Umberto Eco’s definitions of modern fascism seem ever more prescient

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Christopher Dickey writes: Here in Europe, people know a thing or two about fascism.

It is not, as it was when Bernie Sanders was young, a term tossed around by left-wing activists to describe anyone opposed to progressive ideas, whether presidents or parents.

No, here in Europe, by various names — as Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism — it was the living, vibrant, vicious force that led directly to the most horrific global war in history. More recently, it took root and lingered as an active ideology in Latin America, providing a crude foundation for the repressive revolutions and dirty wars that raged from the ’60s through the ’80s.

Indeed, the fundamentals of fascism are with us today, in the killing fields of ISIS-land, in the madness of North Korea, and also, sadly, in battered democracies from newly militaristic Japan to xenophobic, isolationist parties in Europe. And, yes, in somewhat more subtle forms fascism can be found on the campaign trail in the U.S. of A.

When I saw last week that the great Italian intellectual Umberto Eco had died, I was reminded of a long essay he wrote for the New York Review of Books more than two decades ago. And, re-reading it now, it strikes me as an important guide to our thinking about this powerful, almost primal political force, its seductive strength and its inherent, enormous dangers. [Continue reading…]

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