The Essence of Fascism

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[359] [360]

Quadragesimo Anno, the Pope

[361] [362] …teachings of Jesus.

I. Fascist anti-individualism

The common complaint that Fascism has not… [363] After having…

Spann, the prophet…

Hegel Marx [364] Ernst Krieck

Mussolini Malaparte Julius Evola Hitler Rosenberg [365] Gottfried Feder

Oscar Wilde

Baümler, Blüher, and Wirth, philosophers [366]

Thus, Friedrich Gogarten's Politische Ethike

It is the Individualism of the Gospels.

II. Atheist and Christian Individualism

[367] [368] necessarily be aimed, is an entirely different Individualism from the one against which his actual arguments are directed. Thus, as a critical contribution to Fascism, Spann’s argumentation is a failure. Yet incidentally it reveals the true nature of the problem with exceptional clarity, i.e. that meaning of individualism which Socialism and Christianity have in common.

Spann's …

Nobody can deny …

Spann's criticism of Individualism is vitiated … […]

The formula of atheist Individualism is that of Kiriloff in Dostoevsky's The Possessed … […]

[369] evil. […]

Dostoevsky's ruthless analysis of Kiriloff leaves no doubt about the true nature and limitations of the spiritually autonomous personality. The Titanic Superman is the heir of the gods Nietzsche … […]

[…] …denying that he has soul.

Christian Individualism arises out of the precisely opposite relation to the Absolute. “Personality is of infinite value, because there is God”. It is the doctrine of the [370] Brotherhood of Man. That men have souls is only another way of stating that they have infinite value as individuals. To say that they are equals is only restating that they have souls. The doctrine of Brotherhood implies that personality is not real outside community. The reality of community is the relationship of persons. It is the Will of God that community shall be real.

The best proof of the coherence of this series of truths lies in the fact that Fascism, in order to rid itself of one of the links finds itself constrained to renounce them all. It tries to deny the equality of Man, but it cannot do this without denying that he has a soul. Like different properties of a geometrical figure these statements are really one. The discovery of the individual is the discovery of community. The discovery of equality is the discovery of society. Each implied in the other. The discovery of the person is the discovery is the relationship of persons.

For the idea of Man and the idea of Society cannot be dealt with separately. What Fascism is contending with is the Christian idea of man and Society as a whole. Its central concept is that of the person. It is the individual in his religious aspect. The consistent refusal of Fascism to regard the individual in this aspect in the sign of its recognition that Christianity and Fascism are completely incompatible.

The Christian idea of society is that it is a relationship of persons. Everything else follows logically from this. The central proposition of Fascism is that society is not a relationship of persons. This is the real significance of its anti-individualism. The implied negation is the formative principle of Fascism as a philosophy. It is its essence. It sets to Fascist thought its definite task in history, science, morals, politics, economics, and religion. Thus Fascist philosophy is an effort to produce a vision of the world in which society is not a relationship of persons. A society, in fact, in which they are either no conscious human [371] beings or their consciousness has no reference to the existence and functioning of society. Anything less leads back to the Christian truth about society. But that is indivisible. It is the achivement of Fascism to have discovered its whole scope. It rightly asserts the corelatedness of the ideas of Individualism, Democracy and Socialism. It knows that either Christianity of Fascism must perish in the struggle.


III. The solutions

[372] Ludwig von Klages

Hegel's philosophy of the Absolute Mind

IV. “Soul” versus Mind

[373] [374]

V. Spann, Hegel and Marx

[375] [376] [377] J.J. Bachofen's antithesis

[…] The core of Klage's anthropology

VI. Klages, Nietzsche, and Marx

[378] [379] Karl Schmitt's “Enmity” principle: Politics, according to him… [380] [381] [382]

VII. Racialism and Mysticism

[383] [384] In Eckehart's Christian faith… [385]


VII. Vitalism victorious

[386] [387]

The Old Testament and the Jewish mind, the New Testament and the Christian mind, the Roman Church and Marxian Socialism, Pacifism and Humanism, Liberalism and Democracy, Anarchism and Bolshevism are all in turn denounced as Universalist. This series includes almost everything the author despises from the Palms to the Sermon on the Mount and the Communist Manifesto.

…by the Aristotelian, “The whole is before the parts,” or the Hegelian, “The Truth is the whole.” When Rosenberg … [388] [389] [390] … Tolstoi's and Dostoevsky's poetic embodiments of the Christian Revolution, For the …

IX. The sociology of Fascism

[391] [392] [393]

Text Informations

Original Publication: “The Essence of Fascism”, in Christianity and the Social Revolution, 1935, p. 359-394
KPA: 13/06
Recent Publication in English: in Polanyi 2018b, p. 77-90
Other Languages:

Lge Name
FR « L’essence du fascisme »

See also