“The fascist conception of life is a religious one, in which man is viewed in his immanent relation to a higher law, endowed with an objective will transcending the individual and raising him to conscious membership in a spiritual society. Those who perceive nothing beyond opportunistic considerations in the religious policy of the fascist regime fail to realize that fascism is not only a system of government but also above all a system of thought.” Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism
“Fascism sees in the world not only those superficial material aspects in which man appears as an individual, standing by himself, self centered, subject to natural law which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure; it sees not only the individual but the nation and the country; individual and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which, suppressing the instinct for life closed in a brief circle of pleasure, builds up a higher life, founded on duty, a life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual by self-sacrifice, the renunciation of self interest, by death itself can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists.” Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism
"The conception is therefore a spiritual one, arising from [a] general reaction of the century against … flaccid materialistic positivism….” Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism
“The State, as conceived of and as created by fascism, is a spiritual and moral fact in itself, since its political, juridical, and economic organization of the nation is a concrete thing: and such an organization must be in its origins and development a manifestation of the spirit.” Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism
Fascism, among other things, entails a state transformed into a religion conjoined with a commitment to the utter abnegation of the individual, and particularly the individual will. The fascist is never an individual, but always a connected tentacle of some Holy-yet-earthly State, and infused with that State’s generalized yearning to annihilate all those individual heretics in opposition to the religiosity of that State. All who are not tethered to that fascist State must therefore either die or soon become tethered.
Jews, Conservative Christians and free market, individualistic, Americans, however, are not easily tethered to the state itself as God. We believe in individual autonomy rather than divine coercion. We, or at least we who have not been gulled into the despair of the Reductionist Liberals -- for whom all morality, beauty and even divinity are merely manifestations of social and psychological determinism– we conservatives are optimists. And we still embrace Liberal Democracy, which is to say we conservatives still believe in a free will. We who remain the unabashed enemies of fascism continue to believe in real choice, the choice of good and the choice of sin. We embrace the will rather than hate it. And that is what today’s fascists despise about Liberal Democracies, what they despise about you and me: we conservative members of Liberal Democracies embrace free will and thus we embrace creativity materialized via free enterprise.
Today’s fascists on the other hand, who, this time around also happen to be Arab Islamists rather than German or Italian Christians, hate the will. They reject the individual’s ability to create the beautiful and the craven. For the fascist the will of the State is identical to the will of the individual. And today’s Islamist fascists, like their fascist forefathers would be more than pleased to convert us to their State will or kill us in order to crush our individual free will, the human essence we in Liberal Democracies still hold so dear.
So the fascist state is not merely fundamentalist. Though fundamentalism may be a necessary condition for fascism, fundamentalism is certainly not a sufficient condition for fascism. Many who are fundamentalists are neither fascist nor dangerous nor even particularly frightening. Fundamentalist Christians, for example, believe the rest of us wrong, but they also believe we could choose to be right, if only we would. Born again Christians hold free will so dear, in fact, they even hold themselves individually responsible for their own birth. So, coerced submission to God is utterly rejected by fundamentalist Christians. Coerced love of God is equally rejected by fundamentalist Jews, and likely even by most fundamentalist Muslims.
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things.” [Al-Qur’an 2:256]
Yet more important, coerced submission, like coerced love, is utterly antithetical to Liberal Democracies including the theistic people, agnostic people and even atheistic people, thriving within Liberal Democracies.
Fascism, on the other hand, is herd morality opposed to individual liberty. All is coercion. All is submission: love, morality, obedience, religion and death. And the genocide of those heretical peoples, like the Jews, who refuse to be coerced, the destruction of those horrid people, like the Jews, who in any way admire the creativity of individual will is an absolute good for fascists. The fascist must crush the individual will and all who stand for the freedom of the individual will. For those who are opposed to the coerced religion of this fascist state, the Islamic fascist State, are those who also oppose the spirit of the Islamic fascist’s holiest of holies: the mystical melding of Man and God into the State.
Those who are opposed to this fascist world view, however, those who embrace individual freedoms including, if not especially, the freedom of speech and the freedom of the marketplace of ideas and things must oppose this.
So I agree with how conservatives frame this war. We are at war with Islamist fascists. But we are not at war with Muslim fundamentalists. This is rather a war between Liberal Democracies and a new oppressive variety of fascism. We are in a war to protect the freedom of the individual will from the coercion of the state. This is a war to allow each of us within all the families of Liberal Democracy to pursue the maximum creativity of our individual wills and let the fruits of our creativity whither or grow freely in the marketplace of ideas and things. This truly is the war of Liberal Democracy against the infinite despair of fascist theocratic reductionism. This is a war that brooks no appeasement by the despairing.