Ortega has often been accused of making a direct contribution to Spanish fascism, generally in its falangist rather than its Francoist guise. This chapter is an attempt to set limits on the scale of this contribution. One or two points should be remembered throughout. The first is that history is replete with figures who have been dragooned (often posthumously) into causes which it is hard to imagine them having supported. In the context of fascism, Hegel and Nietzsche are two names which immediately come to mind. I think it is generally recognised that to call these two fascist thinkers is to stress some aspects of their thought out of all proportion, and to ignore others entirely, as well as to make the mistake of an ahistorical analysis: fascism was not a nineteenth-century phenomenon. Another example of an even more ludicrous nature is provided by Karl Popper's assertion that Plato somehow had something to do with the modern totalitarian state, and this brings me on to the second point which ought to be borne in mind.
The word ‘fascism’ (like the word ‘totalitarian’) has become a term of abuse which tends to be thrown around whenever it is felt that there are political points to be scored. This has two effects. First, ‘fascism’, in true Humpty Dumpty style, comes to mean practically whatever one wants it to mean, and second, the actual content of the thought of whoever it is that is being called a fascist becomes distorted by the label applied to it.
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