Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fascism 5 - An army boot stamping on an inhuman face -- for as long as we can get away with it

Part 1 – Islamofascism? Oh, please…
Part 2 – Trust an Italian to know about fascists. (Eco 1)
Part 3 – Fascism cleans the sheets and takes out the trash… (Eco 2)
Part 4 – Fear the Gnomes of Zurich! (Eco 3)
Part 5 - An army boot stamping on an inhuman face -- for as long as we can get away with it (Eco 4)
Part 6 - Real Men Say Our Leader is DoublePlus Good! (Eco 5 and last)

Further commentary on Umberto Eco's Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt, (1995)

9. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.

The eternal war. The endless enemies. War is, after all, the health of the state. And while we're at it, there will be pie in the sky, by and by.

There is a timeless sense to this – that we are in the eternal now, forever at the cusp of the story. As the Daily Show pointed out so well, we are safe, but we're not safe. Eco says that this need to stay between the time before, when all was good, and the end of the battle, is difficult for a fascist regime to maintain. But when you claim you make your own reality, you're halfway there to the forever loop.

10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.

Oh geez – we don't hate the weak!

Welfare mothers. Sluts who want to kill their babies. Negroes and Mexicans who are forever childlike. Dirty hippies. Peaceniks spitting on the soldiers. Those who choose moral weakness, like homosexuals.

Of course, the followers of the fascist state are themselves weak, but they are told they are of the One True Good-category (Aryan race, Biblical Christian, Red-Blooded Amurrikan, what have you.) But there is a tension here, where the lower echelons have to identify with the positions of their superiors. I see a connection between this and the Corporate American ideal – where we all strive to become executives with corner offices, or we all agree that striving to become so is good.

11. In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero.

Army of One? Eco says it this way:

This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death. It is not by chance that a motto of the Spanish Falangists was Viva la Muerte ("Long Live Death!"). In nonfascist societies, the lay public is told that death is unpleasant but must be faced with dignity; believers are told that it is the painful way to reach a supernatural happiness. By contrast, the Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life.

Sounds like the kids at Jesus Camp are most of the way there!

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