Today's Isms: Communism, Fascism, Capitalism, Socialism

Today's Isms: Communism, Fascism, Capitalism, Socialism

Today's Isms: Communism, Fascism, Capitalism, Socialism

Today's Isms: Communism, Fascism, Capitalism, Socialism

Excerpt

The major conflict of our age is the struggle between aggressive totalitarianism and the free way of life. Not long ago the chief threat to liberty was fascism; today it is communism. The violence and terror of totalitarian communism and fascism, ranging from slave labor camps to genocide, reflect a fanatical ideology that brooks no compromise.

This book is a discussion of the main representatives of each side -- communism and fascism on the totalitarian side, capitalism and socialism on the democratic. In a short book, it has seemed advisable to concentrate on the isms that shape the fate of the world rather than to discuss in detail the numerous other isms that are important, but that have not been decisive, in the struggle for men's minds. These lesser isms, whether philosophical, political, social, or economic, are therefore dealt with in this book only to the extent that they are related to the four major isms. The psychological roots of totalitarianism and democracy are given particularly close attention, since it is difficult to understand either system without understanding both the personality traits and psychological motivations to which that system appeals.

The key approach in this book is through the way of life concept rather than through one particular aspect, such as government or economics. Totalitarianism and democracy are more than specific social, political, or economic systems: they are two diametrically opposed ways of life, with contradicting beliefs and values, based on distinct and opposite conceptions of the nature of man. The scope and gravity of the present world crisis can therefore be fully grasped only by perceiving it, not as the mere result of conflicting political or economic ideas and practices, but as a conflict between two ways of thought and action encompassing the totality of social life.

WILLIAM EBENSTEIN

Princeton University . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.