Eco ca. 1995

I used to subscribe to Utne Reader. A long time ago. I remember reading, about ten years ago, a piece by Umberto Eco where he talks about a kind of eternal or ur fascism. That piece was excerpted in the Utne Reader from the New York Review of Books. I’ve recently felt and expressed that we are living in a near fascist condition in the U.S. It’s a little difficult to quantify and conservatives hate this as much as the left hates the bleeding heart or commie tags. However, I think there are too many things in Eco’s list that ring true:

  1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.
  2. Traditionalism implies the rejection of modernism.
  3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action’s sake.
  4. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.
  5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity.
  6. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.
  7. To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.
  8. The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.
  9. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.
  10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.
  11. In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero.
  12. Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters.
  13. Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say.
  14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.

How recently could one attach incidents associated with the current administration? How much of the neocon invective uses points or ideas from this list?

The entire excerpt can be read here.