by Philip Giraldi
January 10, 2013

Recently the words “fascism” and “fascist” have been used almost casually in political discourse, most notably in the form of the fusion word “Islamofascism” which seeks to conflate Islam with fascist ideology. The use of “fascism” to describe a political phenomenon is one of those convenient conversation stoppers, intended to evoke memories of the Second World War, of dictatorships and police states in Italy and Germany, and of racial laws and death camps as well as other atrocities.

Fascism is generally linked to ultra-right wing politics or attitudes even though 1930s fascists themselves believed that they did not fit into the traditional right-left political spectrum. The word Nazi is, in fact, an acronym for “national socialist,” adroitly combining nationalism with socialism. It is generally accepted that a fascist is a totalitarian who supports an all-powerful and centralized state buttressed by the legal argument promulgated by Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt that government can do no wrong precisely because it is the government. Fascism differs from communism in that it accepts a robust private sector economy regulated by the state and it eschews class struggle, believing instead in a national popular consensus that unites behind what has been referred to as the “vanguard” fascist movement. Both Communism and Fascism believe in the destruction of parliamentary democracy, which they regard as decadent and subject to dominance by the bourgeois class. In the 1930s, the concept that the fascist party was the only legitimate representation of the national will enabled leaders like Hitler and Mussolini to ignore constitutional restraints and create one party dictatorships.

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