I've seen a lot of people on social media trying to describe fascism. The interesting bit is that they NEVER consult the philosophy of fascism to describe it.
I thought I'd fix that:
Fascism is a form of democracy - a relatively authoritarian form, certainly. It can, in fact, be argued that all expressions of democracies are authoritarian to certain degrees. Fascism is nonetheless democratic in structure. Let me explain...
Fascism is a national syndicalist philosophy that views the elevation of and identification with the integral State as the primary moral good for the nation. It rejects forthwith egalitarianism, liberal democracy (characterized by a commitment to equality before the law, free speech, degrees of individualism, etc), internationalism and pacifism as well as Marxism and its variants.
Fascism agrees with the marxist interpretation of history but argues that class conflict can only be resolved by reinventing the national consciousness to unite the classes in a stratified syncretic organism - the State. Instead of international class collaboration the fascist argues for national class syncretism. A perpetual revolution organized through a vanguard party (paralleling the marxist-Leninist approach to social organization) and democratic centralism for the "elite" to be provided to the masses rather than participated in by the masses is the ONLY acceptable manner for redress of grievance.
The authoritarian form of democracy characterizing Fascism is an explictly corporatist (not corporate) approach by the elite interests of a given society to preempt and proscribe class-based collectivist ideologies within the nation by promoting integralism and an organic interpretation of, and service to, the State (this is, in point of fact, how fascism undermines the cultural marxism inherent in the grievance studies that proliferate Western Academics). In other words, what political sovereignty an individual enjoys within a fascist order MUST be utilized to celebrate the nation and the State - and to celebrate the reigning government administering the State to provide for the nation.
Fascists advocate an autarkic economic order and seek to criminalize any economic activity that posits individual or group interests above the interests of the State. Whatever market the fascist order tolerates is completely subordinated to the State. All activity - economic or individual - MUST be subordinated to the needs of the State.
A Fascist regime is typically personified by an autocratic ruler considered to be the most strong-willed, anti-hedonistic, and warrior-like of his competitors among the vanguard. Athough monarchs can be, and have been, preferred due to the syncretic integralism that Fascists use to hold the nation together, a hereditary "father or mother" of the nation is not necessary. Thus the leader of a fascist nation is expected to be the most capable member of society - the pinnacle of a truly meritocratic and technocratic order.
The whole premise of Fascist thought is to counter Marxist-Leninism. Where Marx laid bare the dialectical as an arbitrary codified doctrine of thought for the good communist revolutionary to conform to, Giovanni Gentile (the ideological father of Fascism), sought to establish Fascism as an ever organic process - a truly perpetual revolution. He wanted Fascism to grow and evolve and saw the repudiation of Marxism, and it's insistence that greivances arise from inequity, the way to ensure that. Gentile saw Fascism as a sort of organicism, or holism, in which the State was the pinnacle form of axiomatic expression for the individual - the State is all, no one exists outside the State. He, unlike Marx, saw the various private and public entities (be they syndicate or firm), as part of the whole of society. Society, according to Gentile, was the nation. The nation needed order and structure - from the State. And someone needed to administer the State to guard it (and, by extension, the nation and society) against distortion ans misuse - the Vanguard. Where a Marxist would have the private suppressed and absorbed into the public, Gentile believed that they were integral to the State, necessary even, but wholly within the State.
Much like good requires evil and day requires night, Gentile advocated a philosophy in which competing perspectives were integral to the whole of existence. Through this competition, the better and more appropriate perspective would arise with the time and culture that it represented. In this way, it is quite possible to conceive of a form Fascist regime that, although totalitarian, would have been relatively progressive, perhaps even relatively liberal, for the citizens therein (the contemporary United Kingdom springs to mind) depending on the circumstances of the times. This organic process, this integralist approach to national syndicalism, was the framework upon which Fascism was built.
It was this perspective that allowed Mussolini and Hitler to claim, not incorrectly, that their approach to governance was neither left nor right. It was syncretic. A union of the two. A third way, really.
IDW: what do you think of this description? Are there areas I can improve my explanation?