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.

The Fascism of the Left Exposed Through Political Correctness

Wheat Fields Somewhere In America

 

What really is Fascism? If you voted for President Trump, refuse to bow down to the dictates of Political Correctness, or don’t agree with a litany of positions of the Left today then you are in danger of being called a Fascist. Antifa  (Anti-Fascist Action) political agitators will feel smugly moral in using violence to intimidate you with the sole purpose of making sure that only their views can be spoken safely in public.

A lot of academia and pundits want to place Fascism on the Right of the political spectrum. That is an illusion. Before WW2 a lot of Leftists showed great admiration for Italian Fascism under Mussolini and often for German Fascism too (while the rest were fawning over Stalin and Soviet Communism).

When the horrors of the Holocaust were revealed at the end of WW2 these same people quickly changed their tune but not their basic principles.  The Left had to find a way to disassociate itself from Auschwitz and Dachau. The perfect ploy was to pretend the Nazis were on the Right side of the political spectrum and the Left has been singing that tune ever since.

They assert that Mussolini and Hitler made themselves enemies of the Socialists and the Communists. Therefore because Socialism and Communism are clearly on the Left, then of course Fascism must be the opposite pole on the Right. Wrong.

Perhaps they don’t know that “Nazi” in German means “National Socialist German Workers’ Party“?

If one creates one’s definitions by focusing on non-essentials and misses the underlying principles then that is understandable. In reality German Fascism, or Nazism, was not a polar opposite to Communism. It was not Left vs. Right. It was Left vs. Left.

Hitler’s antipathy to the Communists did not come from a polar disagreement on the shape of the totalitarian state. Hitler reputedly told Hermann Rauschning:

I have learned a great deal from Marxism, as I do not hesitate to admit. I don’t mean their tiresome social doctrine or the materialist conception of history, or their absurd ‘marginal utility’ theories and so on. But I have learnt from their methods. The difference between them and myself is that I have really put into practice what these peddlers and pen-pushers have timidly begun. The whole of National Socialism is based on it.” Quotations on Nazi socialism …

Hitler here stresses that he is more a man of action rather than useless theory. Hitler also thought Marxist Communism was a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world (as he also apparently thought Capitalism was a Jewish conspiracy). In reality Communism and Nazi Fascism came down to to two brutal competing gangs of totalitarian thugs.


To really understand Fascism, and to see how Political Correctness today is just one manifestation of it, you have to look for the uniting principles that all brands of Fascism hold. Those principles come from the ancient symbol of the  fasces from which we get the word “Fascism.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary dictionary defines “fasces”:

“a bundle of rods and among them an ax with projecting blade borne before ancient Roman magistrates as a badge of authority”  Merriam-Webster

Fasces

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). The fundamental difference between Communism and Nazi Fascism was that the Nazis also had a strong component of nationalism and racism which Communism mostly did not (at least all the time). Other than that there is little real difference in principle and hardly none in outcome, that is, millions of victims.

The attempt by the Left to define what it is acceptable to think and say, that is Political Correctness, is a strong symptom of the Fascism of the Left in America today. Strong authorities on the Left dictate what is correct to think, and now we have an emerging Antifa movement bent on using force and violence to silence those who resist being bound by their ideology.

That at its core is Fascism, the real thing.

On the other hand Conservatives, Libertarians, and many other members of what is called the Right stand for individual rights, free speech, and the duty to moral dissent based on conscience. All of these are under attack, and more and more often physical attack by the Left. It is becoming more and more dangerous to stand up publicly for these freedoms that Americans have taken for granted for generations.

Antifa Fascists dressed in black with a flag in red, black, and white – favorite colors of the Nazi SS Gestapo

Any familiarity with the history of Fascism and Communism the 20th century should be sufficient evidence that this is not the right path for those who love freedom and democracy.

lwk

Liberal Facism (Book)

Somewhere In Charlotte, N.C. In America

From Amazon:

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change Paperback – June 2, 2009

 

Liberal Facism

Fierce, funny, and controversial, Jonah Goldberg’s #1 New York Times bestseller traces fascism back to its surprising roots–in liberalism.

“Fascists,” “Brownshirts,” “jackbooted stormtroopers”—such are the insults typically hurled at conservatives by their liberal opponents. Calling someone a fascist is the fastest way to shut them up, defining their views as beyond the political pale. But who are the real fascists in our midst?

Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler’s National Socialism and Mussolini’s Fascism.

Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term “National socialism”). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist.

Do these striking parallels mean that today’s liberals are genocidal maniacs, intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order? Not at all. Yet it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. We often forget, for example, that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler’s Germany, and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal.

Fascism was an international movement that appeared in different forms in different countries, depending on the vagaries of national culture and temperament. In Germany, fascism appeared as genocidal racist nationalism. In America, it took a “friendlier,” more liberal form. The modern heirs of this “friendly fascist” tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

These assertions may sound strange to modern ears, but that is because we have forgotten what fascism is. In this angry, funny, smart, contentious book, Jonah Goldberg turns our preconceptions inside out and shows us the true meaning of Liberal Fascism.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON:

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change Paperback – June 2, 2009