I wonder greatly at the faith of Senator Albertini in pure Liberalism; but he must allow me to remind him that Liberalism was also not born of peace and tranquility, Liberalism was the offspring of two great revolutions. He must allow me to remind him that constitutionalism in England and Liberalism in France-in a word, all those principles and ideas which are included under the name of nineteenth-century Liberalism, originated in a great revolutionary movement of the peoples. And without this revolutionary the honored Senator would not today have been able to recite the elegy of pure Liberalism.
How is this internal crisis to be solved? By worn-out and exhausted political parties? Never. But one cannot turn loose a blind and destructive revolution upon the country. Therefore I have restrained Fascism within proper limits. I have not gone a step beyond these limits, and I have not allowed myself to be intoxicated by victory.
Who could have prevented the proclamation of a dictatorship? Who could have prevented me from dissolving Parliament? Who could have resisted a movement which relied, not upon three hundred thousand voters, but upon three hundred thousand bayonets? No one.
I have always said that personal ambitions, interests, and sentiments must be subordinated to the highest good of the nation; and therefore I have directed Fascism along the lines of Constitutionalism. Considering this, I would ask whether my Government means anarchy and confusion.
According to Senator Albertini only pure Liberalism can save the nation. But what is pure Liberalism? If following the school of pure Liberalism means that in the name of political freedom we should allow a few hundred ignorant criminals or fanatics to ruin, according to their own fancy, a country with forty million people, then I must decline even to contemplate the idea of being a Liberal.
I have no fetishes, but I always act as the interests of the country demand. I want the discipline of the nation no longer to be an empty word. I want to draw a distinction between those who work for their country and are ready for any sacrifice, and those whose aims are the exact opposite of all this.
Because of the neglect of these principles the Government of yesterday perished. The state cannot play the role of a distinguished foreigner, lolling in the comfortable arm-chair of Liberalism, and looking on at the terrible drama, where vast moral issues and the fundamental social principles of the nation are at stake. For this very reason no one can say of our national policy that it is reactionary.
But I am not afraid of words. If it were necessary, I would proclaim myself tomorrow the leader of the reactionaries. In my eyes the whole political and journalistic terminology-Right Wing, Left wing, Conservatism, Aristocracy, Democracy-is so much useless verbiage.Empty words, which formerly expressed something, but now the time has come for them to disappear.I shall not adopt a policy against the proletariat, and this, not in the interests of a class, but of the nation. We do not want to suppress the proletariat, we don’t want to drive them from the possession of a quiet and honest livelihood. On the contrary we want to raise them both mentally and materially, but not because we think that the masses will be able to produce the prevailing and ruling type of a future civilization. This thought we leave to the well-paid prophets, who proclaim this mysterious religion. The reason for which we strive to promote the welfare of the proletariat is connected with the general interest of the whole country. One cannot create a united, quiet, and peaceful nation if twenty million workers are deprived of the proper means of livelihood.
If the nation, as I hope and wish, become industrious and disciplined, then our aims will be attained.