Government in Fascist Italy

Government in Fascist Italy

Government in Fascist Italy

Government in Fascist Italy

Excerpt

Democracy and Fascism cannily refuse to divulge their character to the investigator who pursues a single-tracked course. Each abounds in platitudes and slogans of dubious meaning and each has what appear to be irreconcilable contradictions and inconsistencies. Political institutions, wherever found, generally refuse to function in perfect conformity with the plan of the makers; this is as true of Italian government under Fascism as it is of American government under the Constitution. No serious student expects to find in the Constitution of the United States anything more than a few broad hints concerning the practice of American Democracy. He knows enough of the peculiarities of the spoils system, of the intricacies of public opinion, of lobbies and pressure groups, of legislative logrolling, of political machines and bosses, of practical expectations of leadership--enough of these to realize that actual government administration may be widely at variance with the "constitutional spirit." But, knowing this of American government, he is too often likely to overlook the impact of comparable forces in Fascist Italy, and the departures from Fascist doctrine which they occasion. Yet, if Fascist theory is seldom realized in its extreme form, and if such institutions as the Corporative State mean less in practice than in theory, there is still point in examining them. For these are the conceptual forms through which Fascism works, and it is on the basis of the forms that the expected deviations from the normal are to be weighed and judged.

As the totalitarian state moves forward, cutting across all lines and entering into every phase of human activity, it is inevitable that the attitude of Democracy toward it should crystallize behind a solid wall of prejudicial preconceptions. Tolerance may be claimed only by ideas which are themselves broad enough to acknowledge equal tolerance for other views, and the democrat must necessarily dislike and distrust the totalitarian dictatorship. But a distinction has to be made between tolerance for the theory of Fascism and tolerance and patience in the study of . . .

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