Profile: Benito Mussolini

By | July 11, 2020

[July 11, 2020]  The Prime Minister of Italy once said that “The truth is that men are tired of liberty.”  That PM was Benito Mussolini before he declared himself dictator for life in 1925.  Today’s profile is of a man who led his country from prosperity of the 1930s to its near destruction in the early 1940s.

It has been a few months since my last leader profile.  Notwithstanding my delay, I have been studying the “cult of personality” of dictators.  It can be interesting to explore why so many citizens want a strong man to rule them.  Totalitarianism provides security, stability, and removes demanding personal responsibilities.  Like religion, a dictator offers an explanation for the world in understandable and useful terms.

Fascism is a religion. The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of Fascism.” – Benito Mussolini

When speaking of fascism, we typically associate the ideology with Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.  But it was Mussolini, more than anyone else, who gave fascism its start in Europe.  Initially, as a younger man, Mussolini advocated for socialism through violence.  Through his work, the cause of fascism advanced.  Mussolini’s views changed after World War I, rejecting socialism and fully embracing fascism.

Here are some of Mussolini’s leadership traits:

  • Passionate about Italy1
  • Dramatic orator and flamboyant
  • An advocate of fascist ideology
  • Arrogant and Xenophobic
  • Highly Intelligent and manipulative
  • Imperial ambitions

 In Frank Dikötter’s recent book How to be a Dictator (2019), he sees Mussolini as simultaneously an “actor, stage manager, orator, and brilliant self-publicist.”  The so-called cult of personality of dictators applies in the case of Mussolini.

 Benito Mussolini is an example of an individual who, with many charismatic talents, nevertheless allowed himself to use violence as a means to accomplish his rise over Italy.  Narcissism comes in many forms.  A narcissistic Mussolini was arrogant, deceitful, overconfident, and he epitomizes evil.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

22 thoughts on “Profile: Benito Mussolini

  1. The Observer

    Great profile for us, thanks Gen. Satterfield for reminding us … those of us who are triggered by facts we don’t like … of history and that we can use it to be better people and smarter. Connect the dots, folks.

  2. KenFBrown

    Excellent article but I’m afraid that many will not read it because they will be “triggered” by seeing Mussolini the fascist. They will avert their eyes, hum Kumbaya, and refuse to acknowledge evil. That is why they are “snowflakes.”

    1. Xavier Bordon

      Good observation. We don’t encourage people to be strong any more. The best men I ever knew were also the strongest, meanest, most intimidating men who had their evil side under control.

  3. The Kid 1945

    Thanks Gen. Satterfield for today’s profile. I’d almost forgotten about Mussolini of Italy and the destruction he brought upon Italy. My grandparents immigrated from Italy after WWII because there was nothing left there. The level of destruction was unimaginable for a modern person. Many pictures can be found on the Internet but they will only give you a visual of the destruction of buildings not on what it wrought on people and their families.

  4. Gil Johnson

    Spot on and timely. Now that we are seeing a rise in fascism (disguised as anti-fascism) in the USA and other European countries.

    1. Andrew Dooley

      So very true. Maybe that is the allure of these ideologies, not just making the world seem simpler but also making you a “better” person by being on their side. They are the 21st century crusaders – in their own minds. That means that nothing they do can be wrong as long as it is for the task of eradicating “evil.” Oh, the fact that they employ illegal (or evil) tactics is irrelevant.

  5. Janna Faulkner

    I like your series on profiling of leaders. From those who have done great (and good) things to those like Mussolini who have done terrible things (and evil). Keep up the good works you are doing here, Gen. Satterfield.

  6. Scotty Bush

    Yes, Mussolini was an advocate for fascism. But let’s also remember and never forget that he was also heavily involved in socialism. Why is it that so many intellectuals today do not get the psychological similarities between socialism and fascism. There is almost no difference. It’s only a matter of where they put their emphasis. Both ideologies strive for the same thing.

  7. Willie Shrumburger

    A good lesson in what narcissism will do for you.

    1. Lady Hawk

      Yes, and we should pay attention to it. I know that is easy to slip down that slope when people start to love you for what you do and not for what you are. Thanks for the great comment Willie.

    2. Eva Easterbrook

      Funny how so many of our politicians are narcissistic. Pres. Obama was one of them and yet he had a cult following. Couldn’t they simply see he was in it for himself? Just look at him now … a multi-millionaire and enjoying a lifestyle he used to denigrate.

      1. Wilson Cox

        Good point Eva. But it’s not just Obama. Many others from both sides of the political spectrum.

  8. Randy Goodman

    Thanks for the profile on Benito Mussolini and the noting that Italy quickly turned against him. Too many today put Italy on par with Germany and Japan for their involvement in WWII. Yes, the went with Mussolini but turned away from him and threw their lot in with the Allies. Only because Nazi Germany was standing on the neck of Italy did they stay in the war at all.

  9. Max Foster

    Socialist then fascist. Too easy to slip between the two. I wonder why? Maybe it is that both these ideologies make it easier for the individual to give up their responsibilities of life and excuse their personal failures. It gives them something to hang onto and blame for their position in life.

    1. Kenny Foster

      Yes! Just like the progressive movement today. The neo-Marxists (why “neo” for a later time). They “blame” everything on capitalism (Marxist) or racism/sexism/homophobic (neo-Marxist). Then they are now part of the moral elite and can do no wrong as long as they are attacking those things that stand for in-their-mind racism/sexism/etc.

    2. Greg Heyman

      Very true and too many simply cannot see this happening. There is great danger when a people believe they are morally superior to others. Just look at Nazi Germany. Hitler convinced them they were superior to races that were not Ayran. Everything they did was wrapped around this oversimplied view of society.

      1. Harry B. Donner

        Yes, and exactly like the current antifa and BLM movements today that are completely tied up on race as the end-all.

  10. Albert Ayer

    Evil? Yes. Narcissistic? Yes. What more is there to say?

    1. Linux Man

      Lots of examples but why can’t people ‘see’ them rising and do something about them early. Like Hitler. Why didn’t the Germans rise up and stomp him out early?

    2. JT Patterson

      So many narcissists and so little space to discuss. Ha Ha Ha. Thanks for the comment Albert and thanks also to Gen. Satterfield for brining up Mussolini as an example. Too many of us will say this is not a good example because it happened almost 100 years ago. But this is as relevant today as then.


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