I have seen many people struggle to define Fascism. I don’t understand why this is so difficult, myself, but I know it is confusing for many. SO, if you have a few minutes, I would like to explain it to you in the simplest terms I can. What’s more, I am going to do it using the words of the man who coined the term, ‘Fascism.’ That means, we are going to go straight to the horses mouth.
The man who is credited with coining the term, ‘Fascism,’ is Benito Mussolini, the Fascist Italian dictator. Mussolini said this about Fascism:
“Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merge of state and corporate power.”
OK, here is where we have to be honest with ourselves. Mussolini said that Fascism is a blending of the separate powers of Corporations with the State, or government. This means — per his own words — Fascism is a ‘private-public’ partnership (PPP). If you have a few extra minutes, put that into your Google search engine and see what you find. It should be more than enough to convince you that big business has already joined forces with the government.
Now, if you listen to some people out there (usually Marxists, but not always), they will tell you that the Corporations are the most powerful force in our society, and that they keep government from doing the things it needs to do ‘for the People.’ But this is not true! When Bush ‘trampled the free market to save the free market,’ and Obama trampled private property rights to save the auto unions, they proved — beyond any argument — that the government is supreme. It is over Corporate America — period!
The thing you need to know about Fascism is that it sees the State, or Government, as the central focus of human effort — not the individual. In fact, to the Fascist, the individual has a duty to subordinate himself or herself to the State. Once again, here is Mussolini explaining this:
“Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State … Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual.”
“Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State.”
Now, I understand it is not popular these days, but I am going to quote Hitler. He is one of the best known ‘Fascists,’ so he is in the perfect position to show that he held the same understanding about Fascism as Mussolini:
“It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of the nation, that the position of the individual is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole.”
“Society’s needs come before the individual’s needs.”
OK, now that we have allowed the man who invented the word, Fascism, and one of the best known Fascists tell us what Fascism means, let’s go back to the man who first coined the term and listen to how he said it is supposed to work:
“The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.”
“State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management.”
— Benito Mussolini
So, Mussolini said that Fascism should allow the private sector to run things however it wants — unless and until the State sees a national need. At that point, the State has the right to step in and direct any and every industry however the State sees fit (does this sound familiar to you?).
The question now is, did Hitler agree?
“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built.”
“In relation to the political decontamination of our public life, the government will embark upon a systematic campaign to restore the nation’s moral and material health. The whole educational system, theater, film, literature, the press and broadcasting – all these will be used as a means to this end.”
It seems that Hitler believed it was the States duty to shape society, and that, to achieve this goal, it had the right to use nearly every industry and social institution in Germany. Others may disagree, but — to me — this sounds like Hitler most certainly did agree with Mussolini over how Fascism is supposed to work.
So, this is what Fascism is:
A partnership between the private sector and government, where government is the ultimate authority.
And this is how Fascism is supposed to work:
By allowing the private sector to run itself unless and until the State sees a need that must be achieved for the good of the State/Nation.
Again, others may disagree, but — in this case — they are trying to re-define Fascism if they do. I say this because I have used the words of the man who coined the term, Fascism, to define it. I have also used the words of one of history’s most famous Fascists to define Fascism. In other words, I have simply let two of the most famous Fascists in history define Fascism. However, I have left out how the world’s first Fascist dictator defined Fascism.
“For it is very clear that, in fundamental theory, socialism and democracy are almost, if not quite, one and the same. They both rest at bottom upon the absolute right of the community to determine its own destiny and that of its members. Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals. Limits of wisdom and convenience to the public control there may be: limits of principle there are, upon strict analysis, none.*”
–Woodrow Wilson, Socialism and Democracy, 1887
Yes! That’s correct: American President, Woodrow Wilson, has been recognized as the world’s first Fascist dictator. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. If you knew enough history, you would realize that a great many of the political illnesses that started in Europe moved here, to the U.S.. If you’re interested, a good place to start is to look up ‘The Frankfurt School of Germany.’ But, for now, what you need to know is that, if you start down this rabbit hole, I have told you the basics of the absolute truth you will discover. What you need to do now is use it to evaluate the world in which you live. Ask yourself: which side of the political divide is pushing for a total union of the private and public sectors, with the government running it all? I know there are levels of this tendency on all sides these days, but one side has openly embraced this ideal, and that side is closest to Fascism. I suppose I’ll just have to trust that you, dear reader, will have eyes to see which side that is and to act accordingly.
*[NOTE: Wilson has been recognized as the world’s first Fascist dictator, but he is difficult to pin down with simple quotes. This is because, thinking of himself as a superior intellect, he had a tendency to express himself in paragraphs filled with big words and rambling side-bars, when a simple sentence would have sufficed. Unfortunately, this means a person has to spend a bit of time reading Wilson before it becomes clear why modern political historians have stated Wilson was the world’s first Fascist dictator. However, having read a great deal of Wilson, I can assure you: if you read Wilson, you will definitely find the outline of the Fascist ideal as later expressed and lived by Mussolini and Hitler.]