Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the ‘problem’ and therefore defined as the enemy. I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all of these aspects of fascism.
I hope that definition of Fascism strikes a chord with readers. It represents the ideal of essentially all modern states. In terms of Meaning in History, what Fascism represents is the powerful urge of post Christian man to return to the compact unity--the "organic unity"--of "archaic" pre Christian cultures. Those cultures, and the states in which they were embodied, existed as compact, organic unities in which everything that we consider somehow separate were regarded as inseparable. Religion, politics, cultural expressions--it was all part of the organic expression of "archaic" man's self understanding as existing in a divinely instituted cultural unity.
Dissent from any aspect of that unity was understood as rebellion against the whole. Thus, Socrates expression of free thinking and questioning required that he be executed. So, too, the Christian refusal to sacrifice to the official Roman gods was an act of rebellion against all things Roman--state, politics, religion.
The Christian insistence that God--understood as creator of all that exists and the sole father of all men--is knowable to human reason without societal, state, or cultural intermediation destroyed that compact unity. Within that compact unity man had felt at home. Christian faith--reasoned belief in the infinite creator God, as expressed by Paul in Romans 2--was a demanding way of life. In return for a reasoned understanding of man in the world under God, it demanded serious commitment and reasoned endeavor.
The final breakdown of Christendom faith as a unifying force for Western society in the late Middle Ages, leading to the religious wars of early modernity, led to post Christian man seeking an alternative. There really was only one alternative--an attempted return to the "archaic" vision of man in the universe. However, Christian faith made a return to the now naive worldview of paganism impossible for the modern nation states--although we see the attractive power of neo-paganism in our own culture. Instead, modern man was forced to formulate an alternate, competing ideology to Christianity--an ideology in the sense of being no longer based on a reasoned interaction with reality but an attempt to impose a man made reality on the world.
That attempt began in the optimistic enthusiasm of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, but has taken on darker interpretations in succeeding centuries, marked by bloodbaths in the name of the various modern ideologies. Our world is marked by the rise of increasingly explicit neo-gnostic ideologies of the Left, based in Marxism and the German ideology of Hegel.
We in America like to think that we have till now been largely immune from that ideological disease, but in fact American history can be readily seen to be a steady progression toward the imposition of a compact unity of worldview on society, with the state brooking increasingly less opposition. We see this in the cult of state schools, of the black robed high priests of the established polity, the belief in a revealed Constitution of our polity. Indeed, the Christian establishment, which retains some influence, increasingly seeks no greater role than as the handmaiden of the modern state--we see these especially clearly under the Covid regime.
I'm describing Fascism, as it exists throughout the West. This is the force that conservatives resist. Resistance to this force requires personal conversion and renewal through reasoned belief.