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Old 12-03-2018, 09:53 AM   #1
Griff
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What is fascism really?

Here is an abridged version of Umberto Eco's identifying characteristics. from Open Culture. Paywall blocked the New York Review of Books original from 1995.

We all want to name things so we can hold them in our minds. My friend Henry names things socialist and I name things fascist. We're both right and wrong. Neither of us wants a totalitarian state so recent history informs us maybe too much. The state I want would cycle through periods of leaning towards equality and then back towards liberty. I get off the equality train before Democrats generally and probably ride the liberty train out to where old fashioned Republicans were. Somewhere in that middle ground in constant flux is fairness to both the group and the individual.

Eco's list

  1. The cult of tradition. “One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements.”
  2. The rejection of modernism. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
  3. The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
  4. Disagreement is treason. “The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.”
  5. Fear of difference. “The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
  6. Appeal to social frustration. “One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
  7. The obsession with a plot. “The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.”
  8. The enemy is both strong and weak. “By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
  9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.”
  10. Contempt for the weak. “Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”
  11. Everybody is educated to become a hero. “In Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.”
  12. Machismo and weaponry. “Machismo implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
  13. Selective populism. “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
  14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. “All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:58 AM   #2
Undertoad
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http://www.faena.com/aleph/articles/...ying-fascists/

Quote:
In an essay published in the New York Review of Books, Eco distilled the 14 typical elements of "Ur-Fascism or Eternal Fascism," while warning that, "These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it."
Bold mine.

One of them. And the features are allowed to contradict.

It's a post-modernist definition: with this list, almost everything can be described as fascism, so we can use the label for anything we want, and march into battle.
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:21 PM   #3
Griff
still says videotape
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Yeah, I don't think we can use checklists for this. That kind of black and white thinking is you know, fascist.
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