“Italian unification” is an old phrase, today acquiring new meaning. Whatever Garibaldi would have thought of D'Annunzian and Fascist squadrism, however Cavour would have viewed the modern cult of Machiavelli, avowed by Mussolini, one may be sure that Mazzini would have been shocked at the chauvinist absolutism now proudly boasted by the Fascist régime: absolutism in the sense of an executive guided by its own intuitions and conscience, free from political criticism or parliamentary control; absolutism also in a sense for which English words are wanting, except as we boldly transliterate, and hope that “intransigence,” “totalitarianism,” will be understood to mean an all-inclusive hundredpercentedness. Italy is called by Mussolini “monolithic,” all of one piece, tolerating anti-Fascist criticism no more than other states tolerate treason; all in and for Fascism, nothing against Fascism. Indeed, Fascism, without ceasing to be a party, has become the state. For parties in Edmund Burke's sense there is supposed to be no more need than for the factions Washington abhorred. Opposition such as is normal in the Cavourian scheme of parliamentary government—responsible critics, loyal and ready to take their turn in governing—is superfluous, a mere obstacle or obstruction to efficiency. None is permitted—in parliament, in press, in platform, or even in theory.
What has just been said is presented, not by way of judging, but only of summarizing, the attitude firmly (courageously or arrogantly, according to the observer's prejudices) maintained by the powers that be in Italy today. The recent months have seen several important steps taken in the direction of institutional realization of this view.