Tuesday, August 16, 2005

On fascism

From You Have No Idea How Much I Hate Bush
Umberto Eco's essay on Eternal Fascism was a swift classic in the study of Fascism. It's not a taxonomy of qualities of Fascism as much as an attempt to sketch the subjective experience of Fascism. So, Fascists may protect corporate power and have disdain for human rights, but details like that are outside Eco's area of study. Instead he writes about the frustration of Fascists, their appeals to tradition, their hate of "rotten" quantitative democracy -- that is, their hate of the only actual form of democracy there is.
I had not seen the Eco essay before, so I'm glad to have come across it. I'd put it up there with Orwell in concisely depicting the nature of fascism. I found the following point particularly relevant to today
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.

This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia. But the plot must also come from the inside: Jews are usually the best target because they have the advantage of being at the same time inside and outside. In the United States, a prominent instance of the plot obsession is to be found in Pat Robertson's The New World Order, but, as we have recently seen, there are many others.

Sound familiar?


John Lombard said...

Hah! I've been cited!

You really need to do a composite post on eliminationism and outside group politics that draws together the different things you've read on the subject though.

Hume's Ghost said...

I do but I think I've overloaded my brain ... I need to stop reading 4-6 books at a time.

Or bettet yet, I'm going to have to start indexing information like Martin Gardner does so I can keep track of everything.