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As If God ExistedReligion and Liberty in the History of Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142357

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142357.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

The Religion of Liberty

The Religion of Liberty

(p.214) 20 The Religion of Liberty
As If God Existed

Maurizio Viroli

, Alberto Nones
Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the political writings of Benedetto Croce. As early as 1925, Croce outlined the characteristics of a religion of liberty opposing the fascist religion. In his “Manifesto degli intellettuali antifascisti” (Manifesto of antifascist intellectuals), which he wrote in direct response to the “Manifesto of Fascist Intellectuals” composed by Gentile, he uses the most severe words against fascism's claim to be a new religion for Italy. When Croce challenged the fascist intellectuals in the name of the religion of liberty, he had already developed a profound awareness of the contrast between an outward religiosity and true religion, which is a firm inner conviction. Only the latter opens the way to the modern world, and can free Italians from the false idols that have seduced and conquered their consciences.

Keywords:   Benedetto Croce, liberty, fascism, fascist religion, new religion

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