Over the past week I’ve engaged in a few discussions on Fascism, but not solely in relation to what Fascism actually is but instead it was primarily debating around the use of the word “Fascist” to describe Nigel Farage. Originally in reaction to a comment on the Times Facebook page it then dragged over into an attempt to tell the story which resulted in some of the listening parties to agree with my opponents sentiments. Safe to say it would have been an enjoyable debate had my opponents (in my opinion) not only understood what Fascism actually was but provided no substantial evidence to their point. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident whereby someone missuses the word “Fascist” to primarily demonize their opponent by associating them with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis by association. So the purpose of this is not to belittle my opponents, but to inform and educate so that when people so when you come across people like this you are prepared. Although I am by no means an expert on the subject I believe I have enough knowledge to write a short and concise piece.
First off we must answer the question, what exactly is fascism?
Many historians find Fascism hard to define in strict ideological terms, but some agree that it is more of a spectrum with central beliefs. The reason it is so hard to define is that there is no one central source from which the ideology derives itself from, as is the case with Das Kapital by Karl Marx is one of the key stages in the popularization of socialist thought. Some believe Fascism to have been created from a crisis of liberalism post First World War, with the failure of democracies to handle the climactic and dramatic extreme politics of the time. Others believe it to be a reactionary movement born out of the anti-Socialist sphere of politics in Europe at the time, many of whom used violence against them as a means to tackle the communist threat. Another theory is a simpler one which states that the fascist movement hearkened back to a simpler time before the industrial revolution in the mid 1800’s.
What does Fascists believe?
While it’s origins are up for debate, there are a set of core beliefs and tenets which clearly lie at the heart of Fascism. One is that Fascism is strictly authoritarian, a core belief among fascists is that liberalism and democracy have failed and the implementation of a strong state, a police state, centered around a single figurehead is necessary, thus focusing on a cult of personality in which all power lies. Within the police state political freedoms are crushed and dissidents are all but eradicated for the stability and the preservation of peace.
Another is the collectivist and nationalist agenda in which individualism is rooted out in favour of policies which benefited society, one such common example is the idea that women are to be resigned to the motherhood role, focusing solely on birthing and raising the future generations. While Fascism does advocate government involvement in the economy, it wasn’t too concerned with the means of production but rather a top down managerial role.
Fascism is an ideology involved in aggressive imperialist expansion, to use the resources gained through such endeavors for the betterment of the nation. Whether that be living space for the future generation to reside or to use the resources gained at the fuel for development and to feed their domestic economies. As a result the military becomes a focus of attention, so it gains increased funding and usually gains manpower through conscription and military service,as it needs to be prepared to engage in aggressive wars.
These are some of the core defining themes within the fascist ideology. While it does go much deeper than what has been described here, that is for another day.
Modern day use of the word “Fascism” or “Fascist”
As mentioned earlier today the word Fascism no longer has any real meaning in the common tongue. It has been supplanted primarily by those on the far-left, specifically in the antifa movement (ironic), as a byword for individuals and ideals which they disagree with. After all since the Second World War and the collapse of Fascist regimes on the continent there aren’t really any true fascists left as the ideology was basically debunked.
Unfortunately I don’t believe there will be a trend away from using “Fascist” outside of using it in the proper context and people will be willfully ignorant of its true meaning, but its just something we will just have to deal with for the time being. The best tactic we can do is to combat the use by learning what the true meaning of the word is and acquiring knowledge about Fascism so that when the time comes we can show them the truth.