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#168080 - 04/19/18 04:52 PM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: steele,rick]
Enright Online   content
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Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3339
Loc: CA
 Originally Posted By: steele,rick
"I was thinking of the American Nazis of the Right (as customarily assumed), a silly movement apparently based on admiration and imitation of German Nazis, more than anything."

I'm guessing you're thinking of the movement of the late 1930s who were based on admiration and imitation of the German Nazis, led by folks like Charles Lindberg, and other not-so-famous folks. Most of whom vanished like a spit in the wind on December 8, 1941.


No, I was thinking of the movement of today, such as it is. The guys who like the helmets, the swastika, etc.
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#168081 - 04/19/18 04:56 PM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: AuntJobiska]
Lasombra Offline
Terror


Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 6910
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
 Originally Posted By: AuntJobiska
Haven't we been through this left-right business before? The Nazis (national socialism) were to the right of the communists, and, given the commies and Nazis were the main two choices at the time, were called "rightist" while commies were called "leftist". It was merely relative.

If one measures the continuum by size and power of government, then small-government conservatives and libertarians are way, way to the right of Nazis. But somehow the Nazis got labelled as "far right". Hmm. Wonder how that happened?


I would argue that the differences were more than merely relative, and they are important enough to understand and emphasize, although the key lesson for both political systems lies in their enormous contribution to human suffering.

National Socialism had a few key components that made it distinctly “right wing”. Most notably an emphasis on national identity, military power, and an economic system that contained both massive publicly held interests and massive privately held corporations, allowed to thrive as long as they were sufficiently “patriotic”.

The Soviet Union had ditched nationalism for international communism, the Russian military tradition and culture had been completely disrupted by WW1 and the revolution and civil wars that followed; Stalin’s purging of the officer corps, completed shortly before the Germans invaded, almost killed the Soviet military altogether. Soviet militarism was a product of the Great Patriotic War; prior to that the military was just a useful group of dangerous reactionaries, to be kept on a short leash. On the economic front, of course there were no privately held economic interests at all in the Soviet Union, even family farms were property of the state, subject to collectivization.

There also was, of course, a very strong socialist element to Nazism as well, what we today think of as big government, heavy regulations, strong unions, etc.. Those few key differences I flagged above, among others, still made Nazism and Soviet Communism very different; just look at the civilizations that resulted. Certainly, as Auntie points out, Nazism is much closer to communism than libertarianism on any reasonable left-right scale, but there is enough space between them on that same scale to make the labeling of National Socialism as “right wing” accurate.

The moral confusion we see nowadays when the left so readily identifies Nazis as “right wing” comes in when those same leftists conveniently neglect to recognize the horrors realised by putting their own ideological extremes into practice in places like the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, you know. The far left also tends to label any expression of things like patriotism, nationalism, or militarism as Nazism, failing to recognize that the Nazis represent an extreme. I would be committing a similar error if I called Bill de Blasio a Maoist...that might not be the best example but you get the point.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that, in contemporary politics, the progressive model has much less in common with 20th century communism than it does with 20th century fascism.



Edited by Lasombra (04/19/18 06:10 PM)

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#168082 - 04/19/18 06:48 PM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: Lasombra]
Enright Online   content
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Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3339
Loc: CA
 Originally Posted By: Lasombra
 Originally Posted By: AuntJobiska

. . .
. . .
Adding to the confusion is the fact that, in contemporary politics, the progressive model has much less in common with 20th century communism than it does with 20th century fascism.

That whole post was really good, and appears to support my view (and likely that of many others) that Barack Obama as president was more of a fascist economically, i.e., getting support from and favoring certain industries at the expense of others, a la "crony capitalism," than a "socialist" per se, despite having a Marxist bent since childhood. It would appear that in terms of economic policy at least, fascists are what many socialists became after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That political shift allowed them to vent their innate Marxist prejudices against the large manufacturing industries associated with big capitalism, i.e., the oil, steel, gas, and electric companies, et al., while maintaining the facade of being more progressive, forward, and humane.
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#168096 - 04/23/18 01:15 PM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: AuntJobiska]
jryan Offline
Hardcase


Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 8557
Loc: Oakton VA
 Originally Posted By: AuntJobiska
Haven't we been through this left-right business before? The Nazis (national socialism) were to the right of the communists, and, given the commies and Nazis were the main two choices at the time, were called "rightist" while commies were called "leftist". It was merely relative.

If one measures the continuum by size and power of government, then small-government conservatives and libertarians are way, way to the right of Nazis. But somehow the Nazis got labelled as "far right". Hmm. Wonder how that happened?


I argued before that I find the categorization of Nazism as "right" to be a product of an ill conceived notion from the first half of the 20tth century that politics happens on a single axis, and follows a sort of moral physics. If Communism was the extreme left, then Nazism must be the equal and opposite reaction, and therefor was assumed to be the extreme right.

In actual ideology the Nazis were more like an extreme middle with both left wing and right wing ideologies taken to a horrifying extreme.


Edited by jryan (04/23/18 01:16 PM)
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#168097 - 04/23/18 03:02 PM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: jryan]
jmill Offline
Full Shrike


Registered: 04/01/06
Posts: 5428

I have made an argument similar to yours before on this forum, jryan.

The political continuum is seen by many as that single, equal and opposite, perfectly symmetrical line you posited, where every type of political activity from the left is equally balanced out by some opposite activity on the right. It most certainly is not. If we could graphically represent the political continuum at all, it would more resemble two halves of a tree, with all the organic uniqueness of a real tree in each half. Combine that image with another facet of this whole comparison issue, one that I have also claimed to be true, which is that if you go out far enough on the political spectrum, far enough in both main directions (left versus right), they somehow curve back around towards each other until, in their extreme incarnations, they become, for all practical purposes, indistinguishable from one another. In other words, complete totalitarian rule from the left and the right share far more similarities than they do differences in their outcomes and in the soul-crushing control they attempt to impose on all citizens: death and reeducation camps, lack of civil rights, secret police, subjugation of the individual to the state, whether it's the hive-minded lockstep march of the left, or the iron fist in the velvet glove approach from the right that pretends to leave private industry intact, when in fact private industry is no more free in a right-wing dictatorship than it is in a left-wing dictatorship. The only difference is that the left is up front about claiming that all means of production belong to the people, while the right simply controls economies and entrepreneurs and individuals just as thoroughly with more traditional legislative tools.

There is one glaring difference between right-wing and left-wing extremism, though: the right holds on through sheer brutal power and fear; the left does the same thing, but also tries to simultaneously cultivate an intolerant, proselytizing religious fanaticism in their subjugated populace.


Edited by jmill (04/23/18 03:03 PM)

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#168103 - 04/25/18 09:03 AM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: Lasombra]
AuntJobiska Offline
enthusiast


Registered: 05/01/17
Posts: 93
Loc: USA
 Originally Posted By: Lasombra
 Originally Posted By: AuntJobiska
Haven't we been through this left-right business before? The Nazis (national socialism) were to the right of the communists, and, given the commies and Nazis were the main two choices at the time, were called "rightist" while commies were called "leftist". It was merely relative.

If one measures the continuum by size and power of government, then small-government conservatives and libertarians are way, way to the right of Nazis. But somehow the Nazis got labelled as "far right". Hmm. Wonder how that happened?


I would argue that the differences were more than merely relative, and they are important enough to understand and emphasize, although the key lesson for both political systems lies in their enormous contribution to human suffering.

National Socialism had a few key components that made it distinctly “right wing”. Most notably an emphasis on national identity, military power, and an economic system that contained both massive publicly held interests and massive privately held corporations, allowed to thrive as long as they were sufficiently “patriotic”.

The Soviet Union had ditched nationalism for international communism, the Russian military tradition and culture had been completely disrupted by WW1 and the revolution and civil wars that followed; Stalin’s purging of the officer corps, completed shortly before the Germans invaded, almost killed the Soviet military altogether. Soviet militarism was a product of the Great Patriotic War; prior to that the military was just a useful group of dangerous reactionaries, to be kept on a short leash. On the economic front, of course there were no privately held economic interests at all in the Soviet Union, even family farms were property of the state, subject to collectivization.

There also was, of course, a very strong socialist element to Nazism as well, what we today think of as big government, heavy regulations, strong unions, etc.. Those few key differences I flagged above, among others, still made Nazism and Soviet Communism very different; just look at the civilizations that resulted. Certainly, as Auntie points out, Nazism is much closer to communism than libertarianism on any reasonable left-right scale, but there is enough space between them on that same scale to make the labeling of National Socialism as “right wing” accurate.

The moral confusion we see nowadays when the left so readily identifies Nazis as “right wing” comes in when those same leftists conveniently neglect to recognize the horrors realised by putting their own ideological extremes into practice in places like the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, you know. The far left also tends to label any expression of things like patriotism, nationalism, or militarism as Nazism, failing to recognize that the Nazis represent an extreme. I would be committing a similar error if I called Bill de Blasio a Maoist...that might not be the best example but you get the point.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that, in contemporary politics, the progressive model has much less in common with 20th century communism than it does with 20th century fascism.



Agree, and excellent post as usual. Doesn't this point up the difficulty (inanity?) of a single-axis spectrum? The single axis of left vs right requires a qualification (such as I made when I wrote "if one measures"), yet such a qualification is rarely stated.

Does this not point to the need for some other, more sophisticated type of categorization? A matrix like the Nolan Chart or some such? I'm not entirely satisfied with the Nolan Chart, but at least it is a start, and a fairly well-known one.

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#168108 - 04/25/18 01:52 PM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: AuntJobiska]
Enright Online   content
Super User


Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3339
Loc: CA
No one model would satisfy everyone, but here is a crude version of a possible linear model, where the Left and Right converge toward totalitarianism.

|-------------------------Left------------------>Tot<------------------Right----------------------|

|Mods---->Libers---->Progs--->[Auts--->totes<---Auts]<-------Cons<----Libers<------Mods|

Legend:
Tot = Totalitarianism
Totes = Totalitarians such as Hitler and Stalin
Auts = Authoritarians, absolutists, and fanatics of the Left or Right
Progs = Progressives
Cons = Conservatives
Libers = Libertarians
Mods = Moderates, independents, or other people not otherwise committed
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#168111 - 04/25/18 06:32 PM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: Enright]
AuntJobiska Offline
enthusiast


Registered: 05/01/17
Posts: 93
Loc: USA
Enright, while living in countries newly transitioning out of communism, I have often thought the same: go far enough left or right and you find those at the far edges holding hands in totalitarian territory. It's quite something how quickly a totalitarian communist changes into totalitarian nationalist costume (with cute "democratic" fake mustache) when the wind shifts.

But this is America. Conservatives committed to the Constitution and Libertarians favor smaller givernment, so I can't see how you get to all-powerful big government totalitarianism on the right using that single axis. Perhaps I'm slow, but I can't fathom how that can be If one uses totalitarianism vs small governnent/individual liberty as the criterion for the axis.

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#168112 - 04/25/18 10:00 PM Re: MSNBC Surging Ratings [Re: AuntJobiska]
Enright Online   content
Super User


Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3339
Loc: CA
 Originally Posted By: AuntJobiska
Enright, while living in countries newly transitioning out of communism, I have often thought the same: go far enough left or right and you find those at the far edges holding hands in totalitarian territory. It's quite something how quickly a totalitarian communist changes into totalitarian nationalist costume (with cute "democratic" fake mustache) when the wind shifts.

But this is America. Conservatives committed to the Constitution and Libertarians favor smaller givernment, so I can't see how you get to all-powerful big government totalitarianism on the right using that single axis. Perhaps I'm slow, but I can't fathom how that can be If one uses totalitarianism vs small governnent/individual liberty as the criterion for the axis.


Things can so easily fall apart within countries, as has been shown time and again. The deep divisions and factionalism between the parties, which I personally regard as dangerous already, could grow worse, especially if Trump were impeached and found guilty on some pretext, for example, which would be viewed as a grave usurpation of the American system by many on the Right. It would probably take some emergency or something like a civil war, but even now some conservatives hate the current Democratic party, and under an ideal administration, as they would see it, wouldn't mind if it were outlawed as subversive, I imagine. So I don't know. There's not a chance of that right now; but one thing, the arrows pointing to the center from the Left and Right, are not meant to indicate any sort of possible trend, the direction toward which each is moving or something, just that that is where the two sides could meet theoretically, in the authoritarian center, with some individuals on both sides there already.
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