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Nazis XV: Deep attitudes of the Left

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A natural approach in a comparisons of Nazis with (other) Leftists is to find a definition for “Left” and see how the shoe fits. Unfortunately, this is virtually impossible, as directly or indirectly mentioned in other entries of this series. However, we can look at some criteria that are common or very common fits for the Left, less common elsewhere,* and play in well with at least some notable divisions, including the divisions between current Republicans and Democrats in the U.S., the old U.S. vs. the Soviet Union, Libertarians and classical Liberals vs. Socialists and “social” Liberals, and the Swedish Moderaterna** vs. the Swedish Social-Democrats.

*But note that I do not claim that they would be the sole realm of the Left.

**At least in the incarnation that I knew well three decades ago. I am not up-to-date in detail, but do note that they have since begun to support Gender-Feminist reality distortion, which is a very bad sign.


  1. Collectivism over individualism:

    Virtually without exception, Leftism demands that the individual and his rights be ignored in favor of the (real, alleged, or misperceived) good of the collective. The main variations seems to be in whether the push for the collective is honest or merely used as an excuse in a manner similar to “Animal Farm” and in how the preference is phrased (e.g. “for the good of the people”, “for the good of the proletariat”, “for the good of Germany”, “for the common good”, “for the public good”*).

    *In some of these cases, it might be argued that we do not see a juxtaposition of individual vs. collective but of individual and some “higher cause” or other not-necessarily-collectivist concept. However: (a) The implicit intent in Leftist propaganda is typically of a collectivist nature, even if more indirectly. (Contrast this with a more medieval “for King and Country” or a more religious “for the glory of God”.) (b) To the degree that the collective misses the point in any specific Leftist case, the larger and more abstract issue of violating the rights of the individual in favor of something else remains.

    This, of course, even if the individual is a member of the favored collective—if he is not, e.g. because he belongs to the wrong class, he might lose all rights already on this count. Which leads us to:

  2. Extreme “us vs. them” and “oppressor vs. oppressed” thinking:

    Attempts at this are so ubiquitous in Leftist thinking and propaganda that, I suspect, it is less a matter of an honest conflict and more of a deliberate search for a “them” in order to successfully convince the weak-minded that their support in an important fight is needed. Find a Leftist group and there will be a “them”—only who “they” are is to be clarified. (The capitalists, the bourgeoisie, the educated, the Jews, the Whites, the “cisgendered”, …)

  3. Equality of outcome over equality of opportunity:

    Less common than the other items, but still quite common and of particular importance with an eye at the current U.S. and its highly destructive politics, Feminism in most of the Western world for several decades, and the far Left at more or less any time and any place.*

    *The matter is complicated by at least two issues, both of which I will ignore below: Firstly, the Left is divided between two main camps—those that openly demand equality of outcome and those who merely claim that equality of outcome is proof of inequality of opportunity. The latter need further subdivision into those who are honest-but-wrong and those who are dishonestly trying to hide their true opinions. Secondly, some groups, especially on the Old Left, seem more intent on equality of outcome on the individual level, while others, especially on the New Left, seem more focused on equality of outcome on the group level.

    This is made the worse by the often very one-sided takes on equality of outcome, where privileges, rights, duties, whatnot are often selectively counted only to favor the in-group. For instance, Feminism is notorious for demanding any right that a man might have for any woman, while not taking up duties in a corresponding manner and not offering female rights to men in exchange. A particularly perfidious case, a horrifying intellectual fraud, is the Global Gender Gap Report/Index, which is systematically made to only count “in one direction”,* leaving the nominally ideal score of 1** virtually unreachable (giving a convenient excuse to claim that “there is still much work to be done until we finally have equality”), and making even a far lower score a strong sign that equality, had it been measured fairly!, has already been reached. (Sweden, e.g., is rated at a mere 0.822 for 2022, despite, by any reasonable standard, being a country which favors women over men. With Afghanistan at 0.435, a first approximation of a corrected index might give equality at (0.435 + 0.822) / 2 = 0.6285 instead of 1. Substituting a less extreme low ranker than Afghanistan might increase that by another tenth.)

    *In at least one case, life expectancy, women must have an outright advantage (!) of 6 percent for “equality” to hold.

    **As I read the page, the highest reachable score would actually be an absurd 0.9949, but this construction would be so absurd that I cannot rule out a misstatement. Either way, the other absurdities involved ensure that no country is even close to either of 0.9949 and 1.

  4. A “the end justifies the means” attitude:

    As I have noted on countless occasions, this attitude (with various variations, including “holier than thou” high-horsing) is extremely common on the Left—and because “we” are the good guys, we are allowed to lie, cheat, steal, defame, … in order to win. The other party? Does not even have the right to speak and should crawl back under its rock in shame!

    (As I have also noted on countless occasions, methods matter more than opinions and “evil is as evil does”—but the typical Leftist is too stupid to understand such a basic principle.)

(Note that this list does not include a great number of connotations of other types, e.g. a Leftist preference for propaganda over argumentation.)

This leaves us with three slam-dunk matches for the Nazis, with uncertainty only on the “equality of X” debate. Here I would need to do more legwork, but I note a current impression that (a) the Nazis allowed for more personal success, but (b) this success was contingent on being a good tool for the cause—any individual success was not there for the individual, but for the cause.

Excursion on Menschenverachtung:
With some hesitation, as this might partially be a matter not only of my connotations of the Left but also of this concept, I would add sheer Menschenverachtung, which seems to be a very often recurring issue with the Left, including the old Communist dictatorships, and which many Germans would immediately and primarily associate with the Nazis.

The literal meaning is roughly “contempt for humans” or “contempt for humanity”, but what lies behind it, at least in my associations, goes far beyond that.* This includes a common disregard for the rights of humans (sometimes even a denial that humans have rights that a Libertarian or classical Liberal, as well as many Conservatives, would see as given), a view of humans as nothing but tools (including, in a political context, as voters and tax payers, whose sole reasons to live is to keep a certain party or politician in power and to fill the governments wallet for the benefit of this party/politician), a view of humans as sheep to be guided, the assumption that the broad masses are too stupid to be allowed to make decisions for themselves** or even to form their own opinions***.

*I make no secret of a low opinion of humanity and most humans of my own, but I differ very strongly in what comes after, what conclusions I draw, what limits I suggest, etc.

**Without a doubt, the broad masses are deeply stupid—but not so stupid that they should be treated as children with regard to their own lives. This to be contrasted with my own repeated claims that the broad masses are too stupid to be allowed to force their will upon others. There simply is an enormous difference between making (potentially bad) decisions for oneself and making them for others. I note further that most politicians are highly unimpressive, themselves, when it comes to intelligence and understanding of topics like good governance. For many or most, their presumption to lead amounts to the blind leading the blind—or, worse, leading the seeing.

***Very similar: I might consider most humans stupid, but I respect their right to form their own opinions—possibly, the most central single right there is.


Written by michaeleriksson

July 27, 2022 at 1:11 am

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Nazis XIVb: Nationalism, racism, xenophobia, …

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To belatedly continue the discussion from Nazis XIVa, I will look at some cases of various behaviors on the Left that might well have been considered “Nazi” by the Left, had they occurred on the Right, with the purpose of “understanding that a considerable amount of racism/xenophobia/nationalism/whatnot can be found even on the official Left” (to quote the introduction in Nazis XIVa).

In my draft before the split into Nazis XIVa and Nazis XIVb, I wrote:

Now, let us look at some cases of probable racism, nationalism, whatnot, with a few restrictions based on the above: (a) We only consider cases with a non-trivial negative effect. (b) We discount what lies too far back in time, because such ideas were too common for a comparison if we go back far enough. (c) We ignore the Nazis, themselves, because the overriding issue is whether the Nazis are Left or Right. (Notably, whether they are the one or the other will have a massive effect on which “side” is considered how racist/nationalist/whatnot.) (d) We ignore cases which are called some variation of “Right” because of e.g. racism, else this would result in circular reasoning in favor of the Left.* Keep in mind that the Leftist take of “Racist; ergo, Right-wing” (etc.) requires racism to be a wholly or almost wholly Right-wing phenomenon, while my take of “Racism, by it self, tells us nothing about Right vs. Left” merely requires a considerable presence of racism on both sides.**

*Which might well be why they do it. I am never certain what is explained by a Leftist ignorance of logic and what by malicious distortions.

**However, I will not try to prove its existence on the Right, because (a) the Left is already fully convinced of this, (b) an absence on the Right would not hurt my case (it would, in fact, strengthen it).

This applies broadly to the “racism” portion, which was already satisfactorily long pre-split. For the empty-until-today “nationalist” portion, I have added a briefer discussion, as I lack the time and motivation to write something longer.


A discussion of nationalism is tricky without a proper definition, and it would be hard to find a definition which is (a) widely accepted and (b) does not beg the question in some manner. However, there have been a few mentions at other places in this text series, including Nazis XIb ([1]) (notably, invasions), that (depending on definitions) might be relevant. Some other aspects are indirectly covered by the discussion of racism. Yet other aspects include:

  1. Sports, with at least some Communist dictatorships pushing success at sports as proof of national superiority. This, maybe, most notably so in the GDR; other examples include the Soviet Union and Cuba.

    (As a confounding factor, this type of superiority pushing might be more aimed at the political system/ideology than at e.g. a racial component, while a racial component was more notable for the Nazis. Here we see that the motivations for nationalism might differ in detail, even when the same methods and more general attitudes appear. Similar remarks might apply to other items.)

  2. The Soviets had a very clear position of the Soviet Union being in charge of the “Second World” (and were willing to defend the position by force), most notably through the “Brezhnev Doctrine”. It is clear that the Soviets wanted to increase this sphere of influence considerably in the long term; and that its interventions included areas more likely to be considered “Third World”, e.g. in Africa, often by proxy (notably, Cuba).
  3. The Communist dictatorships often pushed nationalism and/or patriotism*, in a manner exceeding that of most Western countries post-WWII. China might or might not be the prime example.

    *Normally, I do not differentiate between the two; however, formulations with “patriot-” are somewhat common, maybe because this push often went hand-in-hand with “ask what you can do for your country (and, thereby, the Party, the Cause, the Whatnot)” manipulation. Note, e.g., the “Great Patriotic War” (WWII from a Soviet perspective). Of course, it might be an artefact of translation e.g. from Russian to English.

  4. As I just discovered,* there are great many Leftist-according-to-Wikipedia** organizations with names containing some variation of “patriot”, including, from a variety of countries and contexts, Patriots of Russia, Patriotic Renewal Party, Morazanist Patriotic Front, Patriotic Labour Youth, and Union of Polish Patriots.

    *After the previous footnote, I searched-in-vain for a youth organization with a name like “Little Patriots” (maybe something that I confused with the “Little Octobrists”), and found example after example of this. I have not attempted the same experiment with e.g. “nationalist”.

    **Which, if anything, distorts in favor of the Left. However, I have not attempted to verify the correctness of the claims.

    In addition, there are articles on e.g. Social patriotism, Socialist patriotism, and Soviet patriotism.

    With some reservations for the exact implication of “patriot” vs. “nationalist”, this alone goes a long way to prove that nationalism is not the exclusive domain of the “Right”.

  5. A more general or generic national pride seems somewhat common in Left-leaning countries, at least until somewhat recently. For instance, the strongly Leftist French are/were known for this; for instance, cf. [1], my own school years contained several instances of “be proud to be Swedish” pushing, and this attitude was also broadly reflected in general society. Also see excursion.


  1. Racism in the modern U.S.:

    Racial discrimination, which might or might not have a racist background, is driven by the Left, in the favor of Blacks and, to some degree, Hispanics, and to the disadvantage of Whites, Asians, and, maybe, Jews. (Note e.g. college-admittance issues and preferential hiring issues.)

    Racist claims by various politicians, influencers, athletes, whatnot, seem to come predominantly from the Left and/or be pro-Black and/or be anti-White. In the case of education, this is definitely and massively so, e.g. through the pseudo-scientific, anti-intellectual, and grossly racist CRT.

    To judge the situation among the “broad masses” is trickier, but the opinions that I have seen expressed directly and the indirect claims of opinions that I have encountered point strongly to (mostly Democrat-voting) Blacks being the main source of racism in the U.S.—directed at virtually any other group. Hispanics (mostly Democrat-voting) seem to be better, but do reciprocate the Black anti-Hispanic racism. Whites,* if anything, tend to err on the other side, with claims like “races do not exist”, “IQ is racist”, “differences in outcome are racist”, etc. (Chinese and/or Asian racism is often rumored, but I remain agnostic for the time being.)

    *Whites typically go somewhat Republican, but those erring-on-the-other-side above are skewed, likely strongly so, towards the Democrats. In as far as Republican Whites have “racist” attitudes, it tends to move on the level of “one standard deviation” or “crime statistics show”, while, again, the Black racist attitude is often “X is evil” or “I hate X”.

    How, in the U.S. and elsewhere, is the current anti-Russian wave to be seen? It could be racist or xenophobe, or maybe something else, but it does appear to be directed at Russians, not just Russia and not just Putin and his followers. What would make a generic, random Russian immigrant to the West any worse than a generic, random Ukrainian one?

  2. Racism in the past U.S.:

    Here a Left–Right comparison is tricky, both because party positions change over time and because the U.S. Democrats have, before the last few decades, been roughly “center” by a European standard. However, I do note that Lincoln et al. were Republicans, that the KKK was mostly Democrat, that “Jim Crow” laws were pushed by the Democrats, and that a Democrat interest in pro-Black attitudes might have begun around 1960 (?), quite possibly as an attempt at vote-fishing.* Of course, parts of the more extreme Left, e.g. “Nation of Islam” and the “Black Panthers” held some quite unsavoury opinions.

    *Even today, there are reasons to doubt to what degree the Democrats are genuinely concerned with the well-fare of Blacks (but incompetent) and to what degree they are simply vote fishing. Notably, Democrat policies usually fall well short of the mark and are often even harmful to Blacks. For instance, de-funding the police has lead to a considerable increase in murdered Blacks, because the police is not there to stop Black-on-Black violence. For instance, monetary assistance to teenage single mothers seem to have created a great many Black teenage single mothers.

  3. Racism by* the Soviet Union:

    *As a Communist nation and as opposed to “in the Soviet Union”, where it would be quite hard to identify which individuals held what combination of political and racial opinions.

    Here it can be tricky to tell what actions were based in true racism (e.g. “we Russians are the master race”), and what in pragmatical concerns (e.g. “the chance that a Russian will be loyal to the USSR is larger than for a Kazakh”). However, the sheer amount of actions makes explanations based (wholly or partially) on racism almost impossible to avoid.

    Consider e.g. the early genocide of the Cossacks, the treatment of the Ukrainians (most notably, the Holodomor), acts of barbaric aggressions against (even non-Nazi, non-combatant) Germans at the end of WWII, treatment of e.g. Poles, the secondary stature within the USSR of more Asiatic groups, e.g. Kazakhs, etc.

  4. Racism/xenophobia/whatnot by* the Communist China:

    *As above.

    To begin with, there are the Uyghurs. Other groups with sometime issues include Tibetans, Hmong, Mongols. (Although, I might need to research deeper to see where the border between “in” and “by” lies in the case of China. I have heard tales of strong negative sentiments against Black exchange students in the population, e.g., while the very same students were encouraged by the regime.)

  5. Anti-Semitism:

    Modern anti-Semitism might fall into three broad categories:

    Islamic and Arab animosity, which is likely unrelated to Right/Left issues. (But where I note that many Islamic and/or Arab countries/groupings/whatnot are strongly Left-leaning, in as far as they can be made to fit on a Left–Right spectrum.)

    Alleged far-Right groups, where (in my personal and superficial acquaintance) it is hard to tell what might actually be Rightist anti-Semitism and what is “is considered Right, because of anti-Semitism”. From what I have seen on UNZ, where there are many anti-Semitic commenters, there might be also be more of an issue of “Jewish conspiracy threatens us” or “Jews rubs each others backs” and less of “all individual Jews are evil”.

    Leftist anti-Semitism: Unfortunately, this is not limited to mere anti-Israel or even anti-Zionist feelings, which might be the Leftist self-portrayal. Too often, they have negative feelings about Jews per se—just like Feminists all too often do not stop at negative feelings about their imaginary “rape culture” or “anti-racists” about their imaginary “White supremacy” but extend them to men resp. Whites. (Israel, in all fairness, is actually real.)

    As to the reasons, I note that Israel is often used as the oppressor in oppressor–oppressed relationship in Leftist propaganda, and that a formulation of Jews–Palestinians or Israelis–Palestinians makes for a better image than e.g. Israel–Hamas. Moreover, that the existence of Jews risks the whole narrative of “IQ is racist”, “the SAT is racist”, “Blacks only do worse than Whites due to past and present mistreatment”, etc. Either the Jews are considered White (i.e. evil), or as another “oppressor of Blacks” (i.e. evil) group, or the narrative fails. (Similarly, for the Old Left, there was often a connection between Jews and money/capitalism/banking/whatnot, not dissimilar to, but less explicit than, the one the Nazis* proposed.)

    *Although the Nazi take also had a strong connection between Jews and Marxism. I would suspect, however, that this connection was less factual than e.g. the Jews-and-banking connection, beginning with the question whether Karl Marx, himself, should be considered a Jew. As an aside, the manner in which some Marxists deny a connection between Marx and Jews, even of a non-religious nature, makes a suspicion of anti-Semitism hard to avoid—as if a Jewish Marx would somehow be tainted. (For a reasonable person, “tainted” is a gross understatement when it comes to Marx, regardless of his ethnicity, religion, and whatnot, but these are not reasonable persons.)

    Interestingly, this move of the Jews to an oppressor group is not that dissimilar to the attitudes expressed by the anti-Semites on UNZ either. The difference is who the allegedly oppressed are—Whites or “minorities”. (And, obviously, that Jews are considered a main issue by the one and a mere sub-issue of the main issue, Whites, by the other, at least outside the context of Israel where the Left puts Jews in a position similar to the one they put Whites in in the U.S.)

  6. 20th-century Sweden:

    Until the last few decades of the century, Sweden had a comparatively small non-Swedish (in the ethnic sense) population, most of the non-Swedes were clearly White, often Finnish or otherwise “Nordic”, and there were lesser opportunities for anything racist, “racist”, or similar from the government.* During those last few decades (and on into the 21 century), on the other hand, extreme political correctness came to dominate, and they would hardly have dared to take such an opportunity.

    *Racism, especially in older times, is quite possible between persons of the same actual color. Indeed, even groups like Finns, even in Sweden, have occasionally been mistreated or looked down upon. However, a Finn in Sweden is less obvious than e.g. a Somalian, the cultural and whatnot differences are smaller, and most of the issues, I suspect, predated the 20th century. Then there is the complication of “parallel societies”, which might apply to Somalians, definitely applies to e.g. many Roma and Sami groupings, but (at least today) does not apply to Finns.

    But clearly Sweden, that paragon of enlightenment, tolerance, Social-Democracy, and the “Third Way” would never do anything bad, even given the opportunity and even before the PC-era?

    Not so: A notable non-Swedish group were various Roma/Gypsy/whatnot sub-populations, which had a hard time under Social-Democrat rule. This included many forced sterilisations, low access to schools, and various other problems. This was complemented by negative sentiments in the Swedish Left-dominated population. I cannot guarantee how these sentiments were distributed, but I recall hearing my officially Social-Democrat grand-mother speak derogatorily of “tattare” (a Swedish misnomer, likely based on a cognate to the English “Tartar”), and have not truly seen any signs that Social-Democrats would be more tolerant in real life than any other group.

    (The Sami? They too were often mistreated, but this might have been simply because they, in some sense, were an inconvenience, rather than through a feeling that they were “sub-Swedish”, just like a government might be annoyed over an endangered species preventing that grand new project. I am also uncertain how far in time this mistreatment has objectively reached. I would need more research to write more on the matter. I might make the observation, however, that the Swedish school was quite weak on topics relating to them in at least my days—quite possibly in a manner that would be considered “racist” or “marginalising” by many modern U.S. Leftist educators.)

Excursion on a general need for pride or superiority:
I strongly suspect that humans tend to have a strong drive to be proud or to feel superior about something—even when they, objectively speaking, have little to be proud of. (Maybe, in particular when they have little to be proud of.) At an extreme, one of Fredrick Douglass’s autobiographies speaks of slaves from different plantations getting into fights over who belonged to the better plantation and/or had the better master (my memory is a little vague). Nationalism and other versions of “us vs. them” are very natural candidates to fulfill this need, which makes it highly plausible that nationalism exist in parallel to and independent of e.g. a Left–Right division. An absence of nationalism is, I suspect, more often caused by another set of “us vs. them” groupings filling the same role as those of nationalism would, e.g. “my soccer team vs. the losers from across town”, “we educated vs. the rubes without a bachelor”, or various “identity politics” groupings.

Written by michaeleriksson

July 1, 2022 at 11:11 pm

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

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The actual overturning* of Roe v. Wade has now taken place—and the Left has done everything that it can to prove its Nazi-attitude. We are simply and plainly reaching a point where it is disputable whether the Left can ever again be considered politically legitimate, where, drawing on the hypocrisy of Marcuse,** we might be forced to simply stop tolerating it, where even an ardent supporter of free-this-and-that must contemplate the possibility that McCarthy had the right general idea.***

*For details of the overturning, see “Dobbs” (PDF), with multiple convincing opinions in favor of the decision. (Yes, I have, apart from appendices, read them.)

**The promised text will probably follow at some point during the summer. In short—by their own words, they are condemned: The Left is (and was, even at Marcuse’s time of writing) the greater source of intolerance and often by a very large distance; if we must not tolerate the intolerant, then we must not tolerate the Left.

***Without necessarily agreeing with the details of his opinions and methods.

This includes:

  1. Unprovoked* threats of and attempts at violence against the SCOTUS.

    *No, a legally correct finding of law, correcting a previous gross error, is not provocation. (Also note below remarks on misrepresentation by the Left.) Even if it were, by some absurd stretch of the imagination, the following two items concern persons and entities that did make the finding.

  2. Unprovoked violence and riots directed at the public, including and especially “pro-lifers”.
  3. Unprovoked acts of violence against the state of Arizona* (and maybe some other governmental entities) that go far beyond the alleged “insurrection” of the January-6 victims, including attempts to storm the Arizona Capitol.

    *If there is a particular reason for Arizona, as opposed to e.g. Mississippi (the victorious party in Dobbs), I have missed it.

  4. Calls to delegitimize or abolish the SCOTUS for actually doing its job–and for actually relinquishing (!) arrogated powers back to the legislative branch and the individual states.
  5. Calls for undemocratic and in-violation-of-separation-of-powers attempts to circumvent the decision. (As opposed to legitimate law changes—which the SCOTUS would not object to.)
  6. Gross and often obviously deliberate misrepresentations of what the decision contains, what it implies, and what the motivations of the court were—and often such that have spread to international media.

    Here I point to my original text for details of the ideas, but note in short that the decision does not make abortion illegal, but moves the choice back to the democratically elected state parliaments—as opposed to the appointed federal justices. Any state that wants to keep abortion legal can do so; a sufficient majority of the states and congress could even add an amendment to create the same effect as “Roe” once had.

    (I would go as far as to argue that the central issue at hand in Dobbs was not abortion at all, but Leftist judicial activism versus non-Leftist attempts to preserve the constitution, the division of powers, and the states’ rights—or, equally, Leftist dictatorial methods versus non-Leftist democratic ones.)

  7. Gross and often obviously deliberate misrepresentations of the availability of abortion (both before and after) relative the rest of the world. (The U.S. had among the laxest laws in the world, much of the U.S. still has and will have, and even the Mississippi law tested in Dobbs was entirely unremarkable internationally.)

Violence, intimidation, lies, …—very Nazi.

Excursion on a weakness in Dobbs:
In my impressions so far, there is a small weakness in Dobbs. This weakness is outweighed by far by the sum of argumentation, but might be worth noting:

Going counter to the principle of “stare decicis” must consider the effect on those who might have relied on the previous ruling(s). This is done with regard to pregnant or potentially pregnant women, but the issue of abortion clinics/physicians/whatnot is not* discussed. It is for instance possible that someone has invested half a fortune in setting up a clinic—and that this clinic suddenly is forced to severely reduce its business and/or to branch into other fields, because a dormant state law now becomes active again.

*Or only superficially: There is a mountain of text and I might not have been at full concentration throughout.

(No, I do not have sympathies for this type of clinic, but everyone is equal in front of the law.)

Written by michaeleriksson

June 27, 2022 at 12:34 am

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Nazis XIVa: Nationalism, racism, xenophobia, …

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As repeatedly stated, much of the faulty classification of the Nazis, and various other groupings, hinges on an automatic “nationalist; ergo, (far) Right” or “racist; ergo, (far) Right” reaction, without considering opinions in other areas and without ever truly justifying why e.g. racism would be something Rightist.

It is up to those who claim that “X is Y” to provide the proof—not for us others to disprove it. With that, as I have never seen any proof, the discussion really should be over. However, as a somewhat predictable reaction from some Leftists is some variation of “Is too!” or some invocation of Tolkningsföreträde to one-sidedly define anything racist as far Right, I will take a closer look at some issues.

This will broadly be a two-step process: Firstly, in this text, understanding why much of what is called Right-this or Right-that is either not Rightist or not relevant, which will weaken the flawed blanket association. Secondly, in the next, understanding that a considerable amount of racism/xenophobia/nationalism/whatnot can be found even on the official Left, which either requires that blanket claims of X-implies-Right must be scrapped or that these groups are re-defined to be Right-wing (which is not going to happen and which leaves us with the scrapping of X-implies-Right).*

*Yes, from a logical point of view, this second step is all that is needed. The first is still beneficial, because it might alter preconceptions a little and make the second step both easier to understand and easier to swallow. (Not that I am overly optimistic when it comes to Leftist readers.)

  1. Much of the problem goes back to circular reasoning, e.g. through combinations like “A, B, and C are racist; ergo, they are far Right” and “all those far-Rightists are racist—look at A, B, and C”. Note e.g. the recent case of a Leftist, environmentalist extremist, who engaged in a race-based shooting—and was promptly denounced as “far Right”, where, if anything,* “far Left” would have been more appropriate.

    *It might be that, looking closer at the case, both claims are too weak and that a pure “environmentalist extremist” must be chosen: Extreme environmentalists do tend to be far Leftists, but, here too, it would be wrong to see an automatic “X; ergo, Y”.

    Similarly, there seems to be an increasing drive to call anything “Right” which involves (at least certain types of) violence, and ascribe a motive of racism, White Supremacy, or similar any time someone White kills someone Black—even in some cases of self-defense (e.g. Zimmerman, Rittenhouse) or where, even given a conviction, there is not the slightest proof or indication of racism (Chauvin).

    This is particularly unfortunate, as it allows distortive claims about Right-wing violence being common, which it is not. (Much unlike Left-wing violence. Look back at the last few years or read some of my earlier texts.)

  2. There is a difference between actions and opinions. Not only do actions matter more than opinions,* but actions are not necessarily driven by opinions or driven in a manner that is, in some sense, expected.

    *As discussed in both some earlier entries of this series and in some earlier texts in general.

    For instance, a common claim is that this-or-that would be “racist discrimination”, while it is just racial (!) discrimination.* Moreover, racial discrimination (e.g. in form of “affirmative action”) is often used in favor of the alleged victims of racism.

    *Ditto e.g. “sexist” discrimination. Also note what discrimination means. Indeed, even the modifiers fill different roles in “racist discrimination” and “racial discrimination”—the former implies discrimination motivated by racism (while being silent on the criteria), while the latter implies discrimination based on racial criteria (while being silent on the motivation).

    Moreover, claimed discrimination-by-A is often discrimination-by-B, including a likely majority of claimed-by-the-Left cases of “racial/-ist discrimination”. For instance, the apparent over-arresting of Blacks in the U.S. is not based on the arrested being Blacks, but on the arrested being criminals (or, possibly, criminals who let themselves be caught). No, X was not arrested for being a Black guy—he was arrested for waving a gun in the face of a shop-keeper. If* Blacks happen to wave guns in the faces of shop-keepers, this is not the fault of the police.

    *And disproportionately many Blacks do, both metaphorically and literally. (At least in the U.S. The situation in other countries might be different.)

    Similarly, even apparent “racial profiling”, even absent a clear connection with a crime, is likely to at least partially be a matter of just plain vanilla “profiling”: Was that Black young man, who wore a hoodie, loitered on a corner for several hours, and made suspicious approaches to several strangers, … frisked by the police for being Black or for being a young man, who wore a hoodie, etc.? Being Black might have increased the probability of a frisk, but the police have better things to do than frisking Blacks-for-being-Black, absent other signs of something odd, and Whites who behave similarly are not immune to being frisked.*

    *In today’s climate, being Black might even reduce the risk, as Blacks are relatively more likely to become aggressive, and as the individual police officers can see their own lives ruined, should something go wrong with a Black guy. Consider Chauvin and colleagues: they were fired and declared to be evil racists and murderers on national news long before the facts of the matter were established. Picture a slightly different reality, where Floyd indisputably died of e.g. a heart or drug issue, and where they were acquitted in court. They would still be out of jobs and have severely reduced hiring chances, family members or friends might have severed contact, many would still consider them guilty, and it is far from inconceivable that some crazy would try to “rectify” the court decision with a weapon. As is, they were (a) convicted on grounds that still leave me unconvinced and (b) punished far more harshly than would be expected if Floyd had been White (or Chauvin Black).

  3. As might be seen from the above footnote, there is a great problem with distortions through media, including misleading claims, selective reporting,* or great reporting of this-or-that alleged hate-crime with much lesser reporting once the alleged hate-crime is revealed as a hoax,** a misunderstanding, or something else that is not a hate-crime.

    *Remember that Waukesha parade, when a racially motivated Black guy drove a car into a crowd of Whites and killed or injured a great many? Kudos, if you do: the publicity died quite soon, while an incident with reverse colors would have gone down in history as an immense disaster and an act of unspeakable evil.

    **Indeed, almost every time that I hear of an alleged hate-crime in the U.S., it eventually turns out to be either an outright hoax or a misunderstanding/misinterpretation. Ditto e.g. many prominent rape accusations (not restricted to the U.S.)—the more publicity, the greater the likelihood of a false accusation.

    Those who restrict themselves to mainstream media are extremely likely to build a skewed worldview. To be informed in today’s world, we need to complement or replace (local national) mainstream media with alternate sources, perspectives from mainstream media from other countries, and study of more primary/extensive/whatnot sources, e.g. through skipping that newspaper article and reading a book on the same topic.

    That a skewed worldview can be a massive problems is illustrated by, apparently, some Blacks believing that they make up half (!) the U.S. population.* Why? Likely, they live, work, and go to school in a predominantly Black neighborhood, see disproportionately many Blacks in advertising, etc.—and fail to actually check statistics and to actually get a more holistic view of their country.

    *Which might then, for instance, create an expectation of having four or five of the nine SCOTUS members, all other factors equal. If they only have one, then surely some factor(s) must be extremely unequal! In reality, having one out of nine, Thomas, was close to and only slightly smaller than the population share. Adding Brown Jackson makes Blacks, at two out of nine, clearly overrepresented. (This even discounting questions of who has what qualifications, has chosen what career, etc., which likely would lower the share for Blacks further, if appointment was strictly on merits and suitability.)

    (Similarly, I recently heard that some believed in around 600 thousand COVID deaths. No, not in the U.S.—in Sweden! No wonder that some are in a state of great fear of COVID… In Sweden, this would amount to around 6 % of the population (or around 20 million, if applied to the U.S.). The last real number that I saw was 18 thousand—or less than a 33rd of this overblown estimate.)

  4. Many actions and/or opinions sometimes deemed to be e.g. racists are correct or otherwise* reasonable. A common problem with the Left is that questions like whether a certain opinion is correct and for what reason it is held are not asked. Ditto, m.m., actions. For instance, if someone is of the opinion that the I.Q. of Blacks trails that of Whites by roughly one standard deviation in the U.S., what is wrong with that? The opinion is correct.** If someone feels that holding this opinion, regardless of its correctness, is racism, then racism, in this instance, is not bad. To hold this opinion is no more racist and/or bad than the, equally correct, opinion that Blacks are more recently out-of-Africa than Whites. Nevertheless, it is common for someone who claims the former, even without a statement about the implications or the cause of the difference, to be immediately denounced as racist/evil/whatnot. Moreover, while such “race realist” attitudes are often slandered as highly racist or as “scientific racism” in disguise, they are on a very different level to the type or racism displayed by many Blacks and/or Leftists, which often amounts to some variation of “Whites are evil” or “I hate Whites”.

    *E.g. in that an opinion was wrong, but also was held for a good reason. For instance, if someone (regardless of skin color, sex, clothing style, and, within limits, age) is spotted sprinting from a store with a broken window and a blaring alarm, it is quite reasonable to assume a smash-and-grabber on the run. Following this with an appropriate action, say a temporary apprehension, is equally reasonable. The assumption might still be wrong.

    **To some approximation: the distance varies a little from source to source, time to time, and, likely, place to place.

  5. Claims by the Left often distort the picture of what others actually believe and/or why they believe it.

    For instance, negative opinions regarding immigration and/or some minorities are often based on actual experiences—and do not match the typical Leftist propaganda of prejudices held by ignorant rednecks. The U.S. “White flight”, for instance and in Leftist propaganda, is alleged as a matter of racist Whites who cannot stomach living near Blacks—merely because they have the “wrong” color. (Or maybe, because the Whites fear that being Black is contagious? Or, God forbid, that their daughters might be knocked up by Black guys, so that they are cursed with Black grand-children?!?) The reality appears to be very different: I have read quite a few accounts of actual experiences by Whites who eventually fled. A somewhat typical, but highly abbreviated, experience might be “I lived in a great neighborhood for years. Then a few Blacks moved in, and things were still OK, maybe Friday night was a little noisier, but no real reason to complain. Then more Blacks came, and crime/vandalism/noise/drugs/whatnot increased more and more. When my kids’ school began to tank, we had enough and moved.”—a very different picture.*/**

    *To which might be added complications that the tellers might not be aware of, e.g. that a demographic shift can reduce local tax income, which can reduce city efforts, which can affect the quality of the neighborhood/schools/whatnot in another manner.

    **Note that this does not require all Blacks to be e.g. criminals. A noticeably higher rate of this-and-that is quite enough, seeing that the bad eggs typically have a highly disproportionate effect. For example, just one noisy and troublemaking kid in the classroom, who is immune to teacher intervention, can ruin class for everyone.

    That is lived experience.

    A particularly interesting example is my own, far away, impression of the French Front National from my time in Sweden. Every now-and-then, Swedish TV reported about those horrible, prejudiced, far-Right whatnots—and I did what all Swedes seemed to do: sigh over human stupidity* and be thankful that we lived in Sweden.

    *I have gained a lot more true insight into this and its effects since then.

    At the time, Sweden still had few immigrants, and most were other Whites. France, on the other hand, already had a very sizable immigrant population, much of it Black or Islamic. Maybe, the French simply had deeper experiences on the matter than we Swedes?

    After I left Sweden, Sweden too saw a rapidly growing immigrant population, including more Blacks and more Muslims. Lo and behold, soon a Swedish party with an anti-immigration stance arose (“Sverige Demokraterna” or “SD”). They were met with the same TV rhetoric as Front National—horrible, prejudiced, far-Right whatnots. Unlike with Front National,* I actually did some reading on SD’s opinions, and they were nothing like the rhetoric claimed. I probably disagreed with them on most issues, but mere disagreement does not make the other party evil and their concerns in the area of immigration were reasonably reasoned, drawing on statistics and experiences, and directed at immigration (_not_ immigrants)—not at all the frothing at the mouth, “I hate you, because you are Black!” or “Every individual Muslim is evil!” crowd that critics seemed to see.

    *I admittedly still have not had more than trivial contacts with their opinions, and I cannot rule out that the Swedish assessment is (or was back then) correct—unlike with SD. However, nothing in the contacts that I have had have involved mass killings or invasions of Poland—and the exact nature of Front National has little impact on the overall example.

    More generally, one of the worst lies of the Left is (with variations) “Racism/xenophobia/whatnot comes from a lack of understanding. Those who have never known an X imagine all sorts of evil about Xs. We have to make sure that people get to know each other and racism/xenophobia/whatnot will disappear.”. In reality, it seems to be the other way around (with reservations for whether the specific words “racism” and “xenophobia” are justified): those who have little exposure have a naive belief that “they are just like us” and “living with some Xs in the neighborhood would be cool”, while those with relevant* practical experiences tend** to have both a far more nuanced and a more negative opinion. The simple truth is that different groups are different, that even neutral*** differences can be an irritant or even an obstacle when living at close quarters, and that many groups outside of “White Westerners” bring objectively negative behaviors, e.g. through more noise making, more crime, more littering, less respect for others, …

    *A particular risk is that many politicians have experiences that are not relevant, e.g. because they have disproportionately interacted with Xs who were highly intelligent, highly educated, and “acting White”, rather than more average individuals. And, no, this is not restricted to e.g. race issues: Charles Murray has an entire book, “Coming Apart”, dealing with a similar problem within the White U.S. population.

    **A word unusually important here, as there are many factors at play. Notably, and what the Left refuses to acknowledge, individual variation can be highly important, as to e.g. how large the culture clash is, how well-integrated the “foreigner” is, what intelligence and educational level both “foreigner” and “native” move on, etc. The matter is one of statistical differences in behavior that make those with contacts more likely to have a more nuanced and/or more negative opinion than those without.

    ***For want of a better word. My intent is on differences that, unlike e.g. a greater propensity towards crime, do not have one group objectively better than the other. Consider a Brit driving a British car in Germany: Even if he sticks to the right (both senses) side of the road, chances are that the position of the driver will decrease traffic safety. If he drives on the wrong/left side of the road, disaster could follow. This while he would be perfectly fine back home, and while the German in a German car would the potential problem there.

    Similarly, Leftist or Left-governed opinions about the opponents of the Left are often steeped in prejudice and a failure to do proper research on the true opinions. As I have noted in the past, there is a great difference between, on the one hand, understanding and disagreeing and, on the other, not understanding. I am often in very strong disagreement with the Left, but I typically understand the Leftist position—the Left seems to not understand others’ positions to begin with. (Or they do understand and severely distort…)

  6. The exact character of a certain opinion or family of opinions can make a major difference:

    For instance, “nationalist” can mean a great many things.* Some nationalists do want to conquer other countries. Others might strive for national excellence, say, by putting a man on the moon before some other country does. Others might simply feel that foreign policies should prioritize the own country—up to and including takes opposing (!) military actions, like “Why should we die to defend other-country A from other-country B?”. Others yet might be the equivalent of “Sunday Christians”, rooting fanatically for “our” athletes during the Olympics and not caring at all at other times or in other areas than sports.

    *With added complications like some considering patriotism (it self a vague term) a special case of nationalism and others considering it something separate. I make no such distinction for the purposes of this text.

    This is made worse, when opinions are distorted by opponents, e.g. by labeling a migration-critical statement as “anti-immigrant” or “xenophobe”, by labeling a statement critical of Islamists as “anti-Islam” or “anti-Muslim”, …

    Merely claiming e.g. that “X is nationalist; ergo, X is a Nazi” is then highly misleading. The type of nationalism espoused by e.g. “MAGA” and “America First” is very different from the Nazi type—and a reasoning based on e.g. “Trump is Right*-wing”, “Trump pushes ‘MAGA’, which is nationalist”, “the Nazis were nationalist; ergo, the Nazis are also Right-wing” is fundamentally flawed.

    *Funny, did not the Left consider him one of theirs until around 2015?

  7. I strongly suspect that the amount of e.g. racism (or what would be considered racism in someone on the Right) on the Left is severely underestimated through lip-service. Consider those who believe in some version of “race realism”, but would never mention it in public, because someone less “enlightened” might want to “discriminate” Blacks,* because they fear rejection from their peers, or otherwise are less-than-open about their true opinions.

    *This is by no means far fetched. Consider e.g. how many Western journalists, including Swedish and German, systematically suppress the ethnicity of non-White, non-Swedish resp. non-German perpetrators, for the fear that publishing ethnicities could lead to “racism” or “xenophobia”. Also note my experience with a self-censoring colleague.

    (Moreover, but off-topic, chances are that many would have similar opinions, had they not been brain-washed into that ridiculous nurture-only mentality, which forces them to find environmental explanations, no matter how far-fetched, to make the world understandable.)

Excursion on uncomfortable truths:
Uncomfortable truths are not limited to e.g. IQ. A few basic observations that I have made over the years:

A cynic is simply someone who sees the world as it actually is.

A misanthrope is simply someone who sees humans as they actually are.

A misogynist is simply someone who sees women as they actually are.

Off-topic, but related: great cynics often started as great idealists and romantics, becoming the more cynical because of the greater disappointment.

I deliberately do not include “A misandrist […]”. The point of the above list is largely to illustrate the difference between those who are clear-sighted and those who are not—especially, when those who are not engage in accusations or derogatory statements. (For example, that someone who does not agree with the claim that “all humans are good in their core” is derided. For example, that a very wide variety of even fairly harmless and correct claims about women are denounced by Feminists as misogyny.) Cases of misandry, in contrast and in as far as they go beyond equal-opportunities misanthropy, appear to be much more rooted in prejudice, unwarranted aversion, whatnot, and to be more literally hateful. Consider Feminists and an out-of-touch-with-reality hate propaganda that involves e.g. claims of “rape culture”, “every man is a rapist”, “toxic masculinity”. They simply and plainly do not “see men as they actually are”. Cases of misogyny often involve opinions on the level of “Jews do not eat pork”, while misandry is more on the level of Nazi propaganda on Jews. (Yes, analog cases do exist among misogynists, but they are far, far rarer.)

Excursion on experiences and misinterpretations:
One of my own, if indirect, first contacts with immigrants might illustrate both actual experiences and misinterpretations.

Post-divorce, my mother rented an apartment in a house with a shared washing machine and a trust-based schedule, where the tenants could mark in advance when they wanted to use the machine. As a single working mother with two children, she picked her slot (or maybe slots) on the weekend. She repeatedly found the machine in use during the slot(s) that she had reserved—and by an immigrant family that could equally well wash during the work week,* even slot reservations aside.

*I do not remember whether both parents were unemployed or whether this was a working-husband + housewife scenario, but they could. If nothing else, there were two adults available. I do not know why they still chose the weekend, but I would speculate that this-or-that day was a traditional washing day. (A similar, but long gone, tradition is reflected in the Swedish word for Saturday, “Lördag” or the “bathing day”.) I also do not know whether they understood the reservation system.

After a few repetitions, she added an “OBS” next to her newest reservation. (Short for “OBServera” and equivalent to the English/Latin “N.B.”—something entirely reasonable, in other words.) The next thing she knew, she was in front of the landlord, accused of leaving xenophobic messages… The reason? The immigrant family had interpreted this as the much rarer “BSS”, short for “Bevara Sverige Svenskt” (“Keep Sweden Swedish”) and a phrase sometimes used by the (then?) anti-immigration movement.

In a next step, it would have been interesting to know what caused this reaction,* e.g. that they had previously been exposed to an actual “BSS”, that they had been told by someone (maybe a social worker) that there were racists lurking behind every bush and that they should watch out for “BSS”, or that differences in writing** could have increased the risk of misunderstandings.

*Here and elsewhere, there are many points where I have no deeper knowledge, as I was only a child at the time.

**My mother had very clear handwriting, but there are surprisingly large variations between how even Latin letters are (hand-)written in different countries and at different times. For instance, I, my mother, and her mother/my grand-mother were all taught a different script in school. If the neighbors were used to e.g. Cyrillic letters, they might even have judged more based on an impression of the shape of the abbreviation than on an actual reading.

Excursion on semi-justifications:
I can think of two weak-but-not-circular semi-justifications for considering at least nationalism Right-wing.

The one is a historical view: The simplistic nature of the Right–Left divide (just like e.g. the U.S. Republican–Democrat or the old U.K. Tory–Whig divide) means that different positions have been seen as typically “Right-wing” respectively “Left-wing” at different times;* and, as parties tend to emphasise** areas of disagreement, there was often a Yin–Yang like division of attitudes. For instance, the U.K. Whigs tended towards parliamentarianism, while the then-Tories tended towards (absolute) Monarchism, with some or many other opinions similarly divided. Chances are that nationalism was more common on the “Right” up to some point in the 19th century. However, we next have to ask to what degree this should color current classifications,*** whether the distinction was that important in the generally more nationalistic world of yore, and what weight this single issue may be given.

*Although I am uncertain to what degree the contemporaries in a given country spoke in terms of “Right” and “Left”, and to what degree this is a later imposition by historiography. The labels originated at some point in revolutionary France, but need not have caught on internationally until later.

**In the case of the somewhat modern Left, I have sometimes suspected that it deliberately picks the opposite position to the Right’s on many issues. (Maybe, for the purpose of minimizing agreement.)

***At a minimum, we must proceed with great caution or the results will be absurd. Would we consider the current U.S. Republicans Left-wing for preferring a parliamentary republic to a monarchy? Here we can also see a geographic difference—chances are that the U.S. and U.K. “Right-wing” disagreed about monarchy since before the French Revolution and the creation of the labels. A further interesting thought is that a party or position might have been considered Right-wing at some time and Left-wing at some other time (or vice versa). Note the paradoxically named Venstre (“Left”)—a Danish non-Left (!) party.

The other is the strong nominal internationalism of Marxism. However, here we must consider that Marxism is only a subset of Leftism, that many Marxist groups de facto displayed nationalist (or similar) behavior (as discussed in the next text), that the internationalism might have been less directed at true brotherhood and more at spreading Soviet (or whatnot) power, and that a true internationalism among Marxists was ultimately used to replace one type of “us vs. them” division (e.g. Russians vs. Germans) with another (e.g. workers vs. capitalists), which is not a true improvement. Also see a text on identity politics vs. nationalism, racism, etc.

Excursion on further fakery:
An interesting possibility, especially looking at the U.S., is that the Left is not truly anti-racist, whatnot, but finds minority groups useful for Marxist oppressor–oppressed relationships and uses them for vote fishing. This is certainly a popular interpretation among some non-Left U.S. debaters.* I would personally speculate that the Left is to some degree forced towards such positions through the long discredited “tabula rasa” approach that is still popular on the Left and among Leftist social “scientists”. For instance, if someone is in categorical denial of any non-environmental difference between X and Y, then differences in outcome between X and Y must find an environmental explanation, and if decades of purported environmental explanations and attempts at corresponding remedies fail, this might lead e.g. a “Society is racist!” as the only way out—with a natural “Vote for us, so that we can fight racism!” as a consequence.‘

*When we look at some Leftist/Democrat leaders this seems plausible to me. When we look at the broad masses of Leftists/Democrats, I doubt that it holds.

Indeed, “systemic racism” is something so vague that it comes close to an invisible flying spaghetti monster—we can neither see it nor test it, but we know (assuming nurture-only) that it is there, because disparate outcomes. In this, the charge of “systemic racism” is a natural conclusion to a line of excuses that all have failed, and which has been so fool-proofed against falsification that it will be very hard to convince the believers—any new angle of falsification stands the risk of being condemned as proof of regular or systemic racism, if need be with recursive excuse making. (“IQ tests? Racist! SATs? Racist! Poor results in college? Systemic racism in high school! Poor results in high school? Systemic racism in junior hight! … Poor results in Kindergarten? Systemic racism towards the parents!”) Few intelligent and well-informed observers would fall for this, just like few or none actually believe in flying spaghetti monsters, but the stupid and poorly informed, as well as the “I want to believe”-ers, are legion.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 17, 2022 at 5:26 am

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Nazis XIII: The Remains of the Day

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I am currently working on a longer (maybe, multi-part) text on nationalism, racism, etc. relating to the Left–Right issue. In parallel, I have been reading Kazuo Ishiguru’s “The Remains of the Day”, which not only has a sub-theme of Nazi perception in pre- and post-WWII Britain, but also contains some points of interest to my own discussions. (An interesting read in general, but I will leave out other topics.)

This in particular relating to democracy, where we e.g. have a “Mr Spencer” deride the idea that the broad masses are suited to the task of governing (correctly, in my opinion; also see excursion). A little later, “Lord Darlington” complains about how Britain is dithering, while the likes of Germany and Italy, even the Bolsheviks (his formulation) and FDR, have put their houses in order.*

*Here an interpretation of “strong man” as opposed to “elites” or “experts” is possible. The practical effects on the below are not that large, if the interpretation is changed.

Naively viewed, this might amount to “we need universal suffrage—or we get Hitler”. However, is is possible to largely agree with Mr Spencer (on this issue), without agreeing with other ideas that might have been held by him or Lord Darlington (and, in the extension, e.g. Hitler):*

*In addition: it was universal suffrage among easily manipulated voters that gave Hitler the opportunity to seize power—not a lack of suffrage.

  1. A typical modern representative* democracy approximately and nominally** amounts to the members of the broad masses collectively making decisions for themselves. When combined with increasingly big government and an increasingly Leftwards trend of society,*** we soon land in a “dictatorship of the masses” and a “the single sheep and the many wolves voting about what/who is for dinner” situation. Politicians are elected for how charismatic or crowd pleasing they are, not how competent, and those elected proceed to make poor decisions, be it through sheer incompetence or in order to buy votes, please lobbyist, gain personal advantage, …

    *Without this restriction, the set of problems is different-but-overlapping. (I am not aware of any current non-representative democracy on the national level, however. The closest approximation might be the Swiss. In smaller circles, e.g. a club of some sort, non-representative democracy might appear.)

    **Quite often, the intermediate layer of elected representatives gains power and/or makes decisions in a manner that eliminates the masses. Consider e.g. the massive attempts of politicians to force the people to hold the “right” opinions on various matters in recent years, most notably regarding COVID; or the German horror of repeated “great coalitions” between the nominal Conservatives and the Social-Democrats, which have severely reduced the value of voting.

    ***Both to a considerable degree caused by, or occurring much sooner in, democracies.

    To some approximation (nominally): everyone is governed to a high degree by the broad masses.

    To some approximation (real world): everyone is governed to a high degree by an elected pseudo-elite.

  2. They Nazis chose a different road, in that they tried to eliminate the masses from influence, but kept big government—or even “went bigger government”.

    To some approximation: everyone is governed to a high degree by Hitler or some similar person/grouping/whatnot.*

    *Note that these are not necessarily even close to “elite” in terms of e.g. competence, IQ, etc.

    (With an eye at the overall “Nazis are Leftists” theme, this well matches e.g. the Soviet Union, while more moderate Leftist regimes often move somewhere between this and the previous item—especially, in the “real world” version.)

  3. My own thoughts are a modification of democracy in the opposite direction from what the Nazis took. (Yet one quite likely to be misunderstood or misrepresented as closer to the Nazis by the Left.)

    By having a small government, with little intervention in the daily life of the people, the members of the broad masses individually make decisions for themselves. What small government there is, is to be ruled by a more select group, in that there are restrictions on (a) who is allowed to vote, (b) who may be elected for what role.*

    *In both cases, I have yet to settle on details, but one alternative is to replace a blanket age barrier of 18 years for “(a)” with a more dynamic and harder-to-pass test of IQ or critical thinking.

    To some approximation: everyone is governed to a high degree by himself(!), while remaining collective decisions are fewer and made by a (hopefully true) elite.

Towards the end, the protagonist (“Stevens”, the butler of Lord Darlington) seems to regret that he might have been too trusting and, unlike Lord Darlington, failed to commit his own mistakes.* This plays in well with much of my own writings, e.g. on agnostic scepticism: those who trust too much in the competence and good will of politicians, the statements of others, etc., will often be burned—and they contribute massively to the problems with modern democracies.

*This is somewhat ironic to me, as (a) Stevens made plenty of own mistakes, (b) Lord Darlington arguably also was led astray by trust in others, including a visiting Ribbentrop. Indeed, it might be argued that Lord Darlington, as implied by Ishiguru, was a useful idiot while Stevens was someone blindly following orders, thereby representing two common problematic characters in discussions around the Left and/or Nazis—of which I would consider the useful idiot the more problematic. (Writing this, I even see some similarity between Stevens way of thinking of his profession and the SS attitude of “meine Ehre heißt treue”, if maybe driven more by professionalism and less by personal admiration. Might be more to discover on a re-read, maybe with the household as a parallel to a totalitarian society and “Miss Kenton” showing how an idealist can fail to act through fear in such a society.)

Excursion on Ishiguru’s intentions:
I would not speculate on Ishiguru’s intentions based on this first read. I would certainly not vouch for his intentions matching my own ideas. However, I do note that the type of portrayal that he uses has often been used, if usually with far less nuance and more one-sidedly, by others to try to score cheap points—and usually in a fallacious manner, as e.g. various types of democracy criticism is blocked into a single unnuanced and undiscriminatory category of “evil”.

Excursion on the masses:
The problems with the broad masses are not limited to a, on average, low or lower level of intelligence, knowledge, and understanding. (Nor to e.g. the risk that someone barely able to put food on the table is vulnerable to promises of government money, should some party or candidate win.) A major problem is that many of the issues involved in government can require considerable expertise,* and that allowing those too low in such expertise even a vote can be dangerous. The appropriate bar for voting is certainly lower than for e.g. being a member of parliament, but some ability to judge the general soundness of e.g. a party program must be present. Note e.g. that there was a paradoxical positive correlation between amount of education and probability to vote for Biden in the 2020 elections, while he and the Democrats pushed politics virtually bound to do more harm than good—something borne out by the results in the almost 17 months since his inauguration.

*Note that I am not, absolutely and categorically not, claiming that current politicians would be satisfactory in this regard.

And, no, I am not being a snob here. For instance, going from my own first vote (Swedish parliamentary elections in 1994, age 19) to today (age 47), I have found that I used to be naive on a great many topics. Sometimes, I have revised my opinions as time went by; sometimes, I have kept the same opinions, but now hold them for better reasons. (And while I expect fewer new revisions going to 75, I do expect them.) Yes, in a time-travel scenario that brought me back to good old 1994, I would likely have voted the same as I did back then; no, I do not believe that a legal limit of just 18 (or 19) for voting is sensible. For instance, before I had acquainted myself enough with U.S. politics, I managed to make several naive statements about both Obama and Trump.* (And I fully expect both that there are statements from my past that will turn out to be naive in the future and that I will make further naive statements as time passes.)

*I note, preempting parts of the “text on nationalism, racism, etc.”, the complication that a foreign point of view can be highly misleading, e.g. because the local media’s reporting on other countries is skewed towards foreign policy and other fields with an international effect over fields with a more national effect, say, education. (For instance, the internationally relevant free-trade issue is likely where I disagree the most with Trump, while the more nationally relevant heavy “social justice” angle of Obama is where I disagree the most with him.) That the media’s understanding of foreign countries tend to be lower than for its own does not help.

Written by michaeleriksson

June 12, 2022 at 6:29 pm

Nazis XII: Classification issues, drawing borders on different granularity levels

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As I noted in Nazis VIII, I feel confident in applying the label “Leftist” to the “mature NSDAP”—but not, without additional research,* “Socialist”. What then might there be to research, in addition to what I have already gone through?

*To my slight annoyance, checking the exact quote during proofreading, I find that the additional research is more implied than stated. It might be that I made some similar claim, explicitly involving additional research, elsewhere among these many texts.

The hitch lies more in what “Socialist” implies than what “Nazi” implies. Words can mean different things to different persons, at different times, in different contexts, etc.; and there is no simple definition of “Socialist” that will find universal acceptance.* The first (likely main, maybe only) step, likely involving considerable research, would then be to find some sufficiently reasonable and acceptable definition of “Socialist”, in order to check whether the Nazis fit this label. A second step might or might not have followed, to do more targeted research on the Nazis, themselves, based on the now established criteria for “Socialist”.

*For instance, many view Communists as Socialists, while others merely see two sibling groups. (Compare the below remarks on the Neanderthals.) For instance, many on the U.S. non-Left see little distinction between “Leftist” and “Socialist” in the first place. For instance, the old “Eastern Europe” nations might largely have rejected both Social-Democrats (“Social-Fascists”) and Nazis from the label of Socialist.

But what of “Leftist”? Is not “Leftist” a term that is even vaguer or more likely to cause disagreement than “Socialist”? Quiet possibly. However, there is a larger core area of less dispute and the disputed areas are not necessarily the same.

Consider, as an analogy, the questions of whether Åland belongs to Finland or Sweden resp. Europe or some other continent.

On the one hand, Åland was the center of a dispute* about intra-European borders, complicated by e.g. the fact that most of the population of Åland speaks Swedish but seems more attracted to Finland. Other such disputes exist; and the claim that “area X belongs to country Y” is by no means always clear cut.

*However, a long settled and no longer very controversial dispute. I still go with Åland for two reasons: Firstly, my own thoughts on the topic originated with the example of Åland as a means of illustration of and a better way to understand the “Nazis are Socialists” vs. “Nazis are Leftist” issue. Secondly, most other such disputes are more likely to involve strong feelings in one party or another.

On the other, similar and larger disputes* are possible for the borders of Europe, including with an eye at geography and politics. Is Greenland a part of Europe? The Falklands? Turkey? (Even Israel is sometimes included, e.g. in sports, which demonstrates the importance of context—this position would border on the absurd in many other contexts.)

*However, these disputes are typically more likely to involve semantics and matters of definition that politics and nationalism. The Falklands above, e.g., are at most indirectly a matter of whether they “rightfully” might belong to the U.K. or to the Argentine; the main issue is whether a so geographically distant island group should count as part of Europe. Here, we see the additional complication that it is possible for a dispute to simultaneously occur at different levels and with answers that might initially seem surprising. For instance, it is very possible to simultaneously claim that the Falklands do belong to the U.K., but do not belong to Europe. (Also see excursion for a similar topic.) Even the claim that they belong politically to Europe but not geographically is possible.

Even so, it is entirely uncontroversial to claim that Åland belongs to Europe, and neither Finns, nor Swedes, nor Ålanders (?) can reasonably complain—no matter what they think of the more local matter. Indeed, even reassigning Åland from Finland to Sweden, or making it an independent country in its own right, would not alter the fact that it is solidly in Europe.

Similarly, it is often possible to claim that X belongs to the very vague area Y, while not being able to make the same claim for the less vague area Z. This the more so, the more “fine-grained” Z is relative Y. For instance, there is still a dispute whether the Neanderthals were members of Homo Sapiens (i.e. whether they are more appropriately considered Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis or Homo Neanderthalensis), but a classification as Homo, primate, mammal, whatnot is not disputed.

This brings us back to the Nazis: If the Nazis were Socialist, they were a fortiori Leftist, but they might well have been Leftist without automatically being Socialist. Correspondingly, calling them “Leftist” is safer and requires less research than calling them “Socialist”.

Excursion on Europe, Norden,* and Greenland:
A good illustration of how different-definitions-for-different-entities can lead to problems is given by my teacher during lågstadiet**. She would illustrate Norden by speedily waving her pointer in a very imprecise figure on the big world map that hang in the classroom. The area within her imprecise figure did cover Norden, Greenland included, but also typically portions of (the non-Norden) continental Europe, of the Soviet Union***, and of the British Isles. To illustrate Europe, she would make a similarly speedy wave and imprecise figure to cover Europe, without Greenland, and with some losses around various border areas (notably, parts of the European Soviet Union; parts of Italy?, Spain?, Balkans?). As the area covered by her waving was larger for Norden, I came away with an early impression that Europe was a part of Norden instead of (approximately****) the other way around.

*The Swedish/Norwegian/Danish name for the grouping of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland + some tricky areas. The phrase “the Nordic countries” is occasionally heard in English, but I doubt that it is widely understood. Note that these countries are historically, culturally, linguistically (excepting Finland), geographically (excepting Iceland), and often politically and economically closely tied to each other; and that the concept of Norden might have been of greater importance than that of Europe in school and/or the typical Swedish worldview. (The EU, respectively the then EC, was not much competition at the time.)

**The first three years of primary education in Sweden.

***This was in the early 1980s.

****This, again, depends on how e.g. Greenland is counted relative Norden and Europe. The idea that two areas could be overlapping without the one being a part of the other did not, to my memory, find mention. I have no recollection of a reasonable explanation of the status of Greenland either. (The typical “explanation”, to my very vague memory, was something almost quantum mechanical about Greenland simultaneously belonging and not belonging to Denmark.)

(This with the reservation that I speak from memories roughly forty years old. The description of her waving holds in principle, but might be off in the exact details.)

Written by michaeleriksson

June 7, 2022 at 9:41 pm

Nazis IXg: The 25-point plan (Hitler’s addendum)

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(Please see Nazis IXa for context.)

After the actual 25 points, the German version continues with a 1930 extension by Hitler (see below), which is not included in the English version. This is followed by an explanatory footnote in the source, which I have included, but which should not be seen as part of the Nazi document. The following approximate translations are by me.

Gegenüber den verlogenen Auslegungen des Punktes 17 durch Gegner der Partei ist noch folgende Feststellung notwendig:[1]** Da die NSDAP. auf dem Boden des Privateigentums steht, ergibt sich von selbst, daß der Passus “Unentgeltliche Enteignung” nur auf die Schaffung gesetzlicher Möglichkeiten Bezug hat, Boden, der auf unrechtmäßige Weise erworben wurde oder nicht nach den Gesichtspunkten des Volkswohls verwaltet wird, wenn nötig zu enteignen. Dies richtet sich demgemäß in erster Linie gegen die jüdische Grundstücksspekulations-Gesellschaften.

gez. Adolf Hitler.

(Against the mendacious interpretations of item 17 by opponents of the party the following declaration* is necessary:[1]** As the NSDAP.*** stands on a basis**** of private property, it is self-evident that the passage “Free expropriation”***** only refers to the creation of legal opportunities to, when necessary, expropriate land that has been procured unjustly****** or that is not administrated according to the priorities******* of the good of the people. This is correspondingly directed mainly at the Jewish land-speculation companies.

signed Adolf Hitler)

*Literally, “determination”.

**Footnote indicator used in the source. See below.

***The stop is present and equally dubious in the original. (Unless this is caused by an outdated and unknown-to-me German convention for abbreviations.)

****Literally, “floor” or “ground”.

*****Phrase taken in analogy to the Wikipedia translation.

******The original “unrechtmäßige” might (or might not) have a narrower interpretation, e.g. of “illegal[ly]”/“unlawful[ly]”.

*******Something like “perspectives” or “viewpoints” is closer to the literal meaning, and maybe intent, of “Gesichtspunkten”, but would sound (even more) awkward in English.

(I acknowledge that star-based footnotes have disadvantages. Switching to numbers is on my, very long, todo list.)

[1] Dieser Passus gehört nicht zum eigentlichen 25-Punkte-Programm der NSDAP. Er diente zur Rechtfertigung des Punkts 17 während des Reichstagswahlkampfes von 1930.

([1] This passage does not belong to the proper 25-point plan of the NSDAP. It served as justification of item 17 during the campaigns for the Reichstag [the then German parliament] of 1930.)

This raises the interesting question, to what degree item 17 is to be taken at face value. I would suspect that it was originally intended as written. Next, the item either proved a vulnerability to attacks, which the above served to reduce, or the party-internal opinions changed over time. An addendum claiming a different original intention was then chosen over an outright revision, to allow the Nazis to look less fallible and/or to preserve a claimed immutability of the 25-point plan.

Practically, I see little change, as both unjust procurement and doubleplusungood administration could easily be claimed whenever the need arose, if the Nazis gained power. (Which they indeed did, but had not yet in 1930.)

Written by michaeleriksson

May 20, 2022 at 1:20 am

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Nazis IXf: The 25-point plan (remaining items)

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(Please see Nazis IXa for context.)

The remaining points jump from topic to topic in a manner that gives me the choice between a big block, many small blocks, and medium blocks with poor consistency of content. I pick the big block approach.

(Of course, even the earlier blocking used by me is unofficial and not always beyond dispute. It might, for instance, be argued that aspects of item 17 puts it closer to item 18 than the items that I did group it with.)

The skimming reader is encouraged to pay particular attention to item 20.

18. Wir fordern den rücksichtslosen Kampf gegen diejenigen, die durch ihre Tätigkeit das Gemein-Interesse schädigen. Gemeine Volksverbrecher, Wucherer, Schieber usw. sind mit dem Tode zu bestrafen, ohne Rücksichtnahme auf Konfession und Rasse.

(We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.)

A far Left position.

This item might be particularly interesting with an eye on the Jews, and it might be the strongest example of a potential “dog whistle”. However, it could also be a more general anti-Capitalist cry, while the overall is sufficiently vague* that it could include virtually anyone currently unpopular with the Nazis (say, Communists).

*In the first sentence, generally; in the second, with regard to at least “[g]emeine Volksverbrecher” and “usw.”/“and so forth”.

19. Wir fordern Ersatz für das der materialistischen Weltordnung dienende römische Recht durch ein deutsches Gemein-Recht.

(We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.)

From one point of view, this seems Leftist, as an “anti-materialistic” act.* From another, nationalist, as an attempt to find a purer German or more-suitable-for-the-German-people** law system. Much might depend on unstated details.

*With some reservations for what type of materialism is intended. Is the claim e.g. anti-consumerist or anti-Marxist? My spontaneous reaction was the former, but if the typical everyday and/or political meaning has drifted over the years, I might have been mislead.

**Such thinking was common among the Nazis, that what is fit for the one people/nation is not necessarily fit for another.

20. Um jeden fähigen und fleißigen Deutschen das Erreichen höherer Bildung und damit das Einrücken in führende Stellungen zu ermöglichen, hat der Staat für einen gründlichen Ausbau unseres gesamten Volksbildungswesens Sorge zu tragen. Die Lehrpläne aller Bildungsanstalten sind den Erfordernissen des praktischen Lebens anzupassen. Das Erfassen des Staatsgedankens muß bereits mit dem Beginn des Verständnisses durch die Schule (Staatsbürgerkunde) erzielt werden. Wir fordern die Ausbildung geistig besonders veranlagter Kinder armer Eltern ohne Rücksicht auf deren Stand oder Beruf auf Staatskosten.

(The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the state must be striven for by the school [Staatsbürgerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the state of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.)

This is a mixture of ideas that might be Left, non-Left, or irrelevant to Left–Right, depending on exact perspective. For instance, an opinion like “We need more education and education should be state run” is by no means rare on the current non-Left (but might be more common on the Left and must be contrasted with those of us who are sceptical to either or all of the state’s efforts, the amount of education suitable for the average child, and how sensible it is to use schooling to achieve education). For instance, the favoring of intellectually gifted children of poor parents was once popular with the Left, but the modern Left typically denies that there is such a thing as an intellectually gifted child. (And if one exists, it would be WRONG, WRONG, WRONG to give it special treatment, because social justice.) The non-Left, on the other hand, is often in favor of giving the gifted a chance to develop their talents, but is so regardless of “parental SES”.

This is also an example of an item that looks different in light of item 10 and the later heading “Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz” (cf. below). Is the intent to give the individual better opportunities for his own sake, or is it rather, e.g., to give the state or the party suitable individuals to serve its purposes? In the latter case, item 20 looks decidedly more Leftist. As with item 4, I will not constantly address this topic (especially, as I do not guarantee that I would always have the right answer*), but I caution the reader to have a “cui bono” in mind when reading—for whose benefit is this item ultimately intended?** The individual? The NSDAP? The Cause? The whatnot?

*Example: Item 21 pushes mandatory physical fitness. I am tempted to see a connection with military fitness—make the people fit so that we can have a fit army. (Also note a similarity with the ideas of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and his “Turnbewegung”.) However, I might have an unconscious bias in favor of this explanation, because it would move the interpretation Left-wards and support my main thesis. Certainly, physical fitness has a value in it self, and the item might reflect nothing more than a “be all that you can be” attitude or be a piece of the overall Nazi drive for a strong people. (Especially, if a Lamarckian view of Evolution was applied.)

**Pre-restructuring/-blocking, a version of this paragraph (and the following paragraph) was under item 4 and the caution correspondingly earlier. However, the earlier items seem to have less content where the caution would have been relevant than e.g. item 20 (the current item) does.

A failure to consider such possibilities might be a partial reason for why “Nazis are Right-wing” has survived for so long, in that a Leftist or Socialist streak might have been missed by a too casual observer, just like the anti-Jewish loading of e.g. item 5 might have been missed by a too casual reader of the 25-point plan. (In contrast, the allegedly Right-wing issue of nationalism is blindingly obvious.) Indeed, my impression from other sources points to a fairly general approach of seeming laissez-faire, pro-individualism, whatnot in combination with a “for the good of the Cause” resp. “for the good of the people”, whatnot reservation—stray from the approved path and rights disappear.* Here even a Libertarian-seeming (when viewed extremely superficially) attitude soon turns out to be Leftist and/or totalitarian. (Something to keep in mind when someone on the Left tries to argue e.g. that the Nazis were pro-business—ergo, Right-wing. In reality, to the degree that the claim holds at all, the Nazis were pro-business only as long as the respective business served the Cause—ergo, Left-wing. Also note that pro-business, as applied to the Nazis, by no means implies pro-Capitalist/m.)

*Similarly, the current U.S. Left: you may say whatever you like—as long as it is not wrongthink.

21. Der Staat hat für die Hebung der Volksgesundheit zu sorgen und durch den Schutz der Mutter und des Kindes, durch Verbot der Jugendarbeit, durch Herbeiführung der körperlichen Ertüchtigung mittels gesetzlicher Festlegung einer Turn- und Sportpflicht durch größte Unterstützung aller sich mit körperlicher Jugend-Ausbildung beschäftigenden Vereine.

(The state is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.)

Most of the goals would be uncontroversial today, with reservations for the obligation part. The focus on the state, however, is mostly Leftist. The outlawing of child-labor might have been more strongly Leftist at the time. (Even today, the non-Left tends to be more open to the sometime pragmatical necessity in poorer countries; while the current U.S. Republicans are more positive to work experience over just study than the Democrats.)

I also suspect a partial intent of “outlaw child-labor so that the children can go to school”, which might be a more Leftist position. (Especially, if with the coda “and be indoctrinated into good little Nazis/Communists/SJWs/whatnot”.)

22. Wir fordern die Abschaffung der Söldnertruppe und die Bildung eines Volksheeres.

“We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.”

Not obviously relevant to Left–Right, at least not without deeper investigation of the exact intents. I note that Germany was under great military restrictions after the war, including the abolition of conscription. The intent might have related to the restoration of the status quo ante; and later measures by the Nazis did include renewed conscription.

(Conscription, it self, might be seen as Leftist, as it implies un- or underpaid work for the state as a duty and a severe reduction of self-determination. However, conscription had been common in Germany since the Napoleonic wars, and there need not be any deeper meaning behind it.)

23. Wir fordern den gesetzlichen Kampf gegen die bewußte politische Lüge und ihre Verbreitung durch die Presse.

(We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press.)

Of course, almost everywhere and everywhen, using the law to suppress dissent is a Leftist go to. The Left might not be the only sinner, but by far the worst, be it in Communist dictatorships or the current U.S.

The restriction to alleged lies does not help one iota, as has been seen the last few years, when even expert opinions and scientific research has been labeled “fake news” or “misinformation” for contradicting the Official Truth.

Um die Schaffung einer deutschen Presse zu ermöglichen, fordern wir, daß a) sämtliche Schriftleiter und Mitarbeiter von Zeitungen, die in deutscher Sprache erscheinen, Volksgenossen sein müssen. b) Nichtdeutsche Zeitungen zu ihrem Erscheinen der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Staates bedürfen. Sie dürfen nicht in deutscher Sprache gedruckt werden. c) Jede finanzielle Beteiligung an deutschen Zeitungen oder deren Beeinflussung durch Nicht-Deutsche gesetzliche verboten wird und fordern als Strafe für Uebertretungen die Schließung einer solchen Zeitung sowie die sofortige Ausweisung der daran beteiligten Nicht-Deutschen aus dem Reich. d) Zeitungen,* die gegen das Gemeinwohl verstoßen, sind zu verbieten. Wir fordern den gesetzlichen Kampf gegen eine Kunst- und Literaturrichtung, die einen zersetzenden Einfluß auf unser Volksleben ausübt und die Schließung von Veranstaltungen,** die gegen vorstehende Forderungen verstoßen.

(In order to enable the provision of a German press, we demand, that: a. All writers and employees of the newspapers appearing in the German language be members of the race; b. Non-German newspapers be required to have the express permission of the state to be published. They may not be printed in the German language; c. Non-Germans are forbidden by law any financial interest in German publications or any influence on them and as punishment for violations the closing of such a publication as well as the immediate expulsion from the Reich of the non-German concerned. Publications* which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life and the closure of organizations** opposing the above made demands.)

*For some reason, the “d) Zeitungen” in the original is matched by a mere “Publications”, instead of “d. Publications”, in the translation.

**“Veranstaltungen” is closer to “events” than “organizations”.

Most of this is nationalist and/or aiming at suppressing dissent and diversity of opinion (usually Leftist, at least today), including attempts to reduce the likelihood of Germans being exposed to non-German (presumably, mostly Jewish) influences. Of particular note is sub-item d (note above footnote!), which again, very Leftist, uses the “general good” to forbid or mandate something. Note that this would not even be restricted to publications that involve alleged lies, but might well refer to truthful claims that do not match the Nazi agenda.* Also note that the remainder of sub-item d broadens the scope well beyond the earlier portions—it is no longer a matter of just the press. (But not as far as the translation makes it seem. Cf. above footnote on “Veranstaltungen” vs “organizations”.)

*Similar suspicions have, of course, been raised again and again over the last few years. For instance, I had not heard Plato’s “noble lie” referenced as often in my entire pre-COVID life, around 45 years, as I have during the less than two-and-a-half year span of COVID panic.

24. Wir fordern die Freiheit aller religiösen Bekenntnisse im Staat, soweit sie nicht dessen Bestand gefährden oder gegen das Sittlichkeits- und Moralgefühl der germanischen Rasse verstoßen. Die Partei als solche vertritt den Standpunkt eines positiven Christentums, ohne sich konfessionell an ein bestimmtes Bekenntnis zu binden. Sie bekämpft den jüdisch-materialistischen Geist in und außer uns und ist überzeugt, daß eine dauernde Genesung unseres Volkes nur erfolgen kann von innen heraus auf der Grundlage:*

(We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework.*)

*The difference in punctuation is present in the sources. The German original presumably leads up to “Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz” below, which the English translation might have missed, leading to a near nonsensical formulation. Replacing “on the framework.” with “on the basis of:” gives an approximate correction.

This has little to do with the Left–Right spectrum, although I do note that constructs like “COMPLETE FREEDOM! (Except when we don’t like it.)” appear to be quite common on the Left. Of course, such “small print” restrictions often turn an alleged thing into its opposite, as I suspect would be the case here. (The question is made more complicated by religions other than Christianity and Judaism likely only having had minuscule representation in Germany at the time, which might have made “religious denominations” (“religiösen Bekenntnisse”) more a matter of “Christian denominations”.)

Concerning “positive Christianity”, I note that this is so severe a distortion of Christianity, as understood by any mainstream denominations known to me, that the use of the name is highly disputable. It appears constructed specifically to serve Nazi purposes and shows so large a disregard for Christianity that it is hardly a less atheistic take than that of e.g. the Soviets. The Soviets pushed atheism to overcome the competition from religions; the Nazis used a constructed/distorted religion for the same purpose.

Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz


*The “[13]” is a footnote indicator from Wikipedia. The footnote claims: ‘”GEMEINNUTZ GEHT VOR EIGENNUTZ” [all caps in original). See: Rabinbach, Anson; and Gilman, Sander L. (2013) The Third Reich Sourcebook Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p.14 ISBN 9780520276833’ In contrast, the German text used by me does not use all caps and does not contain a “GEHT” (or “geht”), which makes me suspect a difference in version. (The “GEHT” does not change the meaning, but does make the statement a “proper” sentence through introducing a verb—which is promptly removed in the translation! The translation is, then, closer to “my” original than to the original it purports to translate…)

This hits one of the core issues of a typical Leftist ideology. It is, indeed, very rare for a Leftist ideology not to have this attitude, be it explicitly or implicitly, be it with specifically Gemeinnutz or with some similar variation, e.g. “the greater good”.

(Unfortunately, taken alone, it falls short of being conclusive proof, as occurrences on the non-Left do exist.)

25. Zur Durchführung alles dessen fordern wir die Schaffung einer starken Zentralgewalt des Reiches. Unbedingte Autorität des politischen Zentralparlaments über das gesamte Reich und seine Organisationen im allgemeinen. Die Bildung von Stände- und Berufskammern zur Durchführung der vom Reich erlassenen Rahmengesetze in den einzelnen Bundesstaaten.*

(For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich. Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general. The forming of state and profession chambers for the execution of the laws made by the Reich within the various states of the confederation.*)

*Here the German version of the item ends, while the English translation continues “The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration.”. Maybe the leader’s idealism had diminished between 1920 and 1930? Maybe the translator slipped up and accidentally included a sentence from the Sokal hoax? At any rate, this is another strong indication that different versions were used. (And one discovered even later than the “[13]” issue above.)

Such ideas, now and then, are quite common on the Left. They are now rare on the non-Left, but I do not rule out that the popularity was greater on the non-Left in the past than today‘.

Written by michaeleriksson

May 20, 2022 at 1:07 am

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Nazis IXe: The 25-point plan (Leftist economic policy)

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(Please see Nazis IXa for context.)

The following continues the strong Leftist or far Leftist drift of item 11. For reasons of time, I have not paid great attention to how “Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft” plays in with these items; however, chances are that a closer study would give additional clues—and even an awareness of it points to a higher degree of Leftism than might be clear from the individual items when viewed more “textually”.* This portion of the 25-point plan is certainly one influenced by Gottfried Feder (the author of “Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft”).

*But I will remain with my original, somewhat textual interpretation: I wrote most of the below before researching item 11, and I cannot justify the time to do further research and a rewrite. Besides, a somewhat textual interpretation (and reliance on the reader to use his head) is consistent with the treatment of e.g. the influence of item 4 on other items.

12. Im Hinblick auf die ungeheuren Opfer an Gut und Blut, die jeder Krieg vom Volke fordert, muß die persönliche Bereicherung durch den Krieg als Verbrechen am Volke bezeichnet werden. Wir fordern daher restlose Einziehung aller Kriegsgewinne.

(In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice of life and property that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment due to a war must be regarded as a crime against the nation. Therefore, we demand ruthless confiscation of all war profits.)

Superficially, this seems like a fairly neutral opinion on the Left–Right scale. However, closer inspection brings us to the question of why someone earned money off the war. Consider e.g. a smuggling operation built for the purpose of bringing goods from non-participating country A to the war-plagued and underlying-rationing country B. Even if the smuggler sells them on the black-market, he might still benefit many of the war victims, maybe even to the point of saving a few lives, and be good even for the government of country B. This is perfectly fair from e.g. a Libertarian point of view (excepting those who hold a “breaking the law is unethical” opinion). Remove the profits and he will no longer make those runs, leaving the customers worse off than before. Did someone earn money from obeying his governments request (or non-negotiable demand) to turn a car factory into a tank factory?* How would punishing him be fair? Who would be more likely to want to confiscate his profits, the average Conservative or the average Social-Democrat? (In contrast, stealing army supplies and selling them for personal profit will usually be unacceptable, as would, Nazis take heed!, stealing art in a conquered country.)

*The more so, when he earns less money than he did before, because profit margins on cars were better. Ditto when the car market has collapsed due to a war that the government started.

(A hidden Jewish angle is conceivable, but this would be hard to reconcile with the actual formulation. If in doubt, many non-Jews who had enriched themselves would have great reason to oppose the Nazis, for fear of being included, which would have made the formulation unwise unless they actually were included. In fact, something like that might have happened with item 17, as will be clear later on.)

In this unnuanced phrasing, at least, the demand is Leftist. (The lack of nuance, per se, is arguably also an indication of being Leftist, if a weaker one.)

From another perspective: How does this play out with an eye at future military action?* Are suppliers of tanks, ammunition, food, whatnot supposed to deliver at cost, with no profit? Who would even remain a peacetime producer of strictly military goods (e.g. tanks; but not e.g. food) under such circumstances?** This might simple be a point that the authors had not thought through, but it might also be an indication of a Leftist idea: that a later rearmament and war would be handled by a state-run command economy. (Which was to some degree the case, when we look at what did happen.)

*I am uncertain to what degree military action was planned at this stage of the NSDAP, but it certainly became relevant very quickly, once the NSDAP took power, and at least Hitler was on the topic long before that. It might be argued that calls for colonies and Lebensraum (as in item 3) would be hard to implement without military action.

**Peacetime earnings from military goods might be acceptable according to this item, but war would pose an enormous risk, and a switch from tanks to cars seems like a good idea.

13. Wir fordern die Verstaatlichung aller (bisher) bereits vergesellschafteten (Trust) Betriebe.

(We demand nationalization of all businesses which have been up to the present formed into companies (trusts).)

Here there are major issues of interpretation and I might have to perform more research before making a more definite statement. Notably, “vergesellschafte[te]n” could be taken to imply nationalization to begin with (“let us nationalize all nationalized companies”). Another reading might involve the forming of a society,* in the sense of a joint enterprise of some kind (note e.g. the French SA or Société Anonyme, and the usually non-profit “society of/for something-or-other” in the Anglosphere). One possible reading goes in the direction that most businesses not run by a single person, a family, or similar should be nationalized. The addition of “Trust”/“trusts” might point to a nationalization of companies that have formed a trust as a meta-Vergesellschaftung or, so to speak, a society of societies.** (The inconsistent use of “Trust”/“trusts” when comparing original and translation is not helpful.)

*An approximately etymologically literal, but idiomatically dubious, translation of “[zu] vergesellschaften” would be “[to] associate”. A similarly approximate translation, which often is idiomatically correct, of “[die] Gesellschaft” is “[the] society”.

**The main era of truly industry-dominating single “concerns”, e.g. IG Farben, was yet to come, but not that far off and many steps had already been taken by the industry.

(Looking at what actually happened is not very helpful, as the Nazis did not engage in Soviet style nationalization/collectivization/whatnot, but did demand that the industry work for the benefit of the Nazis/Nazi-Germany/whatnot to a degree that reduced the difference. Moreover, Jews and other unwanteds were treated with different rules.)

Either way, demands for widespread nationalization are very common on the Left and very rare on the non-Left. In as far as demands for nationalization appear at all on the non-Left, I suspect that they are more likely to refer to very specific areas or special cases. For instance, some on the non-Left might be in favour of keeping various central services or utilities, e.g. telephony, under state control, or believe that some particularly misbehaving company* must be cleaned up by the state.

*I have, indeed, occasionally had impulsive thoughts in this direction after a particularly negative customer experience. However, as I know that the state tends to do more harm than good, the feeling rarely lasts more than a moment.

14. Wir fordern die Gewinnbeteiligung an Großbetrieben*.

(We demand that the profits from wholesale trade* shall be shared out.)

*Dubious translation of “Großbetrieben”. Literally, it means “large enterprises” and I see no restriction to specifically trade (wholesale or otherwise). The use of “Big Business” is tempting and might catch a lot of the spirit, but would (a) be anachronistic, (b) likely overstate the size of the enterprises involved.

Again, highly Leftist.

Unfortunately, it is not made clear how the sharing would take place or to whom, nor for what reason, which limits my judgment more in detail. (For instance, a “The evil Capitalist pigs have exploited the poor innocent workers. We must take their undeserved profits and return them to the deserving workers!” would point even further Left, while a “We will lower wages in return for a mandatory bonus based on company profits.” would be less so.)

15. Wir fordern einen großzügigen* Ausbau der Alters-Versorgung.

(We demand an expansion on a large scale* of old age welfare.)

*I would have used “generous” rather than “large scale”, and will go with this word below.

Broadly speaking, Leftist.

Vagueness is caused by a lack of details. For instance, if the implication is “state-run welfare” the item might be highly Leftist. The degree of Leftism might also depend on whether the intended scheme is based on own payments for own pension (less likely to be Leftist) or on own payments for the pensions of the current set of retirees, while the own pension will be payed by the following generations (more likely to be Leftist).

Some reservation must also be made for whether generous-by-the-standards-of-1920 would be considered generous today. I do not rule out that many on the non-Left might be on-board, even within a state-run scheme, with what was generous back then, without automatically supporting what is generous today.

16. Wir fordern die Schaffung eines gesunden Mittelstandes* und seiner Erhaltung, sofortige Kommunalisierung der Groß-Warenhäuser und ihre Vermietung zu billigen** Preisen an kleine Gewerbetreibende, schärfste Berücksichtigung aller kleinen Gewerbetreibenden bei Lieferung an den Staat, die Länder oder Gemeinden.

(We demand the creation of a healthy middle class* and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost** to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.)

*In current German use, at least, “Mittelstand” does not so much mean “middle class” as “the mid-sized businesses”. It appears, however, that this is a recent development, and that the translation, to my surprise, is correct. (A good example of the traps that a hundred-year-old text can contain. Also see the next footnote.)

**The word “billig[en]” has over time drifted to imply “low cost [price]”, as used in the translation; but has historically implied something more like “fair” or “approvable”/“acceptable” (“with an approvable/acceptable bang-for-the-buck ratio”). Cf. “etwas zu billigen”–“to approve of something”. If this was still the case in 1920, the intent is more “fair cost” than “low cost”, which (a) might allow for medium or even high costs, (b) opens the door for great arbitrariness. (One might joke that “fair is in the eye of the beholder”.)

This passage is hard to classify (and not trivial to understand); however, communalization is definitely Leftist, and the drift of the rest seems most likely to be Leftist.

The apparent prioritisation of the middle class (especially, noting Marxism and its disdain for the bourgeoisie) must likely be seen in light of the Nazi belief that the then-current middle class was degenerate (or decadent, to keep with the Marxists) and more a burden than an asset to society. It is not a matter of favoring the existing middle class, but of replacing it with a newer and healthier one. This is an attitude that is hard to classify on a Left–Right spectrum and where I might need to do more research. However, a more stereotypically Leftist position might involve abolishing the middle (and upper) class altogether.

17. Wir fordern eine unseren nationalen Bedürfnissen angepaßte Bodenreform, Schaffung eines Gesetzes zur unentgeltlichen Enteignung von Boden für gemeinnützige Zwecke. Abschaffung des Bodenzinses und Verhinderung jeder Bodenspekulation.

(We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.)

(Also note a 1930 comment on this item by Hitler appended to the 25-point plan. To keep the structure intact, I will only include and discuss it later. The gist, however, is that item 17 has been misinterpreted and was only really directed at Jewish speculators. I am sceptical to how honest that claim is.)

Free* expropriation is a strongly Leftist position. The same might apply to speculation bans, although this might vary depending on how speculation is defined.**

*The original “unentgeltlichen” implies “without payment [recompense/cost/whatnot]”.

**In a more restrictive sense, it might be compatible with many non-Leftist positions; in a wider sense, it could be quite far Left.

The issue of land reform is hard to judge without more detail, as land reform has often made great sense, e.g. to exchange land between owners to create larger contiguous blocks of land, which allow for more effective farming and other use. Such reform is irrelevant to the Left–Right spectrum. In contrast, a “confiscate the land of all farmers and create collective or state-run farms” would be quite far Left.

The removal of taxes sounds highly non-Left, and seems incongruous with the rest of the item, but might depend on who owns the land at the time.

Written by michaeleriksson

May 19, 2022 at 10:34 pm

Nazis IXd: The 25-point plan (Zinsknechtschaft)

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(Please see Nazis IXa for context.)

This entry will only deal with a single item. The reason is the inclusion (further down) of additional material, including a nine-point plan, by Gottfried Feder to provide some background information. (The sole item left me so little to go on that I had to read up. I caution that the material is sufficiently extensive that I must rely on a superficial and partial reading, and much skimming. Correspondingly, my claims about the additional material should be taken with a grain of salt.)

11. Abschaffung des arbeits- und mühelosen Einkommens.

Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft!

(Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.)

The first part is clearly Leftist, even as it stands. Note that this would include someone who works hard for twenty years, saves every savable Pfennig, invests his money at a risk, and ends up with a sufficient return to retire early.

Factoring in the additional material, the intent seems to be mostly directed at bigger and/or Jewish investors (there are repeated mentions of e.g. Rotschild); however, would likely include most or all cases of interests, dividends, and whatnots in a more general manner—even for the less wealthy. Interests payments are seen as wrong, per se, with no regard for e.g. the investor’s risk (see excursion).

The second part is trickier, as it stands, as the implications of “Zinsknechtschaft” are not entirely clear. However, a general attitude of “even if you voluntarily enter into debt, you should not be obliged to pay interest” would be Left or far Left.

Factoring in the additional material, this attitude indeed seems to be present. The nine-point plan contains items like the conversion of interest bearing whatnots into a mere duty to repay the nominal amount of the whatnot, thereby retroactively forcing a change of the original agreement between debtor and creditor (or whatever words might apply for the given whatnot) to the great disadvantage of the creditor.

In both cases, the claims are pushed even further Left by much of this being for the benefit of the state and by utopian claims about the brave new interest-free world.

Material on the nine-point plan and “Zinsknechtschaft”:
The full document by Feder is available on Wikisource. Judging by my skimming, it consists of the nine-point plan embedded embedded in a sea of poorly written and worse reasoned, far Left, anti-Capitalist rhetoric, which makes Bernie Sanders look Republican in comparison.

As an alternative, German Wikipedia has a much shorter and more readable page. Unfortunately, the items of the nine-point plan are shortened relative the original.

Below, I will summarize portions of the Wikipedia material, including the nine-point plan, and my impression in English; on some occasions, I draw on the longer version of the plan in the original for clarification.

I stress that this document has influenced the 25-point plan, but is neither a part of it, nor automatically representative of NSDAP policy beyond the statements included in the 25-point plan (not necessarily restricted to item 11).

(Begin summary)

“Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft” was originally the title of a pamphlet (the “full document” above) by Gottfried Feder, who was an early NSDAP member and who had a strong influence on the 25-point plan. The formulations used to characterize his thoughts give a strongly Leftist impression, but also point to a likely use of various phrases as codes for the Jews.

A considerable motivation was the high expenditure for servicing war bonds, which reached 80 % of the 1919 budget. By removing the need to service these war bonds, the economic situation of Germany would change radically.

The manifest included a nine-point plan:*

*I usually give only a rough indication of content. This in part, because I have already spent much, much longer on the “Nazis IX” text(s) than intended; in part, because there are many technical terms involved, and a correct translation would require further research. I make the reservation that I, due to the technical terms, might have misunderstood some point or other.

  1. Konvertierung aller Schuldtitel des Deutschen Reiches und der deutschen Bundesstaaten unter Aufhebung der Zinspflicht zu gesetzlichen Zahlungsmitteln zum Nominalbetrag

    Conversion of German public debt to remove interest payments.

  2. Bei festverzinslichen Papieren wird Zinspflicht in eine Rückzahlungspflicht umgewandelt.

    Fixed-interest bonds are converted to have an obligation-to-repay instead of an obligation-to-pay-interest.

  3. ratenweise Zurückzahlung von Immobiliarschulden und Hypotheken

    Mortgages are repaid in installments. Here Wikipedia seems to oversimplify. The original points to continued repayments (might seem obvious, but then, why mention it?), with an additional drive to nationalize the properties involved. (In exactly what manner is not immediately clear to me.)

  4. Das gesamte Geldwesen wird der Zentralstaatskasse unterstellt. Alle Privatbanken werden als Filialbetriebe angegliedert.

    Banking is controlled by a central bank. Private banks are adjoined as subsidiaries.

  5. Realkredit wird nur durch die Staatsbank vergeben. Personal- und Warenkredit wird den Privatbankiers gegen staatliche Konzession überlassen.

    Reductions in who may give what type of credit. Greater central control.

  6. Tilgung von Dividendenwerten auf gleiche Weise wie festverzinsliche Papiere

    Stocks, or maybe equities in general, are treated liked fixed-interest bonds. Dividends are replaced by 5%-a-year repayments (presumably, for 20 years).

    Here the full document has a rare acknowledgment of risk, which could give the stock owner a share of profits, but the main use of profits appear to be to give money to the workers and to lower prices.

  7. Alle Personen, die nicht in der Lage sind, ihren Lebensunterhalt zu verdienen, erhalten anstelle der bisherigen Zinserträgnisse gegen Einlieferung der Wertpapiere eine Leibrente.

    Deals with support of those unable to work through annuities instead of interest payments. The original seems to imply that interest-bearing papers are to be handed over to the state in return for a pension of the same yearly amount as the interest payments. (Somewhat paradoxically: elsewhere, the idea seems to be to kill interest payments and repay the underlying debt; here, the underlying debt is killed and a quasi-interest payment preserved.)

  8. nach Vermögen gestaffelte Einziehung von Kriegsanleihestücken und anderen Schuldtiteln des Reiches oder der Staaten

    Incomprehensible to me without more research, but might deal with cancellation of public debt, war bonds in particular.

  9. Volksaufklärung, dass das Geld nichts anderes ist und sein darf als eine Anweisung auf geleistete Arbeit.

    Popular education that money is nothing but a payment order (?) for work done.

Originally, the NSDAP intent was to remove all interest payments, but this was modified over time to a reduction of interests and use of “gerechter Zins” (“fair interest”)

(End summary)

Excursion on my take on debt and interest:
There is a difference between an anti-interest and an anti-debt attitude. Feder is anti-interest, while I am mildly anti-debt and see interest or some other type of recompense as natural or even necessary when debt still is incurred.

To expand on “mildly anti-debt”: There are cases when debt can be acceptable or a good thing,* because a current need or benefit is strong enough to outweigh the increased risks and costs, e.g. for a well-earning family with small children to move into a house today, rather than in ten years time, or for a flowering business to expand to a second location. However, I would argue that we are better off, when we restrict our lending and borrowing as much as we reasonably can and that we should pay great attention to e.g. our expected long-term income. For instance, a less well-earning family should consider foregoing the house (or even the children) until a greater income has been reached and/or means for a larger down-payment have been accumulated. For instance, non-trivial college debt is almost always a bad idea, even when a high salary is expected in the future. The government should be obliged to borrow as little as possible; preferably, nothing. An economy with fewer business loans would be sounder and less unstable. Etc.

*But, all other factors equal, not being in debt is better. (Above, not all factors are equal.)

To expand on interest payments: When money is lent out or otherwise invested, there is a significant opportunity cost, in that the money is not available for other uses, including current consumption and other investments. There is also a risk involved, in that there is no guarantee that the money will ultimately be repaid or repaid in full. Unless someone has a personal interest in the lender’s well-being, e.g. a parent, lending is then idiotic—unless there is some offsetting benefit. Interest payments are exactly one such type of offsetting benefit. Scratch interest payments, without implementing some other scheme with a similar effect, and that house and that second location are severely delayed or become mere pipe-dreams. (As an aside, with anti-utopian effects, like some prospective employees for that second location not being hired.)

Written by michaeleriksson

May 19, 2022 at 7:21 am