Since Donald J. Trump entered the political scene, prior to his 2016 US Presidential success, the topic of ‘fascism’ has been hot on the tongue of political commentators and everyday spectators. For the last six years, Trump has been denounced by his opponents as a ‘fascist dictator’, with many of whom proclaiming him to be ‘literally Hitler’. This hyperbolic screeching has resonated tirelessly in the leftist echo chambers and has been emboldened by the leftist media class who could not, and still cannot, get Trump’s name out of their mouth.
The United Kingdom had its own embrace of the fascist label around the Brexit campaign (arguably not even a left/right position), which was enduring around the same time as Trump’s campaign. If one were to show any support for the Brexit, it was almost inevitable that one would be branded a fascist, most often by the same people who classified Trump as a fascist. Often, it became impossible to engage in any nuanced debate surrounding the merits and demerits of Brexit, as discussion would be nullified by a cry of ‘fascism’.
The embrace of the fascist labelling can be attributed to the popularisation of critical race theory. Critical race theory holds that racism is the default position in society and is present in all interactions, institutions, and phenomena; understood as ‘systemic racism’. The question of ‘was there racism present in this situation?’ is substituted for ‘how did racism play out in this situation?’. The radical left has used this to attach the label of ‘fascist’ to Western Civilisation and its many attributes such as: The enlightenment, rationalism, objectivity, logic, reason, merit, value, productivity, cultural norms, equality of opportunity and even individualism.
The rightful application of ‘fascism’ has become obfuscated by the political left and has morphed into a buzzword to be thrown at right of centre opinion, as a cheap sleight of hand to avoid nuanced debate. So, the question begs, what is fascism, really?
Fascism’s official founding is recognised as when Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy, in 1922. Most succinctly it can be understood as: ‘the system of government that cartelizes the private sector, centrally plans the economy to subsidize producers, exalts the police state as the source of order, denies fundamental rights and liberties to individuals, and makes the executive state the unlimited master of society.’
Generally, fascism means a ‘capitalist’ economic structure that is heavily planned and controlled by an unrestrained totalitarian. The state assumes the responsibility of making the economy work to its ‘full capacity’ for the benefit of society. Private property exists, but in name only, as the authoritarian government is the ultimate arbiter over its function; over the allocation of resources, production, labour, spending etc. This control is exercised by organising the economy on a ‘syndicalist’ model whereby the state forms producing groups by craft and professional categories. The intention is for government to sustain economic life through gargantuan spending and borrowing, running massive deficits to finance public services and infrastructure. Militarism is a major beneficiary of the monumental spending, used as a means of employing the masses, pursuing imperialism and importantly, suppressing any dissenting action or opinions to the authoritarian regime.
‘Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of the state and corporate power.’– Benito Mussolini
Fascism is routinely said to be a ‘right wing’ political philosophy, but this is misleading and assumes a false dichotomy of ‘left’ and ‘right’. To attribute fascism solely to ‘left’ or ‘right’ is to negate fascism’s defining characteristic: collectivism. Whether it is Fascism, Nazism, Communism or Socialism, collectivism serves as the murderous common denominator which demands the subjugation of the individual. Many on the left like to glaze over this reality and hold that fascism is a right-wing ideology as a tool to silence debate. However, this negates the expectation of the individual to serve and sacrifice for the overarching collective which is present in all these regimes. Moreover, Mussolini was once himself a Marxist, and many Italian Fascists came from socialist movements, which helped to set the collectivist undertones of fascism.
‘All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state’– Benito Mussolini
The obfuscation of what fascism is – collectivism – and emphasis on making it an issue between left and right or using it as a phrase to label anything one disapproves of, ignores where fascistic tendencies present themselves today. Today’s socioeconomic environment is wrought with fascistic behaviours which are regularly missed as a result of the obfuscation.
Evidence of fascism is most obvious today in the economy. State intervention means small businesses increasingly operate on the premise of ‘ownership without control’ and collusion between the state and big business grows greater by the day. The past year of lockdowns has brought the UK eerily close to a fascistic state as small businesses have lost their autonomy underneath the weight of the state boot. The state, not the property owner, is now the one who dictates the terms of when and how small business can operate. The small business owners may still be the owner on paper, but it is the state who is deciding when they can open, how long for, how they must have their business laid out, what precautions they must take, what activities can be permitted, how many people can be let in and so on. The small business owner owns only the deeds to his property whilst the state has become the ultimate autarky over the disposal of its goods and services.
Conversely, big businesses have prospered greatly during lockdowns as they operate largely unaffected, receiving higher demand than normal, whilst their smaller competitors are crushed by the state. Big business has been working tirelessly to repeat the state’s narrative in a bid to perpetuate lockdowns and the artificial demand they receive as a result. Moreover, a network of cronyism and conflicts of interests can be drawn between the state and those private businesses awarded the contracts for vaccines, test and trace, PPE and more. There has never been a more persistent and obvious example of the state meddling with the economy in such a way as to starve the little guy and fatten the big guy. As Rand put it, this fascistic arrangement is ‘socialism for big business’. Ironically, those who scream about the ‘rich getting richer’ and the ‘poor getting poorer’ have done nothing but champion the lockdown policies which breed this corruption and concentration of wealth.
This fascistic control of private property has been progressing insidiously for decades and lockdowns have only acted to advance its hold. The tilt towards fascism is perpetuated by the mixed economy which tries to mix two contradictory elements: statism and freedom. The state exists as a third party in the economy that can be pressured, lobbied, and paid off to protect and grant special privileges. With each problem the state aims to fix, it creates another and with each control, regulation and quota, the ability of the private individual to control his property as he sees fit is stripped, bit by bit. It should come as no surprise that it is big business that favours this economic arrangement as they are the ones who can lobby the state for privileges that favour them and scoop up the market share of the smaller businesses who gradually find it too expensive or burdensome to operate. Observe every major concentration of power and wealth of concern today and observe how this has been made possible by the regulations and privileges at the hand of the state.
The concentrations of power that have arisen because of the state create concerns for freedom of speech and expression. A toxic cabal now exists, amongst collectivists, the media, big tech, and the government, who feel compelled by duty to fight against what is said to be ‘misinformation’ or ‘disinformation’. This collective cabal join forces to quash the speech of those deviating from the collective narrative by using a threat of force and coercion. This bears a troubling resemblance with the ‘militant journalism’ that Mussolini suggested fascism requires, where the press works in a unified bloc for ‘the Cause’. If one were to make a collection of all the media, the state propaganda, the behaviours of big tech and the lockdown fundamentalists, and consider this in conjunction with those who have been deplatformed or cancelled for questioning covid narrative, one could easily arrive at the conclusion that this cabal and its followers are working tirelessly for the state’s covid cause. The state may not be directing this intentionally, but this societal policing of thought is the preamble for state control.
This policing of thought extends beyond just covid as the mainstream media, big tech and the collectivists operate as one to command complete control over the political and cultural narrative. Together they exist as an extremely powerful force that suppress facts, opinions and expressions that are not in line with the narrative they wish to sow. Beyond just targeting dissenters online, or having them deplatformed, this cabal works to have individual’s entire lives pulled out from underneath them for not thinking in line with the collective. Observe this in so far as individuals losing their jobs, suffering extreme defamation, and even having their access to services such as banking or flying revoked. Livelihoods now often lie at the mercy of groups who wish to collectivise thought by cracking down on ‘wrong think’. Modern day’s institutions and corporations are all fully complicit with this and provide the muscle for this fascistic control of thought. The power of this cabal now exceeds that of the state in many instances and they have no shame in using such power to crush the individual for failing to ascribe to the collective edicts. The danger of accepting this authoritative behaviour into what is supposed to be a free society requires no explanation and must be denounced at every turn.
Rarely is fascism present in the areas where it is frivolously attributed nowadays. However, fascism today is unquestionably seeping in through the desire for an expanded state. The state has an increased propensity to collude with big business, creating greater power and wealth for both, whilst stripping the small business and the individual of theirs. Just as Mussolini would have wanted, wealth and economic power is no longer earned through voluntary exchange, where individuals trade value for value. It is instead earned by the granting of special privileges by the state, who make it impossible for smaller players to compete, even to the extent of shutting them down entirely. The result is a heinous oligarchy of the state and large corporations who sit above the private individuals and pull the strings over their freedom.
A state of complete fascism has not yet been met, but the descent into such a state will continue if the proponent of this journey is not recognised for what it is: collectivism. Collectivism is the murderous creed that has legitimised the state’s participation in the economy which has led to the oligarchic structure we live under today. Like oil and water, collectivism and freedom do not mix. There is no place whatsoever for collectivism in a society that seeks liberty and freedom. Unmitigated, unapologetic individualism is the only prescription for a society that desires to be free. A culture of individualism, underpinned by self-esteem and self-ownership, with a burning desire to roll back the state and seek its divorce from the economy entirely, is the only cure for the fascistic, collectivised culture that now bears upon us.
‘In theory socialism may wish to enhance freedom, but in practice every kind of collectivism consistently carried through must produce the characteristic features which Fascism, Nazism and Communism have in common. Totalitarianism is nothing but consistent collectivism, the ruthless execution of the principle that “the whole comes before the individual” and the direction of all members of society by a single will supposed to represent the “whole.”‘Friedrich A. Hayek