Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy. Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society. Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature and views political violence, war and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky (national economic self-sufficiency) through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.
The fascist view of a nation is of a single organic entity that binds people together by their ancestry and is a natural unifying force of people. Fascism seeks to solve economic, political and social problems by achieving a millenarian national rebirth, exalting the nation or race above all else and promoting cults of unity, strength and purity. European fascist movements typically espouse a racist conception of non-Europeans being inferior to Europeans. Beyond this, fascists in Europe have not held a unified set of racial views. Historically, most fascists promoted imperialism, although there have been several fascist movements that were uninterested in the pursuit of new imperial ambitions. Fascism promotes the establishment of a totalitarian state. It opposes liberal democracy, rejects multi-party systems and supports a one-party state.
Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and regulation of the production of educational and media materials. Education was designed to glorify the fascist movement and inform students of its historical and political importance to the nation. It attempted to purge ideas that were not consistent with the beliefs of the fascist movement and to teach students to be obedient to the state.
Fascist governments advocated resolution of domestic class conflict within a nation in order to secure national solidarity. This would be done through the state mediating relations between the classes (contrary to the views of classical liberal-inspired capitalists). While fascism was opposed to domestic class conflict, it was held that bourgeois-proletarian conflict existed primarily in national conflict between proletarian nations versus bourgeois nations. Fascism condemned what it viewed as widespread character traits that it associated as the typical bourgeois mentality that it opposed, such as materialism, crassness, cowardice, inability to comprehend the heroic ideal of the fascist “warrior”; and associations with liberalism, individualism and parliamentarianism.
Fascists criticized egalitarianism as preserving the weak, and they instead promoted social Darwinist views and policies. They were in principle opposed to the idea of social welfare, arguing that it “encouraged the preservation of the degenerate and the feeble.
Fascism emphasizes direct action, including supporting the legitimacy of political violence, as a core part of its politics. Fascism views violent action as a necessity in politics that fascism identifies as being an “endless struggle”.
The basis of fascism’s support of violent action in politics is connected to social Darwinism. Fascist movements have commonly held social Darwinist views of nations, races and societies. They say that nations and races must purge themselves of socially and biologically weak or degenerate people, while simultaneously promoting the creation of strong people, in order to survive in a world defined by perpetual national and racial conflict.
Fascism emphasizes both palingenesis (national rebirth or re-creation) and modernism. In particular, fascism’s nationalism has been identified as having a palingenetic character. Fascism promotes the regeneration of the nation and purging it of decadence. Fascism accepts forms of modernism that it deems promotes national regeneration while rejecting forms of modernism that are regarded as antithetical to national regeneration. Fascism aestheticized modern technology and its association with speed, power and violence.