ABSTRACT

The needs of post-World War II reconstruction have led to entrusting the historical meaning of fascism to the description and discussion of its most tragic outcomes: dictatorship, war, massacres and race hatred. Fascism is much subtler and more capitalistically banal than its atrocious misdeeds. Gentile E. has had the merit of showing what everybody had been seeking to hide since the 1930s: fascism not simply had an ideology, it had ideas. Populism and fascism are simply using them, with one advantage vis-à-vis other, more pensive economic subjects: they just use it, without thinking about it. Indeed, Gentile notes, fascism endowed itself with a set of practical ideas for practical politics – tools for political struggle. It was and is fundamental to this purpose – indeed, for every political force in any political era – to have an internal debate alternating between a polite dialectics and a straightforward clash of ideas.