Saturday, November 23, 2019

Eco Pretends to Think About Fascism

Umberto Eco appears to be a liar. No wonder Vox Day likes him. Nevertheless, it's tantalizing enough to be worth repairing.
  1. The cult of tradition. “One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements.”
  2. 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. The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
  4. Disagreement is treason. “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.”
  5. 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.”
  6. Appeal to social frustration. “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.”
  7. The obsession with a plot. “The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.”
  8. The enemy is both strong and weak. “By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
  9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.”
  10. Contempt for the weak. “Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”
  11. Everybody is educated to become a hero. “In Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.”
  12. Machismo and weaponry. “Machismo implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
  13. Selective populism. “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
  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.”
Seems it's been tweaked to specifically exclude Progressivism. Let's generalize just a touch.
  1. Dogmatism
  2. Rejection of reasonable criticism
  3. Avoidance of passivism
  4. Disagreement is heresy
  5. Xenophobia
  6. Appeal to social frustration 
  7. Obsession with a plot
  8. The enemy is first strong, then weak
  9. With us or against us
  10. Contempt for the outgroup
  11. Every subject is told they're special and they excel. 
  12. Obsession with behaving as one sex, to the exclusion of the other
  13. Selective populism
  14. Newspeakers
Five are noticeably changed: 1, 2, 10, 11, 12. The definition is so close that it beggars imagination to suppose the original author did not notice how finely he was toeing the line. I suppose we can also consider Straussianism. Perhaps the point is to allow certain clued-in readers to 'accidentally' make the obvious edits. I still think being a Straussian is merely being a furtive, ineffective Progressive, i.e. a worshipper of lies, and both modes make you sound like an idiot.

Although unintentionally revealing, even the corrected list needs substantial revision. 9 and 10 are dumb criteria that apply to almost everyone. Might as well include [has skin, breathes air]. 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 are in fact all the same criterion, easily summed as dogmatism and xenophobia; 7 and 8 also imply each other. Let's offer these repairs too.
  1. Dogmatism and xenophobia, including ingroup supremacism which often but not always takes the form of nationalist supremacism. 
  2. Condemnation of wu wei
  3. Exploitation of social frustration, typically that caused by the fascism itself. (Self-licking ice cream.)
  4. Obsession with the Plot of a State Enemy that is, as convenient, overwhelmingly strong and pathetically weak. Typically used to deflect well-deserved blame for the failures of fascism.
  5. Extremely skewed gender affinity; condemnation of one sex; ideally excluding one sex entirely from political life.
  6. Demotism with unprincipled exceptions
  7. The use of new words for old ideas, typically so certain old ideas can be excluded from the new schema, and secondarily as shibboleths. 
In short a fascism is a demotist fundamentalist religion masquerading as politics.

P.S. With the names rectified, it's obvious that a newspeaker cannot reject modernity or in any serious way be a native traditionalist. Any serious scholar would be too embarrassed by such a provincial self-contradiction to even think about publication.'s Pontus. While we're talking as if we're not in Pontus, the task after Linnaean taxonomy is genetic analysis. Speak not merely of what fascism is by why it collects these features. In particular, the gender skew is plain weird. The first is about diagnosis; the second is about preventing minor antigen mutations from evading detection, and for killing new fascism growths at the seed stage.

If you found out that religion and politics, the canon impolite topics, turned out to be the same thing, would you be surprised?

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