Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Echo Chamber of the Left

I've said all of this before, but this fellow says it so much better:

Much of Democratic politics seems to now consist of embracing and fanning similarly comforting, but ultimately deceptive, liberal memes. Enron has fatally damaged Bush, Abu Ghraib has fatally damaged Bush, Katrina has fatally damaged Bush, Abramoff has fatally damaged Bush, the Plame investigation will fatally damage Bush--you can catch the latest allegedly devastating issue every day on Huffington Post or Daily Kos (and frequently in the NYT). If you believe the hype--if you don't compare Michael Moore's box office with Mel Gibson's box office, in effect--you'll believe that Democrats don't need to change to win. They just need to push all these hot memes forcefully. If you don't believe the hype--if you think that netroots Dems are too often like the Iraqi Sunnis who think they're a majority--you'll look for a Bill Clinton-like alternative with greater red-state appeal.

But there's no hope of them ever getting wise, certainly not in time for 2008, anyway. They are in the process of trying to rid themselves of apostates like Lieberman who actually might appeal to a majority of voters.

Republicans are not prone to this. They've got the mainstream media disrespecting them all the time and spinning things to make Republican policy sound out of the mainstream. Their problem is exactly the opposite -- they are a majority without the confidence to act like it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Nazism = Socialism = Totalitarianism

This is a scholarly article written by a free market economist, a "classical liberal:"

My purpose today is to make just two main points: (1) To show why Nazi Germany was a socialist state, not a capitalist one. And (2) to show why socialism, understood as an economic system based on government ownership of the means of production, positively requires a totalitarian dictatorship.

The article makes these points, among others:

1. Capitalists under the Nazis were capitalists in name only, stripped of the power to control what was supposedly their own property. Their actual status under the Nazis was one of sharecroppers or of government pensioners.

2. De facto socialism in Nazi Germany was established with the establishment of wage and price controls, which cemented central control of the economy. The effects of wage and price controls, which lead to shortages and other problems, produced a series of events whereby the Nazis ended up with control of all aspects of the economy, i.e., prices, wages, production, capitalization, etc.

3. Establishment of de facto socialism leads inevitably to totalitarianism.

In sum, therefore, the requirements merely of enforcing price-control regulations is the adoption of essential features of a totalitarian state, namely, the establishment of the category of "economic crimes," in which the peaceful pursuit of material self-interest is treated as a criminal offense, and the establishment of a totalitarian police apparatus replete with spies and informers and the power of arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.

Once the elites decide that they know better than the free market how to run the economy and know better than the people how to run the government one is put on a path that invariably ends up at the same place, i.e., totalitarianism. Whether you call that path Nazism, communism, socialism, or fascism makes little difference.

Left leaning historians have two lines of argument that supposedly distinguishes Nazism from socialism. The first is the issue of motivations. For example, the Nazis were nationalists, meaning they were mainly motivated by an interest in bettering the lot of the German people and cared nothing or less than nothing for anyone else while the Communists and Socialists were motivated by a concern for all people, were internationalist and somewhat more pluralistic. However the central definition of the term "socialist" says nothing about nationalism vs internationalism.

Second is the way in which German capitalists and conservatives worked in favor of the Nazis, an association that scholars would like to say brands Nazis as capitalists and right wingers. However, faced with the rise of Communism in Germany, clearly the more powerful of the contending political ideologies in Germany at the time, which would have thrown capitalists and other property owners out on the street or would have them lined up and shot, and the Nazis, who were willing to leave the middle class alone or even help them out even while taking control of the economy and providing the common German people with welfare, employment, and benefits, who does one suppose that capitalists and other property owners were going to favor? That association says nothing about what the Nazis actually were, only about what was perhaps the dilemma of the propertied classes of Germany at the time.


Here's a new word for you to learn: dhimmitude.

The Dhimmi are the non-Muslim peoples, Jews and Christians, who have been subjugated by Muslims. There are Dhimmi all over the world, and their experience and their treatment by Muslims, not just radical Muslims but ordinary, every day Muslims, has always been the same.

Wherever Islam conquered, surrendering dhimmi, known to Muslims as "people of the book [the Bible]," were tolerated, allowed to practice their religion, but at a dehumanizing cost.

There were literal taxes (jizya) to be paid; these bought the dhimmi the right to remain non-Muslim, the price not of religious freedom, but of religious identity. Freedom was lost, sorely circumscribed by a body of Islamic law (sharia) designed to subjugate, denigrate and humiliate the dhimmi. The resulting culture of self-abnegation, self-censorship and fear shared by far-flung dhimmi is the basis of dhimmitude. The extremely distressing but highly significant fact is, dhimmitude doesn't only exist in lands where Islamic law rules.

And we have seen the once proud Western tradition of a free press kneel down in submission to an Islamic law against depictions of Muhammad. That's dhimmitude.

Not that the press will admit it. They dress it up in language about tolerance, responsibility, and sensibility and congratulate themselves on their good judgment and pluralism. The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, BBC, NBC, numerous other papers including the New York Times all joined in this cowardly dodge. Left unmentioned is the understanding that "gratuitous offense", which they don't hesitate to offer about Christianity or Judaism, might lead to gratuitous violence.


The Stupidity and Cowardice of the News Media

It is stupid and base to gratuitously insult the beliefs or symbols of religious people. That is the sort of thing that civil organizations like newspapers would do best to avoid. But once that line has been crossed, as is the case with the Danish cartoons of Mohammed fiasco, then it is even worse to cave in to terrorist's demands for censorship.

When the average person looks at what has gotten the Muslims all upset, to the point of burning embassies and threatening to behead people, I have to imagine that they see these radical Muslims as completely crazy, liable to be sent into paroxyms of rage and violence by anything or nothing.

My God, my God, a person might say, these people are damned dangerous.

Meanwhile, in newspaper land we're off into another round of revelations about how the US is being mean to detainees at Gitmo. And we've got Democrats who insist that the President listening in on the phone conversations of foreign terrorists is grounds for impeachment.

And the Democrats and their media friends wonder why they keep losing on the issue of national security.

And what must it say to the average person that newspapers are afraid to publish these cartoons? The newspaper's respect for religious beliefs has hardly kept them from being unfairly critical of or even contemptuous of other's beliefs, especially Christians.

The New York Times issued an editorial that explained why they had decided not to publish the cartoons of Mohammed out of "respect for Muslims." And then the very next day printed a reproduction of the famous painting of the Madonna with elephant sh*t all over her.

No, it's pretty obvious that the newspapers have been cowed by the terrorists. And so can we ever trust the newspapers to have the courage to report on the tough stories?

What else have they been afraid to tell us? We know, for example that CNN had an office in Baghdad for years and never reported what they knew about violations of human rights in that country for fear of what Saddam might do.

Of Course the Nazis Were Socialists

As one of my left leaning friends said,

But [Hitler] was no Socialist, and anyone who takes his word for it that he was a Socialist, shame on you.

And shame on you, I replied, for refusing to acknowledge the plain facts:

1. For years and years the Nazis ran on a platform indistinguishable from any other socialist party (see below).

2. When they took power they followed through on many of those policies.

Such as:

3. The Nazis controlled the German economy, including taking control of the Board of Directors of large corporations "for the benefit of the people" essentially stripping the company owners and stockholders of their rights to control their own property.

4. They put in place an extensive social welfare system.

5. Through command control of the economy they forced an end to unemployment and made many other changes to increase overall prosperity.

6. Just as the Communists in Russia did, they refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of any labor organization outside of the state, thereby bringing an end to strikes and other such impediments to their policy. Just as the Communist Party in the Soviet Union was the only true voice of the proletariate, against which no opposition was tolerated, the Reich was the embodiment of the will of the German people, and nothing was allowed to impede that will, not corporate interests or union interests or the press or anything. As has been the case in every other leftist totalitarian state, dissention was dealt with harshly.

Many have said that Hitler only took on the coloration of socialism in order to win power and discarded those policies once he had it. But in fact he actually made good on many of his promises. Besides that, the same accusation could be made about every other major leftist regime in the 20th century since they started off with promises of a socialist utopia and always seemed to end up with somthing quite different.

The Nazis stated goal was to bring forth a nation-state as the locus and embodiment of the people's collective will, geared to serve the interests of the German people. Their success toward that end is probably the main reason for continued support by most German people right up to the end.

The Third Reich was not democratic. It was controlled by strongmen. As has been the case with every other leftist totalitarian state.

The Third Reich was viruently anti-Semetic, as was most of the rest of Europe, as was Soviet Russia.

The contortions that left leaning historians go through to draw a sharp line between the Reich and "real" socialist states get to be quite amusing.

Many, but not all, socialist ideologies oppose the idea of nations altogether, which they see as artificial divisions that support the status quo and oppression. The Nazis were not internationalists, and if you weren't German you couldn't be in the club. But that distinction has little to do with whether or not they are socialists since the definition of socialism doesn't include the presence or absence of an internationalist outlook.

Leftists today want to distance themselves from all of the failed socialist states of the past, insisting that socialism as practiced then has nothing to do with their current ideology. So all the millions and millions of citizens of socialist states killed by those states do not accrue to their balance sheet. But there is no real difference between the ideologies of the leaders of Soviet Russia, or Cambodia, or Communist China and the American left of today. They can pretend a difference only by being willfully blind to the past.

The Policy Manifesto of the National Socialist German Workers Party, written by Adolf Hitler, 1920:

All citizens of the State shall be equal as regards rights and duties.

The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. The activities of the individual may not clash with the interests of the whole, but must proceed within the frame of the community and be for the general good.

Therefore we demand:

That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in life and property, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as a crime against the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits whether in assets or material.

We demand the nationalization of businesses which have been organized into cartels.

We demand that all the profits from wholesale trade shall be shared out.

We demand extensive development of provision for old age.

We demand the creation and maintenance of a healthy middle-class, the immediate communalization of department stores which will be rented cheaply to small businessmen, and that preference shall be given to small businessmen for provision of supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.

We demand a land reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to confiscate from the owners without compensation any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

History and Hatred of Israel

There is an astonishing amount of ignorance these days about how Israel go started, and the way that the antique media portrays current events doesn't help much, spinning things so that Israel is transformed into an occupier and oppressor of the poor Arabs around them.

Israel's Arab opponents have declared that it has no right to exist, and they have done nothing but attack Israel without letup from the day of its creation. It's either eternal war or extinction, so eternal war it is.

The State of Israel was created by an act of the United Nations mostly out of land that Jews already owned, having bought the land from the mostly Arab Palestinians over many years. By the time the State was created there were already more than a half million Jews living there on their own land. Great Britain, who controlled Palestine at the time, had been trying to keep Jews out of Palestine, sending them back to Europe when they attempted to leave to join the Jews in Palestine, or esle there would have been many more. Many of those turned back, of course, were subsequently slaughtered by the Nazis, and so Great Britain bears some of the responsiblity for those deaths, as do many nations that restricted Jewish attempts to leave anti-semetic Europe. So, it was partly out of a sense of redressing a great injustice that the United Nations created the State of Israel.

Arabs had been attacking the Jewish settlements in Palestine even before Israel was created. The Arab nations refused to accept Israel's creation and immediately attacked. From that day to this it has been war, and the myth of Israel as an occupier who ejected Palestinians from the land was born. Subsequent parcels of land like Gaza were those won from the enemy in various wars.

When a nation loses land in a war caused by their own aggression and hatred then they've got no right to complain and no one to blame but themselves.

Most of the land lost by Arabs was lost in the 6 days war of 1967.

In 1967, the President of Egypt, Nassar, declared that he intended to destroy Israel and that the Egyptian people wanted war. He ordered UN peacekeepers out of the Sinai, he remilitarized the Sinai and put 7 divisions of troops (100,000) and tanks (800) on the border with Israel. Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping, which in and of itself was an act of war. Jordan started massing troops (55,000), tanks (300), and planes at their border with Israel, and then Jordan and Egypt signed a mutual defense treaty in which Jordanian troops were put under the command of the Egyptian generals. Thus, Jordanian and Egyptian troops were poised to cut Israel in half in a matter of minutes.

And so Israel, after appealing to the UN and the international community for help in vain, rather than waiting to be destroyed, decided to seize the initiative and attack.

In the end the Arabs lost a lot of land and lives (21,000 dead) vs less than 1000 Israeli soldiers killed. Such are the fortures of war.

Egypt later got the Sinai back through peaceful negoiations with Israel, a development despised by the rest of the Arab world and that led to the assasination of the Egyptian President.

And from that point on Israel has been trying to get the Arabs to negotiate a peace and recognition of Israel by offering in various degrees to give land back to the Arabs and return to the 1967 borders. Events have shown that many Arabs have no interest in ever doing this, their only interest is in seeing Israel destroyed, and any concession is little more than a temporary truce in the ongoing war.

Since well before Israel was created both sides of the conflict, Arab and Israeli, have been using terroristic tactics, attacking the other side's civilian population whenever they found themselves in an assymetrical situation. But it is Israel that is the democratic state. It is Israel that has a viable justice system and whose strong men adhere to the rule of law, and it is Israel that has been a friend and ally of the US since the beginning.