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A Swede in Germany

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A few observations around the alleged German coup attempt

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Until now, I have left the alleged coup attempt in Germany without comment—and, barring future revelations of note, I will likely continue to do so after this text. There simply is too much vagueness, too much speculation, too much governmental PR, and too much one-sidedness in the reporting, for me, as an outsider, to make a qualified statement about the details without very considerable prior research.*

*A particular complication is that the intentions, opinions, political positions, group belongings, whatnot of those unpopular-with-the-Left are regularly and often grossly misrepresented by media and Leftist politicians in Germany (just as in e.g. the U.S.). A consequence is that, for instance, the common claim that participants were “Reichsbürger” does not imply that they actually were, nor is it clear what the implications of “Reichsbürger” would be—as all descriptions of “Reichsbürger” that I have ever encountered have been written by their enemies. Even clarifying just these two points might cost me more or much more time than the entire writing of this text.

A few observations are called for on a more general level, however:

  1. The extreme differences in numbers and resources between alleged participants and the involved law enforcement, the informing of journalists before the arrests/raids/whatnot, etc. give the impression that this was more of a PR-coup for the German government and/or the German Left than a real coup against the German government.

    Note, in a similar vein, the J6 situation in the U.S., where a comparatively minor event has been blown out of proportion, where punishments are far larger than any wrong-doings,* where the portrayal of behavior and intents is extremely misleading, where there are strong signs of an (at least partial) setup, etc.—allowing a Leftist PR-coup intended to trick the people into believing that the Right** is evil/dangerous/whatnot, while the truth, by any reasonable standard, is the opposite.

    *Up to and including Monopoly-style “Go directly to jail!” commands to some who were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time, with no proof of ill intentions, as if they had stepped on the wrong Monopoly square and happened to draw a bad card.

    **I consider the Left–Right scale inherently flawed, as the various parties/ideologies/whatnot usually classified as Rightwing are far too heterogeneous to be grouped together (especially, if the Leftist misdefinitions of “Racist equals Rightwing”, “Nationalist equals Rightwing”, etc. are accepted—which I do not). I note, in particular, that the far Left is an extremer version of the regular Left, while the same does not apply to the “far Right” and the “Right”. My use of the Left–Right scale in this text is solely to match the framing of the debate. I further note that some of my statements about the Right must be seen with implicit disclaimers like e.g. “the clear majority of the Right, but due to the extreme wideness of the term, exceptions exist”. More on these topics can be found in e.g. my lengthy and ongoing series on Nazis ([1] and countless later installments, notably [2]). Also note the issue of the Left constantly demanding tolkningsföreträde, including on issues like who is or is not a supporter of what ideology and how any given ideology is to be classified.

  2. There is a strong push that this was explicitly a “Rightwing” (“far Right”, or similar) coup attempt.

    This is problematic in terms of classification, as the involved (in my superficial impression) seem more loony than political, and as the main two reasons for the classification seem to be (a) a wish for a king, (b) an origin among dissenters.

    However, to dissent is neither wrong nor inherently Rightwing,* and much of the dissent in question, notably against the failed, scientifically unfounded, and rights-violating COVID policies should have been politically neutral and is outright laudable. Moreover, as I have noted in the past,** if dissenters are driven out of “polite company”, they will naturally end up with each other, even when they have little in common; moreover, there is the issue of the fellow-traveler fallacy. In other words, making assumptions based on the participation of members of a certain “scene”*** is dubious.

    *It is true both that a Leftwing mentality tends to be more conforming/gullible and that the strong and absurd influence of the Left in today’s world makes Leftist dissent less likely, but dissent, per se, is not proof of anything Rightwing. (To the degree that dissent is Rightwing, it is usually either a matter of regular differences in opinion or directed at something negative, untruthful, oppressive, whatnot—and should be supported.)

    **Unfortunately, I failed to find a reference on short notice—a disadvantage of having published this many texts.

    ***As the German journalists, with their cliched “Szene”, like to formulate it—it is always Szene-this and Szene-that.

    Even the king-part is not Rightwing as such (in an even remotely modern sense): looking beneath the word used, there is very little difference between e.g. a traditional* king and someone like Stalin or Fidel Castro. More interesting questions involve who is in favor of democracy, Rechtsstaatlichkeit, the rights of the individual, etc., and here the Right tends to be more positive than the Left, which typically only uses democracy as a tool to gain power. Vice versa, who is in favor of a “strong leader”/“strong man”, extensive government control, whatnot, where the Left tends to be more positive than the Right.

    *To boot, if we look at most modern monarchies, e.g. the U.K. and Sweden, the role of the monarch is largely ceremonial and differs little in nature from that of e.g. the (ceremonial) German president. For a deeper discussion, we would need a very clear definition and understanding of what was actually intended. (Also note complications like historical kings often having been elected and presidents often grabbing power through military force; kingship sometimes being hereditary, sometimes not; presidentship sometimes being quasi-hereditary, sometimes not. Apart, possibly, from a shibbolethic aspect of the word “king”, there is nothing Rightwing about the idea.)

    Of course, even if we were to consider the coup-makers Rightwing, which might or might not be the case after a closer inspection, they would only represent a very small fraction of the Right—while e.g. terrorists from Antifa and the “autonomous”* movements represent a significantly larger portion of the Left. Recent sport from some Leftist groups seems to include the willful and nonsensical destruction of art “because global warming”.

    *These Leftwing groups have a long history of violence and anti-democratic attempts to enforce their will upon others in Germany. Other countries have other Leftist groups that are violent and otherwise problematic, e.g. the BLM movement in the U.S. and, more historically, various anarchist groupings. (Antifa seems to be a worldwide problem.)

    Notably, the German Left has long waged an all out of war of hate and distortion on anything branded or self-branded as “Right”, leading to e.g. CDU* cowardly hiding under the label of “Center”, instead of sticking to “Right”, which brings about a self-fulfilling not-quite-prophecy, as only those with extreme positions typically dare to refer to themselves as “Right”. There might also be no other country in the world where the distortion of “Right” to imply “Nazi”, “Fascist”, “Xenophobic”, whatnot (and vice versa) has gone further—an absurdity as these positions are largely irrelevant to the Left–Right scale and as the Nazis, by any reasonable standard, were Leftwing. (Cf. [1], [2], and follow ups.) As an example, cf. [3], Germany went through the trouble of instituting a law against explicitly Rightwing extremism—while Germany is buckling under Leftwing (!) extremism.**

    *Nominally, Conservative; at least since Merkel took over, “German RINO”.

    **The failure of so many to understand this, and with the same situation in e.g. the U.S., is a sign of how far the respective Overton windows and opinion corridors have been shifted. What is or is not extremist, normal, deviant, whatnot has often been turned on its head both in politics and in much of public perception.

    Also note an earlier text on the odd distortion of the Left–Right spectrum.

  3. As I have noted repeatedly in the past, Germany is neither a functioning democracy nor a Rechtsstaat, currently having more in common with the 1980s’ GDR/DDR than the 1980s’ FRG/BRD.

    A coup under such circumstance is not a threat against, e.g., democracy, as democracy already has been reduced to a nominal existence. A time might well come where a coup is the only way to restore democracy within a reasonable time frame—as it would have been in Nazi-Germany and might* be in today’s Brazil.

    *My impressions are too superficial to make a definite statement, but there are strong signs that Lula (a) did take power through a mixture of judicial abuse and election cheating, and (b) is now abusing that power to remain in power. Indisputably, he is very far Left; with a very high degree of likelihood, he is criminally corrupt.

    This is not yet the case in today’s Germany, but the margins are thinning and a continuation of current trends could force that situation within the foreseeable future. (Consider e.g. that there is some risk that AfD, one of the largest German parties, might be banned for being-hated-by-the-Left, while the much more unsavory Die Linke, the rebranded SED, is growing ever more successful and the Social-Democrats, with their outdated and destructive ideas, currently have the run of the country.)

    Here I re-raise my warning that inexcusable acts by the Left can lead to violent resistance, and this resistance then be used to excuse further inexcusable acts by the Left (cf. [4]; also note other similarly themed texts, like [5]).

  4. A repeated problem with actions like these, including several situations in the U.S., is that law enforcement does not clamp down at a time when good faith would demand it, namely, as soon as possible. In some cases, notably the Gretchen-Whitmer “kidnapping” plot, law enforcement is/was even the pushing force. The idea seems to be to wait as long as possible, to get as many fishes in the net as possible, to get as much publicity as possible, whatnot, before clamping down—this with no regard to any danger created and with no regard for the many fishes who might have remained entirely innocent with an earlier intervention. (To which must be added that the border for being “guilty” is often very lax, as with J6, and that the “guilt” is often caused by entrapment, as, again, with the Gretchen-Whitmer “kidnapping” plot and, according to many accounts, J6.)
  5. A side-issue is that political violence tends to be Leftist, while German propaganda tries very hard to paint it as Rightist, to the point that use of violence is sometimes used as an ipso-fact proof of “Right”. (E.g. in that soccer hooligans are considered Rightwing for using violence, not for their political opinions—or, on the outside, for opinions that have nothing to do with Left and Right, notably regarding racism. E.g. in that any and all violence against immigrants by Germans is condemned as having a racist and, therefore, far Right motivation, even when the truth was e.g. a wish for money, a personal feud, or a drunk fight.) Ditto e.g., in a historical paradox, anti-establishment attitudes. Ditto resistance to government control of the individual.*

    *This with greater justification, but with a Leftist propaganda focus not on “wants respect for the rights of the individual” but on “dares defy the all-knowing and all-loving government”.


Written by michaeleriksson

December 16, 2022 at 7:51 pm

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Who are really the enlightened ones?

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In the spirit of some earlier texts,* it might be time to ask who is truly enlightened and who is not. Leftists very often have the attitude that “We are enlightened! You others are just rubes and deplorables!”, and occasionally speak explicitly in terms of “enlightenment” and/or try to draw a connection between themselves and the old thinkers of the enlightenment era. Based on what I have seen of the Left, this borders on the laughable, as the Left is marinated in anti-enlightenment attitudes, and is often directly antithetical to enlightenment through its rejection, distortion, and/or abuse of independent and critical** thought, science, and education. Ditto the way that it often prioritizes feelings over reason, narrative over truth, “lived experience” over fact, whatnot. Ditto the way that it replaces argumentation with sloganeering or derogatory labels, to the point that (true) reason and science might be condemned as “White Supremacy”.***

*At least, [1] and [2].

**How can critical thought be distorted or abused? For instance, by replacing it with various misleadingly named Marxist thought-frameworks, by equating critical thought with “thought that criticizes the Western world [Capitalism, Whiteness, whatnot]”, and similar.

***And note how perfidious that accusation, as well as the similar “Dead White Man”, can be: Kant is just another “White Supremacist” / “Dead White Man”, so any and all of his opinions are null and void.

The concept of enlightenment* tends to be differently understood by different persons, but a natural source for a definition and an understanding is Kant, who wrote the famous “Was ist Aufklärung?” (“What is Enlightenment?”), which is considered a seminal work of the burgeoning enlightenment. As this essay is somewhat lengthy, selective quoting is necessary, and chances are that I have, below, left out a few passages worthy of inclusion even in this limited context. However, to look at some portions:**

*To boot, there might be room to differ between “enlightenment” (as a general concept) and “Enlightenment” (referring specifically to the era of the same name and the specific ideas of that era). As the concepts are overlapping, as the Left can make claims about either, and as the claims tend to border on the laughable in both cases, I will not make the distinction; however, by using Kant’s text as the reference, my own text naturally deals more with the “E”-version. (For two “e”-examples, consider an out-of-touch-with-reality New Ager who proclaims herself enlightened after brief exposure to a Westernized and commercialized version of some Eastern philosophy, and someone ignorant who is told of and embraces some Leftist orthodox thought and now sees herself as set apart from the, often much better informed, “rubes and deplorables”.)

**See a below note for sources of original and translation, as well as various remarks on the text treatment.

Aufklärung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbst verschuldeten Unmündigkeit. Unmündigkeit ist das Unvermögen, sich seines Verstandes ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Selbstverschuldet ist diese Unmündigkeit, wenn die Ursache derselben nicht am Mangel des Verstandes, sondern der Entschließung und des Muthes liegt, sich seiner ohne Leitung eines andern zu bedienen.

Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another.

If we look at typical Leftist behaviors and attitudes, as well as the attitudes of e.g. many COVID-fanatics, one of the most common problems is their refusal to think for themselves. In contrast, members of the non-Left typically try to do just that—and the willingness to think, to think critically, to question authorities,* etc. is one of their greatest sources of conflict with the Left.

*Many Leftist do question certain authorities, but not because they think for themselves—much more often, it seems, they rely on some other authority as a source of opinion, and question because the “heretical” authorities do not agree with the “orthodox” one.

This is insofar unsurprising, as the Leftist worldview tends to collapse when exposed to the scrutiny of critical thinking, comparisons between claims and reality, and whatnot. However, the underlying issue is larger, namely one of attitude to the world, to knowledge, to the claims of others. By no means do all non-Leftists think for themselves, but the vast majority of those who think for themselves appear to be non-Leftists.* Leftism is, to a high degree about conformance to the ideas of the Group or the Leader—I have chosen to be an X; ergo, I believe everything that an X should believe. Non-Leftists tend to be the other way around—I share many opinions with the Xs; which might or might not make me an X.

*No, being told by a crazy teenage girl that the world is about to boil, or by some racist Black hate-monger that Whites are to blame for everything wrong in this world (including any boiling), and just adopting these opinions, is not to “think for oneself”—not even if some parent, teacher, or other authority figure happens to disagree. To think for oneself involves a critical examination of such claims, preferably with a juxtaposition with claims by others. This critical examination might lead to agreement or disagreement, but the mere agreement-through-adoption that is so common on the Left, among the young, among women, and among weak thinkers, is simply not on the table.

Sapere aude! Habe Muth dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen! ist also der Wahlspruch der Aufklärung.

Sapere aude! “Have courage to use your own reason!” – that is the motto of enlightenment.

But the Left is not only the other way around, it actually actively tries to suppress attempts by others to follow this motto. (Ditto e.g. COVID-fanatics, which I will mostly leave unmentioned through the rest of this text, except to note the strong overlap between the two groups.) Herein might a part of the problem be: in light of risks like poor grades, firings, public condemnation, cancellation, or whatever might apply to the individual at hand, more courage is required than without them, which makes the sufficiently courageous fewer, which leads to less enlightenment.

Es ist so bequem, unmündig zu sein. Habe ich ein Buch, das für mich Verstand hat, einen Seelsorger, der für mich Gewissen hat, einen Arzt der für mich die Diät beurtheilt, u. s. w. so brauche ich mich ja nicht selbst zu bemühen.

It is so easy not to be of age. If I have a book which understands for me, a pastor who has a conscience for me, a physician who decides my diet, and so forth, I need not trouble myself.

Replace the this-and-that with e.g. some politician, college professor, or (still) book who/which provides ready-made opinions, proclaims what is right and wrong, classifies others into “good” and “evil”, etc. and the Left is very similar—except that it does not just seem to be a matter of convenience but of borderline religious belief in a certain type of authority. The example of a physician has an interesting modern angle, namely that of “informed consent”: Someone who is told to eat a certain diet by a physician, or, more relevant to “informed consent”, to have a certain operation, and just blindly obeys, behaves quite similarly to many Leftists. Indeed, as I have mentioned on some earlier occasion(s), I would be much in favor of the concept of “informed consent” being formally introduced into e.g. the citizen–state relationship.

Daß der bei weitem größte Theil der Menschen (darunter das ganze schöne Geschlecht) den Schritt zur Mündigkeit, außer dem daß er beschwerlich ist, auch für sehr gefährlich halte: dafür sorgen schon jene Vormünder, die die Oberaufsicht über sie gütigst auf sich genommen haben.

That the step to competence is held to be very dangerous by the far greater portion of mankind (and by the entire fair sex) – quite apart from its being arduous is seen to by those guardians who have so kindly assumed superintendence over them.

Here the translation is so hard to understand, even compared to the original, that I must suggest an alternative. While I draw strongly on the first translation, I stick more closely to the structure of the German original and believe the result to be clearer.

That the by far largest part of humanity (including the entire fair sex) considers the step to [competence*] not only [arduous**] but also very dangerous, that is ensured by the [guardians***], who have [kindly****] assumed superintendence over them.

*While “competence” is not wrong, it might be misleading without the right context. The underlying German word (“Mündigkeit”) is focused on meanings relating to e.g. “[age of] majority” and “emancipation”, which might apply to the legal sense of “competence”, but not to most everyday uses, which tend to focus on having the right skills, knowledge, and whatnot. Also note that the original contains a contrast between “Mündigkeit” and “Unmündigkeit”, where the translation now has “competence” and “tutelage”. (Generally, the translation lacks consistency in how variations of these words are handled.) The implication of “Mündigkeit”, in this context, is then to have removed oneself from the state of “Unmündigkeit” (as described in the first quote). A similar juxtaposition in English could involve “competence” and “incompetence”, with reservations for the above remark on meanings.

**Wiktionary suggests “onerous” and “burdensome” for “beschwerlich”, which seem closer to the mark to me.

***In a sense more close to “legal guardian [of e.g. a child]” than to “guardian angel”, “guard”, whatnot. (In modern German there is often an additional drift to reduce the “caretaker” aspect in favor of the “decision maker” aspect, often with an implication of presumptuousness or of nannying someone, but this need not have been the case back then.)

****The German formulation seems more obviously ironic than the translation. The thinly veiled intent is then not so much “kindly” as “in a pretend-kind or unkind manner, while seeing to their own interests” (or similar).

Alternatively, to paraphrase the gist: “The powers-that-be deliberately make it seem dangerous to think for oneself.” Note how well this fits in with e.g. the modern fear of cancellation and whatnot, as discussed above.

The main issue here is not Leftism, but the pseudo-elite of politicians and other government-related powerful persons.* It is interesting, however, that Kant explicit calls out the entirety of womanhood. This might be an exaggeration, but not a large one, going by my own observations. Even nominally highly intelligent and nominally highly educated women tend to be very keen on authority figures, weak at critical thinking (or unwilling to apply it), even weaker at creating new knowledge, etc.—and women disproportionally tend to go Left.

*While I suspect that the pseudo-elite is majority-Left by now and in e.g. the U.S., it is far from a Leftist monopoly, and the situation in other countries or at other times might involve a Leftist minority.

Daß aber ein Publikum sich selbst aufkläre, ist eher möglich; ja es ist, wenn man ihm nur Freiheit läßt, beinahe unausbleiblich.

But that the public should enlighten itself is more possible; indeed, if only freedom is granted enlightenment is almost sure to follow.

Which might be why the Left is so keen on suppressing freedom.

Ich antworte: der öffentliche Gebrauch seiner Vernunft muß jederzeit frei sein, und der allein kann Aufklärung unter Menschen zu Stande bringen; der Privatgebrauch derselben aber darf öfters sehr enge eingeschränkt sein, ohne doch darum den Fortschritt der Aufklärung sonderlich zu hindern.

I answer: The public use of one’s reason must always be free, and it alone can bring about enlightenment among men. The private use of reason, on the other hand, may often be very narrowly restricted without particularly hindering the progress of enlightenment.

But the Left is very actively trying to prevent exactly the public use, e.g. in that someone, even someone highly qualified and intelligent, an expert in the field at hand, makes a statement contrary to the Leftist orthodoxy—and a cancellation follows. Indeed, as in [3], some have been fired over opinions expressed through public use by their spouses!

Der Bürger kann sich nicht weigern, die ihm auferlegten Abgaben zu leisten; sogar kann ein vorwitziger Tadel solcher Auflagen, wenn sie von ihm geleistet werden sollen, als ein Skandal (das allgemeine Widersetzlichkeiten veranlassen könnte) bestraft werden. Eben derselbe handelt demohngeachtet der Pflicht eines Bürgers nicht entgegen, wenn er, als Gelehrter, wider die Unschiklichkeit oder auch Ungerechtigkeit solcher Ausschreibungen öffentlich seine Gedanken äußert.

The citizen cannot refuse to pay the taxes imposed on him; indeed, an impudent complaint at those levied on him can be punished as a scandal (as it could occasion general refractoriness). But the same person nevertheless does not act contrary to his duty as a citizen, when, as a scholar, he publicly expresses his thoughts on the inappropriateness or even the injustices of these levies[.]

But exactly the second sentence is something that the Left tries to prevent: if it has been Ordained that X, then X—and may disagreers burn at the stake. Speak up about this—racist! Speak up about that—sexist! Speak up about some third—climate denier! Speak up about some fourth—COVIDiot!*

*Incidentally a slur that would have made much more sense if applied to the COVID-fanatics, themselves, as they have so often taken an idiot’s approach to COVID. As an etymological aside, the Greek root of the word “idiot” appears to have aspects of separation from others or from public life, which could additionally make those in favor of isolation, non-contact, keep-your-distance, glass walls between customer and cashier, etc. more “etymologically idiotic” than those who recommend to let life go on as before.

In all fairness, I cannot deny that I to a large part disagree with Kant concerning the first sentence, in as far as he makes a statement about what is an ethical, rather than just a legal, “must” or “must not”.

Ein solcher Kontrakt, der auf immer alle weitere Aufklärung vom Menschengeschlechte abzuhalten geschlossen würde, ist schlechterdings null und nichtig; und sollte er auch durch die oberste Gewalt, durch Reichstäge und die feierlichsten Friedensschlüsse bestätigt sein. Ein Zeitalter kann sich nicht verbünden und darauf verschwören, das folgende in einen Zustand zu setzen, darin es ihm unmöglich werden muß, seine (vornehmlich so sehr angelegentliche) Erkenntnisse zu erweitern, von Irrthümern zu reinigen, und überhaupt in der Aufklärung weiter zu schreiten.

Such contract, made to shut off all further enlightenment from the human race, is absolutely null and void even if confirmed by the supreme power, by parliaments, and by the most ceremonious of peace treaties. An age cannot bind itself and ordain to put the succeeding one into such a condition that it cannot extend its (at best very occasional) knowledge, purify itself of errors, and progress in general enlightenment.

With reservations for what lengths of time are intended, this applies strongly to the Left, which often tries to set a fix “truth” that must never be questioned, put to scientific scrutiny, or whatnot. Consider e.g. how there is a virtual (implemented or intended-by-the-Left) ban on research into certain topics around e.g. I.Q., genetics, and HBD, as such research almost invariably reveals how faulty the Leftist worldview is in that regard, most notably when it comes to the long disproved idea of “nurture only”.

Note the contrast to e.g. the U.S. Constitution and the Originalist mindset:* The point is not that the Constitution would be beyond reproach or a document binding for all times. Rather, the point is that there is a certain procedure for altering the Constitution by amendment within a democratic framework, and that it is not up to the individual judges/justices (or, m.m., e.g. the POTUS and Congress) to put themselves above the Constitution as it currently stands, to take it upon themselves to implement by fiat what should be implemented by amendment, to make their own individual voices count over the democratic will of the people, etc.

*I bring the topic up to preempt a predictable Leftist claim of “But this is exactly what those Dead White Men and Clarence Thomas are doing!”, a misleading comparison with the Canadian “living constitution”, whatnot. (The phrase “living constitution” is a misnomer, as the actual implication is that the constitution is dead—it is nothing more than a tool for a judge to bend and twist to fit his own ideas.)

Wenn denn nun gefragt wird: Leben wir jetzt in einem aufgeklärten Zeitalter? so ist die Antwort: Nein, aber wohl in einem Zeitalter der Aufklärung*.

If we are asked, “Do we now live in an enlightened age?” the answer is, “No,” but we do live in an age of enlightenment*.

*Here “Aufklärung” has a strong natural aspect of something changing, a process of increasing enlightenment. With the English “enlightenment”, on the other hand, this aspect of change seems much weaker to me, and I would naturally see the word as referring more to a stage or level. (Hence, “increasing enlightenment” two sentences ago.) As the translation stands, it seems to miss the point—that “we” might not yet be enlightened, but “we” are progressing towards enlightenment. (It might similarly be argued that the German “Zeit der Aufklärung” implies a move towards enlightenment, while the English “Age of Enlightenment” implies that enlightenment was already reached.)

Today, we live in an unenlightened age. Moreover, we do live in an age of progressive [note double meaning] unenlightenment. Society is increasingly shifting away from the ideals of enlightenment, reason, science, whatnot, and the reason is to a very large part the Left and its auxiliaries (notably, Post-Modernists).

Ich habe den Hauptpunkt der Aufklärung, die des Ausganges der Menschen aus ihrer selbst verschuldeten Unmündigkeit, vorzüglich in Religionssachen gesetzt: weil in Ansehung der Künste und Wissenschaften unsere Beherrscher kein Interesse haben, den Vormund über ihre Unterthanen zu spielen;

I have placed the main point of enlightenment – the escape of men from their self-incurred tutelage – chiefly in matters of religion because our rulers have no interest in playing guardian with respect to the arts and sciences[;]

This has changed entirely, mainly because the Left very definitely tries to control science and at least, and to some degree, those arts capable of bringing a message. Religion, from a Leftist point of view, is viewed solely as a superstition,* but various Leftist teachings have developed into virtual religions in their own right.

*One of the few points where the Left and I have common ground.

Notes on sources and text treatment:
I draw on Wikisource for both the original and the translation, see [4] and [5], respectively. In both cases, some formatting might have been lost or changed for reasons like copy-and-paste. The translation is in the public domain in the U.S., but need not be so worldwide (cf. note at the end of [5]).

I base my own text on the German version, but, for ease of reference, I use words from the translation when discussing the text.

I had originally intended to just map the translation to the original without verifying its quality or correctness. The translation repeatedly struck me as odd, however, including in terms of English grammar and style,* and I have addressed this on some few occasions. (However, by no means on all occasions where it might have been called for.)

*In all fairness, the original is tricky too, in part due to Kant’s complex style of writing, in part due to changes in Standard-German since the 18th century.

Excursion on Kant’s definition:
Note that the definition used by Kant does not imply e.g. a state of being particularly insightful (or knowledgeable, wise, intelligent, whatnot). The key is the willingness to think for oneself.

Here I would partially disagree: on the one hand, for agreement, it is hard to see how anyone who does not think for himself could be considered enlightened and the condition is necessary; on the other, for disagreement, I find it unduly optimistic to see this as a sufficient condition. It is true that those who think for themselves tend to become more insightful than others, but the process is not automatic and not from one moment to another.* From my point of view, then, we can conclude that someone who does not think for himself is not enlightened, but not that someone who does think for himself is enlightened.

*Proof-reading, I also find that I might have fallen into the trap of “Aufklärung” as a process vs. “enlightenment” as a state (cf. an above footnote)—a distinction that only occurred to me during the writing of this text. My point is lessened, but not eliminated, if we take a process view and note that the true state is only found at the end of the process.

It might be argued that Kant was specifying a technical term, for which everyday associations do not necessarily apply, but he would then have been better off to suggest something like “intellektuelle Mündigkeit” or “geistige Mündigkeit” (which might have appeared as “intellectual competence” in the translation). Then again, he wrote the text as a response to a call for an answer to the question of what Aufklärung was.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 12, 2022 at 7:42 pm

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Radicalizing your victims / Follow-up: Who are the real extremists?

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A particularly scary thought in light of the inexcusable acts of the current U.S. Democrats and the ever present reality distortion of the Left, in general:

What if their inexcusable acts eventually force members of the non-Left to use extreme methods,* which the Democrats then take as an excuse to escalate their inexcusable acts even further? This possibly including “temporary”** suspension of civic rights or the use of military force to ensure compliance?

*Yes, even extreme methods can be justified in extreme situations, especially in self-defense. Note that few would dispute the right of e.g. Nazi-era Germans to resist their government with means that would have been out of bounds in a functioning democracy and Rechtsstaat, or of e.g. the citizens of the “occupied France” to do the same against the occupiers. While the U.S. is not quite there yet, the last few steps of deterioration could happen very fast.

**One of the key insights of politics is that “temporary” usually turns out to be a very long time.

Indeed, there are already a strong tendency (whether more governmental or more Leftist might be debated) to brand those who merely react to a worsening situation as “extremists” or to accuse them of “radicalization”. Consider e.g. various protests against unconscionable, severely harmful, and scientifically unfounded COVID-countermeasures, or the recent farmers’ protests in the Netherlands. Or consider the occasionally used German “Staatsfeind” (“enemy of the state”)—are these enemies* of the state because they are mentally deficient (evil, racists, ignorant, whatnot) or for the very rational, reasonable, and arguably virtuous reason that the state is hostile towards them and other citizens and does them and other citizens harm?

*Assuming that the word actually applies in the first place, which is far from a given.

Similarly, even at current levels, what if those severely provoked and mistreated for sufficiently long ultimately snap, with similar consequences? To this, I point to the U.S. (using the word loosely) game of “not touching”—the one kid keeps waving his hand immediately in front of the face of the other (“Not touching! Can’t get mad!”), and when the other kid inevitably does get mad, the first kid runs to the nearest adult to complain. Much of what the Left does (e.g. in the current U.S.) and has historically done falls into the same category of behavior. Worse, while much of it can be seen as a metaphorical hand in front of someone’s face, other parts are equivalent to punching someone in the nose, again and again. Consider e.g. the behavior of the U.S. Democrats and their lackeys towards Trump. If this someone does not put up a fight, he will eventually find himself lying on the floor, being kicked and stomped, maybe to death. If he does put up a fight, then the aggressor screams a hypocritical “Mommy! He hit me!”, respectively begins a rant about “White Supremacy”, “Right-wing extremism”, or whatnot, demanding that the victim (!) be punished.

The world simply can no longer afford to tolerate the Left and its lies, defamation, hypocrisy, hate, and inexcusable acts.

Excursion on fake or entrapped “extremists”:
The above is not be confused with some utter bullshit that already goes on, as with the current misrepresentation of non-extremists as extremists (cf. [1]), including the gross and inexcusable distortions around J6, or with the deliberate entrapment that repeatedly has taken place, e.g. the FBI-instigated and -driven “plot” to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer. The resulting problems and dangers are similar, but the mechanism is different.

Written by michaeleriksson

August 30, 2022 at 6:51 pm

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Who are the real extremists?

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Preamble: This is another text that risked growing into a long multi-part series. To avoid this, I have decided to cut it artificially short. One or two follow-ups might take place, but I will try to err on the side of self-control.

A while back, I asked who the real science deniers are. In the same vein, who are the real extremists? (See an excursion for some other “same veins”.)

Increasingly, the Left appears to apply the labels “extremism” and “extremist” to a great many groups who are nothing of the kind, while their own extremism is swept under the carpet. Indeed, what is referred to as “extremism” is often just common sense and/or something that was mainstream not that long ago. (In some cases something that might still be mainstream, but which the Left hates: condemn it as extremism now and with sufficient force, and it will leave the mainstream. See excursion.)

Consider e.g. the absurdity that pointing to scientifically well-founded results on the “wrong” topics can lead to accusations of extremism (and, depending on the exact topic, e.g. “racism”, “X denialism”, whatnot). Take e.g. an awareness* of human biological diversity, a position that should be entirely scientifically and politically uncontroversial in a sane society, and the perfectly sane, rational, and obvious suggestion that this might** have an effect on e.g. group outcomes—extremism!

*I originally intended to write “belief”, but this word is misleading, as a considerable amount of such diversity is well beyond reasonable doubt.

**Here “might” is justified, because even the suggestion of “might” is typically cause for immediate condemnation. (Note e.g. the Larry Summers situation—and things have grown much worse since then.) However, that some effect is present is virtually unavoidable, and what I have seen so far seems to imply that they can be quite large on the group level, at least or especially in scenarios where the “tails” of a distribution are important. (What happens on the individual level is a very different question.)

Express anything but whole-hearted approval of the (scientifically, at best, dubious) COVID-countermeasures and the associated propaganda and “official truths”—extremism!

Take any of a quite a few Republican positions—extremism! Consider e.g. abortion: here the Democrats have condemned as extremism the suggestion of even limits on abortions that match the typical European situation.* Ditto e.g. the perfectly sensible abortion-_related_ opinion that there is no right to abortion in the U.S. constitution (note the aftermath of “Dobbs”). This, however, is almost indisputably so: the original “Roe” decision has been criticized as wrongly decided from day one—even by Leftist law experts.**

*Together with a slew of other misrepresentations.

**Indeed, I seem to vaguely recall someone condemning as extremist even a constitutionalist/originalist approach, an approach that should be a perfectly valid option to anyone and borders on being the obvious and obviously correct approach to the reasonable. However, here I might misremember.

Consider as counterpoints how this stacks up against e.g. the COVID-countermeasures;* the drive to put children into sex change programs; immense taxes used to finance a bloated government bureaucracy and to hand out money to the lazy and the stupid;** the BLM riots and the Antifa terrorism; threats against the lives and families of Supreme-Court justices; the recent repeated “swattings” against Marjorie Taylor Greene; the all-out Nazi-level persecutions and prosecutions around J6; the abuse of the justice system to harass Trump and various current or past members of his inner circle; the tearing down of statues, Taliban-style, of persons who, long after their deaths, are deemed insufficiently PC; etc.; etc.; etc.

*While the non-Left has erred here too, the Left has been considerably worse, and, going by circulated quotes from Birx recent autobiography/self-incrimination, she and her ilk were more to blame for what initially went wrong in the U.S. than Trump was. He erred in heeding advisors (while the Left likes to accuse him of the opposite) and was in part circumvented by Birx et al. when he tried to do the right thing.

**Were this truly a matter of merely those who had bad luck in life or saw a temporary down, I might not object. This, however, is not now the case in a typical Western country, and has typically not been so for many decades. This is the more perfidious, as the purpose of these handouts often seem to be more to buy votes than to do good.

Or consider, in general, the use of violence and other extreme methods to further Leftist causes: political violence, political lies, defamation of political opponents, etc. is a predominantly Leftist phenomenon, be it in the current (or e.g. 1960s) U.S., Germany at almost any modern point of time, my native Sweden, … What of all the evils that Leftist dictatorships have caused and how they have clamped down on civic and human rights, like free speech, and how they have sent dissenters to Gulags? (And note the disturbing parallels to the current U.S., where true extremists demand a ban on non-Leftist speech and opinions, and seriously talk of imprisonment or worse for dissenters.)

Indeed, a massive problem with the current political climate in a great many countries is how the Left has engaged in large-scale propaganda to shift the opinion corridors, to make what truly is extreme appear normal and the normal extreme. That we should have equality of outcome instead of opportunity and a government that swallows half the GDP, for instance, are opinions that by any reasonable standard are extremist—they are not compatible with common sense, general fairness, a sound understanding of economics, or with, well, anything sane.

Excursion on other “Who are the real X?”:
As I have long observed, the Leftist accusation that “You are X!” typically implies (a) that the accused is innocent, (b) that the accuser and/or large portions of the Left, themselves, are X.

To take just three examples: Feminism contains more sexism than, maybe, any other movement/ideology/whatnot—and certainly far more so than e.g. any typical grouping of non-Leftist men. (Indeed, a case can be made that even specifically misogyny is more common among Feminists, with common attitudes including e.g. that women are not mature enough to give meaningful sexual consent, and that women should not be given a choice between house-and-children and career-in-the-office—they must pick the career or they are branded as “gender”-traitors.) Still, the Feminists clamor about sexism-this and sexism-that. Various Black and Black-related movements/ideologies/whatnot, e.g. CRT, BLM, or the older ramblings of the likes of Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, are far more racist than any typical grouping of non-Leftist Whites. And still … (Indeed, the Democrats are arguably even the anti-Black party, with common attitudes including that that Blacks are to be grateful for handouts, and that someone who does not vote Democrat is not a “true” Black.*) Then there is the question of tolerance and intolerance: The current Left screams and screeches about the need for tolerance and how intolerant others would be—but if we look at actual acts and opinions, intolerance lives solidly on the Left.

*An upcoming text with some further reading suggestions will give one or two pointers on this topic.

Excursion on perfidious condemnations:
A particular problem, be it with “extremist”, “racist”, “offensive”, and a great many other words, is that the Left appears to follow a strategy of one-sidedly declaring something to be this-or-that, then condemning anyone and everyone who does not adapt to their one-sided preference, and, once the this-or-that has gained enough momentum or become sufficiently established, to condemn even uses that long predate the one-sided declaration. This notably with no regard for the facts of the matter, the actual intents of past and present users, or any other rational criterion.

I first encountered this phenomenon with the Swedish word “neger”—a long established word for someone Black, which had no negative implications beyond what the speaker might have had to the underlying concept. Notably, the only thing that this word had in common with the U.S. “nigger” was its origin in the Spanish (and Latin) word for the color black. Then, at some point in the 1980s, some fringe group began to claim that “neger” was offensive and racist, and that using e.g. “negerboll”* was equally offensive and racist. Most Swedes considered them crazy—at the time. Some ten years later, they had won and “neger” was arbitrarily considered offensive and racist in wide circles, including among most politicians. The “negerboll”? Since renamed to the prosaic “chokladboll” (“ball** of chocolate”)—the odder, as it does not, strictly speaking,*** contain chocolate. As a contrast, I have yet to hear anyone object to the German use of “schwedische Gardinen” (“Swedish curtains”) as slang for the bars on the window of a jail cell. (Note that “negerboll” referred to something widely considered positive to the eaters, while these bars are something highly negative to the prisoners.)

*A type of sweet that is darkly colored.

**I stress that the Swedish “boll” does not have the connotations of testicle of the English “ball”. Otherwise objections might have been more justified, if less for reasons of alleged racism and more for reasons of propriety.

***Cacao, yes; chocolate, no.

Since then, I have encountered a great many cases, especially in U.S. English/on the U.S. Left, be it words ,symbols, or anything imaginable. A particularly interesting case is “Oriental”, which (at least until somewhat recently) was the standard British English word for someone broadly from the “far East”, while the PC crowd in the U.S. had already managed to make it “offensive” with a complete lack of reason. Recently, I encountered an attempted pseudo-justification. It claimed that the word implied a thing, not a person, which falls on the circular reasoning implied, because this drift in use* has been caused by the spuriously claimed offensiveness to begin with. Moreover, that any use of any form of “Orient” would be misguided, because it implied a position relative something absolute, say, Europe and/or referred to an outsider’s** perspective. This, too, is nonsense: uses of “Orient” have always been logically paired with “Occident”. Europe was the West/the Occident/what was westwards of the Orient; while what was eastwards of the Occident was the East/the Orient.***

*If true at all. I am not certain that this difference in use is actually established.

**And note how such outsider’s perspectives cause loud protests when applied to various non-Western, aboriginal, and/or “ethnic” groupings, but go without comment for e.g. Germans, despite the true meaning of the English word referring to a superset (which at least partially includes the English too) and e.g. the French word to a subset (and a subset without a meaningful current existence, at that).

***Here, a legitimate complaint about “Oriental” would have been possible, namely the large area covered, the drift in meaning, and the possibility that different countries could choose incompatible terminologies. (This complaint, however, I have yet to see.) Compare with how the U.S. “Middle East” is (was?) considered the European “Near East”; or consider how someone starting in German would likely travel eastwards to reach Japan, while someone starting in California would almost certainly go westwards.

Written by michaeleriksson

August 27, 2022 at 12:32 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**With some reservations for what exact word applies.

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

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

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

Written by michaeleriksson

May 6, 2022 at 9:28 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by michaeleriksson

April 30, 2022 at 12:31 am

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Nazis IV: Preliminaries on proof, subjectivity, etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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April 21, 2022 at 3:56 pm

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German anti-Rightwing law is coming

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Among the many, many problems with reductions of civic rights, declining Rechtsstaatlichkeit, censorship, and Leftist dominance of public debate, one quite severe is the recently suggested German “Gesetz zur Bekämpfung des Rechtsextremismus und der Hasskriminalität”. I simply do not have the time to analyze and discuss it in detail,* but I want to clearly point to one thing—its name.

*But see e.g. an analysis in German by a data-protection company.

The name translates to “Law for combating Rightwing-extremism and hate-criminality”. (Fairly literally, with added hyphens to avoid potential misinterpretation. An official translation or a corresponding “native” English law would likely have a more idiomatically conventional name.)

Why make this anti-Right agenda so programmatic? Especially, when Germany has a very severe problem with Leftwing extremists, like Antifa*, MLPD**, Die Linke***, and others.

*Needs no explanation.

**A Marxist-Leninist party which is publicly calling for revolution and bans of all other parties that are not sufficiently compatible with their opinions.

***A direct descendant of SED, the ruling Communist party of the old East-Germany—currently established in (the German-wide) parliament and a co-ruling party in the state of Thüringen.

In addition, the combination with “hate” continues Leftist attempts to push a Right-equals-hate/hate-equals-Right agenda, despite Leftist hate being a far greater problem. (Similar to the White-equals-racist/racist-equals-White pushing that is increasingly common in the U.S., despite, as far as I can tell from abroad, racism being more prevalent among Blacks.)

Any legitimate, objective, and not-outrageously partisan law* would have spoken of e.g. “political extremism”. Including a “Rightwing” discredits the law ab ovo and equally discredits anyone who votes for it.

*Whether and to what degree such a law would have been justified over regular laws against e.g. violence can be disputed (I would be skeptical); however, the current type of programmatic anti-“Right” law is inexcusable.

Excursion on problems with variations of “Right” and “Rightwing”, without or without “extremism”:
As I have repeatedly stated in the past, the concept of a political “Right” is, on the outside, definable as something not Leftist, due to a too large heterogeneity, and the “extreme Right”, in particular, does not constitute a more extreme version of the “Right”. Nevertheless, in the current Germany (and not only there) there is a very strong trend to put anything even remotely “Right” in one basket, often with an implicit stamp of “racist”, “Nazi”, or similar. What is “Right” is increasingly one-sidedly defined by the Left, and traditional “Rightwing” parties, e.g. CDU, are increasingly hiding behind a “Center” label.

Excursion on “hate”, etc.:
Implications of “hate” are often hard to prove, yet equally often assumed in a blanket manner. (Just like the blanket “racism” accusation in the George Floyd situation.) Moreover, this is another area where the Left presumes to one-sidedly dictate what is or is not hate. Cf. e.g. [1] (ten years ago—things have not improved) or my series on hate speech ([2], [3], [4]).

Excursion on other programmatically wrongful laws:
Unfortunately, this type of angle is not something unique. For instance, Swedish laws for protection of minorities explicitly includes (the majority!) women but not (the minority!) men—why not simply make a law that protects against mistreatment based on group, without any such ridiculous and arbitrary inclusions or exclusions? If in doubt, a good-faith attempt to justify this with claims about women being more exposed or mistreated more often (a highly dubious claim for several decades, in Sweden) is untenable, because there is no guarantee that what holds today holds tomorrow. It would be trivial to make a more generic law that is not vulnerable to such issues and the failure to do so reeks of anti-equality Feminism. (But, in all fairness, pure incompetence could also explain it—we are talking about politicians.)

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June 18, 2020 at 10:34 pm

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The odd distortion of the Left-Right spectrum

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To temporarily conclude the discussions of Left and “Right”:

A severe problem in e.g. Germany and Sweden* is that the dominance of the Leftist narrative** and/or the cowardice of traditionally “Right-wing” parties (e.g. the German CDU) has distorted the understanding of the Left–Right spectrum***: increasingly it is seen as a division into two acceptable camps (the “Center” and the “Left”) and one unacceptable, irredeemably evil (the “Right”). Because the non-extremist, non-migration centric parts of the traditional “Right” want to avoid the taint of being labeled as “Right”, they refer to themselves as “Center” and leave the “Right” to parties already condemned by the Left, creating a parallel to a self-fulfilling prophecy—the “Right” increasingly becomes what the Left claims that it is because of the Leftist claims.

*The situation is (still…) better in e.g. the U.S.

**Notably, but not exclusively, considering any e.g. migration critic movement “Right” or “extreme Right” independent of other factors, and equating “Right” with extremism, Fascism, and Nazism. Imagine, e.g., the impact on Leftist rhetoric, if the Nazis had been classified as Left instead of “Right”, which is by no means an impossibility in light of the flaws of the Left–Right scale. (Also see the next footnote.)

***Notwithstanding that this spectrum is extremely flawed and simplistic to begin with, including the use of too few dimensions and a heterogeneity of the non-Left, which makes labels like “Right” unworkable (while “Left” is at least semi-workable, hence the different treatment of the words in my texts). Consider e.g. dimensions like attitudes to the individual vs. the collective, whether ends justify the means, whether citizens should have a free will or be guided like children, whether equality of opportunity or outcome is more important, etc. Notably, the extreme Left can usually be seen as a more extreme version of the “regular” Left, but the extreme “Right” and the “regular” “Right” often have little in common.

This is the more absurd, as the historically “evil” side of the spectrum is the Left and the historically more extremist side is the Left. Indeed, for a significant portion of the 20th century, even a (relatively speaking) moderate Leftist position often entailed ideas that were at best radical*, at worst insane. For instance, the Swedish Social-Democrats (the famous “third-way” and the “moderate” alternative to the Communists) introduced Löntagarfonderna (“employee funds”)—a backdoor approach to socialize businesses through an extra tax on profits, which was used to buy shares of the companies (effectively, using their own money to buy them).

*A radical position is not automatically wrong, although the likelihood is higher. An ever-recurring problem with radicals, however, is that they seem to insist on change-as-soon-as-possible, instead of taking things slowly.

It is also absurd, because the remaining portions of the spectrum that self-identify, or allow themselves to be identified as, “Right” to a considerable part consists of the same type of people who dominate the extremer parts of the Left—just like the Nazis had more in common with the Communists than with e.g. typical conservatives, these have more in common with large parts of the current Left than the current “Center”. Especially, both now and then, there is reason to believe that there is a great implicit competition in recruitment, that e.g. many extremists do not end up one the Left or the “Right” because of some natural preference but because they happened to fall victim to the propaganda of the one group before the other.*

*This including many who are weak critical thinkers, looking for something to be angry at, alienated by society, or similar. These are also disproportionately likely to be victims of e.g. religious sects and strong “causes” outside the Left–Right spectrum, e.g. independence movements.

What has happened to the label “Right” is what in a sane world would happened to the label “Left”: Positions like those of the Social-Democrats*, Communists, and the extremer parts of the U.S. “old Left” should have gone down the historical drain, uniformly condemned where still encountered, the (often outright insane) “new Left” should never have arisen, and e.g. the more moderate “old Left” should have considered themselves “Center” to avoid the taint of being Left; while e.g. Conservative groups should have continued to consider themselves “Right”, instead of cowardly proclaiming themselves “Center”.

*At least in the traditional forms. Modern Social-Democrats, in all fairness, have often become considerably more moderate in their opinions. (Then again, this has not led to the old opinions disappearing, but being taken up by other Leftist groups, e.g., in Germany, the less extremist portions of Die Linke. To boot, this moderation is often stronger in the party leadership than in the overall party.)

Written by michaeleriksson

December 10, 2019 at 9:45 am

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The Left, the Right, and the People

with 5 comments

I have long seen a difference in the way the Left and the Right typically look at the mental capacities of humans: The Right (at least the libertarian and parts of the conservative Right) sees humans as reasonably rational and capable of making their own decisions; the Left (at least in its typical European incarnations and many Marxist, feminist, or PC variations) sees the average human as a sheep that needs to be led to have the right (i.e. Left, PC, whatnot) opinions, do the right things, and generally get by in the world. This is often referred to as “förmyndarsamhälle” (“legal-guardian society”; however, with a stronger implication of society being patronizing) by the Swedish Right.

As is often the case with early observations, they pale into the background. Recently, however, I have come across several posts (e.g. [1]e) that are so explicit on this issue that it has re-emerged into the foreground. To my own surprise, I find that I must give the Left at least a partial credit for being right—a very large portion of the population is simple so stupid that they would be better of led by the hand in at least some situations. This is evidenced e.g. by the politicians that manage to get elected, the credulity with which some absolutely nonsensical PC statements are believed, how unwilling people are to re-evaluate their believes in light of new evidence, etc.

Yet, all this does not matter:

  1. If 30, 50, even 90 % of the population is lacking, this does not give the government (the Left, the Know-It-All think-tank, whomever) the right to decide for the remaining 70, 50, or 10 %.

    What we arguably should do, is to increase the requirements on voters, e.g. in that a certain degree of critical thinking and general knowledge must be demonstrated before a citizen is given the right to vote. (Effectively replacing the age based limits of today with “capacity” based limits. Great care would have to be observed during implementation, however: It is vital that no test of opinion is made, but that capacity to think is the main determinant. In contrast, it is manifestly clear that many on the left equal “being worthy” with “having PC opinions” or “being ‘progressive’ ”.)

    In this manner, the damage they potentially do would be mostly limited to their own private lives, where they have a natural right to exert influence, but protect us from society-wide influence. (Interestingly, in my experience, the Left is usually keen on relaxing the conditions for who is allowed to vote even further—probably knowing that their own type of propaganda and often populist demands goes over better among those weak in critical thinking.)

  2. If the people needs a “förmyndare”, who decides his identity?

    Well, the unsatisfying answer is that it probably cannot be done in a fair and objective manner. If nothing else, there seems to be no end to the people and organisations who consider themselves called for the task, but have opinions that are incompatible with each other and/or idiotic on closer inspection. In some cases, it would even be a matter of the blind leading the one-eyed: Consider e.g. former PM-wannabe Mona Sahlinw—who regularly talks to voters as if they were little children, yet herself is uneducated, unintelligent, and of dubious morality and competence. (And, no, that is not merely a portrayal by a political enemy, but what is clear from her CV.)

  3. Similarly, who decides where to draw the border between who needs to be shepherded and who is allowed to deal for himself (or is even allowed to become a shepherd)?

    The answer is equally similar. In a nut-shell, these common Leftist attitudes are best answered with: Who are you to decide?

  4. The typical implementations tend to be such that they worsen, possibly even create, the problems they were intended to solve: The Swedish school I went to, e.g., did nothing to teach critical thinking, but was hell-bent on instilling the “right”, determined-from-above values—the UN is good, women are oppressed, nuclear power is evil, democracy is the only civilized form of government, … To actually teach the children about the limitations of the UN, or how perverted by special interests it is, was never on the table; a differentiated and more up-to-date view on the situations of men and women was absent; a compare and contrast between different energy forms (which, if fair, would have been far more favourable to nuclear power) unthinkable; and no deep discussion of the disadvantages of democracy, the least evil of the popular alternatives, ever took place.

In the end, a blanket treatment of people like sheep is the wrong way to go about it. Instead, we should try to give them the tools to both fend and decide for themselves.

(Note that I do not rule out that those who have failed despite having received the tools should be given further help. The first step, however, should be to give out fishing equipment and fishing lessons—not fish. Indeed, it would be presumptuous even to decide that fish should be a major part of the diet.)

Written by michaeleriksson

June 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm