WND: Fascism's Karl Marx is the man the Left doesn't want you to meet

Originally posted at WND by Dinesh D’Souza.

“For fascism, the State and the individual are one.”

—Giovanni Gentile, “Origin and Doctrine of Fascism”

The myth that fascism and Nazism are phenomena of the right relies heavily on Americans not knowing what fascism and Nazism really mean, what those ideologies stand for. Leftists in academia and the media have worked hard to portray fascism and Nazism in terms of sheer demagoguery and generic authoritarianism, carefully concealing the ideological roots that would reveal fascism and Nazism’s true political colors.

Think about this: We know the name of the philosopher of capitalism, Adam Smith. We also know the name of the philosopher of Marxism, Karl Marx. So, quick: What is the name of the philosopher of fascism? Yes, exactly. You don’t know. Virtually no one knows. This is not because he doesn’t exist, but because the political left—which dominates academia, the media and Hollywood—had to get rid of him to avoid confronting fascism and Nazism’s unavoidable leftist orientation.

So let’s meet the man himself, Giovanni Gentile, who may be termed fascism’s Karl Marx. Gentile was, in his day, which is the first half of the 20th century, considered one of Europe’s leading philosophers. A student of Hegel and Bergson and director of the Encyclopedia Italiana, Gentile was not merely a widely published and widely influential thinker; he was also a political statesman who served in a variety of important government posts. How, then, has such a prominent and influential figure vanished into the mist of history?

Let’s consider some key aspects of Gentile’s philosophy. Following Aristotle and Marx, Gentile argues that man is a social animal. This means that we are not simply individuals in the world. Rather, our individuality is expressed through our relationships: we are students or workers, husbands or wives, parents and grandparents, members in this or that association or group and also citizens of a community or nation. To speak of man alone in the state of nature is a complete fiction; man is naturally at home in community, in society.

Right away, we see that Gentile is a communitarian as opposed to a radical individualist. This distinguishes him from some libertarians and classical liberals, who emphasize individuality in contradistinction to society. But Gentile so far has said nothing with which conservatives—let’s say Reaganite conservatives—would disagree. Reagan in 1980 emphasized the importance of five themes: the individual, the family, the church, the community and the country. He accused the centralized state—big government—of undermining not merely our individuality but also these other associations.

Gentile now contrasts two types of democracy that he says are “diametrically opposed.” The first is liberal democracy, which envisions society made up of individuals who form communities to protect and advance their rights and interests, specifically their economic interests in property and trade. Gentile regards this as selfish or bourgeois democracy, by which he means capitalist democracy, the democracy of the American founding. In its place, Gentile recommends a different type of democracy, “true democracy,” in which individuals willingly subordinate themselves to society and to the state.

Gentile recognizes that his critique of bourgeois democracy echoes that of Marx, and Marx is his takeoff point. Like Marx, Gentile wants the unified community, a community that resembles the family, a community where we’re all in this together. I’m reminded here of New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s keynote address at the 1984 Democratic Convention. Cuomo likened America to an extended family where, through the agency of government, we take care of each other in much the same manner that families look out for all their members.

While Marx and Cuomo seem to view political communities as natural, inevitable associations, Gentile emphasized that such communities must be created voluntarily, through human action, operating as a consequence of human will. They are, in Gentile’s words, an idealistic or “spiritual creation.” For Gentile, people by themselves are too slothful and inert to form genuine communities by themselves; they have to be mobilized. Here, too, many modern progressives would agree. Speaking in terms with which both Obama and Hillary would sympathize, Gentile emphasized that leaders and organizers are needed to direct and channel the will of the people.

Despite Gentile’s disagreement with Marx about historical inevitability, he has at this point clearly broken with modern conservatism and classical liberalism and revealed himself to be a man of the left. Gentile was, in fact, a lifelong socialist. Like Marx, he viewed socialism as the sine qua non of social justice, the ultimate formula for everyone paying their “fair share.” For Gentile, fascism is nothing more than a modified form of socialism, a socialism arising not merely from material deprivation but also from an aroused national consciousness, a socialism that unites rather than divides communities.

Gentile also perceived socialism emerging out of revolutionary struggle, what the media today terms “protest” or “activism.” Revolutionaries, Gentile says, must be ready to disregard conventional rules and they must be willing to use violence. Gentile seems to be the unacknowledged ancestor of the street activism of Antifa and other leftist groups. “One of the major virtues of fascism,” he writes, “is that it obliged those who watched from the windows to come down into the street.”

For Gentile, private action should be mobilized to serve the public interest, and there is no distinction between the private interest and the public interest. Correctly understood, the two are identical. Gentile argued that society represents “the very personality of the individual divested of accidental differences … where the individual feels the general interest as his own and wills therefore as might the general will.” In the same vein, Gentile argued that corporations too should serve the public welfare and not just the welfare of their owners and shareholders.

Society and the state—for Gentile, the two were one and the same. Gentile saw the centralized state as the necessary administrative arm of society. Consequently, to submit to society is to submit to the state, not just in economic matters, but in all matters. Since everything is political, the state gets to tell everyone how to think and also what to do—there is no private sphere unregulated by the state. And to forestall resistance to the state, Gentile argued that the government should act not merely as a lawmaker but also a teacher, using the schools to promulgate its values and priorities.

“All is in the state and nothing human exists or has value outside the state.” Mussolini said that, in the Dottrina del fascismo, one of the doctrinal statements of early fascism, but Gentile wrote it or, as we may say today, ghost wrote it. Gentile was, as you have probably figured by now, the leading philosopher of fascism. “It was Gentile,” Mussolini confessed, “who prepared the road for those like me who wished to take it.”

Gentile served as a member of the Fascist Grand Council, a senator in the Upper House of Parliament, and also as Mussolini’s minister of education. Later, after Mussolini was deposed and established himself in the northern Italian province of Salo, Gentile became, at il Duce‘s request, the president of the Italian Academy. In 1944, Gentile was accosted in his apartment by members of a rival leftist faction who shot him at point-blank range.

Gentile’s philosophy closely parallels that of the modern American left. Consider the slogan unveiled by Obama at the 2012 Democratic Convention: “We belong to the government.” That apotheosis of the centralized state is utterly congruent with Gentile’s thinking. Only Gentile would have provided a comprehensive philosophical defense that the Democrats didn’t even attempt. In many respects, Gentile provides a deeper and firmer grounding for modern American progressivism than anyone writing today.

John Rawls, widely considered a philosophical guru of modern progressivism, seems like thin gruel compared to Gentile in offering an intellectual rationale for ever-expanding government control over the economy and our lives. While Rawls feels abstract and dated now, Gentile seems to speak directly to leftist activists in the Democratic Party, in the media, and on campus.

One might naively expect the left, then, to embrace and celebrate Gentile. This, of course, will never happen. The left has the desperate need to conceal fascism’s deep association with contemporary leftism. Even when the left uses Gentile’s rhetoric, its source can never be publicly acknowledged. That’s why the progressives intend to keep Gentile where they’ve got him, dead, buried and forgotten.

Read more at WND.


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  • Mike Mizzi says:

    August 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM

    I had heard of Gentile long before you it seems. I found him when I was doing a thesis for my BA in Cultural Studies on the way music has been used in wars over the centuries. His treatise ” The Doctrine of Fascism” http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm is available on the net, albeit under the authorship of Mussolini. It is only recently however that I have come to almost the same conclusions as you regarding the tactics of the left when it comes to current political discourse and its violent manifestation. However I do not agree that fascism is exclusively a leftwing concept. It addresses both far left and far right political movements in their common sharing of the notion of the subjugation of the individual to the state and the corporation. Note how easily so called left wing politics so comfortably accommodates the corporation when it comes to double dealing labour. Gentile mentioned that fascism is also the complete melding of the state and the corporation which has been expressed in the natural evolution of modern neoliberal capitalism. IN their extremes both the left and the right have produced fascist states and societies. This bipolar antagonism is what we see manifesting in society at present, especially in the west. IN fact the perfect melding of the state and the corporate neoliberalism in today’s world is no more perfectly exampled than in China with the USA not far behind.Luckily the USA has its Constitution. This shows how both Aldous Huxley in Brave New World and George Orwell in 1984 foresaw aspects of this dystopia but neither were able to meld the two into a succinct critique. The violence in the USA and Europe is a core principle of the left-right dichotomy, with each promising to end in a state of fascism. The battle is simply about which fascists take over as the ultimate outcome is always the same. The complete subjugation of the individual and the censoring of dissent.

  • Harry says:

    August 21, 2017 at 1:49 PM

    You book is great and so well researched. I can not wait to see you make this into the best selling documentary of all time and crush the lie.

  • Stuart Hicks says:

    August 21, 2017 at 1:57 PM

    Ya know Hegel gets into the idea of the other pretty quick in his self consciousness section of the Phenomenology. Always felt he placed way too much emphasis on the other in our perception and our consciousness. Carries the overemphasis into his Lord and Bondship ((master/slave dialectic if you like). He uses this L&B thing to describe history as a struggle between those who are strong and those who are weak. Calls for the end of history. Ideas just don’t blow me away as they do so many leftist and what people don’t see IMO is that Marx, using Hegel’s idea in his construction of Communism just replaces the master and the slave where the govt is the new master and the citizens the slaves. The dialectic the only thing that actually ends in Communism where one class of master wins over the people and then the dialectic ends as the arrangement between master and slave is enforced through law.

  • Dr. M says:

    August 23, 2017 at 10:07 PM

    Great article!

  • Miles Monroe says:

    September 3, 2017 at 8:50 AM

    A great snapshot of information you just cannot find anywhere else. The way it was taught to me in college was that the concept of fascism was a necessary element to make the dialectical work on the eventual nexus to communism. However, my professors always wanted to make clear that these were “economic systems” and that you should try to analyze the system of political control separately. For instance, you never ever see capitalism described as a political system, always an economic system. But we know capitalism as an economic system is axiomatic with democratic or republican political systems where individual rights are stressed to protect them from the tyranny of the majority. Balance all this against the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ dead on assessment of human nature, e.g. man is motivated by greed and fear of death, especially violent death; and you can see why economic systems that emphasize collectivism require a strong central government. So it is not fair to make these comparisons as we do. I am tired of the term “fascist and fascism” being thrown around as political terms. But we’re in so deep in conflating these terms that there is no escape. So to conclude, fascism and communism are always associated with political systems of strong central control and strongman authoritarian political systems that eschew individual rights over the state. Thank you to the likes of Dr. Gregory A. Raymond and Dr. Andrew B. Schoedinger at my alma matter as my references.