Definition of Fascism
A reader with the vunderful name of Vunder Guy writes and asks:
Speaking of, what is the actual definition of fascism (just plain old fascism without the racial hatred) and communism, and what makes them both different from each other?
Other folk (including Paul Johnson and Tom Simon) have already answered this question with clarity and detail, but nonetheless I’d like to share my summation.
The first thing to realize is the the word has been etiolated by the Left to refer to anything they dislike, including, but not limited to, populist military dictatorships, constitutional monarchies, absolute monarchies, plutocracies, limited-government-style constitutional republics, English-style class systems, and various other forms of government which are mutually exclusive. Hence, when used by a Leftist, the word means ‘enemy’ and overlooks that fascism is merely one brand of Leftist secular doctrines of socialist utopian thinking.
Originally the word had a very specific meaning. It was coined by Mussolini, a socialist, to describe how his heresy of socialism differed from orthodox Marxist socialism.
The word itself comes from the fasci which is the Roman symbol of a magistrate called a Lictor, that is, the authority of the state to punish dissent and nonconformity. The fasci is a bundle of rods surrounding an ax. You can see it in the architectural decorations of statehouses and courts of law. The bundle of rods represents the truism that any one stick can be broken in isolation, but when gathered together, cannot be broken. If put into words, it is a symbol of the motto that unity is strength.
The two main differences of doctrine are, first, that Mussolini socialism operates factories and large businesses as public utilities, where the owners are allowed to keep their businesses in name only, but in fact are reduced to mere managers under direct state control, or quartermasters. This is distinct from Marxism in that it does not consider businessmen and workingmen to be two separate species of mankind, as Marxism does, locked in a Darwinian struggle to the death for racial survival.
The second difference and related to the first is that Mussolini considered the nation, that is, a racial and cultural group sharing a language, to be the fundamental collective to which the individual was to be subordinated, and the state to be the apotheosis of the collective Will. This is distinguished from Marxism who selected the rather more abstract (and irrational) group of persons engaged in categories of economic activity to be the fundamental collective.
The short answer is that a Fascist is a Nationalist Socialist whereas a Marxist is an International Socialist.
Marx believed the state would evaporate like the Bellman beholding a Boojam, and softly and suddenly vanish away, because the same rainbow-unicorn-powered magic fairy dust which would also eliminate the disutility of labor, the law of supply and demand, Say’s Law, Gresham’s Law, and also the law of cause and effect.
Odd as this sounds, Mussolini’s evil and crackpot theory was closer to reality than Marx’s evil and crackpot theory, but only because Marx was in total and absolute rebellion against reality in general and the science of economics in particular, and Mussolini was not. Of course, this is like saying Proxima Centauri is closer to Earth than Alpha Centauri.
Mussolini, albeit four lightyears away, is closer to reality than Mad Marx, because nation-states exist, whereas economic categories of behavior do not correspond to anything in the real world which forms a group of men with any interests in common, neither class, nor tribe, nor culture, nor law, nor anything. One man who works for his brother and owns his own tools, hires a maid, and buys one share of stock in his 401K is at once a proletarian, a bourgeoisie, an owner and a capitalist. Merely because a man engages in an activity of one or the other of these categories of economic analysis does not mean he shares any common interest to another man in the same activity. Ask Mr Macy whether Mr Gimbel and he have a harmony of self interests, or ask Coke whether anything that benefits Pepsi benefits Coke.
Marx also conflates economic activity groups (owner, wage-earner, investor) with social classes (peasant, burgher, aristocrat, royalty) and he just assumes the two are interchangeable. Only in England, and only in the Victorian Age, was this true even for some people. There was a time in England when all major industries were owned by aristocrat families who also controlled the Parliament, and they could and did rewrite the ancient laws of England to their personal benefit and class interests. But even in those years, the main tension was between the Old Money (whose wealth came from the conquests of their forefathers) and the Nouveau Riche (whose wealth came from their own earnings).
Mussolini saw, as the Cloudcuckooland theory of Marx by superhuman effort of self-inflicted folly somehow forced itself not to see, that men of different social classes belonging to the same nation would combine and sacrifice to overcome other nations in struggle or open war; whereas Marx believed that men of the same social class in different nations would combine to overcome other classes in struggle or open war.
Mussolini waved all that theoretical mumbo-jumbo away. In a sense, he was like a blue-collar version of a Marxist, a workingman’s Marxist, who wanted the practical results issuing from the doctrine of strength through unity. Being a pragmatist, Mussolini boasted that by making the captains of industry subordinates of the government, he could organize all aspects of human life and get the trains to run on time. This was a lie, by the way. The trains in Italy under Mussolini’s dictatorship never ran on time.
Being European, Mussolini was haunted by the racial memory of the Roman Empire, the source in Medieval legal theory of the legitimacy of government: his adventures in Ethiopia was an attempt to revive the old Roman love of conquest. Not being wise enough to read the lessons of history, he overlooked the fact that the Roman Republic was the organization that conquered the known world; the only thing the Roman Empire did was manage the years of shrinking, decline and fall.
So National Socialism has the particular quality of being unabashedly in favor of open war and conquest, after the fashion of the ancient Romans; whereas Marxist Socialists and modern Leftwingers are loudly and vehemently in favor of peace, unless the enemy is weak, in which case they are in favor of war, but they pretend to be motivated by some highminded motive.
Even though International Socialists from Mao and Stalin onward have killed an order of magnitude more innocent souls than National Socialists could ever dream, and conquered far more territory by direct military force, the doublethink of Political Correctness requires the International Socialists to claim to be peace-lovers, and they condemn National Socialists for being militant and militaristic.
When Hitler arose in Germany, he was nakedly, openly, obviously, and unambiguously a socialist, a man of the Left. The name of his political party was the National Socialist German Workers Party: Nazionalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterspartei, which was abbreviated to Nazi. But the Socialists of Russia, along with all their useful idiots, allies, and gigolos among the intellectuals of Europe claimed that Hitler was actually a ‘reactionary’ that is, someone working to restore the ancient Monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church on behalf of the worldwide conspiracy of industrialists, banks, and investors who secretly control the world. The Nazis, naturally enough, more than willing to distinguish themselves from their hated twin brothers the Communists, adopted the term ‘Right’ with pleasure, and saw themselves, ironically, as defenders of civilization against the Slavic hordes of Communism.
Much ado is made of Hitler’s racism, and fascism is frequently used as an interchangeable term with with racism. However, once one accepts the premise that the nation-state is based on one’s ethnic group, all outside groups maintaining a separate identity within one’s borders, Jews, Gypsies, and even Roman Catholics, who have any outside loyalties, are nonconformists and must be enslaved or exterminated.
The one group which never adapts, coheres, or assimilates into the nation-state is the Jew. Both Marx and Trotsky were Jewish, and many Jews enthusiastically joined the Communist movement. Conspiracy theory belief in the power of the Jew, particularly Jewish banking families, to control worldwide events, or their evil propensity to suck the lifeblood out of a nation and then flee elsewhere, combined with their unusual unwillingness to defend themselves by force of arms, makes it easy and fun to hate Jews, and we are even now seeing a raise of this satanic insanity grip and darken the minds of otherwise reasonable men; how much worse, how much easier, to stir up hatred against the one most hated of all races during times of war and depression and times of widespread government corruption and incompetence, such as was seen in Wiemar Germany, and is seen now. But Jew-hatred is a separate and supernatural phenomenon. The Italian brand of fascism had no part of it.
Nationalism is the odd and rather recent idea that men should draw their political boundaries where their language and cultural mores start and stop. Nationalism is a necessary precondition for democracy, just as Federalism is a necessary precondition for a republic, but older forms of government, monarchic or imperial, drew their boundaries without regard to language.
Fascism is the idolatry of the nation as the fundamental collective group from which the socialist utopia will spring. Any groups within the state unwilling to assimilate, unwilling to foreswear any outside loyalties, that is, any group with an international flavor, Jews, Gypsies, Roman Catholics, are suspect.
Fascism is populist in tone, and requires both the corruption of the state by wealthy businessmen, and the rapine of wealthy businessmen by the state. The recent and utterly lawless looting of General Motors by the Federal Government for the sake of the Labor Unions was as perfect an example of fascism in action as any example could be. Nazism was even more populist than Italian Fascism, so it is always an oddity to see in popular American films or comics a Nazi portrayed as a Baron with a monocle and the Heidelberg dueling scar. The German aristocrats by and large hated Nazism, and would have assassinated Hitler had the West shown them any reason to do so. Nazism was the lower classes rising up to despoil the aristocrats of their allegedly ill gotten gains.
The difference between Nazis and Commies is that the Communists, being book-taught intellectuals and Mandarins, wanted to obliterate the aristocrats and landowners and factory owners, whereas the Nazis, who hated the Commies more than the hated the rich, were willing merely to subvert or enslave the possessing classes.
Conservatism in America, for better or worse but mostly for the worst, has been saddled with the term ‘Right’ because we are, just as monarchists and imperialists and national socialists are, enemies of the glorious utopia foretold in the drug induced psychic phrenzy of the international socialist. Because the International Socialist dogma is from Cloudcuckooland, there will of course be surface features in common. For example, conservatives favor a strong military for national defense. National Socialists favor a strong military for the conquest of Ethiopia and Poland. Leftist favor unilateral disarmament of the West so that the strong military of the Reds can trample the blood-soaked slave-nations of the world, killing uncountable millions, without interference or protest from the West. Leftist who claim to be pacifists, or who say monies should be better spent on social engineering than national defense, are either liars, if they alert enough to be liars, or are useful idiots. I have seen Leftist volunteer to be human shields to block the weapons of democratic nations pointed at Communists or Mohammedans; I have never seen Leftist volunteer to be human shields to block Communist or Mohammedan weapons pointed at any democracy.
Conservatism (ironically, considering the firm, clear, and abstract ideals of the movement) prides itself on practicality and the lack of an abstract ideology; since National Socialism likewise sought a pragmatic method of putting the Marxist program of heaven on earth into practice, both are distinct from the airy and ethereal intellectual carbon monoxide fumes which pass for ideals in the brains of the Left.
However, the similarities between the Left and the fascists are many and markedly pronounced, whereas similarities between Conservatives and the fascists are matters of slander and rhetoric. No socialist or any stripe, nationalist or internationalist, ever favored private ownership of weapon or private ownership of industry, none ever favored the melting pot theory of national unity or the federalist theory of national disunity. Leftists are racists, and whether they favor foreign races over their own or favor their own race over the foreign is no matter.
Conservatives judge a man not by his faceless membership in a collective identity, but by the content of his character, by the unique soul created by that same Almighty God who grants us our political rights and liberties which we enact governments, as our servants, to protect and enshrine. Conservatism is Western, Christian, and Individualist. Socialism is Oriental, Secular, and Collectivist. A fascist demands the state run the economy and trample individual liberty for in the name of the good of the national collective; a communist demands the state run the economy and trample individual liberty in the name of the good of a meaningless abstraction having something to do with pretending economics does not exist, but they act just like fascists in protecting their national collective. Soviet Russia was run for the benefit of the Russia leaders and Russian race and Russian nation, trampling the many other ethnic groups living in their boundaries, and conquering any territory they can outside their boundaries; in the exact same way that Red China is run for the benefit of the Chinese leaders of the Mandarin race and Chinese nation, trampling the many other ethnic groups living in their boundaries, and conquering any territory they can outside their boundaries.
In sum, Communists and Fascists behave the exact same way, but the Communists are hypocrites about it, and the Fascists are not. Both are socialist and secular totalitarians.