Greatest Fascist poll

In the spirit of Chris Bertram's Greatest Marxist poll on Crooked Timber, I would like conduct my own poll on the Greatest Fascists.

Probably the fiercest defender of Fascist thought was Mussolini who defended the philosophy of heroic man immune to economic motive, in control of his life, not merely a slave to the whims of history and chance. Another great Fascist was Alfred Rosenberg, who wrote in The Myth of the Twentieth Century that inherited traits were the driving force in determining science, art, and culture. Or who can forget the Dutch economist Meinoud Marinus Rost van Tonningen, who struggled to prevent what he believed to be the coming downfall of Europe. And of course, there is Richard Wagner, who instead of using the written word, transformed the ideals of Fascist philosophy into musical masterpieces, reflecting the inner spirit of man's higher evolution.

Although there are numerous others who actually put the theory into practice - Franco, Pilsudski, Peron, Stroessner, Szalasi, Antonescu, and Vargas to name a few - none can match Hitler in the real-life demonstration of Fascist ideas. Whatever his faults, there's no question that Adolph Hitler should top the poll.

[None of these commendations, I should note, implies any kind of moral or political endorsement. But if asked about who the greatest Fascists were, one should, in my opinion, name those who most creatively developed and applied the Fascist methods of social analysis.]

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Friedrich Nietzsche is my

Friedrich Nietzsche is my favorite fascist, although his form of fascism is completely different than the form espoused by the Nazis - much more individualistic, glorifying the ?bermensch rather than the greatness of the state. The similarities between Rand and Nietzsche are striking.

"The similarities between

"The similarities between Rand and Nietzsche are striking"

Probably explains why Objectivists are so dogmatic...

"The similarities between

"The similarities between Rand and Nietzsche are striking."

Since Rand once said that her two biggest philosophical influences were Aristotle and Nietzsche, that should hardly come as a surprise.

Of course, I think that the

Of course, I think that the implied equivalence is silly, but we could go round and round on that one....

But just for the sake of basic accuracy, let me point out that the poll is by Josh Cherniss on his blog, and that I was commenting on it.

You're right, Chris. The

You're right, Chris. The implied equivalence is silly. Marxist regimes killed far more of their own citizens than fascist regimes.

But, to be fair to the

But, to be fair to the Fascists, Marxists had a lot more opportunities to kill around the world.

Nietzsche was definitely NOT

Nietzsche was definitely NOT a fascist.

He would have regarded fascists as being very much like the "Last Man" of Also Sprach Zarathustra. He was friends with Wagner early in his career, but later became a bitter enemy.

Georges Sorel (Reflections on Violence) is the closest to being a theorist of Fascism, IMO. Marinetti and the Futurists provided an aesthetic framework for Fascism, and were theorists of the movement in that sense.

I'm surprised at some of the

I'm surprised at some of the other comments here as well.

Nietzsche similar to Rand? Sure, he was an individualist, but the similarities end there.

Nietzsche, dogmatic? If anything, I'd call him an anti-dogmatist.

If you want to make such claims, please provide examples.

Thanks to Chris for giving

Thanks to Chris for giving credit, or assigning blame, where due ...
I think that it's fairly ridiculous to call Nietzsche or Wagner a fascist; Wagner was a militant and mystical nationalist and anti-semite, but doesn't so far as I can tell actually expound the doctrine of modern fascism. Nietzsche was very clearly not a fascist politically, even if his ideas and, I think to a greater extent, the tone of some of his works contributed to a certain intellectual atmosphere in Germany out of which later Nazi ideas emerged -- but there's no direct connection (his awful sister Elizabeht WAS a vicious racist anti-Semite, and she's the one largely responsible for his proto-Nazi reputation.) It's true that the emphasis on personal aggression and domination that's so central to fascism can be found in Nietzsche; but I think fascism is fundamentally collectivist, while Nietzsche, as noted, was a radical individualist.
Odd that nobody's mentioned Gentile, or Ezra Pound, on the list of fascists; or, expanding it to Nazis, Carl Schmitt or Heidegger (who have been mentioned by commenters over at Crooked Timber).

This is interesting; I'd

This is interesting; I'd never really given any thought to who came up with Fascist thought (aside from Mussolini) and the philosophical currents behind it. Any recommendations for books on the history of Fascist thought? Marxism seems to be a dime a dozen (since it's still around) but Fascism is either an epithet or a footnote of WWII...

I?ve never found a

I?ve never found a convincing definition of fascism that couldn?t be boiled down to ?totalitarianism that occured in italy and germany (and romania, spain, etc.) So I?d hardly even know what to say.

As far as Nietzsche is concerned, I would strongly disagree that he was a fascist, though he certainly seemed fond of fascist-like figures like Borgia and Alexander the great, though we don?t know how much of that was jocular. He?s really pretty similar to a rorschach test I think- you can get about anything you want out of him. I think he?s well worth reading, but you might to well to "distrust all systemetizers," as he advises, especially those who try to systemetize his particular thoughts.

One of my philosophy teachers claimed that Ayn Rand was a misguided sysnthesis of Sarte and Nietzche. I get the feeling that she would?ve detested sartre?s politics, of course, but his ethics are even more radically individualist than aristotle?s.

As I tried to make clear in

As I tried to make clear in my first comment in this thread, I consider Nietzsche a fascist, but not in the political sense of the term. I think Nietzsche can be fairly described as an individualistic fascist, although Matt is currect that it is counterproductive to place a label on one who explicitly rejects systemetization.

There's a volume on Fascism

There's a volume on Fascism in OUP's Very Short Introductions series (A Very Short Introduction to Fascism, by Kevin Passmore), and a book called The Nature of Fascism by Roger Griffin; there are histories of fascism by Roger Eatwell, Stanley G. Payne, and Robert O. Paxton; and there's the Routledge Companion to Fascism, edited by Derek Lynch.
I'd generally define fascism as an ideology or movement combining nationalism and a totalitarian model of government, which holds the individual to be subordinate to the collective as a whole, which is seen as having its own will, through involvement in or unity with the individual achieves strength and fulfilment, and the glory of which (the collective that is) is the highest aim of politics. Or something like that. But there are of course other definitions.

Bear in mind, the man whose

Bear in mind, the man whose post you are about to read is an Officer of the American Fascist Movement and a co-founder of the Fascist Confederation.

With that in mind, I would like to add that while you are spot-on about Pilsudski (a rare but accurate conclusion) neither Rand nor Hitler are Fascists. That's right, I said Hitler's not a Fascist. We in the AFM are constantly bothered by this association. Hitler was a National Socialist, something philosophically quite different from Fascism or Falangism. For one, Fascism does not stratify races, creating a racial hierarchy. Furthermore, the policy of state corporatism is only present in Fascism. Look, the list goes on and on, I assure you.

As for Rand, well, that's like saying Che Guevara is a Fascist. Ayn Rand may have opposed communism, but Fascists oppose egoism and capitalism in the same measure. Have you chaps read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead or Anthem?

In place of these, you might want to try Tojo, Oswald Mosley, Julius Evola, to name a few. Good luck with the polling, but please, be careful who you call a fascist. We're very elitist, you know.


Hi Falange America National

Hi Falange America

National Socialism is more like fascism + racism, is it no? It consider also anti-marxism, anti-anarchism, anti-parlamentarism and anti-demokracy.

If we look away from the racism, then Germany in structure was quite alike the Italian.

Besides: Should anything be wrong with Stalin? Did he or his followers not create a kind of very powerful Corporative State?

And note that USSR never actually ended as communism. Communism is actually a society with out a state and without classes.

Perhaps fascism and corporatism will be the next USA-Israel-trend. USA-economy is heading the edge of collapse, and then populism should be a fine way to make a revolution towards corporatism. I am sure it would be able to create a destructive military empire.

And note I am going to fight this empire. May the EU win the economic battle.

/rsfo - a Social Demokrat

I define Fascism as the

I define Fascism as the philosophy of authority and vitality.

Fascism's core seems to be it's assertion that vitality is key, that liveliness,action, and strength come from the strength of will manifested in social authority as exercised by the state. The state is essential society manifested, created to organise social relations.

With that in mind it can be said that Hitler had a fascist philosophy, but mixed into it racial theory. This wasnt part of 'pure' fascism, but a dogmatic addition of his own.

Fascism as we know it first appeared in Italy, but even Mussolini added to it. Fascism, like other philosophies, always aquires cultural baggage as it seeks to assume power in varying nations with their varying conditions.

Outside of philosophy, there probably isnt a pure fascist, politicians being weighed down with cultural baggage.

I dont have a favorite Fascist.

I'm a gay jewish fascist, yes, that's right. I am a fascist in philosophy, but i think too many in the past have opposed homosexuality on 'moral' grounds, when fascism has no morality outside of order and vitality.

I am something of an admirer of Moseley though, especially his idea of partial democracy based on one's profession-nurses voting for healthcare minister, and so on. He called it 'organic democracy', since it follows the logical idea that one can only know one's own profession well enough to be able to run it.


You have said many true

You have said many true things about Fascism but as already stated Hitler was not a Fascist. He did admire many things about Pilsudski and Mussolinni and borrowed from them. Still he was a Nazi first and foremost. While the roots of Fascism are secular Nazisim is not. It was born out of Nordic mythogy, the occult and Darwinism. Having things in commen with fascism does not make one a fascist.