more annoying symptoms of this inability to define Fascism in an objective and historically accurate manner is the chorus from the Left in America today that Conservatives and Republicans are somehow Fascists with a political ideology related in some way  to that of real Fascists like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

As is often the case, especially when dealing with those on the Left, the truth is often just exactly the opposite. Modern day Democrats have far more in common with classical forms of Fascism than do those depicted as being on the right in America.

The terms “right” and “left” in regards to the political spectrum came from the French Revolution. In the National Assembly in France supporters of the king sat to the president’s right. The supporters of the revolution sat on the left. Although these terms are used in America it has little to do with the origin of the term. The American right has never supported a king or an aristocracy of birth.

Historically the American right has supported the traditional constitutional republic established by the Founders in the 18th century, a democratic form of government which now empowers almost all American adults with a say in their government, and most importantly the idea of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

A really important point that distinguishes the right from the left in America today is that the right believes in a right to pursue happiness and the left believes that government ought to guarantee it. The right believes that it is important to protect the individual freedom to pursue happiness and left seems to believe that individual freedom should take a back seat to government guaranteeing happiness (or equal outcomes).

Individual freedom doesn’t seem very important to the left in America today. They seem more concerned with guaranteeing the outcome they feel is just and they are not in the least afraid to use the brute force of government to bend society to their will. As will see this is exactly what classical Fascists believed.

The secret of Fascism is symbolized in the ancient Roman symbol of the fasces from which the word “Fascism” comes.

Roman Fasces

The fasces is a bundle of sticks bound together around an axe. I wrote about this in “The Fascism of the Left Exposed Through Political Correctness”:

“There are at least two important symbols here. First is the idea that a bundle of sticks bound together is much stronger than the individual sticks by themselves. Like sticks in the bundle, people in the political body must be bound by a common ideology. The second is the ax which represents a powerful central authority.

“Strong central authority and a conformity which tolerates little if any dissent are the foundational principles of Fascism (as they are for all radical Leftist ideologies).”

In the two classical and best known forms of Fascism of the 20th century, the German Fascism or Nazism under Adolph Hitler and the Italian Fascism under Benito Mussolini, strong central authority was wielded under a charismatic and larger-than-life dictator. Many Germans and Italians literally worshipped these men as demigods.

Another relevant fact is that both of these men, Hitler and Mussolini, were clearly men of the Left to any extent that they held any principles at all. Probably their highest principle was that of power. They wanted that more than anything else. It is a fact though that Mussolini was a Socialist before he was a Fascist and the principles of Socialism and the power of the state were at the bedrock of his belief system.

It is less clear with Hitler which was more important, the achieving of a Socialist society or ridding the world of the Jews. National Socialism, or as Nazism as most know it, in German is Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei which translated means National-Socialist German Workers‘ Party. It was many of the ideas of Socialism that was used by the Nazis to rally party members.

In the final analysis the real religion and politics of both Hitler and Mussolini was pure and unadulterated power and they would use whatever means were available to get it. They would compromise with anyone if that led to a path that gave them power. But their rhetoric, their language, the ideals they set before the German and Italian people were ideals of the left and not the right.

Now we perhaps know enough to define Fascism. First and foremost it is a political system of strong central authority where everyone is expected to toe the line of what is politically correct in the regime. Dissent is not tolerated. This correlates very well with the Left in America today which wants a big and powerful state and sanctions on those who use “hate speech” defined as anything disagreeable to the Left, anything politically incorrect.

At this point there is very little difference between Fascism and Communism.

Where Fascism in its classical manifestations differed from Communism was in nationalism and ideas of national destiny. The Communist mindset was more of “workers of the world unite!” One thing is certain about both Soviet Communists and German Nazis. They both were responsible for the deaths of millions of human beings.

Contrary to most propaganda from the left,  racism is not a central characteristic of Fascism. Italian Fascism was not strongly racist. Genocidal racism was largely unique to Germany. The Italians only cooperated at all with the Germans in rounding up Jews after the Germans invaded Italy in 1943 after Mussolini had been deposed.

Nor is racism a characteristic of the right in America.

In America the one political party with the longest history of racism is the Democratic Party, the political party of the Confederacy, the political party of Jim Crow, the political party of the KKK, and now the political party that uses blacks as a political pawn to try to achieve political power.

The Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. It was votes by Republicans that were crucial to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in America because so many Democrats voted against it.

Republicans and Conservatives do not support any of the ideas of the real Fascists. If in fact there is one political party in America today that most closely resembles Fascists then that is the Democratic Party and Leftists in general. They support silencing those that disagree with them. They support a strong and powerful central government under a charismatic leader. Again the only thing that keeps them from being out and out foaming at the mouth Fascists is their anti-nationalism.

In summary an accurate definition of the characteristics of Fascism would include:

  1. A strong central authority headed by a charismatic leader.
  2. No dissent that would make the “bundle” weaker.
  3. A strong sense of nationalism and national destiny.

At least two of those are characteristics of the left in America. Arguably only nationalism is a characteristic of the right, but in no way the nationalism of the historical Fascists. To love the principles that one’s country was founded on does not make one a Fascist, especially when those principles speak to individual freedom. It may have taken America a few centuries to more fully implement those principles in regards to race and gender, but it did, and that is America’s glory, not its shame.

Is The Real Problem The Guns?

A Farm Somewhere In America
A Farm Somewhere In America

The real problem with guns in America today is not the guns. It is the irrational social policies that foster dependence, drugs, and crime. If there is one single social characteristic that has been most eroded in my lifetime it is that of personal responsibility. Proponents of big government and gun control have two messages they repeat endlessly: “It is not your fault,” and “We will take care of you.

If you want to see how well they will take care of you if you give them responsibility for your life then visit one of the four cities in the table below. They had the distinction of having the highest homicide rates in America in 2016:

Municipality Homicides (2016) Population (2016) Homicides / 100K
St. Louis 188 311,404 60.37
Baltimore 318 621,849 51.14
New Orleans 176 389,617 45.17
Detroit 302 677,116 44.60

Source: Wikipedia

These four cities rank right up there with some of the most violent (top 50) cities in the world. All of these cities have several things in common. First they have been run by Democrats for decades. Secondly they have large populations of blacks who are the most adversely affected by the welfare state and gun control.

Dr. Thomas Sowell put it very well when he said of the black family:

“The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”

“Cities with some of the tightest gun control laws in the nation have murder rates far above the national average.”

“Although gun control is not usually considered a racial issue, a wholly disproportionate number of Americans killed by guns are black. But here, as elsewhere, liberals’ devotion to their ideology greatly exceeds their concern about what actually happens to flesh and blood human beings as a result of their ideology.”

-Liberalism Versus Black

Someone said that, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.” Democrats are masters of doing the same thing over and over again and being surprised that nothing much changes (unless it is for the worse).

In the final analysis gun control is trying to treat the symptoms of the disease while ignoring the cause. Lots of Americans not living in the welfare state in America own lots of guns and do not kill each other at the high rates we see in these cities run by Democrats. If guns were the cause then Texas would be a bloodbath from one side to the other.


Also see:

Guns Designed To Kill, Or To Save Life?

A Nation of Cowards

 

Guns Designed To Kill, Or To Save Life?

Somewhere in Texas, In America

Those who oppose private ownership of guns often repeat the mantra that “guns are only designed to kill!” The fundamental fact they always ignore is that design and purpose are not necessarily the same thing.

A thing can be designed for one thing, but it may be intended for purposes that are diametrically opposed to its design. Consider nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. They are obviously designed to kill millions of people and create enormous destruction on population centers.

In my lifetime the designers of nuclear weapons in the United States intended to create objects that could kill millions, but the purpose behind that design was not to kill, but to deter the murderously criminal Soviet Union which had as its goal the enslavement of the entire human race. That is not an exaggeration.

The Soviet Union is gone now, but the existence of totalitarian regimes with nuclear weapons is still a reality we cannot ignore.

So it is with many guns. They are designed to kill, but the purpose of the vast majority of people who buy them for defensive purposes is to deter killers and criminals who live in our midst. In essence these gun-owners bought guns designed to kill for the purpose of saving life, not taking it.

Smith & Wesson revolver useful for concealed carry

There is scientific evidence to back up this claim. Dr. Gary Kleck became famous for his research into the defensive use of guns in the U.S. The important takeaways from that research are:

  • The vast majority of incidents are never reported to the police.
  • The incidence of defensive use of firearms is much higher than official crime statistics indicate.
  • Gun owners rarely need to fire their weapon.

Almost always just showing the bad guy you have gun will do the trick. The bad guy will almost always go somewhere else. Criminals prefer victims who don’t shoot back! If one accepts that the real purpose of an object is what it is primarily used for, then the clear purpose of gun ownership for many is not to take life, but to save life.

Another point that many Americans really don’t seem to get is that the police are not their personal bodyguards. Jeffrey Snyder put this very well in his now classic article, A Nation of Cowards:

“Do You Feel Lucky?”

“In 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh released the FBI’s annual crime statistics, he noted that it is now more likely that a person will be the victim of a violent crime than that he will be in an auto accident. Despite this, most people readily believe that the existence of the police relieves them of the responsibility to take full measures to protect themselves. The police, however, are not personal bodyguards. Rather, they act as a general deterrent to crime, both by their presence and by apprehending criminals after the fact. As numerous courts have held, they have no legal obligation to protect anyone in particular. You cannot sue them for failing to prevent you from being the victim of a crime.

“Insofar as the police deter by their presence, they are very, very good. Criminals take great pains not to commit a crime in front of them. Unfortunately, the corollary is that you can pretty much bet your life (and you are) that they won’t be there at the moment you actually need them.

The violent crime rate started rising in the 1960s, peaked in the 1990s and until recently had fallen back to levels comparable to the 1960s. However in the last couple years that trend has reversed and all indications are that we will see that rate continue to go up in the immediate future.

As an American you have a non-trivial chance of being a victim of violent crime in your lifetime. How you plan to deal with that reality says a lot about who you are. Jeffrey Snyder also covered that in A Nation of Cowards:

““Cowardice” and “self-respect” have largely disappeared from public discourse. In their place we are offered “self-esteem” as the bellwether of success and a proxy for dignity. “Self-respect” implies that one recognizes standards, and judges oneself worthy by the degree to which one lives up to them. “Self-esteem” simply means that one feels good about oneself. “Dignity” used to refer to the self-mastery and fortitude with which a person conducted himself in the face of life’s vicissitudes and the boorish behavior of others. Now, judging by campus speech codes, dignity requires that we never encounter a discouraging word and that others be coerced into acting respectfully, evidently on the assumption that we are powerless to prevent our degradation if exposed to the demeaning behavior of others. These are signposts proclaiming the insubstantiality of our character, the hollowness of our souls.”

A lot of people have strong opinions on the issue of guns and using guns in self defense. I recommend reading Snyder’s article from start to finish. It is a classic.

The trend in America for well over a quarter century is the liberalization of laws allowing private citizens to carry concealed handguns in public. There are millions of responsible citizens who do so today. The predicted blood bath from many never happened. That is not an opinion, it is a fact.