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This second type of tension transformed many of fascist organizations into chaotic, mismanaged, corrupt, and a-moral groups, lacking in direction and in self-discipline. They swung ferociously between pole of malignant individualism and that of lethal collectivism.
III. Utopianism vs. Struggle
Fascism was constantly in making, eternally half-baked, subject to violent permutations, mutations, and transformations. Fascist movements were "processual" and, thus, in permanent revolution (rather, since fascism was based on negation of other social forces, in permanent civil war). It was a utopian movement in search of a utopia. Many of elements of a utopia were there - but hopelessly mangled and mingled and without any coherent blueprint.
In absence of a rational vision and an orderly plan of action - fascist movements resorted to irrationality, supernatural, magical, and to their brand of a secular religion. They emphasized way -rather than destination, struggle - rather than attainment, battle - rather than victory, effort - rather than outcome, or, in short - Promethean and Thanatean rather than Vestal, kitschy rather than truly aesthetic.
IV. Organic vs. Decadent
Fascism emphasized rigid social structures - supposedly ineluctable reflections of biological strictures. As opposed to politics and culture - where fascism was revolutionary and utopian - socially, fascism was reactionary, regressive, and defensive. It was pro-family. One's obligations, functions, and rights were results of one's "place in society". But fascism was also male chauvinistic, adolescent, latently homosexual ("the cult of virility", worship of military), somewhat pornographic (the adoration of naked body, of "nature", and of young), and misogynistic. In its horror of its own repressed androgynous "perversions" (i.e., very decadence it claimed to be eradicating), it employed numerous defense mechanisms (e.g., reaction formation and projective identification). It was gender dysphoric and personality disordered.
V. Elitism vs. Populism
All fascist movements were founded on equivalent of Nazi Fuhrerprinzip. The leader - infallible, indestructible, invincible, omnipotent, omniscient, sacrificial - was a creative genius who embodied as well as interpreted nation's quiddity and fate. His privileged and unerring access to soul of fascist movement, to history's grand designs, and to moral and aesthetic principles underlying it all - made him indispensable and worthy of blind and automatic obedience.
This strongly conflicted with unmitigated, all-inclusive, all-pervasive, and missionary populism of fascism. Fascism was not egalitarian (see section above). It believed in a fuzzily role-based and class-based system. It was misogynistic, against old, often against "other" (ethnic or racial minorities). But, with these exceptions, it embraced one and all and was rather meritocratic. Admittedly, mobility within fascist parties was either result of actual achievements and merit or outcome of nepotism and cronyism - still, fascism was far more egalitarian than most other political movements.
This populist strand did not sit well with overweening existence of a Duce or a Fuhrer. Tensions erupted now and then but, overall, Fuhrerprinzip held well.
Fascism's undoing cannot be attributed to either of these inherent contradictions, though they made it brittle and clunky. To understand downfall of this meteoric latecomer - we must look elsewhere, to 17th and 18th century.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com