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10/11/2008

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Gareth Nelson

"In fact, the Soviets did have a discriminatory ideology, and did have an enemy to eradicate -- the rich, the dissenting"

Something is wrong with me lately - i'm agreeing with your statements.

Generally i'd agree with you that communism is a horrible ideology, perhaps worse in some ways than the nazis - I don't have the historical knowledge to make a judgement on this.

But, this sticks out quite a bit:
"Jesus said to give your shift off your back to a naked man -- but voluntarily, as an act of selflessness. Communism forcibly takes your shirt and gives it to someone else -- and they are not necessarily more needy, and you don't do it voluntarily, and sometimes your shirt goes to the commissar"

Christianity DOES force believers, by the threat of eternal damnation for selfish acts. If you don't follow the rules, you burn in hell. Even though this is a threat rather than actual force, the effects can still be devestating and i've met quite a few people laden with guilt for innocent actions.

Ordinal Malaprop

Oh come off it. Nazism intrinsically leads to the elimination of certain ubermensch by its very nature; that is part of the point of it, that is how it is distinguished from other corporatists/fascist-small-f ideologies.

There have been plenty of avowedly Communist regimes which have conducted appalling massacres, but it is really just accepting their propaganda to say that the concept was responsible for that. The British Empire caused the deaths of millions but I wouldn't ascribe that to its capitalist and monarchist agenda.

While I am quite happy to laugh at and provoke Stalinists and other surviving sects - "tankies" is a common term, referring to their approval of tanks rolling into Eastern Europe - the fact is that when you talk to an avowed Communist vs an avowed Nazi, you will find, these days, that the former is far less likely to be a hateful racist bigot, and the latter is assured to be one. The Communists don't want to establish a racially pure state or beat up immigrants.

You lot in the States might be relatively free from the influence of actual real-world neo-Nazis - I don't know - but dammit, we aren't. They're still around and they cause real, identifiable, physical trouble, people being hit and stabbed and killed.

Ordinal Malaprop

That should have been untermensch of course.

Prokofy Neva

Ordinal,

Sorry, but your ideology really needs to be strenuously argued with -- and really, as a matter of urgency, because you are so wrong, and because your belief lies at the back of so much British socialism, which is so destructive to your country -- and to the world.

Nazism may intrinsically lead to the death of the untermensch, but Communism has its untermensch, too -- and that's why it kills. It's not an accident; it, too is intrinsic. Class warfare is class warfare. Some have to die. You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and so on, as Lenin and the other sayd. A "great good" justifies the crime -- again and again.

"There have been plenty of avowedly Communist regimes which have conducted appalling massacres, but it is really just accepting their propaganda to say that the concept was responsible for that."

Actually, it's accepting their propaganda to say that their concept was NOT responsible. It most certainly is -- and we see the results. They excuse killing in revolutionary legality and revolutionary morality and all the other revolutionary qualifications -- and they kill. Again and again.

"The British Empire caused the deaths of millions but I wouldn't ascribe that to its capitalist and monarchist agenda."

The British Empire's millions are dwarfed by the sheer massive tens of millions of the Communist empires. In fact, Marxists *would* ascribe it to capitalism; they always cite King Leopold in these discussions and his ledger of mass murder. You could argue that imperialism of this murderous type isn't coterminous with capitalism, which generally doesn't try to murder so many of its investors and customers.

Communist does commit mass murder by design -- I don't expect you at your age to change your thinking about this, but I can keep bringing forth the evidence -- the deaths, over and over.

The Communists don't wish to establish a racially-pure state or beat up immigrants? Then how is it that the Soviet system led to precisely such people everywhere, and precisely with Communist beliefs? Have you never looked at the racism of Russia? Do you imagine that Communist regimes were just a thin veil over people's "natural" fascism -- or perhaps they are more similar and more related than you think?

A Communist in a British setting doesn't wish to hate an immigrant? Great! But he'll hate an American, hate a capitalist, seethe with outrage. Class, wealth, status, ideology -- those draw hate, even if he won't technically hate an immigrant -- until, of course he's a Communist in, oh, Indonesia, where he hates and kills the Chinese because they do better than the others...

Yes, you're willing to laugh at Stalinists; you wouldn't laugh at Nazis. Writers like Amis have written of this strange problem...

I hardly think we are somehow devoid of Nazis in the U.S. -- they are caught now and then and tried, after all. Not everyone who wishes to kill or beat up minorities is a Nazi -- they can simply be racist, without the elaborate ideology.

I forgot to mention the Punished Peoples in my essay. Imagine, on one day, February 23, the entire Chechen nation was loaded on to cattle cars and forcibly sent into frozen exile in Kazakhstan and elsewhere -- half of them died on the way. The same happened to the Crimean Tatars and other minorities that Stalin needed to eliminate, and who were sometimes charged as "Nazi collaborators" because they fought the Soviets. Such collective punishment *is* racism, and it was perpetrated by these supposed egalitarians, the non-racist Communists, those who fashioned "the friendship of peoples".

The U.S. and the UK have their share of violent, racist incidents. BTW, since 9/11, it's not realized that in fact more hate attacks have been perpetrated against Jews than against Muslims; attacks on Muslims is a newer and more publicized phenomenon and there aren't the mechanisms to cope with it.

Yet this is utterly dwarfed by the hate attacks -- often murders -- of ethnic and religious minorities in Russia. Absolutely dwarfed. And how did this happen, how were these haters and killers created out of this supposed communist and egalitarian system? Neo-fascist movements abound in Russia and the other former Soviet states on *your* continent. Why doesn't this trouble you? Why does nothing about the East *ever* trouble you, Ordinal? Why must you cast your fatigued and cynical eyes 3,000 miles over the seas at America, when *right there next door to you* there are unspeakable outrages. Chechnya? Tajkistan? Georgia -- on both sides of the conflict? And you think this has nothing to do with communism? And it's all the West's fault?

Prokofy Neva

As usual, Gareth, your ignorance, your lack of education, and your dependence on Internet memes are all freshly on display here and you really aren't worth bothering with as a result -- you're a particularly bad case of broken Internet child.

For the sake of the other weak young minds on the Internet:

When Christ teaches that you should give the shirt off your back, He doesn't say -- and churches do not say, later -- "Do this or you perish in eternal hellfire." Nothing of the sort. You have a free will, you are given advice how to live the Christian life, and given a teaching about how to behave to your fellow man -- selflessly, and voluntarily.

Those who, in this belief system, are castigated to hell aren't people who were selfish and didn't give the shirt off their backs. It is not a sin among the 10 commandments to refuse to turn over everything to another, or refuse to give your life for another, or suffer anything for another.

No, sin -- and hellfire -- are for acts that are *against* people -- like killing, adultery, theft, lying. That's a whole different category of actions and agency than the list of selfless actions.

So it's stealing the shirt, not failing to give the shirt off your back that might consign you to hellfire. Does that mean the Communist, who confiscates forcibly and gives to himself, and redistributes a bit is on his way to burning eternity? Only God can judge! But let's be clear on it -- Christians aren't scared by hell into doing good acts; they are scared by hell into not doing bad acts.

Ciaran Laval

Argent's comment was made in jest, after I'd asked whether there was an equivalent of Godwin for those who throw communism into a thread, the word has been creeping up way too often in the ad farm debates and without any justification, Argent included a smiley to indicate that he was jesting.

Communism has never really been achieved anywhere, you'd think that would give those who still espouse its virtues a bit of a clue into human nature and why it will never work. Forcing ideologies on people is something humans have done throughout history, and it more often than not turns ugly, the reformation for example, they all have the human trait of violently quashing opposition.

People have a tendency to see Nazism as purely evil from the outset, which is true, whereas Communism offers some mythical concept of a world where everyone is rich, without people considering the cause and effect that has been exemplified whenever people have tried to introduce Communism.

Human nature is simply not compatible with Communism.

ichabod Antfarm

Ciaran, I fear that the ressentiment that fuels communism makes it entirely too compatible with human nature. Sorry for sounding so over-dramatically bleak, it's been a melancholy day.

As for the unter/uber distinction, a society that revels in the burning of books doesn't have much love for the superman either, even if they elevated poor old Nietzsche to the position of cultural hero. And, yes, I do call him poor old Nietzsche because I have a lingering student affection for him even though he is a primary progenitor of much of what is awful in contemporary theory.

Prokofy Neva

The term "communist" was injected into the debates by people who themselves are communist if not fascist in their thinking. They wish to restrict the ability of others' land to retain value, and they wish to parasite forcibly off their business and traffic -- and finally, through criminal action, to extort them. All of these crimes and ills are in fact part and parcel of the thuggish nature that makes up any communist or fascist movement.

Meanwhile, the ad farmers put up giant signs accusing anyone who wishes to regulate them of being land nazis or land commies. They think that restraint upon destruction and crime is "abusing their freedom". Freedom to do what? Devalue others, grab value from them, even extort them? That's not freedom, that's crime.

Daman Tenk

You lot in the States might be relatively free from the influence of actual real-world neo-Nazis - I don't know - but dammit, we aren't. They're still around and they cause real, identifiable, physical trouble, people being hit and stabbed and killed.

Meanwhile, in continental Europe, the neo-nazis get drunk and go to concerts, maybe committing thought-crimes but generally being law-abiding citizens. While it's the antifas and communists that beat up people and commit general crimes against those of us trying to live a normal life by working.

Daman Tenk

Sorry, the first part of my post was a quote from Ordinal, I used HTML to differentiate it from my writing but it seems that isn't allowed. Just clarifying that part so people don't think those are my words.

Ciaran Laval

Daman you go to festivals with a tie in with bands like Skrewdriver, it's absolute bullshit to claim that's innocent.

Daman Tenk

It doesn't matter if it's Skrewdriver or Britney Spears playing. Either way the audience is just enjoying music and beer. Neither of those two things is a crime where I live.

Gareth Nelson

"Christians aren't scared by hell into doing good acts; they are scared by hell into not doing bad acts."

7 deadly sins, look them up. Gluttony for example is the act of consuming more food than you need to survive - something that nearly everyone in western society is guilty of. Lust is a primitive function of the mammalian brain: sexual arousal generated when one sees a member of the opposite (or in some cases same) sex that is deemed attractive. Need I go on?

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

What's the alternative in christian mythology to entering heaven upon death exactly? Remind me.....

Gareth Nelson

"Ciaran, I fear that the ressentiment that fuels communism makes it entirely too compatible with human nature. Sorry for sounding so over-dramatically bleak, it's been a melancholy day."

It isn't human nature to want to surrender every possible advantage you may have over others to the collective, it's deeply unnatural and the reason why practical attempts at implementing communism pretty much always fail or resort to the use of force.

"As for the unter/uber distinction, a society that revels in the burning of books doesn't have much love for the superman either, even if they elevated poor old Nietzsche to the position of cultural hero. And, yes, I do call him poor old Nietzsche because I have a lingering student affection for him even though he is a primary progenitor of much of what is awful in contemporary theory."

The nazis utterly perverted Nietzsche's work - the ubermensche would NOT require the destruction of the weak, nor can you judge someone as weak using the criteria the nazis used. Hitler used Nietzsche's powerful and poetic imagery to his own ends, even the term "aryan".

ichabod Antfarm

Thanks for the lesson, Gareth. I would have thought a Nietzsche scholar such as yourself would have understood what I meant when I said ressentiment has much to do with communism. You are familiar with his use of that term, yes? It being central to his conception of morality.

Joking aside, you really didn't follow what I was trying to say at all. It's ok, though, because my post was inconsequential and your failure to grasp its meaning was even more so.

ichabod Antfarm

It doesn't matter if it's [Adolph Hitler] or [Mahatma Gandhi]... Either way the audience is just enjoying [some guy talking] and beer.

ichabod Antfarm

Look, I apologize but this has stuck in my craw. Gareth, if the Nazis had to "utterly pervert" Nietzsche in order to lend some philosophical gravity to their racist-mystical ideology then would not any other figure in intellectual history have been an equally good choice?

If it needed "utter perversion" then why not utterly pervert the Sermon on the Mount? In other words, there is much in Nietzsche that lends itself to the kind of specific misuse that the Nazis put it to. His use of "powerful and poetic imagery" is one of those elements.

People who are only able to appreciate the "imagery" and not penetrate through to the underlying concepts will only ever be able to misunderstand poor old Nietzsche. It's a very common problem in studying him. Just remember, Gareth, that that which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Feel free to consider yourself stronger.

Gareth Nelson

Ichabod - Nietzsche did hold fairly elitist views, in much the same way as the nazis, but the perversion was in the way hitler perceived whole groups as weak for irrational reasons and then proceeded to state that Germany's strength as a nation depended upon their elimination. This can be seen in the references to the "jewish problem" and other propoganda used by the nazis.

To me, it looks a lot like hitler tried to link the jewish people and other persecuted groups to "the last man" in many ways. The switch is from Nietzsche talking about self-overcoming as a path to the uber-mensche, to hitler talking about genocide of the perceived inferior races as a path to the uber-mensche (though the nazis preferred to just call their whole vision of the aryan race as a whole the superior beings).

Another key aspect of course is that Nietzsche was a german, and so it would make sense that the nazis would use a german's writings rather than another figure.

ichabod Antfarm

Gareth, I don't know what to say. You are correct enough that I can't really fault you but you are only correct in a Boy's Own Edition of 20th Century History sort of way. I doubt your understanding of Nietzsche derives from an extended and deep familiarity with his work - it certainly doesn't sound it. If it were, I don't think you would have taken issue with what I actually said in my original post. Anyway, we have hijacked this thread long enough; time to quit the field.

Vissy Adamczyk

Well, I guess we'll see more division once your candidate is elected.

"Change". I thought racial and social inequalities were improving since the "Dark Ages". Well, they were.

Enter a whole new class of inequality, as THIS is the BEST the democrats can nominate? A pompous self-serving socialist that will screw up the economy (thats actually hard to do unless you want to do it on purpose) and blame everything HE does wrong on "8 years of Bush".

LAME.

EPIC FAIL.

I voted democrat my whole life until I was invited to a $5000-per-plate dinner in 1999 with a free ticket. The arrogance of EVERYONE there, and none of the small talk was about how their programs would help anyone, just how GREAT the programs ITSELF was and how good it made them feel! Self-serving asshats.

Communism is great for small countries with no infrastructure. Naziism is great for small developed countries with no capital or money, but with resources.

I dont want EITHER of them in America, and hate to vote this election - obama has 0 reasons to vote for, a vote for Paul is wasted, a vote for McCain is telling the republicans that non-party-believing candidates like him are OK...

Is it a great country when you have to vote AGAINST someone rather than FOR someone?

I wonder if America had a taste of Naziism/Communism if we'd rethink how we do things here finally.

Then again, we have no attention span. candidates run on the same issues every 4 years, the issues that are NEVER solved, rarely dealt with.

Hypatia Callisto

Keep the faith... a good post. Some thoughts.

Equality of people means nothing more than wealth redistribution. Now, which kind of wealth redistribution do you prefer? One that is governed mainly by individual choice or one that is by governmental choice? Personally I prefer the former to the latter. Give the people back their opiate.

I've always noted that ideologies where they insist on the central planner do the most damage, not just to people but also to the environment. We do not want equality. We want diversity.

Gareth Nelson

"Equality of people means nothing more than wealth redistribution"

Then of course you have equal rights and opportunities for all, without making the rest equal (as doing so requires force).

Hypatia Callisto

exactly, Gareth.

rudi dutschke

incredible, obviously prok, you're so dumb.

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