Italian parliamentary elections Sunday produced the victory of a conservative coalition led by a party headed by a woman — and created shockwaves in politics and the mainstream media.
Giorgia Meloni is now poised to become Italy’s first female prime minister. But since she is a Christian, right-wing conservative, Meloni is already the subject of implicit comparison to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
“With her victory will come the country’s most far-right government since Benito Mussolini and the National Fascist Party ruled during World War II,” Variety reported.
So what has Meloni done to deserve the comparison?
Meloni, 45, is the head of the Brothers of Italy, Fratelli d’Italia, political party. It is a conservative group that has also been branded as neo-fascist since it “traces its origins to the Italian Social Movement (MSI), which was founded by ex-fascists after WWII,” Politico reported.
Meloni herself has been an outspoken proponent of family, disapproves of abortion, and is a skeptic of the European Union, according to Politico.
She has been particularly bold in her views on gender identity, religion and family.
“I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am Christian,” Meloni said in 2019, France 24 reported.
In one of her speeches that has been widely shared across Twitter, Meloni pointed out how family and a more “conservative identity” have become a threat.
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“Why is the family an enemy? Why is the family so frightening?” she asked.
“Because it defines us. Because it is our identity. Because everything that defines us is now an enemy for those who would like us to no longer have an identity and to simply be perfect consumer slaves. And so they attack national identity, they attack religious identity, they attack gender identity, they attack family identity. I can’t define myself as Italian, Christian, woman, mother,” Meloni said. “I must be citizen x, gender x, parent 1, parent 2. I must be a number … that’s why we inspire so much fear.”
As Greg Price, a senior digital strategist for X Strategies LLC, noted in a Twitter post, “I’ve never heard any politician so perfectly explain what we’re up against and why we fight. When you watch this video, you’ll quickly realize why the establishment is afraid of her.”
This is Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
I’ve never heard any politician so perfectly explain what we’re up against and why we fight.
When you watch this video, you’ll quickly realize why the establishment is afraid of her.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 26, 2022
“Democracy without values becomes demagoguery,” she said.
As the American Conservative put it on Monday: “If this is fascism, let’s have more of it!”
But in actuality, no, Meloni is not a fascist, even though mainstream media have attempted to label her so.
“Of course it’s not in any way fascism — a slur that the US media apply to Meloni to avoid having to take her ideas seriously,” the American Conservative noted.
The mainstream media is correct in one aspect. It has been a very long time since a Western European country has had such a strong conservative movement take power.
But to compare Meloni to Mussolini and brand her as a fascist is just malarkey.
Contrary to the mainstream media’s cavalier approach to definitions, Mussolini actually sat down and rather meticulously defined fascism for the world in his essay “The Doctrine of Fascism.”
Mussolini stated in his essay, published in 1932, that fascism is the system in which state power commands all spheres of society.
“For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative. Individuals and groups are admissible in so far as they come within the State,” Mussolini wrote.
“The Fascist State expresses the will to exercise power and to command. Here the Roman tradition is embodied in a conception of strength. Imperial power, as understood by the Fascist doctrine, is not only territorial, or military, or commercial; it is also spiritual and ethical,” he added.
Of course, fascism can vary depending on the country it is victimizing (the German Nazis had some different characteristics from the Italian fascists). But, overall, fascism is a well-defined ideology — and it’s the opposite of the individual rights championed by conservatives.
However, the mainstream media decided to ignore those definitions.
But Meloni’s political philosophy simply does not fall into the category of fascism. Mainstream media outlets like CNN and NBC News and others just didn’t do their homework before throwing out comparisons to Mussolini’s fascists.
If the mainstream media’s logic behind labeling Meloni a fascist was applied as a standard, then there would be millions of Mussolinis all over the world — including the United States.
Anyone who wants to have a family, practice religion, not kill babies in the womb, use traditional pronouns, or generally go against the flow of progressive culture, would be a little Mussolini.
So clearly, mainstream media is being very hyperbolic and freewheeling in its labeling. But beyond the hyperbole, mainstream media is simply mis-defining fascism altogether. And that is a dangerous game to play.