What is fascism? A Grid No Dumb Questions Video


‘No Dumb Questions’: What is fascism?

One would hope that conversations about fascism were a matter of history, relegated to the dustbin where one finds Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and others who gave an already nasty political philosophy an even worse name. Sadly, the word has roared back to relevance recently, in part because various political parties around the world have been inching toward, if not actually embracing, policies and behavior that might fit the definition of fascism.

All of which makes this week’s edition of “No Dumb Questions” sadly important and even necessary.

What exactly is fascism? As Grid Global Security Reporter Joshua Keating notes, the word’s derivation (from the Latin “fasces”) dates to the Roman Empire, though its existence as a formal ideology is a more recent phenomenon, dating to Mussolini and his march on Rome. Keating also makes the good point that the adjective “fascist” is rarely a label that a leader or party will embrace; typically it’s an insult thrown — rightly or wrongly — at a political enemy. And it is being thrown often today in many parts of the world.

All of which makes this anything but a “dumb question” — and well worth a deep dive here, on “What is fascism?” and the many questions that follow.


We’d love to hear from you with other ideas for the series. We like to think there are no “dumb questions”; or, put differently, that there’s almost nothing out there in the world of news and information that couldn’t use a little more clarity and context in terms of the answers. We also know that we have really smart readers, and that even the smartest among them can’t be expected to have every shred of important context or background on all the events that are roiling the world at any given moment. Send your ideas and questions to tips@grid.news.

More “No Dumb Questions” videos

Thanks to Lillian Barkley for copy editing this article.

  • Joshua Keating
    Joshua Keating

    Global Security Reporter

    Joshua Keating is a global security reporter for Grid focused on conflict, diplomacy and foreign policy.

  • Jake Garcia
    Jake Garcia

    Associate Producer, Multimedia

    Jake Garcia is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia producer for Grid.

  • Tom Nagorski
    Tom Nagorski

    Global Editor

    Tom Nagorski is the global editor at Grid, where he oversees our coverage of global security, U.S.-China relations, migration trends, global economics and U.S. foreign policy.