The Difference In Meaning Between Fascism and Socialism

The Difference In Meaning Between Fascism and Socialism

In a world of connotations, one needs a return to defining words based on context.
26
views

Language is a beautiful thing. Some people might suggest it is what makes humans different from one another. Though other animals have found ways to communicate with each other, it has manifested through media and art and literature.

Yet as much as it’s a way of getting thoughts and conveying images, it can also be a weapon in many ways. Journalism finds stories and reports them to the world, sometimes with an ideological tint. Insults carry their weight in spears which can pierce even the strongest of defenses. And of course, literature reflects the societal issues of the day while suggesting ideas of their own.

To do so, one must utilize words, each with their own meaning.

***

In English class, I’ve learned two different definitions on words: the “dictionary” definition, and the “connotation” associated with the word. When a word is defined in the dictionary, it diverges in what contexts people use them in.

Two notable words I’ve observed used, overused, and even misused in the last two years are “fascism” and “socialism”. While they’ve had their uses in history, their meanings have become muddled to the point.

Recently, I’ve read some comments on the internet on how liberals are equated to fascism, partially because the latter have objected to certain views. It does make up one part of the ideology—restrictions on a free print media, if not propaganda. However, to use it to criticize one’s positions, it’s more than that.

In one of my International Studies classes, fascism is defined as a popular movement led by a charismatic leader and attached to a political party. It is based on persistent nationalism, corporatism, militarism, anti-democratic ideals, an ethnic or religious minority which is scapegoated, the total submission of the individual to the state’s ambitions, and anti-socialism. The professor would also take the case-study in Japan during World War II as an example, and ultimately concluded it was not fascism due to the lack of a charismatic leader or scapegoating.

Naturally, this definition will shift today due to the lack of expansionist ambitions in what we consider to be modern “fascism”.

However, what’s clear is that fascism stands in direct opposition to socialism. The latter advocates for public sharing of the means of production within the economy. This falls into the belief that for everybody to benefit, the people have to take control of their resources. On the other hand, “The economic programs of the great majority of fascist movements were extremely conservative, favouring the wealthy far more than the middle class and the working class”, according to Britannica.

Therefore, while some right-wing populist movements today incorporate social safety nets to protect their working classes, fascism ≠ socialism.

***

Based on how I defined certain terms, how could you recognize the legitimacy of an insult? Or an article? Or even someone you agree with?

First, I would suggest pulling up a dictionary and finding out what they mean in its strictest form. If it is ambiguous, then I would find how this idea was used in a historical context, and how it emerged over time. While history cannot fully predict everything, it can provide evidence for or against your case for using it in a comment.

Words are a fantastic way to express thoughts and trends, but to maximize the effectiveness of such, one must go into the depths of its history to find if its useful today. Otherwise, it loses its meaning to what the internet commenters say, and won’t allow us to fully fight any form of “ism” if it appears again.

More on fascism:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/fascism/Common-ch...

Cover Image Credit: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/02/why-the-speech-centre-of-your-brain-shuts-down-when-you-talk/

Popular Right Now

To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
351870
views

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.

252
views

When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

Related Content

Facebook Comments