Umberto Eco describes his early years and what he remembers to be the Fascist regime. The passage explains that during their formative years, the young Italians are taught to do anything for their country. Dying for their country was the best (and most highly recommended answer). As the passage progresses it seems that Eco tries to give Fascism credit for being powerful and influential even though it had no solid ideology to back it. In a way, I feel that one of the aspects of fascism and what made it so influential was that it tried to get everyone to think the same way and impose a sense of unity among its followers. The less rebellion you have, the stronger your regime.
I feel that 1984 by George Orwell and this piece by Eco are similar in the sense that in Orwell’s book the government tries to instill groupthink into the citizens by using propaganda in almost every aspect of their lives to reduce the chance of an uprising, much like Eco’s description of Fascism in Italy. While Fascism still seems to carry a negative connotation today, I think there is some correlation in the way that Eco describes his experience with Fascism and today’s modern climate. In a way, Fascism seeks to put the nation (and or state) above the individual, which is a common theme that is seen in 1984. No one is allowed to stand out or be an individual because “Big Brother” feels that it takes away from the collective. And today there is clear evidence of trying to get people to lean towards a certain political ideology or set of beliefs. It’s in the media and even the shows/movies we watch. Everyone wants to dominate and get a following for their belief system in any way that they can. They’ll even go so far as targeting ads and products aimed at young children to push their message. Ultimately, illustrating Eco’s point of having a clear understanding of the Fascist mindset from a young age.
This piece from Eco has shown me that the basis of most political ideologies is to unite but many times the unity comes at the expense of silencing anyone who is opposed to or tries to correct the dominant political machine.