Mario Palmieri on the True Goal of Fascism in relation to the Spiritual: Four Cardinal Points and National Heroism

“Never before, to be sure, had a social and political system advanced such claims upon the inner world of man as this claim of Fascism to determine for him the form of conduct…”

MARIO PALMIERI

Darkness is upon the land, and there is no hero among the people in the country, and it is because of this, that the confusion of conflicting ideas, beliefs, and wills exist, for there is little to bind the wills of the State. The wisdom of the masses is a naive belief; and left to their own liberties, lead to decadence. A new dark age is possible, unless we find again a meaning for life, a different purpose than the mere satisfaction of the senses. The people need a new philosophy to help direct them toward the true goal of man, and that is why Fascism works so strenuously. There is a possibility of a Dark Age on the horizon, and it is Fascism which is trying to prevent this, by teaching in a new way the truth that the fate of the whole civilization depends on our ability to become aware of the deeper reality to life, found in ‘the realization of a full life of the Spirit.’

The central institutions through which the individual’s spiritual needs, aspirations and longings are rooted and integrated, are all through which man’s true individuality will be realized. Only then, shall the deep import of the Fascist philosophy of life be realized. Institutions, which form the framework of all the life of Spirit, in whose essence Man shall partake of.

These are some of the thoughts of Mario Palmieri in the prime periods of FASCISM.

Mario Palmieri, an early Fascist intellectual, expresses the Fascist philosophy in his work, The Philosophy of Fascism. He describes the unalterable principles for this conduct of life, being i. the principle of Unity, ii. the principle of Authority, and iii. the principle of Duty. It is only the principle of Authority, which differs from REPUBLICANISM.

In relation to the social life of man, Palmieri says to us, that the Fascist philosophy of life Man first rises to, is the capacity of a true spiritual being, from the Family, the Church, the Nation, then the State. Through them, life “can flower forth in an expression of great spiritual achievement.” The nation is a whole, and the good of the whole cannot be merely dependent upon material welfare, but based upon a much greater meaning than the ego. The nation, he says, of which one is an integral part, constitutes for every life of that nation, the supreme essence of the race, i.e., the collective expression, intelligence, and destiny of that nation. Life has a meaning, and in a deeper reality, man may find peace, regenerate and restore dignity and purpose, which is fully realized in those institutions. This philosophy, FASCISM, is to renew those four cardinal points of the life of man, for the foundations of a durable and satisfactory social life. “…this cult life will again find a purpose,” in bringing about “the spiritualization of man.” 

Nevertheless, discussing the principle of Authority, the reasoning of Palmieri as stated before, is to establish justification for the authoritarian dictatorship [of Mussolini], through the concept of a “national hero” (God’s hero). “He is a gift from God,” a hero among Man, for Fascism holds, that “the State must be a social, political, economic, moral and religious organism, built as a pyramid at whose vertex is the national hero.” He goes so far as to say, that the true Fascist is willing to forego all personal freedom, to sacrifice all his personal pleasure for the spiritualization of man. The true Fascist, in Platonist tone, we are told, will strive to make love an expression of the soul, rather than an enjoyment of the senses, forsaking the realization of his rights for the fulfillment of duties. The family and the monogamous marriage is held to be sacred, and the supreme test and true end of love. Respect to the hierarchical arrangement of society, and sacrifice and suffering for the welfare of one’s family and country, aims toward the true goal of life, which Palmieri writes, is the spiritualization of man.

“Life thus, as conceived by Fascism is serious, austere, religious, and its development takes place in a world sustained by the moral and responsible forces of the spirit. This means, in turn, that to be a Fascist is, of all things, the most difficult in the world. He who subscribes to the doctrine of Fascism subscribes also to the rules of conduct which make exacting claims upon his will to live a satisfactory sensual life. The life of the Fascist is a life of ascetic self-denial, heroic self-sacrifice, moral abnegation and religious enthusiasm.”

MARIO PALMIERI, THE PHILOSOPHY OF FASCISM, 1936.

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