Fascism is a sophisticated and completely legitimate political philosophy. Personally, I find it much more pertinent than Marxism and other left-wing claptrap, which is probably why the latter expends so much effort portraying it as Evil Incarnate.
Its roots are in the writings of many turn-of-the-century nationalist writers such as Maurice Barrès, Charles Péguy, Giuseppe Prezzolini, Enrico Corradini, Gabriele d’Annunzio, Ardengo Soffici and Giovanni Papini, though the first two were never fascists. Crucial for the “fascist synthesis” is the syndicalism espoused by Georges Sorel, whose relationship to nationalism and fascism is likewise ambiguous. An encounter took place between Sorelians and Charles Maurras’s nationalist royalists under the umbrella of the Cercle Proudhon. It was here that the royalist-turned-fascist-turned-antifascist Georges Valois gave voice to proto-fascist sentiments prior to WW1.
In addition to traditional counter-revolutionary theorists such as Joseph de Maistre and Louis de Bonald, the nineteenth century positivists Ernest Renan and Hippolyte Taine were both formative influences on Maurras’s integral nationalism. Maurras’s Action Française attracted an impressive array of intellectuals at the time, such as Léon Daudet, Jacques Bainville, Paul Bourget, Pierre Gaxotte, Louis Dimier, Henri Massis, Georges Dumézil, Jean-Pierre Maxence, René Benjamin, Pierre Lasserre, Thierry Maulnier, Jean de Fabrègues, Georges Bernanos, and Pierre Boutang. Most of these men would become fellow travelers of Latin Fascism, though because they were French nationalists, the German variety repelled them. Exceptions include Robert Brasillach, Abel Bonnard, Lucien Rebatet, and Marcel Jouhandeau, all of whom praised Nazi Germany and became outright collaborators. Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, another notorious collaborator, claimed a Maurrasian influence without ever being a royalist. Yet other French fascists, such as Alphonse de Châteaubriant, Henri Béraud, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Raymond Abellio, Jacques Benoist-Méchin and Marc Augier did not come from Maurrasian backgrounds at all.
Another important aspect of fascism is corporatism. This might sound strange to Americans, but the continental European right has been hostile to capitalism for most of its existence. Nineteenth century corporatists include Adam Müller, Frédéric Le Play, Albert de Mun, and René de La Tour du Pin. The Austrian Othmar Spann revived interest in Müller during the 1920s while Werner Sombart elaborated on “right-wing socialism” which is akin to corporatism, though he also drew upon Anglophone souces such as Thomas Carlyle. Other Weimar Conservative Revolutionaries, such as Oswald Spengler and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, promoted similar right-wing forms of socialism. Fascist Italy was home to a number of brilliant corporatist theorists, such as Ugo Spirito, Giuseppe Bottai, Sergio Panunzio, A.O. Olivetti, Agostino Lanzillo and Alfredo Rocco. Giovanni Gentile might also be grouped in with them, though his thought focused more on his actual idealism.
Many fascists accepted the idea of a “cycle of elites” in which society always requires a ruling class, but an elite is liable to be replaced by another once it has become decadent and unable to to defend its position. In Italy, this was articulated by Vilfedo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca, in France by Gustave Le Bon, and in Spain by José Ortega y Gasset, though none of these men could be called fascists proper. The one exception is Robert Michels, who did become a loyal member of the Italian Fascist Party.
One should not underestimate the anti-bourgeois element in fascism either, which is another continuity with the traditional European right – monarchists and Catholics such as Antoine de Rivarol and Léon Bloy often denounced the money-grubbing and complacent bourgeoisie with as much fervor as the fascists. There were always fascists who remained committed to effecting an anti-bourgeois spiritual revolution and establishing a new warrior aristocracy. In Italy, these included Berto Ricci, Curzio Malaparte, Camillo Pellizzi, and Carlo Costamagna. Many German conservative revolutionaries were greatly influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, and sought a spiritual renewal to overcome the problem of nihilism. These concerns are found in the writings of Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Klages, Edgar Julius Jung, Stefan George, Friedrich Hielscher, Hans Freyer, Georg Quabbe, Gottfried Benn. Related to them is the “National Bolshevik” faction which tended to be more populist, though still adhering to the ideal of a hierarchical authoritarian state. These included Ernst Jünger, Friedrich Georg Jünger, Ernst von Salomon, August Winnig, Ernst Niekisch, and Max Hildebert Boehm. Contrary to the staunch anti-communism of the Nazis, many of these writers advocated a German-Russian alliance against Western liberal democracy.
The most controversial ingredient in the fascist brew is undoubtedly racism. The Nazi strain was influenced by the Nordicism of Arthur de Gobineau, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Georges Vacher de Lapouge, Madison Grant, and Hans F. K. Günther. The esotericist Julius Evola developed a more spiritual racist doctrine for Fascist Italy during the late 1930s. Vichy France also implemented eugenics policies with help of Nobel Prize winner Alexis Carrel. It should be noted that biological racism and antisemitism are by no means essential to fascism, though these ideas were widely accepted by the educated classes back then.
Spanish Falangism had its own unique flavor inspired by Spain’s own conservative pedigree, beginning with thinkers such as Juan Donoso Cortés and Jaime Balmes, but especially Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo, who combined Catholicism with nationalism, and Ángel Ganivet, who added an irrationalist element. The essayist and art critic Eugenio d’Ors imported Sorelian thought into Spain and can be called the first identifiably proto-fascist writer. Other conservatives, such as Azorín, Josep Pla, and Vicente Risco, were influenced by Maurrasian doctrines, but promulgated them in a much more moderate form. The authoritarian monarchist Ramiro de Maeztu advanced a position close to fascism. But Spanish fascism really starts with Ernesto Giménez Caballero, Onésimo Redondo, and Ramiro Ledesma Ramos, whose national syndicalist ideology would give birth to José Antonio Primo de Rivera’s Falange Party. Among those who joined the Falange during the 1930s are Dionisio Ridruejo, Pedro Laín Entralgo, Luis Rosales, Leopoldo Panero, Rafael Sánchez Mazas, Agustín de Foxá, and Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, most of whom remained loyal to its original revolutionary vision, though during the Civil War it merged with more traditionalist elements as represented by Pedro Sainz Rodríguez, Gerardo Diego, and José María Pemán. The most prominent Latin American fascist is probably Leopoldo Lugones, though Argentina did host a circle of right-wing nationalist intellectuals, such as Manuel Gálvez and Leonardo Castellani.
In the same fashion, the Romanian Iron Guard shaped its own doctrine in accord with its country’s indigenous traditions, such as the agrarian conservative nationalism of Mihai Eminescu, Duiliu Zamfirescu, Ion Creangă, Titu Maiorescu, and Nae Ionescu. Its chief figure was Corneliu Codreanu, and the movement succeeded in attracting many of the most talented young Romanian intellectuals: Mircea Eliade, Emil Cioran, Vintilă Horia, Constantin Noica, Radu Gyr, and Petre Tuțea.
In addition to those listed above, many other artists and intellectuals admired certain traits of fascism and could at least be designated fellow travelers, among them Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Knut Hamsun, W.B. Yeats, Igor Stravinsky, Luigi Pirandello, Ezra Pound, Jacques Chardonne, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Anton Webern, Henry de Montherlant, Paul Morand, Mario Sironi, Carl Schmitt, Evelyn Waugh, Giacomo Balla, Jacques de Lacretelle, Wyndham Lewis, Ivan Ilyin, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Rudolf Borchardt, Andrea Emo, Hans Bogner, Jan de Vries, Hilaire Belloc, Carlo Carrà, Heimito von Doderer, Gioacchino Volpe, David Jones, Massimo Bontempelli, Emil Nolde, Saunders Lewis, and Josef Weinheber,
And while they are by no means fascists in the conventional understanding of the term, there remain European intellectual movements interested in the heritage of the Conservative Revolution, such as the French Nouvelle Droite, which includes figures such as Alain de Benoist, Louis Rougier, Julien Freund, Dominique Venner, Jean Cau, Louis Pauwels, Jules Monnerot, and Jean Parvulesco, as well as the German Neue Rechte, represented by Armin Mohler, Helmut Schelsky, Karlheinz Weißmann, Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner, Günter Maschke, and Günter Rohrmoser.
Well, I’m sure most of these names will be unfamiliar to you, but I hope I exploded the myth the fascism has little intellectual basis. It is true that there is no one key fascist text that can explain the entire movement to you, because there are many different versions of fascism. You have to read multiple authors in order to truly grasp the outlook.