Liberty and Liberalism (1925)

September 7, 2018

 

 

(Despite being written almost 100 years ago.  Notice the applicability of the ideas expressed herein to the problems we face today in the United States: a broken immigration system which despite much talk has never been close to being fixed, for over forty ears an economy which has seen adjusted incomes continuously decline, and a heroin epidemic which kills tens of thousands each year.  These are just a few of the problems we face daily in this country.  The common thread running through all of them is a governing ideology which, because of its inherent limitations is incapable of resolving these issues.  When liberty of the state is discussed ask yourself how it can be applied here and how it contrasts with contemporary American politics. JN)

 

When were we free? During the times in which we had freedom of the press did we really have that other more precious liberty, the liberty of citizens? During the times in which the socialists had liberty, was there a real liberty of the laws of life, the laws of labor and of national production? During the times in which we had the liberty of socialism and anarchy and of every sort of subversion, did we really have the liberty which belongs to citizens, classes, national society, our eternal country, that is to say, liberty for the state?

 

When were we free? For a long time (I speak of that normal and too often forgotten pre-war age and not of the post-war and bolshevik period, which alone our intelligent and good bourgeoisie is accustomed to recall), for a long historical period the liberal regime was nothing but a regime of oppression of private and public rights.

 

When were we free? Years and years passed during which you were citizens of the bourgeoisie and as such suffered humiliations and offenses, were persecuted as a class to be destroyed. Years and years passed in which you were owners of property by heredity or by the fruit of your labor, and as such suffered humiliations and offenses and were persecuted as usurpers to be plundered. . .

 

The liberal state was in itself without liberty both in peace and in war. It was without liberty and in its organs and functions lived under condemnation. It was without liberty to defend Itself and to defend order when it was besieged and stormed in open day. It was without liberty in its international action and foreign policy. . . . After the War the state was without liberty to defend itself and to defend the victory and its fruits, I need not say in the face of foreign competitions but in the face of its own subjects who betrayed it. The state in Italy for a quarter of a century, in peace and in war, from the defeat at Adua to the victory of Vittorio Veneto, was without liberty; the state, the organic nation itself in its historic life, was under the suggestion of its own subjects who come and go day by day. And such a regime was called liberalism and democracy. And the old parties and old men in Parliament and government accompanied it to its ruin until the salvation of the state by the grace of God and the will of the nation was assumed by fascism and attained by the March on Rome. . , ,

 

Fascism has the right to govern Italy, because only it has the strength, because only it is strength, and the rest is weakness and the residuum of weakness, dissolution and the residuum of dissolution, pushing the nation and the state towards dissolution.

 

Fascism has the right to govern Italy because it alone is a product of the new Italy, of the victory, and the rest is pre-war residuum.

 

Fascism has the right to govern Italy because it alone has a program for the future of Italy, and the rest has exhausted Itself in the past.

 

And I add that fascism, since it has the right to govern Italy, has the right, when the opposition of old parties and old men is raised against it, to use force in repressing them proportionate to the force of their attack, in the interest of its sacrosanct right, which all revolutions undertaken to renew the life of peoples and states have, of freeing itself from the incumbrances of the past.

 

For the sake of Italy, fascism has the right to go its way and live its life, to be secure in order to carry out the program committed to it, which program does not consist in robbing Italians of their liberty or democracy, but consists precisely and above all in giving liberty to the Italian state, fortifying it by new laws and new institutions, in order that it may defend its own free sovereignty in the nation and its own free activity in the world.”

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