Understanding History

Read here an interesting article about English Catholics and Fascism.

This is a beautiful reinforcement of the points I have made very often on this blog: Fascism was good for Catholicism, it was good for Italy and it was, in fact, so successful as a model for 15 years that many English Catholics were quite impressed. The mutual admiration and pen friendship between Winston Churchill and Benito Mussolini will, here, remain unmentioned.

Now, a couple of things must be clear, and I have also made them clear several times here: the Fascist experience was a (brilliant) reaction to particularly troubled times, but cannot and should not be taken as example of what should happen today. Whether we discuss Putin or Napoleon, Caesar or Pinochet, Franco or Mussolini, we must put things in their own historic , religious and cultural context, without which we are guaranteed to not understand anything of anything.

The Italy going out of the First World War was an Italy not only ravaged by an extremely taxing war, but deeply wounded in its social structure. For two years (which are remembered as the biennio rosso, the “two red years”) the Communist made a factual bid for a revolution, ultimately not succeeding but certainly managing to complete a stage rehearsal for it. Up to one thousand violent deaths a month witness a situation of creeping civil war.

The creeping, slowly mounting civil unrest was finally stopped by the inept, indecisive, politically correct, cowardly and sheer incompetent Liberal government in the Summer of 1921, as it became clear even to them that the time of posturing and positioning for political advantage had gone and decisive action was now urgently required. Calm came back in the Country.

But at that point, something had been irremediably broken. The relationship of trust between many Italians (particularly the “haves”) and their elected rulers had been broken, even as the recently introduced universal suffrage showed the devastating potential of giving the vote to masses of angry “have nots”.

When a new, very violent, at that time clearly anti-clerical, but fiercely anticommunist force began to emerge, they met the approval of great part of the middle class, who understood that they might not escape so well a second attempt of the Communists to get in power and simply did not trust the State to protect them against it. Suddenly, the very efficient Fascist cudgel appealed to teachers, lawyers, managers, army and police officers, even little employees. The Italian Democracy died not of violence, but of moral and political bankruptcy.

The successful end of the March on Rome was, also, certainly not the start of the dictatorship. Mussolini’s power after becoming Prime Minister was rapidly consolidated by his decisive action, the rapid liquidation of the Communist menace, and a clear sense of accomplishment as the Italians gradually noticed that these guys could deliver. The events from Summer 1924 to January 1925, which led to the start of the proper dictatorship, once again showed the Italian people that between Fascists and Liberals it was, really, a no-brainer. The rest is, as they say, history, and gave us a wonderful social, economic, and religious run.

Knowing what I know of Italy, I can see parallelisms with modern Russia. In both cases, an inept democracy followed by a strong man gradually persuaded people that a failed democracy isn’t worth renouncing to a brilliant autocrat; and in both cases, the new guy united a very sensible economic policy with an even more sensible religious one, amassing more and more support as the years go by.

Most of my readers come from the Anglo-Saxon space, where democracy is simply ingrained and every other form of government considered evil. But the rest of the world does not have such robust democratic traditions, and I fully understand them. Democracy is not my religion, Catholicism is.

Give me Putin over Yeltsin, and Benito Mussolini over Luigi Facta (who wasn’t even the worse of them) every day.

Posted on February 18, 2022, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thank you for this, I have long wondered why, Italy. I’ll need to read this a few times to try to grasp it. Question, in your opinion, is Putin’s faith “sincere”, because I’m never quite sure what to make of him, but tend to think more highly of him than the godless heads I see. I have a feeling a lot of religious Americans see it that way, but of we know to have any measure of trust is absurd.
    American’s should think more of being a Constitutional Republic as our form of democracy “pure”, because democracy in it’s less refined form is just mob rule. Democrats are trying to bring in the mob from foreign lands to tip the scale, as if they need to, they cheat enough. For Americans it is the Constitution which protects us. Which is why our current “leaders” prefer to ignore it.

    • I am absolutely sure his faith is sincere. However, there is no denying that what Putin did for Christianity in Russia was also, so to speak, in investment in his own power.

  2. Mary Ann Kreitzer

    Interesting article. I especially like the point that periods of history have to be judged according to their own times. I’m sick of liberals condemning Columbus and our Founding Fathers for not being as “woke” as they are.

  3. We in the English-speaking world worship at the altar of Democracy, but we don’t even really have democracy. What we have is oligarchy. At some point, we in the United States are going to have to come to terms with the fact that we have ALWAYS had oligarchy. The fact that we have elections allows us to convince ourselves that we are in charge — even though, election after election, nothing ever changes, which means we are never, ever able to throw the bums out, but only exchange one set of bums with another set of bums. Whenever we vote wrong, according to the oligarchs, our choice is somehow vitiated. 2020 should have deprived us even of the illusion of voting; but to listen to people continue to talk about the need to vote in just the right person, apparently we are still delusional.

    At some point the U.S.A. too will get a Strong Man, and when we do, I hope he is on the side of goodness. The Strong Man is, I think, really a stand-in for a king; the advent of the Strong Man is a reversion to our basic human nature, which favors monarchy and aristocracy, even though we don’t want to admit it. I think what we really need is a Catholic monarchy. This is highly unlikely to happen in these United States; but I would rather be ruled by one man who fears going to hell for misruling me, than by a cadre of godless oligarchs who do not even believe there is a hell, much less fear going there.

  4. Canada Clergy to Trudeau, (if only or bishops would step up like this), https://www.libertycoalitioncanada.com/an-open-letter-to-justin-trudeau

  5. The more I listen to Putin the more I realize that he may be the most intelligent, strong and wise politician of our time. You can’t fake him reaching out and scratching a little sick kid’s head, calling them “dear one”, while holding six hour news conferences without a script. He educates me on world history and politics every time I hear him. And yes, there is more than the supposed Democracy option out there. The US isn’t a Democracy anyway but a Republic…and a sick one at that, run by the elites who do nothing but lie and enrich themselves. God bless~

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