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The Enemy Within.
March 8, 2010 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Rage on the Right. The Year in Hate and Extremism. Hate groups are growing. Protecting the US president has presented the secret service with the greatest challenge in its history. A brief review of Terror From the Right 1995 - 2009
posted by adamvasco (204 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Remind me of when "right wing" started to be synonymous with "white supremacist"?

...Preferably before this thread goes to hell as well too, please.
posted by battlebison at 1:43 PM on March 8, 2010


I don't think these articles make the point that all right wing people are white supremacists or even racists. One could argue that the inverse is true (i.e. - all white supremacists are right wing) but I don't think the SPLC links even attempt to argue that.

The interesting point that the last article does make is that there have been many terror acts committed by people on the right. I would be interested to see a similar list of terror acts committed by people on the left or in the middle.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:47 PM on March 8, 2010


Remind me of when "right wing" started to be synonymous with "white supremacist"?

If you're a member of an organization that espouses National Socialist or Fascist ideas and also advocates white supremacy, then yes, you are "right wing". Fascism is a right wing belief. Sorry, it is.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:49 PM on March 8, 2010 [36 favorites]


In 2003, I co-produced a one-man show a playwright I know wrote about a fictional former press guy for a right-wing militia group. In it, the character explains he'd been an unemployed ad guy who hired himself out as a freelance press rep for right-wing militia groups until one day he realized "what the HELL am I doing" and, horrified with himself, quit.

Early in the play, the character says some very thought-provoking things about what could drive people to that mindset (I desperately wish I could link to the script -- he used to have it online).

But what was most striking was - he wrote the play in the late 90's, in the wake of Tim McVeigh. We produced it in 2003, editing it to take 9/11 fallout into account. Now, reading this, I'm wondering if time is ripe for a restaging (the playwright, the actor, the director and I have been talking for years about doing it again somewhere someday).

I'm not so convinced that hate groups are "growing" in number -- they've always been there. To our shame.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:50 PM on March 8, 2010


Since about the time South Carolina seceded, battlebison.
posted by tommasz at 1:52 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


The report seems to focus on count of groups, not membership in such groups. Is it possible the different axes they're grinding are causing them to splinter into a larger number of smaller groups?

I'm not saying that the country's not filled with loons or anything; I'm just wondering how best to measure the loony.

Divisiveness is much more compelling than its opposite. As a nation, we elected Obama, which is really one of the bigger things we've done together, other than get fat.

When I see things like this, which is a window on a world I can't imagine--militias?--I'm not sure what kind of context to put it in: alarming new social trend or confirmation of already-understood fact that some people are psychopaths.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:52 PM on March 8, 2010


battlebison: it's not, really, but for the sake of argument, let's say that it was around the time that the GOP realized that the white supremacists were all voting for them and decided that keeping that base was more important than keeping their dignity.

Right-wingers aren't white supremecists, is I guess what I'm saying. But you'll be very hard pressed to find a white supremecist who isn't a right winger.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:52 PM on March 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


battlebison: "Remind me of when "right wing" started to be synonymous with "white supremacist"?"

No later than 1957.

The central question that emerges... is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes -- the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.

posted by Joe Beese at 1:52 PM on March 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


Remind me of when "right wing" started to be synonymous with "white supremacist?"

About the time America passed a Civil Rights Act of 1964 that even Conservative Bob Dole voted for.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:53 PM on March 8, 2010


This makes me so sad. Imagine living with that kind of fear and anger inside you. It must be fucking terrifying.
posted by sallybrown at 1:56 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Remind me of when "right wing" started to be synonymous with "white supremacist"?

black president
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:57 PM on March 8, 2010 [21 favorites]


When The Southern Strategy was given a name.
posted by Babblesort at 1:57 PM on March 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I want to take that last link and carry it around with me for all the folks I know who like to say that there is no violence problem with right-wing organizations.
posted by charred husk at 1:59 PM on March 8, 2010


As a nation, we elected Obama, which is really one of the bigger things we've done together, other than get fat.

Why is this? Because he's partly black? Because he promised big things, which have largely been compromised into near-uselessness like the health care bill? Every politician promises big things and then fucks up the implementation.

What Obama has done so far is give away money of yours and mine to failing businesses and big banks which, through their own stupidity have gotten themselves into a mess of epic proportions. And there's no good evidence out there that this has actually helped anything.

Take the 1.5 trillion he's thrown at the corporates both here and abroad. It's a travesty. Would it not have been better to throw that money to the people?
posted by Sukiari at 2:00 PM on March 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Haha, I'm still laughing the brilliant answers to my kind of dumb rhetorical question. What I was trying to say was that I'm not sure why this is "Rage on the Right" and "Terror From the Right" when it's pretty clearly "Rage from White Supremecists" or "Terror From Neonazis and Survivalists". It seems like the umbrella term "right wing" can be narrowed down a lot in this case. Even just adding "radical" or "extreme" to the headlines of these articles would go a long way. It seems kind of like using "left wing" to describe a group of communists.

Both the authors of the article and I should have chosen our words better.
posted by battlebison at 2:01 PM on March 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Take the 1.5 trillion he's thrown at the corporates both here and abroad. It's a travesty. Would it not have been better to throw that money to the people?
How, exactly? No, seriously, I'm curious here. How exactly would he have managed to pull this off?

Because from my perspective, even as an actual Socialist, there's no way in hell it would have happened. If he had somehow managed to get Congress to go along with it (good luck on that one), what makes you think that the corporations would have permitted it?

Every time I see this argument, I'm reminded of the cartoon where there are two scientists standing at a blackboard filled with a giant, unbelievably complex and ramified equation. And the center of the equation is "AND THEN A MIRACLE OCCURS". It's the same kind of thinking.

If you can show me a practical way that Obama would have directed $1.5 trillion to the American people without being impeached, please go ahead. Show your work.
posted by scrump at 2:05 PM on March 8, 2010 [14 favorites]


From within Islam, Osama Bin Laden is a far right extremist.

9-11 belongs on the same side of the ledger as the Oklahoma City bombing.
posted by jamjam at 2:05 PM on March 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


And there's no good evidence out there that this has actually helped anything.

Of course there's not. This isn't a science experiment--there's no parallel universe to act as a control. "Evidence" of effectiveness or ineffectiveness is guesswork.
posted by sallybrown at 2:08 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


What I was trying to say was that I'm not sure why this is "Rage on the Right" and "Terror From the Right" when it's pretty clearly "Rage from White Supremecists" or "Terror From Neonazis and Survivalists".

How about "Rage From Right-Wing Extremists"? Given the colloquial usage of the term "right" in this phrasing, the extremism seems implied.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:09 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I was trying to say was that I'm not sure why this is "Rage on the Right" and "Terror From the Right" when it's pretty clearly "Rage from White Supremecists" or "Terror From Neonazis and Survivalists".

The crazy-ass right-wingers, which is a category that includes all organized white supremacism in the US, are increasingly part of the mainstream right.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:11 PM on March 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


The report seems to focus on count of groups, not membership in such groups. Is it possible the different axes they're grinding are causing them to splinter into a larger number of smaller groups?

I don't know for sure, but my guess would be that splintering is not what's going on here.

We've see this kind of stuff before: bad economy=more free-floating anxiety, anger and violence. Couple this with more press coverage and (IMO) more implicit sympathy from a large part of the country, and the result is more "organized" groups.

Whether this is more sinister than what's happened in the past remains to be seen. I'm only 50 ( I only lived through the tail end of the great civil rights struggles), but my danger-meter has been pinging higher than anytime I can remember.

YMMV.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:11 PM on March 8, 2010


I'm not so convinced that hate groups are "growing" in number

I think I'd characterize it more as, parties less "fringe" than traditional white supremacy hate groups are growing, becoming more visible, and starting to use rhetoric which makes them sound more like the extremists.

Tea Baggers for instance at first were a silly point-and-laugh kind of phenomena, their language and posturing lately seems a lot scarier.
posted by quin at 2:11 PM on March 8, 2010


How fare the Illinois Nazis? I hate Illinois Nazis.
posted by Mister_A at 2:13 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you're a member of an organization that espouses National Socialist or Fascist ideas and also advocates white supremacy, then yes, you are "right wing". Fascism is a right wing belief. Sorry, it is.

That's not so clear in the case of National Socialism. You can't easily pin down Hitler as "left" or "right." Nazism was generally considered to belong on the right, but they incorporated elements of the left too. (I'm saying this based on taking a college course on Nazism where the question came up, and also reading an interview with Hitler in The New Republic from the early '30s.) People on the left would like to call Nazis right-wing, and people on the right (Jonah Goldberg) would like to call Nazis left-wing; good for them, but it's all a gross oversimplification and distraction.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:29 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jaltcoh, that's the falsest equivalency I've seen all day.
posted by jtron at 2:29 PM on March 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


Haha, I'm still laughing the brilliant answers to my kind of dumb rhetorical question.

I'm not clear on how we were supposed to know that the question was rhetorical; as there are answers to it, it actually isn't rhetorical.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:31 PM on March 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Jaltcoh, that's the falsest equivalency I've seen all day.

What is?
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:32 PM on March 8, 2010


hitler
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:32 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: one of the bigger things we've done together, other than get fat.

(I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself...)
posted by emjaybee at 2:33 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, FYI, I've become immune to internet commenters dismissing statements with adjectival characterizations like "false." That demonstrates nothing aside from a desire to vent. If you want to point out that something's wrong, OK, but explain why.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:33 PM on March 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dave Neiwert's Orcinus blog is a font of information about the extreme right wing in America: Eliminationism in America, March of the minutemen, Rush, Newspeak, and fascism.
posted by ofthestrait at 2:34 PM on March 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


Can I just go off on a tangent and say how much I love the name of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Because while it may have started life referring to financial poverty, it seems now that it's overwhelmingly about the poverty of ideas on the extreme right wing.

Oh, and this rage on the right isn't about some lunatic fringe. It's given a rather unpleasant nudge, nudge by Fox News and wacky ideas about that awful uppity black chap who's hijacked the White House are certainly more widespread than neo Nazis.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:35 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Take the 1.5 trillion he's thrown at the corporates both here and abroad. It's a travesty.

You do know that TARP (the original $700 billion) is expected to break even, right?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:37 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would be interested to see a similar list of terror acts committed by people on the left or in the middle.

The FBI calls left-wing terrorism "a latent, but potential terrorist threat", but it looks like the only events that could be called left wing terrorism is stuff from the Earth Liberation Front or the Animal Liberation Front, which, while violent, hasn't killed anyone and consists mostly of property destruction. It looks like the last left-wing terrorist organization of any note was the FALN of Puerto Rico.
posted by electroboy at 2:38 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


The greatest thing we learned from the recent election was that a black president can be just as mediocre as a white president.

Equality at last!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:38 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's not so clear in the case of National Socialism

Jaltcoh, I hate to break it to you, but the Democratic People's Republic of Korea isn't very democratic, either.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:38 PM on March 8, 2010 [19 favorites]


I'm willing to grant that the country is overrun with militant white supremacists thirsting for African-American blood. But they'll have to get up pretty early in the morning to kill, wound or cripple young African-American men at anywhere near the rate that young African-American men are k-ing, w-ing or c-ing each other.
posted by Faze at 2:38 PM on March 8, 2010


You can't easily pin down Hitler as "left" or "right."

I'd wonder if it is actually scarily easy to do so:

He hated socialism and particularly hated trade unions. He worked well with corporations and had the respect of every-day military "grunts", if you will, who were sweating it out to rebuild the glory of the nation post-WW I. Didn't like Catholics, so much, but saw religion, in general, as a useful tool for political control.

There are so many eerie parallels with politics in current-day United States, that if Hitler had Palin's PR team to help him yell less, he'd perhaps fit right into modern right-wing politicking.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:39 PM on March 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


Come join* my Salvor Hardin supremacist hate group! We will march and train together bound by the principle that I am the master individual, the greatest biological entity to ever walk the Earth! Together we are strong!

* eligibility restricted to Salvor Hardin
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:42 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's not so clear in the case of National Socialism.

Dude, no. I'm not even going to entertain this argument. I don't know where this idiotic idea that because there's "Socialism" in the name, National Socialism must have fucking been based on Marxism or something started (actually I do, it originates in recent liberal-baiting by the American right), but it needs to stop. The "Socialism" in its name is the prime example of Nazi doublespeak and anyone who knows the first thing about their actual politics knows that. Read a book.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:43 PM on March 8, 2010 [39 favorites]


(Sorry, "read a book" was a bit more dickish than I needed to be, but that argument really annoys me)
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:44 PM on March 8, 2010


I'm willing to grant that the country is overrun with militant white supremacists thirsting for African-American blood. But they'll have to get up pretty early in the morning to kill, wound or cripple young African-American men at anywhere near the rate that young African-American men are k-ing, w-ing or c-ing each other.

Winner of the 2010 "Racy" for "Most Racist Comment That Was Made By Somebody Who Later Claimed Not To Be Racist" Award
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:45 PM on March 8, 2010 [17 favorites]


The greatest thing we learned from the recent election was that a black president can be just as mediocre as a white president.

By this point in his presidency George Bush was already well on the way to the all-time record for presidential vacation time; had allowed the most deadly terrorist attacks in American history plus the anthrax attacks; had called Iran, Iraq, and North Korea the axis of evil; and had already dropped the ball in pursuing Osama bin Laden and was laying the ground for invading Iraq on false pretenses. Obama is significantly less mediocre.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:45 PM on March 8, 2010 [34 favorites]


People's Republic of China?
posted by Mister_A at 2:46 PM on March 8, 2010


Jaltcoh, smearing any political spectrum along a mere two dimensions is a gross oversimplification, but it's one we're stuck with thanks to that damn French Assembly or whatever, and frequently we find it useful enough for our discourse, or at least manage to muddle through. Given that we are doing so, and that we all understand the limitations inherent, it is mildly ridiculous to claim that Nazism is anything but dextral, much as noting the totalitarian aspects of communism-as-she-was-spoke-for-a-while-there do not make it any less ridiculous to protest it being stuck on the sinister end of the stick. --Equating those who try gently (or, yes, not) to point this out with of all people Jonah freaking Goldberg will do no one any good.
posted by kipmanley at 2:47 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jaltcoh, I hate to break it to you, but the Democratic People's Republic of Korea isn't very democratic, either.

I hate to break it to you, but my comment was a little more nuanced than saying National Socialism was actually socialist since the word "socialism" was in their name.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:49 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


"mere single dimension"

Christ but I can get tied up in checking the wrong damn things sometimes.
posted by kipmanley at 2:49 PM on March 8, 2010


As kipmanley says, the 1-D political spectrum isn't very useful. I think the 2-D representation of the political landscape from politicalcompass.org is much better.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:50 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to grant that the country is overrun with militant white supremacists thirsting for African-American blood. But they'll have to get up pretty early in the morning to kill, wound or cripple young African-American men at anywhere near the rate that young African-American men are k-ing, w-ing or c-ing each other.

So? I'm more likely to die of a heart attack than be attacked by White Supremacists. That doesn't mean I should be alarmed when the guys with the shaved heads next door start stocking up on fertilizer.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:51 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


it is mildly ridiculous to claim that Nazism is anything but dextral,

Why is it mildly ridiculous?
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:51 PM on March 8, 2010


9-11 belongs on the same side of the ledger as the Oklahoma City bombing.

Which would be the "fucking evil, hateful scumbag" side, right?
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:54 PM on March 8, 2010


The "Socialism" in its name is the prime example of Nazi doublespeak and anyone who knows the first thing about their actual politics knows that.

It is doublespeak to call Nazism socialism. I don't think Nazism is socialism. But calling Nazism the "right" is also doublespeak. I don't think Nazism is the "right" either. It's not commensurable to any place on the modern political spectrum.

Read a book.

As I said, I'm saying this based on taking a college course on the subject, and we actually did read a book about Nazism. The instructor pointed out in class that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Nazism isn't straightforwardly right-wing but actually incorporated right and left views.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:56 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I also find it funny how worked up people get about this. Why does it matter if Nazism was "right" or "left" or "none of the above"?
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:57 PM on March 8, 2010


Because people—Goldberg (who you named), Beck, et al—are intentionally misleading people to believe that Nazis in particular and fascists in general were "radical leftists."

And we, you know, care about the truth.
posted by defenestration at 2:59 PM on March 8, 2010 [19 favorites]


But they'll have to get up pretty early in the morning to kill, wound or cripple young African-American men at anywhere near the rate that young African-American men are k-ing, w-ing or c-ing each other.

How early in the morning will they have to get up to kill, wound, or cripple middle-aged Harvard-educated mixed-race men who were elected President at anywhere near the rate that middle-aged Harvard-educated mixed-race men are k-ing, w-ing or c-ing each other? Or is that irrelevant to your pointless non-sequitur?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 2:59 PM on March 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


First off, Jaltcoh, try listing for us the "elements of the left" that Nazism incorporated. You're the one who's whether you intend to or not helping Jonah Goldberg to shift the Overton window he's been kicking against for a couple of years now; most of us have been fine with it right where it lay. The onus is thereby on you: Queensbury Rules and all that. (Or is it Robert's Rules? I always get them mixed up.)
posted by kipmanley at 3:00 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got the data for you right here, Combustible.
posted by defenestration at 3:00 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, I gave Jonah Goldberg as an example of someone who says Nazism is the left. Do I automatically believe him? No. Do I agree with him? No.

But do I automatically believe Metafilter commenters? No. So, people saying, in effect, "you're wrong because you're just so wrong" are not persuasive.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:01 PM on March 8, 2010


Sukiari: ...
What Obama has done so far is give away money of yours and mine to failing businesses and big banks which, through their own stupidity have gotten themselves into a mess of epic proportions. And there's no good evidence out there that this has actually helped anything. ...


Flagged for HURF DURF OBAMA DRAMA.

I should probably just FIAMO, but the attempted derails of any thread that mention Obama's name are so tired. It's blindingly obvious, given that this thread is largely about white supremacists, that A Terrible Lama (feel free to correct me ATL) was referring to the election of a black man in the context of the history of race in America. Why you took this as an opening to soapbox about bailouts that happened after the guy was installed in office is beyond me.
posted by GodricVT at 3:01 PM on March 8, 2010


try listing for us the "elements of the left" that Nazism incorporated.

Try listing for me one element of "the right" that Nazism incorporated.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:02 PM on March 8, 2010


It's not commensurable to any place on the modern political spectrum.

Blazecock Pileon enumerated several reasons this isn't entirely true. Can you elaborate on why you think that it should be called anything other than a right-wing ideology?

Why does it matter if Nazism was "right" or "left" or "none of the above"?

Because it is the modern symbol of evil. And if you can demonstrate that a group is using many of the same operational ideas in their way of dealing with the world, it might be a good idea to keep a close eye on them, lest we go through it all over again.
posted by quin at 3:03 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I also find it funny how worked up people get about this.

The only funny thing about Nazism is all those DOWNFALL Hitler rants on Youtube, which can be very funny. Otherwise, we're dealing with pretty much the WORST thing that's ever been perpetrated on humanity (honorable mention to Jo Stalin, Mao's Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot, Rwanda etc) which leaves me utterly unsurprised that people would take a discussion of its traits VERY seriously. Good thing too.
posted by philip-random at 3:04 PM on March 8, 2010


Glad you find it funny, because a lot of people find it really offensive that you're implying parallels between left-wing politics and the Nazis.

Hey, maybe everyone else here is just overreacting -- from your later comments you clarify your position better -- but given that Fox has been spinning 24/7 to equate left-wingers with Nazis while SIMULTANEOUSLY saying that we should dismantle the rule of law for suspected terrorists, some of us are a little quick to anger.

Couple that with the fact that your first comment had a positively Beckian "defensible implication" ('I'm just saying they had SOCIALISM in the name, not my fault everyone says lefties are socialists, and by extension, Nazis, THAT's not what I'm saying at all) and it's no surprise you've caught some flack.

But, hey, glad you think all this is pretty funny. Those of us who've been dealing with being called a "traitor" since 2002 (because we think the Constitution isn't disposable) aren't laughing.
posted by ®@ at 3:04 PM on March 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


Nazism isn't straightforwardly right-wing but actually incorporated right and left views.

Jaltcoh, I'm curious if you read my comment above. I am also genuinely curious to know what parts of Nazism were "leftist", as it is defined in the US these days, that balance out the "rightist" aspects.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:05 PM on March 8, 2010


The "socialism" in National Socialism, IIRC, was because it was a nationalist party that advocated for social welfare for German (Aryan) workers. So, pro-labor and white supremacist.
posted by electroboy at 3:06 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why are we even having this argument? National Socialists were not, as far as I remember from European History, terrorists in any definition of the word. They were a legitimate (and rather centrist) political party led by a charismatic and effective politician who relied on jingoism, national pride, and racism to catapult himself into power.

Committing acts of genocide in the name of National Pride is shockingly common and has nothing to do with fringe terrorism.
posted by muddgirl at 3:07 PM on March 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: k-ing, w-ing or c-ing each other?
posted by sallybrown at 3:07 PM on March 8, 2010


Wait, are we confusing "Nazis" with "Neo-nazis"?

Because they're pretty different.
posted by muddgirl at 3:12 PM on March 8, 2010


Try listing for me one element of "the right" that Nazism incorporated.

Ultranationalism.

Would you like a larger list?
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:12 PM on March 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's the Transitive Property of Nazism!

Since Nazis == bad
Then political ideology of Nazis == bad
So if the wing of your political ideology is the same as the Nazis' wing
Then you and your ideology == bad

It's a stupid argument and not worth having. Just because you are right- or left-wing and the Nazis were right- or left-wing (personally it's pretty clear to me that they were right-wing), it doesn't mean you have anything in common with Nazi ideology. Unless you're into genocide, racism, racial purity, etc.
posted by m0nm0n at 3:13 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why are we even having this argument?

Well argument doesn't have to mean SHOUTING. An ongoing rational, informed discussion of Hitler's Third Reich (what it was, what it wasn't, how it's relevant to our understanding of American political discourse today) is essential, Lest We Forget what those PIGF***ERS actually did.

Sorry, I shouted.
posted by philip-random at 3:13 PM on March 8, 2010


National Socialists were not, as far as I remember from European History, terrorists in any definition of the word.

Sure they were.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:15 PM on March 8, 2010 [17 favorites]


An ongoing rational, informed discussion of Hitler's Third Reich (what it was, what it wasn't, how it's relevant to our understanding of American political discourse today) is essential, Lest We Forget what those PIGF***ERS actually did.

Sure, great discussion to have.

But, umm... I'm failing to see the relevance to, you know, the OP, which is about extremist terrorism in the United States.

So Neo-Nazis == relevant.
Actual National Socialists, unless they are extremist National Socialists who bomb Jewish Orphanages or Catholic churches == irrelevant.
posted by muddgirl at 3:15 PM on March 8, 2010


Try listing for me one element of "the right" that Nazism incorporated.

Militarism.
Belief in the family as the fundamental unit of social organisation.
Bitter opposition to communists, social democrats and trade unions.
Backing from big business.

Is that enough? There are more.
posted by WPW at 3:18 PM on March 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


I didn't realize that military coups were considered acts of terrorism. The CIA is a terrorist organization?

Ktristallnacht was incredibly violent, but was an act from a political party already in power. That's called oppression, not terrorism. Unless we want to go back and say our the US's attacks on Guam and the Phillipines (for a start) were acts of terrorism.

The Reichstag fire is the closest event to a modern definition of terrorism, so I would cede this point if Van der Lubbe's allegiance with the Nazi party was clear.
posted by muddgirl at 3:22 PM on March 8, 2010


Oh, and the Nazis "pro-labour" stance wasn't very. They destroyed the organised labour movement in Germany and its trade unions.
posted by WPW at 3:22 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was glib in my first point. I just realized that of course the CIA has aided and abetted terrorist organizations.
posted by muddgirl at 3:23 PM on March 8, 2010


Try listing for me one element of "the right" that Nazism incorporated.

Oh for God's sake. I will perhaps point to the busting of unions; you will say that "the right" is conservative, and would never countenance such sweeping, radical economic changes. I might gesture in the general direction of oh say war-mongering and hyper-nationalism and expansionism; you will say that "the right" is traditionally isolationist; how could Any True Right-winger ever have invaded Poland?

I have already granted your point that a political discourse which shorthands everything along a single dimension is an impoverished discourse that grotesquely oversimplifies everything oh my goodness how terrible. Nonetheless given that we've been operating with precisely this mental map since the 18th c. or thereabouts, and given that Nazism and fascism have been fixed stuck nailed to the right-ward end of this spectrum for as long as we've all been writing and thinking about them, Glenn Beck & co. notwithstanding, well: you're the one who has to deliver the profound insights that prove we've all been doing it wrong all these years.

The which said: Nazism and the dextral leanings thereof are relevant to the overall discussion in that the terrorists outlined by the SPLC above were similarly fixed stuck nailed to the right-ward end of the stick; impoverished, grotesquely oversimplified, but just as for fuck's sake correct given the limitations of the map.
posted by kipmanley at 3:23 PM on March 8, 2010 [22 favorites]


Jaltcoh:

The German Workers Party was formed in 1919 by militant volkish nationalists who hated Jews, Marxism, and internationalism; in part in reaction to the end of the War and the Treaty of Versailles. They were opposed to the Social Democrats and the Communists, and all about Aryan purity and Herrenvolk and all that shit. This is the party that Corporal Hitler had been sent to investigate, and ended up joining.

In 1920 they added "National Socialist" to their name, and Hitler held the reins by '21. In '23 we have the putsch, where Adolf hoped the military would join him in rising up against the Socialist Weimar government.

But I'm losing the thread here - the point is, the DAP (which became the NSDAP) was a right-wing organization, founded and led by members of the Right, who used right-wing oratory (nationalism, irredentism, racism/anti-Semitism) to appeal to those dissatisfied by the recent war loss and post-fin de siecle anxiety of a Germany rapidly changing in the 20th century. They opposed liberalism and promised glory and conquest for a racially pure Germany.

They were left wing perhaps in the sense that the traditional aristocracy and church were not their obvious or stated beneficiaries, but the right wings of both inherently right-wing organizations signed on quickly enough - besides, this wasn't the only society having growing pains in the transition from Aristos + Church to industrialized democracy (of whatever stripe).

You seem to place great value on college education; you've brought up that class you took at least a couple times. Perhaps you'd enjoy the perspectives offered by George Mason University's History News Network in their dissection of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. The authors of the essays contained within include professors and other such fancy college types ;)

In any case, the "socialism" of the NSDAP was about as left-wing as the "freedom" preached by George Wallace when he ran for President, and continuing in the trend of false equivalency so pervasive in our political discourse certainly isn't helping anything.

That's why I felt comfortable dashing off a snarky one-liner (which I regret) - I knew that what you'd written was so far off base that I could effectively crowdsource the rebuttal. I should have been more prolix initially, apologies!
posted by jtron at 3:29 PM on March 8, 2010 [45 favorites]


Read any description of fascism and I believe you'll see it fits the Nazis pretty well. They were not "kinda" fascists or "sorta" fascists, they were full-tilt fascists. Mussolini ( you know, THE Fascist, the dude with the on-time trains) didn't just throw in with them because they played golf together.

Really, the Left has had its share of monsters, but the Nazis were not one of them.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:29 PM on March 8, 2010


All right: back to the original topic, ladies and gentlemen?
posted by defenestration at 3:34 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate "the political spectrum" analogy and all the left-right classifications. It's so completely without any good use I don't know why people even bother. One of my old poli-sci profs used to talk about how really it was more of a ring than a line with a left and right, and the extremes kind of meet at "authoritarian psycho madman state," which brings into question what the "extremes" might be in the first place and why we settled on communism on the left side and fascism on the right. The whole thing is kind of dumb.

Let's not get hung up on those details and maybe focus on the crazy racist conspiracy theorists with guns that are apparently organizing and growing in number.
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:36 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would note that the SPLC doesn't only focus on white supremacists, though that is their major focus; I used to get ahold of the Intelligence Report on a regular basis and remember stories about a campaign by a Latino gang in LA to cleanse their neighborhoods of black people and about an anti-Semitic black church in New York.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:37 PM on March 8, 2010


I like the cathartic GRAR of reading right wing emails, because they're so wrong, yet so very angry.

I guess I could start emailing my grandpa more, but I honestly don't know if I'd want them every day, mixed in with my other emails. It'd be better if there were some "Conservepedia Archive of VERY RIGHT emails full of GOOD POINTS."
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:38 PM on March 8, 2010


The leftist elements in the NSDAP were grouped around Gregor Strasser who formed the SA; also his brother Otto (who led a faction called the Rote Hundertschaft that opposed the Kapp putsch). But they'd come out of the right-wing Freikorps and opposed communism because it was 'Jewish'; it's an interesting bit of history for those looking at the politics of the Weimar Republic and in that context well worth exploring as a look at how different factions sought to appeal to the German working class. but has fuck all to do with the current US talking point or the fact that 'Nazism' both then and in its modern incarnations is right wing.
On preview, pretty much what jtron said too.
posted by Abiezer at 3:41 PM on March 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think while it's useful to track the political affiliations of groups that engage in terrorism, I wonder how useful it is for single individuals that commit terrorist acts. There's been some back and forth over whether the Pentagon shooter or the IRS bomber are left or right-wing terrorists, while it seems to me that they're just profoundly mentally ill.
posted by electroboy at 3:46 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I favorited Abiezer's comment right thar not just 'cause he agrees with me but for mentioning the Freikorps, the presence of whom in Germany offers interesting parallels to the US Militia movement.
posted by jtron at 3:47 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Nazis were hoping that their Volksgemeinschaft would transcend "social and class divisiveness through a new ethnic unity based 'German values'" (from here). There was an attempt to fuse cultural traditionalism with scientific and technical progressivism. An upcoming conference is dedicated to new awareness of the importance of the concept of Volksgemeinschaft in the study of the history of National Socialism.
posted by No Robots at 3:48 PM on March 8, 2010


Yeah, but weren't the Nazis enamored with psuedo-science?
posted by defenestration at 3:56 PM on March 8, 2010


Yeah, but weren't the Nazis enamored with psuedo-science?

For sure. Especially with regard to race theory.
posted by No Robots at 3:58 PM on March 8, 2010


Yeah, but weren't the Nazis enamored with psuedo-science?

Oh my God so is the Huffington Post!
posted by kipmanley at 4:00 PM on March 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


If I read correctly, the "Terror from the Right" report in the post outlines 75 domestic terrorism incidents "that have emerged from the American radical right in the years since Oklahoma City".

75 incidents in 15 years. Or approximately 5 per year.
Of those 75 incidents, a few are committed by the same individual (Eric Robert Rudolph).
Others are committed by an individual, or a small band of individuals.

Assuming a high number of 5 individuals per crime, that brings us to 375 individuals as a gross overestimate.

That's 375 individuals out of the estimated 300 million Americans, or 180+ million above age 18. That's about .0002% of the population, even for our overestimate.

The crimes, upon reading, are heinous and shameless. But there are more domestic violence incidents in America in a day then they could come up with in this entire list.

In 2000, almost 1700 people were killed in domestic violence incidents. There are thousands more domestic violence incidents in America each year then domestic terrorism incidents. The same year, there were almost 2900 fatal motorcycle accidents. Thousands more people die each year from motorcycle accidents then domestic terrorism incidents.

The article has painted a very nice boogeyman, but statistically domestic terrorism events in America are less likely to occur than most other violence. You're more likely to be assaulted by a police officer than a domestic terrorist.

I thought that if we fear strange men in Muslim garb just because 19 individuals committed a single incident of terrorism, that the terrorists have won. Has something changed just because these individuals are white Americans?
posted by TheFlamingoKing at 4:10 PM on March 8, 2010


From the article: But the most dramatic story by far has been with the antigovernment Patriots.

Hello, right wing extremist groups labelling yourselves "Patriots" of one sort or another, all over the world. May I have your attention for just one moment? Thanks.

You are the reason why patriotism is viewed with suspicion in a decent-sized chunk of the globe.

Seriously, you are. Over here in Europe, we've seen very close up what happens when one country decides that its way of doing things is just so awesome that everyone ought to experience it, except of course for the people whose faces just don't fit. And we saw it close up because the method chosen to spread this experience was one of the most terrifying war strategies ever devised, causing country after country to fall, with the UK surviving only because of a lucky combination of geographical defences and decent air support.

So when you try to tap into that nationalist sentiment, and tie it in with the very type of government espoused by the people who did the invading, and then equate it with a concept which simply means loving your country, guess what happens? People no longer love their country, because to do so means they end up carrying all the associations that you have created.

Perhaps some people would like to love their country. I don't know whether I would, because for me the very concept of doing so is irredeemably tainted with what you've done to it. And the result is that patriotism, that concept you claim to love, is pushed aside and seen as a taboo subject. You've narrowed our cultural experience, and destroyed your own raison d'etre. Congratulations.
posted by ZsigE at 4:13 PM on March 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


On the bright side, if you look at history, the conservatives always lose, and the progressives always win. The conservatives simply have an impossible goal: to keep things the way they are/were. The age of god-emperors is over and these suburbs are done for.

don't mistake this for optimism though
posted by fuq at 4:14 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't recall the definition of terrorism to be that the terrorist has to be out of power. Kristallnacht was oppression, absolutely; it was also terrorism. Terror was an absolutely essential tool of the Nazis.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:15 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess I could start emailing my grandpa more, but I honestly don't know if I'd want them every day, mixed in with my other emails. It'd be better if there were some "Conservepedia Archive of VERY RIGHT emails full of GOOD POINTS."

http://myrightwingdad.blogspot.com/

I wish there was some way of tracing them back to whatever GOP PR firm is pumping them out.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:23 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The conservatives simply have an impossible goal: to keep things the way they are/were.

I would argue that they want to keep things the way they imagine they were, or wish they could be. And they don't always lose. To think so is to get complacent about access to abortion, non-racist policies, gay marriage, and rights to citizenship, just to name a few.

I read a book once (called A Nation and Its Fragments, I believe) that, if I remember correctly, argued that this going-backward/nostalgia-feuled movement towards nationalism and "old-fashioned values" is, by its nature a modern phenomenon, and happens when people get too scared of how fast the world is moving, and a fear of losing what autonomy people have or had. He was talking about India but it seems true in the US, too.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:23 PM on March 8, 2010


How, exactly? No, seriously, I'm curious here. How exactly would he have managed to pull this off?

Because from my perspective, even as an actual Socialist, there's no way in hell it would have happened. If he had somehow managed to get Congress to go along with it (good luck on that one), what makes you think that the corporations would have permitted it?

Every time I see this argument, I'm reminded of the cartoon where there are two scientists standing at a blackboard filled with a giant, unbelievably complex and ramified equation. And the center of the equation is "AND THEN A MIRACLE OCCURS". It's the same kind of thinking.

If you can show me a practical way that Obama would have directed $1.5 trillion to the American people without being impeached, please go ahead. Show your work.


Personally I don't think Congress should be handing out tax dollars to anybody. Period.

I just think that, if the choice is between 1.5 trillion for bankers, and 1.5 trillion for Americans, the choice is pretty clear.
posted by Sukiari at 4:30 PM on March 8, 2010


I should probably just FIAMO, but the attempted derails of any thread that mention Obama's name are so tired. It's blindingly obvious, given that this thread is largely about white supremacists, that A Terrible Lama (feel free to correct me ATL) was referring to the election of a black man in the context of the history of race in America. Why you took this as an opening to soapbox about bailouts that happened after the guy was installed in office is beyond me.

And a handwring prize for you. Who cares if he's black if he sucks? Is a black guy who was best known for voting "present" while in Illinois legislature some kind of hero to everybody?

You just prove my point, that Obama's greatest accomplishment is being (partly) black.
posted by Sukiari at 4:36 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bla, bla, bla, Godwined, Bla, bla Glenbecksarahpalin.
posted by Balisong at 4:38 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Obama's greatest accomplishment is being (partly) black

Wondering what your greatest accomplishment is beyond being an insufferable nitwit.
posted by freshundz at 4:46 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


When did American brand terrorism become right wing? It wasn't always that way. In the early 20th century the major terrorists were anarchists. The assassination of McKinley, probably the Wall Street bombing of 1920. The McNamara brothers were pro-union. (Of course there was also a current of business against union violence.)
I think the change was the Birth of the Nation, the return of the KKK in the late teens, and the Espionage and Sedition Acts of the Woodrow years. Anti-socialism, fueled in part by a hysteria surrounding the beginning of the USSR and anti-communism became the official government stand. This eased a bit with the Depression and the more liberal Roosevelt years, but the anti-liberalism (anti-immigrant, anti-Negro) sentiment was building underneath. With J Edgar Hoover as dictator for life of the FBI, liberal terrorism never stood a chance. It was officially weeded out along with the weeding out a lot of benign liberalism? The right wing wasn't pruned. You could be a John Bircher and not have the FBI come down on you. For a long time you could be a Klansmember without official governmental interference, even though the Klan is clearly a terrorist organization. From then on the terrorist acts of any consequence were against those on the left. The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy. Timothy McVeigh, abortion clinic murderers, the random nut job with a gun and a political opinion. Even Robert Hinckley came from a family who leaned right (they donated heavily to George HW Bush's campaign).
The left wing used to have a segment that invoked fighting the "powers that be" through violence. They have been successfully hounded into pacifism. The right wing still has that branch. But their violent tendencies have been officially tolerated as freedom fighters, pro-second amendment, pro-constitution.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:49 PM on March 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


Take the 1.5 trillion he's thrown at the corporates

What 1.5 trillion?

There was the $800 billion TARP thrown by one George H.W. Bush at Wall Street.

Then there was Obama's $800 billion stimulus package, largely given to the states for unemployment insurance, subsidizing medical plans, education, job creation projects-- pretty much thrown at the people.

So where is this "1.5 trillion thrown at the corporates"?
posted by zompist at 4:50 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


TARP is a Bush-administration program, just FYI for those who are keeping score.
posted by breath at 4:51 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


re: the "$1.5 trillion" that "Obama gave away to corporate interests" (or whatever the phrase was...

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I do get timelines mixed up very easily in this stuff), but TARP was initiated under W. & Paulson, as was the Economic Stimulus Act. Obama oversaw the ARRA, the $787bn "Stimulus Package."
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:53 PM on March 8, 2010


dances_with_sneetches:

Well, there was the Weather Underground and the notorious Bill Ayers, who, as we all know, is the real power behind Obama (Double-Meat Hamburger).

Most contemporary "leftist" groups seem to get caught up in stupid, internecine, "People's Front of Judea" vs. "Judean People's Front" type conflicts.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:57 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


You just prove my point, that Obama's greatest accomplishment is being (partly) black.
posted by Sukiari at 4:36 PM on March 8 [+] [!]

This may be totally unfair, but I really hate how I constantly see Obama's race clarified in this way. He identifies as black. But it seems there is a segment of society who can't let it pass that this very successful person calls himself black; it's like it pisses them off that he isn't giving due credit to his white "half" for his success.
posted by JenMarie at 5:00 PM on March 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


JenMarie: Don't you know that it's Obama's white half that went to Harvard, while his black half plays basketball and tried cocaine?
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:08 PM on March 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


On the bright side, if you look at history, the conservatives always lose, and the progressives always win. The conservatives simply have an impossible goal: to keep things the way they are/were. The age of god-emperors is over and these suburbs are done for.

don't mistake this for optimism though


This is ridiculous. You're using conservative to mean in a literal sense where there are many things that we desire to be "conservative", for example the Bill of Rights. Conservative in a political sense might actually mean changing things to be more in line with traditionalist view, but that two involves change. Was it conservative or progressive for Caesar to seize power in Rome?

Also, historically, if you're talking about progressiveness to mean liberalism and conservative to mean traditionalism, there are many times in history when the forces of traditionalism wins, sometimes until the present. At the same time, this is good sometimes, as just because something is progressive, doesn't mean it's good, sir.

Oh, and when I hear left wing or right wing, that usually denotes extremism. I hear ELF and FARC and I think Left Wing (and remember that Left Wing organizations can be just as ultra nationalistic as Right Wing ones). If I'm talking about normal politics, I think Liberal and Conservative are the more appropriate terms, and more moderate than that is Democratic and Republican. So when we hear Right Wing, it's implied that we're talking about people beyond the normal pall in American politics.

Back to the point, the average domestic terrorist is going to be more likely Right Wing than Left, probably because Left Wing terrorists are just worse at organizing to the levels of doing real damage (the most notorious ones are loners). Both are rather unlikely, but Right Wings occur more than Left Wing.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:11 PM on March 8, 2010


Oh, and why would religion automatically make something Right Wing? Is a Christian Communist Left or Right Wing? How about an Atheist Fascist? Many religious theocracies can be die-hard socialistic or communist.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:13 PM on March 8, 2010


You just prove my point, that Obama's greatest accomplishment is being (partly) black.

Maybe you don't know this, but almost every black person in America is partly of African descent and partly of European descent. Just because Obama has a white mother rather than six white great-grandparents doesn't make him any less black than anyone else. Blackness has always been about social categories rather than genetics. Whiteness, too, for that matter.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:20 PM on March 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


So where is this "1.5 trillion thrown at the corporates"?

One years worth of military spending?
posted by mikelieman at 5:31 PM on March 8, 2010


Who cares if he's black if he sucks? Is a black guy who was best known for voting "present" while in Illinois legislature some kind of hero to everybody?

Yeah that whole voting "present" thing in the Illinois legislature was a maneuver to preserve reproductive decisions for women in Illinois. Naral supported it, but whatever.

You just prove my point, that Obama's greatest accomplishment is being (partly) black.

Your, um, American Pride is showing.
posted by Max Power at 5:45 PM on March 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


You just prove my point, that Obama's greatest accomplishment is being (partly) black.

What an odd statement. I'd say his greatest accomplishment is being president.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:51 PM on March 8, 2010 [20 favorites]


It's been said before, but Prohibition was one of the "progressive" causes of its day, as well. So were public housing projects, and that's been a mixed bag, to put it generously. The world would be a simpler place if one could easily align oneself with what is right and with those changes that will bring about a better world. First, though, not everyone agrees about what world would be a better one, and more basically, there doesn't seem to be any way to consistently do that even if you know what you want that better world to be like. The liberal/conservative and left/right dichotomies have very limited descriptive power, frankly, but they're useful because it's difficult to adequately encapsulate the compromises between varied interests that the actual political process necessarily entails.
posted by clockzero at 5:56 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


You just prove my point, that Obama's greatest accomplishment is being (partly) black.
posted by Sukiari at 4:36 PM on March 8


DO HE PROVE IT? DO HE? IF OBAMA AM NOT BLACK IS HARVARD GO TO BIGGIE?SON OF SINGLE MOM, GET SELF INTO HARVARD, BECOME LAYWER, SENATOR, PRESIDENT - BUT NOW AM SHOW THAT BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT BE BLACK! A HA! A POINT IS PROVE
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:57 PM on March 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.--John Stuart Mill
posted by tzikeh at 6:02 PM on March 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Wondering what your greatest accomplishment is beyond being an insufferable nitwit.

Sucks to have people pointing out things you don't like, but are true nonetheless.

Helicopter Fuck guy is more impressive than Obama.
posted by Sukiari at 6:15 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, for those who think this is exaggerated: Liz Cheney Accused of McCarthyism.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:15 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


try listing for us the "elements of the left" that Nazism incorporated.

Eugenics for starters.

I'd agree the Nazis were right wing, technically speaking. But the Communists were allied with the Nazis for the first years of the war while Britain's right-wing conservative-led government was at war with them and the USA's liberal-left president was looking on from the sidelines. I think that counts for more than some nitpicking over whose economic policies were more similar, especially if one or both sides of the aisle have to bear some kind of taint as a result of the Nazis. But who knows, perhaps next year there will be a Chris Hitchens column revealing that Stalin was actually a right-winger after all and this mess of contradictions will be all cleared up. Worked for Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:15 PM on March 8, 2010


Did Obama go to Harvard? I know he says he did, and I know Harvard says he did, but all that stuff's classified and nobody from Harvard, who was in his class, can seem to remember him being there.
posted by Sukiari at 6:17 PM on March 8, 2010


DO HE PROVE IT? DO HE? IF OBAMA AM NOT BLACK IS HARVARD GO TO BIGGIE?SON OF SINGLE MOM, GET SELF INTO HARVARD, BECOME LAYWER, SENATOR, PRESIDENT - BUT NOW AM SHOW THAT BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT BE BLACK! A HA! A POINT IS PROVE
posted by Optimus Chyme


So, what has he done as president? That was my point. Lots of black people go to Harvard. Hell if you are lucky enough to be black they will even give you a discount.
posted by Sukiari at 6:19 PM on March 8, 2010


um
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:20 PM on March 8, 2010


Did Obama go to Harvard? I know he says he did, and I know Harvard says he did, but all that stuff's classified and nobody from Harvard, who was in his class, can seem to remember him being there.
posted by Sukiari at 6:17 PM on March


look at how stupid you are
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:20 PM on March 8, 2010 [20 favorites]


Sorry, Columbia.
posted by Sukiari at 6:23 PM on March 8, 2010


I gotta say though, this is chain yanking at its best.
posted by Max Power at 6:23 PM on March 8, 2010


Sorry, Columbia.

You can't find any record of Obama at Columbia because the George Soros funded Secular Jew Socialist Power Elite Nazis bio-engineered Obama in Kenya and slipped him through Hawaii straight to Harvard. From your own link, "Mr. Obama spent two years at Columbia College and graduated in 1983 with a major in political science." I guess there are cracks in the well funded Illuminati facade and you have almost discovered the truth.

Shine on you trolling diamond.
posted by ryoshu at 6:34 PM on March 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


Sorry, Columbia.
posted by Sukiari at 6:23 PM on March 8

Jesus Christ. What, you think we can't read? From your own fucking link:

Federal law limits the information that Columbia can release about Mr. Obama's time there. A spokesman for the university, Brian Connolly, confirmed that Mr. Obama spent two years at Columbia College and graduated in 1983 with a major in political science. He did not receive honors, Mr. Connolly said, though specific information on his grades is sealed. A program from the 1983 graduation ceremony lists him as a graduate.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:36 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey, good work, ryoshu. Looking forward to his next ten posts saying "Sorry, Occidental" all the way through "Sorry, Lil Hilo's Special Hugs Daycare."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:37 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't he signed up as a foreigner at Occidental?
posted by Sukiari at 6:39 PM on March 8, 2010


Wasn't he signed up as a foreigner at Occidental?
posted by Sukiari at 6:39 PM on March 8


you are a rare creature who feels no shame for being wrong three times in a row
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:47 PM on March 8, 2010 [17 favorites]


Sukiari, who cleans your diapers?
posted by John of Michigan at 6:47 PM on March 8, 2010


Damn your slick fingers, Optimus Chyme. Not that sukiari will read either link, of course, but damn your slick fingers, nonetheless.
posted by John of Michigan at 6:48 PM on March 8, 2010


Man, Sukiari is right – black people get all the breaks.
posted by Mister_A at 6:49 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's called chutzpah.

Snopes, though? Really? He was enrolled fraudulently at best, and at worst it is evidence that he was an indonesian citizen.
posted by Sukiari at 6:50 PM on March 8, 2010


Wasn't he signed up as a foreigner at Occidental?
posted by Sukiari at 6:39 PM on March 8 [+] [!]


That's because they got the term "resident alien" confused with "actual alien." He should have been signed up as being from Melmac.
posted by sallybrown at 6:50 PM on March 8, 2010


It's OK. I have 40 social security numbers.
posted by Sukiari at 6:50 PM on March 8, 2010


But the Communists were allied with the Nazis for the first years of the war while Britain's right-wing conservative-led government was at war with them
I don't know if you noticed the recent obituary thread for Michael Foot, recently deceased sometime leader of the UK Labour Party. He was a journalist when a young man and first rose to prominence as a result of being one of the three anonymous authors collectively known by the pseudonym 'Cato'. Their book was called Guilty Men and it named and shamed the appeasers in the then and previous British governments; all right wingers bar Ramsay MacDonald IIRC. It was widely (but certainly not universally) accepted that many right-wing conservatives were all for finding an accommodation with Hitler, and that bar Churchill it was the leftists and trade union backed politicians in the unity National Government that kept the UK fighting. This is cited as one of the factors behind the Labour landslide in the first election after the war, despite national hero Churchill still leading the Conservatives. All the allegedly pro-appeasement MPs lost their seats.
It's all a bit more complicated than that, of course, and many of the figures named in the Cato screed could defend their pre-war record but there's definitely a basic truth in the left members of the coalition government being among the keenest to fight on.
On an unrelated note, I was wrong to say Strasser found the SA in my post above - reading on he rose to leadership prominence later but wasn't there at the beginning. Should check my poorly recalled history before sounding off about it.
posted by Abiezer at 6:54 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh snap! Another score for Sukiari! DO YOU YIELD, LIBERAL BITCHES?
posted by Mister_A at 6:54 PM on March 8, 2010


Snopes, though? Really? He was enrolled fraudulently at best, and at worst it is evidence that he was an indonesian citizen.

1) Snopes has these things that are called "sources." They are things like newspapers or books, and they contain "facts" that can be verified. In this story, the two sources are listed at the bottom. If you dispute their facts, you need original sources of your own. Since you have so far been zero for three, and you have shown us you are not a good reader, and you frequently are confused, you will have to make double-sure that your sources are correct and reliable.

2) There is no evidence in the Snopes page that his enrollment was fraudulent. You will need to find sources! Oh, I know it is a bother, but again, since you are consistently incorrect, we can't just take your word on it!

3) People who are born in Hawaii are American citizens. Here is the document that proves it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:57 PM on March 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


Jesus Christ. There are no words.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:06 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not confused, I just think you're precious.
posted by Sukiari at 7:07 PM on March 8, 2010


Abiezer, I assumed he was trying to say that the nonaggression pact between Germany and the USSR was an alliance.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:08 PM on March 8, 2010


I'm not confused, I just think you're precious.
posted by Sukiari at 7:07 PM on March 8


Ah yes, the classic "been proved wrong" counter-attack: rolling with the punches. Variations: "I feed on this shit" and "ha; i was faking all along - you're all my puppets."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:11 PM on March 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yeah, get that PG (think that's a bit simplistic too but not to the point of arguing), I'm contending that it wasn't simply a 'right-wing conservative-led government' that was the cause of the UK choosing to fight. Should have probably snipped the earlier part of the quote.
posted by Abiezer at 7:11 PM on March 8, 2010


“But you'll be very hard pressed to find a white supremecist who isn't a right winger.”
“I am also genuinely curious to know what parts of Nazism were "leftist", as it is defined in the US these days, that balance out the "rightist" aspects.”
*blink blink * Wha?
Progressive genocide – (from those right wingers at Salon)

Eugenics crossed a number of party and ideological lines, but damn man, the roots of the ‘progressive’ movement was bound up with eugenics. It was supported by the New York Times, the supreme court upheld states’ eugenics laws (more than 20) in 1927. Two years before that (about the time Prescott Bush was making money financing the German military) the Rockerfeller Foundation sent almost $3 million to Germany to study their own eugenics program.
I’m a big Teddy fan. But there’s no monopoly on how bad ideas might be initiated or co-opted for any concern.
Three generations of imbeciles are enough. Brilliant man, but yeesh. (Still going on too – far as I know Betsy Hartmann still does her thing)
Fascists like Mussolini who Hitler admired - then and even now - claim the third way apart from left and right wings.
Sure, I’d argue that the Nazis were on the right for the most part, but a dictatorship by any other name stinks the same.

“National Socialists were not, as far as I remember from European History, terrorists in any definition of the word.”

Er… the brownshirts (the SA)? Agitprop? 155 killed in the clashes in the streets in Prussia? Seriously, where did you folks go to school? Murders in Silesia during negotiations after the Nazis election? Driving the country into chaos until he’s appointed chancellor? After his appointment the SA continuing to assault their political enemies with tacit government approval?
Just google ‘nazi rise to power’ There was Nazi terrorism aplenty prior to, during, and after Hitler’s election.

“And if you can demonstrate that a group is using many of the same operational ideas in their way of dealing with the world, it might be a good idea to keep a close eye on them, lest we go through it all over again.”
Yeah. Seems to be working out real well here 'burger.

“How fare the Illinois Nazis? I hate Illinois Nazis.”
Running ‘em over as fast as we can. Just waiting for the next Mount Prospect police auction.

I've been saying there's been growing problems with militias. Exactly the same sort of haywire here. No one calls themselves the "Dangerous Group of Fanatic Hateful Bad Guys" or "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants" - for the most part - as with being 'right' or 'left' wing - they're not FOR anything really. They're against whatever pisses the most people off so they can gain cadre to place themselves in power.
That's all. The guys you see who hate blacks or are into union busting by using bats or something - those are just the dogs of chaos the genuinely threatening people use to destabilize whatever stability there is.
If the Germans were more pro-communist at the time and anti-corporatist, Hitler would have used 'redshirts' perhaps.
Doesn't much matter the flavor. I've said the same before though. And that this was getting more dangerous, and going to get more dangerous.
The SPLcenter piece(s) are excellent. Bit speculative, but not wildly inaccurate or a flight of fancy for that.
What's critical is the seeking attention and tacit acceptance for causing chaos which folks like Beck come in and 'fix.' The SPL alludes to this strategy with the ol' two step of introducing a crisis (FEMA concentration camps) and debunking it.
He's just a crank like Father Coughlin, but - critically - society now is more mobile than society was when he was around.
By mobile not so much cars, but rather, unfixed groups - mostly males - but any itinerant population. Not displaced so much perhaps. But rootless.
Back in the '30s there was a bit more connectedness in terms of relationships to place, family, a given career - typically rooted in a given place and/or a given industry.
Those social constraints are less hardwired than they were. And so, it's easier to tear up whats in place.
Beck is a loudmouth. But he's producing an identity that many people are lacking. It's easier to define oneself as against something than it is to define what it is one stands for. Usually there are the aforementioned roots to help.
And of course, as seen here in microcosm and on a much less heated scale, people are more than willing to fight for whatever they believe is their identity.
On mefi 'left' perhaps. But for those folks - not necessarily 'right.'
And therein lies some of the danger. Many people will go out of their way to fully express their identity. Typically the ones regarded in the FPP do so violently without much thought. It tends to be the passion that's important.
This was true for the SA as well. And why the Hitler Youth was created. And why the Hitler Youth produced such poor character (in contrast to - however one feels about them in the broader sense - the more self-reliant boy scouts).
Because it was designed to produce reliance on that identity to the exclusion of others.
So it's exactly the case that it is somewhat undefinable because you're always having to redefine and reassert yourself and your identity by more fully proving your loyalty.
The value inherent in the cause itself (and whatever its attendant labels - especially by established 'left' or 'right' and especially more specific 'liberal' etc. labeled people who are naturally considered more sedate, even placid) - doesn't so much matter.
Again - loyalty. Hallmark of the dawning dogs of chaos.
Hell, doesn't it seem odd to anyone reading the paper that one politician (typically GOP who have been pressing the 'loyalty' button for the past 8 years) that they can so deftly contradict their prior positions, platforms, even established stated opinions, without much trouble?

What's critical is how this moves through them. Not the label. The goals are pretty obvious. Bit like fighting a hydra really.
Speaking of which - back to work.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:12 PM on March 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wait, wait!

I got a witty graphic for just this occasion!
posted by mrzarquon at 7:13 PM on March 8, 2010


So anyway, rerailing - it is unfortunate but not unexpected that radical-right terror is emboldened these days, with governors pretending to seriously entertain the notion of secession, with members of congress, seemingly endorsing the deranged acts of crazy people in light aircraft, with former governors flat-out making shit up about issues of vital importance and the news organizations reporting the shit as fact without bothering to do any fact-checking, with this idea that all "ideas" or "evidence" are equally valid and deserving of consideration, whether the source is science, public records, or some nutter with a microphone and an audience.

But here's the thing–if things get better, if unemployment heads down, if some things get done in Washington–these guys will get worse. Any positive development under a black democrat president is simply further evidence of the country's breakneck flight to destruction. So expect a crazy summer (not in a good way) if unemployment trends strengthen and people start going back to work, and especially if there's some sort of healthcare reform that grants a modicum of increased security to Americans at large. If these things happen, these thugs will have to increase the fear in the country through violence, for they can only thrive in an environment of fear.
posted by Mister_A at 7:18 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Man, the Godwiny trollery in this thread is epic. EPIC.

On the other hand, I learned a bit about pre-Nazi Germany from some of ya'll, so kudos on that.

I love when Metafilter's response to unsubtle trollery is often a rich banquet of historical, political, and philosophical discussion and snark, it's like watching a jazz band riff on "Found a Peanut" or something.

Weren't we originally talking about right-wing terrorists or something?
posted by emjaybee at 7:23 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


History is about the truth. Which is why you all should listen to Jaltcoh about the historic truth of the complex political positions of the Nazis.

Otherwise I'll have to listen to my 20th century historian husband rant more about how everyone disagreeing with Jaltcoh (on his excellent point that the Nazi party was not left nor right, but incorporated socialist policies with authoritarianism and racism) is contributing to the continued misunderstanding of history in our society.

[this was posted on only having read part of the thread -- so it if was cleared up later, that's fine.]
posted by jb at 7:27 PM on March 8, 2010


What a wacky thread this turned out to be.
posted by nola at 7:37 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


This thread should probably be about extremists who really shouldn't be called left or right, because I'm pretty sure you'll find that those terms are used contemporarily to describe economic ideologies, and the extremists aren't thinking about economics.

At which point, we can all agree that racism is bad, mmm'kay, and that birthers have the flimsiest conspircacy theories ever put together.
posted by jb at 7:40 PM on March 8, 2010


I assumed he was trying to say that the nonaggression pact between Germany and the USSR was an alliance.

The fact that Germany and the USSR both invaded Poland, divvied the territory between them and then held joint military parades to celebrate afterward makes them look very much like de facto allies during that period, regardless of the exact status of their relationship on paper.

Abiezer,

Interesting history, but in the end, who prevailed? I'll take Churchill as my right-wing representive of choice, and even the appeasers like Chamberlain weren't as bad as the Soviets. It's not like he got anything out of Munich except empty promises. The Soviets got half of Eastern Europe as booty out of their gangster deals with the Nazis.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:41 PM on March 8, 2010


*munches popcorn*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:49 PM on March 8, 2010


Variations: "I feed on this shit" and "ha; i was faking all along - you're all my puppets."

LOL I TROL U
posted by decagon at 8:02 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


[Sukiari, you're taking a break. Don't pull any of this kind of shit when you come back if you have any interest in having an account here.]
posted by cortex at 8:15 PM on March 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


Dave Neiwert's Orcinus blog is a font of information about the extreme right wing in America: Eliminationism in America, March of the minutemen, Rush, Newspeak, and fascism.

Getting back to the FPP, I came here to make sure that someone had included Dave Neiwert in this discussion.

Very fucking preciously delusional wow birther really?
posted by desuetude at 8:15 PM on March 8, 2010


You do know that TARP (the original $700 billion) is expected to break even, right?

LOL

"Break even".

-----

Fascism is a right wing belief. Sorry, it is.

I have no doubt that you wish it was the case. This inane rhetoric equating the political right with fascism certainly benefits the Left. If only it were so.

It doesn't make much sense to have a political spectrum with Communism at one end and Fascism at the other. Is there one quality where we can grade the entire political spectrum and see these two regimes as opposites? No. If we are going to rank all forms of government along one dimension then look at what they are in their centralization of power: the Left is the totalitarian state, the Right is the Anarcho-Capitalists. The Left promotes the group and strong central government, the Right advocates for the rights of the individual and for his protection from the group. By this measure Fascism is a leftist ideology.

It's true that many associate Fascism with the Right, but any attempt to oppose Fascism and Socialism will be muddled at best. Take a look at the entry on answers.com. Early on you see a definition that it is an extreme right wing regime (U.S. Military Dictionary) but keep going.

Some selections:

"Walter Laqueur says that historical fascism "did not belong to the extreme Left, yet defining it as part of the extreme Right is not very illuminating either", but that it "was always a coalition between radical, populist ('fascist') elements and others gravitating toward the extreme Right". Payne says "fascists were unique in their hostility to all the main established currents, left right and center", noting that they allied with both left and right, but more often the right. However, he contends that German Nazism was closer to Russian communism than to any other non-communist system.""

"Mussolini claimed that Italian Fascism's economic system of corporatism could be identified as either state capitalism or state socialism, which in either case involved "the bureaucratisation of the economic activities of the nation.""

"Italian Fascism involved corporatism, a political system in which the economy is collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at national level. Fascists advocated a new national class-based economic system, variously termed "national corporatism", "national socialism" or "national syndicalism". The common aim of all fascist movements was elimination of the autonomy or, in some cases, the existence of large-scale capitalism."

"Fascist governments exercised control over private property but did not nationalize it."

"The people who primarily benefited from Italian fascist social policies were members of the middle and lower-middle classes, who filled jobs in the vastly expanding government workforce, which grew to about a million in 1930. Health and welfare spending grew dramatically under Italian fascism, with welfare rising from seven percent of the budget in 1930 to 20% in 1940."


I agree that "Left" and "Right" are rather limited terms for making political distinctions. But if that's what you're going to work with, fascism is best thought of as part of the Left. This is even more the case now where a great deal of the criticism directed at the government is on account of its socialist and expansionist tendencies. If it was George W. you were calling fascist, you would be on much more solid ground.
posted by BigSky at 8:25 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, answers.com has weighed in, and jb's husband is tired of yelling. I guess we're done here; sorry for the fuss.
posted by jtron at 8:35 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Hitler blah blah blah...
posted by newdaddy at 8:39 PM on March 8, 2010


So... Stalinist Communism = Marxism now?
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:46 PM on March 8, 2010


Oh, and the Nazis "pro-labour" stance wasn't very. They destroyed the organised labour movement in Germany and its trade unions.

Trade unions didn't fare much better in China under Mao, being 100% under the control of the Communist party and then completely abolished for a time after the Cultural Revolution. The argument in both cases was that since the party represents the interests of the workers, what do you need these subversive trade unions for? But, no-one would argue on that basis that Mao Zedong was a right-winger.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:57 PM on March 8, 2010


Could someone tell me whether anarcho-syndicalists are "right" or "left"? Primitivists? I feel deeply uncomfortable when I can't turn everything into a stupid American political sports team battle.
posted by cmonkey at 9:15 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I agree that "Left" and "Right" are rather limited terms for making political distinctions. But if that's what you're going to work with, fascism is best thought of as part of the Left.

So if you're forced to oversimplify, you gotta go with the wrong answer?

However one decides such things, it can't be on the basis of weaselly partisan rhetoric like "the Right advocates for the rights of the individual".

Hitler's lifelong crusade against communism and his attempt to destroy the USSR should be a rather large clue. Beyond this it should suffice to look at who put Hitler in power-- the conservatives. Likewise Mussolini in Italy.

Robert O. Paxton's The Anatomy of Fascism is essential reading on what fascism was and how it operated, and how it came to power (and how it didn't, in quite a few European countries).

(One of his points is that fascism was much less interested in ideology than in power; that's one reason it's hard to get specific about its politics.)

I can understand wanting this very hot potato out of one's hands, but there's really no need. Recognizing that Naziism was right-wing doesn't somehow invalidate all right-wing thought any more than it invalidates everything German or anything colored black and red.
posted by zompist at 9:33 PM on March 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


What made historical fascism right-wing was that however apparently revolutionary it seemed in all cases it was able to make accommodation with existing Establishments - in Europe that was the Church, big business, the military, civil service, the landowners and the aristocracy. These had been the classical right wing forces since the French Revolution, which is of course the period where the left-right distinction comes from. This isn't the case with the authoritarian left regimes, who brought in a new set of bastards to order people about.
I think it is true that as history goes on that old spectrum is not as meaningful as it once was, largely because capitalism itself has in many cases broken down or transcended the old political establishments ('batters down all Chinese walls'), but it strikes me as idiotic to deny its validity it in its time if we're at all interested in learning anything from our past.
posted by Abiezer at 9:38 PM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can understand wanting this very hot potato out of one's hands, but there's really no need. Recognizing that Naziism was right-wing doesn't somehow invalidate all right-wing thought any more than it invalidates everything German or anything colored black and red.

I'm not concerned that calling Nazism right wing would invalidate conservative thought. I equate Fascism with the Left because of its resemblance to Communism and their mutual disinterest in individual liberty. The similarity between the totalitarian regimes is undeniable, and to call Fascism right wing when the centralization of power is strongly associated with the Left, is disingenuous. This matters far more than whether their early backers were labeled "Left" or "Right" at the time.

-----

What made historical fascism right-wing was that however apparently revolutionary it seemed in all cases it was able to make accommodation with existing Establishments - in Europe that was the Church, big business, the military, civil service, the landowners and the aristocracy.

I agree that this is a workable distinction between Fascism as right wing and the extreme Left, but I am still reluctant to favor this standard due to the parallels between the two in practice.
posted by BigSky at 10:07 PM on March 8, 2010


Actually, I think it's interesting that Fascism does initially make room for the existing establishment like aristocracy, churches, corporation, but as time goes by, it often eliminates or severely marginalizes these groups to create the all encompassing State. Meanwhile, Authoritarian Communism often destroys these institutions right off the bat . . . only to reinstate them or reinvent them when they find out how useful they were or the fact that they played an important society.

Fascism succeed in being set up as it offed the powers that be an extension and revitalization of the status quo. However, fascism is inherently revolutionary, so the people in the society more often feel buyers regret.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:26 PM on March 8, 2010


I'm starting to believe that there's something akin to the Uncanny Valley in terms of one's knowledge of history and the usefulness of the application of that knowledge to the present day. Deep within this valley, labels take the place of an understanding of ideas and movements and the rationales behind them, and political doctrine is the only torch.

Nazis weren't actually Socialist. Eugenics was championed by the Progressives. It's good that we know this but neither has much to do with where we stand today, and pretending that it does just confuses things.

In talking about the subject of the FPP, I'd rather take all of the political labels out of it and se it for what it is - the inevitable product of seeking power through fearmongering. The current American Right isn't made up of Nazis. They also aren't all that concerned with individual rights, as, well, almost all social issue debates can show us. Of course one can make comparisons between the GOP and the NSDAP, just as one can make comparisons between any two things. This is helpful in as much as it sets up the warning signs about demagoguery and increased executive power, but as they say in the courtroom, the comparison is "more prejudicial than probative" most of the time.

Similarly, the Progressives who championed eugenics share very little in common with the progressives of today on that sort of issue. In fact, one might say that the two views are diametrically opposed. So why then, is it brought up at all, aside from general historical interest? It's not where the progressive movement is today at all, so I guess it's just used to tar the other side no matter how logically inconsistent the attack is.

We do ourselves better to figure out where we are now, and why. Where we are is that there are a lot of people out there feeling angry and impotent, and their rage is being cultivated by others - who feel far from impotent - who benefit by these angry people being kept angry, kept uneducated, kept hungry. They are told who to hate, they are told who to blame, and they are told why.

And so whenever an idea comes out, it has to be painted as either red or blue before the public can see it, so that the other side can have it's chance to try to destroy it, not on the merits, but on political grounds. And so we have no ideas. Anything worthwhile is "too risky."
posted by Navelgazer at 11:14 PM on March 8, 2010


Similarly, the Progressives who championed eugenics share very little in common with the progressives of today on that sort of issue. In fact, one might say that the two views are diametrically opposed. So why then, is it brought up at all, aside from general historical interest? It's not where the progressive movement is today at all, so I guess it's just used to tar the other side no matter how logically inconsistent the attack is.

The mainstream of the modern American conservative movement is deeply racist in a society in which open racism is not socially acceptable. It should be no surprise that tu quoque is a favored defense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:44 PM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Recognizing that Naziism was right-wing doesn't somehow invalidate all right-wing thought any more than it invalidates everything German or anything colored black and red.

Nor does recognizing that Stalinism (for lack of a better term) is essentially a perversion of left wing values invalidate all left-wing thought. Fact is, there are extremes of fanatical anti-human negativity at either end of the spectrum which no doubt eventually find each other coming the other way.

DEATH TO ALL FANATICS!!!
posted by philip-random at 12:25 AM on March 9, 2010


These beans taste horrible.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:34 AM on March 9, 2010


It doesn't make much sense to have a political spectrum with Communism at one end and Fascism at the other. Is there one quality where we can grade the entire political spectrum and see these two regimes as opposites? No. If we are going to rank all forms of government along one dimension then look at what they are in their centralization of power: the Left is the totalitarian state, the Right is the Anarcho-Capitalists. The Left promotes the group and strong central government, the Right advocates for the rights of the individual and for his protection from the group. By this measure Fascism is a leftist ideology.

I often see this position being argued by those who claim the Nazis were leftist, but if it's held consistently, it very quickly leads to completely absurd political definitions- by the "leftism = statism" standard, a throne-and-altar monarchist like Joseph de Maistre would be a leftist, while Noam Chomsky would be a right-winger. (And there's lots of other examples I could name to show what happens when one tries to apply this position consistently- Pinochet qualifies as a man of the left, Abbie Hoffman was a staunch right-winger, every single government everywhere has been some degree of leftist, and so on.) Taking "leftist" to mean support for authoritarian government and "rightist" to mean support for individual freedom is ultimately about as meaningful and useful as claiming that the left stands for evil and the right stands for good, and in the end I think it's a slightly more reasonable-sounding way of saying just that.

That said, though I generally agree with the position that the Nazis were on the extreme right for all the reasons that have been stated in this thread, it is true that there were a number of similarities between Nazism and Stalinism, and there is a weird area of politics where the far left and far right essentially become one- see things like the "National Bolshevik" movement in Russia and the "red-brown" coalitions there. North Korea may be another example of this- there was discussion here recently of the book "The Cleanest Race" by B.R. Myers which makes the case (quite convincingly, I think, having read it) that North Korean ideology is, at its core, racial nationalism with a socialist veneer. The Nazis themselves claimed to transcend left and right, and I think a decent case could be made that they were more in this "both and neither" gray area than they were simply rightist. (For that matter, a similar case could be perhaps be made that Stalinism was more "both and neither" than it was leftist.) There really were considerable differences in many areas between the Nazis and the more traditional German rightists, who, as I understand it, generally wanted to bring back the Kaiser and wouldn't dream of calling themselves "socialist". But there's no way that the Nazis can be called "leftist" without either ignoring lots of fundamental elements of Nazism or twisting the definitions of leftism and rightism in some incredibly counter-intuitive, ahistorical ways.
posted by a louis wain cat at 1:58 AM on March 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


Fascism takes its name from the fasces, an ancient Roman symbol of rods and axes bound together, in representation of solidarity and strength through unity. You know who else likes to use the fasces as a symbol?

(The preceding was an example of of genuine trolling, i.e., a disingenuous comment posted with the deliberate intent of provoking others. I posted it solely for educational purposes, and no attempt to actually troll was made. If I had actually attempted to troll MetaFilter, cortex would ban me, and with good reason.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:56 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


In talking about the subject of the FPP, I'd rather take all of the political labels out of it and se it for what it is - the inevitable product of seeking power through fearmongering.

Agreed. I think for the most part, "white supremacist" (although there are a few black and jewish groups included) or "separatist militia" encompasses pretty much everything discussed in those links.
posted by electroboy at 6:05 AM on March 9, 2010


The Left promotes the group and strong central government, the Right advocates for the rights of the individual and for his protection from the group.

Which is because, historically, the Right has always been pro-pony while the Left has always been anti-pony.

Jesus.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:39 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Glenn Beck Urges Listeners to Leave Churches That Preach Social Justice
posted by homunculus at 8:22 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I wish Glenn Beck would just hurry up and get to his final inevitable moon-bat phase already, in which it finally becomes glaringly obvious that he's lost it and he loses popularity and fades into obscurity.

You know it's coming, I just wish it wouldn't take quite this long.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Left promotes the group and strong central government, the Right advocates for the rights of the individual and for his protection from the group.

No, no, no. Authoritarians lean toward government control. There are right and left wing authoritarians.

THERE ARE TWO AXES, PEOPLE. One left v right (aka liberal v conservative) and one authoritarian v libertarian (strong central govt v weak central govt). They cross, creating a grid.

Fascism is extreme right-wing authoritarianism. Soviet communism is extreme left-wing authoritarianism.

Leave our ignorance of these facts behind. Left DOES NOT equal strong govt and right DOES NOT equal weak govt.
posted by grubi at 8:52 AM on March 9, 2010


I'll just leave this here. Feel free to discuss.
posted by LakesideOrion at 10:07 AM on March 9, 2010


I equate Fascism with the Left because of its resemblance to Communism and their mutual disinterest in individual liberty.

By this token, Ron Paul would be a leftist fascist for supporting a ban on abortion, treating black Americans like "terrorists", and otherwise overturning equal protection for gays and lesbians.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:08 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Feel free to discuss.

You know, Godwin wasn't proscribing discussion of Nazis. And the word "neo-Nazis" appears in the second paragraph of the first link.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:44 AM on March 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


“it's like watching a jazz band riff on "Found a Peanut" or something.”

Scat dwee-zoo dwee doo’n du-bop Fascist wa dwee-oo dwee doo’n doowa skittle dee dee ‘n beejeezus Hitler. Ba bee ba da doo’n Rightee da’n doo da, zoo za zoo zee zee zoo zee zee zee za. Skittle n’diddle n’fiddle dee dee’n’Commie. Baaaa bwee doo’n doo-wa ooby dooby doo-wa be-doo wa wa shooby dooby doo: mee mee ma may moo moop Mussolini.

“Mussolini claimed that Italian Fascism's economic system of corporatism could be identified as either state capitalism or state socialism, which in either case involved "the bureaucratisation of the economic activities of the nation.”

This, et.al. re: fascism. Yeah. But a lot of the entrenched moneyed interests made out there. I don’t know if that’s ‘right’ per se. At this point in our history in the west – loosely speaking - we seem to equate all people with money and/or initial capital with the ‘right’ and the folks without with the ‘left.’
Through that lens though, all counter-movements begin on the left, and seek to be on the right.
Some validity to that though if one takes most populism to be right at the core and left on the outside. That is – more exclusive internally and more inclusive externally. But that’s more structural than ideological. And, as Abiezer points out, more developed in its period than in ours.
So I’d contrast that with BigSky’s assertion that fascism is closer to the left because of the breaking down of individual liberty. However sympathetic I am personally with that perspective. Since it comes from an older (I hesitate to say Teddy Roosevelt given the Eugenics thing, but indeed, a lot of conservative thought on individual liberty stems from the same ‘progressive’ ideas (and that’s progressive then not, say, Rachel Maddow on the radio now) held then) view of conservativism and being on the ‘right.’

What’s that old saw? Let you politics stand still long enough and you get bent through the spectrum until you wind up a traitor?
So collectivism – yeah, lefty, but concentration of power again, mostly a dodge of real ideology.
And black, red, and white have been colors of power and change for a very very long time.
(But let’s not get into the black and red with a 'Hawk fan ... Kane ... ah, don't get me started)

Look at the French Revolution and contrast that with the Nazi rise to power. There’s not much difference -structurally- between Robespierre and Hitler. The former was the absolute incarnation of ‘left’ politics. The latter, most certainly on the ‘right’ by most measures of his time (and I mean that mechanically, as in, that is how his operation functioned, not ideologically).

However there’s no appreciable difference to the guy on the ground. The meaning of ‘Jew’ was arbitrary. Necessarily so. And plenty of quotes from the Nazi high command on that. So too – there was no genuine protection from the Terror under the committee for public safety, save that you demonstrate – habitually – complete loyalty.

So it is important to define about where these things lay on the political spectrum, yes.
And it is important to understand how it is they operate. Indeed, simply being ideologically loyal is not, and was not, enough.
For Robespierre (easily as sick a bastard as Hitler) the state was identical to and inherent in its people. So to not demonstrate loyalty – to not constantly act to support him or his goons (whichever ‘him’ we’re taking about) is to be disloyal, even if you’ve bought the t-shirt, ate the hamburger, marched in the parade, and got the tattoo under your armpit.
Consider this in the context of 9/11.
A person does not fly an aircraft into a building because he is loyal. He does it because loyalty is a constant demonstration of identity.
Look at something in my backyard - Lashkar e Tayyiba (the Army of the Good) - WTF does that really mean, intrinsically? They kill six Americans (Jews) in those hotel attacks in Mumbai, 164 people total, look to murder the Denmark journalists who put up the drawings of the Prophet.
David Coleman Headley's identity is what? Muslim? Pakistani? How Muslim can he be if he changed his name to hide it? How Pakistani is he if he lives in Chicago? Does it add any insight to look at his dad working for Voice of America? Tahawwur Rana's "Canadian" like Bush was "compassionate."
There's the pretense to power (and relevance in world affairs) granted by these groups that is cloaked in ideology. Yeah it's teh Jews, we're gonna giddim. All that. And so that relieves the frustration (same thing Beck does). Pretense to relevance.
But on the action level, it's proving relevance, and identity, though action (that makes one deserving of and embodied in whatever group/cause/blah).

So too – the "radical right" (to use the SPL term) here shows exactly the same kind of demand.
Bit broad a term, net might be a bit wide. But that doesn't much matter.
Because that pretense to relevance (ironically not standing FOR something - not genuinely, but defined by opposition) is what changes the matter from what it was - a bunch of cranks who can’t shoot straight and wannabe (wannasee?) bad asses sitting out in the woods drinking beer pretending their standing against “the government” into a guy who thinks he can make a mark on the world by killing an abortion doctor. And it starts in making all that seem normal.

And indeed, every self styled revolutionary group seems to know this – that the violence is in laying the groundwork for the future. So the neo-nazi skinheads past become the hammerskins of the more recent past become those idiot twins and the hateful stuff seems more and more regular as it isolates more and more – even as it devolves from whatever ideology there was. As is often pointed out, real Nazis would smash the hell out of ‘skins, neo-nazis, etc. But their genesis is exactly the same. Takes years and years to do this.
The real message is that it’s bearing fruit now. And much as I love swimming in blood, chaos and violence (it’s as close to a native element I have, I'm not thrilled with it or anything, just how it is), the method for dealing with them is reintegration.

Oh, that doesn’t mean ‘gentle’ necessarily. But keep allowing them to isolate and further marginalize and you get social balkanization. And some folks here other than me have had experience with just how delightful that can get.
So keep the critical eye, just remember it should be on reconciliation, not condemnation. Labels tend to get in the way for why people think what they think.

“In fact, one might say that the two views are diametrically opposed. So why then, is it brought up at all, aside from general historical interest? It's not where the progressive movement is today at all, so I guess it's just used to tar the other side no matter how logically inconsistent the attack is.”

On the contrary – while I cede that some folks just like to win arguments – and hell, I fall into that myself sometimes so no foul – unless you tag certain ideas and follow their lineage you don’t really get a feel for how they’ve developed. Or how whatever might be espoused in the front can be twisted in the back in the execution.

What does the progressive movement believe today? In the U.S.? Still in Iraq. Still fighting wars. Gitmo is still open. I’m not jumping on Obama here. I’m just saying it’s tough to stay out of the ‘no true scotsman’ territory for anyone of any political stripe.
So you have to go with how the duck functions beyond just quacking. At least, that would have been my point. Which I think is alloy with yours. It’s better to look at how an idea functions rather than checking the paint job for red or blue.

And it’s better to look how a given system works. So, the GOP (and to some degree the Dems) demand loyalty and there’s that same feedback system one saw in a number of other totalitarian and dictatorial regimes.

So what is it about our system that’s marginalizing these people and pissing them off and letting a given group benefit from that?

Pretty much why I’ve voted 3rd party for so long even if the seed eating, Birkenstock wearing, soap dodging Greens wanna ‘take my guns away’ here in Illinois. Not that all of them do of course. But there’s enough ideological separation between myself and some of them to make it uncomfortable (had someone screaming at me for being pro-life. I, of course, believe in it as an ideal. In practice I notice pro-choice is better at mitigating unplanned pregnancies. Since that’s the goal, my goal at least, easy call as to which to support. Still – no one likes getting yelled at and spending time unsnarling the misunderstanding.)

But there too (for me) – the systemic gains far outweigh the ideological issues. So, easy call. And I’m not frustrated because the goal – making systemic change rather than advancing a given platform – is more clear. Harder, sure. But not as irritating because your working for an increment rather than trying to still ideological smoke in the moving air of politics.

It'd be nice if we could pull the mystique off violence. But a lot of groups use that. I tell people it's bullshit. A lot of them don't want to hear it. I remember reading a Punisher comic someone sent along 5th or 25th hand. Fairly old. Anyway, he's gearing up to kill some gangsters or whatever and folks on the news for the vox pops are saying how they're pro-Punisher. And he's sits on the bed and - crazy as he is - thinks "are there people who think there's some kind of glory in what I do? My God who would want to be me?"
And it's funny - yeah, there are. They forget the whole 'entire family gunned down in front of your eyes' bit of it. As though there's some moral surety in killing. There isn't. Only the necessity. (Actually - one of the best pieces I've seen is from the Onion)
But again, if those kinds of folks stood for something - had any genuine ideology at all that could be subjected to reasonable analysis instead of the gainsaying they do in opposition - they'd be more interested in working and gaining something instead of the 'drama' and 'glory' of fighting and killing.
They're not. Most of them want to die loving Big Brother.
So, best way to kill them is to not let them. But rather, give them a purpose. A real purpose. Bring them in and give them space in the process and a voice.
I've heard that riff before from a number of quarters. Seems like the folks who say that tend to get nailed to trees, shot by lone nuts, have plane and car accidents, etc. So maybe there is a metagame there beyond the left/right dichotomy.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:22 AM on March 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


You do know that TARP (the original $700 billion) is expected to break even, right?

LOL

"Break even".


Why is that the only salient criticisms of the most significant policies of the Obama Administration on this thread seem to come from users who then go on to in effect apologize for right-wing extremism? I swear I'm not trying to derail this thread, but reading the latest Taibbi piece in Rolling Stone on the utter corruption of the bailout really hit me where it hurts. Not to mention the thread has been thoroughly derailed already.

And I do realize that Taibbi's thought processes are at times a small step up from James Kunstler's.
posted by viborg at 11:25 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll just leave this here. Feel free to discuss.

This HITLER/NAZI inevitability in contentious discussion precedes the internets. I recall, back in the late 80s, my brother's crowd had what they called the ULTIMATELY-HITLER-RULE. When drinking, discussing, arguing etc, if anyone ever used Hitler or Nazism to sloppily support a point, the rest would quickly shout "ULTIMATELY HITLER" and the offender would have to buy a round of drinks.
posted by philip-random at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2010


Also, stringently eschewing mentions of Hitler or Nazis in a discussion of right-wing violence is like avoiding mention of St Augustine in a discussion of Catholic doctrine.
posted by jtron at 12:12 PM on March 9, 2010


We should repurpose that for people who clamor to be the first to identify a Godwin moment now:

ULTIMATELY GODWIN

It has a sort of recursive meta-meta-ness that I like.
posted by quin at 12:17 PM on March 9, 2010


Stop saying "Godwin". There needs to be a Godwin Rule for the word "Godwin."
posted by grubi at 12:41 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: like watching a jazz band riff on "Found a Peanut" or something
posted by jokeefe at 12:41 PM on March 9, 2010


Exactly, grubi. "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a muddled reference to Godwin's Law approaches 1."

Call it Godwin's Burden, maybe. I imagine this has, itself, been formalized any number of times before, so someone had better get on a draft of Godwin's Recursion and have done with it.
posted by cortex at 12:47 PM on March 9, 2010


ULTIMATELY GODWIN RECURSES BACK UPON ITSELF UNTIL THERE IS ONLY DISCUSSION ABOUT DISCUSSION ABOUT NAZIS AND THE DISCUSSION THEREOF

But that's a bit wordy.

posted by quin at 12:59 PM on March 9, 2010


Of course, there should be a corollary: 95% of the people who invoke Godwin don't realize that it doesn't say not to mention Hitler, just that the likelihood of such a mention increases.

Once on MeFi, someone told me not to speak ill of the dead and I responded "Hitler's dead. Can I not speak ill of him?" which was my way of pointing out that the hard fast rule is porrly written. Of course, they threw Godwin at me as if my point was bad.
posted by grubi at 1:27 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


By this token, Ron Paul would be a leftist fascist for supporting a ban on abortion, treating black Americans like "terrorists", and otherwise overturning equal protection for gays and lesbians.

Please.

I get that these two issues are of particular concern to you, but individual liberty is broader than this. Ron Paul's commitment to individual liberty can be seen in his positions on the 2nd Amendment, jury nullification (the right of the individual to judge the law), habeas corpus, the draft, eminent domain and in his opposition to the Patriot Act. While he would also likely oppose abortion at the state level, his opposition to the federal government's legislating on abortion is echoed by a number of other pro-choice liberals (e.g. Laurence Tribe and former Justice Blackmun clerk Edward Lazarus). Your comment that he supports "overturning equal protection for gays and lesbians" is vague. If you mean his opposition to legislation forbidding workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, then his reasoning is undoubtedly the same as his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is based on respect for private property and the desire to limit the state's reduction of those rights. If you mean his opposition to same sex marriage then it must be pointed out that he opposes any government involvement in marriage and that he also opposes a federal amendment defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman. In my opinion the long term practical consequences of this position, e.g. insurance, probate and end of life decisions, make for poor policy but as stated there is no attack on individual liberty. And if you're referring to his opposition to hate crimes legislation, then I'll side step a debate on this issue and just say that I don't see a refusal to create a new category of "thought crimes" as a dismissal of our rights as citizens. If anything these thought crimes against protected classes seem rather intrusive. As for Ron Paul supporting the treatment of Black Americans as terrorists, I have no idea what you're talking about.

-----

But again, if those kinds of folks stood for something - had any genuine ideology at all that could be subjected to reasonable analysis instead of the gainsaying they do in opposition - they'd be more interested in working and gaining something instead of the 'drama' and 'glory' of fighting and killing.
They're not. Most of them want to die loving Big Brother.


Yup. This reminds me of Horowitz's First Law of Political Economy - No one hates capitalism more than the capitalists.

"The explanation, I think, is that capitalists prefer the stability and predictability of the known over anything unknown, especially when it promises to socialize their losses on the rest of us."

...

"Competition is, in Hayek's words, a "discovery procedure." Competition sucks if you're one of the competitors. It makes you have to constantly be on your toes, watching for new entrants, new innovations, and changes in the relevant variables. How much easier life would be in a more stable and predictable world where capitalists didn't have to serve the fickle consumer!"

And certainly many of these fringe group, self-styled fighters for liberty would show little respect for the liberty of others if they were making the decisions.
posted by BigSky at 1:28 PM on March 9, 2010


THERE ARE TWO AXES, PEOPLE. One left v right (aka liberal v conservative) and one authoritarian v libertarian (strong central govt v weak central govt). They cross, creating a grid.

Sure, I think that's a useful way to talk about it as well. But we started off with a pretty rigid focus on one axis. This is the best approach to the Left Right distinction that I know of.
posted by BigSky at 1:44 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


While he would also likely oppose abortion at the state level

So he's against individual rights, just at the state level.

In my opinion the long term practical consequences of this position, e.g. insurance, probate and end of life decisions, make for poor policy but as stated there is no attack on individual liberty.

It is his long-standing opposition to the Constitutional right to equal protection under law for gay and lesbian American citizens that bothers me.

This includes his support for and opposition to various policies that have the ultimate goal of treating gays and lesbians as second-class citizens, including marriage and hate crime legislation that provide protection to individuals from mobs.

As for Ron Paul supporting the treatment of Black Americans as terrorists, I have no idea what you're talking about.

I'm talking about his comments in his newsletters from the 1990s:
The criminals who terrorize our cities -- in riots and on every non-riot day--are not exclusively young black males, but they largely are.

...

Of black males in Washington, D.C, between the ages of 18 and 35, 42% are charged with a crime or are serving a sentence, reports the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives. The Center also reports that 70% of all black men in Washington are arrested before they reach the age of 35, and 85% are arrested at some point in their lives. Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.

If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers....
If racism is leftist, then Metafilter has turned the world upside-down.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:54 PM on March 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


If racism is leftist, then Metafilter has turned the world upside-down.

There's plenty of examples of Racism in Leftist systems, but BP is correct in saying that it's usually the bugbear on the Right Wing's side. Though Conservatives can often be internationalists, they often use nationalism and sometimes dabble in ultranationalism to give purpose, authority, and legitimacy to the State.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:12 PM on March 9, 2010


@Blazecock Pileon

You consistently make the least generous interpretations possible.

The desire to ban abortion rests on the belief that the embryo is a person. If that's your starting point the interest is not in reducing the liberty of the mother but rather in securing the right to life of the embryo.

Claiming that his stance on the above mentioned gay issues has the "ultimate goal" of treating gays and lesbians as second class citizens is delusional. There is no such intent to oppress. As shown, the opposition to gay marriage is associated with his belief that government should not be involved in marriage. And the opposition to employment discrimination is a position for individual liberty - the right of a person to dispose of their private property as they wish. You may prefer that the government intrude on property owners and prevent them from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, etc., but to call it aligned with individual liberty when you favor government coercion is sophistry.

And then you lose the plot completely. In your earlier post you write, "treating black Americans like 'terrorists'". What does that have to do with what you posted later? Seriously, where is he saying anything about treating them like terrorists? But you did get an opportunity to post some excerpts from the newsletters. Congratulations. While the tone of the quote is offensive throughout, you bolded a few passages suggesting that those particular claims were racist. This was a bit of surprise since the bottom one, disproportionately high numbers of black offenders, is well known to be true. Then again, crying 'Racism!' every time someone asserts an ugly truth is typical leftist bullshit. Really no surprise at all.

As for a response to the above smear, here you go. Since I doubt you'll read it, I close with an excerpt.

In 1993, when the worst of the newsletters were being published, Ron Paul very publicly endorsed the Virginia General Assembly campaign of Rick Sincere, an openly gay Libertarian. Says Sincere: “Ron Paul issued a letter on my behalf, soliciting funds from libertarians and votes from constituents. ... Dr. Paul (then a former congressman) was aware I was running as an openly-gay candidate and he raised no questions, concerns, or objections. I hardly think a homophobic bigot would have sent out a fundraising letter over his own signature, endorsing (as the Washington Times stylebook would have it) an ‘avowed homosexual’ for public office.”
posted by BigSky at 9:43 PM on March 9, 2010


In 1993, when the worst of the newsletters were being published

Sigh. Didn't we go over this in '08? No one disputes that the Ron Paul newsletters were full of racist nonsense. If Paul endorsed the opinions written under his name he was a racist; if he was ignorant of the opinions written under his name he was a fool; and if he just didn't care what was written under his name, then he was a charlatan, a race-baiter, and a fool. Since you've been defending Paul on this score for God-knows how many years now, I don't suppose any of this matters to you, but continuing to do so makes you look like an obstinate old communist stubbornly defending the merits of the USSR.

The Left promotes the group and strong central government, the Right advocates for the rights of the individual and for his protection from the group.

And I must say, since there are hundreds of years of history disproving this proposition, it is either one of the most ignorant or ideologically-blinded statements I've ever encountered on Metafilter.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:36 AM on March 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The Left promotes the group and strong central government, the Right advocates for the rights of the individual and for his protection from the group."

And I must say,
(again) since there are hundreds of years of history disproving this proposition, it is either one of the most ignorant or ideologically-blinded statements I've ever encountered on Metafilter.

Considering that this thread included the statement, "Fascism is a right wing belief.", those are pretty strong words.

The right wing still has a greater connection to the classical liberal tradition than the left. Admittedly, the contest is close, but the right does seem to have some respect for property holders at least. Prior to World War II, the left had drifted away from the classical liberal world view, advocating for more government intervention. Contrasting the Old Right with the modern liberals (again, both political outlooks are prior to WWII) with regard to individual liberty is entirely appropriate for showing that fascism has little to do with the right.

But there's hundreds of years of historical evidence disproving that distinction. Or is that evidence hundreds of years ago? Sure, the classical liberals stood against the monarchist "Right", but that hardly seems relevant to the question of fascism's belonging to the Right.

Since you've been defending Paul on this score for God-knows how many years now, I don't suppose any of this matters to you, but continuing to do so makes you look like an obstinate old communist stubbornly defending the merits of the USSR.

You're right. If I told you that I cared what you thought, I'd be lying. You make me yawn.
posted by BigSky at 8:49 AM on March 10, 2010


If Paul endorsed the opinions written under his name he was a racist; if he was ignorant of the opinions written under his name he was a fool; and if he just didn't care what was written under his name, then he was a charlatan, a race-baiter, and a fool.

Correct.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:49 AM on March 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sukiari ftw.
posted by Damn That Television at 10:07 AM on March 10, 2010


Sukiari ftw.

This must be a use of "ftw" that I am unfamiliar with.
posted by jokeefe at 10:31 AM on March 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, my friend, if you believe that the statement "Fascism is right-wing" is as staggeringly ignorant as asserting that the left is always authoritarian and the right is always libertarian, then less yawning and more listening is in order. Look, people have already tried to explain to you why fascism is regarded as a far-right movement (I wholly concur with kipmanley and a louis wain cat), but ultimately fascism and nazism are far-right movements because they embraced the goals, the concepts, the rhetoric, and the enemies of the far-rightists of the time and the because the far-rightists of the time embraced them, in turn. Similarly, communism is a far-left movement. You can try to argue that some particular philosophy is essentially authoritarian or libertarian until you're blue in the face, but you're only being tendentious. In theory, right-libertarianism should shade into left-libertarianism, anarchism shade into anarcho-capitalism, and red authoritarianism shade into brown authoritarianism. In reality, political movements take their character from the historical contingencies their leaders and followers find themselves in.

I'll muse out loud that while lefties and left-liberals have viciously argued over communism pro and con for decades I've never encountered the argument that it doesn't "belong" on the left. Partly, I like to think, because it's a facile fucking argument to make.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:39 PM on March 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Glenn Beck Knows That The Maoists In The WH Are Getting Secret Messages From That Communist Woody Guthrie. Huh?
posted by homunculus at 8:53 AM on March 12, 2010


Ron Paul Poses with Neo-Nazi Don Black
Paul signs Autograph For Neo-Nazi Derek Black
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2010


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