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[P]
A celebration of Hitler's birthday.

By badtux in Op-Ed
Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:39:12 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

In which this penguin ruminates upon the birthday of Adolph Hitler, the soul of a nation, the difference between Hitler the man and Hitler the symbol, and the similarity between Hitler, Ann Coulter, George W. Bush, Bill Frist, and Tom DeLay, none of whom resemble Hitler the symbol but greatly resemble Hitler the man...


Adolf Hitler
Date of Birth: 20 April 1889

Adolph Hitler is the face of evil for most Americans, so much so that what we think of when we say "Hitler" is a caricature of the real man. The real man was just a man. Hitler did not invent anti-Semitism in Germany. Hitler did not invent militarism in Germany. Hitler did not invent concentration camps. Hitler did not invent pre-emptive war. He was just a man, a small and insecure man who gave voice to what his fellow Germans and Austrians would have said if they had dared voice their opinions but did not dare say because it was not politically correct.

In a way, this makes Adolph Hitler exactly equivalent to people like Ann Coulter, she of the "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" quote still proudly displayed on the National Review web site. Ann Coulter did not invent that sentiment. That is a sentiment that, instead, reflects the darkness at the soul of America, a darkness that, for example, during the Iran hostage crisis at the end of Jimmy Carter's presidency, led to Bubba America calling for Carter to nuke Iran. But making this comparison does not work, because we no longer see Hitler the man when we say the word "Hitler". We instead see the personification of Evil. He wasn't. He was Ann Coulter if Ann had gone into politics rather than punditry -- i.e., someone who channeled the evil at the heart of a nation and said what the majority wanted to say, but would not say because it was not politically correct.

The problem with making Hitler the personification of Evil is that it allows those who would similarly channel the darkness in the soul of nations to reject comparisons between them and Hitler. Because Hitler is now a caricature rather than a man, because Hitler is now Satan incarnate rather than just being an ordinary politician speaking to the popular prejudices of the population, people who similarly are ordinary politicians speaking to the popular prejudices of the population are swift to condemn comparisons between themselves and Hitler. After all, is a Bill Frist, George W. Bush, or Tom Delay the incarnation of Evil? No, no more than Hitler was. They are just men, politicians, giving voice to the darkness at the heart of America, a darkness of racism and hatred and brutality which seemed to be receding for a bright and shining moment of American life in the 1960's and 1970's as the forces of good slowly won out over evil, but which has been slowly creeping back and expanding from its bastion in the Deep South ever since, to the point where it now encompasses the majority of America and Americans in the form of that strain of virulent racism called "American Exceptionalism" that implies that Americans are human and everybody else is not. If Adolph Hitler was born in America 50 years ago and became a politician, he would not be ranting about Jews and untermenschen. He would be saying the exact same things as Bill Frist, George W. Bush, or Tom DeLay. Because Hitler was just a man who reflected the prejudices of his era -- as is Bill Frist, George W. Bush, and Tom DeLay.

Digby talks about being boiled. That is because Digby is a relatively young man who grew up in a time of light and hope, a time and place which is fairly unique in the history of both the United States and of the world. I grew up in the segregation-era South. I have seen the evil at the heart of the beast up close and personal. I have seen policemen boasting about "nigger knocking". I was not there when Police Commissioner George D'Artois busted down the door of a black church and paraded down the aisle with dozens of mounted police officers, and pistol-whipped the preacher for holding a memorial service for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. because "we don't celebrate Commie niggers in this city", but I heard about it. I have seen policemen talk about how planting a knife on a "nigger" they shot was better than planting a gun, because knives don't have serial numbers. I have heard politicians say "Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation forever!". I saw the city fathers shut down every public park and recreational facility in the entire city because a court had ordered them desegregated and, quote, "we ain't gonna have no niggers mixing with white people in OUR city." I saw a city destroyed by hatred and evil in much the same way that Germany was destroyed. This evil changed its rhetoric. But this evil is no more dead today than it was 100 years ago, and indeed, has grown, mutated, changed, inserted itself deeper into the very soul of America.

On this day, Hitler's birthday, let us reflect upon evil and recognize it for what it is: something that lives in the souls of nations, not in the souls of politicians. For politicians are nothing more than mirrors reflecting what the people desire in their heart of hearts. All Hitler did was voice the darkness in the soul of the German nation -- he did not invent it. Hitler never personally killed a Jew. Hitler never personally marched across a border to invade another nation. Without the willing participation of the German people in the evil that was the Third Reich, Hitler would have been just another failed artist in Vienna muttering slurs against Jews over a brewski at the local beer hall. But the German people basked in the reflected glow of hate and prejudice, their own hate and prejudice reflecting back from the mirror that was Hitler, and gleefully participated in the destruction of millions. If Hitler the man had never existed, they would have found another man in his place, another demagogue willing to give voice to the darkness in their souls.

Hitler was not evil incarnate, but merely a man. As are George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, and Bill Frist, who similarly are not evil incarnate but, rather, merely reflect the soul of the nation. And may the Lord have mercy upon our souls.

-- Badtux the Historian Penguin

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Poll
Hitler
o Satan incarnate 10%
o A small man giving voice to the darkness in the soul of a nation 43%
o My hero 8%
o Other 36%

Votes: 73
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity"
o American Exceptionalism
o being boiled
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A celebration of Hitler's birthday. | 320 comments (292 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
Godwin's Law (1.04 / 23) (#2)
by alphaxer0 on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 01:35:51 AM EST

This article is just one big violation of Godwin's law, which I hearby invoke. Seriously, I dislike Bush, but comparing him to Hitler is way over the top and was old along time ago. Additionally, 4-20 is my Bday, and not one of you losers got me anything.

Seems you didn't read the story (2.83 / 6) (#3)
by badtux on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 01:51:26 AM EST

The "Godwin's Law" that you invoke is regarding Hitler as the Incarnation of Evil. I'm not interested in "Great Man" theory of history. Hitler was an entirely unexceptional man with little talent, neither more nor less evil than any other German of the day. His sole talent was giving voice to the hopes and aspirations and hatreds and fears of a nation.

In the end, a politician in a democracy gains power because he is the "perfect mirror" of the soul of a nation, saying what the people, in their heart of hearts, wish to believe about themselves and others. And that is exactly what Bush, Frist, and DeLay are exceptionally good at doing. But Bush et. al. are no more evil than the guy who lives next door, and neither was Hitler. If Hitler had been aborted at birth, the people would have simply found themselves some other politician to mirror the evil in their hearts back at them.

If we wish to find evil, we must look in the mirror.

- Badtux the Historian Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

He did not give voice to the (1.33 / 3) (#55)
by alphaxer0 on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 03:37:47 PM EST

to the aspirations of the German people. First off, the German people were not exactly dying to start a new war. This is shown by his wavering on the issue of the war, for example stating war would be stupid because it would interfere with his plans for a pure German state. Not to mention the resistance he from the German army high command. Additionally, if the idea of killing off the Jews and other undeseriables was so popular, why did he do it in secret under the cloak of a mass deception campaign?

[ Parent ]
Kristalnacht was hardly 'secret' <NT> (none / 1) (#92)
by godix on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:01:16 AM EST




- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
No Kristalnacht (none / 0) (#119)
by alphaxer0 on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:49:48 PM EST

, which was heavily instigated and strictly controlled by the nazi leadership, was not secret. However most of the major programs, such as the T-4 program, the death camps, and aggressive nature of the wars, were subject to strict secrecy and elobrate deception campaigns.

[ Parent ]
Take Godwin's law and shove it (2.40 / 5) (#13)
by GreyGhost on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 06:29:18 AM EST

Ya fucking geek. I just knew there would be a post about that.



[ Parent ]

You lose ... (none / 0) (#18)
by canwaf on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:20:25 AM EST

Your credibility is gone because you mentioned Godwin's Law... and not only does the law state the first person to mention Nazi's loses, the first person to mention Godwin's law loses as well.

[ Parent ]
SlashDread's correlary of Godwin's Law (none / 0) (#22)
by SlashDread on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 08:12:13 AM EST

If mentioning of Hitler, or nazi's must stop any conversation, the result can only be that every conversation will mention Nazi's and Hitler.. under another name.

[ Parent ]
Its not a real law <nt> (3.00 / 4) (#33)
by GenerationY on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:07:32 AM EST



[ Parent ]
It's not? (none / 0) (#127)
by DoorFrame on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:25:53 PM EST

I could have sworn it was passed on the same day as the Patriot Act... are you sure it's not a real law?

[ Parent ]
Dry humour isn't your thing eh <nt> (none / 0) (#201)
by GenerationY on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 06:33:13 AM EST



[ Parent ]
actually . . . (3.00 / 3) (#94)
by Phil Urich on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:04:52 AM EST

the law states is that as the discussion grows longer, the probability that a comparison using Hitler will be made approaches 1. All this article did, from the point of Godwin's Law, is establish the probability as starting at one already, having already made the comparison. It didn't violate Godwin's Law, it fufilled the law in spades.

[ Parent ]
You can't violate the law... (none / 0) (#103)
by Sinclaire on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 09:43:55 AM EST

...if the discussion was about a political figure-Hitler/Nazi comparison to begin with. Godwin's law is that every long internet discussion will turn into a discussion about a Hitler/Nazi comparison.

[ Parent ]
kinda related (2.66 / 9) (#4)
by Aye Jay on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 01:59:23 AM EST

I remember a lecturer at university saying once that the most warmongering person in the world is the common citizen.

the user that called the empty queue a "three eyed monster"?

bush is a moron (1.04 / 23) (#5)
by circletimessquare on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 03:32:42 AM EST

coulter is a witch

and delay is corrupt

however, if you honestly believe any of those cretins even remotely enters the sphere of who hitler was or what he believed in or what he did or what he said, you simply are stupid or propagandized

meanwhile, the author of this story seems stupid AND propagandized

osama bin laden and saddam hussein are closer to hitler in belief and word and action

but god forbid i should suggest that these two are better comparisons to hitler than bush and company

what a radical concept: bush and company are just a bunch of buffoons in comparison to the likes of hitler and bin laden and hussein?

clearly, i'm off my rocker!

for me to in any way impinge on the "bush is teh hitler" genius-level of insight that some people like the author have means i'm not just a party pooper...

no, for me to say the comparison of bush to hitler is way off the mark clearly means i'm cheney's ass-kissing imperialist neocon apologist

of course, obviously

heaven forbid concepts like "persective", "scale", or "context" inform our blazing genius-level intellect on current political affairs

no, no, clearly, "bush is teh hitler"

say it loud, say it proud

show the world how smart you are


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

your reading-for-comprehension skills... (2.00 / 3) (#7)
by esrever on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 04:36:41 AM EST

deserting you again, CTS?  And here I thought you were doing so well there for a while.  Clearly that was just a hiatus, however, and now that someone has confronted you with something you are too weak to acknowledge as a Truth, the shutters have come down and you're back to your old ways.

How sad.

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]

ignore me, i'm just a troll (1.10 / 10) (#9)
by circletimessquare on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 05:09:23 AM EST

to suggest that better real world examples of a modern day hitler might be bin laden or hussein is clearly a crackpot's mind at work

i'm way out there, i'm truly a nutjob, you can safely discard my words

clearly, bush is teh hitler, bush is the fundamentalist, bush is the fascist

this is genius level insight, something i certainly cannot understand

i'm a kook, don't worry about me, i'm so far away from sound reasoning skills it's not even funny

please, get out there and keep shouting "bush is teh hitler"

please, ignore me, let the world know how your brilliant insight really works, i'm just a fool, while this article is clearly genius i cannot begin to comprehend


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I Encourage (3) this level of self-awareness [nt] (none / 0) (#11)
by esrever on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 05:18:12 AM EST



Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
i have more self-awareness for you (1.11 / 9) (#12)
by circletimessquare on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 05:55:16 AM EST

considering the hitler evil that is bush, that is amerikkka and amerikkkans, they deserved what they got on 9/11

the victims on 9/11 were just little eichmans, hard at work for the fuhrer

bin laden is a hero for what he did

wow, i feel so enlightened!

i'm like a fricking genius now!

how could i have missed this obvious truth before?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

The difference is democracy (none / 1) (#14)
by dudsen on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 06:32:47 AM EST

Bush and hitler has one thing in common that none of the crackpots you mention has they did not take power by force but were operating within the law's of an democratic state.

Hitler went to the extreme of everything but he did not do anything that was not done in other countries at the same time, but at an different scale.

This is not the same times at the 1930ies so of cause everythings diferent but...

The idea of this isn't that bush is an evil man but that bush is a lot less plotting the course than just following the tidal waves of the time.
And that Hitler more or less vere in the same situation.

[ Parent ]

wow... so bush is like hitler just like (1.12 / 8) (#16)
by circletimessquare on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 06:51:13 AM EST

the majority of every other democratically elected leader in the world

fascinating insightful groundbreaking stuff


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

omega omega (2.00 / 3) (#19)
by mettaur on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:23:03 AM EST

and like

if you mention a similarity

then you know

that holds for all other situations

and stuff
--
[Applying business theory to trolling]
[ Parent ]

i think he's just saying (none / 1) (#107)
by Aye Jay on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 10:39:09 AM EST

sometimes people are evil fucks so that leads them to elect people that will govern them accordingly. You could say the opposite when people are not being evil fucks.

the user that called the empty queue a "three eyed monster"?
[ Parent ]

So, to sum up (2.75 / 4) (#24)
by A Bore on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:03:07 AM EST

1)It's moronic to compare people to Hitler

2)People like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are just like Hitler.

[ Parent ]
#2 sums me up well (1.33 / 3) (#27)
by circletimessquare on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:25:43 AM EST

but #1 seems to be one of the other voices in your head, as that's not in my post


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
#2 DOES sum you up well (none / 1) (#97)
by A Bore on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 08:00:42 AM EST

bush is a moron [(0.93 / 16) (#5)
by circletimessquare on Thu Apr 21st, 2005 at 08:32:42 AM GMT
(at gmail dot com)]

coulter is a witch

and delay is corrupt

however, if you honestly believe any of those cretins even remotely enters the sphere of who hitler was or what he believed in or what he did or what he said, you simply are stupid or propagandized

Or maybe the entirety of this post of yours?



[ Parent ]
RTFA <nt> (2.00 / 4) (#25)
by GenerationY on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:06:47 AM EST



[ Parent ]
dude, put the crackpipe down (none / 0) (#58)
by trane on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 04:22:56 PM EST

you can do it. just for a day. see how much your thinking clears up. then try two days. I'm with you. I'm praying for you. Please, you have no idea how much happier you can be.

[ Parent ]
Questions (none / 0) (#205)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 02:29:13 PM EST

Why do you think Bush is a moron?  Also do you disagree with the author of this piece for claiming that popular prejudices of the people are channeled through politicans like Bush?

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
omg bush=teh hitler (1.46 / 49) (#17)
by circletimessquare on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 06:59:04 AM EST

like i was writing about america the other day and instead of "america" i wrote "amerikkka"

and when i wrote that just then likeit totally dawned on me: bush=teh hitler

i mean i thought the world was complex and complicated and stuff but then i just realized that it all makes sense because bush=teh hitler

i mean this is genius level stuff, i had to write about it, it was so smart and stuff

we have to like tell the world because the amerikkkan people they are like so stupid, they are like sheep, sheep people, sheeple!

the world it needs people with high iqs like us who know bush=teh hitler to save us form the sheeple

and we have to like shout out "bush=teh hitler!" all the time, you know?

and then bush will be like "shhhh! omg! like don't tell the sheeple i am teh hitler!"

and we'll be like "na ah bush, we know you are teh hitler and we're going to tell everyone"

and bush will be like "omg, i totally thought i fooled everyone, how did you figure out that i am teh hitler?"

and we'll be like, "because we're so smart, we're like genius level people, so much better than the dumb amerikkkan sheeple!"

and bush will be like "omg, you totally got me, i'm so lame"

haha! that will be so cool

we're so smart!

no one thought of this except us and the stupid sheeple will never like figure out that bush=teh hitler!

omg, we're so smart and stuff!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

RTFA <nt> (none / 0) (#26)
by GenerationY on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:15:04 AM EST



[ Parent ]
-1 (none / 1) (#29)
by Aye Jay on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 10:07:31 AM EST

repetitive nonsensical ranting.

the user that called the empty queue a "three eyed monster"?
[ Parent ]

3; omg teh funnay (3.00 / 3) (#48)
by LilDebbie on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 02:23:08 PM EST

and I thought you were all dried up

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
-1, too much "teh" (none / 1) (#86)
by HyperMediocrity on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:31:11 AM EST



[ Parent ]
ROR! (none / 1) (#130)
by undermyne on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:35:29 PM EST

But I'm a sucker for the use of the word sheeple...


"I think you've confused a GMail invite with money and a huge cock." Th
[
Parent ]
I like the basic premise (2.88 / 26) (#20)
by brain in a jar on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:28:50 AM EST

but you could do a lot better at describing the evil at the heart of America.

<rant>

Racism is present but is not the only source of evil. Market fundamentalism has led to a sanctification of self interest. The idea that Adam Smith's invisible hand is a moral absolution, rather than an observation about the behavior of economic systems. This is the kind of attitude that says it is OK to steal a bike that isn't locked up, because the theft is then somehow the owner's fault. Did they not know that people serve only their own interests, did they not know that selfishness is for the best?

From this viewpoint the best people in a nation are those who have the most wealth and power in their hands. It is tacitly assumed that everyone is selfishly seeking these goals, and that the extent to which they have been achieved is a measure of peoples drive and ability. Those who have achieved wealth and power are winners the rest are losers. It is inconcievable that some, perhaps many people are not even playing the same game. In modern America the christian virtues of humility and poverty are almost totally forgotten because they are totally at odds with the idea, that wealth and power coincide with goodness. Instead the virtue of chastity is placed on a pedastal as if there were no other virtue, simply because it is politically expedient to do so and because the burden of responsibility fall upon the young rather than on those that run the nation.

The evil also stems from the tendency for peoples respect for power to outweigh their respect for goodness. This is a weakness as old as humanity and it appears particularly strong in the US today. People have more respect for a politician who never admits fault than one who occasionally does. The electorate line up behind the apparent alpha-male, who signifies his superiority with unchanging and uncompromising beliefs. The question of whether these beliefs and the policies that flow from them are correct is essentially ignored, to defend or justify your beliefs is to admit that other truths might exist. Thanks to the weakness of the electorate conviction is more important than correctness.

Finally in the religious sphere, the religious right are like every group of demagogues in history, simpling telling their followers what they want to hear. They do not challenge their followers to love their neighbors and forgive their enemies. They do not warn their flock that their anger and hatred leads only to sin and suffering. Instead they tell their followers that their every prejudice is correct and justified by God himself. Hence: "God hates Fags" and the idea that murdering doctors involved in organising abortions, is somehow more forgivable than any other act of murder. Nowhere is the voice saying two wrongs do not make a right.

</rant>

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.

Mutation of strains (2.77 / 9) (#37)
by badtux on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:51:11 AM EST

The modern strain of the dark stain that was Segregationism is American Exceptionalism, which holds that Americans are the only humans on this planet and everybody else is untermenschen, subhuman, not as good as Americans, not really human. The United States is unique amongst major countries in having virtually all news in the newspapers and on television be about America or Americans, to the point where it's an inside joke in the news industry that "one dead American = 100 dead wogs". Thus we hold commemoration marches for the Oklahoma bombing victims and hear speeches by the survivors, but Iraq has had over 500 Oklahoma City bombings, almost one a day for the past two years -- and where are our commemoration marches for those victims? Where are the speeches by those survivors? Are those crickets I hear?

But I do agree that the darkness of the soul that you mention, the darkness of greed and spite, is a major component. But then, it has always been a major component. I remember my first job, when Affirmative Action had just been put into place at the oil company I was working at, and they hired their first black employee. He seemed quite qualified, but other employees muttered about "uppity niggers" who didn't "know their place" and "taking white people's jobs". The Southern cracker's treatment of blacks was based as much upon greed, fear, and spite as anything else, fear that blacks would take their jobs if given full rights, greed for any good things that blacks created by their own toil (many Southern Black farms were siezed by whites after the title documents mysteriously were "disappeared" at the courthouse by sympathetic county clerks), and "I may be an ignorant inbred redneck, but by god at least I'm not a nigger!" was a common sentiment in that darkness. The strain has mutated, changed, lost its explicit references to a substrain of Americans, but the basic motivations, the basic evil, remains in the soul of America. Greed and spite have ALWAYS been major parts of that darkness, even during North Carolina's "Year of White Supremecy" in 1898 when they seized the properties of most black men of wealth and removed all black politicians from office. The biggest motivation was that the white aristocracy wished to seize the prime lands and properties held by the blacks. And the white supporters of the aristocracy went along with it for much the same reason that Americans today commemorate the Oklahoma City victims but not the Fallujah City victims...

- Badtux the "No racism left in America, right?" Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Looking in the mirror (2.50 / 4) (#125)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:18:33 PM EST

I come from the right and I have this mirror put up to me all the time such as comments like yours.  However, your comments indicate a broad misunderstanding of many people on the right.  I'm a capitalist because I believe people are responsible in general (and for the rest, we have laws).  Humility and poverty is a problem on the left as the right and here's proof: Jane Fonda and all of the rest of Hollywood.  I respect power because it's the only thing that has ever gotten anything done; goodness doesn't put food on the table or solve the world's problems.  The problem here is that as power increases, misuse of it has a greater effect but I wouldn't say this is the rule among my kind.  I'm religious but constantly challenging my beliefs.  There's many, many people on the right who see the world as I do and it saddens me that this is how you see us: in the least flattering light.

One can perform the same treatment on the left, can they not?  In what follows, I don't actually believe most of this but I'm going to paint the least flattering picture possible of the left:

Laziness has led to institutionalized protectionism.  We have teachers who hate the idea of standards or merit so our children fall behind in reading and the sciences.  We have unions too aggressive at their job that stifle companies into bankruptcy.  We have college students arguing against trade policies because it might make it harder for them to get a job (never mind the difficulty in our free trade partners for their people to find similar jobs).  As a result, this has become a culture of demand: we demand better jobs, we demand better pay, we demand better schools, we demand better healthcare.  Who knows who is going to provide it?  Worthiness become irrelevant and the least deserving become parasites upon the hardest working and the motivation to succeed diminishes.

From this viewpoint, the best people are those who sacrifice the most and permit others to impose upon them without regard.  If they complain, they're just being greedy and we should tax them more for their insolence.  (I pay about 55% in taxes, enough for 3.5 government salaries--I think I pay my fair share).  Poverty becomes such a virtue that we must all share in it together, let no man succeed if not everyone one of us eats caviar.  The sad thing is this isn't virtue, it's envy.

This creates two opposing virtues: it stifles individualism into mediocrity (we must all agree on these virtues and place crippling taxes on those who accidentally get ahead) and it creates a tolerance for wantoness as long as it comes at the expense of someone who is doing better.

The evil stems from the tendency for people to respect need more than ability.  This is a weakness as old as humanity.  People have more respect for a homeless man on the street than the man who crawled out of poverty to become a millionaire.  Test this out by deciding to whom would you send money: to a starving woman in the third world or a scientist on the verge of curing cancer.  Donators line up behind the laziest who signifies something noble and dignified to them.  The successful are ignoble simply by virtue of their wealth.  Did you smile even a little when Martha went to jail?  Thanks to the weakness of the proletariat, failure is more important than success.

Finally, in the secular sphere, the wanton permissiveness are like the excesses of every Roman emperor in history, simply doing what they want even if it causes disruption in the society.  Through their selfishness, they do not care if they may hurt or offend others.  They do not meditate upon human fellowship every Sunday.  Instead they insist on showing horrific violence and sex during prime time.  They get profane tattoos on their forehead.  They insult or debase any thing that another person may value in the cause of free speech.  Since they cannot have the fellowship that the right experiences or the wealth that the right creates, they seek to demolish it all.  In the back of the mind of every person on the left is an anarchist who wants to torch a factory or church for the pleasure of watching the owners cry.  Hence, murder is shown such leniency by our laws today and why aborting 7 month embryos has only recently been outlawed.

The voice of the left is envy, selfishness, and thugisness.

</rant>

No, I think what we say about our opposition says more about us, than it does about our enemies.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Kudos sir! (none / 0) (#133)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:07:52 PM EST

No, I think what we say about our opposition says more about us, than it does about our enemies.

The political animal is by nature addicted to outrageous dramatics, and so in times such as our own, where most disagreements can be safely chalked up to being matters on which "reasonable people differ," the compulsion arises to resort to a noisy histrionics in order that the mundane, petty drugery associated with the business of keeping our polity just barely afloat be envigorated by dint of association with the primordial struggle of good and evil. In short, we mythologize ourselves in order that we don't become weary of our own insignificance.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
that, too. (3.00 / 2) (#144)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:14:08 PM EST

I was originally going to end it ironically, saying that "Conservatives don't demonize the other side of a disagreement. We show you greater tolerance than you show to us," but that's just asking for trouble (and a host of Ann Coulter columns).

Mostly, I think he somehow deduced a malignant philosophical core from a political movement that doesn't really exist so I was trying to offer him the same to show it's unfairness. What he offered is a straw man that (at present count) 17 people encouraged. If we worry about groupthink, it should be about perceptions of the opposition and the problems of demonization. Mainstream republicans have to put up with a lot of this type of hostility. You can imagine the outrage if someone were to have compared Gore to Stalin but a Bush-Hitler comparison is voted front page. I might add: without any actual comparison between the two men or their policies. How had Bush "reflected the prejudices of his era"? That's a shockingly unanswered question given the article's premise and one that I submit is an example of groupthink demonization. And it's the same thing I see in the original poster's comments: a lot of energy from someone who is otherwise intelligent devoted to reducing the opposition to an unwarranted single ugly picture. I shouldn't have to say this, but I'm not Ann Coulter yet I'm still conservative. My fear is that this may be unintelligible to much of K5.

It's sad, in a way. For all the talk of tolerance and understanding, articles like this don't really engage the right in productive conversation. It's a rhetorical salvo intend to rally the faithful. It tells me there's no point in persuasion nor the open mindedness to be persuaded since there is no assumption of fairness in the fight and I just feel dirty for giving it this much time.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
quick question (none / 0) (#161)
by Battle Troll on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:21:57 PM EST

Why do most of the sane people left on this abcess of a site identify with the political right? (There are exceptions, of course: signor spaghetti, it certainly is, et al.)
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
I wonder the same thing /nt (none / 0) (#167)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:51:07 PM EST


-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Well (2.50 / 2) (#176)
by pHatidic on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:13:17 PM EST

How had Bush "reflected the prejudices of his era"?

Let's see, Saudi Arabia attacked the United States and he responded by attacking Iraq because more American's dislike Iraq than Saudi Arabia, even though it was clear Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 . Since this invasion, over 100,000 people have died needlessly. Of course you might say their deaths were for a good cause, but then again Hitler would say that the deaths of the Jews were for a good cause...

[ Parent ]

Wow, I did not know this (none / 0) (#179)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:21:54 PM EST

And here I thought we went to war on some bad intelligence about WMDs.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Hmm. (none / 1) (#198)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 02:18:01 AM EST

I thought they went to war because it was their political objective.

The "dodgy intelligence" crap was the same in Britain and the UK. It wasn't that the intelligence was weak (which it was), it was that the security forces let themselves be bullied by politicians; politicians that already decided to hang Saddam and needed trumped up charges of endangering the West in order to follow through with the execution.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

I wish you people would make up your mind (none / 1) (#268)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 10:39:43 AM EST

You're more wishy-washy than the Republicans.

"They went to war because of WMDs but the intelligence was wrong... No, wait. They went to war because Iraqi terrorists were involved in 9/11... No, wait. They went to war because some non-governing organization said so."

I can't wait for the next "No, wait" that lets you generalize everything.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Amen. (1.14 / 7) (#21)
by emwi on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:49:01 AM EST

+1FP.

Well done (1.00 / 4) (#23)
by SlashDread on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 08:13:35 AM EST

+1 fp if its in vote today from me.

Always remember (1.00 / 13) (#28)
by minerboy on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:26:26 AM EST

Hitler was a vegitarian, Thus by your dailyKu5 logic, all vegetarians are evil like hitler



Hitler was not evil (2.33 / 6) (#40)
by badtux on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 12:11:16 PM EST

No more than Ann Coulter is evil. He merely stated what the majority of Germans felt in their hearts.

I mean, that was the whole POINT of the article. Try reading it again?

- Badtux the Literate Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Corrupting influence (2.00 / 2) (#43)
by greenplato on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 12:38:26 PM EST

I think he missed your point because somebody has been sneaking tofu, gluten, and other mind corrupting non-meat substances into his food trough.

Damn do I have closet vegetarians acting out their insecurities...

[ Parent ]

apparently that's wrong (none / 1) (#42)
by taeb on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 12:35:10 PM EST

according to this article that's a myth. http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=871771&lastnode_id=124 he was teetotal, though.

[ Parent ]
He was a teetotaller, (none / 1) (#57)
by Danzig on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 04:15:58 PM EST

but also a tweaker. So drink alcohol and fuck meth, or you are just like Hitler.

You are not a fucking Fight Club quotation.
rmg for editor!
If you disagree, moderate, don't post.
Kill whitey.
[ Parent ]
This is untrue (none / 0) (#207)
by thankyougustad on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 04:45:38 PM EST

Hitler enjoyed bratwurst.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de got.

[ Parent ]
What trash! (1.55 / 18) (#30)
by LO313 on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 10:38:42 AM EST

So, why not John Kerry? Hitler blamed the Jews for all the problems of the lower class in Germany. They had all the money and secretly controled the government. Wasn't that Sen. Kerry's point about the white, rich America in this country? Or how about, anti-globalization protestor are akin to the Nazi Stormtroopers. Rile up the masses to get what you want done. That's what politician's do. Appeal to your base and hope you touch a cord with the swing voters. That's what every politician does. I'm a secularist and I still voted for Bush. I think fundamentalist christians are total whack jobs but I live in America where the constitution protects your right to be a fundamentalist christian whack job just like it protects your right to be a complete asshole and write total bogus crap like this.

RTFA <nt> (1.60 / 5) (#32)
by GenerationY on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:04:48 AM EST



[ Parent ]
You have no idea what you are talking about... (3.00 / 4) (#53)
by kcidx on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 03:14:33 PM EST

John Kerry didn't pre-emptively start a war based on bullshit excuses and flat out lies.

Anti-Globalization protestors have never attempted to rile up fellow americans into invading another nation for the purpose of killing their leaders and converting them to christianity.

Yes, politicians do rile up the masses to win votes. That's a given. And I think the authors point is that G.W.'s dumbed down, christian interventionist rhetoric touched a nerve with Americans, got them to vote for him, because his dangerously crazy ideas seem to line up with the dangerously ignorant opinions of most Americans.

And like Ward Churchill got so much flak for pointing out, we're just like the "Good Germans" since we're sitting by and letting him do things that are against our own long term best interests, and are terribly brutal and oppresive to any particular group we choose to pick on that day.

[ Parent ]

You just proved my point (1.00 / 2) (#106)
by LO313 on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 10:33:53 AM EST

Hitler is the "evil" that everyone likes to compare to the person they most hate. If I don't know what I'm talking about then neither does this author because he's slanted. Anyone who hates "W" can make this connection and anyone who loves him can make the opposite. There are no major similarities between Hitler and either of these guys. But if your determined enough you can write trash like this. And some moron out there will believe you. I'm sure someone who has the time (which I don't) could pen an article that would compare the ultra left wingers of the world being only a few steps away from being the unified enough to be the next Nazi party. I wouldn't beleive it but you can write it. People can write more trash like this with out really thinking about it the content also. I'm sure it will continue to show up.

[ Parent ]
Related (2.87 / 16) (#34)
by rusty on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:25:04 AM EST

There was an interview on Fresh Air a couple of days ago with the author of Auschwitz: A New History. One of his most interesting points was that the classic Nazi excuse "I was just following orders" applies to pretty much every genocidal regime except the Nazis. He found a surprising amount of initiative and creativity, and even tolerance for disagreement, in the Nazis he interviewed for his research.

In short, he found very much what this article asserts -- Hitler was not a micromanager issuing detailed plans and orders which were obeyed out of fear. He was more of an inspiring spirit giving his underlings free rein to act out the worst of their own hearts.

____
Not the real rusty

Interesting point. (2.33 / 3) (#38)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:56:37 AM EST

I guess that makes sense in light of how tough the German army was in WWII - man for man they were better equipped, better trained and better fighters than their opponents.

None of that matches up with men who are fighting out of fear of their own leadership. You can't terrorize someone into building the world's toughest tanks or inventing jet aircraft.

If we hadn't broken all their codes, things would have been very different.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

Also (2.71 / 7) (#44)
by rusty on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 12:41:53 PM EST

I can't say how deeply that penetrates into the rank and file army grunts. The interview specifically mentioned more the sort of middle-management level of officers who were running the death camps, and who we tend to assume were "only following orders." It seems that most of the advances in killing efficiency were the result of local commanders experimenting with new ideas.

I imagine the soldiers were mainly fighting for their country and their fellow soldiers, much like an American soldier in Iraq who doesn't think we should be there in the first place would.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Probably. (2.50 / 2) (#45)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 01:38:49 PM EST

It's tough to say from this far off in time - but it's also quite possible that decades of poverty and collapse left the average german grunt with a lot more anger against his neighbors.


How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]
Luckily we had a homo on our side (2.60 / 5) (#59)
by trane on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 04:52:45 PM EST

to break the codes. Demonstrating once again the increased genetic fitness of more open, just societies. (Of course England fucked Turing after the war. But they're no longer on top of the societal chain either. If a more just society than ours comes along, they'll eventually dominate us, too. Natural selection at work...)

[ Parent ]
heh. Perhaps. (2.50 / 4) (#71)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:36:09 PM EST

But Turing was hardly the product of an open or just society; didn't western society drive him to suicide?

Your conclusion is correct, though - I think open & just societies will normally out-last unjust/closed societies - so long as they don't slip into decadence.


How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

yeah (none / 0) (#111)
by trane on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:47:00 AM EST

Greece (and the Roman republic) fell into the trap of tyranny. Maybe we can learn from them so as not to be doomed to repeat that cycle. Maybe.

[ Parent ]
Don't forget the Poles! (none / 0) (#287)
by hershmire on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:11:28 PM EST

As much crap as the Polish get for being "stupid", Turing wouldn't have even come close to cracking Enigma if not for the work of Marian Rajewski as well as the bomba.
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
I have to disagree. (3.00 / 3) (#173)
by hershmire on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:07:29 PM EST

The Wehrmacht was in actuality not very well equipped. At the beginning of the war only about 40% of the forces were motorised. Infantry troops moved mostly by foot and sometimes even bicycle! The main strength of the 3rd Reich's army was their speed. Their policy of "broad armament" versus "deep armament" combined with the Blitzkrieg tactic worked fantastically against the poorly prepared Poles and French. Why else do you think the Germans completely sidestepped the Maginot Line by marching through Belgium? The idea was to completely overrun their enemies with speed, and the secure the captured lands as soon as possible.

The power (and some might say main weakness) of the German army was their near fanatical discipline and the belief that they truly were a superior people, fighting for the survival of their race against the sub-humans.

The problem was when the Germans actually met a strong resistance. The Blitzkrieg was almost a complete failure against the Red Army, for when the initial surprise of Operation Barbarossa passed, the overwhelming numbers of poorly trained and equipped Russians completely stalled the Wehrmacht. Once halted, the Germans were suddenly in a type of warfare they were ill-equipped to handle. True, the German equipment was technologically advanced, but they didn't have the industrial complex to keep up a long-term war with the massive industrial powerhouses of Russia and the US.

Yes, I'm writing a paper about this. I don't just keep this kind of stuff in my head waiting for it to come up on K5. :)
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
errr.... (none / 1) (#285)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 26, 2005 at 09:42:09 PM EST

Compared to their opponents, the germans were much better equipped - in tech, if not in quantity. Consider that the Poles had no armor to speak of and were still using mounted cavalry, and the relative performance of British and German fighters (at the start of the war).

As for the Blitzkrieg being stopped by the Russians - that's revisionism of the first order. The Germans blew through most of the USSR like a hurricaine, killing hundreds of Russians for every German casualty inflicted. Have you ever heard of the memorials to the dead of Stalingrad? They buried them in lots of 10,000 each.

What stopped the Germans was the Russian winter. Once winter set in, neither the Germans nor their equipment could cope with the cold. This tied them down into a war of attrition let the Russians hold them in place while the Allies took advantage of the German's divided attention.

As for industrial capacity - yes, that was what ultimately defeated the Germans; once they lost control of the sea lanes, the Allies had effectively limitless resupply of equipment and troops from places the Germans could not reach. But they wouldn't have lost control of the sea lanes if the Brits hadn't broken Enigma.


How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

A nation of followers (2.50 / 4) (#56)
by minerboy on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 04:10:29 PM EST

At that time, Germany was an educational powerhouse. The prussian system (the educational system on which the U.S. system is based) created experts trained to be a cog in societies gears. So while there were many creative and talented individuals, there was little individualism. I suspect that the mid-level officers were trying desperately to succeed in the Nazi system, desperately trying to please their peers. So they took initiative within the common system of values - Basically, color inside the lines types

I am actually quite concerned that given the focus on group learning, being a team player, and political correctness in the U.S. these days, that the rugged individualism that allowed the U.S. to change many of its past evil ways, will be rooted out from the U.S. psyche, so that, like the WWII Germans, we will get stuck in a psychotic local minimum of societal efficiency . Ironically, the Liberal / socialists methods designed to enable the functioning of society, and build social equity, become the very thing that destroys freedom, and causes opression.



[ Parent ]
I cannot disagree more. (3.00 / 4) (#72)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 09:47:18 PM EST

This soulless collective you describe somehow produced the 20th centuries best physicists, engineers and mathematicians. It took the Soviets and the Allies years after the war to catch up with the Germans in rocketry, armor and even troop training techniques.

German education wasn't the problem - the Nazis were. In fact, if they hadn't been so determined to chase all those intellectuals and nonconformists out of the country, the war would have gone on for years longer and perhaps ended differently.

Japan fits your hypothesis much better - collectivism was so strong in them that even military men who knew they couldn't win the war kept their mouths shut because they didn't want to show disloyalty.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

Then how do you explain (none / 1) (#99)
by minerboy on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 08:42:42 AM EST

The vaccuum of leadership that allowed Hitler to come to power in the first place. It's true that German Science, engineering and Craftmanship was the best in the world at that time. Why didn't one of these great German thinkers or military leaders step up to lead while hitler was still a political oddity?

Maybe I should have stated that Germans were not good at seeing the "big Picture", for some reason.Educational system ? other cultural thing ?



[ Parent ]
Have you heard of WWI? (3.00 / 2) (#100)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 08:53:53 AM EST

The existing German government was destroyed by world war one; and it's replacement was crippled by the "noble" victors of that same conflict.

The resulting poverty and social unrest created the perfect environment for the Nazis to flourish.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

That's the text book answer (none / 0) (#131)
by minerboy on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:40:20 PM EST

But it seems strange to me that a society that continued to produce such creative minds could not come up with a better politician than Hitler. Of course Hitler was willing to risk everything to Achieve his goal, apparently there were few others in German politics willing to take such risks.

There are not many politicians these days in the U.S. willing to risk much either. I think Bush's success last election was largely due to the fact that he took such a big risk in invading Iraq. No one on the democratic side, or centrist republican would take such a risk (why hasn't McCain run as a "Bullmoose"?



[ Parent ]
No, you misestimate the interval. (none / 0) (#186)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 10:31:46 PM EST

I understand your confusion. The physicists, scientists and engineers were all born before the "great war". Many of them were driven out of the country by the Nazis during the 30's, which gave the US and Britain a huge boost in the basic research biz.

Remember men like Goering had been war heros in the first world war. After seeing their country crushed, I think they were looking for a scape goat to blame their country's problems on, and Hilter gave it to them.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

i don't think it's so strange ... (none / 0) (#202)
by pyramid termite on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 09:14:11 AM EST

we've got a country that's full of creative minds and look at our leadership ... before hitler, the political leadership of germany sucked badly

but in any case, the creative minds of a society are a minority ... and in the case of germany, these creative minds got outvoted ... as badtux points out, a good proportion of the german wanted a hitler ... true, they may not have realized how far he would take things and how thorough he would be ... but they didn't stand up and complain about it when he did

the germans didn't see the "big picture" because they didn't want to see it ... because it meant admitting that the world was not as they wanted it and there was nothing they could do about it


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]

The Left was Split (2.50 / 2) (#101)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 08:54:26 AM EST

Which is, btw, pretty much how GWB got elected in the US. If the Left, and the moderates, had stopped going after each other long enough to oppose Hitler (and, in 2000, GWB) then neither would have been elected.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
I find this hard to believe (none / 0) (#115)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:17:35 PM EST

I'm not trying to disagree with you, but you're equating the German moderates to the position of the German left as though these were once the same group. By definition, aren't moderates not leftists? I am not familiar with 1920s German party politics, but this seems incorrect.

Wouldn't it be more likely the case that moderates voted for Nazism?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
you should study it. (none / 0) (#122)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST

Wiredog is right on the money here.

Hitler came to power as a minority bit player in a fractured parliment.

See here:http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-hitlerdemo.htm

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Which is basically a lack of leadership (none / 0) (#129)
by minerboy on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:34:08 PM EST

Which is what we see today in the democratic party. Good leaders can build consensus. Had there been a good leader in the center/left, Bush would not be president.

For me it is difficult to understand why there was a lack of leadership in such a successful society. It seems Germany had many great Chemists, Physicists, Philosophers, Engineers, and generals, but no politicians - No Roosevelt or Churchill types. Why ?



[ Parent ]
what successful society? (none / 0) (#157)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:54:03 PM EST

Germany was in depression.
Germany was paying off WWI (including outlandish penaties)
Inflation was in the 3 digit range.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
because germany was in deep denial (none / 0) (#203)
by pyramid termite on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 09:20:22 AM EST

they didn't want to admit that they had lost ww1 ... that it was a mistake ... that they themselves were responsible for the mess that resulted ... they wanted to find someone to blame for the situation they had created

under those circumstances a roosevelt or a churchill didn't have a hope of being elected ... but a hitler did

and he was a great leader and politician ... a genius ... the problem being that the people he led were literally fascists ... the germans got the "great leader" they wanted, to the sorrow of the rest of the world


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]

huh (none / 1) (#105)
by khallow on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 10:18:30 AM EST

I don't buy that. My bet is that you can say that about most of the genocides of the 20th Century. There's always someone bucking for a promotion or who loves killing and torture. That kind of person ends up in charge or doing the actual killing.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Interesting (2.54 / 11) (#41)
by undermyne on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 12:15:58 PM EST

I read this in your diary yesterday. I must say that I would normally dismiss it as liberal trash (as I do most of the tripe you spout), but even though there is an obvious political slant to it I think you made an interesting point.

You could stand to tone it down a bit, perhaps take out all the bits about "niggers" (your word, not myne) and such. It's amazing to me how liberals always seem to focus on slavery and "niggers" (again, your word) and then turn around and plead progressive politics, what bullshit. You make an outstanding point that gets muddled with the entire 4th paragraph that sticks out (to pull from your analogy) like a black man at a KKK rally.

You could really tie together the Bush/DeLay/Frist/Coulter grouping better if you pointed out that Hitler was, to an extent, defined by the actions of subordinate person's within his party. Each of person's that he chose to take advice from were reflective of very specific public/social sentiments (often different) and each contributed to the "big picture" that everyone sees as Hitler

I will likely +1FP this even if you don't change it, but one can hope that you would...




"I think you've confused a GMail invite with money and a huge cock." Th
On lance corporal Hitlers involvement in wars (2.55 / 9) (#52)
by jobi on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 03:00:17 PM EST

Hitler never personally marched across a border to invade another nation.

Well, he did serve on the West Front during the Great War, didn't he? So I guess he did personally march across at least one border to invade another nation. Just not during WWII...

http://www.remember.org/guide/Facts.root.hitler.html:
After less than two months of training, Hitler's regiment saw its first combat near Ypres, against the British and Belgians. Hitler narrowly escaped death in battle several times, and was eventually awarded two Iron Crosses for bravery. He rose to the rank of lance corporal but no further. In October 1916, he was wounded by an enemy shell and evacuated to a Berlin area hospital. After recovering, and serving a total of four years in the trenches, he was temporarily blinded by a mustard gas attack in Belgium in October 1918.

---
"[Y]ou can lecture me on bad language when you learn to use a fucking apostrophe."
Hitler's birthday was 4:20? (1.12 / 8) (#54)
by Hatfield and the North on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 03:33:39 PM EST

SKIN UP D00DZ

"The Tao of Steve" had a line... (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by trane on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 05:00:42 PM EST

Something like: "Doing stuff is overrated. Hitler did a lot of stuff, but wouldn't we have all been a lot better off if he'd just stayed home and gotten stoned?"

[ Parent ]
Tao of Steve (none / 0) (#64)
by pHatidic on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:21:50 PM EST

Best movie ever

[ Parent ]
+1 (1.16 / 6) (#62)
by SpaceMonkeyGrif on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 05:35:19 PM EST

but not because i liked but because of all the comments it generated... which is dumb.

I dont get it... why not have ALL STORIES SUBMITTED?

what is the point of the edit queue if we can post comments that are not editorial?

So  here is my suggestion yet again...

EVERY STORY GETS SUBMITTED.  WE JUST VOTE TO WHERE IT GOES.  For "bad" stories (grammer errors and such) move them to a new page called "junk".  For stories that you hate because of your political beliefs vote to move it to a page called "WACKO" or whatever.

ALL STORIES GET SUBMITTED.

STOP COMMENTING ON STORIES IN THE EDIT QUEUE UNLESS THEY NEED GRAMMATICALISH FIXING.

*sigh*

So, this story gets my vote to move to the "WACKO" page, but at least it will get seen.

Maybe this is a situation (none / 0) (#70)
by topynate on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 08:45:11 PM EST

where move to vote abuse is justifiable?


"...identifying authors with their works is a feckless game. Simply to go by their books, Agatha Christie is a mass murderess, while William Buckley is a practicing Christian." --Gore Vidal
[ Parent ]
WTF? (2.66 / 9) (#63)
by godix on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 05:36:11 PM EST

I like the idea of presenting Hitler as a man rather than a mythical monster. We can hate him either way but it's far easier to understand and learn from his lesson when viewed as a man. I think your just wrong when you attribute a 'soul of america' that ANY politican speaks to. You're paying too much attention to the media which tries to paint everyone with broad brushstrokes. From the very start of the nation there was a sizable number of people opposed to slavery and later segregation. Racism wasn't an evil at everyones soul, it was an evil at the rich white landowners of the South soul. Similarly Iraq isn't an evil of Americas soul (I'd say it isn't an evil to begin with but nevermind, that's a different arguement). It is an aspect of Bush's and those who think like him souls. Just because a group gets wide press coverage doesn't mean everyone agrees with them and in a nation as diverse as America it's pretty much guarenteed that everyone doesn't. Look at the Schiavo case for example. If you just paid vauge attention to the press you'd get the impression the entire nation wanted her tube kept in and the judges were out of control wackos. Once you look at reality though most of the nation agreed with her tube being removed and the judges weren't out of control wackos, they made sense. You're mistaking one groups opinions getting press coverage with 'the soul of the nation' here.



- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
nitpick (none / 0) (#104)
by pHatidic on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 09:51:59 AM EST

Racism wasn't an evil at everyones soul, it was an evil at the rich white landowners of the South soul.

Except for only a small minority of people owned slaves in the south, and the reason there was slavery was because the poor people who didn't own slaves supported it. In fact many of the people who actually owned slaves were against slavery, after all if they were wealthy enough to own a lot of slaves then they would still be wealthy even if slavery was abolished.

[ Parent ]

Missing the relationship (3.00 / 2) (#220)
by Mason on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 11:45:00 PM EST

First of all, read up on the history of the KKK and the opposition to the civil rights movement.  Given how marginalized racism is today (although today's young South Park conservatives seem pretty okay with it), you are just assuming that it was never a popular or acceptable concept.

Secondly, you are ignoring the entire relationship between the leader and the people.  Pick a German citizen in 1920 and chances are that he was vaguely dissatisfied with a lot of things, from the treatment Germany got after WWI to the economic crisis.  But on average he wouldn't share the views of those whacko National Socialists.

Over the next 20 years, Hitler and his lieutenants focused the despair, indignation, and outrage of the German people into a precise "history", if you will, complete with some others to blame for all the problems the nation had faced.  It's a changing, fluid thing, but in time they had a very specific party-line answer for everything about the world.

In America, we had a lot of people like my grandfather, who were always a bit leery about where the world was headed, but didn't have anything specifically wrong in their lives.  Sit them down for a few hours of Limbaugh every afternoon, and suddenly these people know exactly what is wrong with the world and exactly who to blame for it.  Conveniently, it turns out the culprit is usually the poor, foreigners, the media, youth, minorities, or the white mid- or upper-class people who defended these groups.  Or more popularly, liberals.

Talk radio and conservative politians have given focus to a broad dissatisfaction that many Americans feel with increasing multiculturalism, internationalism, progressive economics, environmentalism, and so forth.  These are generally not rational concerns;  the superior standard of living in much of western Europe demonstrates that these are things that can be safely embraced, to the benefit of all.

But on the other hand, perception is important.  It doesn't matter that only a small portion of Americans are truly radicalized;  they are very good at managing their image, and our media almost never challenges their audacious behavior.  So as time goes on, things that were right-wing lunacy just a few decades ago are slowly becoming part of our mainstream political conversation.

If anything, the Schiavo case should demonstrate how scary things have gotten.  Only a slim percentage of Americans felt that the Republicans were behaving acceptably in pushing the national controversy so hard.  Yet the media portrayal of the "fight to save Terry" was ridiculously one-sided.  The media is the space in which democratic discussion exists in our society, and it has been so cowed by the right in recent years that the reality of popular opinion and the law never once stopped them from indulging in the right's fantasies about the case.

If our media is too afraid to challenge the radical right, the good sentiments of most Americans won't save our nation.  Most Americans now feel the Iraq war wasn't worth it, which is a pretty horrible thing if you think about how meaningless this makes all the violence.  This does demonstrate the good moral sense of most Americans.  However, this wasn't enough for our media to question the administration's lies beforehand, when all this senseless violence could've been avoided.

If America is good enough to regret the damage it causes, but not good enough to avoid causing damage, that is fairly meaningless.

[ Parent ]

I hate subjects (none / 0) (#228)
by godix on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 04:02:28 AM EST

First of all, read up on the history of the KKK and the opposition to the civil rights movement.

I have. I've also read quite a lot of US history and the thing that repeatedly suprised me was that things lasted so long before the South and North started shooting each other. There are dozens of times before the Civil War that almost lead to the south breaking off precisely because of the slavery issue. Hell, the original 3/5th compromise was instituted because the issue was so divisive even before the nation was created. Slavery is an evil on the soul of southern land owners not the entire nation.

Racism on the other hand I'll grant you, at one point or another pretty much the entire nation was racist. But the entire nation has also been racist against the Irish, Chinese, Japanese, Jews, etc at verious points of it's history but for some reason it's racism against blacks that's commonly considered evil, not racism against all those other groups. Why? Because blacks were slaves and as I mentioned above, that was NOT the blame of the entire nation.

you are ignoring the entire relationship between the leader and the people.

Your issue is with the original author not me. He is the one who claims Hitler was pretty insignificat and just a figurehead for the German 'soul'. I personally fall roughly into your line of thinking, the majority of people are fairly easily lead by small minorities that have the ability to get their message more attention than it deserves. It's very difficult to find anyone who acts as a leader of some movement who didn't work damned hard for that position and to some extent define their movement. Bush, Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Chirac, Putin, Murdock, Blair, Al Frankin, etc all have one thing in common. Each has worked hard to become a promiment member representing their views and now they help define what their movement is. Sometimes events overshadow them, 9/11 allowed Bush to spearhead neocon ideas and if Bush didn't provide neocon ideas to oppose then Schroeder would have been throw out on his ass long ago for example, but none of them are insignificant actors just playing to whims of the population like the author claims.



- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Too far (2.50 / 12) (#67)
by michaelmalak on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 07:38:34 PM EST

You've conveyed a great concept -- the secret will of the people -- but you've gone too far by simultaneously emasculating leaders. You've also ignored interactions and the supernatural. My three points are thus:
  1. Oration and vision. Hitler was able to grab power through his charisma and power of speech. As I've written here many times before in comments (and need to write up as an article someday), we've been brainwashed by inept schools to think that schools are about "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic". As John Taylor Gatto notes, the schools of the elite in contrast focus on leadership skills such as the "active literacies" (writing and speaking to persuade). While you are right that popular thought incorrectly ascribes Hitler's power almost solely to his own doing, your article goes to the other extreme by discounting his writing down of his vision followed by his powerful speaking of it.
  2. Feedback loop. Because you've emasculated the man, you then ignore the role Hitler played in the overall political system. Hitler writes and speaks, the country members listen, Hitler listens to them and revises and ramps up his message, etc. It's like a singer performing before a receptive audience. You correctly got the receptive audience -- which popular thought misses -- but you pretend the singer is just the performer from the nightclub down the street.
  3. The supernatural You say that neither Hitler nor Bush is Satan, but I'm pretty sure Bush worships Satan (because his father and most 20th century Republican presidents do). I don't know whether Hitler did, because I haven't done a lot of research on Hitler. I am in the apparent minority of kuro5hin users who believe in the supernatural. By focusing on Hitler-the-man and especially Bush-the-main, you discount the role of Satan in their evil acts.
Your distinction between Hitler-the-man and Hitler-the-caricature is apt and needed by the world for precisely the reason you state -- to put an end to the equivocation between Hitler-the-man and Hitler-the-caricature that leads to the false conclusion that "Bush is not Hitler." But in the course of making that distinction you have unnecessarily taken away from the active roles played by Hitler and Bush in fomenting that evil.

You've countered the incorrect popular notion of "the people are innocent sheep following the leader" with the equally incorrect notion of "the people are evil, waiting to prop up an evil leader". Such one-step cause/effect thinking is Western. An Eastern thinker would recognize the relationship between the leader and the led.

--
BergamoAcademy.com  Authentic Montessori in Denver

Ho hum (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by jd on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:23:01 AM EST

Personally, I don't think Bush worships Satan. That would imply inferiority, and if there's one thing Bush doesn't lack, it's an over-inflated ego of himself. If you were to say that he believes he is Satan, I might buy that. Either way, the link has absolutely nothing to do with the claim. The claim, then, rehardless of any merits it may have, is a troll that serves only to advertise the site you presumably are involved in. Making you not much better than Bush.

[ Parent ]
That link was very entertaining. (none / 1) (#85)
by HyperMediocrity on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:24:46 AM EST

Not particularly convincing, per se, but entertaining none the less.

[ Parent ]
I reacted a little harshly to this as a diary (2.00 / 10) (#68)
by topynate on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 08:29:18 PM EST

I should probably explain why, seeing as I'm not a Bush fan. The premise of the article is that American conservatism hides a deep darkness. This is exactly the same argument applied to liberals by some neo-cons, not all of whom are foaming at the mouth (c.f. Melanie Phillips). My problem is that this isn't a falsifiable hypothesis. You can't disprove that these conservatives (liberals) are acting out of a motive of racism (anti-semitism/selfishness/whatever). You can't have a reasoned debate on this stuff, and this framing of politics in psychology is polarizing people. I am not unconvinced that badtux and sellison are the same troll.


"...identifying authors with their works is a feckless game. Simply to go by their books, Agatha Christie is a mass murderess, while William Buckley is a practicing Christian." --Gore Vidal
This is a common trap (none / 0) (#209)
by calimehtar on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 07:12:58 PM EST

Just because there are, to oversimplify, two sides to the political debate in the US, and either side is as capable of saying nasty things about the other, it's generally assumed that both sides must be equally right/wrong/evil etc.

It's perfectly fair to argue that Ann Coulter resembles Hitler and entirely avoid the argument whether or not some Democrats also resemble Hitler.

It's also be possible to argue that the political atmosphere has become more polarized in the USA and so it's more likely that one side will compare the other to Hitler, but that point has already been made.

The article was most interesting to me in highlighting that in fact the  uglier sides of neoconservatism are not new at all.

+++

The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret.


[ Parent ]
That's not what I said! (none / 1) (#232)
by topynate on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 10:04:10 AM EST

I'd take the Democrats over the Republicans any day. I simply disagree with the translation of politics to the realm of cod-psychology. The Republicans can only be reasonably attacked on the basis of their policies or actions. Claiming they're mentally disturbed is irrelevant; even if they were, it doesn't relate to their policies directly, and whether they are is disputed by half the populace at least, which means that the 'normative' tests of psychology can't be applied.


"...identifying authors with their works is a feckless game. Simply to go by their books, Agatha Christie is a mass murderess, while William Buckley is a practicing Christian." --Gore Vidal
[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (2.12 / 8) (#69)
by stuaart on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 08:39:08 PM EST

Well, you've definitely managed to capture for me in a nutshell all the subtle and complex differences between Nazi Germany and 21st century America.

Well done.

Look: ``humanising Hitler'' is not a new concept in any way. To say he was just a leader and equate him with Bush (even though Bush is monkeyman) is to totally ignore the policies, political and spiritual history of Nazism. Modern day America is paradigmatically different from Nazi Germany in terms of politics, history, public feeling, etc. To compare the two does no justice to the accurate, measured study of either.

Paradoxically though, I like the article. +1. It will create some useful discussion during the public setting down you will receive.


Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


+1 FP, HARD HITTING. (1.55 / 18) (#75)
by the ghost of rmg on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 10:56:41 PM EST

fellow kuro5hin readers,

these are the articles we need. it may be a facile strawman argument full of stereotypes that capitalizes on the bigotry of the audience, but that is precisely what makes it HARD HITTING. this is the sort of article that draws blood -- new blood from the heart of the internet.

it is HARD HITTING CONTENT like this that will lead us out of the two year's rut. but what can you do to help it along?

  1. post controversial articles like this one. it is difficult, but if you appeal to the darkness in the heart of kuro5hin (and there's plenty of it) you can do it!
  2. post links to this article and ones like it on your blogs. if you don't have a blog, get one and make sure you sign up with all them blog dissemination services (blogdex is a good one). post links on del.icio.us and any forums you might frequent.
  3. zero some trolls. it's not hard to do. just find a troll posting useless crap (circletimessquare is a pretty good example) and select "Hide (0)" from the little box under the comment -- you need to be logged in to do it, so if you have to, make yourself an account. when you do, make sure you go to comment preferences and put a plus sign (+) in the box corresponding to "nested mode" that way, as you read comments, you can just select zero for all the trolls. when you're finished reading all the comments on the page, just hit one of the "rate all" buttons and it'll register all those zeros for you just like that. couldn't be easier. no more trolls!
i hope every one of you will do his or her part to make kuro5hin a better, more cosmopolitan, and more influential blog.


rmg: comments better than yours.
Just back it up! (3.00 / 2) (#78)
by IAmNos on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:56:07 PM EST

Okay, but if you're going to post a controversial article, make sure at the very least, there is a lot of facts behind it. Its very easy to make a controversial article, but if there's nothing to back up the viewpoint, its nothing but worthless fluff. The best articles are the ones that inspire intelligent discussion afterwards.
http://thekerrs.ca
[ Parent ]
facts are overrated. (1.50 / 4) (#82)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:10:28 AM EST

you're stuck in the reality oriented frame of mind. facts only obscure the issues at the core of any debate: values, standards, and doxus. the key to good articles is to cut through the bullshit -- which in the context of internet discussion is all "facts" amount to -- and get to what people really care about.

the reality oriented worldview is a failure both electorally and on this very website. careful argument is a poor substitute for a strong point of view grounded in tough moral logic and an even worse substitute for action. that is why the dailykos has been so successful while kuro5hin stagnates.

kuro5hin is a democracy -- as such, any pretense to a neutral point of view must be dispensed with. it is time for this website to throw its cautious preoccupation with "facts" and "impartiality" to the wind. it has only resulted in bland, pointless crap. kuro5hin must proclaim itself to the world as a place of fiery opinion and fierce debate, not a place full of nancying bores masquerading as intellectuals.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

You're missing the point (none / 0) (#123)
by IAmNos on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST

Suppose I were to simply post a reply to your post calling you an "idiot".  I would quickly be modded down (at least I hope I would be) as a troll or what have you.  However, if I were to express my opinion of you in an intelligent manner... pointing to mistakes, false conclusions and so forth in your post, and refrain from actually calling you an idiot, but instead misinformed, then it would be an intelligent posting.

Now, I'm not calling you an idiot at all.  I see what you're saying, but I think you're wrong.  You can get very quickly to what people care about, but if you don't have a logical flow and a basis in reality, I doubt the article is going to amount to much and be worthwhile.  I said you need facts, and I think in most cases you do.  

I think we both agree that intelligent discussions or debates are the key to keeping a site like this alive, its why I come here.  However, in most topics (not all, but most) there must be facts or references to back something up.  I could state the sky is green.  That's not something that everyone is going to agree with.  If I can't back that up, or lead to that as a logical conclusion, then its nothing more than a troll.
http://thekerrs.ca
[ Parent ]

there you go again. (none / 0) (#132)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:00:19 PM EST

"reality," "logic," "misinformed" -- these are notions that have no impact on the lives of regular people.

secondly, if you had posted calling me an idiot, you most definitely would have been modded up, so your whole theory is bullshit.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

Reality is what the Party says it is (none / 1) (#152)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:15:14 PM EST

O'Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'

'Four.'

'And if the Party says that it is not four but five -- then how many?'

'Four.'

....

Abruptly he was sitting up with O'Brien's arm round his shoulders. He had perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds. The bonds that had held his body down were loosened. He felt very cold, he was shaking uncontrollably, his teeth were chattering, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. For a moment he clung to O'Brien like a baby, curiously comforted by the heavy arm round his shoulders. He had the feeling that O'Brien was his protector, that the pain was something that came from outside, from some other source, and that it was O'Brien who would save him from it.

'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.

'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'

'Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'

War is peace. Tyranny is freedom. We invaded and occupied Iraq in order to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. Welcome to 1984+21.

- Badtux the Orwellian Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

now THAT was HARD HITTING. (none / 1) (#166)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:47:00 PM EST




rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
BUSHITLER!!!!! (none / 1) (#184)
by Battle Troll on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 09:18:23 PM EST

/nt
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Soma Nation (none / 0) (#194)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:54:22 PM EST

With lotsa 1984.
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]
Oh, I love you (1.00 / 3) (#90)
by stuaart on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:00:38 AM EST

ghost of rmg.

You ``rule.''

Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


[ Parent ]
zero some trolls (1.50 / 2) (#197)
by C Montgomery Burns on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 01:26:07 AM EST

okie-dokel
--
ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
Intelligent design
[ Parent ]
Is there something wrong? (1.53 / 15) (#76)
by khallow on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:35:29 PM EST

The problem with making Hitler the personification of Evil is that it allows those who would similarly channel the darkness in the soul of nations to reject comparisons between them and Hitler. Because Hitler is now a caricature rather than a man, because Hitler is now Satan incarnate rather than just being an ordinary politician speaking to the popular prejudices of the population, people who similarly are ordinary politicians speaking to the popular prejudices of the population are swift to condemn comparisons between themselves and Hitler.

So you're whining because the great knee-jerker, comparing someone to Hitler, no longer works? That's what happens when you overuse a symbol particularly in the way that Hitler, Nazism, etc has been abused since the Second World War. I think it's great that we move past thoughtless Hitler comparisons.

Hitler was not evil incarnate, but merely a man. As are George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, and Bill Frist, who similarly are not evil incarnate but, rather, merely reflect the soul of the nation. And may the Lord have mercy upon our souls.

Is there a problem with Bush, Coulter, DeLay, or Frist or perhaps with the "soul of the nation" that you'd like to bring up? You seem like the drunk who dropped his keys by his car, but searches for them elsewhere because the light is better there. Gratuitous Hitler ramblings and talk of the old racist South isn't relevant. None of these people are running personality cults with millions of members or killing tens of millions of people nor are they advocating a return to the days of segregation.

And that's what matters. Actions. Not your feeble opinion about "darkness" in souls or the "channeling" of said darkness. Perhaps the US is teetering on a chasm of hate and destruction perhaps sparked by the collapse of some of the economic shell games that are running, but you haven't shown that danger exists.

What makes "American Exceptionalism" virulently racist? Or for that matter, what makes it incorrect? It's pretty clear that the US, a country of which virtually everyone came from somewhere else, is doing rather well compared to virtually everyone else. That the US was for some reason a pathfinder for current modern societies. Maybe what made "America" exceptional no longer exists, but whether it be luck, resources, a lot of people, scientific and industrial prowess, or the right social structure or genetic groups, something clicked.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Untermenschen and Ubermenschen (2.16 / 6) (#117)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:31:25 PM EST

American Exceptionalism, in its current virulent form, is similar to the Nazi belief that humanity was divided into Ubermenschen (humans) and Untermenschen (subhumans). In the case, Americans are the Ubermenschen, the chosen people, those who can do no wrong. All others are Untermenschen, subhumans, not really people, don't really count.

Indeed, the rule of thumb in the U.S. news industry is "one dead American = 100 dead wogs." I.e., if an event overseas led to ten Americans dying, that is as newsworthy as an event overseas that led to 1,000 non-Americans dying. The newsroom did not adopt this rule of thumb because they're racist jerks. They adopted it because this is what their customers feel. A train wreck in Africa that kills over a hundred people is less news-worthy, to them, than a car bomb in Iraq that kills two Americans.

Thus every American soldier who dies in Iraq gets counted and his name mentioned in the newspaper. And every Iraqi who dies as a consequence of our invasion of Iraq has no name, and if the newspaper even bothers saying anything, says something like "four Iraqi civilians died when their car was accidentally crushed by a tank that had come under fire", and then the Little Green Footballers and Freepers chortle "Yeah! Four more rag-heads dead!" because those who embrace the philosophy of American Exceptionalism view only Americans as humans. Everyone else is a subhuman, and it is only right and just that America should rule them and cull them as desired.

Nobody comes out and outright states this. Indeed, most people who hold this evil deep in their hearts would be shocked if you told them this. I've been banned from both conservative boards and liberal boards for challenging them on this issue. But in my opinion, *any* kind of Exceptionalism of this sort leads, inevitably, to atrocity. Refusal to view others as truly human always and inevitably in the history of this world has led to death, destruction, and tyranny.

- Badtux the Sorta-exceptional Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Possible other reason for the clarification? (none / 1) (#124)
by vhold on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:13:43 PM EST

Just because Americans find American deaths more newsworthy then others, it doesn't entirely follow the only reason for that is because Americans find themselves superior to all others.

The reason that makes a lot more sense to me is that it invokes the gut feeling of "That could have been me, that could have been somebody I know."  It's merely a tool to get the viewer to identify with the story.

[ Parent ]

An Iraqi is not like you? (1.33 / 3) (#136)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:25:14 PM EST

You basically are stating that you cannot empathize with an Iraqi because he is not like you and thus if something bad happens to him, you don't say "that could have happened to me."

Which is exactly the point I made that has gotten me banned off a couple of liberal blogs.

- Badtux the Banned Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Yup. (none / 1) (#139)
by cdguru on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:52:04 PM EST

When an American IT contractor is kidnapped and crudely beheaded, I think "that could have been me", because, well, it could have.

When an Iraqi sets off a car bomb and blows himself up to meet 72 virgins in paradise, I don't think "that could have been me". Not a chance.

If the situation in Iraq was anything like the liberals, progressives and Kerry-fans are thinking it is, then the Iraqi government would have said sometime, to some reporter, somewhere "If the Americans would just leave, then it would all be right." What proves this is false is that every chance someone not standing by a recently-beheaded corpse has to say what should be done, they are saying that the US troops have to stay until the job is done and the insurgents are dead. Because they can't give up and go home.

Remember, the 400 recent graduates of the school in Iran would be coming to America instead of Iraq if they weren't needed more in Iraq. Every single one of them will be a human bomb carrier. Where would you like to have them? There or here?

[ Parent ]

And when that Iraqi child dies... (1.20 / 5) (#151)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:09:54 PM EST

when that car bomb goes off, you do not say "Boy, that could have been my child." Rather, you gloat and say "Another rag-head dead." Thus proving my point -- that you view Iraqis as untermenschen, sub-human, and Americans as ubermenschen, God's chosen people.

- Badtux the sorta-Uber Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Who said what now? (3.00 / 3) (#170)
by vhold on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:00:00 PM EST

You honestly believe that cdguru says things like "Another rag-head dead?"  That's a pretty flimsy assumption to be basing your point on.  

I think your view of those who disagree with you is very distorted if you think that putting extremist words in other peoples' mouths, waving your hand and saying "Thus proving my point" is anything less then absolutely absurd.

[ Parent ]

Iraqi news features American deaths in America? (none / 1) (#169)
by vhold on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:53:46 PM EST

Iraqi news unlikely covers American deaths in America.  Is it because they find themselves superior to Americans?  Heck, we don't even feature Americans that died in auto accidents generally unless it was in relatively close proximity.  Does that mean that everybody living everywhere is in contempt of everywhere else?

If however a bus full of Iraqis went off a cliff, while in America, would that get on Iraqi news?  Very likely it would.  Again, is the only logical conclusion that they find themselves superior?

[ Parent ]

So... (none / 0) (#140)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:54:59 PM EST

The evidence for your assertions amounts to a free form musing on the fact that the American press is more concerned with American events than foreign ones? Color me deeply unimpressed.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Foreign vs. American press (1.33 / 3) (#154)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:34:08 PM EST

If you read a typical European daily, as vs. a typical American daily, most of the stories are about the rest of the world. It is only in America that the world is assumed to be America and Americans. In France, the world is not assumed to be France and Frenchmen. In Germany, the world is not assumed to be Germany and Germans. In Russia, the world is not assumed to be Russia and Russians. Only in America does this happen.

There is oodles of other evidence too. For example, less than 20% of Americans hold passports, and probably only half of those have actually used those passports. That means that less than 10% of Americans have any interest in or care about seeing people who are not Americans.

Then there's the reaction of Bubba America to American military adventurism overseas. The people killed in those adventures are never human. They are always "rag-heads" (or "Iraqis" if they are polite), "Vietnamese", "gooks", whatever). It is never "thirty-five innocent men and women were killed when a car bomb went off outside a hotel near the Green Zone". It is always, "33 Iraqis and 2 Americans were killed when a car bomb went off outside a hotel near the Green Zone." And the Freepers and the Little Green Fascists cheer and clap that 33 rag-heads got their wish...

- Badtux the Unexceptional Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

heh (3.00 / 2) (#162)
by Battle Troll on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:31:00 PM EST

It is only in America that the world is assumed to be America and Americans.

I presume that in the days of Alexander, Bactrians worried more about Macedonian politics than Macedonians did about Bactrian politics. The actions of any great power are world news, the internal politics of a minor power are largely of interest only to itself.

The fact that America's population approaches that of the entire EU prior to the most recent round of expansion may also go some way toward explaining this phenomenon that terrifies you so much, apparently, that it moves you to insane leaps of logic.

That means that less than 10% of Americans have any interest in or care about seeing people who are not Americans.

The USA is bigger than China. There's a lot to see there. Moreover, Americans do not require passports to visit any country they border.

In any case, as Americans will soon be required to hold passports in order to reenter from Canada and Mexico, I expect the rate of passport ownership to increase dramatically.

Then there's the reaction of Bubba America to American military adventurism overseas. The people killed in those adventures are never human.

Apparently, you missed the huge number of anti-war protests and demonstrations in the USA since the beginning of the war. The war was one of the central issues in the recent hotly-contested election, in which at least 36 million people (offhand) voted against Bush.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Isn't it fun? (none / 0) (#200)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 06:26:29 AM EST

36 million people telling you to get the fuck out of office has absolutely no effect - you still hold complete power over them and can squander their resources and good name on your imperialist agenda.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

if BadTux typifies that 36 million (none / 0) (#212)
by Battle Troll on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 09:21:27 PM EST

No wonder they lost.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Nonsense... (none / 0) (#164)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:39:21 PM EST

Americans are hardly the most cosmopolitan people in the world, but that's a far cry from establishing a darkness in their souls. You also conveniently leave aside that Americans consume the news primarily as a form of base entertainment (a decidedly less onerous type of navel gazing than the one you portray) and it's hard to worked up over who's fucking who in a country where you can't even pronounce their names.

And if it is a lack of cosmopolitanism that you decry, does the very same darkness lie in the soul of the Peruvian villager who reads the news not at all and considers the next villiage over a world apart?

On the other hand, I'm sympathetic to your charge of a convenient dehumanization of the enemy, but that seems to me to be a universal human trait, not a distinctly American one. Witholding empathy, which is the root phenomenon behind dehumanization, seems to me to be present everywhere including in your article, which makes pretense to a spirit of understanding, but just relocates the site of responsibility rather than attempting to take American conservatives on their own terms in order to understand them.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
That;'s not evidence (none / 0) (#181)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:42:40 PM EST

"Less than 10% of Americans have any interest in or care about seeing people who are not Americans."

Maybe one reason we don't go there is because many other countries have already come here?

I hate the idea that many of my friends are "non-American" but it seems from your response that only rednecks can be American and that our culture is uniform. Or is it the case that as soon as an Egyptian comes to our shores that he's no longer Egyptian and is stripped of his heritage? We're a mix of so many cultures, that pretty much everyone is already represented. Yeah, I'd like to know more about the Philippines but in the meantime I can get lumpia from my Philippino girlfriend (actually, her dad). The seafood in San Francisco's Chinatown isn't quite to my palette but the Chinese immigrant who can't speak a lick of English feels mightily welcomed. I love going to the old Italian neighborhood in Buffalo, NY and getting in touch with my family's roots. I'll save that trip for Sicily until later since there's already a place where I can speak my bad Italian.

Also, we have a two pretty big hurdles between us and other countries, they're called the Atlantic and the Pacific. When most Europeans travel, they go to another part of Europe. Their frequency to exotic ports like Singapore and Nairobi and Sydney are about on par as Americans. Considering that the EU is about the same population as the US, I'd say that both countries are equally well travelled.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
On the subject of passports (none / 0) (#251)
by coopex on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 05:08:29 PM EST

I am an american. I only recenly got a passport. Before going to europe, I had no use for one. The only country within two thousand miles of me that requires more than a driver's license is mexico, and it only requires a birth certificate. This is also why I only speak english. If I lived in europe, and it took me as long to get to a country speaking a different language as it currently does to travel to a different state, I would have a much higher incentive to learn a foreign language. Everyone I know would travel if they had the funds or it didn't involve crossing an ocean, so it's pathetic to paint all americans as having a hatred of anything foreign. Next time you try to troll, at least learn how to do it properly and subtely, not by comparing bush to hitler.

[ Parent ]
fantasy (none / 0) (#183)
by khallow on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 08:56:48 PM EST

Nobody comes out and outright states this. Indeed, most people who hold this evil deep in their hearts would be shocked if you told them this. I've been banned from both conservative boards and liberal boards for challenging them on this issue. But in my opinion, *any* kind of Exceptionalism of this sort leads, inevitably, to atrocity. Refusal to view others as truly human always and inevitably in the history of this world has led to death, destruction, and tyranny.

Tell you what. Why don't you deal with your personal Exceptionalism problem. You spout several paragraphs of Exceptionalist propaganda (just in the above post you claim Americans treat non-Americans like subhumans, the snide freepers, LGF comment, etc) and then expect to be treated seriously? That is fantasy.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

I think it's great, too (none / 0) (#216)
by Mason on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 10:28:57 PM EST

I think it's great that we move past thoughtless Hitler comparisons.

Yeah, let's forget about history.  If you shut your eyes, you never see a speed limit sign so it's safe to drive a lot faster.

[ Parent ]

the problem is that they're not instructive (none / 0) (#222)
by Delirium on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 12:41:55 AM EST

Finding superficial similarities can be done as much as you like. Some policies of the Democratic Party resemble those of Chairman Mao. They support universal health care, as Karl Marx did. Does that mean we should waste our time comparing them to Communists? Analogies and metaphors are more useful for their propaganda than for their insight.

[ Parent ]
Was this article meant as a logical proof? (3.00 / 2) (#225)
by Mason on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 03:03:43 AM EST

We're speaking to two different topics here.

I don't think the poster was forwarding the concept: "Bush and Hitler share superficial similarities, so we should dislike them both equally."

He was pointing out that history has so badly maligned Hitler that it is difficult to have meaningful discussion regarding how these events came about.  America's right has become more radicalized in recent years, I'm not sure who would deny this.  And this has already caused "changes" to our democracy.  Politicians rewriting ethics rules to save their own career sound acceptable?  I think it is worthwhile to wonder where some of these tactics are leading us.

Anyone who's using the Bush=Hitler line as a persuasive tactic is just dumb.  It's silly on a lot of levels.  But the broader political changes in America over the past 20 years are leading us in a fundamentally irrational direction.  I don't worry about Bush, but I do worry about future conservative politicians who are more than happy to start openly saying politically uncorrect things.  Like, that America has tolerated this liberal/gay/foreigner/immigrant/minority problem long enough.

The radio hosts and pundits already say these things.  The mainstream right indulges in these fantasies as a sort of wink-and-nod guilty pleasure.  Just look at the cover of Time if you doubt this.  Republican politicans rarely get beyond code-phrases, although the Frist's statements at that big recent Christian event demonstrate that even the politicians are getting more comfortable with eliminationist thought and rhetoric.

These are legitimate concerns.  This is not just idle Godwining.  The radical right isn't bad because they're "like Nazis", the radical right is bad because of the things they do and support.  They're bad because they simply can't coexist with and respect people who aren't just like them, and that's a dangerous attribute in people who control the world's most heavily-armed nation.  And they're bad because many of them live in an echo-chamber of talk radio and Fox News that insulates them from anything that might challenge their worldview.

Trying to discuss this sort of thing in a particular historical context is not a crime.  And that comparison is somewhat apt.  The Republican party shares very few attributes with the NDSAP (and we'll be screwed if that ever changes), but the increasing popularity of a radical conservative political ideology in America can certainly be compared with that in other populations.  These things have come and gone from time to time, the KKK at its height had hundreds of thousands of members and was considered a legitimate complement to the Protestant faith.

So we've seen worse than the current conservative movement on theses shores, but then this little chapter of history is hardly over.

[ Parent ]

I still think the concern is overblown (none / 1) (#236)
by Delirium on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 01:00:09 PM EST

The U.S. has seen presidents bend and flat-out ignore the laws before, sometimes in very disturbing ways, and we have survived. Should we oppose it? Yes. But is this the beginning of the end? I don't think it is.

For example, Woodrow Wilson, revered by Democrats as that great internationalist who backed the League of Nations, shared many attributes of a fascist dictator during wartime, much more so than Bush currently does. He threw Eugene Debs in prison just for publicly opposing the war, for example.

[ Parent ]

Woodrow Wilson revered?! (none / 0) (#295)
by badtux on Thu May 05, 2005 at 11:48:40 PM EST

By which Democrats? I don't know of many Democrats who believe that WWI was a righteous war, or that Wilson's actions regarding Eugene Debs et. al. were righteous actions. Meanwhile, I know of many Republicans who would have no problem if Bush decided to, e.g., throw Michael Moore in jail for subversive speech.

Indeed, it is George W. Bush who appears to honor and revere Woodrow Wilson the most, by adopting the Wilsonian agenda of exporting democracy at gunpoint, whether the wogs want it or not.

- Badtux the "Bush=Wilson" Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Sorry to confuse you with the facts. (none / 0) (#298)
by masher on Fri May 06, 2005 at 02:17:35 PM EST

Bush [is] exporting democracy at gunpoint, whether the wogs want it or not....

This Al Sabah poll from a few months ago showed that 80.5% of Iraqis not only want a democratic government, but want immediate elections even if it brings more violence. I doubt you'd get as high a result even on a poll performed in the USA.

http://www.alsabaah.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=327

This CBSNews Poll showed 65% of Iraqis wanted US troops to remain in Iraq to ensure a stable democratic process. Only 17% wanted an immediate withdrawal.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/20/iraq/main559521.shtml

[ Parent ]
Nazis and Liberalism (2.62 / 16) (#79)
by masher on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 11:59:41 PM EST

Certainly one can draw parallels between National Socialism and the US Right.  There are, however, just as many to be drawn between them and the present day Left.   Some examples below:

The Nazi Party distrusted free trade, and believed the flow of capital into (and especially out of) the nation was detrimental. Trade should be limited and heavily regulated by the state, and not allowed to impact domestic employment or industries in any manner. This protectionist doctrine aligns very closely with contemporary liberal philosophy.

Economics. Industry exists only for the good of the people; businesses and corporations should at all times subordinate the profit motive to more noble ends. Control of the "means of production" should ultimately rest with the state. Financial interests must be curtailed when they work to the detriment of the people, and firm laws against "unfair" prices and business practices were essential. Interest rates were set by the Central Bank, and it was made illegal for any other corporation, organization, or individual to charge interest at all, even at the state-allowed rate.

National Socialism also believed firmly in demand-driven economics, and that the government could (and should) solve economic problems by artificially increasing demand. Price controls abounded, as did programs to purchase unneeded and excess agricultural products, buying the output of defunct factories to keep their workers employed, then confiscating the "unfair profit" from the employer. Even labor itself was considered demand-driven, and many thousands of workers were employed into make-work projects designed to eliminate inflation and prop up the standard of living, rather than to produce anything useful. The stated goal? The total eliminition of unemployment and poverty through government supports...a welfare state. All principles firmly in the Leftist camp.

Distrust of the rich. The roots of German anti-semitism rested as much on their belief in the unfair Jewish wealth, corrupt business practices, and control of banking and commerce as it did from Herrenrasse, their belief in a master race.

Syndicalism. The Nazi Party began as a labor unionist movement and at its height, maintained a facade of syndicalism...that labor unions were an extension of the state, and that organized labor had both a right and a responsiblity to control the industries which employed it. All unions in Germany were nationalized into the Deutsche Arbeitsfront, which is responsible for all relations and disputes between employers and employee.

Progressivism. The inherent moral belief that new scientific principles are superior to the old ways, ethics, and morals of the past, and that a better society could be built using them. Reliance on the old institutions of religion and philosophy is outmoded and ultimately harmful.

I could state many more parallels...and just as many between the Nazis and US conservatives. And, of course, many principles which lie in neither camp at all.

National Socialism is neither "liberal" or "conservative".  Such comparisons are often useful politically, but inherently unsound.
 

excuse the double-post... (none / 0) (#80)
by masher on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:01:30 AM EST

I didn't see it already went through.

[ Parent ]
Left and Right (none / 1) (#88)
by jd on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:14:31 AM EST

These have no meaning in this context. The far-right extremists of Britain (Enoch Powell, for example) were/are dead-set against the EU, despite the EU basically standing for free trade.

The same applies to many of the other arguments. You can always draw parallels between X and Y, no matter how far apart they are, if you look hard enough. The point is not whether the parallels exist, the point is whether the behaviours being "paralleled" are beneficial or harmful to society at that time and under those specific circumstances. Yes, this is relativistic. I guess this means the Pope will excommunicate me, if he (a) finds out, and (b) gives a damn. Somehow, I don't think (b) is likely.

The Nazis believed in education, and had a very comprehensive educational system. Should we conclude that education is evil, and forbid anyone from learning? Well, I guess the Bible Belt does do that. Aside from them, though, I think most people would regard that as stupid.

In other words, even when there are unspeakably evil people in the world, not everything they do or say is going to be evil as a result. And even when it is evil in the context they use it (eg: Nazi's V1 and V2 rockets), it can become a force for good elsewhere (the Saturn V that allowed man to reach the moon was basically an oversized V2 with an inhabitable capsule on top).

Ideas that are (when used in the manner intended) essentially "good" or even "evil" can become the exact opposite when used in other ways. The VW beetle was designed to carry troops through areas where mechanics were rare to non-existant, and so needed to be easy to maintain by any idiot. That very feature allowed it to be used and maintained indefinitely by even the most stoned of 60s psychodelic hippies in the peace movement.

Those who make comparisons, therefore, have to do more than just find out what is similar. To be intellectually honest, they have to find out WHY it is similar and whether the similarities are meaningful on a moral level. In the above two cases (education and the VW beetle) it is pretty obvious that the similarities have no moral relationship. The relationship is strictly on a functional level. As such, it cannot be used as a moral barometer.

Do the examples you gave fall into this category? Well, distrust of the rich certainly does. The rich, by definition, have more resources than the poor, and can therefore do more and can have a bigger impact on society. Trusting them to always do right is naive in the extreme. Trusting the poor to always do right is just as naive - people are people, no matter what their status - but the poor won't have the same impact. Given limited resources for policing, it makes sense to put more effort into monitoring the more powerful.

In fact, this is a fundamental aspect of democracy and open societies, where the entire society collectively polices those with the power over that society. Bill Gates may have earned billions over the course of 20 years, and control the engineering of computer software on 98% of home computers, but Congress and the President have spent a few tens of trillions in less than a quarter of that time, and have almost absolute power over every aspect of life in America and a frightening degree of control in virtually every other country in the world.

Yes, I'd say the Bill Gates and the President Bushes of the world do need to be monitored a great deal more closely than some homeless guy, or even the Average Joe/Jane. The Average Joe may not like certain other countries, but they don't get to invade them with massive armies, navies and air forces.

None of this is intended to justify what the Germans did. Indeed, I think it should be very obvious that I regard their actions with contempt and that some of their acts (eg: the Holocaust) definitely fall into the category of unspeakable evil that would remain evil under any circumstances. Many of the rest were evil because of the context, but given the context, that doesn't make the acts any less evil.

My point is solely that we must be careful when drawing comparisons, that the comparisons are done in an honest and truthful manner and not for the purpose of slandering a belief system that is different from our own. Axe murderers breath. Does that mean all who breath are axe murderers? Or does it simply mean that breathing is a functional requirement on any person wishing to do anything at all?

[ Parent ]

Restating my position? (none / 0) (#118)
by masher on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:32:28 PM EST

"My point is...we must be careful when drawing comparisons, that the comparisons are done in an honest and truthful manner and not for the purpose of slandering..."

Exactly...a point which applies to the original article in spades. It's not an essay; it's an excuse for slander.

"Trusting the poor to always do right is just as naive...but the poor won't have the same impact..."

To the contrary, the vast majority of crime, social change, and outright revolution has been carried out by masses of poor people

Don't make the mistake of equating money with power. Wealth brings power only so long as law, civil order, and property rights are respected. Bill Gates may be rich, but a single stroke of the governmental pen can pauperize him...or an angry mob can storm his home, murder his entire family and confiscate all his portable weath. Farfetched? Not according to history.

As for the use of class envy as a political tool, it is most certainly a valid moral barometer. There is no psychological difference between the distrust of the rich Jewish shopkeeper of the 1930s and some of the anti-rich polemics being spouted by politicians today.

If the US ever does experience its own form of National Socialism, it will start the same way it did in Germany-- an angry group of lower-middle class blue collar union members, distrustful of the rich, and willing to bend any means to an end of gaining control.

[ Parent ]
No actually it will start (2.50 / 4) (#177)
by tthomas48 on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:13:27 PM EST

once the average American watches their children die because they can no longer afford healthcare on the same day that some Corporate controlled puppet in congress passes another enormous budget full of corporate handouts. The one thing no one has brought up is that in the United States corporations are legally considered people. So a distrust in "the rich" is at least partially caused by the idea that these immensely powerful corporations can control our lives. And per the article, part of being human is being envious. A rich person would be wise to give people no reason to be envious rather than trying to stifle and lock them up. Because there will always be more envious people.

[ Parent ]
That's the problem (2.60 / 5) (#91)
by Viliam Bur on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:12:20 AM EST

Seems like most of Americans believe that their choices are limited to American Right (fascism) and American Left (national socialism). They are caught in the false dilemma - if they do not support one of them, they are indirectly supporting the other one. Not voting for Bush means supporting Kerry; not voting for Kerry means supporting Bush. (Not voting for Mussolini means supporting Hitler; not voting for Hitler means supporting Mussolini.)

As long as people believe they have no (other) choice, they really do not have it. If you vote what you want, you are free to choose - maybe you will not win, but at least you can say your opinion, and maybe you will win tomorrow. But if you vote against what you hate, your choice is limited to the opposing strong party. Voting for "lesser evil" means exactly what it says - voting for evil, a lesser one.

Of course, for the two dominant parties, hate voting is useful, so it is in their best interest to frame political debates as "say what you hate (and we will promise to protect you from)" instead of "say what you want". This way they do not have to listen what their voters want; even the voters themselves do not listen to their wants, only to their fears.

[ Parent ]

Free market (2.50 / 4) (#95)
by Znork on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:32:16 AM EST

"The Nazi Party distrusted free trade, and believed the flow of capital into (and especially out of) the nation was detrimental. Trade should be limited and heavily regulated by the state, and not allowed to impact domestic employment or industries in any manner."

Considering the wide spectrum of politicians supporting intellectual monopoly protection, I'd say the idea of free markets and free trade is already close to dead.

[ Parent ]

It's amazing (none / 1) (#174)
by tthomas48 on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:08:12 PM EST

How many Republicans say they support free trade, when what they really support is free American trade. Which is just the shape that our empire has taken on. We don't control most contries by force, we control them monitarily, which is not free trade. Not by a long shot.

[ Parent ]
Reciting propaganda does not make it so (2.28 / 7) (#114)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:16:35 PM EST

First of all, conservatives of all stripes were and are protectionists. Remember, President Herbert Hoover (Republican) and a Republican Congress were the ones who imposed the extremely protectionist Hawley-Smoot Tariff bill that devastated Europe's economy and especially the economy of Germany, where the export of pharmaceutical products to the United States was virtually the only industry they had that was making foreign exchange for them. Conservatives such as Patrick Buchanon still are protectionist. Indeed, the majority of Republicans are still protectionists. The CAFTA bill that would create a free-trade zone for Central America is still bottled up in Congress, the same place it has been bottled up for the past three years by a (tada) Republican Congress.

You are confused because you believe George W. Bush is a conservative. He is not. He is a Wilsonian Democrat with many of the same policies as Democratic president Woodrow Wilson, including a desire to "Make the World Safe for Democracy".

Secondly, Hitler most decidedly was NOT a socialist. All industries in Germany remained in private hands and indeed their owners became very rich until very late in the war, I believe late 1943, when Albert Speer took over as armaments secretary at a time that production was collapsing due to losses at the Eastern Front, shortages of critical materials, and bombing of critical factories by the Allies. When Speer took over, he quickly nationalized the armaments industry and seized any other factories that could be used to make materials for arms and used them to beef up German arms production, to the point where, in 1944, when Germany was beseiged on all sides and under constant bombing attack, German arms production was actually higher than it had ever been (so much for that old saw that "free enterprise is more productive than socialism"... socialism's problem is that it produces what the LEADERS want, not what the PEOPLE want). However, note that FDR had basically nationalized all U.S. industries in early 1942 for the war effort via the War Production Board which became the Office of War Production as the war went on, although it was candy-coated in order to make it palatable to the Republicans in Congress. So Hitler was definitely much more conservative than liberal here -- he did not nationalize industry until national disaster was already at hand and gave him no choice.

I could go on, but this is enough. Whoever fed you the line of bullshit that you're reciting is a damned liar. It was not for nothing that Republicans in the United States basically worshipped Hitler until Germany made the mistake of declaring war against the United States, Time Magazine even made Hitler their "Man of the Year" on the front cover and published glowing hagiographies of what he was doing for Germany and the German people, and Republicans in Congress regularly stood up to denounce FDR taking Britain and France's side in the conflict after war broke out in 1939, insisting that the U.S. policy should be one of strict neutrality. Republicans in the 1930's ADORED Adolph Hitler. It is clear that Hitler's policies (until war broke out) were much closer to those of Republicans of the era than to those of "liberals" of the era. To paint Hitler now as a "liberal" in an attempt to associate Hitler The Symbol of Evil with "liberals" (i.e., as a slur against liberals in an attempt to paint liberals as evil) is to apply modern day standards to historic events, which is bad history and dishonest on its very face.

- Badtux the Historian Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Hitler's appeal to conservatives... (none / 1) (#138)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:46:33 PM EST

...(both Anglo and American) was, at root, a consequence of his steadfast, and very directly confrontational, opposition to the efforts of the Comintern to export its revolution to the West at a time when a global economic depression had rendered both the American and the British states particularly susceptible to populist dissatisfaction. Hitler's appeal was as a symbol of the opposition to communism and the "economic miracle" of Germany also provided a tangible example of economic recovery without resort to state enforced collectivism. Of course, Hitler deflated his own symbolic prestige when he allied himself with Stalin.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Just a clarification... (none / 0) (#217)
by Mason on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 10:34:00 PM EST

NSDAP was pretty much a joke until the international economic depression, which their doom-and-gloom rhetoric were seen in retrospect as having predicted.  I mean, fling enough feces and something will stick.

So in many ways it was a very strange convergence of global forces that let a few shrewd but vastly radicalized individuals seize control of a European nation.

[ Parent ]

Wrong on all counts (1.50 / 2) (#141)
by masher on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:57:06 PM EST

Hitler most decidedly was NOT a socialist. All industries in Germany remained in private hands...

You obviously have not heard of Gleichschaltung, the Nazi Party's policy of controlling utterly all aspects of business, agriculture, and labor. Private owners kept paper title to their companies, but the government exerted total control, determining what was produced and at what price, the wages and working hours of employees, and every other aspect of production. Businesses owned by those out of favor with the state were dissolved totally. The end result: Germany's "new order". Industry lay in the hands of a few huge conglomerates such as I.G. Farben and the Krupp empire. The "owners" of these cartels exerted absolutely no control over their "property", and-- despite the fact that they gained much wealth from their titular ownership-- the vast majority of the profits of these enterprises went right to the State. The Krupps success was in politics, not business-- by financing the rise of the Nazi party and the 1933 revolution, they were well rewarded.

Hitler even banned many types of labor-saving machinery, on the grounds it would increase unemployment. Businesses had to request government permission before reducing their work force. To further reduced unemployment, Hitler formed the Voluntary Labour Service, a group which matched Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corp in both form and function. The VLS-- just like the CCC-- was comprised of young, unmarried men who were given housing and paid a government wage to plant trees, rebuild riverbanks, prevent soil erosion, etc.

Point in fact, Roosevelt's New Deal policies mirrored almost exactly Hitler's "New Order" economic policies. Both implemented public works corps and government spending to reduce unemployment, both began Social Security programs and the first controls on wages and working hours, both began programs of financial subsidies to farmers, and both men established their countries first National Labor Relations board.

The policies of the National Socialists were not capitalism. They were socialism, plain and simple. The name wasn't an idle whim, it was a reality. And while the Third Reich of WWII was idealogically much less socialistic than it was in the early 1930s, it still retained its roots.

Republicans in Congress regularly stood up to denounce FDR taking Britain and France's side in the conflict after war broke out in 1939, insisting that the U.S. policy should be one of strict neutrality...

Oops. You forgot FDR strong support for (and his signing of) the 1935 Neutrality Act, and the 1937 Permanent Neutrality Bill. FDR used these laws to prevent US aid to Ethiopia (against Fascist Italy) and to China (against Japan). It was at this point that Joseph Kennedy Sr used the law to detain the US freighter Wichita, which set sail for China with war materiel after Japan declared a blockade of its coast. It wasn't until late 1938 that Roosevelt began to change his mind.

The US sentiment of the late 1920s - mid 1930s was strongly isolationist...on both sides of the aisle. Portrarying this as a "Republican" initiative or interpreting it as support for Nazi Germany is an outright lie. Gallup polls conducted during the period regularly showed that 70-80% of the populace desired neutrality and no "entangling alliances" in Europe or Asia.

Even after WW2 started, many opposed US involvement against Hitler. Did you forget the "America First Committee", which organized speeches, rallies, and even petitioned Roosevelt himself against the war effort. Their most prominent members? The famous liberal Democrat, John T. Flynn, Charles Lindbergh, and General Robert E. Wood, a strong supporter of the New Deal and a man who voted for Roosevelt in '32 and '36.

"To paint Hitler now as a "liberal" in an attempt to associate Hitler The Symbol of Evil with "liberals"..."

Now your real objection comes to light. You have no interest in truth, balance, or history. You merely wish to defend against what you percieve is an attack on your political philosophy. Most amusing is that your attack is not only inaccurate, but unjustified. Hitler was not "a liberal", nor did I paint him as one. His policies shared much in common with modern-day liberals....and they shared just as much substance with conservatives, as well. Re-read my original post using your intellect and not your emotions, and you might understand that.

As for the roots of National Socialism lying in blue collar class envy, allow me to quote from a Brittanica description of the rise of the party: The movement grew at a frightening pace, joined by thousands of unemployed laborers, ruined farmers and shopkeepers, ex-civil servants...and a host of frustrated and embittered young people of all classes raised without hope of economic security....

Doesn't exactly sound like a bunch of rich elitists, now does it?

[ Parent ]
"Conservative" != "Rich" (2.25 / 4) (#150)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:07:52 PM EST

Indeed, the most steadfast conservatives in the United States are southern whites, who are typically poor, ignorant due to the poor educational systems in their states, and the core of the U.S. military due to their conservative belief in defending freedom via military might.

It appears that you are more interested in using the symbol of Hitler to attack modern-day liberals than in historical accuracy. That is my objection to your propaganda, which, like the rest of the propaganda involving demonizing people (whether that person is Hitler or any other person or group of persons), is inherently dishonest and intended for blatant partisan gain rather than an honest search for truth. The fact that you recite right-wing propaganda in order to "prove" that Hitler was a "leftist" shows that you are a typical dishonest Rethuglican, more interested in setting up a strawman (your "liberal", who bears no resemblance to any American liberal that I have ever encountered) and then associating him with a bogeyman symbol of evil (Hitler) than in honest intellectual discourse.

Unfortunately, dishonesty such as yours is usual in America today. We are a sick people who have evil in our hearts but refuse to examine our own beliefs because to do so would be "unpatriotic" and besides, doesn't everybody want to feel like they're good, not evil? But reality is. And without honest reflection upon reality, we are doomed to continue this cycle of death and destruction and the squashing of human potential and all the other evils that America commits every day under the banner of American Exceptionalism, the belief that we are God's Chosen People, Perfect, Inerrant, Incapable of Doing Wrong. The notion that America and Americans are merely human, that every day we do both good and evil, is a truth that you would prefer to hide behind dishonest strawman arguments, but a truth which remains nevertheless.

- Badtux the somewhat-Exceptional Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Having trouble with your reading comprehension? (none / 1) (#155)
by masher on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:35:24 PM EST

You reply:
The fact that you recite right-wing propaganda in order to "prove" that Hitler was "leftist"...
In response to my posting:
Hitler was not "a liberal", nor did I paint him as one...
and
...I could state many parallels...between the Nazis and US conservatives...National Socialism is neither "liberal" or "conservative".
How embarrassing for you. I'm sorry to demolish your pet theory that everyone on the opposite side of your political fence is a closet Nazi, but you should learn to accept truth, not emotional hyperbole.

[ Parent ]
Hah (3.00 / 2) (#145)
by Spendocrat on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:17:18 PM EST

The Nazi Party distrusted free trade, and believed the flow of capital into (and especially out of) the nation was detrimental. Trade should be limited and heavily regulated by the state, and not allowed to impact domestic employment or industries in any manner. This protectionist doctrine aligns very closely with contemporary liberal philosophy.

Pay attention to what's happening between Canada and the US under the Bush government. Free Trade it isn't.

[ Parent ]

Free is a relative term... (none / 0) (#147)
by masher on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:38:43 PM EST

Totally free trade exists in no nation, and NAFTA is certainly no exception.  

However, there are degrees of freedom, and if you are attmepting to deny that the majority of support for NAFTA and free trade issues are traditionally Republican, whereas the majority of the opposition derives from the organized-labour wing of the Democratic Party, then prepare to be painfully and stridently corrected.

[ Parent ]

Screech all you like (none / 1) (#206)
by Spendocrat on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 04:00:55 PM EST

That's not going to change the fact that the current administration is playing protectionist when it comes to resource trade, and ignoring the governing bodies it help set up when they're inconvenient. Paying lip service to free trade doesn't matter.

[ Parent ]
Present Day Left? (2.80 / 5) (#149)
by holdfast on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:06:45 PM EST

Please USA, get it into your heads...

YOU HAVE NO LEFT!!!

You have right wing, and you have liberalism. Liberal is the middle of the range of political views. It goes:-
Socialist - Liberal - Conservative

Obviously, there are extremes beyond this, communist, marxist etc on the left and facist, nazi etc on the right. If you consider a middle of the road liberal to be left wing, your right wingers are already winning in the brainwashing stakes.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Left in the US (none / 0) (#289)
by Fred_A on Fri Apr 29, 2005 at 09:36:21 AM EST

Actually from the POV of a lot of Europeans, liberals are already leaning fairly on the right side...

In its two major parties, the US has a right and a far right.

Leftist groups cannot be represented as any leftist idea will immediatly be branded "communist" and thrown out.

Fred in Paris
[ Parent ]

No (none / 1) (#196)
by parrillada on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 12:55:35 AM EST

Progressivism. The inherent moral belief that new scientific principles are superior to the old ways, ethics, and morals of the past, and that a better society could be built using them. Reliance on the old institutions of religion and philosophy is outmoded and ultimately harmful.

No. The "progressivism" you speak of was not rooted in scientific principles -- in fact the Nazi party purged German academia and replaced scientific principles with an unscientific mythology-driven ideology. It is speculated that Germany would have won the war had Hitler not so eschewed science in Germany, prefering instead, for example, to perform bizzar occultish "eugenic science" on Jews in concentration camps.

[ Parent ]

Nazi Progressivism (none / 0) (#215)
by Mason on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 10:26:03 PM EST

I never believed that someone could suffer from that level of cognitive dissonance without just snapping.

Yes, there's nothing more progressive than a xenophobic, militaristic nation obsessed with racial and ideological purity.  They truly embrace the pluralism and multiculturalism at the heart of modernity.

National Socialism rose to power by promising to sweep away all of the compromises of a progressive society.  They told all sides what they wanted to hear:  workers were told that Jewish financers were robbing them blind and would be dealt with, while corporations were assured that any union or communist influences would be dealt with.

Just because Hitler promised a better day for German workers doesn't mean he was a liberal, just that he was a populist.  The Bush administration sells all kinds of shitty legislation with a populist spin when it does nothing but make life harder for working class Americans.  This doesn't make Bush a liberal for talking/lying about working class concerns, but simply a solid propagandist.

[ Parent ]

A rather common error... (none / 0) (#219)
by masher on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 11:40:26 PM EST

National Socialism rose to power by promising to sweep away all of the compromises of a progressive society...

Without proper use of terms, debate is impossible. To you, the word "progressive" conjures up warm and fuzzy images of an ideal society, democratic, multicultural, and liberal. You are misusing the term. Connotation is not denotation.

Progressive means "continuing steadily in steps, moving in increments, e.g. progressive change. An ideal utopia is not a progressive society....though while moving towards that utopia, society would have been progressive indeed. But once there, it is static. Not progressive.

National Socialism was a party that believed in progressivism. The idea that radical changes to society were to be encouraged, even coerced, to meet a desired end. Most societies resist change, and most political platforms contain a certain amount of respect for past institutions and tradition, legal precedent. Change should be enacted slowly and carefully. Progressivism is the antithesis of this.

When terms are used correctly, The Weimar Rebublic was less progressive than the Third Reich which replaced it. The mere fact that all the "progress" was in the wrong direction is irrelevent to the discussion at hand.



[ Parent ]
There's a term for that (none / 1) (#221)
by Mason on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 12:12:01 AM EST

It's called reactionary.

By your definition, there's no alternative to progressivism.  We're all moving forward in that sense, time changes every nation.  But progressivism speaks to a particular type of progress, that which moves toward an ideal modernity of human equality, cultural tolerance, and economic justice.

Definition of terms is indeed important, but it seems like you're the one who's avoiding the traditional definitions.  The Progressive party was formed by Teddy Roosevelt and liberal Republicans of the era.  Back then, and ever since, the term has had a very specific meaning.

I love newspeak destruction of meaning as much as the next serf, but there are some historical truths that can't be defined away.

[ Parent ]

Shed your connotative baggage... (none / 0) (#227)
by masher on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 03:54:50 AM EST

"It's called reactionary...."

The term reactionary is an intensification of progressive, but it also has additional connotative baggage. And while an outside observer would certainly class National Socialism as a reactionary group, their own self-perception was of progressivism.

"By your definition, there's no alternative to progressivism. We're all moving forward...time changes every nation...."


Surely you're not so obtuse as to actually believe this. There is a vast difference between a person trying to resist the changes of time and one who is actively working to bring about radical social transformation. Your desire to 'win' the argument has led you down a dangerous logical path. Desist before it leads you further astray!

"...progressivism speaks to a particular type of progress, that which moves toward an ideal modernity of human equality, cultural tolerance, and economic justice..."


False. Progressivism connotes progress towards an ideal, but it in no way implies what that ideal state may be. The Nazi ideal was most certainly not democracy, tolerance, and multiculteralism. Their progress was towards their own ideal...not ours.

As a side note, the recent political idealogy of "transnational progressivism", gaining ground in Europe as we speak, bears in many ways a frightening resemblance to certain aspects of National Socialism.

Historia est vitae magistra.

[ Parent ]
dangerous logical path? Check your*self* (none / 0) (#305)
by parrillada on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:48:11 AM EST

"...progressivism speaks to a particular type of progress, that which moves toward an ideal modernity of human equality, cultural tolerance, and economic justice..."

False. Progressivism connotes progress towards an ideal, but it in no way implies what that ideal state may be. The Nazi ideal was most certainly not democracy, tolerance, and multiculteralism. Their progress was towards their own ideal...not ours.

Your definition of progressivism is rather meaningless in such a steril, overly-generalized, context-ignorant, and popular-usage-ignorant form.

His definition ("...progressivism speaks to a particular type of progress, that which moves toward an ideal modernity of human equality, cultural tolerance, and economic justice...") in context is the most consistent with modern usage, so I can't see why you so insist on blurring this fact, unless it is you yourself who is guilty of rhetorical dishonesty.

[ Parent ]

Don't play stupid (none / 0) (#306)
by masher on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:27:18 PM EST

His definition...in context is the most consistent with modern usage...

Ah, so you're defining the Third Reich as a modern society?

You call my usage "context-ignorant". Do you even know what the word context means? Varying by circumstance; the circumstances in which an event occurs.

Yet you're attempting to give progressivism a static meaning, whereas I'm defining it in the context of Nazi society. Even if your other statements were correct (which they demonstrably are not) you're contradicting yourself here. Care to try again?

...that which moves toward an ideal modernity of human equality, cultural tolerance, and economic justice...")

False. A progressive society is one which is dynamically moving towards an ideal state. Or one it believes as ideal. Even in modern terms, "progressive" does not universally connote "cultural tolerance", which explains why its dictionary definition bears no reference to it. And in the context of many past societies, cultural tolerance was the antithesis of an ideal state.

The meaning of the word "respectable" is clear....though the respectable citizen of today is a far different person than the one of five hundred years ago. Differing contexts. Similarly, definition of "fair" as "that which should be" hasn't changed...though how we define exactly what should be so has dramatically.

[ Parent ]
lalala i hate filling the 'subject' out (none / 0) (#309)
by parrillada on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:13:03 PM EST

From wikipedia on progressive:

There are also a number of progressive political parties in various countries. Political progressivism per se can not be classified as left or right. But in particular political spectra, current progressive parties in English speaking countries align themselves to the left, meanwhile in other countries, like in Northern Europe, the right.

The bold part is the context to which I refer. We are obviously English speaking, and likewise modern popular usage in English speaking countries of the word 'progressive' fits more with the other poster's definition than with yours. Now, you object that you were talking about Nazi Germany, so the context was not modern, nor English-speaking. OK. Fair enough. I think the schism between you and the other poster (and me) occured through you using Nazi-Germany as context for this vocabulary, and the other using a modern-usage as context. Both are equally valid -- just a misunderstanding.

[ Parent ]

Admission noted (none / 0) (#311)
by masher on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:04:20 PM EST

Now, you object that you were talking about Nazi Germany, so the context was not modern, nor English-speaking. OK. Fair enough...

Agreed, this is the basis of my position.

By the way, since you posted from Wikipedia, you might be interested in their continuing definition of the term:
This desire to make the world a better, safer and more economically fair place for the average American while lifting up the poor, and the thought that government must play a role in doing so, remains the guiding philosophy of progressivism today.
As my original post proved, these were not only the stated principles of National Socialism, they were among the major principles that distinguished them from their predecessor, the Weimer Republic. The Nazi Party was a progressive party. Making life "better, safer, and fairer" for the average German was the role of the government...no matter how many non-Germans or non "average Germans" got hurt in the process.

[ Parent ]
Required Reading (1.88 / 9) (#81)
by Peahippo on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:04:48 AM EST

When Democracy Failed - 2005
The Warnings of History
by Thom Hartmann
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0222-22.htm
OR http://www.thomhartmann.com/commondreams.shtml

I hardly need to say that George W. Bush is the first Hitler clone of the 21st Century. This century will be nothing but warfare if this man and his millions of devoted Fascists represent the trend for what we laughingly call Western "civilization". I cannot accurately predict the millions of foreign war and domestic violence deaths these people will DIRECTLY cause ... since the numbers will be so large.


Bah. (2.88 / 17) (#83)
by Kasreyn on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:03:28 AM EST

The greatest threat to the future of the world is not petty politicians holding a mirror up to society's prejudices.

The greatest threat to the future is this outmoded concept of "evil". "Evil" is a word we use for any behavior we're afraid to think too deeply about, because we know we'll find it in ourselves if we do.

Am I condoning what Hitler and others did and stood for? Course not. The fallacy is in believing there is some sharp line dividing good from evil, and there is not. It is a form of moral absolutism, which is a deadly mental disorder that stands a really good chance of destroying human society.

The real danger is not "evil" people. The real danger is misty-headed irrational people who like to kid themselves that they're "good".


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Moral absolutism (2.80 / 5) (#89)
by Thyrsus on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:30:21 AM EST

I believe you are conflating two kinds of moral absolutism. One variety, justifiably condemned, claims that "we" are "good", and the "other" is "evil". The other claims that there is a real difference in moral choices, and to knowingly choose a lesser good (e.g., lebensraum; lower taxes; personal autonomy; infatuation) over a greater good (oposition to genocide; succor to the impoverished; protection of human life; faithfulness) is evil.

Some may seize on the terms "lesser" and "greater" to lump the distinction in with "relativist" standards - shades of grey impossible for anyone but the moral actor to distinguish. To do so confuses the conversation. My position of moral absolutism rejects any claim to personal perfection (with one exception of two millenia ago). I know myself as a fallible and sinning (i.e., evil-doing) human being, in common with all other human beings (except one). In every moment I must renew my attempt to choose the greater over the lesser good, with severe honesty, deprecating my own interest, honoring tradition, honoring revelation, penultimately honoring human dignity, and ultimately loving God. Good is a limit toward which I strive, and which I must acknowledge my failure to reach.

And now I have failed to allow myself enough time to sleep so that I may effectively carry out the next day's duties; mea culpa.

[ Parent ]

I couldn't agree more (3.00 / 5) (#96)
by HollyHopDrive on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:51:12 AM EST

Almost nothing gets me angrier than people making jokes about Nazis and the Holocaust, but I definitely agree with you. There has been some controversy over the recent film Downfall, which portrays Hitler in a very human light, but this is necessary.

The only way to "learn the lessons of the Holocaust", as it's often said, is to realise that these atrocities were committed by humans. It would be wonderful to be able to distance ourselves from these people - they are evil monsters, we are not capable of their acts - but many famous and troubling experiments prove this is not the case.

If we imagine ourselves to be incapable of atrocities, we will not check our behaviour to ensure we don't repeat past horrors.


I make too much sense to be on the Internet.
[ Parent ]

Exactly. (2.71 / 7) (#98)
by Kasreyn on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 08:23:43 AM EST

When we dehumanize a person like Hitler, we forget that that's what he was - a person. He did some horrible things, but so could we. If we distance ourselves too greatly from him, we run the risk of falsely concluding that *we* would never do what *he* did. And there's simply no justification for such optimism.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
If I could give this a 4 ... (none / 0) (#116)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 12:19:46 PM EST

I would. You stated the entire point of my editorial in a single paragraph.
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]
Absolute evil (none / 0) (#112)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:51:01 AM EST

Yes, the problem is misty-headed irrational people who kid themselves that they are "good" and refuse to see that they also hold beliefs that are at their very basis evil.

However, as I grow older I grow less and less comfortable with moral relativism, for moral relativism is, in the end, a philosophy which could -- and has -- excuse any evil. I have come to believe that there IS a such thing as absolute "right" and "wrong", "good" and "evil", albeit these are qualities which can both exist in the same person or same situation at the same time. I became convinced while teaching in the inner city schools in Houston that there must be a moral center to life, that there must be absolute moral right or wrong, or else all can be justified, including the sins of omission and commission that victimized these children every day of their young lives.

The problem, of course, is that no one wishes to discover that he is doing evil, so few examine their lives and truly, honestly measure themselves against a worthwhile moral standard. Instead, they allow politicians to reflect back to them what they wish to hear, they allow religious figures to reflect back to them what they wish to believe, they allow pundits to reflect back to them them the cozy reassuring glow that "you are right and the other is The Enemy." In the end, the leaders of a country like the United States (or Germany in 1934) truly *do* reflect the desires of a majority of the people. Remember, less than 25% of voting-age Americans voted for John Kerry in the last election...

In any event, these moral issues are not easy ones to untangle. Finding a moral center to life is not an easy journey, and it is far too easy to accept a moral center from outside of yourself, allow yourself to be swayed by bright and shining lies that you wish to believe because at the very basis of humanity, we are jumped up apes with many of the same instincts for flinging shit at rivals and following the alpha male like sheep. And I will close this because I need to go to work...

- Badtux the Reflective Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

Global Warming is the Greatest Threat to The World (none / 1) (#171)
by thankyougustad on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:04:18 PM EST



No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de got.

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#180)
by bobbuck on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:36:47 PM EST

Why do you say that?

[ Parent ]
I read it on the internet (none / 0) (#185)
by thankyougustad on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 10:21:10 PM EST



No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de got.

[ Parent ]
Global Warming is the greatest threat to humans. (none / 0) (#211)
by Kasreyn on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 08:34:04 PM EST

Yeah, like it would affect the planet if we wiped ourselves out with a few extra percentage points of CO2 in its atmosphere. Right.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I heartily agree. (none / 1) (#192)
by OzJuggler on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:39:11 PM EST

I have said as much in previous posts.

Since all manifestations of moral absolutism are a mental disease, this also explains why anyone who is either religious or patriotic needs their head examined.

I once saw a documentary about the nuclear sabre-rattling between India and Pakistan, made by an Indian and Pakistani actually, which contrasted the heated nationalist statements of the politicians of the two countries with the benign and warm regard that everyday people in both countries have for each other. The documentary concluded with the filmmaker saying "religion and patriotism are the greatest danger the world has ever known." Powerful stuff considering where it comes from.

OzJuggler.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

And now for some moral relativism (none / 0) (#199)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 03:44:49 AM EST

It's not that the Germans are evil, it's that their culture requires them to invade Poland and kill Jews. We in the West should not be so quick to judge, lest we unduly influence these ancient cultural practises. Who are we to say they are wrong? Moral absolutism is fundamentally an invalid mode of thinking.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

[snerk!] (none / 0) (#204)
by badtux on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 01:28:43 PM EST

I see that you have, indeed, located the fundamental flaw with moral relativism that I pointed out elsewhere -- that it can be used to justify virtually any action.

- Badtux the Moral Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

This is true. (none / 0) (#210)
by Kasreyn on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 08:31:14 PM EST

But absolutism has a worse drawback: by erecting a wall called "evil" around things, we cease to think about them, and in ceasing to think about them, we cease to guard against their happening again.

I've no sympathy for people who can't handle relativism and shades of grey in life. Life's tough; you have to be willing to think hard. Figuratively throwing your hands up and chalking events up to imps and hobgoblins is what I call pussying out.

Can moral relativism be used to justify anything? I suppose. The problem with drawing a stark black line and ignoring the shades of grey, though, is: who does the drawing?


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
you got it backwards (none / 1) (#237)
by jcarnelian on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 01:15:38 PM EST

Do you seriously think the Nazis were moral relativists?  Do you think they thought "well, maybe Jews or homosexuals are alright people, but we believe they aren't, so we can murder them with impunity"?

In fact, if you read how the Nazis argued, it is clear that they were moral absolutists: they were firmly convinced that Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and socialists were evil and needed to be exterminated.  And they were backed up in those beliefs by centuries of conservative thought and Christian theology, just like todays right-wing politicians.

It is moral absolutism that can be used to justify any kind of artrocity, and has been.  Moral relativism denies that actions can be justified by any universally valid morality at all; you can only act according to what you think is right, and when that is in conflict with what I think is right, then we have a problem to work out.  Moral relativism works out that problem by finding practical compromises.  Moral absolutism solves the same problem by either insisting that everybody convert to the same set of moral principles (which is hopeless) or just locking up or killing off the people who don't convert.

[ Parent ]

Not quite (none / 0) (#250)
by coopex on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 04:49:31 PM EST

The fact that the Nazis defined their "moral absolutism" is such a twisted manner does not mean that moral absolutism is not correct. No one would argue that an unprovoked attack against someone, simply to steal something of theirs would be morally wrong (ignoring the attacker is poor and must feed his family, etc... ). In this sense, absolutism contains within it relativism, because it is ok for someone to steal to feed his family while no ok for someone to steal to buy a ps2.

[ Parent ]
really not quite (none / 1) (#261)
by jcarnelian on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 10:00:53 PM EST

The fact that the Nazis defined their "moral absolutism" is such a twisted manner does not mean that moral absolutism is not correct.

So, your theory is that there is a single, correct moral code and all others are wrong.  But we already know that there are many people with incompatible moral codes.  How do you reconcile your theory with the facts?  How do you propose to establish correctness of one moral code over another?

In this sense, absolutism contains within it relativism, because it is ok for someone to steal to feed his family while no ok for someone to steal to buy a ps2.

There is no moral relativism in that statement.  Moral relativism is the observation that some people consider it right for someone to steal in order to feed his family, while others consider it wrong.  And, believe me, both kinds of moral codes do exist.

[ Parent ]

Better crack that dictionary (none / 0) (#263)
by masher on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 11:16:05 PM EST

Moral relativism is the observation that some people consider it right for someone to steal in order to feed his family, while others consider it wrong...

Nay, moral relativism is something else entirely. If you want to debate the term, you should first learn its meaning.

"So, your theory is that there is a single, correct moral code and all others are wrong...."

Now you're starting to grasp what moral absolutism is. Relativism is the belief that morality can change depending on the situation, person, culture, society, or ethnic background involved. That what may be "moral" at one time and place, for one specific person, may be immoral for a different person, place, or time.

Absolutism is the converse of this: the belief that a single moral code applies, regardless of time or place. Moral absolutism doesn't _necessarily_ contain within it a specific code; just the belief that one exists, invariant and unchanging.

[ Parent ]
you don't understand the dictionary definition (3.00 / 2) (#264)
by jcarnelian on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 02:02:45 AM EST

Nay, moral relativism is something else entirely. If you want to debate the term, you should first learn its meaning.

Unfortunately, the problem is your understanding of the term.  You stated that "stealing is wrong" becomes moral relativism if "stealing is wrong if it is for purpose X" but "stealing is not wrong if it is for purpose Y".  Sorry, but that's not moral relativism.  Those are absolute judgements about two different actions; it's an accident of the English language that there is a single term, "stealing", that happens to describe some common aspects of both actions.

Leviticus doesn't become an exercise in moral relativism because it tells you that you may sleep with your brother's wife under some circumstances, or that you may eat some seafood, or that you may mix some fabrics but not others (it just becomes incredibly tedious).

Moral relativism refers to the observation that different moral codes may make different moral judgements about the same (identical) action, not that a single moral code can vary in its judgements in complicated ways depending on circumstances.

Absolutism is the converse of this: the belief that a single moral code applies, regardless of time or place. Moral absolutism doesn't necessarily contain within it a specific code; just the belief that one exists, invariant and unchanging.

OK, so define what you mean by "applies".  In whose judgement?  Based on what principles?  If moral absolutism is supposed to be a statement about the world, how would I go about falsifying moral absolutism?

But let's assume that there is some (unknown) absolute moral code.  So, that code must make a statement about premeditated murder.  Is it always wrong?  Or only sometimes?  Let's say I'm in the "it is always wrong" camp and you are in the "only sometimes" camp.  How do we determine which is right?  If there is no procedure that we can agree on for establishing the veracity of one or the other position (even a Gedankenexperiment), then that absolute moral code isn't a statement about the world,  it's religion.

Despite the apparent symmetry, moral absolutism and moral relativism are not competing theories.  Moral absolutism, ultimately, amounts to an unverifiable religious belief.  In fact, moral absolutism is usually just religious zeal disguised as philosophy.  Moral absolutism is often used to side-step questions of ethics.

Moral relativism, on the other hand, is a simple, factual statement about the world, namely that moral codes are not universal, which is both self-evident but also has been verified by social scientists numerous times experimentally.  Moral relativism is a scientific, falsifiable theory of human behavior (moral judgements), not a normative statement.

[ Parent ]

Better rub those eyes; they're lying to you again (none / 0) (#270)
by masher on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 12:59:46 PM EST

"Unfortunately, the problem is your understanding of the term...."

No, the problem is your inability to read what I post...or at least understand it. See below for an explanation.

"You stated that "stealing is wrong" becomes moral relativism if "stealing is wrong if it is for purpose X" but "stealing is not wrong if it is for purpose Y". Sorry, but that's not moral relativism.

Its not moral relativism, of course. And nowhere did i state such. You simply failed to comprehend my meaning. I'll try again, this time using smaller words.

The statement "stealing is wrong for purpose X but not wrong for purpose Y" is not a relative moral. However the statement that, "stealing for purpose X is wrong for us, but it is for the Holdinmytuba tribe of Western Tanganyika". Can you understand the difference?

The belief that its acceptable to force women to cover their breasts but not their face is _not_ moral relativism. The belief that its immoral for society A to force women under the view, but perfectly acceptable for society B, however, is. Making sense to you yet?

Moral relativism, on the other hand, is a simple, factual statement about the world, namely that moral codes are not universal, which is both self-evident but also has been verified by social scientists numerous times experimentally...


Lol, you'll wake up tomorrow and realize what a fool you made of yourself with that statement. Or we can hope you do, rather. Social sicentists have not "verified" moral relativism is accurate; they've simply established that it exists. Can you not comprehend the difference?

As amusing as this thread has become, I seriously wonder if you're just yanking our chains. Surely no reasonable person has a blind spot of these dimensions.

[ Parent ]
define your terms (none / 0) (#271)
by jcarnelian on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 03:39:58 PM EST

Social sicentists have not "verified" moral relativism is accurate; they've simply established that it exists. Can you not comprehend the difference? [...] Surely no reasonable person has a blind spot of these dimensions.

So, you agree that moral relativism "exists", i.e. describes actual human behavior.

Now, humor me: define what it would mean for a theory of morality "to be accurate" even though it does not actually reflect human behavior and even though many people fundamentally disagree with it. How do you determine its "accuracy" if it is neither a description of reality, nor people agree with it based on first principles?

[ Parent ]

Done...several times, in fact. (none / 0) (#279)
by masher on Tue Apr 26, 2005 at 02:44:03 AM EST

"define what it would mean for a theory of morality "to be accurate" even though it does not actually reflect human behavior and even though many people fundamentally disagree with it..."

Here's your error. Moral absolutism doesn't require an "accurate" theory of morality, or for an accurate theory to even exist. They're two totally separate concepts. Moral absolutism is a belief. Saying it can't exist unless its accurate is like saying religion can't exist without a god. Or that Communists don't exist because Communism is a inaccurate theory of economics.

"So, you agree that moral relativism "exists", i.e. describes actual human behavior...."

The belief in a flat earth "exists" as well. It doesn't imply its a verified theory, now does it?

'You stated that "stealing is wrong" becomes moral relativism if "stealing is wrong if it is for purpose X" but "stealing is not wrong if it is for purpose Y"'.

I'm still waiting for you to admit your error here, and that I said nothing even remotely resembling this. Did you confuse me with another poster...or were you just confused in general?

[ Parent ]
where is the disagreement? (none / 0) (#283)
by jcarnelian on Tue Apr 26, 2005 at 04:00:59 PM EST

Moral absolutism doesn't require an "accurate" theory of morality, or for an accurate theory to even exist. They're two totally separate concepts. Moral absolutism is a belief. Saying it can't exist unless its accurate is like saying religion can't exist without a god. Or that Communists don't exist because Communism is a inaccurate theory of economics.

Seems to me we are in complete agreement:


  • Moral absolutism is not a theory about the world, it is merely a belief about how things ought to be (and it's about as pointless as believing that Claudia Schiffer ought to fall hopelessly in love with you and Bill Gates oughtto  donate his entire wealth to you).
  • Moral relativism is a statement about real human behavior (and pretty obviously a true statement).
  • Moral relativism can also be a belief about how the world ought to be, although few people bother making much fuss about the way things already are.

The belief in a flat earth "exists" as well. It doesn't imply its a verified theory, now does it?

No, but the existence of moral relativism is about as obvious as the existence of gravity if you happen to live on the planet earth: issues like abortion, death penalty, euthanasia, infanticide, honor killings, birth control, gay marriage, etc. all show that human beings have vastly different judgements and beliefs about what is moral and what is not.

While pretty obvious, psychologists and sociologists have studied this extensively, analogous to how physicists have studied gravity.

Here's your error.

Oh, get over this "here is your error" mentality.


[ Parent ]

Interesting... (none / 0) (#292)
by masher on Fri Apr 29, 2005 at 01:29:33 PM EST

Seems to me we are in complete agreement

We are-- according to what you posted in this particular response. Not by the nonsensical equivocation of your earlier posts. Relativism and absolutism both exist. However, neither of them is a "self-evident, scientific" theory of reality. And relativism isn't simply the observation that different cultures have differing moral codes. It's the belief that those differing codes are equally valid.

Oh, get over this "here is your error" mentality...."

Hm, wasn't it you who said "Unfortunately, the problem is your understanding of the term" within this very thread? Ever hear of the word 'hypocrisy'?

[ Parent ]
Not quite (none / 0) (#304)
by parrillada on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:15:12 AM EST

And relativism isn't simply the observation that different cultures have differing moral codes. It's the belief that those differing codes are equally valid.

I think the confusion derives from the fact that Masher's definition of moral relativism is inconsistent -- by his definition a moral relativist holds that all moral systems are equally valid, while at the same time holding 'moral relativism' above 'moral absolutism.'

While you may have given some dictionary's definition of 'moral relativistm' it is nonetheless a definition that for brevity has been oversimplified almost beyond recognition. In real-world terms, a 'moral relativist' is someone who recognizes that, as Shakespeare put it best, "There is nothing either good or bad, But thinking makes it so."

Moral relativism, in practical usage, is not "the belief that those differing codes are equally valid," but rather the belief that no objective moral truth exists. A moral relativist can certainly hold some morals above others, but with the qualification that morals are the creation of man, and so as fallible and subjective as he is.

[ Parent ]

Disappointing. (none / 0) (#307)
by masher on Sun May 08, 2005 at 02:43:48 PM EST

I think the confusion derives from the fact that Masher's definition of moral relativism is inconsistent...

Actually, the confusion stems from your failure to read the thread. Or, having failed to understand it after so doing. Even should we take your remarks as correct, they are irrelevant to the original discussion. The original statement was quite different, a statement in which the author has already recanted. Since you missed it, his original argument was:

1. Moral Relativism is simply the recognition that different societies have different moral codes.

2. Moral Relativism can be 'proven' correct simply by demonstrating a difference in the accepted morality of any two cultures.

3. Relativism is not contradictory to absolutism; it is some sort of "superset" of it in fact.

All three statements are incorrect. Your own post supports my position, though in your slobbering haste to disagree with me, you fail to recognize the fact.

"A moral relativist can certainly hold some morals above others, but with the qualification that morals are the creation of man, and so as fallible and subjective as he is..."

In other words, he may hold one moral above another, but in so doing realizes his belief is subjective, fallible, and valid only within the context of his own beliefs. And therefore no objective standard exists to call another person's beliefs any less valid.

You disappoint me; I would expect you to be able to connect the dots. Pick up a larger crayon and reread the last sentence in the above paragraph.

[ Parent ]
Oh Masher (none / 0) (#308)
by parrillada on Sun May 08, 2005 at 03:59:36 PM EST

All three statements are incorrect. Your own post supports my position, though in your slobbering haste to disagree with me, you fail to recognize the fact.

Of course those statements are incorrect. But so was yours. I have no 'slobbering' haste to disagree with you. Re-read my post, it was not combative or so anti-human-relations as yours is. If you compare posts, you are the one slobbering, as it were.

In other words, he may hold one moral above another, but in so doing realizes his belief is subjective, fallible, and valid only within the context of his own beliefs. And therefore no objective standard exists to call another person's beliefs any less valid.

You are saying that he may "hold one moral above another" and yet at the same time hold all "equally valid." This may be a subtle point, but your definition is still inconsistent. A moral relativist does not hold all morals "equally valid"--that is using misleading vocabulary. There is a subtle, but enormous difference between the simple denial that an objective morality exists, and holding all morals equally "valid." A moral relativist can, for example, admonish certain behaviors without fear of being labelled a hypocrite. If you are still uncertain, then ask yourself this: can the cold determinist-rationalist nihilist hold a moral code without irony? The answer is yes -- with the realization that nothing matters, that he is not conscious, that life is a ridiculous theater of automatons taking themselves too seriously... he can still, if he so chooses to recognize the enjoyment (however illusory) of existence while it lasts, he can certainly form a consistent moral framework based on first principles (aka Nozick/Hayek/Rawls...) anyway.

[ Parent ]

Never took Phi 101, did you? (none / 0) (#310)
by masher on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:53:09 PM EST

There is a subtle, but enormous difference between the simple denial that an objective morality exists, and holding all morals equally "valid."...

Actually, you're not defining moral relativism, but rather moral skepticism, the belief that normative morality has no basis, that no universal morality exists. This, as any beginning philosophy student learns, was the view promoted by the Greek Philosopher Sextus Empiricus, the man who lent us his name for the origin of the word "empiricism". Moral relativism and moral skepticism are not divided by a hard sharp line; many relativists are so because of innate moral skepticism, in which case it becomes "metaethical moral relativism". And even within the skeptics, there are various camps, based on the actual objections they raise.

A moral relativist does not hold all morals "equally valid"--...he can, for example, admonish certain behaviors without fear of being labelled a hypocrite...

Now you're verging into the definition of moral objectivism...which is neither relativism nor absolutism. You're not so far off to be labelled incorrect...but only because these are slippery slopes, with few hard definitions.

One hard definition, however, is that moral diversity does not prove moral relativism. Correcting this was the basis of my first post. And while my statement that a relativist holds all codes "equally" valid is, given the range and variety of historical and contemporary relativists, painfully oversimplified, it is not incorrect. It is the basis for the term itself-- mMorals are RELATIVE. Relative to what? Differing societies. Why are they relative? If you believe its because no objective moral code exists, then you're a metaethical relativist....but there are many other possibilities.

If you truly want to discuss the topic intelligently, I can provide you with several references for further learning. If you simply want to prove me wrong...well, better luck next time.

[ Parent ]
I heartily thank you for... (none / 0) (#312)
by parrillada on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:48:52 PM EST

...teaching me a distinction that I did not know existed. I had never heard the term 'metaethical relativism' before.

For me, your basic polymath, and not one with photgraphic memory (as perhaps you are), these distinctions are a little too fine for everyday conversation. Perhaps you are too smart for your own good. As I peruse your disagreements with people, I see a common this thread--instead of trying to understand your opponent, who may be using blurrier definitions and language than you use, you pick apart their language to defeat them rather than understand them. I personally try to understand my opponent -- I think that is the way to "discuss the topic intelligently."

Now, may I ask, when the average layperson calls themself a "moral relativist," which distinction to you think they are approximating by using the general term? It is my contention that they are -- on average -- approximating the definition I gave (which you call 'moral skepticism'). After all, this is the point -- to understand where other people are coming from (like your opponent) when they use the term 'moral relativism'.

[ Parent ]

A valid point (none / 0) (#313)
by masher on Sun May 08, 2005 at 06:12:28 PM EST

these distinctions are a little too fine for everyday conversation...

Certainly so. However, I only dove to this level when my original, "conversational" definition was challenged.

As I peruse your disagreements with people, I see a common this thread--instead of trying to understand your opponent...you pick apart their language to defeat them rather than understand them...

A valid criticism. However, in my defense allow me to say this. My long-standing debate tactic is to portray myself in as personally disagreable terms as possible. Why? When someone agrees with me, I know its due to my facts and logic, not my personality. If I was simply seeking consensus, I'd be rather more charismatic about it.

Now, may I ask, when the average layperson calls themself a "moral relativist," which distinction to you think they are approximating

Certainly in everyday usage, your definition can be considered "more" correct, whereas mine is more academically correct. However my point was the distinction was a sterile one, and wholly overwhelmed by the difference between BOTH of them and the author's original claim that relativism was no more than the realization of moral diversity.

[ Parent ]
read the thread (none / 0) (#272)
by jcarnelian on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 03:47:20 PM EST

No, the problem is your inability to read what I post...or at least understand it. See below for an explanation.

No, the real problem is that this thread started with bad example of moral relativism, I corrected it, and then you started arguing with me in place of the original poster.

No one would argue that an unprovoked attack against someone, simply to steal something of theirs would be morally wrong (ignoring the attacker is poor and must feed his family, etc... ). In this sense, absolutism contains within it relativism, because it is ok for someone to steal to feed his family while no ok for someone to steal to buy a ps2.

However the statement that, "stealing for purpose X is wrong for us, but it is for the Holdinmytuba tribe of Western Tanganyika". Can you understand the difference?

Of course, I understand the difference since that's pretty much the same thing I wrote.  Go read the parent posts and see why I wrote that.

[ Parent ]

thank you for illustrating the point (none / 0) (#234)
by jcarnelian on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 12:52:03 PM EST

We in the West should not be so quick to judge, lest we unduly influence these ancient cultural practises. Who are we to say they are wrong? Moral absolutism is fundamentally an invalid mode of thinking.

Moral absolutism is exactly what was practiced by the Nazis: they used moral absolutism to justify their invasion of Poland and murder of the Jews.  They defined good and evil for themselves, and anybody who was on the "evil" side needed to be dealt with in order to protect the "good" people.

And you are naive if you think that the rest of the West held any kind of different values.  The US didn't come to the rescue of European Jews, it was merely concerned about its economic and security interests when it eventually entered WWII, and many French and Poles were assisting the Germans.  Prior to that, the British, French, Portugese, Spanish, and Americans were plundering, murdering, and committing genocide around the world, killing off one supposedly "inferior race" after another.

Genocide, mass murder, and industrialized warfare are part of our Western culture, and moral absolutism, conservatism, Christianity, national identity, play a big part in the emergence of exactly those atrocities.

[ Parent ]

How dare you say that (3.00 / 2) (#102)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 09:30:29 AM EST

The Anne Coulter statement is only at the heart of about 50% (probably much less) of the american people.  The only reason Bush won is because of election finagling.... There is a reason the exit polls showed kerry to win and then as votes were counted, the polls did not match.

BW... if a poll that says Kerry won also says American's voted because of moral values, what do you think that means? it means that either the poll is right and Kerry is the winner, or the poll is wrong and American's did not vote because of moral values.

Exit Polls (none / 0) (#109)
by bobbuck on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:06:36 AM EST

Maybe the exit polls didn't agree with the results because they were run by morons who don't understand statistics. (They did the exit polling primarily in Democrat areas.)

[ Parent ]
These are the people (none / 1) (#113)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:58:07 AM EST

that have been doing them FOR 30 YEARS!!!!

and again... if the polls are wrong then you cannot use them for ANYTHING, not even drawing the conclusion that people voted on moral conviction.

[ Parent ]

That's fine (none / 0) (#134)
by bobbuck on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:11:11 PM EST

I don't use the exit polls for anything and I haven't concluded that people voted on moral conviction. Anytime you marry politics, statistics, and realtime information, you're looking for trouble.

[ Parent ]
oh come now (none / 0) (#135)
by RevLoveJoy on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:19:47 PM EST

Quit being so reasonable about all of this. Don't you know it's passe? Much better to find unlikely conspiracy behind every number.

-- RLJ

Every political force in the U.S. that seeks to get past the Constitution by sophistry or technicality is little more than a wannabe king. -- pyro9
[ Parent ]

Or... (none / 0) (#148)
by bobbuck on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:53:06 PM EST

Better to conspire behind every number! [evil laugh]

[ Parent ]
What polls are for (none / 0) (#163)
by jbmcb on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:38:45 PM EST

Polls aren't there to determine who won an election, they are statistical tools used to determine how a group of people voted. One election is just one data point for the statistics-mongers. Of course, exit polls are horribly abused by newspapers and pundits who don't understand or care what they are for. It may not sound like much of a difference, but it's actually a huge difference. That's why we don't poll to see who the president is, we have *elections* for that.

[ Parent ]
We use exit polls to judge foreign elections (none / 1) (#214)
by Mason on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 10:14:34 PM EST

We do.  The international community does.  If the exit poll and the vote result differ by a wide enough margin, chances are someone's been stuffing the ballot boxes.  America has participated in monitoring and overturning elections on this exact basis.

But when we have a deviation in our presidential election that always goes for the Republican candidate, that's just considered random happenstance.  Yup, nothing to see here.

I know I don't have to mention how the ballots in the controversial areas were on machines that have been repeatedly demonstrated to be unsecure and inaccurate, and that someone with a little knowledge of MSAccess could alter.  Or that the corporation that makes them is run by vocal Republicans, who has promised in the past to deliver them the elections.  Everyone knows about all of this.

I mean, do we really live in a world where these coincidences just magically occur with no connection between them?  Or is there a chance that it's simply easier to dismiss these things and pretend that our democracy is as healthy as ever?

[ Parent ]

Less than 25% voted Kerry (3.00 / 3) (#168)
by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:53:24 PM EST

Less than 25% of voting-aged Americans voted for John Kerry. The rest either voted for Bush, or were satisfied enough with Bush's policies that they saw no reason to vote. Let us face facts: an overwhelming majority of Americans have no problem with George W. Bush and his policies. All the whining about election finagling is not going to change that.

In the end, George W. Bush is a perfect example of "American Exceptionalism" in action. American liberals such as Woodrow Wilson or George W. Bush see America as a shining citadel of Democracy, which must then be forcibly pushed upon the lowly untermenschen at gunpoint because the untermenschen, well, they're too dumb/cowed/whatever to embrace democracy on their own. The same currents that led to the disasterous American involvement in WWI, an involvement that led directly to Hitler and the far greater devastations of WWII, are what motivate the enormous support for Bush -- a belief that America is the Holy Land, Americans are ubermenschen, the Chosen People, and thus it is only right and just that America impose her greatness upon others at gunpoint.

- Badtux the Electoral Penguin
In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
[ Parent ]

We're becoming... (none / 0) (#223)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 02:03:50 AM EST

The very type of country that Germany became oh so many years ago..

Instead of having a group of surrounding countries foist "debt" so insanely high, we have countries arond the world nibbling at our feet slowly eating our support platform. When Germany lost WW1, the countries of Europe indebted Germany soo high, that they themselves created a "cornered rat" situation that Germany had nothing to lose. In respect, they voted for a person who could bring them prosperity.

This person was Hitler. Hitler had no power, other than what was granted by the people. Yeah, he could shoot somebody, or he could poison somebody, but no way could he, singlehandedly, kill thousands, or millions. People who believed in HIS plan did, willingly, what he requested.

What my worry about the current situaton in the US is, is not Bush Jr, but instead all the 3'rd world countries competing with us on the very economic plan; Capitalism. Our electronics are made primarialy in Taiwan, China, or Korea. Even a trivial look shows batteries made in China, cups made in China, clarinets made in France, and miscellanious tech stuff made in the said far-east countries.

The only objects I have from the US are some novels I have.

This country, like it or not, is turning from a manufacturing  country to a "service' country. This change has been the works for the last 50 or so years, cand coninues to grow every day. What do we actually 'create' here? We piece our vehicles just north of where I live (6 hours to Detroit). Do we actually MAKE those parts to construct? Sure dont. Those parts come from other places. What about our computer parts? Dell is our maker, right? Absolutely not. They order chipsets and make their own (imo crappy) bioses, and package these sets to make computers. This prepackage-service industry has pervaded our contry, right up to the closure of many crucial factories around the country. Just think for a moment: When has the most recent closure happened? Were you affected, or were your families affected?

When we allow enough manufacturing to slip out of our 'control', we empower the counties that hold the creation of physical objects. I see, in a easily forseeable future, in which China and India control what we can buy and how much more it goes for. They have the manpower and they have the current technology to craft these goods. All it takes are more of our manufacturiong jobs t move away.

When this happens, we'll be in the same boat as Germany was in: Economic collapse and "cornered rat" syndrome. What would OUR national conscience allow us to do? Extermination of a culture? Afterall, Chinese are bad, cause they're Communists!

...The more I think about these matters, he more I believe Marx was right about every action being Economic class conflict.

[ Parent ]

of course he was right (none / 0) (#226)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 03:10:23 AM EST

look back at the agro revolution, the futilist revolution, the capitalist revolution... all came about because of conflicts with economic classes (usually the disadvantaged classes moving to the new economic system first and becoming the aristocrats and power class of the new paradigm.

then look at all the conflicts during those times.. hunter-gatherers fought over hunting grounds...agroculturist fought over the green lands and water... futilists fought over lands and resources to make themselves a self sustaining feifdom. in the capitolist age.. we have fought and do fight over anything and everything that will make our respective economy stronger.

fighting over economics is a simple matter of survival. nothing overly special about it.

[ Parent ]

exit polls. (none / 0) (#290)
by JavaLord on Fri Apr 29, 2005 at 11:54:47 AM EST

The exit polls are skewed because working people work at night, and working people are more likely to vote republican. More women vote during the day, and are more likely to vote democrat. Exit polls have never been an exact science. Bush didn't win because of 'election finagling' although I'm sure it warms your heart to think that. He won because he was an encumbant war time president. They (usually) don't lose.

[ Parent ]
We have made progress, sort of! (1.92 / 13) (#108)
by crunchycookies on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 10:45:15 AM EST

We no linger lynch blacks! We no longer discriminate against Jews! Neither would be politically correct. However, now we persecute Arabs. That is politically correct.

We lock them away in prisons for reasons that we cannot explain. We try and convict them for reasons that are secret. Rumsfeld is judge and jury. He has good reasons but those reasons must remain secret. We must trust him. Why? Don't ask, the answer is a secret!

We nod out heads in agreement when Israel tells us that their atrocities are "necessary". We see nothing wrong when Israel tells us that Palestinians should have no rights in Israel. After all, Israel is a Jewish country. We see nothing wrong with that. Oddly, we opposed Apartheid South Africa when they wanted to be a white country. We opposed Slobodan Milosevic when he wanted an ethnically pure country. Anyone who advocates that America should be a white Christian country is condemned as a racist and a bigot. Rightly so. However, Israel gets a free ride on the moral landscape.

I do have confidence in America. The absurdity of our supporting the racist state of Israel is beginning to sink in. The Israeli propaganda machine is as efficient as ever but things are changing. We are beginning to hear the other side of the story for the first time. The Palestinians are beginning to realize that they must present their side of the story to America. Give both sides a fair opportunity to present their case to we Americas and I am confident that we will make the right decision.

The second factor making the above more urgent is that American blood is now flowing. In the past America could supply the money and arms to Israel and avert our eyes from the bloody result. Israeli assurances that it was "necessary" assuaged our guilty conscience.

Now with 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq Americans are dying. We are caught in two wars that we are not going to get out of easily. Israel surely understands that a defeat for America in the Middle East will leave them in a very grave situation. A defeat will leave America in no mood for further adventures in the Middle East in the same way that the defeat in Viet Nam ended any possibility of further adventures in South East Asia.

Israel will be left with an invigorated enemy and with it's sole remaining friend staying home licking our wounds. We will come to realize that we will never be truly out of the Middle east until we deal with Israel. The attacks on America will not stop until we end the horror of Israeli racism and oppression.

I hope that we start advocating what we stand for; equal rights! We must tell the Israelis that their only hope for peace and survival is to grant the Palestinians equal rights. That is what brought peace to South Africa and it will bring peace to Israel. There is no other way!



lame (3.00 / 2) (#128)
by pHatidic on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 01:33:33 PM EST

We nod out heads in agreement when Israel tells us that their atrocities are "necessary". We see nothing wrong when Israel tells us that Palestinians should have no rights in Israel.

Israel isn't a person so Israel doesn't tell you shit. Stop using the logical fallacies in Mein Kampf to trash Israel. At least be smart enough to come up with your own logical fallacies.

[ Parent ]

Are you trying to make a point here? (1.00 / 3) (#190)
by crunchycookies on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:29:18 PM EST

If so, what?

[ Parent ]
OK, let's have it that way. (2.50 / 4) (#137)
by cdguru on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 02:38:38 PM EST

The absurdity of our supporting the racist state of Israel is beginning to sink in. The Israeli propaganda machine is as efficient as ever but things are changing. We are beginning to hear the other side of the story for the first time. The Palestinians are beginning to realize that they must present their side of the story to America. Give both sides a fair opportunity to present their case to we Americas and I am confident that we will make the right decision.

You believe that Palestinians have a "right" to the territory of Israel. OK. But, to put things on an level playing field, you do realize that American rights to the land in North America is even less than those of Israel. Israel did not commit genocide as early Americans did. American is no less a racist state than Israel. We need to turn over the cities, towns and villages to the remaining American Indians. It is their "right of return" that we must bow to.

Canada suffers equal blame in this and is no less a racist state. They need to provide for this "right of return" for two oppressed peoples - both the Indians and Inuit.

Similarly, we must consider Australia a "racist state" for the same reasons until they vacate the land and return it to the aborigines. They too are an oppressed people as I am sure you will agree.

I'll bet some other smart people can come up with other examples, including Europe and Asia.

Come on, "right of return" is just a codeword for the "final solution", the elimination of the state of Israel. Bundling all of them nasty Jews in one place has just made it easier to wipe them all off the face of the Earth in one package. I guess this does belong in an article discussing Hitler.

[ Parent ]

Not the same thing. (none / 0) (#142)
by DavidTC on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:08:54 PM EST

What the US did to Native Americans was a mistake. Everyone admits that. But the key word is: was.

I don't know what the time limit is...you can't just grab something and say 'I possess it, it is mine', and you can't demand people give things back they've had for 50 years, when the people who have it are not even the same people who took it. Israel can keep Israel. (Except Jeruselum, which obviously needs to be at least somewhat shared.)

The problem isn't the area of land that was defined as 'Israel', despite some of the rethoric from some of the extremists in Palestinian. It's the extra land Israel keep taking from the Palestinians!

I think it's reasonable for Israel settlers who just moved into Palestain, well, should move back out. They shouldn't have come in in the first place! See here, where they are apparently going to do just that.

So the situtation is getting a bit better, but for the longest time Israel was just walking in and stealing parts of Palestian, and Palestinian, quite understandable, was reacting with violence, and Israel was coming in and kicking their butt.

Which caused more violence, and instead of the US seeing both sides as having a problem, we were insanely supporting Israel against the 'terrorists', who could also be defined as 'heros fighting off an illegally occupying force', and in reality were somewhere in the middle. They, in turn, saw us as the enemy, because we were supporting their enemy.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Oh, and as for a 'racists state'. (2.00 / 3) (#143)
by DavidTC on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 03:12:22 PM EST

Israel isn't racist. It's petty and violent, but not racist.

What it is is religious, and, yes, it's pretty damn odd we support a theocracy that represses people of other religion.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

On America and Israel (3.00 / 5) (#156)
by Kadin2048 on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:37:59 PM EST

First, on the Native Americans: it's all well and good for us to sit and moralize about the "mistakes" we've made in the past, especially as we sit on land that was taken by force and we have no intention of giving back. It would be like if the Axis countries had won World War Two and successfully exterminated the Jews, and then sat around years later and said "Oops!"

Admitting you've made a mistake is always easy once the people you did injustice to are dead, their culture marginalized, and the incident swept into the dustbin of history. The crocodile tears of revisionism are a disgusting display of self-gratifying insincerity, with no purpose except to help white Americans feel better about themselves.

Regarding Israel, I notice that you failed to mention that most of the "stealing" Israel (supposedly) did, occurred in the wake of wars which almost uniformly have been started by the surrounding countries. Furthermore, in practically every instance, the Israelis have given back land afterwards, even when it was probably not in their best interests to do so. Given the penchant of the various Arab countries for starting wars and failing to stop terrorism, I have precious little sympathy for them.

[ Parent ]

I have no problem.... (none / 0) (#182)
by DavidTC on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 07:57:03 PM EST

...with Israel keeping land won in wars that was started by other people.

Except...the land we're talking about wasn't from the countries that attacked them. All that land was given back. Rather stupidly, but it was given back.

When Israel was given land, the Arabs already there were given about half of it. With me so far? Half becomes Israel, half becomes Palestine.

When Israel exists, before Palestine is created, everyone immediately attacks. There's near constant war for 20 years. Israel constantly kicks ass, so eventually all the Arab counties give up.

Israel ends up occupying about 75% of the area...its 50%, and 1/2 of the Palestine land. By 'Palestine', I mean, land that was earmarked to make a nation that still didn't exist, because they'd been having a war there for years.

Israel also ends up with a bunch of everyone else's land, which it gave back a few years later.

And here's the important thing: Despite Israel holding large sections of land designated as Palestine in the original partition by the UN, no one even wants them to give that back. We're letting them keep that land. After all, Palestines did participate in the attacks, even though that countries didn't exist at that time, so maybe it's legit spoils of war.

What Palestine wants them to do is to stop moving people into the remaining 25% of the land, aka, the Gaza strip and the west bank. And then moving in troups to keep them safe, and then bombing when the rightful inhabitants of that land get annoyed and shoot at them.

And, again, I'm not placing all the blame on Israel. It's just the US refuses to place any of the blame on Israel.

I'm against terrorism as much as the next person, but delibrately moving 'settlements' into Palestine with the apparent intent of making a claim for that land when Palestine is formally laid out is just wrong. Especially when the reason the damn country doesn't exist is Israel constantly provoking them so there's never a stable government to take over.

It's a neat racket: Provoke them by taking land, they attack you, you attack back, you fight more so they can't become a real country and actually do anything about about you. Maybe you actually manage to kill their leaders, that really sets them back, and really pisses them off. When things start looking good...move more people in!

Eventually, you'll have 'settled' the whole area, while valently fighting those nasty Arab terrorists. I'm not saying that's an actual 'plan', but that sure seems to be what is happening to me.

And talking about 'surrounding countries' is exactly how not to talk about the problem. Palestine is not Iran or Iraq or Egypt. Those countries are the ones that hated Israel randomly, and some still do, although they know they can't do anything about it.

Palestine has a quite logical reason for hating Israel. It is not fighting in a moral or legal way, blowing up busses and killing civilians, but it is fighting for a moral reason...it's under attack. Whereas Israel appears to be the other way around.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

A shocking fact for you! (1.00 / 3) (#195)
by crunchycookies on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 12:01:20 AM EST

What you describe is the Zionists plan from the beginning. They have always said it. Of course they don't say it to Americans in clear language. That might make us uncomfortable. However, the Israelis and the Arabs understand it completely. They both know that this is a struggle to the death.

Here is a fun exercise for you; ask any Israeli "what are the proper borders of Israel?" Stand back and watch the equivocating begin. It is quite a fun sport. Try it on and Israeli "liberal". Then try it on an Israeli hardliner.



[ Parent ]

Inverted history. (1.00 / 4) (#193)
by crunchycookies on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:50:48 PM EST

Regarding Israel, I notice that you failed to mention that most of the "stealing" Israel (supposedly) did, occurred in the wake of wars which almost uniformly have been started by the surrounding countries.

Let us correct this fallacy. The Israelis are the invaders. The Palestinians are the defenders. The Israelis are a bunch of Americans and Europeans that chose to invade Palestine. Yes, I know "Balfour bla bla. The UN resolution bla bla" Palestine did not belong to Balfour nor the UN. It belonged to the indigenous people of Palestine.

Furthermore, in practically every instance, the Israelis have given back land afterwards, even when it was probably not in their best interests to do so.

Interesting. If I gave some loot back would that justify my career as a bank robber?

Given the penchant of the various Arab countries for starting wars and failing to stop terrorism, I have precious little sympathy for them.

The Arabs have been fighting the Zionist invasion for over half a centurary. They will continue to fight. Other liberation movements have fought even longer. The Arabs show no signs of giving up their struggle.



[ Parent ]

There is a problem. (none / 1) (#191)
by crunchycookies on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:37:34 PM EST

I don't know what the time limit is...you can't just grab something and say 'I possess it, it is mine', and you can't demand people give things back they've had for 50 years, when the people who have it are not even the same people who took it. Israel can keep Israel. (Except Jeruselum, which obviously needs to be at least somewhat shared.)

The defenders of Israel do not like to make the "we took it, it is ours" argument. The problem with that argument is that it contains no moral justification. The Israelis crave legitimacy and that argument does not provide any. Of course that is the only justification that they have.

The second problem with that argument is that it applies equally to the Palestinians. If the Israelis can just take Palestine then the Palestinians can just take it back.

This well illustrates the moral black hole that the Israelis live in.



[ Parent ]

Land possession (none / 1) (#255)
by Peaker on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 06:35:17 PM EST

Morally, it is probably best for lands to not switch owners as much as possible.

Every switch of owners is painful and costly.

Israel has been standing for many years now and while it may or may not have been an immoral switch of ownership when it was created, it does not matter to the fact it is immoral to be taken now.

If the Palestinians managed to take Israel by force and run their own country, then in 50 years, nobody but the nutcases would argue that Israel should be given back to the Jews as it was taken.

Most if not all of Israel's pre-1948 lands was actually bought, one of the few moral ways to switch owners for lands.

In 1948's war a lot of lands were taken, but the immorality was the war itself and the land ownership switch was a relatively insiginficant side-effect w.r.t the war.

[ Parent ]

That's not what is going on. (none / 0) (#284)
by DavidTC on Tue Apr 26, 2005 at 05:29:00 PM EST

No one wants Israel to give back any land, except land they just settled. No one has a problem with them keeping land grabbed in any war.

Although I will note that that land can't really be claimed as a spoil of war, as it wasn't a possession of anyone's at the start of the war...it was land that the UN had set aside to make Palestine from. But regardless, we're letting Israel keep it.

The problem isn't land gained in the war, it's the fact they keep moving people into Palestine. Not the half they gained in the war, the other half of Palestine that is left, the west bank and the Gaza strip.

Which, of course, causes no end of annoyance to the Palestinians, which causes them to fight, which gives Israel an excuse to send in troups to defend the illegal settlements, which causes more violence.

All this violence, of course, keeps the actual government of Palestine from forming, which rather obviously would be able to stop these settlements that not only violate the original UN partition, which no one appears to care about, but simple decency...just because your neighbor is currently missing a government, doesn't mean you get to move people in and take over parts of it. Or bomb it when people living there attack said people moving in.

Especially when the reason it's missing a government is that you had a war there, even if you were the defenders. (Well, technically, int he specific war when they gained most of Palestine, they were the attackers, but it was preemptive, and no one argues that. They were about a week from being attacked again.)

You know, if Israel is going to keep abusing this situtation, I'm going to start demanding they give back all of Palestine. This whole 'When we create Palestine, you can keep land you already possess' has apparently caused them to take advantage of that and decide they can claim any damn bit of land they want, and prolong Palestine's creation as long as possible so they end up with as much land at the end.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Standard fare. (1.66 / 3) (#189)
by crunchycookies on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:26:44 PM EST

You will notice that in your comments you do not actually defend Israel. Indeed few people try to defend Israel outright. Most defenses of Israel attempt to deflect the blame. They point to terrible events in history. They point out that other countries have less than perfect human rights records.

Yes history does have horrors. There are many horrors worse than Israel. Does that mean that we are forever doomed to repeat those horrors? What ever happened to "Never Again". Wasn't that was supposed to be the lesson of the Holocaust?

Yes there are countries that have less than perfect human rights records. There are even some countries that are as bad as Israel in the treatment of their minorities. The defenders of Israel are fond of comparing Israel with some of the worst countries on the globe and declare that Israel is better. If you compare them to Israel they seem to be Israel's equivalent.

Compare Israel under Sharon and Iraq under Saddam Hussein. They seem quite equivalent. Israel uses the most modern weapons of war against a population that is dirt poor and always living on the verge of starvation. What other countries in the world are quite that bad? How many of them does America prop up?



[ Parent ]

Propaganda (none / 1) (#254)
by Peaker on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 06:29:28 PM EST

Compare Israel under Sharon and Iraq under Saddam Hussein. They seem quite equivalent. Israel uses the most modern weapons of war against a population that is dirt poor and always living on the verge of starvation. What other countries in the world are quite that bad? How many of them does America prop up?

Did Saddam Hussein use the most modern weapons against a population that is dirt poor? No, he didn't have the most modern weapons, so drop the stupid analogy right there.

Would you prefer it if Israel used old-style weapons against the militants that attack it and destroy their whole cities or use the most modern weapons that only destroy the single house they stay in?

What makes old weapons better? What makes dirt-poor militants untargettable?

I can answer that for you: Propaganda does!

[ Parent ]

Oh, please (2.25 / 4) (#178)
by stuaart on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:18:37 PM EST

Your mindless exclusively pro-Palestinian and ignorant rhetoric merely causes you to descend in another form of racism. The fact that you clearly think there is only Israeli blame to be discussed, in addition misread and misguided hooking onto the oft-misread Chomskyian concept of Israel as a ``racist state,'' merely illustrates your stupidity. Anyone with a brain that hasn't been totally numbed by left- or right-wing political mantras realises that the situation is infinitely more complex than ``Israel are baddies'' and ``Palestinians are goodies.''

Please, you make me sick. If you think you're trolling, give up and go home, since you clearly don't understand how to troll in a subtle (and therefore, the best) way. Your comments are about as obvious as a punch in the face by man with neon-lit arms who warns you before he swings.

So let's break it down like this: you probably reason that Israel is wrong because you think that anyone with (a) more cash, (b) superior firepower and (c) support of America is instantly in the wrong.

The fact that you can, just like hardline right-wing supporters of Israel, mention the struggles of one party without any talk of the struggles of the other just further illustrates how far down the road to worshipping at The Church of Mindless Political Rhetoric you are.

So in conclusion, stop patronising the Palestinian people like they are unable to overcome oppression and can only express this through mindless violence. Equally, stop patronising the Israeli people like they haven't been through some horrific acts that are not their fault.


Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


[ Parent ]
I love it! (2.00 / 6) (#188)
by crunchycookies on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:09:10 PM EST

the situation is infinitely more complex

Most defences of Israel start with a line like that. The situation is quite simple; the Israelis are the opressors, the Palestinians are the oppressed.

If you think you're trolling

No troll. Facts that we must not speak out loud? Facts that make Americans uncomfortable? Definitely.

the Israeli people like they haven't been through some horrific acts that are not their fault.

Yes, that is true. Why is it that the Palestinians are made to pay the price?

The problem that the Israelis face is that they thought that they could invade someone else's country and drive the indigenous peoples out. They thought that with enough brutality they could ethnically purify Palestine and call it Israel. Things have not worked out the way that they had hoped. They are living in a world of their own making and they think that they are the victims.

However the Israelis have the power to change the situation. They can give the Palestinians equal rights. That will give them peace.

The Palestinians do not have the power to change the situation. They cannot end the oppression. They can only resist.



[ Parent ]

The usual Ignorance and Lies by cookies (none / 1) (#253)
by Peaker on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 06:16:47 PM EST

the situation is infinitely more complex

Most defences of Israel start with a line like that. The situation is quite simple; the Israelis are the opressors, the Palestinians are the oppressed.

To claim the situation is simple is either ignorant or dishonest and only the most ignorant would be unaware of that.

the Israeli people like they haven't been through some horrific acts that are not their fault.

Yes, that is true. Why is it that the Palestinians are made to pay the price?

Both sides pay the price. Both sides (including the many complicated camps within each) are doing what they think is best to defend themselves. In a hostile and war environment, this typically makes the other side pay the price.

The problem that the Israelis face is that they thought that they could invade someone else's country and drive the indigenous peoples out. They thought that with enough brutality they could ethnically purify Palestine and call it Israel. Things have not worked out the way that they had hoped. They are living in a world of their own making and they think that they are the victims.

There were hardly any people in the whole of Israel back in 1890 when Jews thought they could "invade the country". And they did so by buying lands from Palestinians. What do you suggest should have been done by the Zionists who tried to create a Jewish sanctuary for Jews to run to exactly because of what would be known as the holocaust? Should they have populated Uganda instead of Palestine? Would the people there have been any friendlier?

The first act of aggression was the Palestinian riots of 1921. Later the riots in 1929 led to the first organization of Israeli militia which did not even exist at all until then!

The first instance of driving out people from their lands was in 1948, when the Palestinians were driven out from their lands willingly due to calls from arab nations that promised to ethnically cleanse the Jewish population. They tried to drive out the Jews and got driven out themselves. Now they want the right to go back (and overwhelm the Israeli democracy with an arab majority). Ironic isn't it?

However the Israelis have the power to change the situation. They can give the Palestinians equal rights. That will give them peace.

The Palestinians which live inside Israel as Israeli citizens already have equal rights by law. Sure there are some descrimination issues, but this exists in almost all countries with problematic histories with minorities.

The Palestinians that live outside of Israel are not Israeli citizens and will not become Israeli citizens. They will become Palestinian citizens of the new Palestinian country that will be created if both sides manage to restrain their violence and give up the unreasonable demands.

The Palestinians do not have the power to change the situation. They cannot end the oppression. They can only resist.

Sure they can, they can give up the right to return and overwhelm the Israeli democracy with an arab majority (thereby destroying Israel's purpose as a sanctuary for Jews), and get their own country.

On the other hand, Israel cannot do anything to change the situation without accepting the destruction of its Jewish majority, which is simply not an option and contradicts the basic purpose of Israel and Zionism of a Jewish sanctuary.

All of the violence and aggression these days is rooted at the Palestinian militias, and if they hold their aggression back and sign the peace documents, we shall have peace.

[ Parent ]

Patent nonsense (2.00 / 2) (#260)
by masher on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 09:42:52 PM EST

The first instance of driving out people from their lands was in 1948, when the Palestinians were driven out from their lands willingly due to calls from arab nations...

Historically, this is patent nonsense. Irgun and the Stern Gang were forcing out Palestinians years before this. The first acts of terrorism in the area were committed by these radical organizations, directed not only against Arabs, but against the British and international observers.

...they can give up the right to return and overwhelm the Israeli democracy with an arab majority (thereby destroying Israel's purpose as a sanctuary for Jews)


A rather racist viewpoint isn't it? Shall we class Britain as a "sanctuary for Anglo-Saxons", and drive out all the Indians and other ethnic groups to ensure whites remain a majority? The Boers in South Africa weren't allowed to persecute their black majority to keep white minority rule. Yet Israel will be "destroyed" if they don't remain ethnically pure?

No nation has the right to deny basic human rights and to form a "democracy" limited only to those who meet ethnic and religious qualifications.

The Palestinians which live inside Israel as Israeli citizens already have equal rights by law. Sure there are some descrimination issues, but this exists in almost all countries with problematic histories with minorities.


Where do you hear such nonsense? Never heard the term 'miyutim lo yehudim', have you? The non-Jew in Israel has in no way, shape, or form equal protection under the law. There are "Citenship Rights" granted to all, but "Nationality Rights" are reserved for Jews only, rights that give them preferential treatment in education, government loans, use of land, access to certain jobs, etc. Over 90% of the land in Israel is allocated to the "Jewish National Fund", and is sold only to or used only by Jews.

A common tactic is to zone land owned by Palestians as a "green area" for public use, paying only a fraction of its actual worth. The land is later allocated to the JNF or rezoned for Jewish use.

Many special privileges are given only to those who have served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Jewish participation is automatic (mandatory, in fact) but a non-Jew must apply. How many of those applications are granted? Look up the answer yourself; you won't believe the number if I give it.

Most telling of all is, that despite Palestinian "citizens" being a larger percentage of the population than are blacks in the US, not one single Palestinian has ever been a minister or higher official in Israeli government.

[ Parent ]
Some truths, but mostly false (none / 0) (#319)
by Peaker on Thu Jun 02, 2005 at 09:01:26 AM EST

Historically, this is patent nonsense. Irgun and the Stern Gang were forcing out Palestinians years before this. The first acts of terrorism in the area were committed by these radical organizations, directed not only against Arabs, but against the British and international observers.

Indeed the Israeli militias tried to get rid of the British. I am not sure which international observers you are referring to during British rule. In any case, I do not know of any "forcing out" made by the Etzel or Lehi, do you have any citations? Also, the "first acts of terrorism" were Arab, look up the 1921/1929 riots. The Etzel/Lehi/Hagana did not even exist yet.

A rather racist viewpoint isn't it? Shall we class Britain as a "sanctuary for Anglo-Saxons", and drive out all the Indians and other ethnic groups to ensure whites remain a majority? The Boers in South Africa weren't allowed to persecute their black majority to keep white minority rule. Yet Israel will be "destroyed" if they don't remain ethnically pure?

In actuality, Britain is a sanctuary for Anglo-Saxons. And there are "racist" laws that allow people who can prove they are ethnically "Anglo-Saxons" to return to England. Your argument backfires... Also, Israel is not ethnically pure and not trying to be, and Arabs have equal rights by law.

No nation has the right to deny basic human rights and to form a "democracy" limited only to those who meet ethnic and religious qualifications.

The Palestinian civilians of Israel are not denied basic Human Rights. In fact they have a lot more rights than Arabs have in their Arab states.

Where do you hear such nonsense? Never heard the term 'miyutim lo yehudim', have you? The non-Jew in Israel has in no way, shape, or form equal protection under the law. There are "Citenship Rights" granted to all, but "Nationality Rights" are reserved for Jews only, rights that give them preferential treatment in education, government loans, use of land, access to certain jobs, etc. Over 90% of the land in Israel is allocated to the "Jewish National Fund", and is sold only to or used only by Jews.

The term "miyutim lo yehudim" merely means "non-Jewish minorities", is the term supposed to prove a point? Israel has such minorities and they do get equal protection from the law. There are no "Nationality Rights" in the Israeli law (or can you cite any?).

  • Education: In my school in Israel, I studied with several Arabs who got equal treatment.
  • Government loans: Where is any preference of Jews shown here? Can you cite any source?
  • Use of land: True: A scandal of actual discrimination was covered recently, and the high court ruled that the discrimination is illegal and removed it.
  • Access to certain jobs: Some jobs require security clearance. Many Arabs cannot get this security clearance. This is a technical issue as most Arabs who live in Israel still have contacts with Arabs who live in the territories, which are currently in war with Israel.
  • Land: 90% of the land? Which land? Around my home town and others, Arabs and Beduyim are settling freely all over the place, and getting their villages recognized as they become large enough.

    A common tactic is to zone land owned by Palestians as a "green area" for public use, paying only a fraction of its actual worth. The land is later allocated to the JNF or rezoned for Jewish use.

    I have heard of this before but have never seen actual citations or such. If it is indeed true, the Bagatz (high court) will rule against it and stop such activity.

    Many special privileges are given only to those who have served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Jewish participation is automatic (mandatory, in fact) but a non-Jew must apply. How many of those applications are granted? Look up the answer yourself; you won't believe the number if I give it.

    Those privileges are also given to those who serve in a civilian setting. All, including Arabs, can serve the alternative civilian period.

    Most telling of all is, that despite Palestinian "citizens" being a larger percentage of the population than are blacks in the US, not one single Palestinian has ever been a minister or higher official in Israeli government.

    This is in fact not true. The manager of the Government office of Interior is an Israeli Palestinian. Also, the government isn't the only important institution in Israel. The Parliament has democratic representation of the Israeli Palestinians (Some simply elect Jewish movements).

    [ Parent ]

  • My God, you're an idiot (1.50 / 2) (#257)
    by HollyHopDrive on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 08:09:35 PM EST

    And it's a shame, because there are some very important points to be made for the Palestinian plight, but morons like you with Year 6 logic capacities don't give those poor people good PR.

    Most defences of Israel start with a line like that.

    That's because it's true. You don't get a land quarrel dating back thousands of years without complications. You think the Balfour Declaration was simple? Theodore Herzl? The circumstances surrounding the Six Day War? The discussions at Camp David? If they were simple, you'd understand them. They aren't, so you are forced to resort to bullshit like this:

    The situation is quite simple; the Israelis are the opressors, the Palestinians are the oppressed.

    I would it were so simple. Sadly, there are some dead and disabled Israelis who dared only go to a disco or out for pizza who require something better than what you've got to offer. This is so easily refuted it's ridiculous. With exactly eh same amount of logic and substantiation, I could say: "It's very simple. Palestinians are oppressing Israelis."

    Facts that we must not speak out loud? Facts that make Americans uncomfortable?

    Facts that make EVERYONE uncomfortable if, unlike you, they do not pick and choose. Facts of IDF bulldozing Palestinian homes. Facts of Palestinian snipers shooting Israeli babies. Facts of Palestinians needing their own state. Fact of Israel also needing its own state.

    Yes, that is true. Why is it that the Palestinians are made to pay the price?

    I really hope you're trolling, because I know of a young Israeli woman who dreamed of being a dancer, and at the age of 19 was mown down by a Palestinian bus driver, and is now wheelchair-bound and more than 90 per cent paralysed. Seriously, if you're trolling I'll still know you're a moron, but at least you won't actually believe that only one side is suffering.

    The problem that the Israelis face is that they thought that they could invade someone else's country and drive the indigenous peoples out.

    Bullshit. Jewish immigration to the area increased dramatically after the Holocaust and the area was largely Jewish when the state was created.

    ethnically purify Palestine

    You use those words much, much too lightly. When Israel builds extermination camps with the sole purpose of killing Palestinians, you can say that. Until then, take your popular pseudo-lefty drivel and shove it up your arse until it penetrates your brain. That can't damage your reasoning powers any further.


    I make too much sense to be on the Internet.
    [ Parent ]

    Hiler a little man with limited talents? (none / 1) (#110)
    by soares on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 11:21:08 AM EST

    Curiously, this seems to be the recurrent idea in all these posts (as well as the main article, line 4). Hitler the demagogue, the "small and insecure man", the German Ann Coulter, 1920s pollster, lance corporal. It seems that we can deal with the historical Hitler only after we have belittle and trivialize the man.

    Unimpressed (none / 0) (#153)
    by Kadin2048 on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 04:24:23 PM EST

    I think this is the part of the process of trivializing him; instead of remembering the shrewd and dangerous politician who rose to power of a major world power, instead we remember the insecure failed artist or try to pidgeon-hole him as a pundit with bad modern comparisons. I'm not sure that we do this as much to prevent comparisons between ourselves and our society with Hitler or late-30s Germany, than just as part of the marginalization of our defeated enemies after the fact.

    Frankly I'm less than impressed with this article, it seems easy to me to compare virtually any populist politician to Adolf Hitler; it's not like he ever had the corner on the market for obtaining power by saying the things that people want to hear but that other politicans are afraid to speak. I'd go so far as to say that people have been doing that since the dawn of civilization, or soon after. Thucylides' description of Cleon during the Peloponnesian war (~480 BC) could just as easily be compared, and probably be more valid as there wouldn't be the question of rampant personal bias.

    I could probably sit down and find parallels between any major US politician and Adolf Hiter -- it wouldn't mean a thing other than I dislike the given politician and am desperate for mud to sling. This article reeks of bitter personal agenda.

    [ Parent ]

    You just made the author's point (2.00 / 2) (#160)
    by 5inay on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:08:41 PM EST

    If simply drawing comparisons to Hitler constitutes "mudslinging", that denotes an inability to separate Hitler the man from Hitler the icon. Hitler did not start off on a platform of sending Jews to gas chambers or anything of the sort... he was democratically elected and manipulated things to overreach in his power and ultimately destroy the balance of power. It is ignorant and dangerous to not learn from Hitler's ascention to dictatorship and look for parallels today. When you have politicians demonising groups of people for their race, beliefs or sexual orientations, that ought to send all kinds of warning bells that need to be heard before the balance of power has been destroyed to a point where we are unable to do anything about it.

    [ Parent ]
    Wrong (none / 0) (#165)
    by planders on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 05:42:35 PM EST

    Have you read Mein Kampf? It doesn't mention "gas chambers" specifically but it does make it pretty clear that when Adolf's running the show, the Jews have got to go. The racial policies of the Nazi party were not exactly a secret when they were democratically elected.

    [ Parent ]
    People vs. their leaders (3.00 / 2) (#172)
    by badtux on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:05:02 PM EST

    ... it seems easy to me to compare virtually any populist politician to Adolf Hitler; it's not like he ever had the corner on the market for obtaining power by saying the things that people want to hear but that other politicans are afraid to speak.

    Which was exactly my point: that when a nation does evil things, we must look at the people of that nation, rather than the populist who speaks the evil in the heart of the people, as the source of the evil. What we do by confining or personalizing the evil into one man, such as Hitler the Symbol of Evil, is misunderstand the very basis of why the evil happened. The evil did not occur because Hitler was evil. The evil occurred because there was evil in the hearts of the German people as a whole, the evils of racism and triumphalism and militarism. My point was not to compare Hitler and Bush. My point was that we must look at the people, not at their leaders, as the source of evil in the actions of democratic nations. And that by misunderstanding this distinction, we delude ourselves that, because George W. Bush is not the personification of evil, thus we can't go the way of Nazi Germany. But the fact is that we can. Hitler was a symptom, not a cause. We do not need a Hitler to do evil as a nation, all we need is any demagogue willing to voice the darkness in our hearts. Unless we realize this and face that darkness, then it is possible -- indeed, probably -- that as a nation we will trod the paths of evil.

    - Badtux the Dualist Penguin
    In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
    [ Parent ]

    You assume too much (none / 0) (#208)
    by emmons on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 05:15:47 PM EST

    You assume that Hitler rose to and maintained power by purely democratic means. He didn't. He killed political rivals that stood in the way of his ascention, once he rose to some semblance of power he killed any who would oppose him at that level, burned the national capitol in order to further sieze power, all the while building the SS which allowed him to maintain his absolute power through quasi martial law. The man was a dictator.

    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    How is this democratic? (none / 1) (#213)
    by Mason on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 10:01:56 PM EST

    Bush was heralded into office by the Supreme Court, after the mainstream corporate media spent a solid year lying about Gore.  An attempt to express democracy by holding an accurate recount in Florida was violently protested by bused-in partisan thugs, which was then billed by the same corporate media as a popular, local objection to the recounts.

    It doesn't get any less democratic than that, honestly.

    Republicans have continued their assault on our democracy since then by rewriting anything that stands in their way.  DeLay rewrote ethics rules so that, no matter how guilty he was shown to be, he could hold onto power.  Removing the ability to filibuster unacceptable judicial nominees (something Republicans were happy to do to Clinton) dismantles the protections that keep a narrow majority from holding complete tyranny over our legislative branch.

    It doesn't take savage beatings in the street to dismantle a democracy.  Indeed, such tactics are self-defeating in modern America.  All it takes is an alliance between corporations, religion, and far-right ideologues, against the compromises of a liberal, modern democracy.  America was well-constructed, but it can be broken when, as Yeats wrote, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity..."

    [ Parent ]

    slightly off the topic, but... (none / 1) (#218)
    by emmons on Sat Apr 23, 2005 at 11:22:11 PM EST

    Democrats will not be in the majority until they figure out that they need to talk about why they are good, rather than why Republicans are bad. Democrats aren't losing because they're wrong; they're losing because they aren't telling anyone why they're right.

    Nobody likes or votes for pessimists. The sooner the democratic party figures this out, the better off they'll be.

    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]

    Democrats aren't any better... (none / 1) (#277)
    by c4ffeine on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 10:47:15 PM EST

    Unfortunately, democrats don't seem to be any better than the Republicans. They use different rhetoric and attack rights/liberties for different reasons, but the end result is the same: they are more than willing to fuck us over as well. They don't seem to be opposing egregious things like the PATRIOT Act, and they certainly did support measures like the Clipper chip debacle (if I remember correctly, anyways).

    I wish that there was a third party with a chance that was willing to actually serve the people and uphold the Constitution, but I don't know of any out there. Anyone got one with a chance with sane views? (Before you mention it, I'd like to point out the Libertarians would gladly let corporations do whatever they want, so they're out too).

    Eh, this is probably horribly offtopic and incoherent, but it's worth posting.

    [ Parent ]

    Well, Kinda (none / 0) (#242)
    by czolgosz on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 02:49:47 PM EST

    Which was exactly my point: that when a nation does evil things, we must look at the people of that nation, rather than the populist who speaks the evil in the heart of the people, as the source of the evil.
    I agree up to a point. The danger in this is that you can end up blaming the victims. And it's a position that seems to be based on a peculiarly American idea that governments exist only with the consent of the governed. In most of the world this has never been true, and it's debatable how true it has been even in the US. And demagogues can lead a highly committed minority to drag an entire nation into catastrope even when the majority attempts to resist.

    It's more productive to view authority as a form of macroparasitism. Usually the parasite stays under the immune-system radar and behaves enough like a symbiote to keep being allowed to suck a little blood from the body politic. Once in a while the host/parasite relationship destabilizes and the parasite drives both host and parasite to destruction. My view is that this is a risk that is endemic to all power relations, and even the best of systems can only mitigate it, not eliminate it entirely.

    This is also why I view Frist's attempt to eliminate the filibuster as dangerous: it removes one of the circuit-breakers that prevent thin majorities from pandering to their own extremist fringe. It makes it harder to get things done, but it also makes it more likely that what is done will not be immediately undone the next time the other party is on top. And frankly, in most circumstances, the less the government gets done, the better.


    Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
    [ Parent ]
    Hear, hear... (none / 0) (#245)
    by masher on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 03:08:09 PM EST

    And frankly, in most circumstances, the less the government gets done, the better...

    It puts me in mind of Heinlein's suggestion for two houses of Congress....one whose sole business is to pass new laws, and the other engaged in repealing old ones.

    [ Parent ]
    Lifecycle (none / 0) (#301)
    by czolgosz on Sat May 07, 2005 at 03:12:23 PM EST

    Some of the Vikings controlled the complexity of their legal system by requiring that their law-sayer be able to remember all the laws. Put something new in the bag, something else had to come out. I think it's important that something be done to fight the growth of legislative cruft.

    I'm on the other end of the political spectrum from Heinlein, but despite fervent assertions to the contrary by some propagandists, it's entirely possible to have leftist priorities and also believe in small, limited government. Pity that authoritarians, both left and right, are the ones most drawn to politics. Further evidence of Plato's dictum that desire for power is evidence of one's unfitness to exercise it.


    Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
    [ Parent ]
    Closer than you think (none / 0) (#302)
    by masher on Sat May 07, 2005 at 05:04:33 PM EST

    I'm on the other end of the political spectrum from Heinlein...

    You're probably a lot closer than you think, which illustrates some of the problems with a one-dimensional representation of political thought.

    Before beginning his writing career, Heinlein ran for political office. He ran as a Democrat and was apparently perceived so liberal that-- even in the Southern California district in which he ran-- he lost the Democratic Primary...to a Republican.

    His views moderated over the years, but classifying him as far right would be, I believe, wholly inaccurate.

    [ Parent ]
    Our Friend Robert (none / 0) (#303)
    by czolgosz on Sat May 07, 2005 at 09:40:32 PM EST

    I agree with your view that one-dimensional political spectra don't tell you much.

    Anyway I think of Heinlein more as a proto-Libertarian, though he explores different political viewpoints in different novels, so it's hard to get a fix on what he really thinks. I discern a nostalgia for the frontier spirit in many of his novels, and he was definitely of the WW2 generation. Like most of them, he was far from being a pacifist.

    In Southern California in the late 30's, it wouldn't have been hard to be perceived as "too liberal." In the 1920's the KKK had even managed to infiltrate the Democratic Party and win local seats in Anaheim among other places. And even the far less insane Heinlein was toying with ideas from the Social Credit movement. This drew both leftish adherents and those who later became pro-Fascists such as Ezra Pound.


    Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
    [ Parent ]
    Will of the people != democracy (none / 0) (#294)
    by badtux on Thu May 05, 2005 at 11:41:04 PM EST

    No ruler can continue ruling without the consent of the people. Without the consent of the people, Hitler would have just been a frustrated artist raving in a beer hall. Without the consent of the people, Saddam would have just been a random assassin in the pay of the CIA. Etc. What rulers depend on is that the people consent to be ruled. If the people refuse such consent, then the ruler cannot rule.

    For example, we know now that Iraq had more weapons per capita than any Libertarian wet dream has ever possessed. Every household had an AK-47 and RPG launcher, pretty much. So how could Saddam stay in power, if at any given time 4,000,000 people could descend upon Baghdad and send him packing? Simple. Those 4,000,000 people stayed home. They consented to his rule.

    Remember, failing to choose is itself a choice. If you fail to choose who your ruler will be, you are choosing your ruler.

    Most people don't care who their ruler is, as long as he keeps crime under control and the trains running on time. Most people in the United States consent to the Presidency of George W. Bush, for example. The tiny minority that voted against Bush in the last Presidential election -- around 20% of the voting-age population -- is deluding themselves when they blame everything from fraud to their wimpy candidate as the reason Bush won. The reason Bush won is simple: Most people don't care who rules them. So they consented to his rule by staying home on election day rather than going to the polls to vote against him. That, my friend, is the secret of how people gain and keep power: sheer apathy. And should we not blame people for the fruits of their apathy?

    - Badtux the Realist Penguin
    In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
    [ Parent ]

    And once again, you are totally incorrect. (none / 0) (#297)
    by masher on Fri May 06, 2005 at 02:08:32 PM EST

    No ruler can continue ruling without the consent of the people...

    A statement that has been proven incorrect by history countless times.

    So how could Saddam stay in power, if at any given time 4,000,000 people could descend upon Baghdad and send him packing?

    A coup requires organization, not weapons. Anyone even suspected of attempting such a thing, or even harboring plans of such was instantly imprisoned or executed.

    Regardless of your Hollywood-movie derived knowledge of war and conflict, the possession of small arms does not an army make. You need training, a command chain, communications, heavy arms, air support, and a thousand other details.

    Had a civilian rabble armed with rifles ever tried a coup around Baghdad, they would have been cut down by Republican guards before they even finished forming up, even if they outnumbered those troops by 25 to 1. And who wants to be the first person standing in the courtyard for the coup, hoping four million close friends will show up and help?

    Historically, such coups only work when the government has lost the support of some or all the military, or when a rebel force-- usually aided and equipped by an outside nation-- has gained enough strength and popularity to attract widespread support.



    [ Parent ]
    Ah yes, the vaunted "Republican Guards" (none / 0) (#299)
    by badtux on Fri May 06, 2005 at 05:18:40 PM EST

    They would have just been ITCHIN' to cut down their own countrymen by the millions... yessirree... this very same Republican Guard that deserted almost to a man as soon as Saddam told them to take on the U.S. Army would have been just ITCHIN' to cut down their own countrymen by the millions. Yeah right. And if Iraqis had refused to enlist in the Republican Guard, and refused to sell food and supplies to Saddam's regime?

    Your underestimation of what people can do if they care is typical, however, of apologists for apathy. Being born cowards, apologists for apathy invent excuses for their apathy the way other people drink water.

    The fact remains that no ruler can remain ruler if opposed by the majority of people in his country. The fact, however, is that most men are cowards and will not act for fear of getting hurt. It is a rare country indeed where a majority care enough about who leads them to actually get out there and make sure they get the kind of leadership they deserve, and the U.S. is not such a country at all.

    - Badtux the Leadership Penguin
    In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
    [ Parent ]

    Sheer idiocy (none / 0) (#300)
    by masher on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:00:43 PM EST

    Being born cowards, apologists for apathy invent excuses...

    Ah, how many governments have you overthrown? Mighty brave from the safety of your Lazy-Boy recliner, aren't you Gomer?

    They would have just been ITCHIN' to cut down their own countrymen by the millions... yessirree...

    The sheer idiocy of certain people never ceases to amaze me...this is even worse than your stating President never stepped inside a Church.

    We don't have to wonder whether or not Hossein's troops would have "cut down their own countrymen by the millions", because they did just that. Over 30,000 died in the '91 Shia uprising alone, more than 100,000 killed in the 1987-88 Anfal campaign. Even in Baghdad itself, suspected dissidents were regularly rounded up and imprisoned or executed. Does being blindfolded and shot in the head not qualify as being "cut down" to you? What about having laughing soldiers strap explosives to you, then blow you up by remote control?

    We have no idea how total Iraqi citizens were killed overall, but investigators have already found well over two hundred mass graves. One alone contains over 15,000 bodies.

    ...this very same Republican Guard that deserted almost to a man as soon as Saddam told them to take on the U.S. Army...

    Oops, poor Badtux. Desert Storm began on Jan 16, 1991. Iraqi troops took some 100,000 causualties over six weeks, and still the overall desertion rate was some 30-35%. Within the Republican Guard itself, the rate was significantly lower still. And this is AFTER withstanding withering losses against an enemy overwhelmingly better trained, organized, and equipped than them, supported with heavy armor and artillery, nonstop, crushing air superiority, and the most advanced weapon systems on the planet.

    And you're attempting to suggest these troops would instantly run in fear from an untrained ragtag mob of civilians, armed only with rifles? The same troops that, weeks earlier, had absolutely no trouble subduing two million Kuwaitis? The troops who stood and fought for eight years in the Iran-Iraq war, a conflict that claimed over one MILLION lives?

    Are you making inane claims to get a rise out of me? I refuse to believe even anyone, even you, would take such a statement seriously.

    [ Parent ]
    Shah of Iran (none / 0) (#315)
    by badtux on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:09:06 AM EST

    The Shah of Iran, on advice from Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor (don't ask me to spell that Polish name!), ordered his soldiers to fire into a crowd of unarmed student protestors. The soldiers fired one volley, blanched at the horror of what they had just done as they saw the blood and guts of their fellow Iranians spilled upon the ground, turned around, shot their officers, and joined the protesters. A few days later the Shah was gone. The Carter Administration tried to install a military coup in his place, but the military had already literally melted away, the soldiers throwing away their uniforms and taking their guns and joining the student protesters.

    Saddam could get away with brutal tactics only when attacking minorities, much as Southern sheriffs could only get away with brutal tactics when attacking black people, they would get whipped down by the courts in a Dixie minute if they'd tried beating down fine upstanding white folk. Everybody else was fine with him.

    The majority in Iraq, like the majority in America today, simply DID NOT CARE who was ruler of their country. As long as he didn't brutalize fine upstanding people like themselves (and he didn't -- he only brutalized people who objected to his rule), they had no problem with Saddam at all. Just as the majority of Americans have no problem with Bush at all, and the majority of Germans had no problem with Hitler at all.

    Because if the majority of people had really wanted Saddam or Hitler gone -- and I mean REALLY wanted him gone, wanted him gone enough to put their own bodies on the line -- he would have ended up as gone as the Shah of Iran. The Shah's brutal SAVIK secret police, in the end, was not enough to save him when the majority of Iranians turned against him and the soldiers threw away their uniforms and turned their guns his way.

    - Badtux the Revolutionary Penguin
    In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
    [ Parent ]

    Just like Bush has never set foot in a church,eh? (none / 0) (#316)
    by masher on Tue May 10, 2005 at 04:27:11 AM EST

    ...soldiers fired one volley, blanched at the horror of what they had just done...turned around, shot their officers, and joined the protesters.

    Haha, you mean the same troops who had, from 1963 to 1979, imprisoned, tortured, raped, and murdered hundreds of thousands of their "fellow Iranians"? The same troops who, the year before, suppressed political demonstrations so violently as to kill several thousand protestors?

    You feel the only reason these troops deserted was-- after a multi-decade career of bloody-minded savagery-- they suddenly saw the "horror of their ways"? Want a lollipop to go with that theory?

    The reasons for the Shah's loss of military support were manifold, but none involved a sudden attack of conscience. The Iranian revolution supports my own point-- I've already explained to you that the loss of military support is one of only two ways a popular revolution can succeed.

    Here's another news flash. Iran is not Iraq. Iraq is one of the most secular nations in the Middle East...Iran, one of the most religious. The Iranian Revolution had a cause...the revolutionaries were protecting their nation and against Westernization, as much as they were deposing the Shah. What's the risk of death compared to the rewards of Allah?

    Hossein on the other hand was, was far more difficult to cast as an enemy of Islam. He was a practicising Sunni, regularly attended mosque, and was seen as one of the most vehemently anti-Western icons alive. Even as the US attacked, he was engaged in building the largest mosque in the entire world. That didn't stop the Southern Shias from casting him as an enemy of Allah...but it was a label far harder to stick.

    Hossein was no less corrupt than the Shah...but he was smart enough to spread profits to others, to solidify his power base. Does that mean he was popular? No, quite the opposite. It meant he was just the summit of a large network of thuggery and suppression....rather than one lonely man, hoping his orders would be obeyed simply because he bore a title.

    The majority in Iraq...had no problem with Saddam at all...

    Thats why they immediately rushed into the streets and began toppling statues of him, eh? Thats why polls taken after the invasion show 80% of Iraqis were happy to see Hossein go...a figure rising to 92% in Shia areas and 99% in Kurdish areas? That's why hundreds of mass graves dot the Iraqi countryside? That's why Iraqi troops put down several failed uprisings in the past...and could never gain a stable hold in the North?

    Because if the majority of people had really wanted Saddam or Hitler gone -- and I mean REALLY wanted him gone, wanted him gone enough to put their own bodies on the line

    By your logic, a group of people held hostage by one man with a gun have "no problem" with him either, because they won't put their own bodies on the line to all rush him at once. Oops...care to rethink that, Einstein?

    You stumble across a grain of truth, but you fail to recognize it. Should any ruler be so terrible that an entire populace is willing to accept a sure death-- for them and their entire famlies-- rather than submit to his rule...then he cannot rule. Quite obviously. The worst he may do is kill all his subjects, then lose his kingdom by default.

    But in all of recorded human history, its never happened. The real world doesn't work like that. Suicidal freedom fighters are rare and difficult to inspire...and even the most suicidal of them doesn't want to die in vain. They want to accomplish something by dying. A regime which can convince people they will gain nothing from revolt but death will remain stable. This is why slavery is possible...most people prefer slavery to death. And most people preferred being alive in Iraq to a sure death fighting Hossein.

    Your childlike dream of any revolution being succesful if you can simply get a few thousand people to all storm the castle at once is a Hollywood-inspired fantasy.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes, it is fantasy (none / 0) (#317)
    by badtux on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:24:27 PM EST

    But it is fantasy not for the reasons you mention. It is fantasy because men are sheep, afraid to disturb the corners of their tidy little lives, afraid to think big, act boldly, believe great things, always looking for an "alpha male" to protect them from bad men. Sheep care more about their own safety than about things like "freedom" and "liberty", and get what they deserve.

    Regarding Iran, the primary tool used by the Shah to retain power was his savage SAVIK secret police, not his Army. The Army was rarely used against protestors exactly because of the reason it disintegrated in the end -- because the Army was comprised of the People, and could not be trusted to suppress the People. When the Shah took Brzinznsky's advice (I *KNOW* I didn't spell that right!) and ordered the Army to fire upon protesters, that was pretty much the end of the Shah's regime.

    Once upon a time, the United States was not a nation of sheep. Today, however... just look at the baby boomers shuddering in fear inside their rolling tank SUV's and behind the walls of their gated communities. They're scared of *EVERYTHING*. That's why they are willing to allow George W. Bush to attack any random nation that George says may be a threat at some time in the future. "Baahhhh! Baaaahhh! Keep us poor sheep safe!" is the new National Slogan. Just as it was in Saddam's Iraq. And Hitler's Germany. Once the majority are convinced that they now have a shepherd keeping them safe, they baaaaa sheep-like and will follow that Great Leader anywhere.

    Which, I suppose, contradicts to a certain extent my thesis that the cause of nations doing evil things is a darkness in the hearts of its citizens. But then, as you pointed out (and I did too), citizens won't follow their Great Leader *everywhere*. They will only follow their Great Leader if what he proposes and what he does is compatible with their own beliefs. Most Americans, for example, have no problem with Bush's notion of "perpetual war for perpetual peace", because most Americans, secure in their belief of American Exceptionalism, view anybody not American as untermenschen, not really people. Most Iraqis had no problem with Saddam's suppression of the Kurds and Saddam's suppression of religious extremists and dissidents because they, too, disliked Kurds and religious extremists and dissidents who would interfere with their tidy little lives. Similarly, most Germans had no problem with Hitler's demonization of the Jews, because they, too, viewed the Jews as being untermenschen, not really German, not really people.

    The Iranian soldiers who deserted and joined the student protesters, on the other hand, had a very real problem with killing their own countrymen. They weren't priviliged goons like SAVIK, they were just ordinary joes who'd been drafted into the Army. You cannot lead the majority into abomination unless the majority is willing to go there. The German people were willing to go there. The Iranian people were not. Hitler was supported by the German people until the day he died. The Shah was not. Surely the people themselves and their deepest darkest beliefs have something to do with their willingness to follow a Great Leader who espouses those beliefs?

    - Badtux the Philosophical Penguin
    In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
    [ Parent ]

    We agree; your theory is fantasy (none / 0) (#318)
    by masher on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:56:06 PM EST

    "Men are sheep, afraid to disturb the corners of their tidy little lives, afraid to think big, act boldly....Sheep care more about their own safety than about things like "freedom" and "liberty", and get what they deserve..."

    Again I ask: how many revolutions have you fought in?

    "The Shah [retained] power with his savage SAVIK secret police, not his Army. The Army was rarely used against protestors...because the Army was comprised of the People, and could not be trusted to suppress the People..."

    Ah, and the secret police weren't people? All 15,000 of them were robotic drones, perhaps? By the way, it's "SAVAK", not Savik.

    "When the Shah...ordered the Army to fire upon protesters, that was pretty much the end of the Shah's regime..."

    Oops again; you forgot about his ordering the troops to do just that several times in 1978. The army was involved in supressing the 1978 riots, not just SAVAK.

    "Which, I suppose, contradicts to a certain extent my thesis..."

    Yes it does.

    You cannot lead the majority into abomination unless the majority is willing to go there.

    You were more accurate last time. You cannot lead the majority unless they're willing to die to stop you.

    [ Parent ]
    So what (1.33 / 3) (#175)
    by Roman on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 06:12:05 PM EST

    Lenin's birthday is on the 22nd.

    So is my girl-friend's, but you don't hear me not complaining.

    the dark soul not all-important (1.50 / 2) (#187)
    by fhotg on Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 10:46:37 PM EST

    I agree with what you are saying. However you seem to miss an important angle. Not every failed artist or reborn alcoholic beomes a mighty politician. Mighty becomes who not only "channels the peoples more or less evil desires and predjuces" but additionally is supported by those who are in power already, in politics and economy. Hitler could have represented the darkest desires in the German soul as much as he wanted, if his program had not meant the promise of making wealthier the wealthy, and fitted into the political consensus at the time ("everything but the communists"), then the NSDAP would never have succeeded. But this applies to the contemporary guys you mention as well, I believe.
    ~~~
    Gitarren fr die Mdchen -- Champagner fr die Jungs

    Hitler was an atheist! (1.11 / 9) (#224)
    by sellison on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 02:30:54 AM EST

    and then all these good honest Christians you mention, they have nothing at all to do with a godless, statist, vicious man.

    You just show the total bankruptcy of the left, you have no logic, no honor, and no spiritual values. All you can do is try to tear godly men like Tom DeLay and godly women like Ann Coulter down.

    You couldn't hold your own for 5 seconds in an honest debate with either of them, but o you can caste sneaky aspersions on their good character and try to start ugly rumors.

    But you will find yourself living in an increasingly moral, Christian America, because your immoral and godless tactics will backfire. The American people know a leftist mudslinger when they see one, and we will continue tilting farther right to get as far away from your kind as we can.

    And this will be the result of your labor:

    Abortion will be illegal
    Homosexuality will be illegal
    Corporations will be free to make money
    The Federal govt. will cut all spending on socialist programs and get back to their Consitutional duty of National Defense
    Tom DeLay will be the next President

    We will have a moral and God fearing nation again, and you atheists can go ruin some other country (though if you try to take your philosophy to it's immoral conclusion the way your hero did, we'll be there to straighten you back out again!)

    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

    Nazis and Christianity (none / 1) (#231)
    by jcarnelian on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 09:53:27 AM EST

    I can't quite tell from your posting whether you are trying to be funny or sarcastic, or whether you are serious.  But since these are serious matters, here is a serious response.

    This is from the program of the Nazi party:

    24. We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession.

    The Nazi party proclaimed as the core of its political program Christianity, morality, and family values.  Sound familiar?  The analogy to the modern political right in the US is chilling.

    The Nazis used Christian theology as a justification for going after the Jewish people, arguing that the collective guilt for killing Jesus still had not been atoned for.  That argument has become unfashionable these days, both because of historical outrage and because Jews constitute too important a part of modern US society to persecute them, so the modern US right wing simply includes them as a kind of "light Christian" under the umbrella of "people of the book" and instead is gearing up to persecute less important minorities.

    Here are more pointers about the close ties between Christianity, Christian churches, and the Nazis.

    [ Parent ]

    Hitler hated Christians (2.66 / 3) (#240)
    by sellison on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 02:20:39 PM EST

    "The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child." - 11th-12th July, 1941

    "Pure Christianity-- the Christianity of the catacombs-- is concerned with translating the Christian doctrine into facts. It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely whole hearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics." - 14th December, 1941

    "Didn't the world see, carried on right into the Middle Ages, the same old system of martyrs, tortures, faggots? Of old, it was in the name of Christianity. To-day, it's in the name of Bolshevism. Yesterday, the instigator was Saul: the instigator to-day, Mardochai. Saul has changed into St. Paul, and Mardochai into Karl Marx. By exterminating this pest, we shall do humanity a service of which our soldiers can have no idea." - 21st October, 1941

    "I'm sure that Nero didn't set fire to Rome. It was the Christian-Bolsheviks who did that, just as the Commune set fire to Paris in 1871 and the Communists set fire to the Reichstag in 1932." - 25th October, 1941

    ""It was Christianity that brought about the fall of Rome - not the Germans or the Huns." - 27th Jan 1942

    "As soon as the idea was introduced that all men were equal before God, that world was bound to collapse." 26th February, 1942

    "By means of the struggle, the elites are continually renewed. The law of selection justifies this incessant struggle, by allowing the survival of the fittest. Christianity is rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of failure." - 10th October, 1941

    "It is deplorable that the Bible should have been translated into German, and that the whole of the German Folk should have thus become exposed to the whole of this Jewish mumbo jumbo... As a sane German, one is flabbergasted to think that German human beings could have let themselves be brought to such a pass by Jewish filth and priestly twaddle, that they were little different from the howling dervish of the Turks and the negroes, at whom we laugh so scornfully. It angers one to think that, while in other parts of the globe religious teaching like that of Confucius, Buddha and Mohammed offers an undeniably broad basis for the religious-minded, Germans should have been duped by a theological exposition devoid of all honest depth." - 5th June, 1942

    "The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death. A slow death has something comforting about it. The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that's left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity." - 14th October, 1941

    "I shall never believe that what is founded on lies can endure for ever. I believe in truth. I'm sure that, in the long run, truth must be victorious. It's probable that, as regards religion, we are about to enter an era of tolerance. Everybody will be allowed to seek his own salvation in the way that suits him best. The ancient world knew this climate of tolerance. Nobody took to proselytising." 27th February, 1942

    "The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity. Christianity is a prototype of Bolshevism: the mobilisation by the Jew of the masses of slaves with the object of undermining society." - 19th October, 1941

    "The man who lives in communion with nature necessarily finds himself in opposition to the Churches. And that's why they're heading for ruin - for science is bound to win."

    "Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity. It will last another hundred years, two hundred years perhaps. My regret will have been that I couldn't, like whoever the prophet was, behold the promised land from afar. We are entering into a conception of the world that will be a sunny era, an era of tolerance. Man must be put in a position to develop freely the talents that God has given him." 27th February, 1942

    "I don't interfere in matters of belief. Therefore I can't allow churchmen to interfere with temporal affairs. The organised lie must be smashed. The State must remain the absolute master." 13th December, 1941  

    There's much more in here:

    Hitler's Table Talk 1941- 1944 His Private Conversations | 1953 |

    Atheisms is the absence of Religion, and from Religion flows Morality. Hence atheistism is also the absence of Morality.

    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
    [ Parent ]

    Speaking as an atheist... (none / 1) (#244)
    by masher on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 03:06:02 PM EST

    I'm quite sure your Bush quote is a fraud.  Its an oft-repeated version of a brief conversation between Bush and an atheist activist and "reporter" for American Atheist magazine...while passing through an airport no less.  

    The story bears all the hallmarks of propaganda, and has never been independently confirmed.  Furthermore, even if one could believe a politician might say such a thing to a religious congregation, it takes a fool indeed to believe he'd say it privately to an activist for atheism.

    Believe what you want.  Personally, I'm a staunch atheist myself...but I prefer the truth to propaganda.


    [ Parent ]

    Did George Bush really say that atheists (3.00 / 3) (#246)
    by sellison on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 03:59:32 PM EST

     should not be considered citizens?

    Yes, Virginia, yes he did:

    The following exchange took place at the Chicago airport between Robert I. Sherman of American Atheist Press and George Bush, on August 27 1987. Sherman is a fully accredited reporter, and was present by invitation as a member of the press corps. The Republican presidential nominee was there to announce federal disaster relief for Illinois. The discussion turned to the presidential primary:

    RS:
        "What will you do to win the votes of Americans who are atheists?"
    GB:
        "I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me."
    RS:
        "Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?"
    GB:
       "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

    And you know what esle? He was Right!

    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
    [ Parent ]

    The stench of fraud... (none / 1) (#249)
    by masher on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 04:47:50 PM EST

    Can you not smell it? It is pathetically obvious. The innate desire of people to believe what they want to believe-- no matter how absurd, illogical, or self-contradictory-- is rather depressing.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes (2.33 / 3) (#252)
    by sellison on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 06:10:04 PM EST

    The innate desire of people to believe what they want to believe-- no matter how absurd, illogical, or self-contradictory-- is rather depressing.

    that is why atheism is so depressing, surronded by God's glories and owing your existence to His mercy, and yet you cling to the vain belief that it is all due to random chance.

    Atheists are truly pathetic, your massive egos blot out the very Son.

    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
    [ Parent ]

    "pathetic" (2.00 / 2) (#266)
    by jcarnelian on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 06:42:10 AM EST

    No, what is "pathetic" is that this marvelous universe, so ancient, so varied, and so vast scares you so much that you need to invent daemons and spirits and an afterlife to explain it and cope with your position in it. And it is Christians that have the massive egos, thinking that everything was created by God just for them as some sort of cosmic SAT. Atheists know that they come from nothingness and will return to nothingness, brief spectators of a glorious spectacle in which humans play no role, in which we are fully responsible to ourselves and only ourselves, and from which all of humanity will disappear long before its end.

    [ Parent ]
    Cosmic SAT (none / 0) (#269)
    by masher on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 12:46:19 PM EST

    "And it is Christians that have the massive egos, thinking that everything was created by God just for them as some sort of cosmic SAT...."

    In Sellison's case, he better hope God is grading on a curve...

    [ Parent ]
    A linky. (none / 1) (#288)
    by Another Scott on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:42:29 PM EST

    Here.

    It seems quite likely that he did say that.

    FWIW.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    [ Parent ]

    Nay (none / 0) (#291)
    by masher on Fri Apr 29, 2005 at 01:19:21 PM EST

    This is the same oft-repeated statement by Robert Sherman, a "journalist" who is an admitted advocate of athiests issues.  I guess he missed Journalism 101 or he'd understand what a no-no this is.  

    What's indisputable is that Sherman _claims_ Bush said this.  But it stretches credulity long past the breaking point to believe him...not to mention the fact that its never been independently confirmed.

    [ Parent ]

    you're wrong (none / 1) (#259)
    by jcarnelian on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 09:07:21 PM EST

    Hitler hated Christians

    First of all, your quotes don't show that Hitler was an atheist or hated Christians, they only show that he disagreed with some forms of Christianity.  In particular, he seems to dislike left-leaning Christianity, what we call "liberation theology" today (which the current and previous Pope, as well as many Christian fundamentalists, disapprove of as well).

    But even if Hitler didn't believe in Christianity, what does that prove?  At issue is not whether he believed in Christianity, but whether he was able to use Christianity for his political ends, and that he clearly did.  Furthermore, the churches (Catholic and Protestant alike) were complicit in that.

    Atheisms is the absence of Religion, and from Religion flows Morality. Hence atheistism is also the absence of Morality.

    Quite to the contrary: many atheists have moral codes and, unlike Christians, who often just seem to derive their moral codes from some supposed divine authority without much thought, atheists are forced to reflect on ethics.  In contrast, Christianity as a source of moral principles fails even elementary standards of compassion, decency, and acceptable behavior, both according to its own texts (the Bible), its current practice, and its history practice (the Crusades, the Inquisition, multiple genocides in the Americas, etc.).

    There are, of course, many Christians who are also decent and compassionate people, and some Christian organizations that do good work, but that's despite Christianity, not because of it.

    [ Parent ]

    Many, maybe (none / 1) (#278)
    by sellison on Tue Apr 26, 2005 at 01:58:15 AM EST

    but most, no.

    Wheras ALL Christians have a Moral Code, by definition.

    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
    [ Parent ]

    ha (none / 0) (#282)
    by ShiftyStoner on Tue Apr 26, 2005 at 03:01:37 PM EST

    The world hasnt met me yet...
    ( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
    [ Parent ]
    Speaking as a Christian... (none / 1) (#286)
    by heliarch on Wed Apr 27, 2005 at 04:34:16 AM EST

    You make me want to vomit.

    "godly men like Tom DeLay and godly women like Ann Coulter" ought to follow the example of Christ, not God, lest they be judged themselves (and they will).



    [ Parent ]

    Hitler might have been an atheist. . . (none / 1) (#229)
    by trudyashchiksya on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 06:16:28 AM EST

    ...but he pretended he was a Christian, just like Bush is doing. He supported the Catholic and protestant churches in Germany to help keep the people in his power, because Germany was a Christian country, and the people practiced their religion in varying degrees. And to you, sellison, I will say this: You may try to kill me, but I will never embrace Christianity in any form. I was a very religious Catholic for the first 20 years of my life, attending early morning mass every day while I was in college, and receiving communion. I even entertained the notion of becoming a priest. But then I began to travel the world, and visited more than fifty countries in the first two years of my travels. As my eyes began to open to the reality of Christianity as practiced in the world, I began to turn away from all religion. There were some good priests, but the politics of the Roman church in developing countries turned my stomach. Within ten years, I had passed through times as a member of the Baptist, and then the Lutheran and then a Pentecostal church. They were all the same. Their members were all convinced that their Christianity was the only true religion, and all other "gods" were false in their eyes. They hadn't the enlightenment to see the fallacy of that kind of reasoning. Then I began looking East, and discovered Buddhism. That is where I settled. I am not a perfect Buddhist, but I am very comfortable with my inner self and my connection with the world through Buddhism. Christianity in any form is too militant for me to be comfortable with it. Christians are taught to hate, and I do not hate anyone, not even you-- I feel compassion for your confusion and your absence of contact with your own heart. I feel sorry for your lack of ability to be happy with your religion until everyone in the world is a Christian, whether they want to be one or not. That will never happen. I predict that Christianity will not survive, because it is too militant. No militant religion will survive. If you expect to convert me back to Christianity again, you will have to do it at the end of a gun-- and then I will take the bullet before I will take Christianity. But you will not have won. I will have. So you do not scare me. What you cannot see for yourself is that your attitude and actions, as displayed in the words of your comment only help push Christianity towards its inevitable demise. No religion whose followers hate others can survive. If you hate one other person, religion is dead in you. You must learn to live as Christ told you to live, not as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell tell you. If you do not, then you do not worship your god-- you worship Robertson or Falwell. I will leave you with these two thoughts, from the Zenrin: "The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection; The water has no mind to receive their image." and "From of old, there were not two paths; Those who have arrived all walked the same road."

    Bush is just pretending to be a christian? (none / 0) (#230)
    by An onymous Coward on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 08:07:03 AM EST

    prove that he isn't really one, without basing your arguement on the fact that he doesn't follow your specific understanding of it

    "Your voice is irrelevant. Stop embarrassing yourself. Please." -stuaart
    [ Parent ]
    Yeah? (none / 0) (#238)
    by valar on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 01:54:34 PM EST

    Prove he is, without basing your argument (which is how it is spelled, by the dub) on the fact he follows your specific understanding of it. Also, what color does the sky look, without basing your argument on your specific understanding of 'blue'?

    [ Parent ]
    Interesting way to equate science and religion. (none / 1) (#267)
    by An onymous Coward on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 09:21:33 AM EST

    I didn't assert anything about the president's Christianity. The parent poster did, and an assertion requires proof.

    All blue things can be shown to emit, reflect or transmit electromagnetic radiation in a certain frequency range, known as "blue light". You can question it, but I could keep showing you more and more examples of things that follow that rule.

    Now, unless you can show me an objective way to measure whether someone is a Christian or not, perhaps a device that you point at them that measures whether they are "Christian" or "non-Christian" accurately, my point still stands.

    "Your voice is irrelevant. Stop embarrassing yourself. Please." -stuaart
    [ Parent ]
    Church (none / 0) (#293)
    by badtux on Thu May 05, 2005 at 11:31:47 PM EST

    Every other President has gone to church at least once a month. George W. Bush has never, ever, shown his face in a church, at least not during the last 12 years when he was, respectively, governor of Texas and President of the United States.

    Now you might say, "but you can be a Christian and still not go to church!". Well, yeah. But how good a Christian can you be, if you've never attended church services ONCE over the past 12 years? Token, maybe. But a true Christian? Hardly.

    - Badtux the Token Christian Penguin
    In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin
    [ Parent ]

    Never tire of embarrassing yourself, do you? (none / 0) (#296)
    by masher on Fri May 06, 2005 at 01:55:55 PM EST

    George W. Bush has never, ever, shown his face in a church, at least not during the last 12 years when he was, respectively, governor of Texas and President of the United States

    I see you're continuing your habit of being thoroughly incorrect on any and all subjects:
    (AP) President Bush and his family returned [home] after attending Easter Services at the Memorial Chapel at Fort Hood. It was the third straight year Mr. Bush had made the trip to the post to worship on Easter Sunday...

    (CNN) President Bush attended the National Prayer Service on Friday...Friday's prayer service, a presidential tradition, was held at Washington National Cathedral...

    (ABCNEWS) At 9:00 am ET, President and First Lady Laura Bush, and Vice President and Mrs. Cheney attend services at St. John's Church....

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (AP) - President Bush worshipped at a predominantly black church on Sunday, joining an exuberant congregation that sang, clapped and danced for nearly two hours...

    (REUTERS) Bush and his wife Laura, who sat in the front row of the Clarendon United Methodist Church in Arlington, Virginia...

    (UPI) - In the morning, the President and first Lady attended a prayer service at St. John's Episcopal Church....



    [ Parent ]
    Provide your evidence (none / 1) (#233)
    by benzapp on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 10:53:16 AM EST

    Hitler's writings in Mein Kampf clearly contradict what you are saying.  

    In fact, your rantings on Christianty and Buddhism are both ridiculous.  If anything, Hitler's criticism of both religions is that they are NOT militant enough.  

    National Socialism was founded on the principle that the religions you mention are tools of enslavement glorify the weak and pathetic.  Christianity, Democracy, Egalitarianism, Buddhism... They all destroy the human spirit by their ultimate suggestion that all men are equal and that inaction is preferable to action.

    Hitler was attempting to build the new Sparta, in the tradition of Plato's Republic.  It was the cult of youth, the glorification of the warrior spirit, the love of strength and beauty, and ultimately change itself.  

    [ Parent ]

    Buddhism (none / 0) (#314)
    by zeigenfus on Mon May 09, 2005 at 05:54:11 AM EST

    I must mention that buddhism as it was practiced in tibet lead to the formation of a vast underpriveleged servent class devoted to supporting the temples. I would say a slave class, but that is the way my judgements run. How people explain death is their business, but I personally find the world to be rich enough to live it happily without religion, and it seems to me that all religions have been responsible for some reprehensible human suffering.

    [ Parent ]
    Talking without thinking (3.00 / 2) (#235)
    by mister slim on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 12:59:28 PM EST

    The other day I told someone that perhaps Ward Churchill's statement was not that every 9/11 victim was a Nazi. In return I was called a Nazi apologist and a "Liberal". I'm not really sure what a Liberal is, but apparently it is bad. After correcting the spelling of "Ikeman" I realized this particular argument was probably a lost cause.

    One problem I see regularly on both the left and the right is the belief that arguing well means shouting the party line as loudly as possible. If a problem is even acknowledged as complex then cleverness is rewarded. Christopher Hitchens was sleazy and intellectually dishonest when he was on the left and now on the right he is the same. Is applauding or jeering at him now somehow better then it was then?
    __

    "Fucking sheep, the lot of you. Yeah, and your little dogs too." -Rogerborg

    Would you have beed a Nazi? (3.00 / 3) (#239)
    by apparatus on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 01:57:29 PM EST

    There is a good thought provacative film about this topic called Judgement at Nuremberg. I recommend it. The film is about the trial of four officers in the Nazi government, with very good arguments by both sides.

    There was a famous experiment done (I forget the researcher who conducted this, back in the sixties. does someone know?) where a person would be wired up to an electrode. A scientist in a white lab coat would ask the person questions. For each wrong answer, another person, the subject of the experiment, would be required by the scientist to shock the person and turn up the voltage. As the voltage went up, the pain got worse. The max voltage was 480V I think (this was not lethal in the experiment setup, but was used to make the subject think that it was). The hypothesis was that the subject would refuse to apply more than a certain voltage as he observed the pain of the person. The results were disturbingly worse. Nearly all the people went the whole way to 480V. Because the scientist was in a white lab coat.

    When soldiers in Nazi Germany were asked why they performed atrocities, their common reply was that they were following orders.

    Are we all sheep that follow orders, do what we are told, without understand the effects of our actions?

    Go watch Judgement at Nuremburg. It is a good movie. Or wait for a political science professor to tell you to do it.

    Stanley Milgrim (none / 0) (#247)
    by bobbuck on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 04:10:11 PM EST

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

    [ Parent ]
    Comparison By Analogy (none / 0) (#241)
    by nymia_g on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 02:36:48 PM EST

    Interesting to figure how the article brought several items together in reaching the conclusion by means of analogy. I'm not too familiar about the details of each, but it seems that the connections between them strong enough to sway the mind. Dismantling the arguments may take a little gymnastics in disproving by false connection. Therein lies the work, I would assume someone can point out the weaknesses, the loose card that will cause the house to fall down.

    Tumbling down... (none / 0) (#243)
    by masher on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 02:51:17 PM EST

    "I would assume someone can point out the weaknesses, the loose card that will cause the house to fall down..."

    Badtux's house of cards has already been blown over; look deeper in the thread for one of several deconstructions.

    [ Parent ]
    So, isn't technically this discussion already over (1.33 / 3) (#248)
    by coopex on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 04:26:17 PM EST

    per Godwin's Law. It makes riduculous analogies between the admittely corrupt neo-cons, and Hitler and the 3rd Reich. Go read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L Shirer if you think that the current administration has any chance of being like Nazi Germany. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0671728687/qid=1114374300/sr=8-1/r ef=pd_csp_1/103-3233468-7179062?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

    You have no fucking idea (1.33 / 3) (#256)
    by werner on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 07:14:26 PM EST

    Hitler DID NOT reflect the opinions of Germans. While he certainly hit the spot with some of his "jobs for Germans" speeches (no different from what many politicians are currently trying in the US and the UK), he did not rise to power on the promise that he would systematically exterminate ethnic minorities.

    If you had the vaguest idea what you were talking about, you would be aware that the power of the Nazi regime was based on a culture of fear. Standard practice was to haul random opponents (e.g. SPD Jugend members) off to Gestapo prisons, beat the living shit out of them for a few weeks, then release them back into society so everyone could see what happened if you voiced opposition to the Nazis.

    I'd love to see you crawl out from behind your keyboard and voice your concerns regarding the current regime in the face of such consequences.

    A small correction (none / 1) (#258)
    by masher on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 09:05:27 PM EST

    "[Hitler] did not rise to power on the promise that he would systematically exterminate ethnic minorities...

    Exterminate? No. Drive them out of the country? Yes. Did you forget such events as Reichskristallnacht?

    [ Parent ]
    Crawl out from behind the keyboard? (none / 1) (#274)
    by buddhaseviltwin on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 06:31:33 PM EST

    I'd love to see you crawl out from behind your keyboard and voice your concerns regarding the current regime in the face of such consequences.

    Where else CAN you EFFECTIVELY voice your concerns so people will hear them?


    [ Parent ]

    I Have a Video to Share (none / 0) (#262)
    by Byte Crime on Sun Apr 24, 2005 at 10:47:03 PM EST

    This is a small clip of Alex Jones. You will want the one titled "Mystery File-15".

    www.mikejwilson.com/rb

    Alex makes comparisons with what is happening today in America, to what happened in Germany during Hitlers rise to power.

    It's just a small piece of a complex puzzle I'm still researching. Your opinion on this clip would be appreciated.

    Follow The Money (none / 0) (#265)
    by nymia_g on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 02:25:05 AM EST

    One obvious trail to follow is where money is going. The oldies know and they wrote republics need solid educational institutions in order to produce leaders who are well-versed in philosophy and science. Make this number one, on top of that list and we'll see some positive changes happening. For now, we'll have to settle and deal with a state/republic gearing up its military industry.

    Wanna improve the condition? Educate yourself, build educational institutions. Promote culture, art and science.

    [ Parent ]
    Good Point! Who Benefits... (none / 0) (#273)
    by Byte Crime on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 06:15:53 PM EST

    Speaking of following the money... I just watched this free 3-1/2 hour long documentary...

    http://www.propagandamatrix.com/multimedia/money_masters.html

    I would recommend this to anyone wanting to learn who controls money on this planet. For me it was almost like taking the red pill in the movie The Matrix. It really opened my eyes, yet it was also incredibly depressing.

    [ Parent ]
    Some more interesting films (none / 0) (#276)
    by soares on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 09:39:00 PM EST

    Here are some more films for those who like their history to be graphic: 1. Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl 2. Battleship Potemkin 3. Jenin Jenin You can get 1 and 3 off p2p(bittorrent). Try not to think about things like propaganda, balance, etc. when watching. In other words, get mad. Then perhaps all that tripe about a nation's heart of darkness may just begin to look persuasive.

    [ Parent ]
    lol that was good for a few laughs (none / 0) (#281)
    by balsamic vinigga on Tue Apr 26, 2005 at 12:48:13 PM EST

    what a crackpot that guy is.  Gotta love the liberals.

    HEY DON'T BAN GRAND THEFT AUTO THRE'S NO SIGNIFICANT RESEARCH THAT IT WOULD AFFECT ANYBODY'S DEVELEPMONT!

    OH BUT 24 STARING KIEFFER SUTHERLAND IS AN EVIL BRAINWASHING SCHEME!!!!!

    ---
    Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
    [ Parent ]

    co latha breith Hitler (none / 0) (#275)
    by aros on Mon Apr 25, 2005 at 07:27:08 PM EST

    Well working on the principle that you can compare anything with anything else then there is a modicum of reason in what you write but, even if it gives a psychological thrill to some lefties to imagine that they are up against a force in America eqivalent to the Hun Hitler, the truth is that Bush is not like him. No doubt a scroll through some of the loonie right responses to your musings might lead you to the conclusion that they are as important as they think themseves, it is just not the case that such people make the policies of the present US administration.It is not reasonable to talk glibly about dark hearts or souls running riot in US politics and the sketchy anecdotes about some corrupt and crude policemen are hardly proof that America is a fascist state like Hitler's. From an outside point of view it appears to be the case that the Republican movement in America is supported by a large number of 'coloured' Americans and has indeed allowed the advancement of several able people of that broad community. A feature which will increase as time goes on.

    hahaha (1.00 / 2) (#280)
    by ShiftyStoner on Tue Apr 26, 2005 at 10:02:37 AM EST

    Hitler was not just an ordinary man. Hitler was a veary powerful man. No he didn't invent the veiws, what he did do is pull the poeple who held them out of the closet and got them wanting to fight, what he did was convert others into believing what he does.

    With brainwashing, just like Bush. If hitler was never born, there would not have been a hitler. You see, bush is a reflection of america, intinsifying and brawdonign the what he reflects. Bush is a face, but still veary powerful, because via brainwashing, he has changed the beliefs of who knows how many. 911 was planned back when the first bush was in office, just look at all it has accomplished for these EVIL people. They are not ordicary men, ordinary men could not pass the patriot act, cause 911 without it looking like there fault at all, have Iraq invaded.

    They are evil. The differance between bush and hitler is hitler gained power on his own. Bush, was decided ruler, decided what he would believe before he was born. It was decided what he would do. In the 60s, the forces of evil got scared, they saw the true way of man, it put fear into them, they quickly and ruthlessl destroyed the rebel. So now, anyone who might think that way is in prison or have complied. That part of them beaten out with brainwashing and force.

    This is evidance that it's not merely a reflection of a nations darkness, this is a few brilliant people, making brilliant scemes that seem to be playing out flawlessly, finding the darkness and nurtering it, letting it grow, controling it. It CAN go either way, people are pawns for the brilliant, you overestimate people. You underestimate the Bush FAMILY.

    People like martin king, though i dont like the nigger, can spawn to, without somone to guide them in another direction the sheep sit there eating grass and walk right into the slaughter house.

    Evil stops anyone like that before they start, converts or destroyes them, thus evil is winning. People need to be lead, it takes a brilliant leader, or a crew of them, not just a man, to guide them in the direction they want.

    The typical person is not racist, the typical cop is, why? Because obviously cops are hand selected. Currently being selected by the hand of god, an evil hand.

    Beliving that they are just men, moronic weak men, believing that they are a reflection of humanity, and not pulling the strings, is allowing them to continue on being the puppet masters.

    It's a war that can be won by either side. Evil has just been winning so long it doesn't seem that way.

    People need an anti Bush. An antichrist. As far as I know we've never had one. You see, king was not what people need, kind was nothing more than a leader for niggers, no wear near holding the fate of the world in his hands.

    The problem is, while there has been many brilliant minds, powerful people working for good, the good tend to not crave power. The world needs a power hungry good guy.

    During the 60s it looked like fate really was pushing for it. Brilliant minds were speaking out all over. A weeding procces was started, to find on that captrued everyone, that gave them power. Fate seemed to be trying to chose somone, there were equaly as many evil brilliant minds at work. They allready had alot of power, good had to start from scratch. The antiviolence beliefs were there flaw, while the troops who are worshiped now were spat on, people didnt see it as a war against evil like the must. Now they see the war against evil as a war ocrossed an ocean against aliens.
    ( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler

    problem (none / 0) (#320)
    by soart on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:37:19 PM EST

    The problem with making Hitler the personification of Evil is that it allows those who would similarly channel the darkness in the soul of nations to reject comparisons between them and Hitler. Because Hitler is now a caricature rather than a man, because Hitler is now Satan incarnate rather than just being an ordinary politician speaking to the popular prejudices of the population, people who similarly are ordinary politicians speaking to the popular prejudices of the population are swift to condemn comparisons between themselves and Hitler.
    机票打折机票
    A celebration of Hitler's birthday. | 320 comments (292 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
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