By William S. Lind
On both sides of the political spectrum the words “Nazi” and “Fascist” have come in common use. I have bad news for both the nuts carrying swastika flags and the thugs known as the “Antifa” (for the “Anti-fascists”): Nazism and Fascism are dead.
Fascism and its younger, illegitimate brother Nazism were products of specific historical circumstances that bear no resemblance to today’s America. Both sprang from tremendous anger at the outcome of World War I in two countries that suffered heavily in that conflict, Germany and Italy. Having agreed to an armistice it thought would lead to a peace based on Wilson’s Fourteen Points, Germany was instead handed the Diktat of Versailles, which both humiliated and impoverished the country. Thanks to her usual treachery, Italy was on the winning side (she was allied to Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1914), but the other Allied Powers treated her with contempt and she gained little at the Versailles Conference, after suffering a million casualties. Italy had the outlook of a defeated country.
Fascism and Nazism were responses to defeat. They worshipped strength, despised weakness, and sought to leave behind the whole Christian component of Western culture and return to the value system of the ancient world where power was the highest good. Fatally, both turned an instrumental virtue, will, into a substantive virtue; the act of will was good in itself regardless of what was willed. This led to such disasters as Mussolini’s entry into World War II, Hitler’s offhand declaration of war on the United States, and the Holocaust. Italian Fascism was not race-based, but Nazism offered an ideology’s usual single-factor explanation of history in the form of Aryan supremacy. As the joke ran in Germany, the ideal Aryan was blond like Hitler and slim like Goering.