Since Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler’s pioneering of the term during World War II, society has always attributed fascism to be a principle that belongs exclusively to the alt-right. Although it is true that the alt-right has embraced the ideology of fascism, most of us become ignorant and don’t actually know where the term stems from.
For years, now more than ever with the election of President Trump, the left has labeled conservatives and the right as so-called “fascists.” Fascism is actually a splinter-branch of socialism, a leftist principle that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and many leftists have in common.
The ideology of fascism was created by Giovanni Gentile, one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers and a self-proclaimed leftist. Gentile believed that the true nature of democracy was absolute submission to the state—rather than a celebration of freedom and individual rights. Gentile wanted to create a society in which everyone was equal and worked for the “common good” (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) In fascism, the government is your best friend. With its help, you work together to create the “perfect” society in which everybody is [supposedly] equal.
Unlike Marxist socialism, which appeals to people on their social status, fascism is a form of socialism that appeals to a person’s sense of national identity. Hitler and Mussolini appealed to their people by addressing their national identities. Italy was for the Italians, and Germany for the Germans. The term “Nazi” in German stands for “National Socialist German Worker’s Party.” The Nazi party believed that the state told you what to think, what to do, and how to do it.
Hitler once stated that “society’s needs must come before the individual’s” as well as “The common good [must] [come] before the individual good.” Benito Mussolini is quoted in saying, “All is in the state and nothing human exists or has value outside the state.” In Fascism, your ultimate loyalty is to the state and your ultimate submission to its demands is required. So when Antifa, RefuseFacism, or radical leftists lug the term “fascist” at you, remember that they’re talking about themselves.
The alt-right has embraced the ideology of fascism due to its heavy association with Adolf Hitler, one of the alt-rights most revered idols. However, like most of us, the alt-right is ignorant (probably even more ignorant) to the real roots of fascism. If they were to find out that fascism was a leftist principle, they would abandon all uses of the term completely. The only thing the alt-right sees is that Hitler, anti-semites, and other icons on the radical right have described themselves as fascists—and that’s good enough for them.
Why haven’t you heard about our friend Giovanni, you ask? Why is it you have never heard the term “National German Socialist Worker’s Party?” Because historians have erased his name from the annals of history (as they do with many other things) for fear of fascism being associated with the left. When was the last time you were taught in history class what the term “Nazi” stood for? Ask any college student what “Nazi” means and I am willing to bet that most of them don’t even know what a Nazi is. Yet, these are the same students that would call you a “fascist” for not agreeing with their opinions. It is like me calling someone a “filthy Soviet communist” for disagreeing with my conservative opinions, when I don’t even know what a communist is.
This is not to say that if you identify as a liberal you’re some kind of evil, racist socialist, but rather to point out a serious lack of education on a very key historical subject. Fascism just isn’t some term you throw at somebody when they disagree with your beliefs. It has a very complex history that we have failed to acknowledge and learn about in modern society. The challenge isn’t necessarily to learn about the term, but to be able to acknowledge radical principles of both the political left and right, without getting our panties in a wad.
Elliot Avigael is a contributor and writer-in-chief for theDailyLead.