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In the third episode of his new YouTube series, “Facts,” Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro explained the history of fascism, detailing how most people who use the term today do not understand the origins or nature of the ideology.
The Daily Wire co-founder noted that the media missed the mark when it portrayed conservative political figures, like former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as fascists, explaining that the fascist ideology centers around the idea of a strong centralized state, an idea popular among many American leftists.
“Fascism is characterized by a belief in the moral imperative of the centralized state. We can sense the roots of fascism going all the way back to Plato, who called for a philosopher king in a utopian state,” Shapiro said in the episode, which was released on Saturday.
Another characteristic of fascism is holding to a belief in nationalism, and sometimes a rigid racial hierarchy. This can be seen first in ancient Sparta and later in the scientific racism that was embraced toward the end of the 19th century.
“Such scientific racism became a dominant philosophy throughout much of the progressive world, which is why both Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were advocates of eugenics,” Shapiro said, adding that “fascism is militaristic.”
“It sees organization around military lines as a model for human existence and recommends action in the world as a response to existential nihilism,” Shapiro said.
Historically speaking, Shapiro said, the most important fascist figure would not be Adolph Hitler, but Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy from 1925-1943. Shapiro explained how Mussolini laid out “The Doctrine of Fascism,” which was predicated on making the will of the individual subservient to the state.
“Glorification of the state and the great leader lay at the root of the Mussolini regime. Mussolini quickly gained worldwide credence and approval. Fascism spread throughout Europe. Hitler greatly admired Mussolini, of course, and Hitler’s original Beer Hall Putsch was supposed to mimic the success of Mussolini’s March on Rome. Hitlerian fascism was significantly more totalitarian than Mussolini’s brand,” Shapiro said.
In the modern day, The Daily Wire host explained that corporatism, racial hierarchies, and militarism were all aspects of fascism. He added that fascism was typically used as an insult, and often shut down conversations on important topics like corporatism and individualism vs. collectivism.
“The truth is that nowadays, the term fascism tends to be a slur rather than a predicate to a useful conversation,” Shapiro said. “As it turns out, everybody you don’t like probably isn’t Hitler.”