Necessity for Leadership
Leadership is found in all areas of life and the world would be in chaos if there were no leadership. There is a need for people to be led and not merely being controlled. A leader can choose to work with the people or to tell them what to do. There are various methods, which leaders have used to lead their people. These range from a very authoritarian system to democratic one, communists to socialists and capitalists. Many people do not dispute that there is need for leadership. Problems occur when people do not agree on the type of leadership that they think is best for them. Very often, leaders have their own idea on what they think will work and sometimes their views are not supported by the people they are leading.
Trying to limit the definition of liberalism and fascism is not wise. Leaders often believe in one method of political leadership while they still apply other techniques that are used in another type of leadership. As the name suggest, liberals believe in liberty. They support things such as free and fair elections, capitalism and human rights. These include civil liberty, fiscal and economic liberty, social, domestic liberty, personal liberty.
People exercise their freedom in different ways. Liberalism gave the people a voice. The law should be independent and unbiased and should apply to everyone including those people in authority. The liberal movement is concerned with every area of people’s lives. It also covers matters of the state and international matters as well (Hobbhouse, 20). The liberalists believe that everyone should be treated equally. People were governed using an absolute rule.
The liberalists wanted a type of leadership that would change all that since this type of leadership was exploiting the people. Other methods such as communism and conservatism were also found wanting and the liberalists wanted to change this. They also believe that leadership is needed for economic freedom and hence their support for free trade. During the great depression, people suffered in many ways. The government had a lot of power and it controlled all the sectors of the economy. The situation was so bad such that they had what they referred to as planned scarcity. The crops were destroyed and animals were killed so that they could increase the prices. The liberalists advocate for a free market where the government cannot control what is being sold.
The liberalists also see the necessity for leadership in matters concerning equality. Women have the same rights as men in the work place and other areas. Women have fought for their rights for a long time. During the great depression and earlier years, women were paid less as men yet they did the same work. The levels of unemployment were high and most people lost their jobs. The government set policies, which ensured that the married women were stopped from working, citing reasons such as the need to increase the birth rate. Change was needed and the people saw this. It was not an easy journey and the people suffered for their achievements.
Those who advocate for liberty are of the view that leadership is also needed for individual self worth and human dignity. This includes the write to work and live anywhere. People should not be held down by any system, be it religion or the government. Some cultures also hold the people down such that they are limited in many ways. During the great depression, women were paid less than men were, not because they did less work but because they were women. This view was downgrading for them. The society was of the opinion that the role of women was to uphold the culture and keep the family (Schapiro, 9).
Unlike fascism where freedom of speech is not allowed, liberalism believes in freedom People have the liberty to make their views known regardless of whether others agree. Anyone can voice his or her opinion on political, religious and social matters without fear (Kelly, p.3). This is in contrast with most government systems where a person has to watch what they say or action is taken on them. Some are tortured because of what they say and the press is tied. It cannot report the news as it is. Many people advocate for liberalism. In his book “Liberalism and the Limits of Justice”, Sandel talks of deontological liberalism. He discusses justice in the context of liberalism. Justice is superior to moral values or political interests. People should therefore not abuse their freedom on the name of liberalism since justice will be upheld (Sandel, 3).
Fascism is a dictatorial and capitalist system. It was used in different countries in different ways. Not everything, which was considered fascist, was applicable in all the countries. In Italy, they did not apply the same principles as Germany. Italy was recognized for its fascist government. The leaders did not include racial discrimination unlike the Germans. This was before Hitler started ruling the Germans. His influence was spread in many countries across Europe. His hatred for the Jews influenced the decision of the leaders in some countries across Europe. The Jews who worked in government places in Italy lost their jobs.
Some people cannot distinguish between liberalism and fascism today. For a person who lived in the Hitler regime, this may be hard to understand. Today, some of the things that were practiced then cannot be practiced today. Since there is more awareness about the people’s rights, the liberals do not have such a huge task today as they did then. Violation of human rights is an offence in most parts of the world and women now have their rights. The confusion comes in when trying to formulate policies.
There are extremities to all government systems. The fascists’ view is that the state is more important than the individual is. It contrasts with the democratic view and will often force its beliefs on people regardless of what they think (Goldberg, 10). In the early years of the past century, these things were practiced by those who advocated for this type of leadership. People like Hitler are often cited as those who used this type of leadership. Fascist leaders believe that leadership is needed to strengthen a nation. They will therefore do anything in their power to keep their nation strong. This includes violence and war.
According to the fascists, leadership is also needed for organizing the society. They believe in being disciplined and in exercising total authority. They see this as a means to get an organized society. Fascist were soldiers and the leaders used what they knew as soldiers to lead the people hence the high level of discipline and intolerance. Since they believed in an organized society, they used military authority on people and they expected total obedience. Adolf Hitler is a good illustration of this. Although many people feared him, others were his supporters. He instilled a high level of discipline and he was strategic. This ensured that he had success and this resulted in much death.
The fascists believe in a cultural revolution (Payne, 450). They are usually opposed to modernism. Fascists also believe that leadership is needed to direct people so that they have a sense of pride in their nation. They call for people to be patriotic. When people instill this in their minds, they find it much easier to fight for their nation. This is what made the followers of Hitler so aggressive and they did not think twice when killing people. Fascism controlled the press. Press freedom and freedom of speech were restrained. Workers were not allowed to join trade unions and they were not allowed to hold strikes. These things were not in the plan of the leaders. They did not help in their efforts.
Fascism was largely practiced in European countries. As stated before, it is not easy to have a clear definition of fascism. The fascism that was present in Italy was not the same one in Germany. Although fascism was present in Germany, it was in a larger context than that which was in Italy. Hitler added other elements such as race issues. Other countries, which had a fascist government, chose the elements that they wanted to maintain and the ones they felt they did not need. For instance, they did not all agree on economic or racial issues.
Josef Stalin was a socialist leader of the Soviet Union. He used terror and totalitarian rule to govern the people. Unlike fascism, which is a political ideology, Stalin believed in a hands-on approach. There is no place for democracy in this leadership. Stalin directed that people would own land collectively and not as individuals thus abolishing private ownership of land. The farmers would then share the profits. According to him, this would increase productivity. This type of leadership does not call for consultation. Only the leader has the power to make decisions. Those who do not conform to this leadership are branded as traitors and violence is used to enforce the rule of law. The military are used to make sure that the people follow orders (Getty et al, p. 1-2).
The method that Stalin used during his regime resulted to the death of thousands of people. Setting targets and making sure that they arte met seems to be the main drive behind the support of this kind of government. Josef Stalin set a five-year plan and claimed that they could see success after only four years. What he failed to say was what that success had cost the nation. As a leader, Stalin did not care about the opinion of others. He used his position to gain more power and this ensured that nobody questioned him.
In addition to this, Stalin also maintained bureaucracy within the communist party. He rewarded those who supported him. He used this strategy to beat the opposition. This system had eliminated social classes and anyone could vote. Unlike the fascist who had banned all press freedom, the USSR constitution provided for press freedom. The two systems of government also differed in that the fascists only allowed one political party while the Soviet Union had many parties. However, only the communist party had power and only the leaders from that party could be elected (Phillips, p. 92-100). Most of the laws that seemed to support the people such as those in the constitution were not practiced.
It is hard to give a clear definition of the liberals, fascists and Stalinists systems of government. The fascists chose what worked for them. Although there were many countries in Europe that had fascist leaders, the leadership styles that they chose were different. Spain, Italy and Germany had similar systems but they use different rules. Stalin chose to increase his power and authority and he did not care for the people he led. Most systems of government do not stick by one ideology or practice. They look for what will work in their particular situation. The idea of communism is still used in places such as Russia and china. Liberalism is also used in majority of governments. Governments try to control the extent at which the people use their liberty. It is common knowledge that too much freedom can be harmful. For instance, the press who report on anything can endanger people’s lives especially if they cannot prove their reports.
Leadership is necessary and people cannot live without it. It would be impossible to achieve anything since everyone will want to do what they think is right. As history shows, a leader has the freedom to change the system of governance. Sometimes, the choice is up to the people depending on the system of government that is in place. For instance, it is easier to change from a dictatorial system to a democratic one than vice versa. Working with the people is much easier than working against them. In the end, the ones who are being led are more than the ones who are leading. The leader should look at the advantages of all systems and they should decide which system of government would achieve more.
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Getty, John and Manning Roberta. Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Print
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Payne, Stanley. A History of Fascism, 1914-1945. Boston MA: Routledge, 1996. Print
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Sandel, Michael. Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print
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