Past Parallels To Ponder: Mussolini
Fascist nationalist movements sprang up all over Europe in the early part of the 20th century, and while Hitler is the great Satan of fascism, Mussolini was the guy who put the movement on the map and proved it could work…for a while.
Fascism, as Mussolini defined it, was a bonding of nationalistic populist impulses with industrialists and financiers (Mussolini actually preferred to call it “corporatism”).
The core idea was to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few by turning the attention of the masses against any convenient enemy, foreign or internal.
While a variety of scapegoats can always be found, fascism invariably turns first and foremost against those who seek to distribute wealth and power among those who make said wealth and power possible.
In Europe, this played out with a rising core of radicalism, starting with the trade unionist movements of the late 17th century which, when beaten back by the forces of wealth and power, begat the various socialist movements which, when they were beaten back in turn, begat Marxism and communism.
It is a natural human impulse which is not to be denied, and every time greed and arrogance defeat it, it only springs back angrier and more determined than before.
Such movements often find root among the disgruntled, and this plays into the hands of fascism by providing an already existent marginalized group, and that in turn enables religious / ethnic / racial / sexual persecution.
Mussolini, once he secured power in Italy by promising a restoration of the grandeur of ancient Rome, attempted to emulate the Caesar’s by attacking a weaker nation with the intent of enslaving them (economically if not literally) to enrich his government.
He chose Ethiopia, and much to his surprise things went badly for him, so much so that he was required to call upon fellow fascist Hitler for help in extricating himself.
Hitler helped other fascists across Europe in the hopes of leading one vast fascist empire. Many, like Mussolini, found themselves soon sucked in to Hitler’s ill-conceived visions of grandeur but Spain’s Franco was savvy enough to take the Nazi’s aid while holding him at arm’s length and sitting out World War Two.
In the aftermath, he secured a position as a de facto ally of the democratic west by standing with them against Stalinism.
Mussolini was less successful, and after selling out his country to the Germans, eventually found himself on the wrong side of a partisan revolt.
The revolt ended in his ignominious death and Italy ending the war on the winning team.
Lessons to learn:
Once again, give rich people a chance not to pay their fair share and they’ll jump at it, bringing ruin on those around them. This invariably leads to disaster, which can only be avoided by conceding to a democratic form of governance and economy. The vainglorious will strike woeful alliances to prop themselves up, and will inevitably lead to their downfall and humiliation.
© Buzz Dixon