When one evokes the term Fascism many have a specific reaction. This reaction almost always comes from a point of ignorance. A little information from the source is really all that is necessary to truly understand the tenets of Fascism and dispense with the feigned shock and melodrama.
What most folk understand or believe about Fascism has been contextualized by remnants of WW2 propaganda. Surely that information is truthful, right? It isn’t like liberal mass democracy would have anything to hide (((OyGevalt))). The images in old news reels of storm troopers in jack boots, dive bombing Stukas and the sound of siren, advancing tank spearheads in the ‘Blitz’ – all these things conjure a perception of evil and aspirations of global dominion.
But are these images and assumptions of any value if they are wholly derived from fairy tales? I should hope not. Fascism at it’s core is nationalistic to a fault. The very idea that it was an expansionist ideology is a patent falsehood. Any history of Fascist expansion was due to concerns of defensive military tactics and measures, but I digress.
Last week, I discussed Neofascism And The Fascist ‘Theory Of Violence.’ This week, I will be discussing another facet of Fascism that is rarely, if ever spoken of: the spiritual concepts – in order to get a true understanding of this peculiar, but intriguing ‘faith.’
I will be referring to the 1932 work of Benito Mussolini entitled The Doctrine of Fascism. Mussolini lays out concisely here how a man should interpret the world and how one should strive for excellence in all endeavors while keeping a reverence for tradition and the sacrifices of generations past.
These concepts are based in the idea that if individuals strive to perfect themselves, doing so will perfect their nation. The idea of perfecting one’s self, according to Mussolini, isn’t for an individual’s own benefit. It is for the greater benefit of society. These concepts lend themselves to the ethereal and show another quality unspoken when fascism is normally discussed: The Principle of Self Sacrifice.
This is the idea that “the needs of the ‘many’ outweigh the needs of the ‘few’ or the ‘one’ and has probably best been typified by Fascist or far right leaders like Corneliu Codreanu and his ‘Legion of Archangel Michael’ in Romania. Fascism in it’s essence, has a cathedral like quality, a purity. It is a spiritual view of life.
Mussolini states in his sub chapter, Spiritual View of Life:
The conception is therefore a spiritual one, arising from the general reaction of the century against the materialistic positivism of the XIXth century. Anti-positivistic but positive; neither skeptical nor agnostic; neither pessimistic nor supinely optimistic as are, generally speaking, the doctrines (all negative) which place the center of life outside man; whereas, by the exercise of his free will, man can and must create his own world.
Fascism wants man to be active and to engage in action with all his energies; it wants him to be manfully aware of the difficulties besetting him and ready to face them. It conceives of life as a struggle in which it behooves a man to win for himself a really worthy place, first of all by fitting himself (physically, morally, intellectually) to become the implement required for winning it. As for the individual, so for the nation, and so for mankind . Hence the high value of culture in all its forms (artistic, religious, scientific) and the outstanding importance of education. Hence also the essential value of work, by which man subjugates nature and creates the human world (economic, political, ethical, and intellectual).
This positive conception of life is obviously an ethical one. It invests the whole field of reality as well as the human activities which master it. No action is exempt from moral judgment; no activity can be despoiled of the value which a moral purpose confers on all things. Therefore life, as conceived of by the Fascist, is serious, austere, and religious; all its manifestations are poised in a world sustained by moral forces and subject to spiritual responsibilities. The Fascist disdains an “easy” life .
The Fascist conception of life is a religious one, in which man is viewed in his immanent relation to a higher law, endowed with an objective will transcending the individual and raising him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. Those who perceive nothing beyond opportunistic considerations in the religious policy of the Fascist regime fail to realize that Fascism is not only a system of government but also and above all a system of thought.
We can understand now why it may be legitimate to say that Fascism is a spiritual philosophy as well a political theory. Man, being in a constant state of struggle, should strive with all his possible energy (physically, morally, intellectually) in all endeavors. This concept is very reminiscent to the ‘American spirit’ and Protestant work ethic – something, in my opinion, that Americans desperately need to be reminded of.
Fascism dares to dream like our forgotten American ‘can do’ spirit of nothing being impossible if we only dare to imagine. The Doctrine of Fascism teaches to keep a positive view of the future with the understanding that, as our fathers sacrificed for us, so shall we sacrifice for the next generation while always striving for a (physically, morally, intellectually) ordered society.
Many of us may or may not want to consider Fascism as a possible government or measure to correct America’s current issues. What we can do however, is understand the various aspects and concepts of Fascism, and adopt them to fit our current political needs. Stay frosty fam. It’s getting weird out there.