THE MYTHOLOGIZATION OF FASCISM: JULIUS EVOLA ON THE TERM ‘NEO-FASCISM’ AND THE ABSURDITY OF THE PRESENT SIMPLE POLITICAL POLARITY
“….we must energetically oppose anyone who claims that the choice must be between Fascism or anti-Fascism in an attempt to exhaust every political possibility and discussion. One consequence of this simple polarity is, for example, that no one can be anti-democratic without automatically being ‘Fascist’ — or Communist.” EVOLA
‘Neo-Fascism’ is the name given today by both democrats and Communists to the ‘national’ forces in Italy that are most decisively opposed to both currents. To the extent that these forces accept this designation unreservedly, a situation is created that is full of errors and lends itself, dangerously, to the enemies’ game. Incidentally, we owe the acceptance of this name to the talk, obviously in a pejorative sense, of ‘nostalgics’ and ‘nostalgia’. Fascism has undergone a process of what can be called mythologising. In regard to it, the attitude taken by most people has an emotional and irrational character, instead of a critical and intellectual one. This is especially true for those who maintain an ideological loyalty to yesterday’s Italy. They have made Mussolini and Fascism into objects of a ‘myth’ and they keep their eye on a reality that is historically conditioned and on the man who was its centre, instead of on political ideas that should be taken seriously in themselves and for themselves, independently of these historical accidents, so as to be able to maintain forever their normative value in regard to a clearly defined political system.
In the case we are now discussing, mythologising has naturally had as its counterpart idealising, that is, emphasising only the positive sides of the Fascist regime, while intentionally or unconsciously ignoring the negative sides. The same procedure is practiced in the opposite direction by the antinational forces for a mythologising having instead as its counterpart systematic denigration, the construction of a myth of Fascism in which only the most problematic sides are tendentiously emphasised so as to discredit all of it or to make people hate it.
In the second case, it is well-known that bad faith and partisan passion are manifestly at the basis of a further procedure and a style of arguing deprived of all legitimacy. They claim, that is, to establish a causal nexus between what exclusively concerns the ups and downs and consequences of a lost war and the intrinsic value of Fascist doctrine. For any rigorous thinking, this kind of nexus is absolutely arbitrary. We have to assert that the eventual value of Fascism as doctrine (apart from a given international politics) is as little prejudiced by the results of a lost war as it would be proven or confirmed by a war that, instead, was won. The two planes of principle and historical contingency are absolutely distinct, with all respect to the historicist dogma Weltgeschichte ist Weltgericht, the favourite slogan of men who lack a backbone.
Beyond any partisan one-sidedness, those who, unlike the ‘nostalgics’ of the new generation, were alive during the Fascist period, and so have a direct experience of the system and its men, know and acknowledge that not everything was in order in Fascism. As long as Fascism existed and could be considered as a restorative movement in progress, with its possibilities not yet exhausted and crystallised, it was only fair not to carry criticism beyond a certain point. Those who, like us, while defending an order of ideas that coincided only in part with Fascism (or German National Socialism), did not condemn these movements (despite being well aware of their problematic or deviant aspects), did so counting precisely on further possible developments — to be enthusiastically favoured by every means — that would have rectified or eliminated these problems.
Today, when Fascism stands behind us as a reality of past history, our attitude cannot be the same. Instead of the idealisation appropriate to ‘myth’, we need to separate the positive from the negative, not only for theoretical ends, but also for a practical orientation for a possible political struggle. Therefore it is not right to accept the epithet of ‘Fascist’ or ‘neo-Fascist’ tout court. We should call ourselves Fascist (if we decide to do so) in relation to what was positive in Fascism, but not Fascist in relation to what was not positive in Fascism.
Readers need to bear in mind that, apart from the positive and negative elements in the character of Fascism which we have just mentioned, a movement susceptible to development contained several different tendencies, and only the future could have told us which ones would have prevailed, if military defeat and the internal collapse of the nation had not paralysed everything. In Italy — and Germany, too — national unity did not exclude significant tensions within the system. We are not alluding here to simple ideological tendencies represented by one group or another. Such tendencies were, for the most part, of little significance, and we shall ignore them in the present examination. We are dealing rather with elements that concern the structure of the Fascist system and regime, taken concretely, in its governmental and, generally, institutional reality. This is the second and more important reason for the need to overcome mythologising and not to take Fascism in an undifferentiated manner. If, then, one thinks of the two fascisms, the classic form of the ‘Twenty Years’ from 1922-1943 and the Fascism of the Italian Social Republic (1943-1945), which were, indeed, united by a continuity of loyalty and willingness to fight, but are, on the other hand, notably different as political doctrines, partly because of the fatal influence of circumstances, it will be even clearer how much the problems of discrimination and ‘myth’ lead to dangerous conclusions that prejudice a decisive and coherent alignment.
Concerning this issue, the point that must be emphasised is the need to broaden horizons and have a sense of distance. The reality of today is that, while one group considers Fascism as a simple ‘parenthesis’ and aberration in our more recent history, others resemble people who have been born today and believe that nothing has existed before yesterday. Both these attitudes are inadequate, and we must energetically oppose anyone who claims that the choice must be between Fascism or antiFascism in an attempt to exhaust every political possibility and discussion. One consequence of this simple polarity is, for example, that no one can be anti-democratic without automatically being ‘Fascist’ — or Communist. This closed circle is absurd, and in this connection we must return to our initial considerations, by denouncing the myopic perspective it implies.
[FASCISM: VIEWED FROM THE RIGHT, CHAPTER II.]