Fascism is not what you’ve been told. Fascism is the concept:
When we’re all on the same page, then we all benefit.
That’s all there is to fascism, so you can see why fascism was not always a pejorative and was once widely respected. Most people thought it just made a lot of sense, although a few independent thinkers could foresee that it contained the seeds of hell on earth.
Consider that the term fascism is based on the ancient Roman symbol, the “fasces.” The fasces illustrates the concept of “strength through unity.” Whereas, one stick is weak; a bundle of sticks all pointing in the same direction, and tied together – is strong.
Much of the confusion around fascism is because the media and academia often ignore early stage fascism, which sounds a lot like modern progressive parties, and only look at the atrocities of late stage fascism, but those atrocities are not themselves fascism. They are just the inevitable result of fascism – just as they are the result of the admittedly more sophisticated modern progressive parties (e.g. consider Obama and his DHS). Modern parties are sophisticated enough to hide their fascism in order to maintain the illusion of legitimacy, without which they would be finished, but which thus further obfuscates our understanding of fascism.
Fascism does not specify any economic or political model. Also, fascism could be voluntary or imposed, so in theory, fascism could be an element of any government.
Liberal fascism is just as possible as conservative fascism, and left-wing fascism is just as possible as right-wing fascism. Even anarchy would be incorporating fascism if everyone voluntarily agreed to pursue the same collective agenda because they thought that “when we’re all on the same page, we all benefit”.
Fascism alone neither prescribes nor advocates coercion, dictators, militarism, self-righteousness, genocide, racism, powerful central governments, nor heavy government interference in business. However, it is easy to deduce why these are likely outcomes when a society places too much faith in the belief that: when we are all on the same page, we all benefit.
Although fascism does not require coercion to get everyone on the same page, in practice, most individuals in a free country would pursue different agendas, and even those who happened to pursue a common agenda would do so in different ways. Only a small percentage would ever pursue any given agenda in the same way. Therefore, it is logical for fascists to conclude that it is in everyone’s best interests when we are forced to be on the same page because fascism assumes that the net result of everyone pursuing the same agenda in the same way would always be greater than every individual deciding what agenda he will pursue.
Although fascism does not require a powerful central government, fascists know that a single individual, company, political faction, city, newspaper, etc. could have significant wealth or power. It is thus logical for fascists to advocate a powerful central government to defeat any challenge to their agenda because fascists know that individual wealth or power might be used to challenge their agenda.
Although fascism does not require a dictator, consider that in government, when political factions can’t come to an agreement, then government can’t get much done. It is thus logical for fascists to advocate a dictator because it is logical for fascists to assume that it is a good thing when government can implement more of their agenda. Note that a democracy could be just as fascist as any dictatorship if a 51% majority could dictate anything.
Although fascism does not require militarism, consider that militarism tends to produce conformity, and conformity tends get everyone on the same page. Is it thus logical for fascists to adopt militarism as a model to jumpstart their plans because it is logical for fascists to assume that conformity is a good thing. In fact, conformism and fascism are pretty much the same thing. Fascism is little more than the open acknowledgement that conformism is a good thing.
Although fascism neither requires nor advocates genocide, when fascism inevitably fails, a government having absolute power will have both the incentive and the power to find a scapegoat who was not as much on the same page as everyone else – and punish them. Of course, the most believable and acceptable scapegoat will be some minority who actually wasn’t as much on the same page as everyone else. Then a powerful government controlled media would have the means and the motive to wage a propaganda campaign to further exaggerate their differences.
Although fascism neither requires nor advocates racism, when a fascist government is looking for a scapegoat, a racial minority will usually make a more acceptable scapegoat. A racial minority is also usually a more believable scapegoat because it probably will have some degree of subculture that makes its members seem less willing to conform. A racial minority is also usually a more believable scapegoat because it probably will have a known complaint against the majority, and thus a known incentive to resist the national agenda.
Although fascism does not require a mixed model economy that heavily taxes, subsidizes, and regulates the free market, fascists tend to conclude that they can more easily implement their agenda if they heavily control the free market. Although fascism is highly compatible with such highly centrally controlled economic models as socialism and communism, fascists usually know that that true socialism and communism don’t work, so they tend to be more pragmatic and go for a mixed model economy. In addition to their fear of challenges to their agenda from the free market, fascists think they know better than the free market, and of course, they can’t resist plundering the free market – for the common good. Therefore, fascists tend to claim they support the free market, when for all practical purposes, they fear and hate the free market.
Although fascism does not require a self-righteous attitude about imposing one’s agenda, if one believes that imposing one’s agenda is the best possible way to benefit everyone, then, just like for religious zealots, it will be very easy for fascists to feel self-righteous about imposing their agenda.
Many of the likely outcomes of fascism are just as likely when almost any other single philosophy or religion has too much power. For example, all of these outcomes occurred in the USSR as well, where the main philosophy was: “From each according to his ability – to each according to his need.”
To be more accurate, it is not that most philosophies and religions lead to the same outcomes as fascism when a single one of them has too much power – it is that they lead to fascism itself. This is rather obvious in retrospect. Once any single faction, such as the Bolsheviks, had seized power, they naturally concluded that if everyone agreed with them, then everyone would benefit.
The more general lesson then is that when any one faction gets too much power, they naturally tend to subordinate their original core tenets to the one idea that when we are all on the same page (as them), we all benefit. For example, this has happened to the dominant philosophy in American media, education, and government, but many decades of their dominance have left us all so ignorant and misinformed that they do not realize they are now – more than anything else – fascists.
For example, the dominant faction in American media, academia, and government for the last hundred years advocates an even bigger and more powerful central government. They bully others into conforming. They punish those who challenge their agenda. They despise gridlock in government. They love government regulation, and hate the free market. They assume it is everyone’s best interests when we are all on the same page as them. Using their dominance of the media, their propaganda targets and scapegoats various minorities incessantly (i.e. poor white people, rich white people, religious white people, rural white people, Southern white people, “angry white males”, tea partiers (they picture white ones), gun owners (they picture white ones), etc.) They are nauseatingly self-righteous about imposing their agenda, and although their agenda is primarily about extending existing government policies (how uninspired), they call themselves “progressive”, but they, and the similar but much less powerful “neocons”, are mostly just fascists. Consider this Progressive Party Platform.
The opposite of fascism is the free market:
When we’re all free to pursue our own future, then we all benefit.