In his essay Ur-Fascism, Eco identifies themes and rhetorical habits that underpin fascism (although his interrogation is limited to describing what fascism looks and sounds like, as opposed to the mechanism by which it emerges).1 Some of the characteristics that I will refer to in my aesthetic survey include:
- the cult of tradition which idealizes a primordial past (think Make America Great Again, or Mussolini’s call to build a new Rome, a call recently echoed by White Nationalist Richard Spencer2).
- fear of difference, whether difference be sexual, gendered, religious, or racial.
- a cult of masculinity that, tends to manifest itself in an obsession with sexual politics (refer to online pick-up artistry and the heteronormative gender roles embodied in the nuclear family.)
- a hostility towards parliamentary politics, criticality, and reason.
- a belief in permanent warfare and a corresponding cult of action for action’s sake.
- a worship of technology, not in the manner of an Enlightenment-esque worship of reason, but faith in technology to conquer and to reaffirm inegalitarianism.