Webster defines Fascism as: “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”
The Left and mainstream political science identify Italian fascism and German National Socialism as right-wing ideologies. Their motivation is clear: they do not want to be associated with regimes that brought civilization horror and suffering on an unprecedented scale. The Left traditionally substantiates its point of view with two theoretical propositions. First of all, fascism and Nazism do not belong to the Left because those regimes did not institute total collective ownership on means of production as Marx prescribed. Secondly, nationalism and racism have traditionally been features of the right, whereas the Left is perceived to comprise internationalists.
Thus, Stalin pointed out in his interview to American journalist Roy Howard, “The foundation of the [socialist] society is public property: state, i.e., national, and co-operative, collective farm property. Neither Italian fascism nor German National-‘socialism’ has anything in common with such a society. Primarily, this is because the private ownership of the factories and works, of the land, the banks, transport, etc. has remained intact, and, therefore, capitalism remains in full force in Germany and Italy.” That has been the notorious argument of Marxian socialists.
Unfortunately, rightists are accustomed to fighting anti-materialist and anti-positivist socialist ideologies, using the materialistic line of reasoning. The prominent libertarian scholar Ludwig von Mises showed that even though fascists and Nazis allowed private property, nominal owners were deprived of the rights to manage it. “If the State takes the power of disposal from the owner piecemeal, by extending its influence over production; if its power to determine what direction production shall be, is increased, then the owner is left at last with nothing except the empty name of ownership, and property has passed into the hands of the State,” wrote Mises in Socialism. Indisputably, his arguments adequately describe real economic affairs under these regimes. The government began to influence the economy on a scale that was unheard of, except for the Soviet Union. Indeed, entrepreneurs were deprived of the free commodity market, labor market, and international money market; the state established wage and price controls and overall influenced production, distribution, and consumption.
It should be recognized that Mises’s arguments have lost their sharpness in the present. For the last century, the state had been firmly fixed in the economic sphere of society, and it reluctantly gave up its position. After all, many generations of people live in conditions where the government dictates the terms of the economy. They do not even suspect that the state and the economy may have different relations, meaning that the government could be limited in its impact on business. Fascist and Nazi regimes had created a prototype of the nanny state, which was further developed in Europe after World War II. Modern industrial countries are guilty of conducting policies that resemble the ones from the cookbooks of the Italian and German governments of the past. Indeed, the modern state has put in place various regulations and policies that adversely affect businesses and the economy as a whole.
It seems correct to return to the comprehensive definition of socialism and see if fascism and Nazism fall under its cover. It is also necessary to free oneself from the hegemony of the materialistic interpretation of socialism imposed by Marxism-Leninism. Thus, socialism is a set of artificial socioeconomic systems characterized by a different degree of socialization of property and consciousness. Numerous socialist trends emphasize the role of unified ideology and the predominance of moral principles rather than the socialization of property as the ultimate way to achieve socialism. Consciousness, like the physical body of a person, is the firstborn private entity of the personality. Material private property and own ideas are the main objectives of the socialists’ attack. Collectivization of consciousness, which is the subjugation of the individual to the collective, was the main path chosen by Mussolini and Hitler, instead of outright expropriation of private property as the Bolsheviks did. Socialist regimes used coercion and persuasion to carry out the collectivization of consciousness; moreover, the latter occupied even more prominence in the regime. In modern settings, the outright collectivist indoctrination in educational institutions became a primary form of belief.
The majority of the respective populations almost effortlessly accepted national ideas of fascists and Nazis. Götz Aly mentioned in Hitler’s Beneficiaries that the Third Reich was not a dictatorship maintained by force. He gave a vivid example: in 1937, the Gestapo had just over 7,000 employees, which sufficed to keep tabs on more than 60 million people. The vast majority of the population voluntarily subordinated their thoughts to the ideas of the ruling party. Consequently, the society that underwent collectivization of mind eagerly supported any policies, including economic measures, proposed by the government. German entrepreneurs were an integral part of the nationalist movement and did not mind accepting new rules. They enthusiastically took part in the social experiment. Both fascists and Nazis undertook an enormous task to amalgamate entrepreneurs and toilers into one classless nation directed by a single ideology and reporting to the state and party elites.
Therefore, the first argument put forward by the Left should be rebuffed by truth-seekers with the following reasoning. First of all, Italian fascism and National Socialism belong to the Left, as they are incarnations of the non-Marxian socialism that utilized collectivization of consciousness rather than the socialization of private property as the primary path. Secondly, de facto state control over the economy will ultimately lead to the socialization of private property, which will make the state de jure owner.
Now, let’s consider the second argument put forward by leftist academia. The supposed exclusive nationalism and racism of the right happens to be a political myth propelled by vicious leftist propaganda. Since it was proven that Italian fascism and German National Socialism were genuine socialist movements, the argument of the Left regarding the intrinsic chauvinism of the right does not hold water. Moreover, it is long overdue to turn the tables on leftist academia and protect the good name of conservatism as well as libertarianism with the firm facts. It is known that the founders of Marxism were xenophobes who adhered to the Hegelian division of nations to historical and non-historical. Overall, some currents of socialism preached outright chauvinism; others used internationalist rhetoric to gain political benefits.
Moreover, nationalism was not a factor that divided the political spectrum into the left-right wings at the beginning of the 20th century. Instead, it is precisely the antagonism between capital and labor that, in Marxist terms, divided the political spectrum. Therefore, nationalism might be inherent in various political philosophies, in both the defenders of capital and the proponents of labor. No firm historical facts suggest that nationalism is a particular characteristic of the right. On the contrary, as proponents of the free market, rightists promote an international division of labor and trade. At the same time, traditional regimes of the Left, including Italian fascism and German National Socialism, implemented an economy of national autarchy.
Therefore, propagandist arguments put forward by the Left happen to be a disturbance of the truth. The irony is that the sins of nationalism and racism attributed to the right mostly originated and grew on the Left’s turf.
Many attribute the rise of fascism to Italy’s Benito Mussolini. However, few know the name of the man Mussolini regarded as the father of fascism— Giovanni Gentile. Gentile was an Italian philosopher who was influenced by Giuseppe Mazzini, a politician and member of the Action Party, a left-wing party that strongly advocated for the establishment of large supranational organizations such as the EU. Gentile also drew influences from other prominent leftist philosophers, among them Karl Marx (as seen in his essay The Philosophy of Marx) and Georg Hegel (as seen in their respective descriptions of the role of the state in Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right and Gentile’s Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals). Mussolini was a great admirer of Karl Marx and Marx’s principle of revolutionary socialism – to distinguish Marxist socialism from the democratic socialists and labor unions that were emerging in Europe.
Aside from the purely philosophical contradictions that arise when evaluating Gentile’s works with the ideas and policies supported by the political right, practical inconsistencies also exist. In The Doctrine of Fascism, often attributed to Mussolini (but ghostwritten in large part by Gentile), fascism is described as a system in which “everything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value, outside the State. In this sense Fascism is totalitarian ….” This is not only inconsistent with the traditional values of the political right but entirely antithetical to some of the most deeply-rooted convictions held by conservatives, such as the idea that individualism ought to be encouraged, not dispelled, as is the case in Gentile’s fascism.
Furthermore, while Gentile’s ideology may appear to advocate for the privatization of industries, in reality it was merely state corporatism that viewed “private organization of production [as] a function of national concern,” in which “the organizer of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.” This autarkic desire for the reliance of economic outcomes to be within the control of the State is far from the laissez-faire advocacies of Adam Smith.
Mussolini, like Marx and Lenin, saw the party as the vanguard of the working class, a force from without the system that would usher in change. Mussolini was in fact a member of the socialist party of Italy, although he broke with the party on the issue of neutrality during World War I. It was later that Mussolini thought to combine socialism with nationalism, and form a new party. He called the combination “fascism.” A fasces is a bundle of rods, each individually weak while the bundle is strong. Mussolini’s counterpart in Germany called the combination “national socialism.” In Germany, where they like long words, this became “Nationalsozialistische.” In America, where we like short words, this became “Nazi.”
Adolph Hitler was in many ways like Mussolini. Hitler, like Mussolini, was a great admirer of Marx, and was originally a member of the socialist party. Hitler, like Mussolini, served in the army of his country during World War I, and both rose to the rank of corporal. Hitler, like Mussolini, said that the members of the working class were not easily drawn to revolutionary socialism, but were responsive to a combination of socialism and nationalism.
The new national socialist parties of Italy and Germany clashed with the communist parties of those countries. This was a clash of rivals both of which were revolutionary socialist and had the will to power. Then, when the traditional conservative, liberal and democratic socialist parties were in decline, the national socialists rose to power with the support of certain industrialists (we would say “crony capitalists”).
The main difference between Hitler’s form of national socialism and Mussolini’s concerned the meaning of “nationalism.” Hitler thought of nationalism along genetic lines, while Mussolini thought of nationalism along cultural lines. American progressives were, at the time, sympathetic to both points of view. Woodrow Wilson was definitely in the racist camp. Theodore Roosevelt in the cultural camp. Family planning, abortion and forced sterilization were part of the agenda, along with establishing labor colonies for the undesirable elements of society and using public schools to indoctrinate the next generation. In Oregon, the KKK was successful in outlawing private or religious schools until the Supreme Court ruled that to be unconstitutional.
The absurd claim that fascism and Nazism are not socialist movements owes it origin, in part, to the hideous reputations those leftist ideologies and their regimes earned in the wake of World War II. How could progressives expect to thrive in America if the Holocaust and other atrocities were linked to its political relatives? Consequently, a gigantic lie was perpetrated by leftist intellectuals and slavishly spread by a sympathetic media—namely, that fascism was a movement of the “far right” and that conservatives were also on “the right.” This “Big Lie” has long been a staple of Democratic propaganda and the basis for the absurd notion that President Trump is a fascist—not his violent, GOP-assassinating, speech-suppressing, “Antifa” opponents.
Most conservatives are aware of links between fascism and socialism. After all, the term “Nazi” refers to a “National Socialist” party. What many of them, and certainly most Americans, don’t know, thanks to a mendacious media and institutions of advanced deception, are the countless ties (centralized government, racism, eugenics, state-sanctioned violence, and enforced cultural uniformity) that link fascists and even Nazis to the progressive movement.
Indeed, a mutual admiration relationship existed between Mussolini and FDR—a romance evidenced not only by a White House-organized ticker-tape parade for Mussolini’s aviation minister, but also by New Deal policies like the National Recovery Administration that effectively put the American economy under Roosevelt’s dictatorial control. Not surprisingly, a New York Times journalist praised FDR for following Mussolini’s example—though the Supreme Court, not yet cowed by FDR’s later fascistic court-packing threat, did not cheer this unconstitutional power grab.
In 1933, FDR himself said of Mussolini, “There seems no question he is really interested in what we are doing and I am much interested and deeply impressed by what he has accomplished …” Mussolini, for his part, was thrilled to be called “the Italian Roosevelt.” Even more surprising to Americans weaned on “the big lie” is the fact that Germany’s Nazi press frequently praised FDR in the early 1930s. One magazine lauded “the fascist New Deal” in which the central government (as in fascism) exercised substantial control over “private” industry and finance.
Fascism itself, as D’Souza explains in his book ‘The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left’, arose due to the spectacular failure of Marx’s predictions about proletarian revolutions. Mussolini and Lenin, both Marxists, proposed different reasons for this failure, but both remained socialists dedicated to centralized government and totalitarian societies. Thus, the bloody feud between fascism and communism was an internecine war akin to the ongoing hostilities between Sunni and Shiite sects within Islam.
D’Souza’s work contains a fair amount of material also found in Jonah Goldberg’s less strident book, Liberal Fascism—especially information about the “proto-fascist” proclivities of the Constitution-despising Woodrow Wilson under whose re-segregated regime the KKK, known as the “domestic terrorist arm of the Democratic Party,” reemerged in spectacular fashion. The Big Lie, however, goes beyond Goldberg by linking Progressivism to Nazism via their kindred eugenics-based racist beliefs. D’Souza notes, for example, that Hitler’s anti-Jewish Nuremberg laws were explicitly patterned after Democrat-instituted segregation and anti-miscegenation laws in the South and that progressives in America “outpaced the Nazis in initiating mass programs of forced incarceration and forced sterilization …”
D’Souza also fully addresses a question I posed to Mr. Goldberg after a book lecture in San Diego—to which question I received an unsatisfactory answer: “How did it come to pass that fascism is commonly called ‘rightwing’?” To this query The Big Lie provides a detailed response. The leftist historian Richard Hofstadter began this project by linking Social Darwinism in America to capitalism—thus transferring racist eugenics from its progressive spawning ground to the conservative “right.” Two Germans émigrés from the Marxist Frankfort School, Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno, subsequently developed the big lie that fascism wasn’t so much a political philosophy as a personality disorder associated with morally repressed conformists and traditional religious folk. In short, fascism became an “authoritarian” neurosis rooted in conservative sentiments.
Never mind that Hitler was a bohemian who despised Christianity, that Mussolini was an atheist, and that fascists hoped to create a new society filled with “supermen” and not suburbanites lounging in hot tubs. Ignore also the fact that fascism is a political philosophy with a background that’s been erased by the primary practitioners of the Big Lie —academia, the media, and Hollywood. According to D’Souza, fascism’s philosophical founder was Giovanni Gentile, an Italian who, like Mussolini after him, moved from Marxism to fascism. Most of Gentile’s program could easily be mistaken for any recent Democratic Party platform.
As Dinesh D’Souza explains, many on the left tend to point out that fascism is to the right of communism. While this may be true, it does not mean that fascism is an inherently right-wing ideology. For example, socialism is also to the right of communism, but nobody would argue it is a traditional right-wing system. The concentration of Federal authority in absentia of a system of Checks and Balances, which occurred on the Grand Council of Fascism under Mussolini and Gentile, is not right-wing. The eradication of individuality in favor of a collectivist society homogeneous in every way is not right-wing.
Fascism is not merely a radical appreciation of individualism, capitalism, and freedom (values universally cherished by the right); it relies instead on a totalitarian implementation of socialism with radical nationalist tendencies. True fascism— Gentile’s fascism— stands diametrically opposed to the foundational principles of conservatism and the mainstream political right. To pretend that fascism is a right-wing ideology, and worse, to attribute those characteristics to members of mainstream political thought, is to ignore the words of its founding philosopher and the dark history of its inception.
The only official definition of Fascism comes from Benito Mussolini, the founder of fascism, in which he outlines three principles of a fascist philosophy.
- ”Everything is in the state”. The Government is supreme and the country is all-encompasing, and all within it must conform to the ruling body, often a dictator.
- ”Nothing is outside the state”. The country must grow and the implied goal of any fascist nation is to rule the world, and have every human submit to the government.
- ”Nothing is against the state”. Any type of questioning the government is not to be tolerated. If you do not see things our way, you are wrong. If you do not agree with the government, you cannot be allowed to live and taint the minds of the rest of the good citizens.
The use of militarism was implied only as a means to accomplish one of the three above principles, mainly to keep the people and rest of the world in line. Fascist countries are known for their harmony and lack of internal strife. There are no conflicting parties or elections in fascist countries.”