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“? For those on the Left who claim the Nazis somehow were Capitalists see The Illusion of Left and Right – Part 2.
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
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.
Any familiarity with the history of Fascism and Communism in the 20th century should be sufficient evidence that this is not the right path for those who love freedom and democracy.
© 2017 Lawrence W. Kennon. All Rights Reserved.