In the last seven decades, fascism has almost always received the short end of the stick. Used as a pejorative against those who seek to employ patriotic authoritarianism as a means to promote a particular social cause, fascism is a political philosophy that has gone severely misrepresented ever since its nearly absolute vernacularizing after World War II.

“I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system.” – Noam Chomsky

The fasces.

Beginning in the 1920s, communists began to lump all of their political and ideological opponents under the philosophical umbrella of “fascism,” due partially to Benito Mussolini’s adoption of the term which has been previously used in Italian trade unionism. One of Mussolini’s party’s symbols, the fasces, influenced the naming of the totalitarian political philosophy, a fasces being a bundle of wood or rods encasing a battle-axe, i.e., a weapon that is incredibly difficult to break but also may be considered painstakingly difficult to wield in times of crisis.

Beginning (in)famously in Italy, fascism’s relatively most successful instance begins with a man by the name of Gen. Francisco Franco in Spain. Franco a Spanish general who became the fascist dictator of Spain in order to preserve it from Communist takeover. As a staunch traditional monarchist, Franco despised the abolition of a monarchy and the Spanish adoption of a republic in 1931. After a failed coup including the participation of other generals preceding the Spanish Civil War, Franco quickly became his faction’s only political leader and gained support from allied political parties such as the Nazi Regime and Fascist Italy, resulting in his victory against the Spanish communists (under the Republican party). In 1939, Franco established a military-enforced dictatorship wherein he ruled as El caudilo, the absolute governmental hierarch akin to the Fuhrer of Nazi Germany.

Franco proceeded to enjoy his absolute rule over Spain for nearly 40 years, and although he is often vilified for having been a strict traditionalist dictator, his country experienced revival like never before. The disenfranchised were best taken care of in the history of Spain prior and since. Several Catholic individuals, including the late Álvaro del Portillo y Diez de Sollano and St. María de la Purísima Salvat Romero, have even undergone varying degrees of canonization. St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás also lived in Francoist Spain for a period of time (b. 1902 – d.1975).

Working as the primate of a military-empowered fascist regime, Gen. Franco successfully stabilized the Spanish economy during his crypto-monarchial reign. The Spanish Civil War, wherein the Spanish Communists (i.e. Republicans) fought against the aristocratic, royalist-Carlist, and pro-monarchial group headed by Franco, had nearly crippled the national Spanish economy having been allocated almost entirely to war efforts. After gaining power, Franco implemented an economic policy of self-sufficiency, which resulted in a horrific financial crisis until the 1950s, when industrial production began to regain pre-war output.

In 1953, Francoist Span signed a pact with the United States, headed by Dwight Eisenhower at the time, which resulted in a substantial amount of economic support from the U.S. in return for permitting the establishment of American military bases on Spanish land. For the next five years, Spain’s gross national product (GNP) would increase annually by 5%. In the 1960s and early 1970s, which would mark the inevitable end of Franco’s rule, fiscal and monetary efforts were made which resulted in the implementation of a Spanish free-market economy. Between the years 1959 and 1974, Francoist Spain saw the fastest growth in economy second only to Japan.

With the above information in mind, Franco represents that a fascist dictatorship is not necessarily a negative thing, that is, unless one is a staunch progressive leftist intent on disrupting the historical order of morality and government. Fascism closely represents the fasces itself, as it is an ideology that is difficult to wield but resembles great power and regality. Although often conflated with the Nazi movement and genocidal regimes, fascism is ultimately an ideology of force + traditionalism, dedicated to preserving “classical” methods of orchestrating economies, societies, and ideologies.

Most notably, it is a political extremism often triggered by communist and leftist rampancy. As witnessed by the vast success experienced by Spain under the Francoist regime, it is safe to say that fascism is awesome, works, and is a reliable defense against those who seek to subvert traditional ethics and societal structures in favor of a Marxist utopia.