Deciphering Crypto-fascism

Philosophy and Global Affairs 2 (1) (2021)
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Fascism is a virulent historical social pathology that presents itself as a political ideology or a component of general ideology. It is historical in a double sense. It is actualized at specific times and places. It is also, a recurring feature of history itself. Crypto-fascism is the manipulation of the ambiguity of language for the purpose of fascistic actualization. Crypto-fascism is often an early “tell” or warning of the presence of more widespread fascism. There have been several powerful and deep studies of fascism and its co-optation of the ambiguity of language. Two of these approaches are of particular importance. In both instances fascism is addressed as a potentiality or susceptibility tied to the human condition per se. The first is Freudian and the second is existential. These approaches both meet the historical criteria noted above. In this essay I follow the work of Erich Fromm and Jean-Paul Sartre to understand the ground of fascism and its crypto variant. Camouflage is the hallmark of crypto-fascism, and it is exactly this that Fromm’s analysis and that of Sartre discloses.



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John c. Carney
University of Connecticut

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