Fascism is an ideology which has its roots in Europe. The foundation of fascism was laid by a number of European thinkers in the 19th century, and put into practice in the 20th century by such countries as Italy and Germany. Other countries, which were influenced by fascism or adopted it, “imported” the ideology from Europe. So, in order to examine the roots of fascism, we must turn to the history of Europe.
European history has gone through several stages and periods. But, in the broadest sense, we can divide it into three fundamental periods:
The pre-Christian (pagan) period.
The period when Christianity assumed cultural dominance in Europe.
The post-Christian (materialist) period.
The idea of a “Post-Christian” period may strike many people as odd, because Christianity is still by far the majority religion in European society. But Christianity is no longer a dominant aspect of European culture: all that remains is lip-service paid to it. The real ideologies and concepts that now direct society have been formed, not by the dictates of religion, but from the materialist philosophy. This anti-religious current began in the 18th century, and came to dominate science and the realm of ideas in the 19th. And, it was the 20th century when the catastrophic results of materialism were finally witnessed.
In regards to these three periods, we can see that fascism belongs to the first and third. In other words, fascism is a product of paganism, and was later reinforced with the rise of materialism. Fascist ideology or practice was non-existent throughout the thousand or so years when Christianity dominated Europe. The reason being that Christianity is a religion of peace and equality. Christianity, which calls people to love, compassion, self-sacrifice, and humility, is the complete antithesis of fascism.
Christianity is originally a divine religion, incepted by the Prophet Jesus. After Jesus, it departed from its original form with some applications and interpretations. Nevertheless, it has managed to maintain certain aspects of the essence of the true religion, with concepts such love, compassion, sacrifice, and humility, as set out above.
Fascists in the Pagan World
Essentially, as a pagan culture, religion in pre-Christian Europe was polytheistic. Europeans believed the false gods they worshipped represented various forces or aspects of life, and most important were the gods of war.
This prestige the gods of war enjoyed in pagan belief was the result of these societies’ regarding violence as sacred. Pagan peoples were essentially barbaric and lived in a state of permanent warfare Savagery and violence of almost every kind could find justification in paganism. There was no ethical foundation to forbid violence or brutality. Even Rome, thought of as the most “civilized” state in the pagan world, was a place where people were made to fight to the death or torn to pieces by wild animals. Though Rome was immersed in a culture of violence, the barbarian and pagan nations of the north, such as the Vandals, Goths, and Visigoths, were still more savage. The best example in the pagan world of a “fascist” system, in the modern sense, was the Greek city-state of Sparta.
Sparta was a military state, dedicated to war and violence, and alleged to have been founded in the 8th century BC. Under the Spartan system, the state was very much more important than the individual. Peoples’ lives were measured according to whether or not they would be of use to the state. Strong, healthy male children were dedicated to the state, while unhealthy babies were abandoned to the mountains to die. (This Spartan practice was taken as an example by the Nazis of Germany, and it was claimed, under the further influence of Darwinism, that the sickly needed to be eliminated to maintain a “healthy and superior race.”)
One of the most important thinkers to have offered detailed statements about Sparta was the famous Greek philosopher Plato. Although he lived in Athens, which was governed democratically, he was impressed with the fascist system in Sparta, and in his books portrayed Sparta as a model state. Because of Plato’s fascist tendencies, Karl Popper, one of the foremost thinkers of the 20th century, in his famous book, The Open Society and Its Enemies, describes him as the first source of inspiration for oppressive regimes, and an enemy of open society. In support of his contention, Popper refers to how Plato calmly defended the killing of infants in Sparta, and describes him as the first theoretical proponent of “eugenics”:
…[I]t is important that the master class should feel as one superior master race. ‘The race of the guardians must be kept pure’, says Plato (in defence of infanticide), when developing the racialist argument that we breed animals with great care while neglecting our own race, an argument which has been repeated ever since. (Infanticide was not an Athenian institution; Plato, seeing that it was practised at Sparta for eugenic reasons, concluded that it must be ancient and therefore good.) He demands that the same principles be applied to the breeding of the master race as are applied, by an experienced breeder, to dogs, horses or birds. ‘If you did not breed them in this way, don’t you think that the race of your birds or dogs would quickly degenerate?’ Plato argues; and he draws the conclusion that ‘the same principles apply to the race of men’. 
These views of Plato, who regarded human beings as a species of animal, came to the fore once again with the advent of Darwinism in the 19th century, and were implemented by the Nazis in the 20th.
Ideas and practices, promoted by the Spartans, as they were by Plato, exemplify the fundamental characteristics of fascism-the perception of human beings as mere animals, fanatical racism, the promotion of war and conflict, state-sponsored repression, and “formal indoctrination.”
Similar fascistic practices are also discoverable in other pagan societies. The system set up by the pharaohs, the rulers of ancient Egypt, is in certain aspects comparable to Spartan fascism.
Fascism’s Retreat in the Face of Religion
The fascistic pagan culture which dominated Europe disappeared in stages with the spread of Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, first to Rome, and then to all of Europe. Christianity carried to European society the basic ethical characteristics of the true religion revealed to man by the Prophet Jesus. Europe, which had once encouraged violence, conflict and bloodshed as sacred, and been composed of different tribes, races and city-states constantly at war with one another, underwent an important change.
Racial and tribal wars disappeared.
Peace and compassion came to be considered sacred, instead of violence.
The perception of human beings as a species of animal disappeared.
These three aspects of paganism are also the basic characteristics of fascism. In Europe, they were vanquished by Christianity. In the Middle East, the same victory was achieved by Islam over Arab paganism. Before the advent of Islam, the Arabs (and other Middle Eastern and Central Asian societies) were warlike, blood-thirsty, and racist. The Spartans’ barbaric “abandonment of unwanted children to die” was adopted by the pagan Arabs, in the form of burying their female children alive. The Koran mentions this savage practice:
When any of them is given the good news of (the birth of a daughter) the very thing which he himself has ascribed to the All-Merciful his face darkens and he is furious. (Qur’an, 43:17)
The Arabs, and other Middle Eastern and Central Asian cultures, were only transformed into peaceful, civilized, intelligent societies opposed to bloodshed after they were enlightened by Islam. Thus they were freed from the old tribal wars and nomadic savagery, and found peace and stability in religion.
Neo-Paganism and the Birth of Fascism
Although European paganism was suppressed by Christianity, it did not die out. It survived under the guise of various teachings, movements, and secret societies, such as the Freemasons, and re-emerged in a definite form in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. A number of European thinkers, influenced by the works of ancient Greek philosophers, such as Plato or Aristotle, began to revive concepts from the pagan world.
This neo-pagan current became increasingly influential, and in the 19th century, surpassed Christianity and imposed itself on Europe. It will be useful to examine the main outline of this lengthy process here, without necessarily going into details.
The vanguard of neo-pagan movement were those thinkers known as “humanists.” Influenced by ancient Greek sources, they tried to spread the pagan philosophies of such philosophers as Plato and Aristotle. The belief they professed in the name “humanism” was a perverted philosophy that ignored the existence of God and man’s responsibilities to Him, but instead considered man a great, superior, and independent being. The influences of humanism took on further aspects with the philosophy of the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries. Enlightenment philosophers were influenced by and fiercely defended materialism, an idea which developed in ancient Greece. (Materialism is a dogmatic philosophy put forward by such Greek thinkers as Leucippus and Democritus, positing that only matter exists).
The rebirth of paganism is clearly evident in the French Revolution, widely accepted as the political end-product of Enlightenment philosophy. The Jacobins, who led the bloody “terrorist” period of the French Revolution, were influenced by paganism, and nurtured a great hatred for Christianity. As a result of intensive Jacobin propaganda during the fiercest days of the revolution, the “rejection of Christianity” movement became widespread. In addition, a new “religion of reason” was established, which was based on pagan symbols rather than Christianity.
These pagan tendencies were portrayed among the revolutionaries by a number of symbols. The liberty cap worn by the revolutionary guards of the French Revolution, and which often became a symbol of the revolution, descended from the pagan world and the worship of Mithras.
The rebirth of paganism, and the beginning of its intellectual dominance over Europe, also led the way to a rebirth of fascism, itself a system rooted in the pagan world. In fact, Nazi Germany, with its system reminiscent of that practiced in Sparta, was based on paganism. Towards this development, a number of fundamental cultural changes were necessary between the French Revolution, at the end of the 18th century, and Nazi Germany, at the beginning of the 20th. These important changes were brought about by a number of thinkers during the 19th century. The most important of these was Charles Darwin.
One of the superstitions to survive from paganism, but which only began to be revived in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, was the “theory of evolution,” a theory which maintained that all living things came into existence as the result of pure chance, and then developed from one to another.
The myth of evolution, a legacy of Sumerian and Greek paganism, was introduced into the Western agenda with Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, published in 1859. In this work, as in The Descent of Man, he discussed certain pagan concepts that had disappeared in Europe under Christianity, and gave them “justification” under the guise of science. We can outline these pagan concepts which he attempted to justify, thus preparing the groundwork for the development of fascism, as follows:
1) Darwinism provided the justification for racism: In the subtitle to The Origin of the Species, Darwin wrote: “The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” With these words, Darwin was claiming that certain races in nature are more “favored” than others,
2) Darwinism provided a justification for bloodshed: Darwin proposed that a deadly “struggle for survival” takes place in nature. He claimed that this principle applied to both societies and to individuals, that it was a struggle to the death, and that it was quite natural for different races to try to eliminate others for its own sake. In short, Darwin described an arena where the only rule was violence and conflict, thus replacing the concepts of peace, cooperation, self-sacrifice, that had spread to Europe with the advent of Christianity.
3) Darwinism brought the concept of eugenics back into Western thought: The concept of maintaining racial supremacy through breeding, known as eugenics, which the Spartans had implemented, and which Plato defended. re-emerged in the Western world with Darwinism. Darwin devoted whole chapters in The Origin of Species to discussing the “improvement of animal races,” and maintained, in The Descent of Man, that human beings were a species of animal.
As we have seen, Darwin’s theory seems to be a concept that concerns only the science of biology, but it actually formed the basis for a totally new political outlook. Within a very short time, this new attitude was redefined as “Social Darwinism.” And as many historians have come to accept, Social Darwinism became the ideological basis of fascism and Nazism.
Darwin thought of using Hobbes’s phrase ‘war of nature’ as a heading to his chapter on struggle in his projected ‘big book’ Natural Selection …He spoke of creatures ‘overmastering’ one another: ‘through his continual use of highly dramatic language representing the life of organisms in nature as some heroic war, with attendant battles, victories, famine, dearth, and destruction, Darwin creates the image of a great literal struggle for existence é an image which pervades the Origin.’ 
As Crook has stated, Darwin not only proposed that human beings were a “species” descended from animals, but portrayed war and conflict as “the origin of species.” This fallacy would be the justification for the promotion of war and the ideology of conflict, in fact, for the growth of fascism itself.
(For further information on the subject, see “Fascism: The Bloody Ideology of Darwinism” by Harun Yahya)
 Karl R. Popper, “The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol. I, The Spell of Plato”, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969, p. 51.
 Michael Howard, “The Occult Conspiracy: The Secret History of Mystics, Templars, Masons and Occult Societies”, London, Rider & Co Ltd., 1989, p. 23
 2- 11. P. P. Crook, “Darwinism, War and History: The debate over the biology of war from the `Origin of Species’ to the First World War” , 1994, pp. 14-15.
Harun Yahya is a prominent Turkish intellectual.
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