Core Themes of Fascism

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  • Core Themes of Fascism
    • Anti-rationalism
      • Counter-enlightenment thinking
      • Human reason is limited
        • Friedrich Nietzsche
          • People are more motivated by powerful emotions,"will" takes precedent over the rational mind
      • Vitalism
        • The purpose of human existence is to give expression to the 'life force'
      • Anti-intellectualism
        • Tendency to dislike abstract thinking
          • Mussolini
            • "Action not talk"
            • "Inactivity is dead"
        • Intellectual life devalued
          • Fascism addresses the soul, emotions and instincts
            • It has a mythic appeal. Major thinkers were "propagandists" with the power to illicit emotional responses
              • "POLITICS OF THE WILL"
      • Predominantly negative/destructive character
        • Clearer about what it opposes than what it supports
          • i.e. Nihilism
          • Central values turned upside down rather than rejected
            • Democracy => Dictatorship
            • Freedom => Submission
            • Progress => Struggle and war
      • Faith placed in history, culture and organic community
        • Society shaped by innate loyalties and emotional bonds
          • Strength of the nation is a reflection of its moral and cultural unity
            • Hitler
              • "Strength through unity"
    • Struggle
      • Darwin
        • Natural selection
      • Human existence is based upon competition
        • Struggle is a natural part of social and international life
          • ONLY competition and conflict can guarantee human progress
      • Fascists regard war and inherently good and honourable
        • Mussolini
          • "War is to men what maternity is to women"
      • good = strength, evil = weakness
        • Elimination of the weak and inadequate is welcomed, people can be sacrificed for the common good
          • Hitler
            • Eugenics program (1939-1941
      • Life is an unending struggle
        • Fascist thinking is often restless and expansionist
          • National qualities can only be cultivated through CONFLICT and demonstrated through VICTORY AND CONQUEST
    • Socialism
      • Mussolini
        • Previously a member of the Italian Socialist Party
      • Nazi party: "national socialism"
        • A cynical attempt to elicit support from urban workers
      • Lower MC fascists had a distaste for large-scale capitalism, big business and financial institutions
        • Socialist ideas were therefore prominent in grassroots movements such as the Brown Shirts/S.A.
      • Fascism places the community above the individual
        • The desire for wealth and profit runs counter to the idealistic vision of national regeneration or world conquest that inspires fascists
          • Fascist regimes thus practised socialist-style economic policies designed to regulate/control capitalism
      • Mosley: British Union of Fascists
        • Fascism as an alternative to capitalism and communism
    • Ultranationalism
      • Chauvinistic and expansionist nationalism
        • Nations regarded as rivals in a struggle for dominance
          • Aim to assert dominance of own nation over others
            • Through expansionism, war and conquest
        • Intense and militant sense of national identity
      • The prospect of national regeneration and the rebirth of national pride
      • Fusing myths about a glorious past with the image of a future characterised by renewal and reawakening
    • Leadership & elitism
      • Radical rejection of equality
        • Deeply elitist and fiercely patriarchal
      • Human beings are all born with radically different abilities and attributes
        • Three types of people
          • Supreme, all seeing leader
            • Unrivalled authority
          • "Warrior elite"
            • Exclusively male, distinguished by it's heroism
              • i.e. the SS in Nazi Germany
          • The masses
            • Weak, inert, ignorant. Destiny is unquestioning obedience
      • Friedrich Nietzsche
        • "Ubermensch" - the 'over-man' or 'superman'
          • An individual who rises above the 'herd instinct' of conventional morality and lives accordingly to his own will and desires
            • This became a theory of supreme and unquestionable leadership
              • i.e. Il Duce, Der Fuhrer
                • These titles provide emancipation from any constitutional definition of leadership
                  • Charismatic leadership is potentially unlimited
      • Intermediate institutions such as elections are either abolished or weakened to prevent challege to leadership
        • They have a monopoly of ideological wisdom
      • A genuine democracy is an absolute dictatorship, as it promotes a single, indivisible public interest

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