What will never cease to amaze me is the all too common misconception that Socialism and Fascism are at polar opposite ends of the Political Spectrum. It appears to me that people will often put Socialism as an extreme version of Liberalism. Thus, Fascism ends up being an equally extreme version of Conservatism.
The simple fact is that this isn’t so. When talking about politics, the “Left-Right Scale” is the usual means of differentiating one person’s political views from another. The more Progressive and fiscally social ideologies end up on the Left side, and the more Traditional and fiscally capitalist ideologies end up on the right side of the line. But this is impractical in some instances. What this spectrum doesn’t take into account at all is the People’s Control vs. the Government Control.
Instead of the traditional line method of measuring politics, let us pretend that we have a 45º 45º 90º triangle with the right angle placed in the lower-left corner. Let the x-axis (the one along the bottom) represent the People’s Control. This would then make the y-axis the Government Control. With this scale set up, we still do have a “Left” and “Right”, however the differentiator is no longer values, but Power.
On the absolute Right, we would see Anarchy, which is to say the absence of government. Very near to the absence of Government Power is in fact Democracy, or, at least, true Democracy. See, the term comes from the Greek demos meaning “people”, and kratia meaning “rule”. So literally, Democracy is the rule of the people, where everyone gets the exact same amount of say, where Government would be little more than the space where the people gather to vote.
On the other side of the Spectrum, we would find Totalitarian governments- ones where the Government has all of the power. This would include dictatorships, monarchies, and you guessed it!- socialism and fascism. If you really scrutinize what each is trying to do, it becomes plain to see that the endgame of each ideology is complete and total government control of your money, your land, and your labor. See, when people think of fascism, one of the first figures from history that come to mind is Adolf Hitler and his Nazis. But he is perhaps one of the poorest representatives of fascism if you claim that fascism is the opposite of socialism. Hitler was a Nazi, that is, a NationalSozialistische Deutsche ArbeiterPartei. In English that translates to “National Socialist German Workers Party” so from this we can deduce that Fascism is nothing more than National (nation first) socialism! The same thing!
Another prominent leader from that same time was Joseph Stalin. He was the leader of the Soviet Union. In Russian it was known as the CCCP (Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik). From this, the American acronym USSR (United Soviet Socialist Republic) came. So even though Stalin was a well-known communist, he was the leader of a socialist state. And if you look at what Hitler and Stalin really did, the similarities are frightening. Both had absolute control of their governments and their people. They took their people’s food, their land, and their money as they saw fit. The issued countless amounts of propaganda promoting nationalism and the power of their ruler. They both were responsible for the deaths of millions of people. The only difference really was the guise under which they pulled off their total government.
The way I like to think of the difference between socialism and fascism is like this: “in fascism, you are told you have no rights; while in socialism, you get to pretend that you have rights.” So it very much irks me and makes someone come across as ignorant when they contrast socialism and fascism. Because what it tells me is that they have no concept of what either really is or how either work. So don’t be ignorant! Look twice and things and scrutinize what politicians say! Be informed, be responsible, and please use your brain.