"Trump is a fascist," you often hear in the public domain, and here in the Netherlands, Wilders and Baudet are often associated with fascism.
Fascism has a strong negative meaning, and the reason for that is mainly due to the fact that Nazi-Germany as fascists and after the WWII it turned out that the fascists had not only started World War II, but had also killed millions of people in extermination camps, especially Jews.
Of course you would rather not be associated with fascism, because if someone associates you with fascism by calling you a fascist, then you are put away by that other person as a very bad, criminal and inferior person, put away in an unwanted corner to the other person who accused you of it and who therefore regards himself as superior.
For decades it has been mainly the left that puts people on the right side of the political spectrum as fascists.
Why is that and why does it never happen the other way around?
Is it true that the right can be accused of fascism and if not, where does this come from?
I will show that fascism is clear and typically left-wing, but that there is such a wide belief that fascism is on the right, that even people on the right have come to believe in it and soon really start to feel guilty about it and feel squeezed in a corner when they think of a left-wing opponent. are told that they are fascists.
And this is absolutely unnecessary.
On the contrary, we should accuse the Left of their clear fascist past and also of their own thinking, which often exhibits fascist traits, is even quickly inclined to fascist thinking and action, and we see that even today in the daily practice of the Left. become clearer.
In the following, I want to try to answer these questions and see what fascism actually is. But before we start talking about that, we must first have clarity about what exactly is meant by left and right on the political spectrum.
If we look at the difference between left and right very broadly, there is really not much to say about it and there is a lot of confusion.
For example, there is a different distinction between left and right in different areas. There is political left and right, and we are thinking mainly of progressive views versus conservative views, economic left and right, where we can think of the power of the state over the economy (ie capitalism versus a centrally-led economy, to what extent intervened by the state in the economy), and finally cultural left and right, which takes place mainly on the continuum of cultural-Marxism, identity politics and globalization versus the more traditional national values.
And of course we still haven't really gotten that way, but there is an important distinction on which we can distinguish left and right.
Let's take a look at communism and socialism both of which are on the left and libertarianism and conservatism / confessionalism both of which are on the right. Communism and socialism are characterized by the fact that both are very collectivist and the state is central.
The emphasis is on the collective and less on individualism, because the state or the collective is central. The left also hates individualism, because that is right and the left does not like that at all.
This turned out to be clear a while ago Femke halsema as mayor of Amsterdam, the work of art started soon after her appointment "IAMSTERDAM" had it removed at the Rijksmuseum. When she was asked why she had done that, her answer was that it reminded people too much of individualism and that is of course impossible in the worldview of a convinced left-wing mayor.
In left-wing systems it is also true that the government is always an expanding body, because the government actually wants to arrange more and more for the citizen and the business community, or the economy, often based on the idea that it is good for the public interest, or the people .
In fact, they say that it is good for the collective, and the individual imposes rules and restrictions on the collective. We are seeing increasing regulatory pressure and that means that the freedom of the individual and of business is increasingly being restricted.
Then libertarianism and conservatism / confessionalism, on which there is a considerable consensus that these are right-wing ideologies. Libertarianism is based on classical liberalism, which means that individualism is central.
Every individual is given as much freedom as possible so that he can shape his own life according to his own wishes, as long as he respects the equal rights of other individuals. An individual may not cause harm or suffering to another, and this is the so-called non-aggression principle.
But the only one that by definition does not adhere to this principle is the government. After all, every government collects taxes and uses the monopoly on violence. That is why libertarians believe that a society should have the smallest possible government, which at most takes on the most necessary tasks and also protects the liberties of the individual as much as possible.
The essence is therefore that according to classical liberalism the individual is central and the smallest possible government is desired, and the equality of individuals and freedom are immediately ingrained. Libertarianism is therefore also a strong proponent of capitalism, because capitalism is based on truly free markets.
Conservatism is very similar to this, because conservatism is also based primarily on individualism, that is, on classical liberalism, and believes that citizens should be allowed to take their course as much as possible, and only if citizens are confronted with impossibilities, the government a hand can help. Conservatism also has a strong preference for a capitalist economy.
From this comparison between left systems and right systems, therefore, something can be said about the characteristic difference between left and right.
The left-wing systems, for example, are clearly collectivist and there is a central state.
There is less freedom for the individual, because the collective, or the state, is central and this means a certain coercion or lack of freedom for the individual from the collective. The government arranges a lot for the citizen and the business community in the collective. This therefore also gives the government the possibility of authoritarianism fairly quickly.
In these types of systems, coercion and lack of freedom are inherently ingrained, because this simply follows from the system: in many cases the collective is decisive and that also means that in such left-wing systems freedom of expression comes up for discussion sooner if there is opinions are expressed that do not correspond with what the collective generally think of it.
On the right, we see that the individual is central and there is as much freedom as possible for the individual. This therefore does not allow any coercion from the state, and therefore there is no need for a very large government, and the chance of authoritarianism is much smaller than with the left. The Right is therefore associated with an economy or business that is not, or hardly, regulated by the government, and there is private ownership, capitalism, and free trade.
The difference is that if a person wants to be led, he will soon end up with the left, and a person who wants to be freer, faster with the right. The saying: "everyone who lets themselves be led will suffer faster" seems to always contain a decent core of truth in practice.
But where is fascism now? Let's start with the development of fascism. The creator of fascism was the Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile.
Gentile lived from 1875 to 1944, and he was a convinced Marxist and socialist all his life.
A central idea in his thinking was that life and philosophy could not be viewed separately: the life of a person could best be understood as that of a social animal, and the person was therefore inextricably linked to other people. This is also why Gentile had an aversion to individualism, and he considered the collective a central concept in his fascist ideology.
And this is not so strange for a convinced Marxist / Socialist. Within the collective, the state, the government, were the central place of authority and loyalty and in which the individual had no place. This also explains why fascism was anti-individualistic and it had a totalitarian character.
As Mussolini later stated, the following applies to fascism: "Everything within the state and nothing outside".
But fascism is also based on a government, in fact the composition of the government, which is formed by an elite (usually of course the rich rulers) and this is the state that determines what is and what is not.
Gentile was of the opinion that a citizen only gained strength as part of the collective and that that was also best for the collective. An individual is just like a branch that can be broken with little force, but if you bind all kinds of branches together to form a large bundle, a lot of force is needed to break it.
The Italian word for bundle is "FASCIO". This means that the collective becomes almost unbeatable if you connect the branches well together. And this metaphor shows a number of points of fascism beautifully. For example, each branch must be bundled with all other branches, and this fits in well with the idea within fascism that citizens must think and act the way the state wants it to.
After all, if all noses are going in exactly the same direction, this combination of like-minded spirits will form an almost invincible state, and also a state that can act quickly and decisively. But to achieve this, of course, some things are needed. That is why fascism uses propaganda and censorship, but also the elimination of critics and opponents, as important methods.
Propaganda means that through the state media the story of the state is always told, or that everything is brought from the perspective of the state, and furthermore there is nothing to see or hear, because sounds that are critical or just a very logical other version then tell the state version are not allowed and are censored and turned off with a hard hand.
The reason is of course logical: people are not allowed to think for themselves and think critically, because this could lead to all sorts of different opinions and then all noses no longer stand in the same direction, which undermines the unity of the state, and that is a mortal sin within fascism.
If everything has to be at the service of the state, then of course that does not only apply to the citizen, the individual, but also to business, the economy. Fascism allowed private ownership, but there was one "State-Run Capitalism" where the state in fact determined everything. This, of course, makes private property pretty worthless, because if the state is everything, then state ownership may just as well apply, because there is no longer any real difference.
Fascism thus shows itself to be a very clear collectivist ideology in which individualism has no chance and the government determines everything. This government will also grow, because control and enforcement will only extend to almost every aspect of society.
There is therefore hardly any real freedom and the compulsion from above is immense. This means that it is a fairly extreme leftist ideology, and that can be explained well, because Gentile had been a convinced Marxist and socialist all his life, and so was Benito Mussolini, who was the first to put fascism into practice in Italy. .
Mussolini was also a Marxist and socialist. He was even named by his father after the great left-wing Mexican statesman Benito Juarez for whom his father greatly admired.
Mussolini himself clearly demonstrates that fascism is against libertarianism (a clear right-wing ideology) when he writes:
“Anti-individualistic,” Mussolini wrote, “The Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State. It is opposed to classical liberalism [or libertarianism, as it's also called] that denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State ... If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government. ”
“The evil influence of individualism… the debacle of individualism… the individualistic conception of life in which man is subject only to the rule of his animal nature… individualism led to class struggle and national wars… [by contrast] fascism is an idealistic philosophy of life ... the citizen in the Fascist State is no longer a selfish individual who has the anti-social right or rebelling against any law of the Collectivity. "
And Joop Den Uyl also announced in 1935 about Hitler:
Fascism is therefore a clear left-wing ideology and it is even the extreme left. But how come almost all of us think that fascism is right and that even right-wing people feel guilty and feel squeezed, even shaken when they are accused of fascism?
Before the Second World War, fascism was still seen by many as a very effective method of administration and politics.
Roosevelt sent members of his BrainTrust to Rome to discover more about fascism and he was very enthusiastic about the fascist society that had arisen in Italy, and also the former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who was also left, visited Germany in 1936 and was quite impressed of Hitler's achievements and the fact that after the great crisis of 1929-1930, Hitler had put Germany in an almost economic miracle in such a short time.
If Hitler had also remained calm in his own country and had not started the war and had deliberately massacred millions of people, he would still be known as one of the greatest statesmen in history.
But Hitler did not, and in 1945 when it became clear to the whole world where fascism had led, the left, who in the 50s and 60s increasingly took over the academia, the media and the entertainment, decided that they did not want to be associated with fascism, and so the truth had to be turned around.
And that happened, in a very effective way too. That is also the reason that the name of the philosopher of fascism, Giovanni Gentile, is hardly known by anyone, while the inventors of the other two major political ideologies, Communism / Marxism, and Capitalism, are known by a very large proportion. of the population. They are Karl Marx and Adam Smith.
And the lie from the left has even been so effective that right-wing people quickly become very timid when they hear the “FASCIST” reproach.
And that is unfortunate, because it is the left that fascism finds in its past, and it is the left that naturally tries to project the truth so forcefully to the right, because fascism puts its finger on the sore spot of the Left.
After all, it is leftist collectivism that in its more extreme forms very quickly tends to abuse power, to huge excesses such as killing all critics and opponents, because in a collectivist system all power is concentrated in one place and this is easy can be abused, and will in particular attract ruthless dictators.
Moreover, you always hear the same arguments from the left that would show that fascism (and also Nazism) is right. People often use the argument of nationalism, the argument that fascism is capitalist, that Mussolini was anti-communist and that Hitler also fought against Stalinist communism, that both Mussolini and trade unions were fighting, etc. Yet all these arguments do not show at all that fascism is right.
So it is true that in almost all cases fascism is fairly nationalistic, at least that it focuses on the state. But is nationalism therefore typically right? Is nationalism a characteristic feature of right-wing thinking?
Then it should be that nationalism occurs to a large extent on the right and not on the left. And of course that is not the case. Our own VVD is extremely globalistic and does not seem to have a shred of nationalistic sentiment. Even in the time of Wiegel or Nijpels, the VVD was not a clear nationalist party, but it was right.
Moreover, we have seen that the right is characterized primarily by focusing on individualism and pursuing a small government. Nationalism does not fit in with that by definition. And on the other hand, nationalism should hardly be on the left if the proposition is correct that nationalism points to the right, but there have been many leftist people in history who were clearly nationalistic.
Examples are Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Stalin, Mao, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-un, and also the aforementioned Benito Juarez, to name just a few.
The remark that fascism is nationalistic and therefore right, is simply not true. The argument of capitalism does not hold either, as I have already shown above.
The third argument, that Hitler and Mussolini were both anti-Communist, had nothing to do with the idea that fascism was right and therefore, as a natural enemy, had left-wing communism.
What it had to do with was simply a question of power: because fascism and communism were both left-wing and were not so far apart in terms of ideology, communism was a major threat to both Hitler and Mussolini, both of whom were very power-hungry goods.
The reason for this was that if they allowed communism to exist, it was quite possible that many fascists would easily switch to communism and fascists would find that everyone should remain within ideology, and every disruption of unity must be ruthlessly destroyed.
We also saw the same phenomenon in the fierce struggle between Catholics and Protestants, who differed little in terms of views.
And nowadays we still see the eternal struggle between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims, who also think differently about Islam in a few percent at most.
And the fourth argument, about the trade unions, also responds to this same cause. Hitler and Mussolini do not tolerate that their power has been damaged by trade unions. Hitler thought he was doing enough for the German worker and in fact there was indeed enough to do in Germany after 1932 to get the country back on track. Hitler did not want to be hindered by annoying trade unions. In addition, he provided a minimum wage, a collective health insurance policy, and the right to vacation.
With this I hope to have given some insight into the truth about fascism, and above all some knowledge for people who are on the right and sometimes the predicate "Fascist" or "Nazi" thrown at their feet, so that they no longer have to feel guilty about a reproach that does not even come close to the truth.
The next time I could elaborate on the reasons why the Nazis were left, or why current globalism seems to have died, if they continue on the same path.
But another interesting question is also whether it is true that many originally left-wing people, workers, flock to global anti-globalist parties under the influence of globalism, which are generally referred to as the Right (eg Trump, Baudet, but also Marie Le Pen, Bolsonaro, etc), while almost all traditional left parties support the globalist EU.
Do we see a change of ideas or does this have another cause? Does the traditional left, that is, socialism, become too compelling and too expensive in the eyes of many ordinary people, and is one therefore flocking en masse to the right, which now seems to be returning to its traditional classical liberal values of true equality between people?