How does power shape societies? Umberto Eco analyzed this question by identifying some fascist traits.
Today, people and organizations can appear very reasonable, when in reality they display multiple psychological traits of fascism and defend fascist values.
These traits are unhealthy for people and societies because they promote inequality. Umberto Eco came to the conclusion that fascism is hypocritical and inconsistent and sneakily seeps into people’s minds.
The Three Cults of Fascism
According to Umberto Eco, fascism consists of three kinds of cults. First, the cult of tradition, with a reference to and a need to retrieve outdated teachings.
The second fascist cult is the cult of heroes and death. Fascists often talk about taking risks and that death is no problem if you go down as a hero. There is more emphasis on justifying death than on making life meaningful.
Finally, fascism also has a cult of action. According to fascism, meditation and good thinking is a waste of time. In the eyes of fascists, thinkers and artists are cowards unless they eventually take action.
Disclaimers and exclusions
Fascists are against the social values that accompanied modernization and enlightenment. They view the world completely in black and white, making it unnecessary for them to debate or criticize anything. What you see is what you get. Period.
Therefore you could say that fascism refutes critical thinking. If you disagree with something, you are a traitor and anyone who thinks otherwise is an outcast who must be silenced. Another psychological trait of fascism is intolerance.
Fascists are also afraid of discrimination. Dissidents are the enemy. For them, people who disagree with them are not people, but people who should be stripped of all human rights. Moreover, they think that dissidents are simply jealous of the success of the revolution.
Fear and Apologies
Other notable fascist traits are nationalism and xenophobia. These kinds of apologies and rejections are not only aimed at a person’s country of origin, they can also be aimed at the identity of a group or people. They reinforce their own virtues and reject and disadvantage others.
Fascists can also be elitist. They strive for conflict between economic classes. For them, wealth is a way of measuring human worth. They reject any weakness, as well as any sign of vulnerability.
In addition, fascists often also tend to use gender to discriminate. Therefore, they also display an intolerance to feminist and LGBTQ movements.
Other Psychological Fascist Traits
Umberto Eco also mentions that fascists pay special attention to the middle class due to the fact that it is a dynamic socio-economic group that is not quite defined. They are therefore easier to manipulate.
Another trait that fascists regularly display is that they are often in favor of war. They are not pacifists, as much as they would like to pretend they are. They believe that violence is the best way to resolve potential differences.
The last psychological trait of fascism is something that Umberto Eco calls neolingua . Neolingua involves extremely basic and bad language. For it is only through this poor language that fascism can neutralize any critical thought.
Finally, we would like to point out the importance of protecting yourself from those totalitarian mindsets that have hurt so many people over the years and sadly still do.