Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nationalism is Leftist

These days nobody much talks about nationalism any more.  Old Adolf is thought to have given it a bad name.  But it is essential to understand what nationalism is if we are to understand 20th century history.  So how do we define it?  And how do we define Leftism?

 The essential feature of all Leftism is the desire to stop other people from doing various things they want to do and make them do various things that they do not want to do (via taxation, regulation, mass murder etc.) When (on October 30, 2008) Obama spoke of his intention to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography. He was talking about transforming what American people can and must do. So that is the first and perhaps the most important thing about Leftism: It is intrinsically authoritarian.  Ideally, it would militarize society (which was Hegel's ideal).  It subjugates the individual to the wishes of a Leftist elite.

Nationalism is not so easy.  How do we separate it from patriotism?  Both involve strong feelings of support for ones own country  -- even a willingness to die for one's own country.  I submit that the essential difference is that the patriot wishes only to defend his own country while the nationalist wants to see his country dominate other countries.

On that definition, the Nazis and the Italian Fascists of WWII were nationalists but Britain was not.  Britain already had an empire so had no wish for another one.

But what about WWI?  Feelings that their nation could conquer all comers were rife among all the main combatants of WWI.  And historians generally agree in seeing nationalism as the major psychological motive behind WWI.

So WWI could be seen as proof that nationalism is not Leftist.  The workers of the various countries generally fell in line behind their national leaders, even though many had Leftist convictions.  Leftism was completely out of the picture in WWI.  WWI was not motivated by a desire for social change.

But from another viewpoint, Nationalism is as Leftist as they come.  Nationalism regards the  group as hugely more important than the individual and the nationalist is happy about the huge degree of regimentation that war imposes.  Nationalism is a Leftist dream.  So nationalism is about international change as distinct from social change in one country.  So the yen for change is still there.  Nationalism is just a different brand of Leftism. It is Leftism on a broader canvas.

 I should add here a small refinement of my definitions so far:   Nationalism can mean two quite different things: 1). A desire of a people for independent existence as a nation -- as in 19th century German nationalism or 20th Scottish nationalism; 2). When the lovers of their own country want to dominate other countries. It is meaning 2 that I am concerned with here. And all the examples of that which I can think of, from Napoleon to Hitler, have been Leftists. So my summary of the matter is that nationalism is a Leftist perversion of patriotism.

And even patriotism often gets a bad name these days.  The Left pretend to see nationalism in it.  So they equate patriots with Nazis. So again it is important to be clear about the difference between the two.  If you do not advocate world conquest by your country, you are not a nationalist or a Nazi.

It's interesting that Leftists have gone from being fervent nationalists (with JFK being the last squeak of it in the USA) to people who decry it -- but that is typical of the turnaround that the Left did after WWII.  Because Hitler was such a monumental failure they have had to dissociate themselves from all of his doctrines.  They are back to seeking change in one country

And I don't think I should leave the subject before noting that the first successful nationalist of the 20th century was American.  TR was not only behind America's temporary acquisition of an empire (in Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico etc) and a great glorifier of war but was also the founder of America's "Progressive" party.  -- JR.


Why People Don’t Trust That Speech Restrictions Will Be Applied Fairly to Both Sides

The largest hearing room the Senate has in the Hart Building was standing-room only on Tuesday when the Senate Judiciary Committee held its hearing on the resolution proposed by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that would amend the First Amendment and give Congress unlimited, plenary power to restrict political speech and political activity.

In a historic and unprecedented event, both majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared as the first two witnesses.  They had starkly different presentations, with Reid complaining about so-called “dark money” and corporations and special interests “meddling” in congressional races.  He clearly doesn’t like the fact that Americans have the ability to criticize him and his policies.

McConnell went back to first principles, talking about the First Amendment and the fundamental importance of protecting political speech, as did Floyd Abrams, the well-known First Amendment lawyer who won the historic New York Times Co. v. Sullivan case.....

What was most interesting was something that happened before the hearing started that shows just how dangerous it would be to give Congress the power Udall, Reid and 39 other Democratic senators are seeking (there are 41 cosponsors of this resolution) and how they don’t believe the rules should apply to them.  I was standing in line outside the hearing room waiting to get in and get a seat.  There was a sign prominently taped to the wall where we were all standing that warned attendees of all of the things not allowed in the hearing room, like standing, shouting, applauding, and most importantly, “no signs.”

I was at the head of the line when a large cart loaded with boxes came down the hallway, accompanied by six or seven individuals, many holding protest signs like “Restore the First Amendment – Get Oil Money out of Elections” and “Big $$ out of Politics.”  The boxes had prominently pasted on their side the names of liberal advocacy groups and PACs including People for the American Way, the Daily Kos, Public Citizen, Wolf PAC, Moveon.org, the Coffee Party, and Common Cause.  The boxes were apparently full of petitions supporting Udall’s censorship amendment.  As the cart headed into the hearing room with the protest signs held high, I reminded the Democratic committee staffer supervising entry that these individuals were violating the posted rules about no signs and no protests.  She just ignored me and looked away.

About thirty photographers and reporters facing the entry started snapping pictures of the advocacy group representatives the moment they came in as the cart was trundled up to the front of the hearing room.  Several of the advocacy representatives went to sit down, but not before standing up with their signs held high and posing for more photos from the media.

I have no doubt that if I had attempted to walk into the hearing room with signs protesting this amendment, as opposed to supporting it, I would have been stopped by the committee staffer, and if I had persisted, she would have called over the Capitol policeman who was also standing at the entrance studiously not seeing the liberal protestors violating the posted rules.

It is true that Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) warned the attendees after the hearing started about no sign waiving or protests and one individual was eventually ejected; however, Leahy only did that after the cameras were turned on for anyone watching the hearing on the committee website.  It was his committee staff who, after all, allowed their supporters to come in early with their protest signs and helped to stage-manage protests prior to the start of the hearing for the benefit of the photographers in the hearing room.  You can see one of those photos here – notice there are no staffers or Capitol Police hurrying over to eject the CodePink demonstrators from the hearing room.

So it seems that some Democratic senators want to amend the Constitution so that the American people give them the power to set the rules for raising and spending money on political campaigns and independent expenditures that speak in support of, or opposition to, candidates.  However, at the very hearing at which this amendment was introduced, some of these senators were prepared to apply the Senate’s own rules to only one side of the debate.  Not something that inspires confidence that any such rules on political activity and political speech would ever be enforced in a nonpartisan, unbiased, and objective manner.



Liberal corruption in Massachusetts

GREGORY SULLIVAN is appalled.  The former Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been studying House Bill 4111, the legislation authorizing a $1.1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The bill, which sailed through the House of Representatives last week on a 130-19 vote, would empower the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority not only to enlarge its already enormous convention facility in South Boston by 60 percent, but to select a hotel company to build and operate a 1,000- to 1,200-room hotel on land owned by Massport across the street.

With 37 years of Beacon Hill experience under his belt — 17 as a state representative and 20 in the inspector general's office — there isn't much about legislative sausage-making and fishy public dealing that is likely to get past Sullivan. He was the IG who uncovered the irregularities that eventually led to the conviction of House Speaker Sal DiMasi. Now he plies his skills as research director for the Pioneer Institute, a Boston think tank that has long kept an eye on the state's convention-center politics and policymaking.

As Sullivan drilled down into the legislation, he says, "I just cringed." He sees the makings of a "classic sweetheart deal," one that will effectively allow the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority "to basically pick whomever they want" to put up the hotel and reap public subsidies that could be worth upward of $100 million. Yet nowhere in the bill or in the detailed Request for Qualifications already issued by the authority is there any stipulation that the hotel contract be awarded to the qualified developer who comes in with the lowest subsidy bid. Nor is there any indication of how the authority intends to assess the proposals it receives.

The gold standard in government procurement is upfront transparency, Sullivan says. "You announce in advance exactly how applications will be scored — for example, 30 percent of a bid's ranking might be based on experience, 30 percent on management acumen, and 40 percent on the proposed project financing." As inspector general, he was always impressed by the professionalism of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance — the government agency primarily responsible for the construction and management of major state buildings. But the bill approved by the House requires the convention center authority merely to "consult" with the agency, which "shall otherwise have no jurisdiction over the BCEC expansion project."

That isn't the only way in which the legislation goes out of its way to minimize outside scrutiny of the project. The bill would establish a sweeping new exemption from the state's Public Records Law and open-meeting rules for any "commercial or financial information regarding the operation of any business" that signs a contract with the convention center authority. This is an alarming level of secrecy, and Sullivan considers the Convention Center Authority's rationalization — that it's necessary to shelter companies' private trade secrets — specious.

Existing freedom-of-information rules already allow for exclusion of proprietary secrets. If other state agencies can contract with private vendors without needing a Cone of Silence to shield the process from public oversight, the MCCA should be able to as well. Its unwillingness to do so doesn't pass Sullivan's smell test. "Here's what this means," he says. "If anybody wants to see the critical financial information underlying these very large contracts, forget it: You're never going to get that chance."

As originally written, the bill would even have gone even farther, exempting MCCA officials from state conflict-of-interest laws in connection with the convention center expansion. Sullivan applauds Representative Brian Dempsey, the Haverhill Democrat who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, for stripping that item from the bill.

There are other red flags. The legislation would add security guards to the state's "prevailing wage" law, a fresh taxpayer ripoff. It opens the door to diverting all hotel room-tax revenues collected statewide — most of which now go to the state's general fund — to securing the $1.1 billion in convention-center bonds, if doing so would "increase the [bonds'] marketability."

Look around the country, says the former inspector general, and you can see "a trail of wreckage" behind similar subsidized-hotel and -expansion deals. In city after city, "the downside risk is dumped on the taxpayers." Now Beacon Hill is poised to follow suit. And Sullivan, long accustomed to keeping watch over the public purse, is once again crying foul.



How Obama survives: Ideology trumps objectivity in the media

Many Americans wonder why Barack Obama so consistently executes policies that are so damaging and so antithetical to American interests and, given his record of foreign policy defeats and humiliations and failures at home, how he can still survive in office.

I have previously explained why, but it bears repeating.

The Obama Administration is a collection of inexperienced, emotionally immature far-left ideologues, whose "the ends justify the means" mentality permits them to tell any lie, violate any law and even indifferently risk lives as long as it serves their political objectives.

Obama survives because American journalism has, as it did for Joseph Stalin, sacrificed its professional integrity to protect a sentimental investment in an ideology.

In her book "American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character," Diana West vividly dissects the role of journalists as protectors and facilitators of the Soviet Union and communism.

According to former true-believer turned anti-Communist Eugene Lyons, author of "Assignment in Utopia" (1937) and "The Red Decade" (1941, self-censorship and media bias are like a set of adolescent anxieties: the need to belong and the fear of being rejected in the social circles of Moscow and Washington, DC.

Like a committed fellow traveler of communism, an Obama acolyte becomes a dedicated apologist, where an ideology, once internalized, acts on conscience and reason, and also initiates a survival instinct.

Today's cries of "racist," are similar to the terms "McCarthyism" and "Red-baiting" used in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, all designed to denote a taboo, requiring an immediate cessation of debate to prevent exposure of the truth. Thus the job of the journalist becomes little more than finding and transmitting the "desirable" information and denouncing anyone who challenges that orthodoxy as purveyors of political profanity.

West describes the extent to which Orwell's "Newspeak" had its birth in the pages of the free press as much as in the totalitarian censor's office.

The seminal event in Soviet crime and Western turpitude was the very first successful implementation of the "Big Lie," the concerted assault on truth to deny the Soviet-engineered Famine in the Ukraine from which millions died.

Not only did Western journalists capitulate to a totalitarian machine, but they conspired to undermine the veracity of one man, one lone truth teller, twenty-seven-year-old Gareth Jones, a brilliant, Russian-speaking, Welsh journalist who, after extensively debriefing his journalistic colleagues in Moscow and completing a secret trek through the starving areas of the USSR, brought the famine into the light.

Leading the charge to discredit Jones, an eyewitness to the famine, was none other than Stalin apologist-in-chief, Walter Duranty, who, in his March 31, 1933 New York Times article "Russians Hungry, but Not Starving,", wrote:

"There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition."

As Jones noted in his response:

"censorship has turned them into masters of euphemism and understatement. Hence they give ‘famine' the polite name of ‘food shortage,' and ‘starving to death' is softened down to read as ‘widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.'"

Just as journalists then could not bring themselves to accept the truth about Stalin, so too journalists today prevaricate about Obama.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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