Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another attempt to whitewash Hitler's socialism

Comments on Musolff, Andreas. "Metaphor, Nation and the Holocaust: The Concept of the Body Politic". New York, NY: Routledge, 2010

There have been many attempts to explain the evils of Nazism and they almost invariably end up with a confession of failure.  They find Nazism inexplicable. The best that they can usually do is to say that Hitler resented being rejected by the Jewish Rector of the Vienna art school.  So he then took it out on all Jews.  But that is pretty laughable if one reads Hitler's own account of the  matter in Mein Kampf. He reports that the Rector told him that his real talent was in architecture so he should concentrate on that.  And Hitler agreed enthusiastically with that!

The latest work by Musolff -- a German employed at an English university -- also ends with a confession of failure.  He claims that Hitler's clever use of popular language lies behind the popularity of Nazism.  His book is of course not available online but his book is essentially an expansion of a 2008 essay so I think the abstract from that essay gives a fair idea of Musolff's thinking:

Over the past decade several studies have been published that investigate the metaphors employed in Nazi racist ideology from the combined perspectives of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Cognitive Semantics . The paper reviews these studies, and discusses their differences to earlier studies that were based on traditional rhetorical definitions of metaphor . Particular attention is paid to comparisons between Hitler’s metaphors and recent discriminatory propaganda, as well as to the interpretation of such ideological metaphors as 'viruses of the mind', and to the relationship between Hitler’s use of the Great Chain of Being and classical versions of this concept . In conclusion, it is argued that cognitively oriented CDA studies of metaphor use can contribute significantly not only to the conceptual reconstruction of metaphoric mappings but also to understanding their discursive history.

Distinguished psychohistorian Liah Greenfeld has written a scathing demolition of Musolff's ideas so I will refer readers to that rather than wade any further into Musolff myself.

Interestingly, however, Greenfield too cannot place Nazism within any general psychological and historical framework. From her conclusion:

It must be kept in mind that the only way to account for the Holocaust in the framework of the fundamental understandings of the Western civilization, within which it was committed, is to regard it as an aberration, a totally implausible, horrific episode due to the German cultural exceptionalism (which prevented Germany from being fully a part of this civilization, despite its location smack in the middle of Europe), an aberration which other countries allowed to happen precisely because they could not ever imagine and bring themselves to believe that something like that could be happening.

To explain it otherwise is to reject these fundamental understandings altogether and, with them, reject the Western civilization. This is simple logic; there is nothing more to it. The Holocaust has forever undermined this civilization’s self-confidence, and it is quite possible, judging by the political events of the last quarter century (after the fall of Communism which, while it lasted, kept the Western world’s fomenting sense of self-betrayal in check) that this rejection is already happening. The civilization is evidently under a relentless attack – from within, and it well may be in its death throes. But dying civilizations do not evolve new fundamental understandings, and our logical possibilities for making sense of the realities, including historical realities, around us, remain limited to what we have.

One has to agree with her that the Holocaust has undermined our civilization’s self-confidence but the claim that Nazism and the holocaust were an "aberration" is witting blindness.  There was NOTHING aberrant about Hitler.  Socialists like him littered the 20th century with mass murder -- from Lenin to Pol Pot.  Hitler's  ideas -- including his antisemitism -- were typical of the Leftist ideas of his day.  He just applied German thoroughness to implementing them.  The hate that motivates the Left makes mass murder easy for them.

It is only because they close their minds to what Hitler actually preached that historians find Nazism inexplicable.  They cannot afford to admit his socialism so will forever fail at their avowed objective of understanding Nazism in a way that will prevent similar outbreaks of horror in the future.  It is only an understanding of the inherent evil of Leftism that could prevent  such outbreaks in the future.

The latest evidence of that evil is the way the Left whitewash Islamic supremacism.  Obama even refuses to utter the words "Islam" or "Muslim" in his responses to the latest episodes of Islamic horror in Syria and elsewhere.  Mass murder has just never bothered the Left and that is still so.

Islam too is largely hate-motivated.  Leftists hate a world that they do not understand and Muslims hate a world that is not wholly Muslim.  Borrow a copy of the Koran and start your reading of it from Surah 9.  You will find there how much Mohammed hated unbelievers and how he instructed his followers to attack them.  Hate breeds horror. It is as simple as that.

Footnote: The psychohistorians attach great significance to Hitler's use of the human body as an analogy for the German Volk.  And it is certainly true that Hitler did indeed describe the German people as a living body infected by dangerous bacteria -- the Jews.

And the psychohistorians are aware that other people have used that sort of thinking. What they do not in my reading seem to do is connect that analogy with prewar Leftism. The organic theory of the state in fact goes back to Hegel, the founding philosopher of the Left, and is well represented in the writings of a man very prominent worldwide during Hitler's youth -- American Democrat president Woodrow Wilson, the great world government dreamer. Wilson claimed that the U.S. government was "not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life..."


Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Obama's Executive Action On Immigration

In a move cheered by conservatives, a federal judge in Texas has temporarily halted implementation of President Barack Obama's controversial executive action on immigration.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen comes as lawmakers in Washington continue to squabble over a bill linking funding for the Department of Homeland Security to blocking the president's immigration action.

In the ruling, Hanen argued that the Obama administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which calls for a more elaborate rulemaking process before taking action.

Hanen subsequently determined that a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other states challenging Obama's immigration action can go forward.

The judge said a preliminary injunction was necessary to prevent the action from doing "irreparable harm" to the states while the case moves through the legal process.

Hanen, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, also argued that the immigration action would be "virtually irreversible" once implemented.

A number of Republican lawmakers released statements applauding the ruling, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"The president said 22 times he did not have the authority to take the very action on immigration he eventually did, so it is no surprise that at least one court has agreed," Boehner said.

He added, "Hopefully, Senate Democrats who claim to oppose this executive overreach will now let the Senate begin debate on a bill to fund the Homeland Security department."

However, a statement from the White House argued that Obama's executive actions on immigration are well within his legal authority.

"Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe," the White House said.

The statement added, "The district court's decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision."

The action Obama unveiled in November would temporarily shield up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, including the parents of U.S. citizens.



Putin Paranoia

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Hopefully, the shaky truce between Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, brokered in Minsk by Angela Merkel, will hold.

For nothing good, but much evil, could come of broadening and lengthening this war that has cost the lives of 5,400 Ukrainians.

The longer it goes on, the greater the casualties, the more land Ukraine will lose, and the greater the likelihood Kiev will end up an amputated and bankrupt republic, a dependency the size of France on the doorstep of Europe.

Had no truce been achieved, 8,000 Ukrainian troops trapped in the Debaltseve pocket could have been forced to surrender or wiped out, causing a regime crisis in Kiev. U.S. weapons could have begun flowing in, setting the stage for a collision between Russia and the United States.

One understands Russia's vital interest in retaining its Black Sea naval base in Crimea, and keeping Ukraine out of NATO. And one sees the vital interest of Ukraine in not losing the Donbas.

But what is America's vital interest here?

Merkel says a great principle is at stake, that in post-Cold War Europe, borders are not to be changed by force. That is idealistic, but is it realistic?

At the Cold War's end, Yugoslavia split into seven nations, the USSR into 15. Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, even Slovenia briefly, had to fight to break free. So, too, did the statelets of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in breaking from Georgia, and Transnistria from Moldova.

Inside Russia there are still minorities such as the Chechens who wish to break free. And in many of the new nations like Ukraine, there are ethnic Russians who want to go home.

Indeed, a spirit of secessionism pervades the continent of Europe.

But while London permitted the Scottish secessionists a vote, Madrid refuses to concede that right to the Basques or Catalans. And some of these ethnic minorities may one day fight to break free, as the Irish did a century ago.

Yet of all of the secessionist movements from the Atlantic to the Urals, none imperils a vital interest of the United States. None is really our business. And none justifies a war with Russia.

Indeed, what is it about this generation of Americans that makes us such compulsive meddlers in the affairs of nations we could not find on a map? Consider if you will our particular affliction: Putin paranoia.

Forty years ago, this writer was in Moscow with Richard Nixon on his last summit with Leonid Brezhnev. It was not a contentious affair, though the USSR was then the command center of an immense empire that stretched from Berlin to the Bering Sea.

And when we are warned that Putin wishes to restore that USSR of 1974, and to reassemble that Soviet Empire of yesterday, have we really considered what that would require of him?

To restore the USSR, Putin would have to recapture Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, an area the size of the United States.

To resurrect the Soviet Empire, Putin would have to invade and occupy Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and then overrun Germany to the Elbe River.

How far along is Putin in re-establishing the empire of the czars and commissars? He has reannexed Crimea, which is roughly the size of Vermont, and which the Romanovs acquired in the 18th century.

Yet almost daily we hear the din from Capitol Hill, "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!"

That there is bad blood between America and Putin is undeniable. And, indeed, Putin has his quarrels with us as well.  In his eyes, we took advantage of the dissolution of the USSR to move NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics. We used our color-coded revolutions to dump over pro-Russian regimes in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.

Yet beyond our mutual distrust, or even contempt, is there not common ground between us?

As the century unfolds, two clear and present dangers threaten U.S. strategic interests: the rising power of a covetous China and the spread of Islamic terrorism.

In dealing with both, Russia is a natural ally. China sees Siberia and the Russian Far East, with its shrinking population, as a storehouse of the resources Beijing needs.

And against the Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and al-Qaida, Russia, which suffered in Beslan and Moscow what New York, London, Madrid, Paris and Copenhagen have suffered, is on our side.

During the Cold War, Russia was in thrall to an ideology hostile to all we believed in. She had rulers who commanded a world empire.  Yet we had presidents who could do business with Moscow.

If we could negotiate with neo-Stalinists issues as grave as the the Berlin Wall, and ballistic missiles in Cuba, why cannot we sit down with Vladimir Putin and discuss less earthshaking matters, such as whose flag should fly over Luhansk and Donetsk?



Double standard at Barack Obama's 'Injustice' Department

By Bill Wilson

As U.S. Senators take up the nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General, they should keep an eye across the country on the scandal enveloping now-former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber.  At first glance, these two unfolding political dramas might seem as far apart as "the east is from the west," but a closer examination reveals a troubling common undercurrent.

First, let's look at Lynch, whose refusal to criminally prosecute "too big to indict" banks — including those with ties to drug and terrorist organizations — has prompted intense GOP scrutiny of her nomination.  More disturbingly, Lynch has vowed to implement Barack Obama's unconstitutional executive amnesty provisions — flatly rejecting the very rule of law she has sworn to uphold and enforce.  Clearly, her nomination should be a non-starter on that basis alone — but the real issue here isn't so much Lynch's unfitness for office as it is the culture of corruption from which she was spawned.

No agency — not the EPA, IRS nor NSA — epitomizes the rogue "thugocracy" of Obama's Administration more than the U.S. Department of Justice.  And it's not just the agency's headline-grabbing lawlessness — like the "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal or its repeated efforts to spy on journalists.  There's a root evil at work — a fundamental hypocrisy that's much darker and far more sinister.

That evil?  The rising tide of unequal justice: Agenda-driven law enforcement that's willing to overlook real crime on the one hand while manufacturing scandals out of thin air on the other — all depending on partisan calculation and ideological impact.



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