Author Topic: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco  (Read 742 times)

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Offline Talisker

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Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« on: November 28, 2016, 10:55:15 PM »
IMO, a brilliant 1995 essay from a master writer. And a deep look at the hell we barely escaped by stopping Hillary, and the structure of the madness she fought so hard to unleash here - and in many ways did. Things such as political correctness, snowflake brittleness, hypocrisy and violence and facile justifications for insanity. Ecco points out that these are structural aspects of a form of mass control that adapts to local conditions, almost like a living thing, all around the world. Even here, even now, it's old old old - the nemesis of humanity.

Excerpt: There was only one Nazism. We cannot label Franco’s hyper-Catholic Falangism as Nazism, since Nazism is fundamentally pagan, polytheistic, and anti-Christian. But the fascist game can be played in many forms, and the name of the game does not change. The notion of fascism is not unlike Wittgenstein’s notion of a game. A game can be either competitive or not, it can require some special skill or none, it can or cannot involve money. Games are different activities that display only some “family resemblance,” as Wittgenstein put it. ...

But in spite of this fuzziness, I think it is possible to outline a list of features that are typical of what I would like to call Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. 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.


More at: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
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Offline Smokin Joe

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2016, 01:38:44 AM »
Interesting. Thank you for posting this!
How God must weep at humans' folly! Stand fast! God knows what he is doing!

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. Nehemiah 4:14 (KJV)

Well, here we go! Hang on kiddies, it could be one heckuva ride!

Offline Freya

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2016, 05:52:30 AM »
He died earlier this year, most people knew him for his novel " The Name of the Rose" but he was so gifted as a writer.
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2016, 09:53:47 AM »
I would be very, very careful about too facilely assuming that Eco's essay describes Clinton.  In point of fact, the elements he ascribes to fascism much more comfortably fit the mold of Trump and his followers.

I am on my phone (and at work), so this will have to do.  Eco summed up the elements he saw as common to fascists everywhere (inasmuch as fascists and proto-fascists have at least one of these elements):

1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.  There is no respect for tradition among Clinton, the democrats, and the left that supports her generally; to them, tradition is part and parcel of the evil that must be fought and eradicated root and branch.  This can be seen quite readily in their constant attacks on religion (a traditional value in America) and in their radical advocacy for very non-traditional sexual values; people who advocate for the right of cross-dressers to use the restroom of their choice, based on their subjective sense of gender, are not traditionalists.

By contrast, one of the key pillars for Trump's supporters in particular (and more generally for Trump) is, precisely, the radical protection of all things traditional.  This can be seen in the defense of traditional religion as well as the bitter opposition to any sort of consideration to any degree for non-traditional sexual attitudes, including radical opposition to the rights of two consenting adults to have homosexual relations in the privacy of their own home.

Eco also ascribes to this aspect of Ur-Fascism a syncretism, in which all of the various strains of "traditional" belief are put together, and the internal contradictions glossed over.  Clinton and her followers are very intolerant of internal contradiction, which can be seen in their single-mindedness.  Trump and his followers, however, seem much more comfortable with a syncretism of traditional values; for example, Trump's supporters claim to be all in favor of the traditional American value of individual liberty, while at the same time embracing a degree of anti-homosexuality, for example, that is antithetical to the traditional concept of individual liberty.

This element of Ur-Fascism describes Trump and his followers; it does not describe Clinton or her followers with any degree of accuracy.

2. Traditionalism implies the rejection of modernism.  Again, this aspect of Ur-Fascism fits Trump and his supporters quite well.  As stated above, Trump's supporters reject any concept of a modern view of gender, sexuality, or the rights of individuals - even within the confines of their own homes - to have freedom to step beyond the traditional concept of the nuclear family, with its stay-at-home mother who cooks, cleans, and raises the children, the hard-working father who suborns personal freedom and family time to "bringing home the bacon", and the obedient children.  This can also be seen in the rejection of global trade, and even in the rejection of modern economics for a jobs program that is more in line with early to middle Twentieth Century industrialism than with the present state of affairs.

Again, this element applies to Trump and his supporters; it sits uncomfortably on the shoulders of Clinton and her followers.

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action’s sake.  This also fits very well with Trump and his supporters.  His supporters call for action, action first, action foremost, and action now.  Forget about thinking through current problems and trying to figure out what went wrong.  One of the clearest examples is on immigration.  Trump's supporters demand that he act now - first day in office type of action - to round up and deport every single illegal alien, period.  They say we should enforce existing immigration laws, no matter how unjust or irrational, now, and then, once we've rounded up and deported all the illegals, maybe we can sit down and think about whether the immigration laws need to be changed.  That displays not only the preference for action over thought, but also the cult of traditionalism - favoring the old (i.e., traditional) immigration laws, no matter how unjust, over any possible modernization of those laws.

This element does also fit Clinton and her supporters quite well, but their irrationalism is more that of communism and the internationalists than it is of fascism and the nationalists.

4. No syncretistic faith can withstand analytical criticism.  This definitely applies to Trump's supporters, who generally respond to any sustained critique of Trump with jingoism and slogans.

Of course, it also applies to Clinton, her supporters, and leftists generally, so this is, standing by itself, most likely a neutral element that serves only to identify totalitarian systems, not just fascist systems.

5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity.  In spades does this apply to Trump and his supporters.  Neither will brook any disagreement with the Orange God or his policies, no matter how flexible or changeable those policies are.  And woe be unto anyone fool enough to point out the flip-flops.

However, this also applies generally to Clinton and the left, so again, this is most likely an aspect of totalitarianism and not simply of fascism alone.

6. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.  To continue Eco's language:  "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, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups."

Trump's core motivating claim has been an appeal to a frustrated middle class, and one of the fundamental aspects of Trump's supporters is that they define themselves as the frustrated middle class, suffering from an economic crisis - typically, the bogieman of globalism - and feeling political humiliation - their frustrations with what they see as the depredations of Obamaism and the constant denigration of them and their values by the mainstream media.  They are also - although they will not admit this - frightened by the pressure of certain lower social groups, in particular, blacks, hispanics, and immigrants.

This aspect of Ur-Fascism is a defining element of Trump and his supporters.  Not so much Clinton and her supporters, who are largely frustrated by their perceived inability to wholly conquer the benighted forces of traditionalism and nationalism.

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 fits Trump's supporters to a tee, with their clear anti-immigrant beliefs (which extend not just to illegals, but to any immigrant who comes here and "takes" a job away from an American).  This most emphatically does not fit Clinton or her supporters.

8. The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.  Notwithstanding the fact that Trump is wealthy too (claims to be a billionaire), this also tends to describe Trump's supporters, who feel they have been humiliated by the forces of globalism - including the big banks - which have arrogated to themselves immense wealth at their expense.

Clinton and her supporters also stake out positions against wealth, but they do so more from a sense of hatred and envy, not so much from a sense of being humiliated by ostentatious wealth.


That will have to do for now.  As should be painfully obvious, the elements of Ur-Fascism that Eco has identified in most cases fit more easily to Trump and his supporters than they do to Clinton and her supporters.  As such, I would not characterize Eco has describing for us the terrors we avoided by not electing Clinton.


Online Cripplecreek

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2016, 09:56:40 AM »
Well done @Oceander

Nothing should make a man happier than knowing his government couldn't care less about him.
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Offline massadvj

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2016, 10:12:36 AM »
While Trump and his movement have shown some fascist tendencies (very well articulated by my friend OC) I am not yet fearful.  The man himself seems too clumsy and foolish to be an effective dictator, and there is already a great deal of infighting among his inner circle.  When Kellyanne is blindfolded and placed before a firing squad for her insubordination, then I will worry.  In the meantime, I will rest easy knowing that these particular fascists don't seem very competent.
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2016, 10:29:07 AM »
While Trump and his movement have shown some fascist tendencies (very well articulated by my friend OC) I am not yet fearful.  The man himself seems too clumsy and foolish to be an effective dictator, and there is already a great deal of infighting among his inner circle.  When Kellyanne is blindfolded and placed before a firing squad for her insubordination, then I will worry.  In the meantime, I will rest easy knowing that these particular fascists don't seem very competent.

To be clear, I am not saying that Trump is a fascist, will become a fascist, or that fascism will take over at this point in time.  Hopefully we as a species have learned a little something from the Twentieth Century.  But I am saying that the elements Eco ascribed to fascism are also present in Trump and his supporters.

I suppose the way to summarize that is this:  all fascists exhibit one or more -usually several - of these elements, but not all groups that exhibit one or more of these tendencies is necessarily fascist. 

Online Ghost Bear

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2016, 01:18:34 PM »
@Oceander , excellent analysis!   :thumbsup2:
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:10-14

Offline INVAR

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 01:35:04 PM »
I would be very, very careful about too facilely assuming that Eco's essay describes Clinton.  In point of fact, the elements he ascribes to fascism much more comfortably fit the mold of Trump and his followers.

Excellently articulated Oceander and exactly correct in attribution.

Recall that it was out of fear of the Communists that Germany (and to a lesser extent Italy) embraced Fascism.

Nothing new under the sun.  Thanksgiving with extended fam revealed to me just how desirous people are for radical authoritarianism and punishment to be visited on those they blame for our current situation.
“Fart for freedom, fart for liberty—and fart proudly.”  - Benjamin Franklin

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Online geronl

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 01:58:07 PM »
 :thumbsup:

@Oceander

Good post
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TRUMP IS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE MY PRESIDENT.

Offline Talisker

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 08:19:40 PM »
Your inversion of American Constitutional principles as a fascistic cult, your shameless slander of Trump, and your grovelling praise of Hillary's communist lies and talking points as the very definition of honesty, combined with the overwhelming and total agreement and support of the other posters, have shown me that I am on the wrong site.

Thanks for the clarification, I won't be wasting my time here any longer.
Those who command, must obey.

Online Ghost Bear

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 09:00:22 PM »
Your inversion of American Constitutional principles as a fascistic cult, your shameless slander of Trump, and your grovelling praise of Hillary's communist lies and talking points as the very definition of honesty, combined with the overwhelming and total agreement and support of the other posters, have shown me that I am on the wrong site.

Thanks for the clarification, I won't be wasting my time here any longer.


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0BTdo6qGwo" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0BTdo6qGwo</a>
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:10-14

Offline Oceander

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 09:19:46 PM »
Your inversion of American Constitutional principles as a fascistic cult, your shameless slander of Trump, and your grovelling praise of Hillary's communist lies and talking points as the very definition of honesty, combined with the overwhelming and total agreement and support of the other posters, have shown me that I am on the wrong site.

Thanks for the clarification, I won't be wasting my time here any longer.

Cheerio mate.

Offline Hondo69

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Re: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2016, 04:19:33 AM »
The definition of Fascism is as difficult to pigeonhole as any other "ism", or even a Democracy for that matter.  You can't just list specific traits and spit them out in an Excel spreadsheet.  As noted above, "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."

Technically Russia is a Democracy though most would agree it defies the traditional definition for that type of government.  Venezuela is technically a Republic but the same problem applies.  At one point the United States was a Republic by definition, but has become very, very Socialist beginning in the early 1900's.  The point being that definitions tend to veer off in odd directions when we attempt to classify disparate entities into a small number of categories.

We can, however, spot trends and identify hallmark attributes that generally seem to be a dead giveaway of one broad type of government or another.  Free elections would be one hallmark to identify.  Government structure would be another.  Each provides a clue that inches us closer to the big picture.

Now back to Fascism and the elements listed from Eco above.  He missed one.

And he missed probably the most important attribute of Fascism of all - elimination of free speech.  Whether referencing Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy or modern day Venezuela they all share that common denominator.  If we can agree that all three are examples of Fascism then we should also be able to agree that elimination of free speech has been a goal making up a key component of each example.

Which leads me to the last 8 years under Barack Obama.  If you'd like to make the case that free speech has not suffered tremendously under The Apprentice Prince, go ahead, you'll have one hell of a time doing so.  On the other hand . . .

[1] We all know that anyone daring to question the man's policies is automatically branded a racist.  No questions asked.  And don't remind the branders that he is half white, that has become almost worse.  Should you doubt me on this we have video evidence, lots and lots of video evidence.  Of course, the intended result of branding someone a racist is silence.

[2] How have college campuses fared over the past 8 years?  Once institutions of higher learning that embraced free speech of all types, they have devolved into mind control camps that routinely ban speakers who do not toe the company line.  But on the other hand they do offer counseling if you have been severely damaged by trigger words such as "The United States" or "America".  Instead of expanding young minds they have shifted their focus to silencing opposing views.

[3] The IRS has become a political weapon to be wielded upon those deemed political enemies of the Dear Leader.  And don't get caught making a donation to the Republican party or you can expect a visit from the EPA, OSHA and a handful of other agencies.  You automatically lose because you do not have an endless supply of taxpayer dollars to defend yourself against others who do.  The message is loud and clear, sit down and shut up.

[4] And I'm curious what the public would think about tapping the phone lines of journalists and hacking their computers as directed from the Oval Office?  Somehow CNN missed this blockbuster of a story.  At least you have to give CNN some credit as they ran a 40 second story when a list of 40 journalists signed a letter to the president reminding him about abusing their First Amendment rights.  Guess those journalists didn't want to sit down and shut up.

[5] The president of the United States goes on live TV and actively calls out both companies and individuals to silence. He then posts the same on the office White House website. In turn, the Left kicks into high gear and applies a full court press on these entities as directed from the Oval Office.  We have a name for that.

I could go on (and on) but you get the picture.  If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . .

In summary, those confused about the definition of Fascism need to look no further than right here at home.  It's on display each and every day in living color.


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