Umberto Eco on Donald Trump

by wechslerh66

Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference.  The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders.  Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.

Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.  That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.  In our time, when the old “proletarians” are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.

To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.  This is the origin of nationalism.  Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies.  Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one.  The followers must feel besieged.  The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia…

–Umberto Eco, “Ur-Fascism,” New York Review of Books, June 22, 1995