Opinions

Re: " Fascism is maligned and misunderstood ," Nov. 8, 2001,

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

In his piece, Kyle Young asks three questions and answers none of them.

The first is "why do all extremists seem to be ultra-left nowadays?" Actually, they don't seem to be and they aren't, and if Mr. Young has read a newspaper since September 11, that should be abundantly clear to him.

By asking his second question, "why has humanity abandoned the relatively undeveloped realm of fascism?" he suggests that pursuing fascism might be a worthwhile thing to do. Had Mr. Young answered his own question, he would probably no longer think so.

Western society has come to agree, in principle at least, that war is bad and peace is good. Yet this is one of the things that fascism denies. "Fascism... believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace."

Western society has also come to accept, for the most part, that the best system of government is democratic. Yet, "fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application."

Finally, Western society embraces the principle that its citizens enjoy unalienable rights and liberties, yet the fascist state deprives the individual "of all useless and possibly harmful freedom." (All quotes from Benito Mussolini's What is Fascism?, 1932)

In discussing his third question, "why is nobody even capable of defining fascism?" Mr. Young points out some misconceptions about fascism (e.g. the widespread and misleading identification of fascism with Nazism). Yet, he doesn't attempt to provide a definition himself.

And why does he think no one is capable of defining the term? The editors of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary seem to be more than able to.

"A political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictator, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."

Why then would Mr. Young claim there is no definition of the term "fascism?" Maybe he would like to rehabilitate fascism by associating it with Plato. It is easier to do that if you don't actually say what you claim when you claim that Plato's Republic is a fascist state.

Despite the article's title, I suspect Mr. Young didn't really want to argue for fascism, but simply free-market liberalism and conservative public policy. Maybe he wanted to argue for fascism--after all, he suggests that people of different political convictions than his (such as anarchists) should not be allowed to vote--but he has certainly not given a single convincing argument either for fascism or for anything else.

In fact, had Mr. Young read Mussolini or any dictionary entry on fascism he would see that if he wants to be a free-market libertarian, he cannot be a fascist. Fascism is not only anti-democratic and against personal freedom, it is anti-capitalist.

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