Tag Archives: adolf hitler

The secret source of fake news. Its discovery will change America.

Summary: Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations. It is a secret that explains much of modern American history. We have become gullible, seeing the false beliefs of others but credulously believing what our tribal leaders tell us. The avalanche of “fake news” is the logical response by our ruling elites.

“in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
— A saying for our time, although not by Orwell.
Logical contradiction

We caused the rising tide of fake news

After WWII our ruling elites have grown increasingly bold in their lies (see the Big List of lies by our government). They have seen how we credulously believe even the most implausible stories, and that we inflict little or no penalty when their lies are discover (even Bill Clinton’s conviction of contempt of court and disbarment for lying under oath didn’t dent his popularity among Democrats).

The rising tide of fake news naturally results as awareness of our gullibility spread among our ruling elites. We see the lies of our foes but remain delusionally ignorant about the lies of our tribe. This is comically obvious on comment threads, where attacks on tribal truths are brutally repulsed, but politically pleasing and outrageous lies go without contradiction or protest.

The Right muttered about Obama’s missing birth certificate while describing Obama as a radical leftist anarchist commie Muslim Nazi. They believe that cutting income taxes usually increases tax revenue, that torture produces reliable answers (it doesn’t), and that foreign armies usually defeat local insurgents (they don’t). Their websites overflow with lies about gun rights, about economics, about history, and scores other subjects.

The Left is no better. The IPCC was the “gold standard” description of climate science research — the most reliable statement of climate scientists’ consensus. By 2011 activists were saying it was “too conservative”, which became a widespread response to the release of AR5 in 2013 (e.g., see Inside Climate News, The Daily Climate, and Yale’s Environment 360). Propagandists like Phil Plait misrepresent or even hide the science.

For fifty years Leftists doomsters arouse the faithful with fake stories, and still the Left eagerly believes the next one. For years their articles and comments casually mentioned destruction of humanity or even the biosphere. They believed that 30,000 species go extinct every years. Now they casually discuss the imminent collapse of the Republic, with gulags and no election in 2020. They look at Team Trump’s collection of right-wing politicians, CEOs, and billionaires but seeing fascist revolutionaries.

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The Left calls Trump a fascist instead of focusing on the issues

Summary: Campaign 2016 is the most ideological election since 1982, perhaps since McKinley-Bryan in 1896 (our most expensive election). Rather than deal with these issues, and the serious reasons to oppose Trump, the Left prefers to focus on bogus condemnations of him as “fascist”. This preference for cartoon-like fantasy over messy reality is why they have been losing to the Right (& its hard focus on money and power) for generations.

Definition of Fascism

During the past generation the Left has fallen into the lazy habit of attempting to defeat its foes by declaring them as illegitimate — rather than addressing what they say. The Left fires off labels such as racist, deniers, sexists, or fascists — with an increasingly flimsy basis for these accusations. These efforts have become futile through repetition and now only further diminish their influence in America,. The faithful thrill at these chants while they are ignored by the larger public. It’s a way to avoid debating serious issues. it’s another way to lose.

The rise of Trump and populism brings forth another round of knee-jerk claims. Authoritarian! NAZI! Hitler! These words have been drained of meaning by generations of mindless use, an now mask the serious reasons to oppose Trump and conceal the overlap between populism and progressivism that might lead to an alliance capable of winning (which neither can do by itself).

Dylan Matthews consults experts, whose analysis will end this daft comparison in the reality-based community (which unfortunately has little overlap with today’s Left — or Right — in America).

I asked 5 fascism experts whether Donald Trump is a fascist.
Here’s what they said.

By Dylan Matthews at VOX.
Excerpt; it’s worth reading in full.

To be blunt: Donald Trump is not a fascist. “Fascism” has been an all-purpose insult for many years now, but it has a real definition, and according to scholars of historical fascism, Trump doesn’t qualify. Rather, he’s a right-wing populist, or perhaps an “apartheid liberal” in the words of Roger Griffin, author of The Nature of Fascism. He doesn’t want to overthrow the existing democratic system. He doesn’t want to scrap the Constitution. He doesn’t romanticize violence itself as a vital cleansing agent of society. He’s simply a racist who wants to keep the current system but deny its benefits to groups he’s interested in oppressing.

Griffin, who is a professor of history and political theory at Oxford Brookes University, puts it best: “You can be a total xenophobic racist male chauvinist bastard and still not be a fascist.”

…Matthew Feldman, a fascism expert at Teesside University in the UK, agrees. “He’s still in the democratic family,” he says. “Trump is calling for ethnocratic small-l liberalism. It’s liberalism that’s racially tinged.

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Proof pointing to the people guilty of weakening America

Summary: We, Americans, delight in creative explanations blaming others for our problems. “It’s not my fault” is our mantra. Here are two examples suggesting that we can find the guilty parties can be found in the mirror. We can do better.

Einstein about problems

He didn’t say it, but should have

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In these pages I’ve attempted to convey some of the astonishing aspects of 21st century America. None are more astonishing than our disinterest in learning from our experiences (both Left and Right), and the parallel behavior of Left and Right (about which they’re oblivious). I’ve written scores of posts documenting these phenomena.

The conclusion drawn about these posts by many readers: they accurately describe foolish behavior of the other side (the bad guys), but say I show bias and politicization by pointing out similar behavior by the good guys (which is so obviously different). How sad to see such willful blindness. It’s one of the reasons I wonder about our capacity for self-government. The blind need guides. Perhaps that’s how the 1% see their relationship with us.

Here is an example for each.

Bush = Hitler

The Day of Action protest, 18 March 2006

(1) Bush is Hitler. So is Obama

Many at the Left said that President Bush Jr was like Hitler. Zomblog and Ringo’s Pictures have collected examples. Lied us into wars, illegal government surveillance, indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay without charges or trials. The Right laughed.

Now the Left applauds Obama, with his illegal surveillance programs, most aggressive-ever use of the Espionage Act of 1917. continued use of Guantanamo Bay, expanded assassination programs (including US citizens). Most of the same things they condemned Bush Jr for doing, plus more that Bush Jr did not dare do.

And now the Right condemns Obama as — Hitler. David Neiwert at Orcinus has a few examples. Google Images points to hundreds more.

This suggests that both Left and Right love authoritarians, so long as they are on the correct side of the political aisle. Both are oblivious to the similarity of their behaviors to the behavior of those they despise. No wonder our politics have become so dysfunctional.

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“Ender’s Game” is a horror movie, showing us our dark side. No worries; we’ll forget faster than we eat the popcorn.

Summary:  Reader’s have requested revisits to the posts about “Ender’s Game”. As the poster below shows, it holds a mirror to show us aspects of today’s America.  Dark themes, evoking aspects of ourselves we prefer to hide (as popular art so often does).  Our fear, even paranoia. And our willingness to kill as a first recourse (seen this year in Obama’s eagerness to bomb Syria). This was originally posted in September 2010.

It's them or us

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Contents

  1. Background on the author
  2. Why is Ender’s Game popular?
  3. Its powerful, weird dynamics
  4. Ender as an appealing Hitler-like figure
  5. The narrative structure of Ender’s Game: porn
  6. Why generals like Ender’s Game
  7. For More information — & link to free copy of the story
  8. Trailer for Ender’s Game

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(1)  Background on the author

Orson Scott Card has become the latest pawn in the culture war.  DC Comics hired Card to write Superman comics. The Left protested Card’s right-wing views (especially his anti-gay stance). DC fired Card (i.e., put the project on indefinite hold). For details see “What happened to Orson Scott Card?” at Salon.

Now Card has another shot at influencing the American public — and the world (it will be interesting to see the film’s reception in foreign markets).

My nickel review: the short story is brilliant, fascinating, well worth reading. I found the book unreadable.  If you have not read the short story or book,  before continuing either scroll to section 7, or read this free post of the short story.

(2) Why is Ender’s Game popular?

One aspect of its mass appeal: it tells the story of modern America. The world’s superpower — bigger, richer, stronger than any other nation — but we see ourselves as victims. We are forced to invade our Latin neighbors, repeatedly, to see that our businessmen get a fair deal. Attacked on 12/41, 8/64, and 9/11 — forcing us to bomb nations into oblivion (the total weight of bombs dropped on Vietnam was 3x what we used in WWII). But we remain unsullied in our own eyes because our motives are pure.

Others see the story’s appeal in the personal history of its readers: “Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender’s Game, Intention, and Morality“, John Kessel, update of an article originally published in Foundation – the International Review of Science Fiction, Spring 2004 — Excerpt:

Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean. Nothing is his fault. Stilson already lies defeated on the ground, yet Ender can kick him in the face until he dies, and still remain the good guy. Ender can drive bone fragments into Bonzo’s brain and then kick his dying body in the crotch, yet the entire focus is on Ender’s suffering. For an adolescent ridden with rage and self-pity, who feels himself abused (and what adolescent doesn’t?), what’s not to like about this scenario?

An even more pointed answer comes from “Ender’s Game: fascist revenge fantasy? Nah, geek revenge fantasy.“, posted at Wax Banks, 21 August 2006:

{Click here to read the rest of post, going to the September 2010 post}

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The secret, simple tool that persuades Americans. That molds our opinions.

Summary: Part one of this series discussed some dark origins of the New America, and why most discussions of America should touch on NAZI Germany. Today we examine a specific example of this: the big lie as the most effective tool of political persuasion on Americans.

Sam Adams, 21 January 1776

Sam Adams, 21 January 1776.

 

All this was inspired by the principle … that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.

— From Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler (1925).

A major theme of the FM website concerns a discovery made by our leaders during WW2: they can successfully lie to us. Such insights change the course of nations. Sixty years later big lies have become a major tool of political action — for the best of all reasons: they work.

Our leaders lie without consequences, even when they’re caught, because their supporters uncritically believe almost any lie — so long as it supports their politics. These lies create the child-like black-white world we prefer to reality, mirroring the comics-based films that rule in our theaters.

Consider this list, some of the big lies that have had such great effects since WW2:

  1. During the Cold War we lived in the shadow of the powerful Soviet Union: the bomber gap, the missile gap, the Team B project.
  2. Eisenhower looked into our eyes in May 1960 and lied about the downing of the U-2.
  3. We fought the Vietnam War following the attack on US destroyers at Tonkin Gulf in August 1964.
  4. We invaded Afghanistan because it was the staging ground for 9-11 (no, it wasn’t).
  5. We fought the Iraq War to prevent Saddam from using his WMDs.
  6. Obama is a foreigner, a Moslem, an anarchist, a radical Leftist.
  7. ObamaCare will create death panels (here’s the origin of the lie).
  8. The “science is settled” about climate change (not according to the IPCC, which describes a small area of confidence surrounded by uncertainty).
  9. Anthropogenic warming has been the dominate factor for a century or longer (only since WW2).
  10. The Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm, at an accelerating rate (not since roughly 2000).

The widespread use of lies is not partisan issue; everybody does it. Our leaders are not NAZIs because they use big lies, any more than driving on our Interstate Autobahn system in a VW bug means I’m a NAZI. In dynamic societies effectiveness trumps almost all other considerations.

They lie to us because we are gullible.

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Orson Scott Card and the Dark Side of “Ender’s Game”

Orson Scott Card has become the latest icon in the culture war.  DC hired Card to write Superman comics. The Left protested Card’s right-wing views (especially his anti-gay stance). DC fired Card. Conservatives protest this economic sanction due to non-job-related personal opinions (like Scientific American firing a writer for his Christian views).  See the details here. Such things are outside our purview on the FM website, but two posts in September 2010 called attention to Card’s worldview.  The first looks at what the popularity of Ender’s Game tells us about our senior military leaders; the second what its popularity says about us.

(1)  Generals read “Ender’s Game” and see their vision of the future Marine Corps

Summary: Today’s post comes from the youngest member of the FM website’s staff, a Marine Corporal. He’s completed one tour in Afghanistan and will deploy again in early 2011. Here he describes a dark side to one of the most popular science fiction books of the past 20 years, widely read by members of the US military. Ender’s Game contains inspiration for both the best and worst leadership philosophies in today’s USMC. 

The USMC professional reading program includes Ender’s Game, perhaps science fiction writer Orson Scott Card’s greatest work. It contains a powerful dramatization of current Corps doctrine, but it also holds a hidden vision for many Generals. See Wikipedia for a summary of the book. Go here for to see the original short story (Analog, August 1977); the book-length version was published in 1985. It won the Nebula and Hugo awards.

… Unfortunately some Generals would like to be Ender, directing battles at their desks.  Commanding ships with a keyboard, instantly seeing “every enemy ship and weapons it carried.”  Perfect information in the hands of a brilliant chessmaster, supported by his brilliant staff sitting before their screens — moving drones at the other end of the wire.  Logic, order, planning, victory.  The opposite of real war.  Scharnhorst, Clauswitz, or von Moltke (either one) would laugh at such folly.

General Screwtape (USMC) describes the dream in the first of his enlightening series of letters …

{Read the full article here}

(2)   The little-known dark side of Ender’s Game

Contents

  1. Why is Ender’s Game popular?
  2. It’s powerful, weird dynamics
  3. Ender as an appealing Hitler-like figure

(1) Why is Ender’s Game popular?

One aspect of its mass appeal: it tells the story of modern America. The world’s superpower — bigger, richer, stronger than any other nation — but we see ourselves as victims. Forced to invade our Latin neighbors, repeatedly, to see that our businessmen get a fair deal. Pearl Harbor and 9/11, forcing us to bomb nations into oblivion (the total weight of bombs dropped on Vietnam was 3x what we used in WWII, aprox 1,000/person). But we remain pure in our own eyes because our motives are pure.

Others see its appeal in the personal history of its readers: “Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender’s Game, Intention, and Morality“, John Kessel, update of an article originally published in Foundation – the International Review of Science Fiction, Spring 2004 — Excerpt:

Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean. Nothing is his fault. Stilson already lies defeated on the ground, yet Ender can kick him in the face until he dies, and still remain the good guy. Ender can drive bone fragments into Bonzo’s brain and then kick his dying body in the crotch, yet the entire focus is on Ender’s suffering. For an adolescent ridden with rage and self-pity, who feels himself abused (and what adolescent doesn’t?), what’s not to like about this scenario?

An even more pointed answer comes from “Ender’s Game: fascist revenge fantasy? Nah, geek revenge fantasy.“, posted at Wax Banks, 21 August 2006:

Needless to say most of the people I know who Really Love the book aren’t soldiers, they’re socially-malformed geeks who’re attracted to the ‘meritocratic’ vision of the genius freak, ‘precociously’ outwitting everyone around him, morally pure though his thoughts are bloody and selfish, who wins battles with his brain but secretly is almost superhumanly effective at physical tasks – which you’d never guess to look at him.

Card’s writing comes, I think, from a more plainly geeky wish-fulfillment urge, and is a way of placing the misunderstood genius/asshole at the center of the moral universe. It’s no wonder that Ender spends most of his time lecturing his peers (moral/intellectual inferiors) and playing video games, and it’s no wonder so many people at (e.g.) MIT, where Ender’s Game is a kind of shared keystone text, live identical or very similarly narcissistic lives. The dominant social pathologies at MIT line up neatly with Ender’s own.

{Click here to read the rest of the article ….}

Voices from the past describe the coming New America

Summary:  Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the future is to convey the fantastic range of possibilities. Peoples’ minds rebel even at scenarios which are mundane, even likely, from a historical perspective. Let’s open our minds for a minute, and contemplate the possibility that what happened in the recent past can happen again — no matter how dark.

A symbol of unity for nations of the past and perhaps the future.

Colonel Stok (Soviet secret police):  “These Germans, sometimes I wonder how we managed to beat them.

Vaclav (Czechoslovakian secret police):  “The Nazis?”

Stok:  “Oh, we still haven’t beaten them.  The Germans, I mean.”

— From Len Deighton’s Funeral in Berlin (1964)

Echos from the past

To anyone with a knowledge of history, the political speech of America today echos with familiar tunes about the third way between Left and Right: fascism.  It remains an attractive (to many) modern ideology when stripped of the NAZI madness — the anti-Semitism, racial purification, and the final solution. As both the Left and Right show signs of decay — insularity, doctrinal rigidity, indifference to contrary facts (visible only to their opposition, not themselves), the third way might gain a mass audience. As it did in the 1930s.

Economic hard times (as in Japan and Europe) will help.  As it did in the 1930s.

Since few Americans know much about fascism, we can look to 1930s Italy for a lesson. In the London Review of Books Richard Evans reviews two new books about those times.

Duggan {gives} a general history of Fascism that for the first time treats it, not as a tyranny that allowed ordinary Italians no possibility of expressing themselves freely, nor as the brutal dictatorship of a capitalist class that reduced the great majority of the country’s citizens to the status of victims, but as a regime rooted strongly in popular aspirations and desires. … Italy’s new Fascist unity ‘of descent, of religion, of tongue, of customs, of hopes, of ideals’.

… the Leader bridged social, cultural, generational and regional differences to help bind the nation together.

Of course, there are opponents to even the most idyllic State. Fascist Italy built machinery to suppress these malcontents. Just as Bush and Obama are doing today (technology allows domestic surveillance at lower cost, with far fewer people). Here’s what we can look forward to if we continue down this path:

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