il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

The false good things of Fascism

By Dario Calimani

To Ernesto Galli Della Loggia, according to whom saying that Fascism has ‘also done good things’ would be a self-evident truth, we can recommend the careful and rigorous pages of Francesco Filippi, Mussolini ha fatto anche cose buone (lit. Mussolini has also done good things). Della Loggia, and also some of my friends who are benevolently ‘sympathetic’ towards Fascism, are asked what yardstick should be used to assess Fascism’s contribution to history. On the one hand, roads and bridges, land reclamation (a fake), pensions (a fake), the economic boom (a fake), the enhancement of the role of women (a fake), justice (let us not even mention it!) and, on the other hand, the political clash elevated to crime, discrimination and racial laws, the war alongside Hitler, half a million dead, of which (irrelevant, we understand that!) seven thousand five hundred Jews torn from their homes because all of them – children included – bankers, schemers, usurers and exploiters of the people. But now, what is happening in Italy if even an intellectual – right-wing, of course, but still a presumed intellectual – strives to offer us ‘good things’, as if to compensate for the immensity of the crimes?
Unfortunately, the strategy implemented by those who seek extenuating circumstances for the Fascism of the time is clear: nostalgia for the old and renowned ‘good things’ is produced, the criminality of the regime is passed over in silence, and willing minds are led to think that those ‘good things’ could be fruitfully revived in our times. The (false) aesthetics of good compensates for the substance of evil. And, by reiterating that the deformed and ugly face of the Fascism of that time is not again viable today, that Fascism no longer exists, a new and acceptable face of Fascism is proposed. Exactly: that of Meloni, Forza Nuova, Casa Pound, extreme-right-wing parties in Italy. There is a nostalgia for the strong man, the truncheon and castor oil. And there is no intention to condemn, once again in our history, the assault on trade unions. There is a desire for discrimination and civil war.
It is not unfounded to think that certain politicians and intellectuals are surreptitiously encouraging the rebirth of a Fascist dictatorship. The newspapers offer us the premises, we just need to know how to read, and not even so much, between the lines.
In the meantime, we are collecting pieces, anxiously waiting for the puzzle to be completed.
At least we will not “mutely descend into the whirlpool”.

Translated by Gianluca Pace and revised by Alice Pugliese, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.