The total state
This chapter describes some of the philosophical arguments that were sometimes used to justify fascism and the totalitarian vision which went with it. Of course, are differences between the positions taken by the writers. Variants of the pragmatic view can be found in the work of philosophers right across the political spectrum from those on the assertively pro-free market right, according to whom the function of the state should be limited to protection against force and fraud. Italian fascism’s ‘official philosopher’, Gentile, connects this relationship with the development of Italian national consciousness in the years following the end of World War One. Gentile goes on to describe the state as the necessary condition – ‘the necessary premise’ – for the realisation of the ‘new nationalism’. There is a patently sinister aspect to Gentile’s argument as well.