What Is Fascism?

by James Miller

POLITICAL RADICALS OFTEN SHOUT, “Fascist! Fascist!” at anyone who doesn’t agree with their views. The term is especially popular among college students. But do such people actually know what Fascism is? Have they studied it?

Unfortunately, Fascism has an undeserved bad reputation. Regardless of this reputation, Fascism is a very sensible economic and social ideology. There are a few different “flavors” of Fascism, but basically they all come down to the following.

Fascism is an economic system in which a nation’s government plays a central role in monitoring all banking, trade, production, and labor activity which takes place within the nation. Such monitoring is done for the sole purpose of safeguarding and advancing the nation and its people. Under Fascism, the government will not approve of any business activity unless that business has a positive impact on the nation as a whole and the people of the nation — this is the axiom which determines everything under Fascism.

In other words, the government asks, “Is XYZ Enterprises good for our nation and our people?” If yes, it’s approved. If no, it’s not approved. When they ask “Is it good?” they mean, “Is XYZ Enterprises good for the workers? Do they pay a fair wage? Do they produce a product or provide a service which advances our nation and our people technologically, morally, spiritually, and in health, et cetera?” For example, a pornography company would not be allowed because pornography corrupts people generally and exploits and degrades women particularly. Also, “free” trade agreements (such as what the U.S. has with China) would never be allowed because such trade agreements result in companies sending jobs overseas (where labor is dirt cheap). Such an activity, of course, would undermine a nation’s labor class. This is entirely unacceptable and thus not allowed under a Fascist economic model.

Fascism is based on free enterprise — but with constraints (the primary constraint being “Is the particular economic activity in question good for our nation?”). Also, a businessman can become wealthy in a Fascist country, and the government has no objection to this (this is in stark contrast to Communism). Fascism also encourages private ownership of property (again, in stark contrast to Communism where private property is not allowed).

An Italian coin of 1923, fasces on reverse

In a nutshell, Fascism basically tells entrepreneurs, “Go ahead and start a business, earn a lot of money, be successful, but don’t produce any products or services which damage our nation and our nation’s people… and make sure you treat your workers fairly and pay them a living wage. If you don’t do these things, we’ll shut you down.”

Under Fascism, usury is not allowed. The government tightly controls monetary policy and banking. The government issues/prints money and lends it interest free, as needed, to grow the economy and ultimately serve the citizens.

The above is the economic aspect of Fascism. There is also a cultural/social aspect to Fascism as well. Under Fascism, government plays a key role in monitoring film, theatre, art, literature, music, education, etc. in order to maintain a high moral standard, keep things clean and respectable, promote a strong sense of patriotism and honor, and prevent the dissemination of depraved filth which corrupts society.

A US coin of 1945, fasces on reverse

With regard to political legislation introduced by a Fascist government, the same criterion is applied — “Will this proposed law benefit the nation as a whole and the people of our nation?”

Fascism also encourages respect for the environment, as Fascists understand that Nature is the giver of life and thus must be preserved. Contrast this environmental view with that of Capitalism which too often takes the short-term view with regard to natural resources and foolishly believes that pollution is a necessary byproduct of profit. Also, and somewhat related to environmental issues, Fascism holds very progressive views with regard to animal rights.

Also, under Fascism, if a person doesn’t like things, he/she can leave the country.

Contrast this with Communism where if you don’t like things, you better keep your mouth shut — and where, of course, there is no option to leave: You will submit or else be sent to a re-education camp where you’ll be brainwashed to accept the Communist system. And, if you still resist, you’ll probably be killed. Again, there is no leaving. Submit or suffer the consequences.

The goddess Hera holding the fasces

Further, Fascism holds women in very high regard. Women are the carriers of new life. They are expected to be educated, worldly, and well-read. Women are encouraged to pursue their interests and have a career but only if a career won’t interfere with their family’s needs; family comes first, always. Women are encouraged to be strong yet feminine. Consistent with these ideas, Fascist art often portrays women as heroic and even goddess-like.

In short, Fascism is a form of government and social system which authentically serves the interests of the people and nation as a whole. The word “Fascism” comes from the Italian word “fascio” meaning “the group” or more specifically, “in consideration of the group.” Fascism is rooted in the notion that people must stay true to two mental concepts throughout their lives: 1) the individual’s needs (themselves) and, 2) the group’s needs (their nation)… always evaluating how their actions affect the group. Thus Fascism rejects the self-centered “me me me” mentality so common under capitalism. For example, in a Fascist nation each person is expected to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. For, if not, they may become seriously ill and thus require expensive health care; this would negatively impact the group (i.e., they’d become a financial burden on the nation).

George Washington holding the fasces

Continuing this line of thought, under Fascism all people of one’s ethnicity are considered the greater family of that person. Hence, a Fascist nation is thought of as one giant family of several million people. Therefore, just as one mustn’t do anything to hurt one’s brother or sister in one’s immediate family, under Fascism one mustn’t do anything which would hurt the nation/group (i.e., the greater family). This is the essence of Fascism — a strong consideration of the group, balanced with individualism.

In Germany, the former NSDAP (i.e., “Nazis”) followed the above-described Fascist system.

A further note on economics: Although the economic aspect of Fascism is free-market based, Fascism is not capitalism. Many on the political left wrongly equate Fascism with capitalism. Again, Fascism is not capitalism. Allow me to briefly explain: The primary goal of capitalism is profit. On the other hand, the primary goal of Fascism is the well-being of a nation’s citizens and well-being of the nation as a whole. In a purist-type capitalist country (i.e., super-capitalism) almost nothing can interfere with maximizing profits — not workers, not the environment, almost nothing. Even when a capitalist country starts out with tight government regulations, it invariably moves towards laissez-faire economics (i.e., super-capitalism) by way of less and less government regulation. Human greed drives this transformation and ultimately the working class suffer via lower wages — or loss of employment altogether if their job is, say, transferred overseas (e.g., to China) where labor is dirt cheap. Capitalists believe that immense wealth at the top will “trickle down” to the masses: that is, that everything will magically work itself out. A certain amount of wealth does “trickle down” but, too often, the worker and environment suffer. As just one example, tens of millions of American manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas during the past two decades (capitalist so-called “free” trade policies have allowed for such outsourcing of jobs). Lastly, just as Fascists reject Communism, they also reject capitalism.

Everybody’s a Fascist Now! by Kevin Alfred Strom

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