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Public perceptions of communism v. fascism

RightinNYC

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Spurred by discussion in another thread and full of what may be unwarranted assumptions, so feel free to point out anything that you disagree with.

In our society, I think that communism and fascism are viewed very differently. That seems a bit strange to me. Each has been responsible for the deaths of millions and has been the signature ideology of a National Enemy, yet communism is treated as closer to the mainstream than fascism. There are a multitude of groups that label themselves as communist and plenty of people that hold themselves out as such, but I don't see anywhere near the same number of groups or people who call themselves fascist. I can probably count a half dozen people I know IRL who would call themselves communist, but Kori is the only person IRL or online that I've ever seen call himself fascist. I think if you asked the populace about their opinions of fascism and communism on the "strongly approve, approve, disapprove, strongly disapprove" scale, you'd see that communism was substantially ahead on each measure. Why is that?

Is it because communism is simply less objectionable?
Is it because there are modern day communist countries, but no modern day fascist counterparts?
Is it because there is a more substantial history of communist movements in this country?
 

MKULTRABOY

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Spurred by discussion in another thread and full of what may be unwarranted assumptions, so feel free to point out anything that you disagree with.

In our society, I think that communism and fascism are viewed very differently. That seems a bit strange to me. Each has been responsible for the deaths of millions and has been the signature ideology of a National Enemy, yet communism is treated as closer to the mainstream than fascism. There are a multitude of groups that label themselves as communist and plenty of people that hold themselves out as such, but I don't see anywhere near the same number of groups or people who call themselves fascist. I can probably count a half dozen people I know IRL who would call themselves communist, but Kori is the only person IRL or online that I've ever seen call himself fascist. I think if you asked the populace about their opinions of fascism and communism on the "strongly approve, approve, disapprove, strongly disapprove" scale, you'd see that communism was substantially ahead on each measure. Why is that?

Is it because communism is simply less objectionable?
Is it because there are modern day communist countries, but no modern day fascist counterparts?
Is it because there is a more substantial history of communist movements in this country?


I would disapprove any radicalism to tell you the truth. Most communists are probably aware that communism is the last step in society's evolution purported by Marx. Communism has alot of egalitarian aspects to it. Fascisms directly engenders thoughts of racial supremacies etc (scientifically unfounded). Communism and fascism are as different as apples and oranges. Radicalism of any kind comes around full circle and represents less their ideological principles and more the need for power security, etc.
 

MKULTRABOY

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Is it because communism is simply less objectionable?
Is it because there are modern day communist countries, but no modern day fascist counterparts?
Is it because there is a more substantial history of communist movements in this country?

Yes, really it is less objectionable from an intellectual standpoint even though I dont exactly agree with all of it.
Fascist countries dont last long, they tend to get bandwagoned against and jumped by other countries or vaporized by the hegemon.
 

spud_meister

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Fascism is associated directly with Hitler, the Holocaust, racism etc. Communism is seen as more of a hippies pipe dream rather than the ideology that has been used to slaughter millions, it's just they are associated differently.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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Spurred by discussion in another thread and full of what may be unwarranted assumptions, so feel free to point out anything that you disagree with.

In our society, I think that communism and fascism are viewed very differently. That seems a bit strange to me. Each has been responsible for the deaths of millions and has been the signature ideology of a National Enemy, yet communism is treated as closer to the mainstream than fascism. There are a multitude of groups that label themselves as communist and plenty of people that hold themselves out as such, but I don't see anywhere near the same number of groups or people who call themselves fascist. I can probably count a half dozen people I know IRL who would call themselves communist, but Kori is the only person IRL or online that I've ever seen call himself fascist. I think if you asked the populace about their opinions of fascism and communism on the "strongly approve, approve, disapprove, strongly disapprove" scale, you'd see that communism was substantially ahead on each measure. Why is that?

Is it because communism is simply less objectionable?
Is it because there are modern day communist countries, but no modern day fascist counterparts?
Is it because there is a more substantial history of communist movements in this country?

Communism is a peasant ideology, it's intuitively appealing.
Not to say that it is actually appealing when fully realized.

Not to mention that there has been a lot of bias in teaching the end results.
Fascism gets the raw deal, while communism gets somewhat of a pass.
 

rathi

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Most people who are communists in the U.S. today are utopian idealists, who reject the idea of the USSR. They tend to focus on the decades of writing and thinkers before the rise of the soviets. Most nations who declared themselves communist are considered not to be "true communism".

Fascism was personified by the nations who practiced it rather than abstract writers and thinkers. After the U.S. fought a long bloody war against pretty much every Fascist nation, it become a dirty word because of those implications. While the word itself became taboo, many of ideological concepts remained. The success of fascist propaganda techniques resulted in them being integrated into the political fabric of most nations around the globe.

But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship…Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

Most wars since WW2 have been justified in similar terms, although nobody would admit to using fascist tactics. Scapegoating minorities as the source of various political problems is equally popular as well. I would say that Kori is simply more honest than many people who hold Fascist viewpoints but call themselves something else.
 

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While the answers given so far are pretty good, I think there is another aspect as well.

Fascism is almost always associated with a particular leader in the country in question while communism is more associated with a broader system (there are of course some exceptions in certain nations, but in general this holds). Furthermore, the people associated with fascism are almost always seen as psychotic or insane. Men like Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and Hussein all defined fascism for their respective countries. Meanwhile most communist regimes, while they might have a charismatic founding leader, tend to end up more as an oligarchic system. Everyone knows about Mao, but who in the US has heard of Hu Jintao? Stalin is pretty prominent but many other Soviet Premiers are completely unknown in the general public. So in a way its harder to put a face on communism than fascism, which also tends to give communism more of an "out". It wasn't communism's fault that the Ukrainian Famine happened, it was Stalin's. Meanwhile fascism gets no out as the leader of the fascist state is seen as the embodiment of the fascist ideal. Since few fascist states have ever out lived the leader who spawned it fascist-apologists (what few there are) don't get to say that later fascist leaders weren't so bad and that it was the leader's fault not the system's. People don't see the difference.
 

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I think it's pretty simple, really. Fascism represents an evil ideal, and it is evil in application. Fascism plays on the worst aspects of human nature with racialism and xenophobia. Communism, on the other hand, "looks good on paper" as they say, but is inherently evil in application. Communism in theory is an appeal to the best aspects of human nature, but ignores true human nature. Communist regimes can still be just as murderous and evil as fascist ones, but the ideals of communism are much more palatable to people with common sense.

Fascism gets the raw deal

:roll: I guess this sort of thinking makes sense coming from you.
 
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Deuce

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Of course, the other big point is how readily people invoke the words fascism or communism/socialism when describing current political events, which is ridiculous. Hell, people call our president socialist and fascist in the same sentence despite those two things being not at all compatible.
 

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Hell, people call our president socialist and fascist in the same sentence despite those two things being not at all compatible.

They are certainly compatable. Nazism, for instance, included the implementation of many socialist policies.

And also, concerning communism and fascism, people come along and say that they are as different as "apples and oranges." That's true as long as you realize that apples and oranges are both fruit. They are different ideologies in many respects--and are opposed concerning the ideas of "nationhood," national borders and/or racial/ethnic supremacy/inferiority-- but both are collectivist and both often involve the implementation of socialist economic policies that emphasize the "good of the collective" and subvert the "good (or rights) of the individual."

As has already been aluded to in this thread, I think there is generally a stronger aversion to fascism because it is associated with Hitler...simple as that. Communism, as it has been "attempted" so far, is really no less objectionable than fascism, IMO. I thoroughly object to them both.
 
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MKULTRABOY

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Communism is a peasant ideology, it's intuitively appealing.
Not to say that it is actually appealing when fully realized.

Not to mention that there has been a lot of bias in teaching the end results.
Fascism gets the raw deal, while communism gets somewhat of a pass.

You dont seem to 'get' the communism thing. If it WERE realised it'd be the bestest thing evar. Just like itd be great if jesus came back or something.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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You dont seem to 'get' the communism thing. If it WERE realised it'd be the bestest thing evar. Just like itd be great if jesus came back or something.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.

It won't be on any national scale.
At least, in the way you describe it.
 
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One important difference between Fascism and Communism, is that as a doctrine, even Fascism's ideals are malicious, as it openly trumpets violence and power for is own sake. At least in Communism, authority exists as a tool to an end. In Fascism, there is no other end.
 
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other

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One important difference between Fascism and Communism, is that as a doctrine, even Fascism's ideals are malicious, as it openly trumpets violence and power for is own sake. At least in Communism, authority exists as a tool to an end. In Fascism, there is no other end.

A fascist view of "violence and power" isn't an end for its own sake-- they view a strong and powerful nation as the end product...unity and stability is maintained by the military strength of a nation to protect its own interests and keep subversive/divisive elements from causing instability from within the society.

The idea in some communist doctrines that violence will eventually be unnecessary after the (violent) establishment of some international worker's paradise, all in perfect equilibrium, is simply naive utopianism. In practical application, any state or group that seeks for the abolition of personal private property will have to use (in perpetuity) the same mechanisms that a fascist state uses to stifle internal divisions. On the surface this may seem less malicious, but all I see is a thoroughly unrealistic ideology that can only maintain a sense of superiority over other ideologies that acknowledge the necessity of violence by being dishonest with itself/denying reality.

This is why you see states all over that claim to be "communist" or to have communist principles underlying their government systems that intellectuals will always deny are actually communist in any way. And then you have fascist states that effectively achieved much of what they wanted initially but then became aggressively expansionist and incurred the world's wrath. The former realistically manifests as a dictatorial authoritarian system while claiming it is "of the people," whereas the latter don't even try to put forth such an illusion. In the end, for all practical purposes, they are very nearly the same thing while they claim to be at odds with each other. If anything, you might find that states that start off trying for a communist utopia tend to beak down into authoritarian states that very much resemble fascist states, albeit inadvertently in most respects.
 
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RightinNYC

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I think it's pretty simple, really. Fascism represents an evil ideal, and it is evil in application. Fascism plays on the worst aspects of human nature with racialism and xenophobia.

One important difference between Fascism and Communism, is that as a doctrine, even Fascism's ideals are malicious, as it openly trumpets violence and power for is own sake. At least in Communism, authority exists as a tool to an end. In Fascism, there is no other end.

I don't think it's necessarily true that fascism intrinsically seeks a more "evil" end than communism. Kori could describe this better than I, but from hearing him describe his ideal society, it sounds just as idealistic as communism.
 
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RightInNYC said:
In our society, I think that communism and fascism are viewed very differently. That seems a bit strange to me.

Really? I actually find the opposite to be true in many cases; a discussion of communism generally leads to a reference to Stalin and therefrom to Hitler and National Socialism (see most of the posts on this forum by "conservatives").

Anyways, I think it's due mostly to communism being for the most part grounded in Marxist theory and analysis, which is a legitimate and widely recognized theory/methodology today. Moreover, Marxism as a practice develops historically. The working class struggle leads organically into posing the question of working class rule directly and in many cases independently of any consumption of Marxian theory.

I don't think fascism and communism can be compared at all, TBH.
 
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RightinNYC

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Anyways, I think it's due mostly to communism being for the most part grounded in Marxist theory and analysis, which is a legitimate and widely recognized theory/methodology today.

This is sort of what I'm getting at. Marxist theory is widely recognized today because our society doesn't react to it with the same immediate revulsion as it would react to a professor who wanted to open a department devoted to the study of fascism. I'm trying to understand why that is.
 
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RightInNYC said:
This is sort of what I'm getting at. Marxist theory is widely recognized today because our society doesn't react to it with the same immediate revulsion as it would react to a professor who wanted to open a department devoted to the study of fascism. I'm trying to understand why that is.

Because there is no method of analysis in fascist ideology that is similar to Marxian theory/methodology/philosophy.

Marx tackled some of the most puzzling questions philosophers have ever tried to solve. His theory of historical materialism based on his own materialist dialectical method is the culmination of hundreds of years of thought going back as far as Greek philosophy. His economic theories were the culmination of political economy, stretching back as far as Aristotle. His method of analysis was revolutionary for its time (no pun intended) and continues to have a very large impact to this day on academia, not only for his past contributions that have led to where we are at today but also because many of his methods are still in use to this day. He is considered the father of sociology.
 
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Technocratic

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A fascist view of "violence and power" isn't an end for its own sake-- they view a strong and powerful nation as the end product...unity and stability is maintained by the military strength of a nation to protect its own interests and keep subversive/divisive elements from causing instability from within the society.

Yes, there was always an expansionist goal, but ultimately, that reflects the desire by the rulers to accumulate power. The Fascists wanted a great nation, because ultimately, that translated into power for the rulers. Fascism doesn't really concern itself with the material welfare of the people or nation. The leadership caste uses the Organic State as a practical tool to accomplish its goals. Facism is all about the accumulation of power, for its own sake, for those who puppeteer the State.

Violence is both instrumental, and seen as a virtue. According to the Fascist ideology laid out by Gentile in "The Doctrine of Fascism," the Fascist "ideal" state of mind exhibits a "the will to action" and violence. They see them as "virtues" or "goods." War is a tool to bring out these virtues, but so is street violence. Fascists invert many of the traditional virtues. Humility becomes pride, pacifism becomes aggression, charity becomes violence toward the weak, etc. In fact, Fascist doctrine mocks the traditional virtues and repudiates utilitarian materialist concerns almost entirely. What it cares about is cultivating virtues that can be channeled by the Organic State to fulfil its goals, and ultimately, develop the power of the rulers.

Utimately, Fascism is all about the creation of a transcendental entity--an Organic State--which is supreme above all else and also consuming all else. Hence, although Fascist philosophers trumpeted war as a means to achieve the virtue of aggressive violence, violence was encouraged and channeled to achieve "transcedence, obedience" and and "end to liberal decadence."

But let's be real here. The goal was always sinister: propagation of the power of the State, and hence the people who ran the system. They, and their ideology, have nothing to do with promoting material welfare. They didn't even give it lip service in the Doctrine and play pretend.
 
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Technocratic

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Edit the above:
A fascist view of "violence and power" isn't an end for its own sake-- they view a strong and powerful nation as the end product...unity and stability is maintained by the military strength of a nation to protect its own interests and keep subversive/divisive elements from causing instability from within the society.

Certainly, there are instrumental functions to violence, but Mussolini and Gentile specifically emphasized that the virtues were cultivated, or brought out, through sanctioned domestic and foreign exercizes in violence. He saw "war" as the ultimate and beautiful expression of the virtue, not just as necessary to the effort. It was a means to bring it about in "a people" in the first place. However, they probably were, as you say, always intended to promte the State's nationalist goals.

Violence, the cult of the masculin, mysticism, eternal action, aggression--all I think were ultimately part of a plan by the rulers to achieve and maintain power. So power is at the heart of everything.

Unlike Communism, Fascism didn't even consider the material welfare of anyone. It always promoted violence, aggression, eternal conflict, and a mystical faith in the God State.
 
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Yes, there was always an expansionist goal, but ultimately, that reflects the desire by the rulers to accumulate power. The Fascists wanted a great nation, because ultimately, that translated into power for the rulers. Fascism doesn't really concern itself with the material welfare of the people or nation. The leadership caste uses the Organic State as a practical tool to accomplish its goals. Facism is all about the accumulation of power, for its own sake, for those who puppeteer the State.

Violence is both instrumental, and seen as a virtue. According to the Fascist ideology laid out by Gentile in "The Doctrine of Fascism," the Fascist "ideal" state of mind exhibits a "the will to action" and violence. They see them as "virtues" or "goods." War is a tool to bring out these virtues, but so is street violence. Fascists invert many of the traditional virtues. Humility becomes pride, pacifism becomes aggression, charity becomes violence toward the weak, etc. In fact, Fascist doctrine mocks the traditional virtues and repudiates utilitarian materialist concerns almost entirely. What it cares about is cultivating virtues that can be channeled by the Organic State to fulfil its goals, and ultimately, develop the power of the rulers.

Utimately, Fascism is all about the creation of a transcendental entity--an Organic State--which is supreme above all else and also consuming all else. Hence, although Fascist philosophers trumpeted war as a means to achieve the virtue of aggressive violence, violence was encouraged and channeled to achieve "transcedence, obedience" and and "end to liberal decadence."

But let's be real here. The goal was always sinister: propagation of the power of the State, and hence the people who ran the system. They, and their ideology, have nothing to do with promoting material welfare. They didn't even give it lip service in the Doctrine and play pretend.

Don't worry... I don't, in any way, operate under the illusion that fascist governance has ever or will ever produce an ideal state with the leaders actually living up to the promises they make!

That said, fascism essentially involves militarism, and the same things can be said of all forms of militarism, from chivalry to bushido, etc. Nothing new here.
 

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Unlike Communism, Fascism didn't even consider the material welfare of anyone. It always promoted violence, aggression, eternal conflict, and a mystical faith in the God State.

I get what you are saying, but it is incorrect to say that communism is entirely different than fascism in this.

Neither fascism nor communism promote the welfare of any one. They are both collectivist, and both see opposition between what is good for individuals and what is good for the greater society--and side with the society over the individual. Both seek to create greater good, or a more just or perfect society without any special regard for individuals as compared to whole groups of people.
 
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In our society, I think that communism and fascism are viewed very differently. That seems a bit strange to me. Each has been responsible for the deaths of millions and has been the signature ideology of a National Enemy, yet communism is treated as closer to the mainstream than fascism.

The war against Fascism was the most glorious chapter in our national history. We were the Big Damn Heroes saving the world from the Axis-- and unlike Soviet atrocities, we were allowed to get up close and personal with the victims of German and Japanese fascism. They got to tell their stories before the entire human race. There are no museums to the victims of the Soviets and the Maoists, and the war against international Communism was not a war of liberation, not a war of heroism and glory, but a chess game where each side used petty dictators as pawns. We won the war against Fascism, and then used the Fascists to fight a war against the Communists. This is why I'm fond of saying that when we defeated Germany and Japan, we won the war but lost the argument-- we used their own methods against them and against every enemy we've fought since.

There is also the matter that Soviet intelligence operated far longer, and was much more effective, then Nazi intelligence. The Soviets funded and indoctrinated insurgents and dissidents in countries all over the world, including the United States, and those unwitting pawns undermined our war efforts in every major conflict against Communism during the Cold War. The revolutionary and so-called "student" movements in the 60s and 70s were largely Soviet creations-- and, when the Cold War died, these Communists and Communist sympathizers didn't go away, they integrated themselves into our education system and into more acceptable government and community action. As much as our Democratic Party isn't by any stretch of the imagination a Communist organization, these radicals have insinuated themselves into it handily.

I think if you asked the populace about their opinions of fascism and communism on the "strongly approve, approve, disapprove, strongly disapprove" scale, you'd see that communism was substantially ahead on each measure. Why is that?

Mostly? Jews. This country is full of Jews and they wield disproportionate wealth and influence in our society. (Facts which I applaud them for. They are, by and large, a superior people.) The victims of Soviet atrocities were mostly Russians and Ukrainians and Latvians, who have no significant influence in this country. And Soviet aggression, unlike Fascist aggression, was not direct and overt but instead relied on fomenting revolutions and civil wars in countries under colonial occupiers and failing governments-- so even where they failed, there are large segments of the population that view them ambivalently at least, if not warmly.

One important difference between Fascism and Communism, is that as a doctrine, even Fascism's ideals are malicious, as it openly trumpets violence and power for is own sake. At least in Communism, authority exists as a tool to an end. In Fascism, there is no other end.

A fascist view of "violence and power" isn't an end for its own sake-- they view a strong and powerful nation as the end product...unity and stability is maintained by the military strength of a nation to protect its own interests and keep subversive/divisive elements from causing instability from within the society.

Communism believes in a world without power and violence and hypocritically uses power and violence to attempt to realize it. Fascism believes in power and violence as an inevitable and necessary part of human existence, and seeks to channel them into productive and life-affirming ends. Both are horrific when they fail, but all human social structures are horrific when they fail and Communism is inherently doomed to failure because it is inconsistent-- it fails from the very moment that it is born and continues to fail until it collapses. Fascism survives and thrives until it is defeated by superior external forces, which is in accordance with the natural order and nothing to be ashamed of. It's worth noting, despite the fact that the Axis Powers were defeated, that it took almost the entire rest of the world to do so.

In the end, for all practical purposes, they are very nearly the same thing while they claim to be at odds with each other. If anything, you might find that states that start off trying for a communist utopia tend to beak down into authoritarian states that very much resemble fascist states, albeit inadvertently in most respects.

Materially, they appear similar, but Fascism's goals for society are not material, but spiritual. Communism rejects the spiritual side of Man's existence and denies his spiritual needs, while Fascism is focused primarily on the spiritual well-being of the people. It has admittedly only achieved mixed success on this front, with the most notable failure being Germany, but Fascism genuinely promotes the triumph of passion and vitality over despair.

I don't think it's necessarily true that fascism intrinsically seeks a more "evil" end than communism. Kori could describe this better than I, but from hearing him describe his ideal society, it sounds just as idealistic as communism.

They're different ideals, and they're not the ideals we are taught to pay lip service to in church and school. It is true that Fascism promotes ambition and ruthlessness as virtues, but people tend to overlook that it also promotes loyalty and cooperation and love. It is not enough to cultivate personal power and pursue personal ambitions; the true Fascist must also encourage and inspire his family and his neighbors to cultivate power, and bind them all together in the service of something greater than petty hedonism. The Fascist leader must not merely be powerful and ambitious, he needs to command the loyalty of other powerful and ambitious men, and he needs to cultivate an atmosphere in which ambition and loyalty are rewarded with greater power and responsibility.

No social structure is perfect, but Fascism doesn't have to be perfect to work.

Yes, there was always an expansionist goal, but ultimately, that reflects the desire by the rulers to accumulate power. The Fascists wanted a great nation, because ultimately, that translated into power for the rulers. Fascism doesn't really concern itself with the material welfare of the people or nation. The leadership caste uses the Organic State as a practical tool to accomplish its goals. Facism is all about the accumulation of power, for its own sake, for those who puppeteer the State.

The only way for the leadership of the Organic State to accumulate more power is for the Organic State itself to accumulate more power.

But let's be real here. The goal was always sinister: propagation of the power of the State, and hence the people who ran the system. They, and their ideology, have nothing to do with promoting material welfare. They didn't even give it lip service in the Doctrine and play pretend.

How is the propagation and accumulation of power "sinister"? How is the rejection of pure, unfettered materialism "sinister"? Egalitarianism and materialism are the roots of Communist ideology, and are the source of both its failure and its hypocrisy.

And how is paying lip service to values you don't believe in better than honesty?
 

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Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Both seek to create greater good, or a more just or perfect society without any special regard for individuals as compared to whole groups of people.

Survival of the individual at the expense of the collective is not the way of nature, especially not human nature. Human societies that do not put the good of the whole over the good of the one do not survive.
 
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