Meaning in Death
On April 28, 1945 Benito Mussolini was murdered and his body was held upside down in Milan to be vandalized by the public. Since that time most historians and public figures have held him up as a figure of ridicule. A man whose philosophy according to experts has had no real impact on the modern world, and was nothing more than an aberration, a blip on the historical radar. It’s a curious thing that for a man who’s been dead for over seventy years and made no significant influence on public affairs to have his name invoked and philosophy held up for ridicule on an almost daily basis.
One of the arguments most commonly used against Fascism even by those who otherwise would be sympathetic, Is that the ideology was the product of a particular place in time and history. The conditions which gave rise to it can’t be replicated. Fascism died on April 28th 1945 in Milan. Oswald Mosley stated after the war in an interview with William F. Buckley “Fascism does not exist. It was a national creed which died in the Thirties, and the main reason for its non-revival is that any dynamic person who was drawn to that kind of thing would now be a European.” The advocacy of looking at history in this fashion is typically done more to advance a particular agenda or idea than to articulate an accurate assessment of history. In this case Mosley was in the midst of his union movement and felt that Fascism would be an anchor weighing down his party, so any connection between the two had to be delegitimized.
Adherents of evaluating history in this fashion, whether consciously or unconsciously are promoting a linear view of history, which tells us that history is the sum of isolated events throughout time all leading to an eventual point at the end of the line where a particular vision will be recognized and history will come to an end. Karl Marx and enlightenment theorists are a perfect example of this. And much like there forerunners most modern day historians and political theorists when developing their theories enthusiastically construct them out of a model which takes the historical event, in this case Mussolini’s death and separate it from its larger context which gave rise to it; In the process stripping it of its true meaning and turning it into a theoretical construct. This accomplished it’s now possible for them to discredit this construct using easily understood, but empty phrases, which emphasize the remoteness of the event in history and its lack of relevance to the modern world. As Fascists I’m sure we’ve all heard the sayings. “You can’t bring back the past. You need to get with the times.” As we’re going to discover below Fascism in its pursuit of truth has its own unique view of history which more accurately conforms to human nature and will I hope convince you that the death of Mussolini was not in vain.
As with most theories which are derived from enlightenment thought, reality presents an opposing picture. Linear theorists are very loose with the truth. Their models fail to take into account ideologies which throughout history have come and gone only to be resurrected again. Democracy was founded in the 5th century B.C. in Athens, where it continued until the end of the Peloponnesian War and while it continued to manifest itself in Ancient Rome and some other locales, by the 2nd century A.D. it had largely burned itself out. Now, given that Democracy was able to be resurrected during the enlightenment era and become the dominating world force by the end of World War 2. The Linear theory should have as a result been buried as its inconsistencies became more manifest, instead it became the dominant social paradigm as the advocates of liberal democracy seeked to shut out competing ideas.
A more accurate way to view history and combat the linear model would be to look at history as the movement of concentric circles. Let me explain. People now are still largely the same as they were thousands of years ago. We have the same passions, emotions and wants and throughout history these consistently manifest themselves, leading to similarities of events and thoughts. This similarity though should not be confused for sameness. Events may seem to imitate from past to present because of the perceived unchanging nature of humanity but in reality differences are revealed as being sharp. As one example we can look at the Byzantine Empire which while not being Fascist comes within its outer regions due to its being held together by an idea of being Roman, an idea the inhabitants of the Empire were conscious of and embraced despite the material reality of the traditional Roman Empire being non-existent. During its existence the Byzantine Empire suffered numerous military defeats and was constantly on the verge of being destroyed. Yet this Empire outlived its Western counterpart, and was able to defend Europe from Muslim invasion until it was ready to defend for itself. Contrast this with its Fascist counterpart in Italy. Another nation where there was ethnic and language differences based upon what part of the peninsula you lived in which had gone through and incomplete revolution in the middle of the 19th century. It took Fascism to complete this revolution and unite the people under an idea. It’s important to recognize the similarities between the two, but also to see the stark differences. One lasted a little more than 20 years the other 1000. There’s a variety of reasons which can be attributed to this but the lesson to be learned is that fate is not something which has already been written. Rise and falls aren’t automatic and that history has valuable lessons to be earned. The most valuable for us being that Fascism is not something which was never meant to have a future. It just turned out that way. Whether it has a future or not is in our hands. We can make it happen.
As Fascists we can’t fail to recognize the similarities between the concentric view of history and the Fascist philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Gentile held that reality was a spiritual construct. As opposed to a reality in which meaning existed outside of thought. This doesn’t imply that beautiful buildings or nature doesn’t have value. It means that value is given to them by the individual concerned. Without the construction of the individual all you have is an empty building. On the surface this sounds like an endorsement of individualism but nothing could be further from the truth. While the individual may be the center of the construct. The construct doesn’t come about without the individual’s interaction with society. The family, schools, community, the State all interact with the individual who then synthesizes that contact to spiritually grow and become a new man. The important point to remember is that during this process nothing is a given, both society and the individual have to work together to construct the world and make it their own.
On the other hand the linear model tells us a very different story. Those attracted to the linear model of thinking belong to a class of theoreticians which include materialists, biological determinists and many capitalists. People who view reality as existing in material substances, i.e. if you can smell it, touch it, see it it’s real it has meaning. They believe that man is a product of the chemical/biological processes which go on inside his body. His actions are determined by his genetic makeup, which when expanded to include a population of individuals encompasses nations and histories. The agency of the spirit is stripped of its role as a determining agent in history and human action. All acts of individuals and historical events can only take place within the historical construct. The ability of Man to uplift himself and conquer his environment is limited by the linear historical model. These values align perfectly with a world which produces an alienation among the population, a disconnect from their fellow man, from the State, and from their historical heritage.
Fascism seeks to instill in man a heroic personality and mindset. A belief that through action and sacrifice history can be made instead of observed and not the philosophy of death, which teaches us that our actions are constrained by our genes. If history is pre-ordained then what is perceived as the heroic is nothing more than the fulfillment of our genetic structure. For heroism to actually partake of a heroic nature it must derive from a spiritual impulse which is able to overcome our more base natures. This isn’t just a Fascist view of history but a way of life which Mussolini expected not only from himself but everyone who called themselves a Fascist. The death of Fascism was never a given. We aren’t fated to live with the stinking corpse of Democracy for the rest of our existence. It is up to us to give meaning to the death of Mussolini and see his vision through.