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A Swede in Germany

Nazis VIII: Thoughts on choice of criteria

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A problem for the core matter of this text series is what characteristics might be considered more defining and what more coincidental. For instance, in an earlier entry, I raise the (largely unanswered) question of which characteristics associated with the Nazis are best viewed as central to the Nazis and which as a “fashion” of the times. For instance, looking at the Left (in general) or some sub-group of the Left (e.g. Social-Democrats), there are some characteristics that seem to be very recurring over time, geography, and label, but which are not logical necessities. Consider e.g. the common trend towards a “nanny state”. This might be rooted in e.g. a conviction that the broad masses are too stupid to decide for themselves, a naive belief in the competence of the government (elected politicians, civil servants, whatnot), or some other factor that can hardly be considered defining; or maybe it is partially, not necessarily restricted to the Left, caused by being in power for too long; or maybe it is a natural extension of a more “core” idea of central planning or government-over-free-markets. (And note that even those ideas might not be universal for the Left.) However, a nanny-state mentality or, given enough time in power, an implemented nanny state appears to be much more common on the Left than the non-Left.* To many on the non-Left, it is even one of the greatest reasons to object against the Left—as it was against the Swedish Social-Democrats during my early days** of political awareness and membership in Moderaterna***. Or consider prominent use of the color red, which cannot reasonably be taken as defining, yet is used by a great many major Leftist groups and parties—but also by the U.S. Republicans.

*The matter is complicated by an independent (?) drift towards “nanny mentality”, big government, etc., among politicians in general. Particularly annoying during the COVID-lockdowns was that many allegedly non-Leftist governments cracked down in a manner very similar to the Leftist governments. Indeed, Sweden’s Social-Democrats were among the least intrusive ruling parties, despite a well-earned historical reputation as the nanny-state party of all nanny-state parties.

**And quite possibly today, too.

***More correctly, its more Libertarian youth/student organization (organizations?). Moderaterna has for decades been the largest non-Left party, and used to support a broadly Conservative and Libertarian position, with a voice-of-reason approach. When I checked a few years back, the party program now included e.g. a profession of some Gender-Feminist quackery.

How then should a pro-/anti-attitude regarding the nanny state and use/non-use of the color red be viewed when comparing ideologies, parties, whatnot? The nanny state will often be a useful criterion,* because it is more connected in terms of opinion, while the color red is, at best, a rough and incidental proxy, which should be avoided. (By all means, if you spot a large group waving red flags, it might be a good idea to gain some distance, just in case they are far-Left activists. However, if you intend to vote for or against a candidate/party, ignore the colors and look at stated opinions and prior behavior.)

*With some reservations for a difference between the historical situation and the current situation. Cf. an earlier footnote.

Looking at the question of individual criteria more generally, it becomes very tricky and I have no conclusive answer. However, factoring in both how hard (see excursion) it is to define an ideology, party position, whatnot, and how important manifested behaviors and attitudes often are,* I will include many characteristics that might seem less defining together with those that might seem more defining. (Not all, however. The color red, e.g., will not be relevant, even though it featured prominently on the Nazi-German flag.)

*Also note my repeated claims that actions count for more than words.

Looking at the overall situation, the solution is to not look at just individual criteria, but to look at a wide range of criteria in order to get a general idea. The use of a wide range also gives the reader who disagrees with some criterion the option of forming his own opinion by simply omitting it. (As to the exact criteria to use, exactly how to compare and with what, whether to include some numeric sum, etc., I have not yet made a final decision.)

Excursion on how to define ideologies, etc.:
Finding out even what characteristics should be viewed as defining is virtually impossible and only doable to some very rough approximation or within very limited contexts. Among the complications:

  1. Some groups make inclusive claims that many of the included do not agree with. For instance, the (highly misleading) Feminist claims that Feminism is about equality between the sexes (resp. “genders”), and that those who believe in equality are Feminists, are outright offensive to most Anti-Feminists, who are usually Anti-Feminists exactly because they do believe in equality.

    (Whether claims of exclusion are a problem might depend on the circumstances, but I suspect that cases will be more obvious and less distorting. For instance, a party chair who says that “You are not one of us, if you X” might be both perfectly entitled to do so and factually correct. However, a self-appointed speaker for an ideology will only rarely be entitled and might often be incorrect. A self-appointed speaker for a more automatic group, e.g. Swedes, Blacks, or speakers of English, will be on thin ice indeed—Biden’s “you ain’t Black” gaffe would have been inexcusable, even had he been Black himself. Ditto someone who connects topics that should be disconnected, e.g. “you cannot be a fan of Bob Dylan, if you vote Republican” or “you are not a scientist unless you believe in DIE”.)

  2. Outside the previous item, even otherwise opposing groups can agree on some issues, and a limited similarity of opinion does not necessarily mean anything. (In fact, chances are that they agree on a great many issues; however, issues of widespread agreement are less likely to enter the political debate.)

    Also note an older text on the fellow-traveler fallacy.

  3. Even believers in the same ideology and members of the same party might disagree about what truly matters.
  4. A criterion which was legitimately defining at one point in time need not even be a characteristic at a later time. Indeed, some might be entirely irrelevant due to changing circumstances (say, an overthrow-the-monarchy position after the monarchy has already been overthrown).*

    *With the interesting complication that some groups, including e.g. Feminists and U.S. pro-Black activists, might continue the fight, or even intensify it, long after the officially communicated goal has been reached. This often through a failure to realize that equality of opportunity does not automatically imply equality of outcome; often through a refusal to give up a profitable cause; often, I suspect, because that goal was not honest.

  5. Apparently equivalent groups in different countries, e.g. Social-Democrats in Sweden and Germany, or Conservatives in the U.S. and the U.K., might disagree on important points. Trying to equate e.g. the largest Left/Right parties or the Left-/Right-most mainstream parties of different countries can be particularly misleading. (And is yet another reason why the Left–Right spectrum is best avoided.)
  6. Using too few defining characteristics might make it impossible to separate two genuinely different groups, while using too many might force an unnatural split of a single group.

    (With the added complication that the appropriate level of splitting might depend on the current circumstances. To boot, different individuals might have inherently different preferences, as with “lumpers” and “splitters”.)

  7. Different groups might see different characteristics as important, e.g. in that a “Green” party might have strong opinions on the environment and accept members regardless of their attitude to small vs. big government, while a Libertarian party might see small vs. big government as central and accept members regardless of their opinions on the environment.

    In particular, it might be that some opinion is useful in separating some set of related groups but not some other set of related groups. (For instance, “Marxist yes/no” might be relevant to separate two Leftist groups, but not two non-Left groups, because virtually no-one outside the Left is a Marxist.)

  8. The official claims of opinion do not always match the actual behavior. (As I have noted repeatedly about various Leftist groups.)
  9. Most nominal supporters might have little idea of what the ideological ideas of a party are, instead being focussed on pragmatic issues; or they might be largely ignorant of the overall party program, while focussing on one or two issues close to their own hearts.

    (For instance, in all likelihood, more Social-Democrat supporters care about seeing their votes rewarded with transfer payments than about the fine points of Marxist ideology—and I am not even certain that leading Social-Democrats care about Marxism today. Similarly, most Church members might be unable to give a theological explanation for why they are, e.g., Lutheran instead of Catholic.)

Looking at the above examples using Feminism and “Green” parties, I am tempted to add a “they claim to support X, but are actually bad for X through incompetence”, as “Green” politics very often does more harm than good to the environment (notably, through an absurd and scientifically unsound attitude towards nuclear power), while Feminists, beyond a certain point, might well do more harm than good to women (and definitely both men and society). Chances are that this principle could be extended to very large parts of the Left,* e.g. in that a worker’s party might hamper economic growth to the degree that it causes worsened long-term outcomes for the workers. However, incompetence, unlike hypocrisy, does not alter the degree to which someone, so to speak, walks-the-walk or just talks-the-talk.

*To some degree, the non-Left too. Sometimes, I have trouble suppressing the suspicion that German politicians know what is good/will work and deliberately do the exact opposite for some perverse reason.

Excursion on “false flags”:
Another complication is false flags, in that a party might make faulty claims in order to create a certain impression or, in an extended sense, make claims based on a significantly different understanding. (An earlier entry has already mentioned cases like “democratic” Communist dictatorships.) Similarly, a once correct claim might well have become outdated over time. Looking at literal flags, the Soviets, the Nazis, and the Salvation Army all used/uses a lot of red, but hardly to indicate an agreement in ideology.*/**

*The Nazis used red, white, and black as the established (pre-Nazi) national colors. The Soviets likely followed a tradition of the revolutionary Left. The Salvation Army uses red to symbolize the blood of Christ.

**After first writing the above, I began to see flags with prominent red components everywhere, including the massively red Canadian, the Red-White-and-Blue U.S., and the Schwarz-Rot-Gold German flag. Red simply appears to have been one of the most popular flag, national, heraldic, whatnot colors before the strong association with the Left arose. (I have not looked into the history of the Canadian flag, but the strong Socialist streak is likely pure coincidence. As to the U.S. Republicans, I would speculate that they and the Democrats picked party colors from the U.S. flag in an arbitrary and interchangeable manner.)

This brings me to the point of the “National Socialist” part of the NSDAP. This self-identification is a strong indication, and not one that should be swept under the carpet. However, members of the non-Left often see this self-identification as conclusive proof that the Nazis belong on the Left—which it is not: a mere claim of being something does not necessarily make it so. It could have been (but was not) a false-flag operation, it could possibly, conceivably* have referred to some type of non-Leftist Socialism, it could have been a misunderstanding/disagreement about meaning,** or possibly some other invalidating reason.

*I am not certain how such Socialism would look without having too much in common with regular Leftist groups to avoid the identification as Left; however, I cannot categorically rule the possibility out.

**Note e.g. the many young actresses in Hollywood who proclaim themselves Feminists without understanding Feminist positions or how much of the Feminist worldview is provably false. I have myself, in my early days of English writing, fallen into the trap of translating the Swedish “Nyliberal” with “Neo-Liberal”, while “Libertarian” matched my intents better. (The translation is not so much faulty as ambiguous, as Swedish Libertarian positions are (were?) subsumed under “Nyliberal” together with the Neo-Liberal ones, but I usually had my mind on the “Libertarian” aspects. To boot, it seems that the current U.S. use of “Neo-Liberal” is drifting to form a parallel with “Neo-Conservative” and match the current Democrat positions rather than traditional Neo-Liberal positions. As a consequence, I usually avoid the word entirely today, even when it might otherwise be called for, as with e.g. the above footnote on Moderaterna.)

In contrast, members of the Left often condemn it as exactly a false flag, e.g. as an evil scheme by a Right-wing party to dishonestly lure Leftist voters away from the “true” Left. (I am not certain whether I have ever seen a similar argument regarding the “Workers’ Party” part, but I suspect that the reaction would be the same if someone brought it up—the Nazis were never truly a workers’ anything, they just pretended in order to fool the workers away from us Communists [Social-Democrats, whatnot], the true workers’ party.) They, too, are wrong, because a closer inspection of the Nazis (as the one I am performing) does result in the verdict of “Left” and because the NSDAP certainly seems to have originated as a bona fide Socialist* (and workers’) movement. (Whether the more specific label of “Socialist”, as opposed to the more general “Left”, applies even to the mature NSDAP is beyond the scope of this text series, but I suspect that the answer is “yes”.)

*If with some disagreement about what “Socialist” would imply in detail, and whether the Socialism of one country needed to be the same as that of another. The disagreement might be beyond the to-mah-to vs. to-may-to level, but not beyond the cherry tomato vs. beefsteak tomato level.

Excursion on definitions in general:
Similar problems of definition are not uncommon in other areas; and even when reasonably clear definitions are possible, there is a parallel in characteristics that are denotational and connotational.

Written by michaeleriksson

May 9, 2022 at 8:12 pm

My body, my choice-my ass!

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In the wake of a text on the Roe v. Wade leak, I have spent some thoughts on that ridiculous and ridiculously self-serving “my body, my choice” slogan. The main problem, which should immediately disqualify it, is that it is actually the body of the fetus at stake—and the core question is when and when not this fetus should be considered a human being, or sufficiently far along the way to have similar rights. (Other questions include when a right to live might be trumped by a danger to the mother and how pragmatical concerns like the risk for “back-alley” abortions should be handled.) As I have noted in the past, abortion is a highly complicated issue, involving e.g. ethics, medicine, and (for many) religion. To reduce this complicated issue to a cheap slogan (and a slogan that misses the point, at that) is inexcusable.

To this repetition, I would like to add two of the scenarios that I have considered these few days:

  1. To illustrate contradictions in thought and consequences when the baby has no rights:

    Two women (A and B) become pregnant at roughly the same time. They spend a few months doing what pregnant women do, be it having morning sickness, shopping for baby clothes, or working in the office.

    Then, again at roughly the same time, the following happens:

    Woman A suddenly decides that she does not want a baby and has an abortion—my body, my choice.

    Women B is peacefully walking down the street, as she fantasizes about first steps and first words, while visibly pregnant. A stranger comes up and bashes her stomach with a baseball bat. The prospective mother survives with no major injuries, but the baby dies.

    Now, in the second event:

    What charges should be filed? Just assault and battery (and/or something else on a similar level) for attacking woman B? Or do we include a murder charge for the dead baby?

    If we forego the murder charge, chances are that the punishment for the perpetrator will be a slap on the wrist in comparison to what most, including, I suspect, a vast majority of pro-abortionists, would consider reasonable. If a first time offender, and if the assault and battery is judged as any similar incident without a (born or unborn) baby involved, a sufficiently contrite or contrite-appearing perpetrator might even be out on probation once the verdict is read—and might have walked the streets on bail before that.

    If we do go with a murder charge, how could we justify not filing a murder charge for woman A concerning the first event? Do we presuppose that woman A had some absolute ownership of the baby, transcending any rights that it might have had? If so, why just woman A and not the father too?* How is this compatible with a “no slavery” or “humans are not property” position?**

    *Note that a father typically has no say, beyond what the mother might allow him, in abortion decisions—and certainly none according to “my body, my choice”.

    **Systems have existed where children were the virtual property of their parents. Such systems have also tended to view the wife as the virtual property of the husband or otherwise contained elements that the Left condemns as outdated, barbaric, or whatnot. Child-as-property could also include a teenage daughter being given to a friend, as Lord Capulet intended. Be careful what you wish for.

    What alternatives do we have? Forego the murder charge, but charge the perpetrator with e.g. property damage, as if that blow had struck a car? File a pure civil suit for damages? (Which will likely remain unpaid, even if the civil suit is won, as the perpetrator is unlikely to be very wealthy.)

    I suspect that something along the lines of property damage, if maybe with a more euphemistic name, would be the necessary consequence, if a “my body, my choice” logic is applied to abortion. Could the average woman live with that? All those pro-abortionists? How does that match up with the ostensible ideology of e.g. the U.S. Democrats?

    For a slightly different perspective, assume that woman A is the perpetrator from the second event. Apart from the assault-and-battery part, how was her bat-abortion of woman B’s child different or worse from her own, regular, abortion? The two babies were at approximately the same stage of development and the same level of self-awareness and intelligence.* They had approximately the same future potential (see excursion) to become grown-ups, study, have a career, found a family of their own. They each had no say in their own demise. They were both killed by the same person.** From their point of view, any injustice done to the one must have equalled that done to the other. The only true difference is their relationship to that same killer.

    *That this level was low is unimportant for this comparison. The point is the similarity.

    **Presumably per instigation in the case of woman A’s own baby, with some type of medical practitioner performing the actual act. In doubt, this need for a third party might disappear over time, without affecting the overall problem under discussion.

  2. To illustrate that other parties than the mother (and the baby) might have rights and interests:

    A couple has no children and great problems conceiving. The husband has no greater wish than for a child (yes, this has been known to happen). The respective parents of the unhappy couple have no other children and only this chance for grandchildren—of which they have dreamt for decades. The wife is approaching menopause and, in desperation, the others all chip in for a (very expensive) in-vitro fertilization. The procedure is successful and everyone is happy for a few months, showering the wife with attention and baby gifts.

    Then the wife unilaterally decides to have an abortion—my body, my choice.

    With that, the hopes, dreams, and money invested of the others is gone, without their having a say, at the whim of someone else.

    Maybe the others could sue* for their money back, but this might do more harm than good, even if successful, and might hit the husband as hard as the wife. As to being successful, there is certainly no guarantee.

    *The likelihood that this type of woman would pay it back voluntarily is minuscule.

    Concerning children, the wife’s parents are entirely out of luck, while the husband and his parents might still have some chance through a divorce and a remarriage. Divorces, however, are messy and costly,* there is no guarantee of finding a suitable new wife, and the husband might still love the old wife—no matter how foolish this might seem, at this stage.

    *And I could see how this would play out in court: a “That sexist bastard just wants to divorce me because I exercised my rights as a woman. Sob! Sob!” followed by a “Poor dear! Here, have a tissue—and the house, and the car, and a large alimony!”.

The second case is also an illustration of the general need to consider the rights and interests of others, even when not encoded in law, as well as any ethical or moral obligations than we might have towards others. I would consider a widespread failure to do this one of the greatest problems in the modern world—and, yes, in my impressions so far, the problem is more common among women. (Some earlier discussion and examples can be found in e.g. [1] and [2].)

Excursion on treatment of humans vs. animals:
If we were to go strictly by criteria like level of intelligence and self-awareness, we would be hard pressed to justify treating many humans better than animals. Consider small children, severely mentally disabled adults, and the highly senile vs., say, dolphins, chimpanzees, elephants, or, sometimes, even dogs and horses.

Now, if we do not have such a justification, we would have to either treat animals better* or live in an even more dystopian world than the current.

*Which would be fine with me, but is likely practically unrealistic. For instance, how many would truly be prepared to spend as much to save the life of the family dog as the life of one of the children?

If we do seek a justification, what would it be? A Christian might argue that a human has a soul and an animal does not, but the rest of us have to find a justification elsewhere. Potential would often be a good way that can be made consistent, e.g. in that an infant is rated over a dog, because the child might grow up to be something far beyond what the dog could ever reach. This might not be enough to solve the case of the highly senile and the severely mentally disabled, but these are, at least, fewer.

Alternatives? Well, we could postulate some type of inherent superiority of humans, but what is to prevent, in a next step, an inherent superiority of human group X over human group Y? We could, similarly, postulate a “we humans need to stick together—humanity over fairness”, but then we again have that second step with human group X vs. human group Y. (Of course, with regard to the above comparison of babies, they would still be equal with regard to any such postulates in lieu of potential.)

Suggestions are welcome.

Excursion on “free”* this and that:
Many women, Feminists in particular, seem to consider both IVF and abortion something that others should pay for, e.g. within a health-insurance scheme. A slight modification of the second scenario shows how problematic this can be, both with regard to fairness and to incentives: Say that the IVF is paid for by the wife’s insurance—and then she has an abortion paid for by her insurance. This would not only be a gigantic waste of someone else’s money and money that could have been used much better, but a waste that is much more likely to occur in a paid-by-someone-else scheme than when the woman has to carry the cost herself.

*I.e. paid by someone else, usually taxpayers or other insurance members.

Of course, if we do say that a woman has the right to tens of thousands of taxpayer/insurance money to cover IVF, because having a child is sooooo important, how could she deny her husband the right to use her womb for just a few months more? Those who would grant the woman “free” IVF but, absent medical complications, deny the husband would show a grave hypocrisy.

Excursion on a potential duty to have children:
I would not go as far as to stipulate a duty for a woman (or, m.m., a man) to have children to satisfy a husband or a parent,* but I would stipulate that both spouses do have a duty to make an aversion (ditto the physical inability) to having children crystal clear before a marriage takes place—possibly, even before a long-term relationship. For a marriage to result in children is the default assumption, arguably, even, the point of marriage; and unwillingness to live up to this simply must be communicated in advance. Should this unwillingness not have been communicated, then I would see an ethical (if unenforceable) obligation to put the unwillingness aside. This includes, if need be, dropping any “my body, my choice” attitude.

*Note that the second scenario is deliberately constructed to include both a prior willingness on behalf of the woman and a monetary investment on behalf of the others, which was made in light of this prior willingness.

(How to handle an aversion that has arisen during the marriage is a tricky question, and would likely need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. Having insufferable children next door seems too little; nearly dying because of complications during a failed prior pregnancy seems enough.)

Written by michaeleriksson

May 8, 2022 at 7:19 pm

Nazis VII: Left, Right, and the use of irrelevant criteria

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A recurring problem with anything relating to the word “Right” (in a political context; including variations and translations) is the application of criteria* to determine what/who should be considered Right (Right-wing, far Right, etc.) that are at best (much) too narrow, more often irrelevant. In at least Germany,** the word is well on its way to become an insult and derogatory label on par with “Nazi” and “Fascist”, as it is applied to almost anything that “the establishment” does not like: Object to COVID-policies or question the usefulness of COVID-vaccines and you are Right-wing or even far Right. Question that the government knows best and you are Right-wing or even far Right. Question the integrity or competence of journalists and you are Right-wing or even far Right. Question the use of “gender-neutral language” and you are Right-wing or even far Right. Stand up for men’s rights and you are Right-wing or even far Right. Demand the right to think for yourself and you are Right-wing or even far Right. Etc.***

*As to relevant and more full criteria, we are closing in on the main text or texts (depending on how much space I need) of this series, in which I will go through various such. Among the most important, I have takes on the individual vs. the collective and free markets vs. state planning.

**The problem is likely to be far wider, but I know the German situation better than that of most other countries, and the problem appears to be worse in Germany than in other countries that I have some knowledge of. This German situation is likely driven by a combination of the disturbingly strong Left (damn fool Germans never learn), the flawed categorization of the Nazis as Right-wing, and an apparent common fear of being perceived as anything but a rabid anti-Nazi. (Just like a U.S. college professor might fear missing the latest PC fad and being cancelled.)

***A similar problem can be noted in the U.S. with regard to “White Supremacy”, if with a different set of examples: Be in favor of merit-based appointments/admissions and you engage in White Supremacy. Be in favor of proofs and correctness in math and you engage in White Supremacy. Etc. As occurs to me during writing, “Right”, in Germany, might be partially used to fill the same niche as “conspiracy theorist” in the U.S., e.g. along the lines of “Only an X would believe such nonsense as Y. Because he is an X, anything he said should be ignored. How do we know that Y is nonsense? Because Xs believe it!” (where X is e.g. “Right-winger” resp. “conspiracy theorist” and Y some unpopular-with-the-Left opinion).

There also appears to be a growing tendency to consider everything relating to violence as Right-wing, unless the situation makes the use of political labels absurd. For instance, I have seen references to e.g. soccer hooligans as “Right”-this-or-that, without any justification in actual political opinions. While I do not rule out that there is a weak political connection (also see excursion on Neo-Nazism) in some cases, the main drive behind hooliganism appears to be more violence-for-the-sake-of-violence or some other X-for-the-sake-of-X, with more in common with Alex DeLarge than with Adolf der Führer.

(More generally, we have a paradoxical situation of societies with a strong Leftist dominance, a Left that threatens civic rights, notably freedom of speech, a growing threat from the far and/or violent Left, etc.—all while the Left makes more and more noise about “Right-wing this.” and “Far Right that.”, giving the unobservant an entirely incorrect view of the world, as if the threat actually came from the Right… Consider e.g. the current U.S. situation.)

In the past, the problem was, at least, limited to areas like nationalism, (real or alleged) racism, criticism of immigration policies, and similar topics. However, even those were unwarranted: there is nothing about nationalism, racism, or criticism of immigration policies that is inherently Rightist* or non-Leftist. This, as with the newer cases, is a fiction that the Left has built, and in which the “the Nazis are Right-wing” narrative is of central importance.** But now opponents can be condemned as this-or-that based on being, e.g., nationalist—no matter what their opinions in other areas and their overall policies are. (And no matter what form of nationalism is practiced, with an eye at both ideals/methods/goals and have far-going it is.) As I have observed in the past, these alleged Right-wing parties often have more in common with the Left than with the Right, once we look past nationalism. Here a far more holistic classification is needed. Moreover, the connection between “Right-wing” and “nationalist” is so thin that the house of card collapses as soon as we begin to consider the Nazis Left-wing. (Also note an earlier text in this series on the difference between opinions that are Nazi and that are merely old.)

*At least not within any reasonable time frame. It might or might not be different, if we go back far enough. The original French division might have been mainly between proponents of monarchy resp. republic, but applying the original standards would be laughable today. (And problems with a drift in meaning over time is yet another reason why the Left–Right spectrum is dangerously misleading and should be avoided.)

**In some cases with collaboration from members of the officially non-Left. Non-Leftist German and Swedish parties, e.g., increasingly cling to the label of “Center” and condemn anything Right-seeming, even when they were traditionally themselves seen as Right-wing. An interesting special case is the CDU take on AfD—two parties that should at least be semi-allies or work together on a “my enemy’s enemy” basis. However, a very sizable portion of AfD voters are former CDU voters who have had enough of Merkel et al., and I suspect that short-sighted CDU leaders have tried to delegitimize the AfD as hard as the Left has, in the hope that many of these voters would be shamed back into the fold. This has not worked and now we have a Social-Democrat dominated government instead of a non-Left alliance—and this at a time when it was critical for Germany to get away from further Leftist politics.

Worse, nationalism (and many of the other above items) is often considered explicitly far Right by the Left. However, as I have also noted repeatedly in the past,* these alleged far Rightists have very little to do with Rightists in general and are not a farther-going or more extreme version of the “regular” Right—much unlike the far Left relative the Left. The result, should we apply this idiotic abuse of the already hopeless Left–Right spectrum, is that we do not have a spectrum at all. Instead we have four vaguely labeled groups, where the labels (“far Right”, “Right”, “Center”, “Left”) have little to do with the opinions of the groups, and where we could equally apply the labels “Banana”, “Orange”, “Pear”, “Apple”—or where the only trace of spectrum that remains is how much the Left likes or dislikes the respective group.**

*Although, possibly, with regard to “extreme” rather than “far”. This to some degree because both my native Swedish and adopted German tends to speak in terms of “extreme” where English tends to use “far”. (Consider e.g. the German “Rechtsextrem” vs. “far Right”, “Linksextrem” vs. “far Left”.) However, some difference in meaning might be argued, in that the Swedish and German versions can have connotations of extremism in methods, not just opinions, much like the English “far Right/Left extremist”. The difference in meaning seems too slight to be of relevance here, except in as far as it makes the Left-wing rhetoric more effective, and I will gloss over it.

**Indeed, the German multi-party system is so filled with color labels that it is hard even for those who live here to keep track. The U.S. makes do with “Red” and “Blue”, if with an unexpected party–color association, while Germany has “Red”, “Blue”, “Black”, “Green”, “Yellow”, … Coalitions like “Rainbow” (“Regenbogen”), “Traffic light” (“Ampel”), or “Red-Green-Red” (“Rot-Grün-Rot”) are increasingly common (one “Red” for the Social-Democrats, another for the reincarnation of the SED—and, yes, the position of the color occasionally matters).

If we look at e.g. racism and sexism, they are by no means unheard of even in the Old Left, while the New Left is one of the most racist and sexist movements that the world has ever seen, once we look through the highly misleading self-portrayal. Indeed, many of those condemned as e.g “racist” or “far Right” have moderate, thought-through, and individualistic opinions, while many alleged “anti-racists” are filled with hate, void of reason, and focused on the group. (My opinions on Feminists, and the similar problems around them, are well documented in my older writings.) For instance, a typical opinion among e.g. HBD-ers and the likes of Murray/Herrnstein (and, indeed, my own opinion), is that there are significant and persistent group differences, which we should beware and consider in contexts relating to group outcomes, but that the individual should be judged as an individual—not as a group member. The “New Left”, in contrast, puts group membership first, be it with regard to a single group or some “intersectionality”—if you are a Black lesbian woman, then that is your identity, that should decide whom you vote for, that should decide who your allies are, that decides what hairstyles and earrings you are allowed to wear,* etc. Meanwhile, I have regularly heard reports, for several years, of CRT-fanatics in authority positions (including school teachers and various administrators) telling Whites, even children, that they are evil for being White or of them forcing Whites to “apologize” for being White or to “confront their privileges” as Whites. Yet, somehow, the HBD-ers are evil, far-Right racists, while the CRT-fanatics are heroes and the spiritual successors of Martin Luther King…

*Barring the possibility of an exemption for being Black. Note, however, very real attempts to condemn Whites for e.g. wearing hoop earrings or dreadlocks.

Excursion on Neo-Nazism:
I have stayed clear of Neo-Nazism until now (when context increased the need), and will likely leave it out in the continuation too. The reasons include that my understanding of the “scene” might be too superficial and that I fear that the inclusion would do more to cloud than clarify the overall issue. However, I strongly suspect that most self-identifying Neo-Nazis (as opposed to those, usually unfairly, accused of being Neo-Nazis by their opponents) have very little understanding of the Nazi ideology. They are usually not big thinkers and readers, but are driven by e.g. a wish for violence or belonging* that might match a soccer hooligan’s, a feeling that Nazis were, in some twisted sense, “cool”, a wish to seem more fearsome through use of Nazi paraphernalia**, or maybe indeed an aversion to some other group (e.g. Jews or colored immigrants)—but an aversion standing separate*** from a systematic Nazi ideology. This applies the more when e.g. someone uses Nazi paraphernalia without actively identifying as Neo-Nazi; and it would be a fallacy to conclude that anyone who does use such paraphernalia is a Nazi.****

*This is a factor that is largely alien to me, but it has often been referenced in contexts like recruitment to gangs, sects, whatnot. Somewhat recently, I read an article about a young woman who had been pushed to become transgender in part because she found a sense of belonging in an online community dealing with transgender issues, and later with IRL transgenders. After a few years of identifying as male, she came to the conclusion that she was not male/transgender, after all, stopped her hormone treatments, and returned to her estranged family.

**With some reservations for what exact word applies.

***And one of the central points of this text is that focusing on a single criterion even when determining what is “Right-wing”, let alone “Nazi”, is misplaced. Indeed and specifically, a modern aversion to Jews is quite common on the Left, maybe because the Jews destroy argumentation based on poor mistreated minorities not having a reasonable chance or on mistreatment generations ago holding the current generation back—or maybe because they try to fit Israel as an oppressor and, by extension, consider Jews just as “evil” as Whites (the upper class, Capitalists, or whatever the local foe image is).

****Note that the implications might vary from country to country. For instance, in Germany, it is illegal to display a swastika (to the point that computer games have been censored over its in-game use). Casual “to look cool” use in public is unlikely outside of those highly ignorant of the law—and bound to remain short before the police arrives or the user is jumped by a mob.

Similarly: Many who wear a “Che T-shirt” have no idea what he actually did and what he actually stood for—they merely find the picture “cool”. Wearers of pagan symbols rarely have any true connection to original paganism (“Wicca” and other neopaganisms are mostly a modern fantasy/distortion) and many are not even neopagan. Some wear glasses with purely decorative lenses to “look smart”. Indeed, as a young teen, needing a new belt, I picked a “cool” one with a Harley-Davidson logo imprinted in the leather—I have, even today, in my entire life never ridden on a motorcycle, be it a Harley or a Yamaha, be it as driver or as passenger.

Written by michaeleriksson

May 6, 2022 at 9:28 pm

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Nazis VI: Excursion on Roe v. Wade and the Nazi-attitude of the Left

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Preamble: Keep in mind that this text concerns various abuses, e.g. of the SCOTUS, and odd attitudes around abortion—not whether abortion, it self, is good or bad resp. should be legal or illegal.

The recent “Roe v. Wade (RW) will be overturned” leak is a good reason to illustrate some similarities in attitude between the Nazis and even some Leftist groups (including the current U.S. Democrats) often considered “mainstream” or “moderate Left”.*

*I do not consider “moderate Left” a very reasonable label for (at least, large parts of) the current U.S. Democrats; however, it certainly matches the typical self-portrayal. The “mainstream” claim might well be true, but is then a negative sign for the Left as a whole, more than a positive sign for the Democrats.

  1. The original RW decision illustrates the use of the courts as a tool to press the preferred ideology and to engage in judicial activism—the courts become a tool for the Cause, not the instrument for fairly and impartially applying the law that they were intended to be. By all appearances, RW was poorly reasoned, lacked constitutional justification, and served to achieve a political and/or quasi-legislative purpose—neither of which should be the realm of the courts. Keep in mind that judicial activism within a democracy is not just undemocratic but outright anti-democratic.

    To this, note that the pro-abortionists would have been perfectly entitled to suggest a constitutional amendment,* which, if passed, would have reached the same result in an acceptable manner. If it did not pass? Well, if so, it would have not passed within a democratic framework, implying that the SCOTUS-of-reality had not only violated the separation of powers but also the will of the people by its decision, making this piece of judicial activism the more worthy of condemnation and repeal.

    *Or maybe even a “regular” law. (I am not certain how far a regular federal law could stretch in a case like this. They could certainly have lobbied for regular laws in the individual states.) Of course, RW was decided on (flawed) constitutional grounds, which makes a constitutional amendment the natural comparison.

    Further note that many who oppose RW do so because of aspects like its dubious reasoning and its quasi-legislative effect—not necessarily because they would be opposed to abortion, per se. (A distinction, unfortunately, which the Left is either unable or unwilling to make. See excursion for my own take.)

  2. The debate (or, often, “debate”) around RW and the straw-men presented by the Left illustrate reality distortion and evil propaganda on the Nazi level. This includes much of the Leftist reactions to the leak.

    Consider e.g. the claim that overturning RW would make abortion illegal. This is a severe distortion that could send many ignorants into a panic. In reality, it would remove a federal ban on state bans and move the decision whether to allow abortion back to the states. Some states would subsequently institute bans; others would not. If they do institute bans, it would be within a democratic framework, and a woman would always have the option to leave for another state to have an abortion. (I cannot know now in detail what would be in the future bans, but I fully expect most, maybe all, to contain reasonable exemptions, e.g. in cases of rape or medical issues that threaten the life of the presumptive mother. This would weaken the panic-making claims further.)

    Or consider how opposition to RW is construed as attacks on women or women’s rights. Again a severe distortion: the point of overturning RW is not to attack women, or even to attack abortion, but to remove a poor SCOTUS decision and to restore the status quo ante. (Many Republicans or “pro-lifers” on the street might have an anti-abortion motivation, but they are not on the Supreme Court or, in most cases, even lawyers. More importantly, extrapolating “anti-abortion” to e.g. “anti-woman” is a truly despicable straw-man even in their case.)

    Equally important, if less obvious in the debates, is overlooking secondary aspects, most notably the rights of the states in relation to the federation. Since the creation of the Union, there has been a continual drift of influence and rights from the individual states to that Union, in a manner that has often been constitutionally dubious, has been very contrary to what e.g. Thomas Jefferson envisioned, and might well have gone past what even the old Federalists would have welcomed. Most of the time,* this drift has been for the worse, and the COVID-era, e.g. through Florida and DeSantis and their attempts to protect the civil rights violated on the federal level, has shown how important it is to have some degree of rights for the states. Overturning RW would be a small step towards turning the tide. (Or, sadly, to temporarily delay it.)

    *A notable exception is the extension of the “Bill of Rights” to the states. Even here, however, it would have been better, had this extension taken place through amendments to the respective state constitutions on a voluntary basis.

    Similar arguments apply to distortions around abortion it self, e.g. through cheap cliches like “My body, my choice” that ignore central aspects of the issue, notably that it is the body of the fetus at stake. (Sloganeering is, of course, something that was very prominent among the Nazis and is ever recurring among Leftist groups.)

  3. Abortion, it self, has been turned into a quasi-religious* issue comparable to some of the Nazi excesses—to the point that some seem to consider abortion outright virtuous. (Like a “Lebensborn” in reverse.) I have even seen claims that rising abortion rates would be a sign of societal progress or of women’s rights improving, which is not just a non sequitur, but also borders on the sickening.

    *Not to be confused with the actually religious take of many, but by no means all, “pro-lifers”. These have still, so far, appeared less fanatic to me.

    Or consider the drive towards “free” (i.e. paid by tax payers) abortion. Outside rape and occasional medical complications, this borders on the absurd. Even assuming that abortion is allowed: If a woman is sloppy with prevention or changes her mind after the fact, she should carry the costs and consequences—not the taxpayers. (And certainly not the taxpayers who oppose abortion in the first place.) This should be so obvious, even to a pro-abortionist, that another reason must be sought.*

    *However, there also appears to be a globally widespread Feminist drive that someone else should pay for everything remotely medical that a woman needs. For instance, I have heard demands that health “insurance” (making a mockery of the word) should cover contraceptive pills or that employers should be forced to provide free tampons in the women’s bathroom. (To what degree these demands have been successful is unclear to me.)

    Or what of the drive towards “late term” abortion?* Even post-natal “abortion” has been proposed by some extremists.** Here the mother has had plenty of time to perform a regular abortion. She chose not to. Moreover, for every day that has gone by, the “my body”*** pseudo-argument has lost strength, and the position that the fetus is a human, not a mere clump of cells, has gained strength. This position of “I should be allowed to abort any time I like and for whatever reason!” is near impossible for me to comprehend without assuming a motivation that is more fanatical and quasi-religious than reasoned. It is no longer a matter of even misconstrued women’s rights—it is a matter of pushing something to its extreme out of fanaticism. (Unless it is a matter of “Republicans are against abortion! We must extend abortion further and further to thwart and annoy them!”, a position that, sadly, is not impossible within the current U.S. Left.)

    *Again, excepting cases where medical reasons are present; however, not rape, as medical issues might occur late, while the rape necessarily takes place at approximately the time of conception.

    **I.e. that an already born child might be killed off. An interesting twist is that stories of similar behaviors in the past, as with “infant exposure”, have often been met with outrage, laments over the barbaric past, or self-lauding words of how much more civilized we are today… (And very often by exactly the type of “Progressive” who also sees abortion, at whatever terms the woman wants, as a positive.)

    ***However, it does apply to the increased risk of complications, compared to regular abortion. If the woman wants to take that extra risk for herself then that is her business.

  4. The leak, it self, might be seen as a further example. Indeed, the attitude of “When the rules are in our favor, demand compliance; when they are not, break them.” is disturbingly common on the Left. Ditto that “the end justify the means” attitude and the, often, low moral integrity.

    At the same time, the leak, or rather the fact that the apparently-first-leak-ever took place in just this case, is a strong sign of a lack of reason combined with a quasi-religious drive and/or a sign of what a ridiculous “symbol issue” abortion has become. Note that the leak does not in anyway alter the legal arguments of the case; however, it was likely to (and certainly did) cause tumultuous reactions among many Leftists. These reactions, in turn, might well have caused a weak justice* to cave for fear of his life or his family’s lives, or in order to avoid outright riots** in the wake of the official judgment. At the extreme end, it cannot be ruled out that some Leftist extremists take it upon themselves to take out a few members of the SCOTUS in order to delay judgment until a more Leftist set of justices is in place (or to force judgment in a reduced court with a Leftist majority).***

    *I leave unstated whether any of the current justices are weak. The principle applies even if they are not.

    **Note that some politicians and civil servants took approaches towards e.g. BLM rioters that were quite sub- and permissive. I have also seen repeated recommendations like “leave your car unlocked so that the burglar doesn’t have to smash the window” and “cooperate with the robber to avoid any violence” concerning the increased crime levels since then.

    ***I have long been puzzled, and positively surprised, by how rarely such things are attempted. In a country with a population in excess of 300 million, there would be more than 300 persons who are one-in-a-million. Are those with a sufficient degree of both fanaticism and competence that much rarer than one-in-a-million?

Excursion on me, abortion, and RW:
As I have stated in the past, I do not have strong feelings, in either direction, concerning abortion (but I do have them about weak argumentation and thinking around abortion), and I would tentatively consider myself exactly an RW opponent not motivated by his feelings about abortion. In this, I have to make the dual reservation that the law is a complicated matter and that I am not a lawyer. However, the arguments that I have seen so far have favored the “anti-RW” side, while the “pro-RW” side has had little or nothing to offer, seeming based almost entirely in a pro-abortion stance, rather than legal arguments. The anti-RW take of Justices Thomas (has made his negative opinion known in the past) and Alito (author of the leaked draft), alone, is a very strong sign that RW was wrong.**

*No, “Women’s rights!” is not a legal argument.

**I am against arguments to authority, and I do not claim that “You must agree, because Thomas and Alito said so!”. My claim is rather that there are some persons whose competence, and integrity,*and professionalism* is sufficiently well proven that I am, personally, willing to take much on faith in their area of expertise. Thomas is among the best examples of this that I have ever encountered, while my impressions of Alito have, so far, been quite favorable. Sonia Sotomayor? Not so much.

*Too many competent persons fail at integrity and/or professionalism, and these characteristics really do make a difference—the more so in a judge/justice.

Excursion on abortion due to Dawn’s Syndrome and similar:
Whether such abortions, including or excluding “late term” abortions, should be allowed is an interesting ethical question, where I have not formed an opinion—and do not hold a grudge against either side. However, I note that I have repeatedly seen various Leftist groups push the angle that interventions against e.g. Dawn’s Syndrome justify abortions—which would have met with the wholehearted approval of the Nazis. (And it is almost funny how what amounts to Eugenics is suddenly acceptable when it supports the Cause.)

Excursion on raising use or abuse to virtue:
Some pro-abortion attitudes go counter to one of my own principles of a (hypothetical) Libertarian society (and life/society in general): that we have the right to do something does not imply that we should do it. We all have the right to eat potato chips (and there is nothing wrong in doing so, if done with sufficient moderation). Does this mean that we should eat several bags a week? A bag a day? Several bags a day? No.

Equally, it commits what I tend to think of as the “salt in the soup” fallacy, to reason that “if a little salt is good for the soup, then more salt is even better”. This might work for a little while, but soon the soup begins to taste worse—and it ends up inedible, if too much salt is used. (To which health concerns might be added.)

However, some seem to have an attitude that abortion is an outright virtue or that “the more, the better”. Other errors of a similar type are not unheard of among Feminists, in particular, and the Left, in general. Consider e.g. the common Feminist attitude that women would have an obligation to work in the office instead of the home, where a much more sensible attitude, common among non- and anti-Feminists, is that a woman (or, m.m., man), even if a mother, should have the right to work in the office, should she so choose—and, equally, the right to remain at home with the children, should that be her preference. (Of course, assuming sufficiently favorable circumstances, e.g. with regard to availability of kindergartens resp. money.)

Written by michaeleriksson

May 4, 2022 at 9:54 pm

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Nazis V: Leftist self-perception/-portrayal vs. reality

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One of the most disturbing aspects of the Left is the great difference between self-image/-portrayal* and reality—with the difference between their image/portrayal of their opponents and reality not far behind.**

*Chances are that most Leftists genuinely believe in this-and-that, that they have been mislead by others and are only thinking and repeating the opinions of others. Correspondingly, it is important to keep the difference between self-image and -portrayal in mind when we look at individual Leftists (as opposed to the Left as an abstract).

**This includes issues around Nazis and Nazism, like an inability to see similarities with an own position and the Nazis’ or an identification of opponents with Nazis based on too superficial criteria and/or misrepresentation. However, it is by no means limited to issues around Nazis. Indeed, while this text is important to the overall Nazi series (especially, to counter “We on the Left are pro-X and the Nazis are anti-X! The Nazis must be Right-wing!” thinking), it will not contain much on Nazis.

There appears to be a radical disconnect between what the Left claims to believe, support, want to do, etc. and what it actually believes, supports, does, etc. While often allegedly being in favor of e.g. freedom of speech, the rights of the individual, justice for all and opposed to e.g. oppression and unwarranted special treatment* based on group, their actual beliefs, as revealed by actions** or a closer inspection of claims and statements***, very often show the opposite. I have seen far more intolerance,**** sexism, racism, disregard for civic rights, the-end-justify-the-means thinking, and other unhealthy attitudes on the Left than on the non-Left over the years.

*I deliberately use a vague and generic term, as a wide range of special treatments can be relevant. I am tempted to simply say “discrimination”, but in the Leftist abuse of the word, it might have too specific connotations, while the correct use might include cases that actually are warranted. (For instance, requiring that the attendant of the women’s locker room be a woman is a case of sexual discrimination—but, until the last few years, not one that would have raised objections even on the Left.)

**Consider someone who claims to be in favor of equality—and who pushes a law for a minimum proportion of specifically women among e.g. board members . Someone actually in favor of equality would have demanded minimum proportions for both sexes. (This assuming that quotas worked well and were legitimate per se, which I very much doubt. A true equalist would have focused on equal opportunity. That is a question on another dimension, however.)

***Consider an alleged supporter of free speech who condemns everything that does not conform to a certain worldview or ideology as “hate speech”, “racism”, “sexism”, “fake news”, whatnot, and considers the censorship of such crimethink outright positive. (This often in a manner that requires bad faith and/or ignorance of the facts at hand.)

****I have intended to write a text on intolerance, Leftist hypocrisy, and the world-turned-upside-down take of Marcuse for years. I hope to get around to it shortly after the Nazi series.

A particularly common example is the claim that “we” (i.e. the Left) are in favor of civic rights, while “we” actually engage in opposition to them. Even groups that do not claim support for civic rights, e.g. Soviet-style Communists, show a similar disconnect. For instance, many Communist dictatorships have been lavish in rhetoric on their own goodness and the evil of their opponents—and have often applied words like “democracy” in a sense incompatible with the established and/or “Western” meaning.*

*Consider the German Democratic Republic (i.e. GDR/DDR). I have seen motivations for such uses, e.g. in the direction that it would matter less that the people had a say and more that decisions were made in the interest of the people—true democracy would be serving the interest of the people (even if the people had no say; after all, the people does not understand what is in its best interest), and that the Western countries would be the ones abusing the term. Such motivations have never convinced me. That the interest of the people seemed to coincide surprisingly well with the private interests of the rulers, the party, and/or the ideology did not help. It must, however and in all fairness, be said that Western democracies are often and increasingly walking down the same road, even while nominally adhering to some variation of the principle of “the people is in charge”.

Of course, the mere existence of Soviet-style Communists (and similar groups) is enough to allow a compatibility comparison with the Nazis over e.g. civic rights; however, much of the Left, especially among e.g. Pseudo-Liberals, Social-Democrats, and the New Left, appears to contain a genuine belief that “we fight for freedom; the others for oppression”, “we fight for civic rights; the others want to crush them”, “we fight for democracy; the others want to kill it”, and similar, which goes far beyond the standard “we are the good guys” that applies to virtually all groups—including Nazis and Communists. This is the odder, as the opposite is usually far closer to the truth. (Some specific examples follow below.) Indeed, I have repeatedly seen individuals claim “I belong to the Left*, because X, Y, Z”, where X, Y, and Z are attitudes quite often found among non-Leftists (notably, Libertarians) and non-Left parties, but not or much more rarely among Leftists, let alone Leftist parties. They might even be among the reasons why I distance myself from the Left! In these cases, the very reasons why these useful idiots consider themselves Left are what should make them non-Left.

*Or e.g. a specific party on the Left. With parties, it is noteworthy that such claims might have been less wrong in the past, and that a lack of awareness of a changing situation might play in. I doubt that the U.S. Democrat party has ever been the shining beacon for civic rights that is seen in its self-portrayal, but chances are that the current incarnation is worse than e.g. the 1960s incarnation.

In many ways and very often, Leftist “argumentation” can be likened to someone who climbs a high building, brings out a megaphone, and shouts at the top of her lungs that “WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS! THE OTHERS ARE EVIL!”,* “WE ARE RIGHT! THEY ARE WRONG!”, with no actual argumentation to support these claims. Should someone try to argue the points, the Left brings a bigger megaphone and drowns out whatever the opponent tries to say. And, no, this is only partially a metaphor: I have seen a great many Leftist protests/meetings/whatnot in Germany that basically consisted of an angry someone angrily shouting into a megaphone to the masses, apparently hoping to make them equally angry. This usually with a very simplistic and angry message (e.g. “CAPITALISM IS OPPRESSION!”) and a complete lack of angrym… arguments. I have never seen something similar from non-Left groupings.** Similarly, note the behavior of many far-Left freaks in U.S. colleges: when an opponent has been invited to hold a lecture or participate in a debate, he is met not with counter-arguments and tricky questions but with noise aimed at making his words inaudible or, even, attempts to physically prevent his entry—as if a U.S. college was nothing more than a Kindergarten.

*Note that this differs from the mere belief, not specific to the Left, that “we are the good guys” in at least three regards: (a) The same type of shouting does not take place. (b) The belief that “the others are evil” is not automatic. The chances that someone non-Left considers someone on the Left merely factually wrong or as having weird priorities appears to be larger than vice versa—while the chances that the Leftist consider the non-Left outright evil or morally deficient are larger than vice versa. (Note that I deliberately went with “evil” over a mere “the bad guys”, despite the lack of symmetry—a mere “the bad guys” would too often fall short of the sheer strength of Leftist sentiment.) (c) The non-Left is far more likely to actually back up their claims with facts and reasoning.

**There is a difference between “I have not seen it” and “it does not happen”. However, chances are that it is far rarer, even should it happen.

This shouting of “WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS!” is particularly dangerous, as there are many who fall victim to this claim without a proper amount of critical thinking, actual insight, and knowledge of the “other side”. Indeed, there is great reason to believe that many or most supporters of the Left fall into the category of “useful idiots”, including those who believe that the U.S. Democrats actually represent (true, non-pseudo-, non-“social”) Liberal* values. They do not: The current Democrat ideology is antithetical to the Liberalism that once was and which once gained Liberals the reputation for being enlightened. True, or classical, Liberals are now found under replacement labels like “Libertarian”.

*A similar case likely applies to “Progressive”; however, as this term is not in much use in Sweden and Germany, I have not paid enough attention to it. Still, I doubt that old Progressives, like Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower, would be enthusiastic about the current crop of Democrats. (In a twist, these were Republican presidents, but great care should be taken when comparing the parties over such long time frames.)

Notably, most members of the Left appear to be largely ignorant of what their (real or perceived) opponents actually believe, going, as they do, only by the Leftist claims about what the opponents believe (e.g. that they are racist). They have never bothered to look into e.g. a party program or to read the type of literature that is the basis for much of their opponents thoughts—say, something by Hayek. (Interestingly, I have repeatedly heard anecdotes along the lines “I used to believe that [e.g. Libertarians] were this-and-that; then I read [e.g. Hayek] and now I find them much more sensible than the Left.”) How many typical U.S. Democrats have ever bothered to gain even a casual acquaintance with the thoughts that underlie the early U.S. and which still is important for much of Republican thought? How many have actually read literature that challenges existing paradigms, often very successfully, say, “The Bell-Curve”? Instead, “The Bell-Curve” is condemned as “racist”* by great masses who have never read it, do not understand what it is about, and are not willing to open their minds to anything but a preconceived opinion of “racist” or otherwise “evil”.

*Indeed, not only is it not racist, but I would not even apply a political label like “Right” or “non-Left” to it.

(In contrast, during the early days of my own political awareness, I made a great point of acquainting myself with the writings of “the other side”, including works by some Swedish Social-Democrats and Unionists and some “proletarian literature”. Similarly, I spent a lot of time on e.g. Feminist blogs during my early blogging phase. To note, very, very often have I been put off by the great amounts of faulty reasoning, bad facts, personal attacks, and that general, unreflecting, and adamant “WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS! THE OTHERS ARE EVIL!” attitude. Non-Leftist books/blogs/etc. are by no means universally free of fault, but they do have a much higher likelihood of using argumentation ad rem in lieu of mere assertion and personal attacks.)

An interesting individual example is an old colleague of mine (who has already featured in an older text; also see excursion), who was in fury over the German Pegida protesters, went to counter-protests, and saw it as justified to throw eggs at the Pegida protesters. At some point during a discussion, he suddenly blurted out that “But I don’t like the Burqa. It should be banned! I draw the line at the Burqa!”. This, however, with regard to Islam, is an opinion that a large subset of Pegida would have shared. Some of them are more strongly anti-Islam or anti-Islamist, but some are also just after (what they and he) perceived as excesses. (Many others appear to have been motivated less by feelings about Islam and more by justified disappointment with the German politicians.) Then we have the question of religious tolerance—if a Muslim woman wants to honor her religion by wearing a Burqa, who is he to forbid her?*

*The Left, Feminists in particular, often frame the burqa, the niqab, and similar as male oppression of women. That some Muslim women actually are in favor of these garments never seems to occur to them. (I leave unstated what the proportions of voluntary and forced wearings are, but it is clear that a “Ban the burqa, because sexism!” is simplistic, disrespectful, and destructive. Moreover, based on my observations of women, I suspect that other women, in particular mothers and grand-mothers, are the most likely source of any force or pressure—not men.)

A good example of typical misrepresentation is the claim that Feminism is about “gender equality” or “equal rights”. (This is also a good example of the Left claiming the opposite of the truth.) In reality, Feminism is, and always has been, a one-sided women’s rights movement, which has rarely shown much concern for men’s rights or for equal responsibilities and equal duties. (Here, I wanted to reference a recently encountered and very informative text by someone else, which likely was https://antifeministpraxis.com/2017/03/31/feminism-was-never-not-rotten/; however, this link currently leads to a message of “This domain expired”. For a semi-replacement, see a text on Ellen Key. For issues with more modern Feminism, see any number of earlier texts.)

Or take most of the alleged anti-racism movement in the current U.S., which, it self, appears to be the largest source of racism in said country. Problems include e.g. the blanket condemnation of anyone White who kills anyone Black as “racist”, no matter the circumstance and no matter the absence of proof (while making no such claim when someone Black kills someone White or Asian); citing the rate of arrest of Blacks as proof of “racist cops” without mentioning that Blacks are, if anything, underarrested once crime rates are factored in;* claims that all Whites are racist (but Blacks never can be, because power); and the presumption to interpret** “all lives matter” as a message of hate and racism, while it merely extends and critiques*** “Black lives matter”**** in a sensible manner. Indeed, a current common tactic is to label something as “Whiteness” and see it as immediately and irrevocably discredited, without the need for any actual arguments—how is that for racism?

*For instance, recently I saw a blog post or comment that began with (paraphrased from memory) “In this country, we arrest Blacks at five times the White ratio”, after which some claims about racism followed and I skipped the rest.

**Such interpretations are another major problem with the Left. Cf. e.g. tolkningsföreträde or note how the “Confederate Flag” has unilaterally been redefined as a symbol of racism by the Left—never mind the actual intentions of the many users since the U.S. Civil War.

***From what I have seen so far, critique, like dissent, is something that the Left cannot stand, and this is likely the reason for the hateful Leftist reactions to “all lives matter”—unless it is a cheap propaganda trick.

****I have great doubts that the implied message of “Black lives are not given the same respect as other lives and this must change” was justified. Nothing that I have seen so far points to a disregard of Black lives relative other lives in the U.S. of at least the last few decades—outside misleading propaganda claims by the Black movement. This with the possible exception of the Blacks own attitude, as Black-on-Black murder takes place at a far higher rate than e.g. White-on-White and White-on-Black murder.

Or take one of my first contacts, in the 1980s’ Sweden, with weird Leftist attitudes: that the Social-Democrat supporters would be noble and altruistic, while supporters of non-Left parties would just want to egoistically lower taxes and increase “klyftor”* for their own private gains. That many of the Social-Democrat supporters, in reality, just wanted to have someone else’s money, while their opponents often just wanted to keep their own earnings, or that their opponents might consider redistributions government sanctioned theft (without necessarily earning well, themselves), or that their opponents might understand more about how to run a sound economy, whatnot, never seemed to cross their minds. As often with the Left, I suspect some form of projection—“I want higher taxes because it serves me; ergo, if someone wants lower taxes, it must be because it serves him.” or, even, “[…] because it is bad for me”.**

*I cannot come up with a good English translation of “klyfta”/“klyftor” off the top of my head. The literal meaning might be roughly “ravine”/“ravines”, while the contextual use would be similar to the “divide” in “social divide”. However, the connotations of “klyfta” are naturally stronger than “divide”. The word is very popular in Swedish Leftist populism.

**The last version might seem unlikely, but I have, for instance, seen “letters to the editor” that complained about the “rich” hating the “poor”. Such ideas are certainly compatible with a Marxist “us vs. them” framework and paralleled by some supporters of Feminism and CRT. (And might be another case of projection.)

Unfortunately, such misrepresentations are often helped by e.g. newspapers, schools, and fiction (see excursion). To take just one group of examples: When I still read German papers, I encountered repeated cases of a headline like “Violence in wake of far-Right march!”, followed by a long discussion of violence, injuries, property damage, whatnot—and then, right at the end, a single shy, pro-forma, keep-a-lawsuit-off-our-backs sentence noting that the march had been peaceful until attacked by Antifa or some other Leftist group. The true, so deeply buried lede, was then “Antifa terrorists attack peaceful march!”. How many actually read such articles to an end, how many read a portion and then move on, and how many only read the headline? How many will build an entirely incorrect image of what groups are violent?* Similar distortions appear common in the U.S. as with the gross exaggerations and defamations around the “January 6” situation vs. the cavalier treatment of the Leftist/BLM “mostly peaceful protests”, which led to billions of dollars worth of damage and cost quite a few lives.

*As I have noted in the past, political violence almost always comes from the Left, be it in Sweden, Germany, or the U.S. This is likely one of the reasons why the Left is so keen on saddling the non-Left with the Nazis, as this would put one of the groups most associated with political violence with the non-Left and thereby distort the overall impressions further. It might also be a partial explanation why e.g. a White person who beats up a Black person might be condemned as “Right-wing”, even absent a political motive.

Excursion on misrepresentations in fiction:
If we look at large portions of (at least) U.S. fiction, notably screen fiction, there is enormous misrepresentation of the behaviors and attitudes of various groups in a manner that is likely to distort the worldview of many voters. (Even when we go beyond reasonable artistic licence, attempts to be spectacular or entertaining, and similar.) This to such a degree that mere coincidence or incompetence cannot explain it, leaving us with a very likely deliberate distortion, e.g. in that Feminists do not find enough male mistreatment of women in real life and are forced to use fiction to create the distorted worldview that they want voters to have. Consider e.g. the ever occurring “abusive relationship” (much rarer in real life), domestic violence as an almost exclusively man-on-woman thing (women are slightly more common as perpetrators than men in real life), the proportion of billionaires who are Lex-Luthor evil and/or out to get the poor (likely* much rarer in real life), how common White racists and White supremacists are (rare in real life; Black-on-White/-Asian racism appears far more common), how the proportions of White and Black criminals are reversed, how genius-level scientists are women and non-Asian minorities (including Blacks) far more often than in real life, how many Republicans are stupid, cold-hearted, or prejudiced (look in the mirror, Democrats!), etc. See also an older text on topics like ethics and the portrayal of men on TV.

*I do not know any billionaires first hand and I am not aware of any official statistics on e.g. how many billionaires have tried to kill Superman or take a perverse pleasure in earning money off someone else’s suffering.

A particularly atrocious case is taking a current Leftist sin and portraying it on TV as something someone on the Right (!) is currently doing. For instance, the recent second season of the (originally very promising and entertaining) TV series “Upload” switched to a theme of “rich people are out to disenfranchise poor voters so that the Republicans can win elections”, the rich people led by the “evil capitalist robot of doom”*. (I, in turn, switched off.) This while there are massive documented** attempts by Democrats to change the rules to ensure that Democrats are elected, including attempts to allow ballot harvesting, to increase voting by illegal immigrants, and to unconstitutionally*** alter voting districts to give the Democrats more elected whatnots at the same number of votes.

*Or some such. I do not remember the actual moniker, but it was similarly silly and over-the-top.

**Not to be confused with the allegations of outright Democrat cheating during e.g. the 2020 POTUS election. Unlike the above, there are no clear official records and finding out, let alone proving, exactly what might have taken place is not trivial.

***Not to be confused with the, already disputable, tradition by both parties to do so legally, nor with redistricting for legitimate purposes.

Excursion on my old colleague:
This colleague was paradoxical. Superficially, he seemed a great guy, easy to talk to, professional, always well-dressed and groomed (without being snobby), and he seemed to do a decent* job at software development. However, the more I got to know him, the more sceptical I grew. Apart from the already mentioned, I note e.g. the “John Williams” anecdote: One day, he was raving about his favorite classical guitarist—John Williams. He was a great fan: Williams was the bee’s knees, not just a great guitarist, but also the author of dozens of great movie scores! I, of course, knew who the composer was, but I had never heard him mentioned as a notable guitarist. Puzzled, I checked with Wikipedia, and found that these two were not the same. My colleague was temporarily stunned and highly disappointed, but all seemed to have ended well. (Although, I question how large a fan he could truly have been, making a mistake of that magnitude.) A few months later, he was suddenly raving about his favorite classical guitarist—John Williams. He was a great fan: Williams was the bee’s knees, not just a great guitarist, but also the author of dozens of great movie scores. For fuck’s sake!

*He did not deserve the label “good”, but the sad truth is that even a “decent” puts him well above average. This both in general, as the software industry is flooded with developers with too little brains and/or the wrong attitude for the job, and in this project in particular, as it was a government project where most of the “internals” were below the industry average. (He and I were both “externals”, lent from private companies.)

In another instance, we discussed some topic around Evolution.* He seemed about to set off on an angle demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of how Evolution works (a very, very common flaw among Leftist self-professed believers in Evolution). I tried to correct him, but he interrupted me to claim that he knew what I was going to say and that he already knew all that. He then launched into a five-minute monologue, proving that he had not understood the point that I had wanted to explain and drawing conclusions that simply did not hold water.

*I do not remember the details, unfortunately. His error might have been related to the difference between a simplistic “survival of the fittest” vs. a take based on reproductive success over generations. (Survival is not the Evolutionary prize. Reproduction is. Indeed, many life-forms have a reproduce-and-drop-dead take on affairs. Survival without reproduction might on occasion be a second prize, if it helps a close relative reproduce, but then so might death with the same help to the relative. Bees provide examples of both types of second prize.)

Written by michaeleriksson

April 30, 2022 at 12:31 am

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House from Hell / Construction noise

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Looking back at this week, there has been in excess of two hours of construction noise, including drilling, on Monday and Tuesday, likely* something similar on Wednesday, and right now (Friday) there has been a persistent hammering for more than half-an-hour and counting. (Small blessing, Thursday did not contain any major disturbances.)

*I left the building for in excess of two hours once the disturbances started up again.

This in what appears* to be a continuation of works than originally began more than six months ago and in a house which has suffered more than a year of construction noise over just a few years time—much of it covering entire workdays, much involving such loud and persistent noises that it was impossible to remain in the apartment, and much intruding even upon the weekends.

*There is, of course, a possibility that work in one apartment ended and work in another began.

Written by michaeleriksson

April 29, 2022 at 8:56 am

Further misadventures

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Warning: The following serves mostly as stress/tension release. With one thing and another, the Nazi series will likely see an interruption until late next week.

After my long period of problems (cf. earlier texts), things were really beginning to look up again, a day here-and-there with construction works notwithstanding. True, I had partially bought this improvement through slacking off, neglecting my writing and reading, letting the mail mount up again, and not, for now, getting to the bottom of a few outrages (notably, the inexcusable behavior of building management and the local chimney sweep, where I have put off very thorough complaints for over a year)*.

*If and when I get around to them, I might also write a few blog entries on the topic. Chances are that you will not believe me, because the situations are so utterly absurd. (And those complaints are on a very different level from the ones in this text.)

Still, things were locking up, I was beginning to get my energy back, writing was beginning to look good again, I was beginning to read heavier material, and I had the new project of researching emigration from Germany (which by now borders on being a Leftist dictatorship).

Then the screen of my newish computer just dies…

(Fortunately, just a few hours after the latest full backup. I have hopes that the issue will be repairable, as it might simply be a loose contact somewhere, but there is no guarantee, notebook repairs are often disproportionately expensive relative the original price, and there is not telling how long this might take.)

This, then, amounts to less than four months of use, while its predecessor might have worked for four years.

The next day, yesterday, I went to the local Mediamarkt to look for replacements*. Again, a bit of good luck among the bad—had this happened a little earlier, Mediamarkt might have been closed or off limits due to Covid restrictions.

*As shown both now and around New Year’s, notebooks are highly troublesome when something goes wrong, as the user has to start almost from scratch and he can be restricted in his work for days. With a desktop, I could usually just buy a new one and spend five minutes switching hard drives, while a mere monitor issue could be solved by just replacing the monitor. (Yes, notebook hard drives can also be replaced, but they are much trickier to access, might differ too much in size to fit in another notebook, and the driver situation can be trickier, which makes for more work post-replacement.)

I walked, as I always do, the few kilometers, but finding myself more tired and lacking in energy than I would have expected from such a distance. Too much time indoors due to a mixture of COVID-restrictions, low temperatures, and (during last summer) prolonged bronchitis have really damaged my fitness. (And then we have the question what this might imply for the future. If I fail to compensate through that much harder work, it might very well be a few years of my life when I am in my eighties.)

I walked around Mediamarkt, looking for suitable specimens, beginning, close at the entry to the second floor, with a set of marked-down-due-to-damage computers. Marked down? Maybe, but, apart from the Chromebooks, they were still more expensive than I cared for, and I had the slight fear that some mixture of stampeding inflation, bottlenecks for various chips and whatnots, and market segmentation* would make the affair far more expensive than intended.**

*E.g. in that only Chromebooks and various Android devices can be had cheaply, while a “grown up” computer goes for massively more. Chromebooks et al, however, are not suitable for my current purposes.

**A few years back, I wrote about an atypical lack of progress or even regression in terms of bang-for-buck when it comes to computers. At that time, the decades long trend towards ever more bang for the buck was temporarily broken. A reason for this might have been the vastly increased demand for smartphone components.

I walked over to where the regular items were found, easy to spot and well displayed—and so expensive that I could not believe my eyes. The cheapest (!) went for 900-something Euro, while the median might have been in excess of 1200.* As a comparison, my first notebook, bought in, maybe, 2000, went for less than 3000 DM or around 1500 Euro. (Yes, this was a low-end specimen and there have been more than twenty years of inflation—but there have also been more than twenty years of technological progress.)

*Reservation: I go by memory and did not take exact mental notes. The general idea holds, even should I have the details wrong.

Then, the day seemed saved: in a much less visible aisle, I found a handful of notebooks at much more moderate prices, of which I picked two (of different models) for a total of less than 900 Euro. These, while low-end, were even of better bang-for-buck than the last time around.*

*Which points to the broken trend having resumed in the interim. Imagine my relief.

Sadly, the year is 2022 and the notebooks still all came with a useless and price-increasing Windows installation. Again: 2022—not 2002. This shit should be long behind us.

I went back home on foot and, having a bad conscience about my fallen endurance, picked a road a little longer and much hillier. (Wuppertal has no end on hills, if one picks the right or, depending on perspective, wrong path.) The result: For the first time in years, even with my building in sight, I had to stop to get my breath back—and the last time around I had a loud both heavier and more awkward to carry.* Halfway up to the third floor, I had to halt again—also for the first time since that heavier-and-more-awkward load. Once in my apartment, I put my notebooks down, kicked off my shoes, dropped my jacket to the floor, too tired to hang it, and then I laid down on the floor, myself, where I spent several minutes. Now, I am not saying that this day would have been an outright pick-nick in the past, but… Two years ago, I would neither have had to stop, nor would I have found myself on the floor afterwards—and I suspect that I would have held a higher average tempo.

*The sum of bag and notebooks might have been around 5 kg, maybe less. (Weight is an area where there really has been progress.) To my very vague recollection, the prior event, involving furniture, might have been at 16 kg, but, in all fairness, over a shorter and flatter course.

After a brief excursion, at snails-pace-by-my-standards, to buy food, I spent most of the remainder of the day feeling really lousy, as I do after an overexertion. The intended high point of the day was a Tex-Mex pizza from the local store (one of my favorite dishes). I put it off until the evening—delayed gratification and all that. Twenty-five minutes in the oven, as I like the pizza crispy and firm, and it should have been good to go. But no. I tried to fish it out onto a teller with a fork, as I always do and which has never failed me in the past. This time, very unfirm dough split around the fork tines and the pizza landed in a heap on the oven lid. I tried to grab the heap with the fork and a hand, and the fork just went through it again, leaving nothing that could reasonably be eaten.*

*I do not know what the problem was. A possibility is that I had not turned one of the knobs far enough, but, if so, I should have noticed it when I turned off the oven—as I always have on the very few prior occasions when a knob has been short of the mark.

Today, I began the installation of Linux (Gentoo). Here things grew tiresome again. For starters, I had, around New Year’s, downloaded the installation manual* to an e-reader—which should be perfect right now. But no. When I opened the document, the font was on the small side, so I picked a larger one. The result: The reader locked up in “hour-glass mode” for so long that it went into power-save** mode before the document had reloaded. Once done, simply going from page 2 to page 3 caused another massive delay, after which the power-save mode was reactivated. After turning the thing on again, I was still on page 2… After several repetitions, I tried to go back in size, as things had worked to begin with. The reader worked for half an eternity, went into power-save mode—and was, surprise, still using the larger font afterwards. Several repetitions brought no improvement.

*Note that Gentoo is a distribution for somewhat more proficient users, and that there is a lot more manual work and own decisions to make than with e.g. Debian.

**Due to the minutes of waiting. The battery, to avoid misunderstandings, was fully loaded.

I gave up and began the installation on the first notebook. Just as I recalled, the installation medium did not contain the installation instructions (a bizarre choice, especially considering how little space would be needed), and the central “man” command for displaying other documentation was equally missing. Fortunately, “cryptsetup” was present and I could mount my (encrypted) backup drive, where I, among other needed things, did have a copy of the installation guide. From here on, things went much smoother than around New Year’s; in part, because I had some experience; in part, because I could forego a number of steps and just populate most of the hard drive from the backup drive. However, there were still quite a few curses, due to the incompatibilities of the defaults in the installation shell and my own ingrained-in-my-fingers preferences. Some obscure errors held me back for a while, because I had forgotten to manually add a “/tmp” directory (which I do not backup), including that tmux refused to start.*

*And why is it so hard to give decent error messages? Pretty much the first rule of writing error messages is to indicate what object caused the problem. It should never be e.g. “File not found!”, but “File XYZ not found!”. Ditto, never “Access denied!” but “Access to XYZ denied!” (unless the object is obvious from the interaction).

Still, apart from some issue with the sound,* I had a working computer and a working Internet much, much faster than last time around—and i decided to carry on with the second, too, today. (Originally, intended for tomorrow.)

*A missing driver, likely. I will look into that later. The device is found by “lspci” but is not in e.g. the “/dev” tree.

But no. While it definitely has a functioning hard drive, as it managed to boot into the pre-installed Windows when I was a little slow with entering the BIOS. However, when I tried the Gentoo installation, this hard drive simply could not be found. There is not even a “/dev” entry. If I have the energy, I will troubleshoot tomorrow, but in a worst case, I might have to replace the boot-image for the installation. Absurd. Again, the year is 2022 and interfaces should be sufficiently standardized that something like that simply cannot happen.

(I also have some misgivings about the keyboard layout. As I noticed during my brief experiments, a few keys had been moved out of position in a manner that could be extremely annoying to the touch typist. Another first rule, and another one all too often violated—if you design keyboards, keep the touch typist in mind, not just the hunt-and-peck typist.)

Written by michaeleriksson

April 23, 2022 at 9:52 pm

Nazis IV: Preliminaries on proof, subjectivity, etc.

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For natural reasons, the current area is one in which proof, in any real sense, is hard to come by. We cannot, for instance, put a Nazi on a set of scales and see whether he is more or less Leftist than a Communist. Maybe a very, very extensive and thorough scientific investigation could provide conclusive proof of this or that, but, if so, this might involve several decades of work.

Among the many complications we have that even a somewhat specific ideology, e.g. Communism, can vary considerably over time and from country to country, based on what the current intellectual fashion is, based on who the current local leader is, etc. (The same applies to Nazism, but to a lesser degree, because core Nazism was restricted to a comparatively short era, a single regime, once in power, and a single leader, Hitler, for most of that era.) Building a consistent image of the Left in its entirety is far harder or outright impossible—and it is entirely impossible for the more heterogeneous non-Left.

Then again, much of these problems go back to a stubborn insistence by most debaters (and Leftist debaters, especially) to force everything onto the extremely limited and misleading Left–Right spectrum. If it had not been for this stubborn insistence, chances are that I would never have started this text series, because it would have been utterly obvious that the Nazis cannot and should not be grouped with e.g. Conservatives and Libertarians. Ditto that we cannot and should not group various political groups together based on e.g. nationalism, while leaving every other aspect of their politics aside.

Moreover, it was the Left that began this game by trying to pawn off the Nazis on their opponents. No, dear Left, if you want to use the Left–Right spectrum, then the Nazis are yours.

I know what I know, but I cannot give a mathematical proof and I will understand the reader who sees too much “argumentation by assertion”. I can only recommend him to read up on his own and ask him to remember that the same claim of “argumentation by assertion” applies to most of what the Left ever “argues”—including the claim that the Nazis would be Right-wing. What he finds when he by-passes the Leftist propaganda and the weak efforts of journalists might surprise him.

Absent firm proof, I must to a large part simply relay my own impressions of various groupings, gathered over more than thirty years and referring to countries like Sweden, Germany,* the U.S., and the erstwhile Soviet Union. The source of my impressions varies. I have lived for more than twenty years in each of Sweden and Germany, I have read the news, known supporters of various parties in person, read party programs, read books (including on history), debated on blogs, etc. The U.S. has been a great personal interest of mine for the last six–seven years (and of some interest before that), and I have read many thousands of pages of books, Wikipedia articles, newspaper articles, opinion pieces, blog entries, … (And had, again, been involved in many blog debates before this period of interest.) As to the Soviets, my exposure has been lower, but still, I suspect, considerably above average for someone born outside the Soviet sphere of influence—and what I have to say on the matter is unlikely to be very controversial or unexpected.

*Both Nazi-Germany and the DDR were gone by the time I was, respectively, born and moved to Germany. However, the geographic proximity and the constant reminders through e.g. German media have given me a considerable interest in both, and I would put my knowledge and understanding well above the native German average among (important!) those who have no personal experiences.

I also know enough of many other countries to have a varying understanding of relevant history and complications—and the trends of the aforementioned countries appear to hold. Consider e.g. the Leftist economic disasters in Venezuela and Zimbabwe, the horrors of China under Mao, or the damage that PC/Feminist influence has done in the other Nordic countries. I am also aware of the complications around Franco and Pinochet. As to the latter, with “complications” I do not mean the evil deeds, quite contrary to my own values, that were performed by their regimes, but the issue of how to classify them and where they might fit in e.g. a discussion of Left–Right, where-do-the-Nazis-belong, or similar. Here, I might at some point have to read more deeply, but Pinochet seems more of a personal dictator than an ideological figure, and another poor match for the Left–Right spectrum, in my impression so far, and the sometime classification as Fascist might be more a matter of his methods (“Fascist” as generic slur for an authoritarian or whatnot regime) or his overthrow of a Socialist or Communist regime* (“Fascist” as a generic slur for someone the Left does not like). Franco is somewhat similar (if, maybe, more ideological and with a different ideology), but with the complication that he did not rise to power through a coup, but through a civil war (again, against Socialists/Communists)—and it must be asked what of his actions were a result of this civil war** and what might have had another background. His opponents in the war, contrary to typically one-sided portrayals in Western media, might well have been the greater evil-doers. (Have a look at e.g. Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia”. Note that Orwell, despite some of his writings, was a dedicated Socialist and actively participated on the Leftist (!) side in the war.)

*Notably, Salvador Allende was, by all appearances, “pulling a Venezuela” on Chile.

**To re-iterate from [1]: war crimes follow automatically whenever there is war.

(A counterpoint, where I also might need to do more reading, is whether the Castros’ Cuba and the Kims’ North-Korea could, similarly, be more personal dictatorships than true Communist dictatorships—and whether they have more or less in common with Pinochet/Franco than with e.g. the Soviets. Of course, unlike Pinochet/Franco with Fascism, they have openly and unmistakably claimed to be Communist and/or Socialist.)

Written by michaeleriksson

April 21, 2022 at 3:56 pm

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Nazis III: Various takes on “Law and Order”

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In many cases, Left vs. non-Left positions can be clouded by semantics (note how most parties agree that justice, fairness, equality, whatnot are good, but disagree on what the corresponding words imply).

A particularly interesting case, with an eye on the Nazis/Fascists* is “law and order” and similar ideas and formulations,** as calls for “law and order” are sometimes equated with a call for a Nazi/Fascist society.

*The explicit inclusion of “Fascist” here is warranted by this, in my impression, being the more common accusation, while carrying the same intent and implications as the “Nazi” accusation. Otherwise, cf. part I, I leave the related topic of Fascism out.

**For brevity, I will stick with just “law and order” in the continuation. This should not be seen as a restriction of my intent.

Now, law and order can, when taken too far, degenerate into something akin to a “Polizeistaat” instead of a “Rechtsstaat”.* More easily, the balance between civic rights and e.g. crime suppression can tip the wrong way. (Consider e.g. Feminist-driven reductions in due process when rape is concerned or the many calls for fewer restriction on surveillance by the police. Note that such calls quite often come from the Left.) However, we need to be clear on what the respective speaker actually intends by e.g. “law and order”.

*German expressions for, respectively, “police state” and something somewhat approximately implying “rule of law”. (The implications are, in my eyes, not identical, but there is no established exact translation of “Rechtsstaat” into English. The recurring reader will have noted my repeated uses of the German expression in the past.)

For instance, a Conservative might have his eyes on “I and my family are protected from crime”, while someone who has been robbed thrice in the last year, as can happen in a sufficiently bad neighborhood, might simply want to walk the streets without fearing for his life and limb.* These might call for more police on the street or harsher punishments for criminals, but are usually far away from a police state in their intentions (and in the likely results).

*Generally, note that the political priorities of various groups are often strongly influenced by their own experiences and the problems that they are exposed to more often. It can really pay to understand the actual motivations of a particular priority.

In contrast, many politicians* seem to mean “I and my fellow politicians are protected from disgruntled voters” or “law and order ensures that the people does what we tell them to do”.** Here we have an actual danger to the Rechtsstaat and an actual risk of achieving a police state.

*Not necessarily Leftist; although, the Left seems to be worse than the non-Left in e.g. the U.S. and Germany.

**Note e.g. the extremely disproportionate, anti-democratic, and anti-rechtsstaatliche clampdown on “January 6” protesters, while Antifa terrorists and BLM rioters, hitting mere citizens, have received slaps on the wrist. The main explanation for this might well be a matter of anti-Republican abuse of governmental power and/or an attempt to give the Democrats their “Reichstagsbrand”; however, chances are that the reaction is partially driven by how “close to home” the protests were—and this could explain why the outrage against the clampdown has not been larger among the leading Republicans.

A good example of this is the repeated claims by (then-Chancellor) Merkel and some other German politicians that the Internet must not be a “rechtsfreier Raum”*, by which a naive German citizen might happily think that he will be protected from fraudsters and be able to use the services of police and courts even on the Internet. In this, he would be doubly naive, because (a) even in the real world his ability to do so is extremely limited,** (b) what the politicians actually appear to mean, based on suggested and actual law changes, is that anonymity must be removed from the Internet, so that the government can keep tabs on him, and that the Internet must not become an escape from the too far going German restrictions on free speech.***

*Approximately, “area/space/room without law and order”.

**One of the reasons why I reject the notion that Germany would be a Rechtsstaat in the first place.

***Another reason. I note e.g. that there was a set of raids against citizens about a month ago, which included searched apartments and confiscated computers—because the targets were suspected of having insulted politicians. Note: Germany 2022—not the DDR in 1982, not the Nazi-Germany of 1942, but the “regular” Germany of 2022.

The police and other law-enforcement organizations often put their own interests first—catch the criminal and all is good. This is somewhat understandable, but ultimately too dangerous. (As it always is, when a single concern is given priority over everything else, even should it be with good intentions.) We also need to consider the effects on other parts of society, the risk of abuse, the often implied violation of the presumption of innocence, how a rise in convictions almost invariably implies more innocents being convicted (not just more guilty), etc. If things go wrong here, we can truly and rapidly land in a police state.

What then might a Leftist voter intend? Well, firstly, he is unlikely to speak of specifically “law and order”, as it has more Conservative or other non-Leftist connotations; however, per the above, “similar ideas” apply. Going by various actions, articles, forum comments, whatnot by members of the U.S. Left, I strongly suspect that it often amounts to “the law protects the Left from the non-Left (but not vice versa)”, “all those evil White supremacists are prevented from lynching* poor Black people (but poor Black criminals must not go to jail—they are victims of society)”, “we can put Trump in jail for being Trump”, etc. More internationally, gross abuse has been quite common in various Communist dictatorships,** while even more moderate versions of the Left seem to have a strong tendency both towards hypocrisy (different rules for the Left and the non-Left) and use of governmental power for their own purposes—if rarely to the degree displayed in the current U.S. Note e.g. an (older text) on a German law that is explicitly directed towards Right-wing extremism, instead of e.g. political or ideological extremism. (The odder, as Germany has a much greater problem with Left-wing extremism than with Right-wing.) Or note that many Nazi** symbols/greetings/whatnot are illegal in Germany, while corresponding Communist ones are perfectly legal. Or note that the German Verfassungschutz is attacking the considered-Right*** AfD, while leaving Die Linke, a far Left direct descendant of the SED, alone—respectively, that they are publicly criticized when they are not hard enough on AfD and when they are not soft enough on Die Linke.

*Here and elsewhere, note that the image of both White and Black behavior (and e.g. male and female behavior) is often highly distorted in the minds of Leftists. Consider e.g. the absurd claims of “racist murderer” against Chauvin and many others—even if we follow Chauvin’s jury and call it murder (which, frankly, still seems unreasonable to me), there is not one shred of evidence of anything racist. In many other cases, the alleged racist murderer has been acquitted even of murder, as with e.g. Zimmerman, and, again, not one shred of evidence for racism has been provided.

**In conjuncture with the misguided claim that the Nazis were Right-wing.

***Unlike with the Nazis and some other parties, I do not necessarily disagree, if we allow the use of the flawed and simplistic Left–Right spectrum (but we should not). However, based on how other parties are treated, I suspect that the typical establishment/mainstream-media/whatnot estimate has not arisen from a holistic view of their overall opinions. Instead, it stems from their take on issues like immigration.

Now, as an exercise for the reader, please compare and contrast the above takes on law and order with a reasonable description of the Nazi take.

Written by michaeleriksson

April 17, 2022 at 9:07 pm

Nazis II: Preliminary remarks on comparisons over time, importance of baselines

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Looking back at the Nazis (and, m.m., a great many other groupings) from a modern point of view, there is always a danger of mistaking a more general characteristic of the day for a Nazi characteristic.

As an analogy, Hitler’s toothbrush moustache was not his invention, or historically rare/specific to him, or a Nazi symbol—it was a fashion that Hitler (and Chaplin, and Oliver Hardy, and …) adopted. That it has fallen out of popularity might be mostly a matter of the association with Hitler,* but chances are that it would have disappeared from the scene anyway, just like the 1970s’ horseshoe moustache did. Barring the current association with Hitler, it might even have made a comeback at some point in time—like fashions often do.

*Another possibility is that it is today associated with Hitler, because it fell out of fashion and he might be the most famous carrier from a modern perspective.

Similarly, popular worldviews, opinion corridors, societal standards, whatnot, all change over time and in a fashion-like way; and we cannot say, in a blanket manner, that “the 1932 Nazis thought X and the 2022 Left thinks Y’; ergo, they are incompatible”. Instead, we must consider both historical Leftist opinions and the general baseline of the respective day. In particular, if either of the 1932 and 2022 Lefts though X, it would be sufficient proof of compatibility; however, the opposite would not be proof of incompatibility. Whether Leftist support in 1932 or 2022 would be the stronger argument might be up for discussion, however: If both, say, Nazis and Communists held opinion X in 1932, it would make for a fairer and more direct comparison, but it is also conceivable that both were “fashion victims” of the 1932 baseline (as if Stalin, too, had picked a toothbrush moustache), which would make the comparison less relevant. Of course, to make matters more complicated, if both were fashion victims, it might be unfair to associate either with X.

(However, we must not overstretch the reasoning: An argument like “belief X can be Leftist, after all—witness 1932” weakens the “Nazis are Right-wing” claim further, but it does not automatically imply “the Nazis did not truly think X” or “if the Nazis had survived until today, they would long have abandoned X”. The latter two claims might or might not be true, or they might be true for one issue and not another, but there is no guarantee—and it is irrelevant for my point. What matters is what implications belief in X had at what time and who shared or rejected that belief.)

To detail exactly which opinions/methods/whatnot should be seen as more “historical” than “Nazi”, and/or where they were Nazi but must be partially seen in the light of the baseline, would involve speculation and might require considerable research, but I note that hatred of/prejudice against e.g. Jews and homosexuals was quite common (including on the Left),* that nationalism was much more common than today, and that warfare for the purpose of territorial expansion has been historically unremarkable (no matter how frowned upon it is today)—certainly, the Soviets, too, occupied large areas of land before WWII broke out respectively before the German–Soviet part of the war (including the remains of Poland, parts of Finland, and the Baltic states).** By the end of the war, they had gobbled up half of Europe. Also note that the Nazis learned a lot from the Soviets, including how to perform large scale incarcerations and exterminations.** (Read e.g. “The Black Book of Communism” and see what went on in the Soviet Union before Hitler was even in power.)

*To boot, I have always been a little uncertain to what degree the Nazis’ anti-Semitism was a true core issue, a personal fixation of Hitler’s, respectively, a way to gain popular support and/or have a convenient scape-goat or enemy in propaganda.

**And note how differently both cases have been treated with regard to Nazis and Communists by both the “West”, in general, and the Western Left in particular.

A particularly important case is eugenics: It is true that proponents of eugenics are much more likely to be found among the non-Left than the Left today. However, this has not historically been the case, and the current Leftist aversion is almost certainly caused by the Nazis, be it as an irrational overreaction or as a deliberate attempt to build distance to the Nazis. Eugenic ideas were, in fact, very popular (throughout society and the political spectrum) before the Nazis—including in educated and “progressive” circles. Active users included my native Sweden under Social-Democrat governments. And, no, eugenics and genocide are very, very different things. It just happened that the Nazis chose genocide to achieve a (likely misperceived-as-)eugenic goal. The problem with the Nazis was certainly not the idea of eugenics—but the methods used and the naive target.

Excursion on catastrophic one-off, few-off events on public opinion:
The Nazi impact on eugenics parallels the unfair deterioration of the reputation of nuclear power: The Chernobyl accident* was a once in decades event even at the time it happened. Since then, we have seen close to another four decades come and go without a similar accident. Nevertheless, it has given nuclear power an entirely undeserved reputation and hampered the development of nuclear power ever since. Attitudes seemed to be turning as time passed—and then came the Fukushima** incident. While much smaller, this set attitudes back to the prejudiced scratch. Never mind that Chernobyl and Fukushima together did far less damage and caused far fewer deaths than fossil fuels do every single year.

*Caused by a mixture of (already then) outdated technology, human errors, deliberate non-adherence to security protocols, and a lot of bad luck.

**Caused by an enormous natural disaster, which did far more damage than the nuclear incident. (Use of “incident” is deliberate. The connotations of“accident” are all wrong here.)

In both cases, eugenics and nuclear power, something highly beneficial when used correctly, has been condemned as irredeemably evil, must-be-abolished sins in large swaths of the unthinking or irrational population. On a more individual level, there are, e.g., many who have an irrational fear of flying, stemming from well-publicized major crashes, while the relative probability of death per passenger mile (or a similar metric) between different modes of transport is not considered.

I note a parallel with “not perfect; ergo, useless”, maybe as “went wrong once; ergo, too dangerous”.

Written by michaeleriksson

April 16, 2022 at 6:30 pm