Seems like the word “Fascist” is being thrown around more and more since the election. But just what the hell is a Fascist anyway? To some it’s “whoever disagrees with me.” To others it’s “Republicans in general.” But seriously, what do they mean when they warn us of Fascism? Well, it seems there is more than one definition floating around out there. In his message to Congress regarding monopolies FDR defined it this way –
“…the first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”
His definition sounds suspiciously like an oligarchy which is “a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.” I think this definition is inaccurate.
Let’s visit the writings of Mr. Fascist himself, Benito Mussolini. Mussolini wrote an entire book on the subject called “The Doctrine of Fascism.” OK, it is short and book might not be the best word to use but you get the idea. After all, he founded the Fascist Party. He called it both “practice and thought” and “an organic conception of the world.” Whoa. Sounds all encompassing to me, not at all friendly to the libertarian mind. The main takeaways are that it is anti-individual, authoritarian, realistic (as opposed to utopian) in outlook, and Statist. It is for the individual so long “as he coincides with the State, which is the conscience and universal will of man in his historical existence.” It opposes liberty and classical liberalism since they put the individual’s interest before the State’s interest. In essence, man is subservient to the State. He says “...outside the State there can be neither individuals nor groups..” He calls it the “giver of laws, ” the “educator of spiritual life,” and says that it should enter “in the spirits of men and there govern unopposed.”
In short, Fascism (like totalitarian Communism) belongs to the cult of the State. In no way does this resemble the current Democratic or Republican parties in the United States. Fascism is not compatible with individual liberty or human freedom. It cannot allow Religion or anything else to come between man and the all powerful State. The end result of any authoritarian system of government is war, prisons, and concentration camps. Force and terror become the only way to protect the status quo. Note that nowhere is it said to be built on racism although the two often go together.
Fortunately, the United States has a government in place that is designed to resist authoritarian impulses. The State serves the people not the other way around. Power is not concentrated in one man or Party. The individual is free to act according to his conscience and worship God however he chooses. The individual has value and is NOT subordinate to a Party, his ethnic or social group, a government, or any other mass movement. Remember that the next time someone tells you there is no God and man is subordinate to the will of the people (whatever that means). If there is no power higher than man then every conceivable evil under the sun can be justified by popular vote. Our government recognizes the inalienable rights of men – rights that can’t be undone by the next election. The people’s representatives in Congress make the laws, levy taxes, and create budgets but only as allowed by the Constitution. Their power is not unlimited. The President executes the laws and enforces them. The Supreme Court keeps check on both to make sure the Constitution and the law is not violated. It is a system built to be inefficient. The Founders were students of history and feared tyranny. We should be mindful of why we have the system we do before trying to radically alter it. Our system will only work as long as it is respected by the people of the country. The Founders recognized the need for peaceful change. The Constitution is amendable. The system we have is designed to protect freedom and individual liberty. It is a good and strong system and will even survive Donald Trump. Let’s remember that the next time our outrage over social injustices reaches a boiling point. Our system is designed to give voice to the people, allow for protest, and allow for peaceful change so that problems aren’t suppressed until they explode in revolution. Metaphorically speaking, when the pot boils, take off the lid. Clamping it down tighter invites an explosion.