This post comes as elections draw to a close in both France and Greece, nations that are either set to suffer or are dying under current policies, respectively. Happily, I can note that Francois Hollande has secured victory in the French election (http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/06/11565997-french-president-sarkozy-admits-defeat-in-presidential-bid), beating out the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round, a feat that hasn’t been done since Valery Giscard d’Estaing was voted out in 1981. In Greece’s parliamentary elections, a push against austerity has driven voters to throw support to more extreme parties on the left and right, just barely leaving enough power for the conservative New Democracy party to form a government (http://news.yahoo.com/voting-begins-greek-general-election-044821544.html). While this is good news for my supporters of the far left in Greece, a shadow hangs over this victory, and it is the topic of this post. A hard-line conservative Greek party, known as Golden Dawn, was able to garner some success in the Greek elections. The only problem with this is that Golden Dawn is a Neo-Nazi party. In this post, I intend to explain why Nazism and more broadly Fascism are the absolute worst forms of governance, and why we should be careful to prevent them gaining power anywhere at any time.
I’ll be tearing apart Fascism piece by piece, so first we must identify its main tenets and positions. The points that Fascism hangs upon are acute nationalism, absolute authoritarianism, expansionist imperialism, undeniable militarism, social Darwinism and interventionism, and a form of economics that includes economic planning and often national corporatism. I’ll start with nationalism, and at the end I will address Fascist economics. Let’s begin.
Nationalism is, in itself, a racist way of building support for a movement. Nationalism promotes a specific people of a country or race above others in order to provide a unifying force for the nation in question. And while nationalism may provide a great way to unify one ethnicity or in some cases one country, it leads to major conflicts between separate peoples. Because nationalism hinges on the assumption that one people surpasses another, it is impossible for other countries to not be angered by a country which is openly nationalistic. Nationalism calls into question the value of different races, ethnicities, and nationalities which many people are quite proud of. By imposing a view that places one over the other, inherent conflict will result. And most importantly, these kinds of conflicts have no logical bases, and therefore it is difficult to justify a logical end to such conflicts. Ultimately, it was nationalism that caused World War 1 (http://americanhistory.about.com/od/worldwari/tp/causes-of-world-war-1.htm). At that time, united Germany was a relatively new nation which had set up contacts with other powerful east European entities like Austria-Hungary. Slavic nations such as Bosnia, Macedonia, and Serbia all wanted independence from Austria-Hungary because said empire was controlling multiple ethnic groups that could not agree with each other. Russia, being a Slavic nation, backed Serbs and other ethnic groups in their struggles, so when Franz Ferdinand was assassinated and Austria-Hungary declared war, Russia did so as well. Complicated alliance systems drew many other nations in as well, and the result was tens of millions of people that were killed or wounded in a pointless war. This was showed the flaws of extreme nationalism, in that without logical reasoning to back up ethnic superiority, costly endless war is inevitable. And while some would argue that war bolsters economies, that didn’t happen this time. Years of trench warfare and innocent civilian deaths would leave the aggressor nations in shambles along with the Allies, most specifically Germany and France. The war would provide Russia with all it needed to see the truest flaws of the tsarist system, and allow for a proletarian revolution that would change the face of the nation forever. However, the instability and economic suffering that followed such a conflict simply left holes for more in the form of World War 2. And thus, nationalism’s largest problem is exposed; it cannot survive without laying roots for consistent and repetitive conflicts. Even if just one nation is nationalistic, it will always feel better than other nations and therefore act over the rules of the world. This will lead to conflict, which if the nationalistic country loses lays seeds for more nationalism to restore the country to what it once was. This vicious cycle can repeat, as long as nationalism has a hold.
Next, we look at authoritarianism. In Fascism, the state is treated as a united front to make the state itself a full representative of its people. However, instead of representing diversity on the part of a nation, Fascism ensures that all the people are united through ethnicity, nationality, or ideology of some sort so that the nation may not be torn apart by plurality which draws power away from democracy. At the time, the idea of uniting a nation under a banner of one path for life was popular. If anything, it provided the people a sense of belonging to something greater, which they did if they fit the government idea of perfection of the populace. However, all those not quite the same received different treatment. Those of different religion, race, ideology, sexuality, and etc. were excluded from this national identity. Therefore, Fascist governments are left with two choices on how to deal with those different people; elimination or integration. And of course, integration is something that cannot succeed. As I have stated before, people are proud of their heritage and unique ways of thought and daily life. I am not excluded from this either; while I may not agree with everything Poland does today, I am still proud to have a family with Polish ties. I may not be Jewish in the religious sense, but I still participate in some ceremonies and still feel unique as I am ethnically Jewish. Therefore, no people will be content with succumbing to a majority group, especially one that does not follow upon the same grounds. When Hitler took over Germany, Jews and leftists were not considered of the ideal race, so they had to be incorporated if possible. It wasn’t, so Jews got ghettos and for the most part, leftists were expelled or detained (http://bigsiteofhistory.com/germany-under-hitler-1933-1939-between-the-world-wars), not allowed to provide any real opposition. With an authoritarian grip on the nation and no way to reconcile differences between peoples, Fascism must ultimately turn to elimination, in Germany’s case leading to mass genocide of all non-Aryan people. However, this authoritarianism is not weak in any sense of the word. While military dictatorships represent similar tight-fisted rule often, that is generally without obligatory politically-sided action. Within Fascism, it is the duty of the state to control politics in the most extreme sense of the word, and at any time while social democrats may have existed early on in Hitler’s Reichstag, they held no sway and were often carted away for torture anyway. Fascism may propose to be democracy in the purest sense, it deteriorates quickly into a deeply entrenched power structure which betrays its people ostensibly to help them, which it does not. Look, I understand that authoritarianism in general is not absolute atrocity. I am no believer of democracy at all times, as I feel it takes away the voice of minorities, racial or otherwise. A strong state can provide stability in places that need it most, such as Syria. But there are limits, as when authoritarianism leads to death and destruction anyway. The goal of authoritarianism is to prevent this, so when it starts occurring at large levels it generally means a change is necessary at some level.
I’ll now tie imperialism and militarism together, since they go that way often anyway. Imperialism is something many European nations are familiar with, as they were generally the ones that started it all. Fascist states tie imperialism into a necessary struggle as a manifestation of vitality for an empire, whereas peace is a sign of decadence. Fascist theory notes that war and violence are natural parts of humanity, for just as common animals often find themselves in combat so too should humans. This belief is ingrained in accepting a natural part of ourselves as “animals”. Going along with this philosophy is militarism, which allows Fascist states to justify the buildup of armies and navies overall. If violence is necessary, then whomever has the most advanced weaponry and tactics will come out on top as the better nation, and therefore better people. Once again, Fascists contribute such victories to uniting the people through national comradeship of military service and through success in wartime, something that certainly is a boon to national pride. However, as always, this leads to war, and some of the most vicious wars of all time stem from such beliefs. After World War 2, African decolonization efforts often led to wars that cost millions of lives (http://cuwhist.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/un-and-decolonization-in-africa.pdf), all because European nations thought that imperialism would help the “uncivilized” people of Africa. As such, imperialism and the militarism that justifies it are both faulty, because they both lead to unnecessary deaths, torture, and casualties. Another unintended consequence of expansion based upon military is hatred. This is best seen through the light of the Palestinian conflict. Because many Palestinians view creating Israel in a land they had controlled for years as a kind of imperialism, that inspires hate towards those “colonizing” the land of Israel. However, much time has passed since Israel was formed, and by now that hate while still existent in some, has devolved into racial and religious hatred in others. It is this risk of inspiring others to work against others which ultimately tears apart any ideal of imperialism and militarism, because no unity is worth all of this.
And now, the concepts of social Darwinism and interventionism will come under fire. Both are some of the most detestable parts of Fascism. Social Darwinism theorizes that humans have races and peoples which are genetically superior in some way to others, and that therefore according to the rules of evolution the superior people should be rulers and the inferiors should be disposed of. This is a horribly sick way to think of humanity, especially in light of how terrible these beliefs would become. Also, they can easily be faulted using biology. Since humans are all one species, we have a duty to preserve our species just as animals do. Therefore, by separating ourselves and declaring war on each other to weed the weak out we weaken ourselves overall in the process. If we truly wish to apply social Darwinism to life, we must help to preserve all of our species. For those that are sick, we must find cures. For those that are disabled or too old to work, we must find ways to prolong life so that people will not suffer in these ways. For those that are weak or stupid, we must train or educate them so we don’t fall behind. And so on. As for social interventionism, this can be okay given that government is not poisoning society. Unfortunately, Fascism does just that. Fascism advocates indoctrination through education when young, that way the populace never has a chance to provide logical and well-organized opposition. As such, Fascism persecutes intellectuals, seeing them as a threat to government and a drain on the newly “organized” society (http://books.google.com/books?id=kne26UnE1wQC&pgT477#v=onepage&q&f=false). Once again, this is simply a ploy to prevent any person within Fascist society to show its wrongdoings and faults. Fascist governments supported eugenics to “perfect” humans, and often outlawed abortions unless the newborns would have birth defects. These horrid policies would lead to human experimentation during the Holocaust, which the Nazis became particularly infamous for. The easy tossing away of supposed “unimportant” life shows the evils that Fascism can come to terms with. I can understand supporting an abortion should the mother’s life be in danger, or should the mother be unprepared for a child. But to simply abort out of fear of imperfection is wrong. And lastly, Fascism supports masculinity over feminism unless useful politically, and rejects cultural pluralism along with multiculturalism. This hangs on inherent racist and sexist beliefs among Fascists that the mixing of different groups weakens the majority and leads to degradation of society as a whole. This is false, as some of the most diverse societies in this modern world are some of the most successful, including the United States.
And now we come to Fascist economic theory, which is often convoluted and makes it sometimes hard to place Fascists on a traditional left-right political scale. Fascists typically support a corporatist state economy where private companies hold ridiculous amounts of power over the national economy and the populace simply exists to work for the rich. Fascist governments were in opposition to any organized labor, so it was no wonder labor unions were outlawed in Germany (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/trade_unions_nazi_germany.htm). At the same time, this was also a simple power grab by Hitler. While Fascists rarely support absolute power of state in economic situations, the state in Fascist economies exerts power over the corporations that run said economy. The state often forces the proletariat to work for the benefit of the country. These are typically the things that make Fascism seem to not be on the right, due to the state’s role in the economy. I classify it as right-winged due to the strength with which Fascist states give to corporative entities over the economy whilst simultaneously destroying worker’s rights. And while Fascists may argue that Hitler’s state benefited Germany’s economy, this is not entirely true. Hitler came into power after the Weimar Republic, a failing democratic approach to give Germany strength despite payments that had to be made for WWI troubles. By the time Hitler instituted Fascism, the Weimar economy was so weak that any new market design could have fostered improvements essentially. And even if Fascism gave Germany some power, it was the very war which Fascism hung upon that decimated Germany’s economy. Turned out that Fascist policy of necessary war conflicted with private economic controls to create an economy that folded in on itself by the end of WWII. And so, Fascist economic policies cannot work alongside Fascist social policies, ending the viability of Fascism itself as a whole.
And so ends my tirade upon Fascism, what I consider the most evil ideology of all. It is my hope that all of you have read and understand why Fascism must never rise again, as it now has a chance to do in Greece where Neo-Nazis won seats. We must prevent the horrors of the past from being brought to the present. If you wish to pose comments or questions, this site is open to appropriate content and my email at firstname.lastname@example.org is also open. My Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are also open if necessary. That is all for this week, and I am signing off.