Fascism is unique among the "isms" in that it has no intellectual leadership. Conservatives have Adam Smith, socialists have Karl Marx, and welfare statists have John Maynard Keynes; fascists have no one. Fascism is anti-intellectual. Its basic premise is that all truth is a matter of opinion and there's no sense discussing it; what counts is action.
The fascist worships power. Because all truth is mere opinion, right and wrong are too. There is no real good or evil, and no justice. The only thing that counts is who wins. Might makes right. History books are written by the victors.
Being anti-intellectual, the only leaders the fascists have are the activists who have tried to apply this no-truth philosophy. Tops among them was Adolph Hitler followed by Mussolini, Franco, and Tojo of World War II fame.
Fascism is a second type of socialism--socialism of the right. The German Nazis were fascist, and Nazi means National Socialist German Workers Party.
Like socialism of the left, socialism of the right means government controls everything and everybody. But unlike leftist socialism, fascism has no scientific theory and no view of the development of human society. It's just a pseudopatriotic, paranoid philosophy of hate. Kill or be killed. War is beautiful and conquest is utopia.
Fascists regard the government and the country as the same thing--The State--and they are totally dedicated to it. They tend to be intolerant of minorities, and they want a strong, charismatic leader.
Because he believes that truth, justice, right, and wrong are just matters of opinion, the fascist has a totally pragmatic view. He believes powerholders should do anything that appears necessary. Anything, no exceptions. He recognizes no moral limits because morality is just opinion.
If raising taxes appears necessary, the fascist wants to raise taxes. If lowering them appears necessary, he will lower them. If raising the taxes of some and lowering those of others appears necessary, he'll do it. He cares nothing about right or wrong, good or evil, only what appears necessary.
Necessary for what? For the state. For society. For the national interest. For the social good.
For whatever the powerholders decide.
Maybe even just for the fun of it.
When Mussolini was asked the fascist plan for Italy, he replied, "Our program is simple: we wish to govern Italy. They ask us for programs, but there are already too many. It is not programs that are wanting for the salvation of Italy, but men and will power."
Mussolini was Il Duce, "the leader," and he proudly boasted, "We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty!" In Italy he made all the decisions and he decided what was necessary. Famous slogans of Italy's fascism were, "credere, obbedire, combattere" (to have faith, to obey, to fight") and "Mussolini ha sempre ragione ("Mussolini is always right").
Under fascism, if lying appears necessary, the powerholder will lie; if truthfulness appears necessary, he will be truthful. If freedom appears necessary, he grants freedom, and if slavery appears necessary, slavery it is.
If freedom for some and slavery for others appears necessary, that's okay, and if sending millions to death camps appears necessary, why not? Who's to say it's wrong? Truth and justice are matters of opinion.
Perhaps the most dangerous characteristic of fascism is that it can appear as any other philosophy. Fascists are masters of disguise. At any given moment they can decide use of another philosophy is necessary.
If capitalism appears necessary, the nation will have capitalism; if a welfare state appears necessary, a welfare state it will be.
The "reforms" undertaken in China and the Soviet Union during the 1980s were textbook examples of fascism in action. When Chinese rulers believed a measure of freedom was necessary, they granted freedom, and when they decided shooting people was necessary, the killing began.