Fascism is maligned and misunderstood

By Kyle Young

As we creep closer to next year’s Group of Eight summit, the signs of incoming left-wing radicals are everywhere. We are certain to see political malcontents demonstrating and "raising awareness" even on this, our much-loved campus. We will likely see the militant anarchists charge the riot police, only to claim they were assaulted and convey to us all the injustices of being pepper sprayed by those same guardians of the peace. We will all hear the not-so-catchy slogans of "Fair Trade, not Free Trade" and the like. And those of us gifted with the ability to partake in critical thinking will sit back and reflect on that great lesson passed down by mothers to their children throughout the ages: Life isn’t fair.

However, questions remain. Why do all extremists seem to be ultra-left nowadays? Why has humanity abandoned the relatively undeveloped realm of fascism? Why is nobody even capable of defining fascism?

Fascism has long been a dumping ground for the politically ignorant. Every definition I’ve ever come across for fascism seems to be irreparably fused with totalitarianism and all things wrong with the world. In fact, most seem to fit 20th century communist regimes as well as they fit fascist Spain.

Fascism is not nationalism. Nationalism is not even a political ideology, it’s an advertising ploy by Molson Canadian and people selling American flags. Fascism is also not
Nazism. Nazism was–and some argue still is–a confused grouping of ultra-nationalists and racist bigots. Fascism is not big industry capitalism. Capitalism actually falls somewhere between fascism and communism.

It has often been said the problem in defining fascism springs from the lack of a concise work such as what Smith wrote for capitalism or Marx for communism. People just aren’t looking hard enough. What about Plato? Was his Republic not the single most defining work for the fascist state?

The political spectrum is based on egalitarianism. The left believes every aspect of life should be equal for all. As one moves progressively right, we find that the individual is accredited only equal opportunity and not equal material well-being. Further right, we find that people are no longer viewed as fundamentally equal.

So what? People are obviously not equal. Individuals excel in some areas and fail in others. The key belief of egalitarianism is that the sum of all the infinite possible criteria by which an individual could be judged comes up equal. That’s probably right. But again, so what? Who cares if you’re better at walking sideways while sharpening a pencil? Does that really benefit society?

Plato, arguably the founding father of western thought, states quite clearly that some would be better soldiers, some better workers, some better thinkers. For fascism to work, one only needs to define the criteria by which people may be judged useful to the state.

What is so fundamentally wrong about the state giving preferential treatment to those who contribute most to society? What would be wrong with the state to grant minimal benefits to free loaders? Why should an anarchist who is entirely in favour of abolishing the state even be permitted to vote?

As you all sit back and watch the droves of leftists charge the world’s leaders you will see me, standing alone and shouting my support for free trade and all those productive enough to partake in it.

Feedback on this article can be sent to opinions@gauntlet.ucalgary.ca.

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