Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Fourteen Thorns on the Stem of the Rose

Theresa Neilsen Hayden, ever the amazing blogger and editor of fantabulous books, has managed to track down Umburto Eco's essay, Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt. I originally read this essay in the pages of the Utne Reader about eight or nine years ago and have been looking for it online for the last three years for reasons that are all too sad and obvious.

For those of us who've read David Neiwert's fantasic Exegesis Rush, Newspeak and Fascism this will be familiar ground. But it being Eco, he of course has his salient points:

In spite of some fuzziness regarding the difference between various historical forms of fascism, 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.

He then lists the fourteen Ur-Fascist categories, explaining each. It's a chilling checklist, one I wish could have remained simply an intellectual curiosity from yesterday, as I thought it to be nearly a decade ago when I first read it. Instead it's all too pointed a reminder of where some people in this country are trying to take us, tomorrow.


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