D’Souza calls Gentile “a man of the Left” and “committed Socialist.” Calling Gentile a man of the Left is an oversimplification. For instance, he was a staunch antifeminist who, as Italian Minister of Education, tried to limit the number of female teachers for male students because women allegedly lacked enough “moral or mental vigor.” He also felt that girls needed fundamentally different education from boys. Fascists, according to D’Souza are “Socialists with a national identity.” It is certainly true that Fascist governments often pursue relatively leftist policies on fiscal issues. One of the biggest problems of this video, however, is D’Souza’s insistence on conflating social and economic leftism. He comes close to unintentionally admitting the flaw in his reasoning, however, when he says that under Fascism, “To submit to society is to submit to the State–not just in economic matters, but in all matters.” Government “gets to tell everyone how to think and what to do.” Let us consider some of the ways in which both Fascism and Conservatism advocate “submitting to the State” and telling “everyone how to think and what to do.” Fascist regimes have generally been determined to suppress homosexuality. Conservatives have and often continue to advocate State control over the lives of gay people, including their ability to marry, adopt children, serve in the military, teach school, or even have sexual intercourse. Both Fascists and Conservatives frequently favor more immigration restriction. Conservatives often advocate bans on flag desecration, a policy also championed by the Nazis and very consistent with Fascism. As referenced earlier, Fascists and Conservatives both tend to support the right of the State to execute people. Fascists tend to support giving more power to the police, especially to control certain “undesirables,” and most of the modern defenses of racial profiling in law enforcement come from the Right. These are just some of the many examples of commonality between Fascism and the Right.
D’Souza describes Benito Mussolini as a Fascist who put Gentile’s beliefs into practice, including his belief in an almighty State. This is true, but calling Mussolini left-wing is an untenable conclusion, unless being “left-wing” includes suppressing homosexuality, promoting traditional gender roles, and reinstating the death penalty in Italy. It would thus be accurate to call Mussolini socially right-wing and fiscally left-wing. D’Souza goes on to lay out examples of support for more government by the American Left. But proving that the Left wants more government does not prove that the Right wants less, so using this to label Fascism as leftist makes no sense. D’Souza states that “conservatism wants small government so that individual liberty can flourish.” Few political statements have been more laughably incorrect. To recap, conservatives have advocated censorship of flag burning and obscene material, stop and frisk, more restrictions on immigration, bans on gay marriage, gay adoption, LGBT military personnel, and “sodomy,” the right of government to execute people, drug prohibition, racial profiling by government officials, telling transgender people which public restrooms they can use, and many other big government policies. And while many conservatives have tried to paint the racially bigoted Democrats of yesteryear as liberals, the states where government-mandated segregation persisted the longest were primarily in the socially conservative “Bible Belt.” In my state of Georgia, the right-wing Republican President of a public college, Kennesaw State University, tried to use his office to punish cheerleaders for taking a knee during the National Anthem. On some issues, such as conscription and runaway government surveillance, both the Left and the Right are divided, whereas the Right would be solidly on the libertarian side of these issues if conservatism truly meant small government.
Had D’Souza labeled Fascism as a mix of leftist economics and rightist social policy, he would have been correct. Some liberals have taken a step too far by trying to tie Fascism with libertarianism, when they are diametrically opposed ideologies. But labeling Fascism as left-wing is just as inaccurate.