Umberto Eco Makes a List of the 14 Common Features of Fascism Open Culture
Creative Commons image by Rob Bogaerts, via the National Archives in Holland One of the key questions facing both journalists and loyal oppositions these days is how do we stay honest as euphemisms and trivializations take over the discourse? Can we use words like “fascism,” for example, with fidelity to the meaning of that word in world history? The term, after all, devolved decades after World War II into the trite expression fascist pig, writes Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay "Ur-Fascism," “used by American radicals thirty years later to refer to a cop who did not approve of their smoking habits." In the forties, on the other hand, the fight against fascism was a "moral duty for every good American." (And every good Englishman and French partisan, he might have added.) Eco grew up under Mussolini’s fascist regime, which “was certainly a dictatorship, but it was not totally totalitarian, not because of its mildness but rather because of the philosophical weakness of its ideology.
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