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What Is Fascism?

In 1932, ten years after he had seized power in Italy, Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) and the philosopher Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944) collaborated on an article about fascism for the Enciclopedia Italiana. In the passage excerpted here, they claim the superiority of fascism over other political ideologies and characterize the fascist state as the highest form of national organization.

 

Given that the nineteenth century was the century of Socialism, of Liberalism, and of Democracy, it does not necessarily follow that the twentieth century must also be a century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy: political doctrines pass, but humanity remains; and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority. . . . a century of Fascism. For if the nineteenth century was a century of individualism. . . . it maybe expected that this will be the century of collectivism, and hence the century of the
State. . . .

The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone. . . .

For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence.

 

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