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What Are the Main Features of Fascism as an Ideology - Essay Example

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What Are the Main Features of Fascism as an Ideology

Scholars trace fascism back to the fin de siecle, which is French for “the end of the century,” marking the end of popular belief systems like materialism, bourgeois society, and rational thinking. In its place, subjectivism and irrationality arose as dominant factors in propelling societies toward more extreme and centralized political systems (Payne 2005, p. 24). In the vacuum left by fin de siecle, nationalism and syndicalism grew in popularity, becoming reflected in the faces of the most dreaded leaders in the 20th century, including Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Two definitions exist for fascism that account for two very different contemporary uses of the term. The first usage, which refers to its position on a political spectrum, is the original usage, while the second usage is relatively new. On the political spectrum, commentators define fascism as a revolutionary centrist doctrine that is reactionary on social issues (opposing egalitarianism and approving of authoritarian tactics) but also radical on economic issues (opposing parliamentary liberalism and approving of national syndicalism). This sort of general definition plays well with historical examples such as Germany’s Nazis, which took a hardline reactionary opposition to diverse people but a soft endorsement of socialism.

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Summary

From the Latin word fasces, which is a bundle of rods that represented the power of the civic magistrate in the Roman Republic, the word became a reference to political organizations built on collectivistic or even communistic philosophical premises…
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