Alfredo Rocco

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For liberalism, the individual is the end and society the means… For fascism, society is the end, individuals the means, and its whole life consists in using individuals as instruments for its social ends.

Alfredo Rocco (9 September 187528 August 1935) was an Italian politician and jurist. Born in Naples, he was Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Urbino (1899–1902) and in Macerata (1902–1905), then Professor of Civil Procedure in Parma, of Business Law in Padua, and later of Economic Legislation at "La Sapienza" University of Rome, of which he was rector from 1932 to 1935.

Quotes[edit]

  • The stronger and more powerful a state, the highest and richer the life of its inhabitants.
    • As quoted in Modern Political Ideologies, Third Edition, Andrew Vincent, West Sussex, UK, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p. 156
  • This idea of the state as a force (which as a result of the current general state of ignorance is seen as a German Prussian idea) is plainly a Latin and Italian one. It is directly linked with the intellectual tradition of Rome and was refurbished by Machiavelli’s political philosophy.
    • As quoted in Modern Political Ideologies, Third Edition, Andrew Vincent, West Sussex, UK, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p. 156
  • I believe in the legal and social necessity of penalties, for penalties are not made only for delinquents. Penalties are made for all, because their essential function is to hold in sight of all citizens a threat of consequences, which operates powerfully as a psychologic motive, and does cause most citizens to observe the law.
    • As quoted in “The Fascist Reform of the Penal Law in Italy,” Giulo Battaglin, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 24, Issue 1, May-June, summer 1933, p. 286. Speech in the Senate (1925)
  • The nation that refuses to behave nationalistically, when all the other nations are doing so, is fatally destined to die.
    • “L'ora del nazionalismo” (“Nationalism's hour”), 1919 essay in Alfredo Rocco’s Scritti e discorsi politici, Milan: Giuffrè. Vol. 2, (1938) p. 507
  • Woe betide the Italian people if, while others are engaging in super-imperialism, they do not at least engage in nationalism!
    • “L'ora del nazionalismo” (“Nationalism's hour”), 1919 essay in Alfredo Rocco’s Scritti e discorsi politici, Milan: Giuffrè. Vol. 2, (1938) p. 509
  • In sociology, just as in biology, uniformity and immobility are death.
    • “L'ora del nazionalismo” (“Nationalism's hour”), 1919 essay in Alfredo Rocco’s Scritti e discorsi politici, Milan: Giuffrè. Vol. 2, (1938) p. 510
  • Thus the facts demonstrate that, while the epoch of nationalities was coming to a close with the national reconstitution of the last remaining peoples yet to accomplish it, the epoch of empires of super-States was opening, bringing colossi which dwarfed the great empires of history.
    • “Il dovere dei giovani” (“Duty of Young People”), in Alfredo Rocco’s Scritti e discorsi politici, Milan: Giuffrè. Vol. 2, (1938) p. 526
  • T[he clerks who are blackmailing the State, the politicking socialists, and the full-belly fanatics are not part of the nation. Nationality is a spiritual fact, not a physical phenomenon. It is not people who are born and live in the national territory who belong to the nation, but those who feel spiritually bound to it.
    • “L'amnistia, il disgregamento dello Stato e gli stranieri d'Italia” (“Amnesty, the disintegration of the state and foreigners of Italy”) (1915) in Alfredo Rocco’s Scritti e discorsi politici, Milan: Giuffrè. Vol. 1, (1938) p. 238

The Political Doctrine of Fascism (1925)[edit]

"The Political Doctrine of Fascism" (30 August 1925), A Primer of Italian Fascism, edited by Jeffrey T. Schnapp (2000)
  • Thus liberalism, democracy, and socialism appear to be, as they are in reality, not only the offspring of one and the same theory of government but also logical derivations one of the other. Logically, developed liberalism leads to democracy; the logical development of democracy issues into socialism. It is true that for many years, and with some justification, socialism was looked upon as antithetical to liberalism. But the antithesis is purely relative and breaks down as we approach the common origin and foundation of the two doctrines, for we find that the opposition is one of method, not of purpose. The end is the same for both, namely, the welfare of the individual members of society. The difference lies in the fact that liberalism would be guided to its goal by liberty, whereas socialism strives to attain it by the collective organization of production.
    • pp. 108-109
  • Fascism replaces, therefore, the old atomistic and mechanical state theory that was at the basis of the liberal and democratic doctrines with an organic and historic concept… The important thing is to ascertain that this organic concept of the state gives to society a continuous life over and beyond the existence of the several individuals.
    • p. 111
  • The relations, therefore, between state and citizens are completely reversed by the fascist doctrine. Instead of the liberal-democratic formula, ‘society for the individual,’ we have, ‘individuals for society’ with this difference, however: that while the liberal doctrines eliminated society, fascism does not submerge the individual in the social group. It subordinates him but does not eliminate him, the individual as a part of his generation ever remaining an element of society however transient and insignificant he may be.
    • p. 111
  • For liberalism, the individual is the end and society the means… For fascism, society is the end, individuals the means, and its whole life consists in using individuals as instruments for its social ends. The state, therefore, guards and protects the welfare and development of individuals not for their exclusive interest but because of the identity of the needs of individuals with those of society as a whole.
    • p. 112
  • Fascism on the other hand, faces squarely the problem of the right of the state and of the duty of individuals. Individual rights are only recognized insofar as they are implied in the rights of the state. In this preeminence of duty we find the highest ethical value of fascism.
    • p. 112
  • Fascism does not look upon the doctrine of economic liberty as an absolute dogma. It does not refer economic problems to individual needs, to individual interest, to individual solutions. On the contrary, it considers the economic development, and especially the production of wealth, as an eminently social concern, wealth being for society an essential element of power and prosperity.
    • p. 113
  • Fascism discovers sovereignty to be inherent in society when it is juridically organized as a state. Democracy, therefore, turns over the government of the state to the multitude of living men that they may use it to further their own interests; fascism insists that the government be entrusted to men capable of rising above their own private interests and of realizing the aspirations of the social collectivity, considered in its unity and in its relation to the past and future. Fascism, therefore, not only rejects the dogma of popular sovereignty and substitutes for it that of state sovereignty, but it also proclaims that the great mass of citizens is not a suitable advocate of social interests for the reason that the capacity to ignore individual private interests in favor of the higher demands of society and of history is a very rare gift and the privilege of the chosen few.
    • p. 114
  • Fascism therefore has transformed the labor union, that old revolutionary instrument of syndicalistic socialists, into an instrument of legal defense of the classes both within and without the law courts. This solution may encounter obstacles in its development (the obstacles of malevolence, of suspicion of the untried, of erroneous calculation, etc.), but it is destined to triumph even though it must advance through progressive stages.
    • pp. 115-116

Quotes about Rocco[edit]

  • Rocco saw the modern era as a long war between the forces of social cohesion and individualism.
    • John Dickie, “Sententiousness and nationalist discourse: the case of Alfredo Rocco,” Nations and Nationalism, Cambridge University Press, 6 (1), (2000) 3-22

External links[edit]

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