How is socialism similar to fascism?

Socialists and fascists argue for a stronger role for the state, but there are not necessarily any other meaningful similarities between the two ideologies. Socialism is a theory of society that places control of the means of production in the hands of the state. Fascism is a nationalist ideology that, historically speaking, protects private property.

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While both socialism and fascism envision a stronger role for a centralized government, socialism is not necessarily similar to fascism at all. Indeed, historically speaking, part of the appeal of twentieth-century fascism was its ideological opposition to socialism. In short, socialism is a theory about how to best set up...

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While both socialism and fascism envision a stronger role for a centralized government, socialism is not necessarily similar to fascism at all. Indeed, historically speaking, part of the appeal of twentieth-century fascism was its ideological opposition to socialism. In short, socialism is a theory about how to best set up society. Under socialism, at least some of the means of production—businesses, factories, utilities, and so on—are run by the state, which administers them for the people. To look at the issue another way, socialists argue that the main economic decisions in a society are made with the welfare of the people in mind rather than simply the profit motive. There are many different variants of socialism, and it has been implemented to varying degrees. The theorist most associated with socialism and communism, Karl Marx, argued that it was a sort of transitional phase in a process that would lead to communism, which he defined as a classless society. Certainly socialism has been a feature in some dictatorships, but there are democratic socialist, or social democratic, societies throughout the world.

Fascists were not committed to popular ownership of the means of production. Rather, they sought to create a top-down state that was based on hyper-nationalism. Some Fascist societies, including Mussolini's Italy, featured some government control of factories. But Mussolini typically preferred to gain the support of business leaders by managing the economy while keeping private ownership of business intact. Hitler's National Socialist Party was essentially misnamed—his Brownshirts regularly brawled in the streets with socialists and murdered many of their leaders, as Mussolini's squadrists had done before. In short, fascism and socialism are two very different ideologies with different aims and histories.

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