Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco

the word fascism became a synecdoche, that is, a word that could be used for different totalitarian movements. This is not because fascism contained in itself, so to speak in their quintessential state, all the elements of any later form of totalitarianism. On the contrary, fascism had no quintessence. Fascism was a fuzzy totalitarianism, a collage of different philosophical and political ideas, a beehive of contradictions.

.. The Fascist Party was born boasting that it brought a revolutionary new order; but it was financed by the most conservative among the landowners who expected from it a counter-revolution.

.. It was not that the men of the party were tolerant of radical thinking, but few of them had the intellectual equipment to control it.

.. Nazism is fundamentally pagan, polytheistic, and anti-Christian.

.. 1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.

.. there can be no advancement of learning. Truth has been already spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.

.. 2. Traditionalism implies 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. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action’s sake.

.. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Goering’s alleged statement (“When I hear talk of culture I reach for my gun”) to the frequent use of such expressions as “degenerate intellectuals,” “eggheads,” “effete snobs,” “universities are a nest of reds.”

.. 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. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.

.. Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks for consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural 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.

.. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration. That is why 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

.. Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country. This is the origin of nationalism.

.. the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies

.. In the US, a prominent instance of the plot obsession is to be found in Pat Robertson’s The New World Order

.. Ur-Fascism can only advocate a popular elitism. Every citizen belongs to the best people of the world, the members of the party are the best among the citizens

.. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.

.. 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.