Friday, December 23, 2005

Berlusconi on fascism

Yesterday, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi leapt to the defence of an Italian footballer who had given the crowd a fascist salute, saying that he was simply "a good boy, just a bit of a show-off". But he also had this to say on fascism itself:

"Fascism is finished, Communism continues," he snorted. Mussolini's era hadn't been so bad, he added, explaining that Fascist racial laws against Jews were only introduced to help the Axis war effort.

"Fascism in Italy was never a criminal doctrine..."

Lest we forget, fascism in Italy involved systematic thuggery, the intimidation, beating and murder of opponents, the organised political violence by a private army of blackshirts, the seizure of power in what was effectively a military coup. And this was before they were the government. If that's not criminal, then you have to wonder what the hell is...


Maybe he means the "doctrine" was not criminal it was just the aplication at certain times that was criminal

that he said "Mussolini's era hadn't been so bad" slightly undermines this perspective of course, but I am being charitable.

He could also mean relative to communism which is a plausible argument (that communism was worse than fascism - using the narrow definition)

Posted by Genius : 12/23/2005 09:44:00 AM

Narrow definition? Communism was a lot worse than fascism ... but then, we're splitting hairs: both were implementations of socialism.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 12/23/2005 10:56:00 AM

See Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian for more details.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 12/23/2005 11:38:00 AM

The capitalists have always supported facism. It's only now that their support has become more overt. We can expect much more of this over the next few years.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/23/2005 12:45:00 PM

Duncan: of course the Nazis were socialists. That's why they spent so much of their time beating up and murdering communists...

The core of fascism is nationalism, not socialism.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/23/2005 04:35:00 PM

Why are you assuming that one group of socialists wouldn't do violence to another?

Often, it's the differences between people who for the most part agree that can cause the most violent conflicts; look at inter-sect violence in some Islamic countries, or Catholic / Protestant violence in Northern Ireland.

Certainly, fascists were more nationalistic (at the outset) than communists (at the outset). But, in practice, both groups wound up being about as nationalistic as each other.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 12/23/2005 04:39:00 PM

I have read that Mises article before - it is an incoherent crock.

Both Communism and fascism had totalitarian end points - they were reached by Hitler and by Stalin and Mao respectively.

They look similar to one another in these exampes chiefly because they have totalitarianism in common. Once you concentrate power at a single point (and in order to do so), the leader must be able to influence all parts of society at will, including economic activity.

The two ideologies are close to polar opposites in most other ways, which is why the fascists in Germany generally got their start killing socialists.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/23/2005 05:40:00 PM

I should clarify that there are perfectly acceptable milder forms of communism and even fascism. Sweden lives under one, Japan, Italy and the US the other. In all cases power is, at least nominally, modified by democratic institutions, which keep things under control.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/23/2005 05:48:00 PM