Friday, March 23, 2012

Mussolini's musings

On this day in 1919:
Benito Mussolini, an Italian World War I veteran and publisher of Socialist newspapers, breaks with the Italian Socialists and establishes the nationalist Fasci di Combattimento, named after the Italian peasant revolutionaries, or "Fighting Bands," from the 19th century. Commonly known as the Fascist Party, Mussolini's new right-wing organization advocated Italian nationalism, had black shirts for uniforms, and launched a program of terrorism and intimidation against its leftist opponents.
"Il Duce," as he came to be known, shared a common approach with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and others of the 20th Century: the idea that concentrating enough power in the hands of an aggressive, all-powerful State was the best means of maximizing human existence... at least, for the favored categories of humans.  It's easy to look back and recognize the murderous results of this philosophy.  What's harder is to remember that philosophy still has descendents today, though they are shrewd enough not to wear arm bands or black shirts.  At least for now.
"The Fascist State organizes the nation, but it leaves the individual adequate elbow room. It has curtailed useless or harmful liberties while preserving those which are essential. In such matters the individual cannot be the judge, but the State only."
- Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism, 1932
What a stark departure from the worldview of the founding of America: that certain rights exist, conferred to the individual by God, that are beyond the purview of any State or government!  The question today is, toward which foundational view does our society currently lean?

Third    Amendment
Seventh    Amendment
Ninth    Amendment

It's later than you may think...

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