tive sovereignty lies in the hands of other concealed and irresponsible forces. Democracy is a regime nominally without a king, but it is ruled by many kings—more absolute, tyrannical, and ruinous than one sole king even though a tyrant.
fascism has taken up an attitude of complete opposition to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political field and the field of economics. There should be no undue exaggeration (simply with the object of immediate success in controversy) of the importance of liberalism in the last century, nor should what was but one among many theories which appeared in that period be put forward as a religion for humanity for all time, present and to come. Liberalism only flourished for half a century. . . . Given that the nineteenth century was the century of socialism, of liberalism, and of democracy, it does not necessarily follow that the twentieth century must also be a century of socialism, liberalism, and democracy: political doctrines pass, but humanity remains; and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority, a century of the Left, a century of fascism. For if the nineteenth century was a century of individualism (liberalism always signifying individualism) it may be expected that this will be the century of collectivism, and hence the century of the state. . . .
In 1929, at the first five-yearly assembly of the fascist regime, I said:
"For us fascists, the state is not merely a guardian, preoccupied solely with the duty of assuring the personal safety of the citizens; nor is it an organization with purely material aims, such as to guarantee a certain level of well-being and peaceful conditions of life; for a mere council of administration would be sufficient to realize such objects. Nor is it a purely political creation, divorced from all contact with the complex material reality which makes up the life of the individual and the life of the people as a whole. The state, as conceived of and as created by fascism, is a spiritual and moral fact in itself, since its political, juridical, and economic organization of the nation is a concrete thing: and such an organization must be in its origins and development a
manifestation of the spirit. The state is the guarantor of security both internal and external, but it is also the custodian and transmitter of the spirit of the people, as it has grown up through the centuries in language, in customs, and in faith. And the state is not only a living reality of the present, it is also linked with the past and above all with the future, and thus transcending the brief limits of individual life, it represents the immanent spirit of the nation. . . .
For fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence. Peoples which are rising, or rising again after a period of decadence, are always imperialist; any renunciation is a sign of decay and of death. Fascism is the doctrine best adapted to represent the tendencies and the aspirations of a people, like the people of Italy, who are rising again after many centuries of abasement and foreign servitude. But empire demands discipline, the coordination of all forces and a deeply felt sense of duty and sacrifice: this fact explains many aspects of the practical working of the regime, the character of many forces in the state, and the necessarily severe measures which must be taken against those who would oppose this spontaneous and inevitable movement of Italy in the twentieth century, and would oppose it by recalling the outworn ideology of the nineteenth century—repudiated wheresoever there has been the courage to undertake great experiments of social and political transformation: for never before has the nation stood more in need of authority, of direction, and of order. If every age has its own characteristic doctrine, there are a thousand signs which point to fascism as the characteristic doctrine of our time. For if a doctrine must be a living thing, this is proved by the fact that fascism has created a living faith; and *Jhat this faith is very powerful in the minds of men is demonstrated by those who have suffered and died for it.
Fascism has henceforth in the world the universality of all those doctrines which, in realizing themselves, have represented a stage in the history of the human spirit.
The conservative nationalist state created by Bismarck collapsed with its military defeat in World War I. The German revolution of 1918 produced the democratic Weimar Republic, but from the onset the new republic faced great difficulties. Disastrous inflation and the peculiar ring-around-the-rosy of reparations prevented the government from ever building a sound economic foundation, and it was always subject to attacks from the radical Left and the reactionary Right. The chief supporters of the old empire remained in being: the army, the bureaucracy, big business, and the landed aristocracy retained economic and administrative power and maintained a nationalist ideology, an ideology exacerbated by territorial losses, reparations, and the war-guilt clauses of the Versailles