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Is Fascism an Ideology?

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Is Fascism an Ideology? It is impossible to judge whether Fascism fits into the category of an ideology without considering what an ideology actually is. There are many slightly different definitions of ideology Andrew Heywood's being; "An ideology is a more or less coherent set of ideas that provides the basis for organised political action, whether this is intended to preserve, modify or overthrow the existing system of power. All ideologies therefore have the following features: 1. They offer an account of the existing order, usually in the form of a 'world view' 2. They advance a model of a desired future, a vision of the 'good society' 3. They explain how political change can and should be brought about - how to get from (A) to (B)" (Heywood, 2007) It is clear then that fascism disobeys the majority of the defining characteristic of a traditional ideology, lacking coherence to the point of inherent internal conflictions and whilst offering an account of the existing order and a rudimentary method of political change through conflict it appears to have little idea, nor the interest in, what to do if it actually achieves its goal. ...read more.


Fascism therefore cannot be considered a complete ideology as it is only minimally interested in the theoretical basis which is common of all other accepted political ideologies. Fascism does not represent a coherent set of ideas it appears to select ideas from any area of the political and scientific spectrum if they are even marginally applicable to an adopted policy. For example the core theme within Nazi fascism was the aspiration to a peasant society and a simpler existence for the German people, motivated by the Nazi hate for industrialised society as a diluter of the German Volk. The Nazis used this aspiration to justify their expansionist agenda which ironically caused them to industrialise massively. This begins to raise the question of whether Fascist ideological theory is simply justification acting as an opiate of the masses. Fascism also has a habit of misinterpreting ideas for the benefit of cohesion, it has adopted and abused scientific ideas such as 'Darwinism' in an attempt to justify both their constant strive for conflict and their inhumane policy of 'eugenics'. ...read more.


Fascism therefore, is largely built on reactionary grounds focusing on what it sees as the evils in the world and creating a system against them. This is not the way of a political ideology and its emergence only at times of crisis and impoverishment lead it to seem more a form of national renewal through uncompromising submission to the state, hidden under a veil of political rhetoric, which it uses to hide the more precarious of its policies, for example that of social cleansing. It does also seem that the focus on the importance of the nation suggests that fascism is easier categorised as a form of nationalism rather than an independent ideology. This is only reinforced by the magnitude of difference between the two main fascist movements which were very different on a lot of policy, such as their views on modernisation, meaning that fascism doesn't really have a central issue other than the supreme sovereignty of the state. Reference: Goodwin, B, (2007), Using Political Ideas, 5th edition, John Wiley & sons, Essex. Page. 189 Heywood, A (2007), Political ideologies: an introduction, 4th edition, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, pages 11, 203, 13. ...read more.

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