Definition of Fascism: Use of coercion to promote a goal that is neither a good that is self-evident from the natural law nor a good that is supported by an overwhelming majority.
It differs from Socialism in this: It does not eliminate private property in furtherance of the goal. It uses other forms of coercion.
Every law contains an element of coercion, but that doesn’t make every law Fascistic. Speed limits promote a public good that is both self-evident from the natural law (safety from immediate risk of bodily harm) and has overwhelming support in theory (if not in practice). Some laws are poorly implemented, but if pretty much everyone supports them, it’s hard to call them Fascistic. Some laws are downright stupid, but if the goal was self-evidently in furtherance of a goal informed by the natural law, it isn’t Fascistic.
What numerical majority is necessary to render an-otherwise Fascistic law non-Fascistic? I don’t know. It depends on the amount of coercion in use and the importance of the public good. If 99 out of 100 people believe everyone needs to contribute one penny a year to maintain a statue of the community’s founder, the resulting law isn’t Fascistic against the one. If the same overwhelming majority thought each person must give 75% of their annual income to do so, it probably is (note: the confiscation of tax dollars, however, is a form of coercion that starts to bleed Fascism into Socialism, so this isn’t the greatest example).
How do we discern the natural law? In this age of discord, it’s virtually impossible. I lean with Brownson on this one: It’s the role of the Catholic Church. So, obviously, we have two problems: (1) Christians who might otherwise agree with these ramblings would vomit at this point, and (2) non-Christians who are still reading (who didn’t vomit at the reference to the natural law) will vomit now.
Why the Catholic Church? Simple: It is the only (the only, one and only) institution that has any plausible claim to do so and it stands outside the political sphere so it, among all institutions, has the least chance of having, and acquiring, a horse in the race. Granted, the Church’s a-political role didn’t gel clearly until Italian unification in the 19th century, but its a-political role has now been firmly established for over 150 years, and the groundwork for such an establishment had been laid a thousand years before that.
And what gives the Church that claim? Two things: (1) A good (not perfect, but good) track record of European advancement when Popes had leaders’ ears, and (2) Its foundation as a spiritual and moral force (starting with Matthew 16:18). Both these points, obviously, can be debated and denied, but those are the pillars on which I’d set the claim (subject, as all things are, to modification upon discussion and further thought).
And if we don’t acknowledge the Catholic Church’s legitimate position to exercise this a-political role, our culture will increasingly come under sway of other groups who claim to be the a-political force that political leaders need to listen to. In this, I believe, the Bilderberg Group is merely filling a vacuum that naturally occurred when the Holy See’s role in such matters was essentially rejected.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList