Giovanni Gentile

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For Fascism...the state and the individual are one.

Giovanni Gentile (30 May 1875 – 15 April 1944) was an Italian neo-Hegelian idealist philosopher, educator, and fascist politician, and a peer of Benedetto Croce. The self-styled "philosopher of Fascism", he was influential in providing an intellectual foundation for Italian Fascist thought, and ghostwrote part of The Doctrine of Fascism (1932) with Benito Mussolini.


  • For Fascism...the State and the individual are one, or better, perhaps, "State" and "individual" are terms that are inseparable in a necessary synthesis.
    • Origins and Doctrine of Fascism, trans. A. James Gregor (Transaction Publishers, 2011), p. 25
  • Gentlemen, Fascism is a party, a political doctrine. But Fascism, while being a party, a political doctrine is above all a total conception of life. So the fascist, whether his is writing in newspapers or reading them, going about his private life or talking to others, looking to the future or remembering the past and the past of his people, must always remember he is a Fascist. Thus he fulfills what can really be said to be the main characteristic of Fascism, to take life seriously. Life is toil, is effort, is sacrifice, is hard work.
  • How many times has Fascism been accused with obtuse malevolence of barbarity? Well yes: once you understand the true significance of this barbarity we will boast of it, as the expression of the healthy energies which shatter false and baleful idols, and restore the health of the nation within the power of a State conscious of its sovereign rights which are its duties.
    • Che cosa è fascismo? (What is fascism?), lecture delivered in Florence on March 8, 1925

Quotes about Gentile[edit]

  • It was Gentile who prepared the road for those—like me—who wished to take it.
    • Benito Mussolini, as quoted in The Ideology of Fascism: The Rationale of Totalitarianism (1969) by Anthony James Gregor, p. 207
  • Giovanni Gentile is not exactly a household name today. Even among educated people in America, he is an unknown figure. Yet Gentile was, in his day, which is the first half of the twentieth century, considered one of the leading philosophers alive. ... Why, then, has Gentile vanished into the mist of history? ... Although Gentile is forgotten, his philosophy could not be more relevant, because it closely parallels that of the modern American Left. In fact, the slogan unveiled by Obama at the 2012 Democratic Convention—"we belong to the government"—was not coined by Gentile but is utterly congruent with his core philosophy. This then is the reason for Gentile's obscurity—not that his ideas are dead but that they are very much alive. ... In many respects he provides a deeper and firmer grounding for modern American progressivism than anyone writing today. ... Gentile seems to be speaking directly to leftist activists in the Democratic Party, in the media, and on campus. One might naively expect the Left, then, to embrace and celebrate Gentile. This, of course, will never happen. The Left has the desperate need to conceal fascism's association with contemporary leftism. Even when the Left uses Gentilean rhetoric, its source can never be publicly acknowledged. And since the Left dominates academia and popular culture, it has the clout to perform this vanishing trick. That's why the progressives intend to keep Gentile where they've got him: dead, buried, and forgotten.

External links[edit]

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