09 November 2016

The characteristics of fascism

Umberto Eco’s 1995 article ‘Ur-Fascism’ is worth reading. In it he identifies fourteen common characteristics of fascism. The following list is loosely based on his points (with a bit of help from Hannah Arendt and one or two others):
  • Harking back to a past golden age
  • Rejection of modernity (which one might extend to include contempt for ‘experts’)
  • Action for action’s sake
  • Disagreement is treason
  • Appeal to a frustrated middle class
  • Nationalism
  • Paranoia with respect to groups of sinister others (and a willingness to accept conspiracy theories relating to those others)
  • Contempt for weakness
  • Militarism
  • Machismo
  • Cynicism with respect to mainstream democratic politics
  • Use of an impoverished vocabulary and syntax
Does any of this sound familiar?