Definitions of Fascism - Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco

In a 1995 essay "Eternal Fascism", the Italian writer and academic Umberto Eco attempts to list general properties of fascist ideology. He claims that it is not possible to organise these into a coherent system, but that "it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it". He uses the term "Ur-fascism" as a generic description of different historical forms of fascism.

The features of fascism he lists (original number of features: 14) are as follows:

  • "The Cult of Tradition", combining cultural syncretism with a rejection of modernism (often disguised as a rejection of capitalism).
  • "The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
  • "Disagreement Is Treason" - fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action.
  • "Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
  • "Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
  • "Obsession with a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often involves an appeal to xenophobia or the identification of an internal security threat. He cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
  • "Pacifism Is Trafficking with the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" - there must always be an enemy to fight.
  • "Contempt for the Weak" - although a fascist society is elitist, everybody in the society is educated to become a hero.
  • "Selective Populism" - the People have a common will, which is not delegated but interpreted by a leader. This may involve doubt being cast upon a democratic institution, because "it no longer represents the Voice of the People".
  • "Newspeak" - fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.

Read more about this topic:  Definitions Of Fascism

Other articles related to "umberto eco":

Plan Of Saint Gall - Derivative Works - Umberto Eco
... According to Earl Anderson (Cleveland State University), it is likely that Umberto Eco references the Plan in his novel The Name of the Rose "perhaps larger but less well ...

Famous quotes by umberto eco:

    A dream is a scripture, and many scriptures are nothing but dreams.
    Umberto Eco (b. 1932)

    The good of a book lies in its being read. A book is made up of signs that speak of other signs, which in their turn speak of things. Without an eye to read them, a book contains signs that produce no concepts; therefore it is dumb.
    Umberto Eco (b. 1932)

    The comic is the perception of the opposite; humor is the feeling of it.
    Umberto Eco (b. 1932)

    In the United States there’s a Puritan ethic and a mythology of success. He who is successful is good. In Latin countries, in Catholic countries, a successful person is a sinner.
    Umberto Eco (b. 1932)

    The ideology of this America wants to establish reassurance through Imitation. But profit defeats ideology, because the consumers want to be thrilled not only by the guarantee of the Good but also by the shudder of the Bad.
    Umberto Eco (b. 1932)