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The New American
The New American
29 Apr 2023
Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.

NextImg:Is Everybody a Fascist? - The New American
Benito Mussolini
Article audio sponsored by The John Birch Society

Was Donald Trump a fascist?

Is Joe Biden a fascist?

Is Tucker Carlson a fascist?

A quick Google search of those questions reveals that each of those men is called a fascist by someone. Trump supporters brand Biden a fascist, and Democrats likewise stick the same label on the former president. Socialists and other “progressives” call conservatives fascists, and many conservatives file the socialists and progressives under that category, too.

It is, of course, easier to call someone a fascist than it is to accurately describe the deeds of that person that qualify him for such a maligned and misused moniker.

To judge the merits of the charge of fascism, regardless of who’s being accused, it is helpful to explore the historical roots of the term and the persuasiveness of the evidence offered to prove that the person being accused of fascism is guilty of committing the acts of a fascist. To that end, here is a brief history of fascism: what it means, how it is recognized, and how it has become a title so pejorative yet so popular.

The word “fascism” has etymological roots in the sociopolitical system of ancient Rome. In Rome, the fasces were a bundle of rods about five feet long made of elm or birch wood, together with a single-headed axe. The fasces were bound together by red strips of leather and were carried by lictors (attendants to the magistrates).

The fasces were to be the outward manifestation of the magisterial authority, and therefore symbolic of the legitimacy of the magistrate’s power and the unifying role he was meant to play in the complex Roman government. As the leather strips bound the rods and axe together, so the magistrate (consul, proconsul, praetor, etc.) was to wield his power in the binding together of the citizens, subjects, and leaders of Rome.

In The Washington Post many years ago, Eugene Kontorovich described how the symbol shows up all over the District of Columbia. “Federal buildings throughout Washington, and across the country, are decorated with “fasces” — the bundle of rods with an axe that Benito Mussolini adopted for his political movement,” Kontorovich writes, evoking the name of one of the most notorious admitted fascists to ever wear that label.

While it may not be perfect, the analogy between the ancient Roman symbol of power and the policies of many contemporary politicians is apt and educational. 

In concert with describing President Biden as a fascist, many of those on the right side of the political spectrum have taken to referring to him and those of his ilk as “progressives.”

In truth, “progressives” are not progressive at all, but rather are regressive. That is to say, their opinions and worldview are so dated and have been so often proven ineffectual to the government of a free people, that to call them progressive is to allow them the claim to superiority that underlies their paternalism.

These regressives fancy themselves the gnostics of our day. They claim to have special access to a knowledge of the higher purpose of government that is unattainable by the benighted many over whom they are duty-bound to rule.

The principal plank of the regressives’ absolutist platform is what renowned Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek called the “fatal conceit.” This brand of hubris occurs when a person assumes that if the boundaries of his power were extended indefinitely then he could make perfect order of his dominion. He issues fiats and executive orders that haughtily and purposely bypass other elected officials in order that accomplishment of his perfect plan of government might progress unimpeded.

While the tedious work of carrying out this leader’s vision will be left to the nameless bureaucrats who toil in the myriad agencies created to facilitate the rapid expansion of his control, this leader will draw millions to his side through words, gestures, and photos — all artfully manipulated to disguise the egotism and slavery that lurk behind the catchy slogans and populist playacting.

Under this version of fascism, our formerly free society is divided into rods: black, white; men, women; workers, managers; young, old, etc. These several sticks are then bound together by the confining (the politicians would call it “uniting”) strap of governmental control. Romans believed that it was thanks to the government that the various factions were held peacefully in check and were thus able to contribute to the stability and growth of the state.

In the United States, however, the strap is used to keep the various rods from ever being beyond the control of the federal government. The strap is loosened or tightened according to how it serves the ruling class.

The axe is, of course, as it was in the Roman Republic, the symbol of the punishment meted out to all who work against the unity of the state. 

The axe in today’s American union is generally some form of social marginalization followed by economic enslavement. Rather than being brought down on those who work against the unity of the state, the American axe is wielded against those who attempt to remind the people that there is more that unites us than divides us, and that most of the divisions existing among us were created by the tyrants to prevent us from communicating and cooperating with each other. The regime knows that their power would be precarious against a united populace animated by antipathy for a common enemy: the despots and their agents.

Currently, the system produces a charismatic leader who pacifies the people with speeches, chastises them with stern warnings when he deems necessary, and later relieves them with handouts and endless diversions.

In the United States today, this path is being faithfully followed by an embryonic dictator and his posse of fasces-bearing lictors. President Joe Biden uses speeches, pictures, and proxies to appease the masses while at the same time portraying those who oppose him as enemies of good government or ignorant followers of those he describes as self-satisfying demagogues.

There is a way to break the spell that the regressives have cast on so many of our fellow countrymen. Education is the first and most important step toward breaking free of the shackles these pretty words are placing on us. Our liberties and our sacred Constitution will be cast quickly onto the scrap heap of history if our efforts are not well-aimed and persistent.

All of the promoters of the nanny state who believe they know what is best for everyone must be disabused of that notion, and the house of cards they have erected as palaces of power must be razed and their dominions laid desolate. The American people are sovereign in this union of republics, and as such we have the exclusive right to reform our government according to the timeless principles promulgated by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of 1787.

We must assert our natural dominion and resist tyranny in all its forms lest we finally be bound together with the unbreakable straps of statism and tossed together into the furnace of fascism.    

The best and most constitutionally sound method of breaking the federal government’s control over nearly every area of life dear to free men and women is to demand that state legislatures and governors begin asserting their authority to force the president, Congress, and the courts to remain inside the boundaries drawn around their power in the Constitution. The most effective way to achieve this is for states to refuse to enforce any and all unconstitutional acts of the federal government.

Ultimately, fascism can only be defeated by those willing to withstand the collectivist federal policies and programs, and to defend the timeless and fundamental individual liberties that our Founding Fathers intended to protect from violation by future leaders who would embrace the power and intimidation of centralized authority.