Sticks and Stones
Presidential politics 2012 are now upon us, so let the names begin.
But first let’s take a serious look at the origin and meaning of one of those oft-slung terms—Fascism
The earliest use of the word fascism comes out of Italy in the early 1920s.
- Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister of Italy (1922-1943), was first to use the term.
- Mussolini equated fascism with corporatism saying, “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
- Similarly, a fascist nation is defined by Merrian-Webster Dictionary, as “organized according to corporate perspectives, values, and systems—both political and economic—and considered to be on the far right of the political spectrum.”
- Britannica dictionary further defines fascism as a philosophy of government that stresses “the glory of the state,” and “subordination of the individual will to the state’s authority.”
The Seduction of Fascism
Fascism can be seductive because government often runs more efficiently under a fascist system, e.g., in 1940’s in Germany a point of pride was, “the trains run on time,” and indeed they did.
- Until people feel the price they pay in lost freedoms, they can be enchanted by the “neatness” of such a totalitarian system.
- After all, Democracy and freedom can be messy.
- 1922-1943: Under Benito Mussolini some areas of Italian life improved. Workers were given an eight-hour day.
- “Death duties” (read as inheritance taxes) and income taxes were reduced. However, trade unions were banned, and religious education was made compulsory in all pubic elementary schools.
- 1933-1945: In Germany under Adolf Hitler fascism initially was quite financially successful; so much so that Hitler was named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 1939.
- 1936-1975: In Spain, Francisco Franco, who was credited with saving Spain from economic chaos, used forced labor to build railways, dry out swamps, and dig canals.
Just thought you should know.®
Sources: Chris Carola, “Vet who caught WWII Japanese Leader Speaks,” AirForceNews, www.airforcetimes.com/news, 9/10/10. Howard J. Wiarda, M.E. Sharpe, Corporatism and Comparative Politics, 1996. John Mangion, “The Rise of Fascism in Italy,” http://schoolnet.gov.mt/history, 5/10/11. Julia Layton, “How Fascism Works,” howstuffworks.com, 5/22/11. Lyons, Matthew N. “What is Fascism? Some General Ideological Features,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online, 5/11/11. Paul Halsall, “Benito Mussolini: What is Fascism?” Modern History Sourcebook, http://www.fordham.edu, 5/23/11. Political Research Associates, PublicEye.org. 5/11/11. Thom Hartman, Robert Wolff, What Would Jefferson Do? Harmony Books, 2004.