Fascism for Dummies
The Dollar Vigilante
Here at TDV
fascism is frequently referred to as the increasingly prevalent
form of government in the West. We recognize that this conjures
strong emotions and we often get a few angry emails voicing displeasure
with our characterization of their homeland. We understand that
the word fascism is an emotionally charged word and we do not use
however, that we have never taken the time to define it completely
nor place it within the context of our communications (although
Jeff did compare the USA to the dictionary definition of "fascism"
Fasco-Communist Police State of America"). As such, we
have fallen victim to one of our own cardinal sins; letting somebody
else control the thoughts by controlling the definition of the words
used to define those thoughts. To make matters worse, by default,
we have relegated the responsibility of defining those words to
two of the most criminally complicit estates in our society, namely
the educational system and mass media. It is time to address this
The word fascism
is rooted in the Latin word fasces, a Roman object made of wooden
rods tightly bound by red, overlapping straps. At the top, or occasionally
in the middle, of the fasces was an axe head. The bound wooden rods
represented strength through unity and the axe represented the means
by which authority was exerted by the unified entity. In addition
to being used as a weapon by Roman authorities, the fasces was a
key symbol on government buildings of the Roman empire. The symbolism
of the fasces is significant. The wooden rod represents the weak
individual whose sole contribution is to provide strength to the
unified object, in this case the State. The axe head, unsurprisingly,
represents the force with which the State will ensure its survival.
referred to as an ideology with numerous characteristics, the most
common being fervent nationalism, virtually unlimited central authority,
militarism, and state control of production. While those traits
are almost universally present in fascist run societies, we take
the position that fascism in, in fact, not an ideology at all. Merriam-Webster
defines ideology as the visionary theorizing of a systematic
body of concepts especially about human life or culture.
that the objective of fascism is to ensure the survival and further
the influence of the State. As Benito Mussolini famously stated,
Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing
against the State. Fascism holds self-preservation of the
State as the supreme objective, regardless of method. It is therefore
difficult to envision fascism as an ideology any more than a pride
of lions being governed by an ideology. Fascism is an observed organizational
structure in which the State exerts unlimited and arbitrary power
over all its subjects merely for its own survival.
CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM
While we contend
that fascism is without principles, that is not to say that it does
not have core characteristics. Rather than representing a platform
of principles from which to rule, however, these characteristics
represents processes and tools that empower the State apparatus.
As times and conditions change, a fascist State will shift message,
priorities and effort, all for the purpose of self-preservation.
At times the State will appear pro-market, other times it will claim
national exigencies demand that it assume control of production
in the economy. Commonly observed traits, however, include:
or no limit on the power of the State. Whether explicit or de
facto, when the State ceases to recognize limits on its authority,
it is displaying a core characteristic of fascism. This is often
seen in the broad powers that are granted to the law enforcement,
military and the intelligence apparatus. As a related aside, a common
observation in fascist regimes is that law enforcement and military
cease to be viewed as members of the community in which they serve.
Their encroaching and increasingly heavy handed tactics become the
source of discontent among the people which in turn results in increasingly
hysterical propaganda from the State.
spending on national defense. Regardless of the financial conditions
of the State and its subjects, military spending is virtually unaffected
by financial stress occurring in other segments of the economy.
The State recognizes that political power is meaningless without
the force to back it. Money goes to salaries, weapons, research
and various military adventures. In Germany and Italy in the 1930s,
significant production and economic benefit was bestowed upon the
military and the military industry. This is still the case in some
of the economy are granted cartel status by the State. Industries
including agriculture, health care, banking, energy and manufacturing
find themselves submitting to the States plan for production
or being run out of business. In a fascist regime, the State typically
does not actually seek to run the enterprise, they merely dictate
the conditions and stipulations under which producers must operate.
A final note
on fascism. It is commonly held that fascism is a right-wing form
of government. We hold that the differentiation between left and
right in this context is completely meaningless. North Korea and
the former Soviet Union certainly can be characterized as fascist.
The key characteristic is a high degree of force and deceit that
the State deploys in self preservation.
article is far from an exhaustive study on the matter of fascism.
Lew Rockwell of the Mises Institute and Richard Maybury, author
of the Uncle Eric series of books have dedicated many years of academic
research to this topic. Much of what we have captured in this short
primer is a result of their pioneering work. For those interested
in further study of fascism, its history and how it manifests today,
we encourage you to seek the works by these two remarkable men.
Fascist Threat" by Lew Rockwell and the Uncle
Eric books here.
interviews with Lew
Maybury, and Pete
Kofod on Anarchast, click
on their names.
with permission from The
Kofod is the founder and president of Datasages,
a technology services firm that offers cloud computing and strategic
technology services to various private organizations. Pete is a
property owner at Doug's
Gulch in Argentina and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities
including tennis, skydiving and hiking. His most recent adventure
is pursuing his private pilot's license. Pete is married and home
schools his two children.
© 2011 The