Friday, November 02, 2018

Conservative causes uproar in EU Parliament with Nazi comment

The Eurocrats took refuge in the fact that the Nazis were not the only socialists in prewar Germany but that proves nothing.  It is true that the old union-affiliated Left (Social Democrats) did oppose the Nazis to some degree but that was just sibling rivalry, often the bitterest rivalry.

Leftists are very prone to "splits" and sometimes  seem to hate one another more than anyone else. Lenin spoke of other Bolsheviks such as Kautsky describing: "the full extent of their stupidity, pedantry, baseness and betrayal of working-class interests".  He could scarcely have spoken greater ill of the Tsar.

And Trotsky was a very senior Bolshevik, leader of the Red Army during the revolution, no less.  But he ended up with an icepick in the head, courtesy of Stalin.

So being an anti-Nazi socialist does nothing to deny that Nazis were socialists too.  There are many flavours of socialism, all pretty poisonous and longing to control you

A leading British Conservative in the European Parliament has come under a barrage of criticism after he compared current-day socialist parties with Nazism.

Addressing socialist lawmakers in a debate Wednesday, Syed Kamall said ‘‘you have to remember that Nazis were National Socialists, a strain of socialism, so let’s not pretend. It’s a left-wing ideology.’’

The remarks caused an immediate uproar. and Kamall added ‘‘you don’t like the truth, do you?’’

Kamall later said he ‘‘apologized directly & unreservedly’’ to the leader of the socialist group, but criticism was scathing.

Socialists opposed Nazism and were among the early victims of the extreme-right ideologies of Adolf Hitler.

EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said claims that Nazism is left-wing or socialist have been pushed by the extreme right on the Internet for the past few years, but added ‘‘what is new to me is that the leader in this house of the party of Churchill and Thatcher would appropriate that narrative.’’

‘‘What has happened to the Conservative Party?’’ he asked legislators.

ALDE Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt, too, was stunned.

Kamall’s words were ‘‘an insult to all the Social Democrats who fought against Nazism and died in concentration camps,’’ Verhofstadt said.

The S&D socialist group said socialists ‘‘throughout Europe resisted Hitler’s regime and paid for it with their lives. With his disgusting comparison, Kamall has mocked these brave people.’’

Kamall tweeted that it was not a comment aimed at anyone and ‘‘I have upmost respect for anyone who stood up & fought against Nazism, Communism & any other kinds of extremism.’’


UPDATE:  A reader has alerted me to a terminological problem in describing the weapon used to kill Leon Trotsky.  Strictly, an ice pick is a rather harmless thing that looks a lot like an office bodkin.  I use one often. The weapon used to kill Trotsky was a sort of pick but it is better described as an ice axe, though the handle had been shortened for concealment purposes.  A picture of it is here, together with a description of how and why it was used

An ice pick.  Not a good murder weapon and NOT the thing used on Trotsky.  Trotsky was a mass murderer who deserved to die as he lived.


More Leftist racism

Fresh off the disgusting coverage of Pittsburgh’s mass shooting at a synagogue, CNN’s Don Lemon is on the prowl to attack Republicans.

During his show on Monday night, Lemon said the “biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right” followed by “there is no white guy ban. So, what do we do about that?”

It was on television and captured on video, then shared multiple times across social media networks, easily going viral because of what Lemon said.

So, we have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them. There is no travel ban on them. There is no ban on — you know, they had the Muslim ban. There is no white guy ban.

President Donald Trump had recently called for unity among Americans, but Lemon’s choice of words appear to be very divisive in nature.

CNN and many pundits left of center have rejected Trump’s call for unity and resorted to attacking the president after the shooting attack at the Pittsburgh synagogue.

The call for unity was welcomed by many Americans, but seems to have fallen short of acceptance from Trump’s biggest critics.



Synagogue slayings are NOT a shot in the culture wars

by Alexander Ryvchin

The partisan advantage-taking began before the bodies had even been identified.

To opponents of the US President, the massacre of 11 Jews during a baby naming ceremony at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, was the logical endpoint of President Trump’s refusal to expressly reject an endorsement from former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke; the President’s drawing of moral equivalence between clashing Antifa extremists and white nationalists in Charlottesville; and his incendiary talk on migration and refugees.

To those calling for tougher gun laws, Pittsburgh was another mass shooting event made possible by the easy availability of high-powered assault rifles.

And to those who never miss an opportunity to direct our attention to the supposedly boundless evil of that little Jewish state on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, the massacre of Jewish civilians in the US was the result of rage against Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank, or poetic justice for Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the State’s capital.

The ideologues simply picked their cause of choice, selected their preferred villain and placed the 11 corpses at their feet.

Hardly mentioned are the facts.

This is not the first mass shooting targeting a Jewish community in the US. In 2014, three people were murdered at a Jewish community centre in Overland Park, Kansas. Barack Obama was president then.

Mass shootings of Jews are common throughout the western world, in countries without the Second Amendment and with low gun ownership. Jews were massacred in a kosher supermarket in Paris in 2015; in a Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014; in a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012; and at a synagogue in Copenhagen in 2015.

Far from acting out of frustration at Middle East politics, the Pittsburgh killer didn’t care a jot for the Palestinians or Israel’s foreign policy. The existence of the State of Israel and its absorption of millions of Jewish refugees from throughout the world has saved countless Jewish lives, not imperiled them.

The common factor in every attack of this sort is not the weapon of choice, the religion of the perpetrator or the commander-in-chief at the time of the attack. It is antisemitism - the irrational, irrepressible, consumptive hatred of the Jewish people that pervades elements of every political ideology and every faith.

It is what shatters gravestones in Jewish cemeteries throughout the United States and Europe with appalling regularity. It is what led Louis Farrakhan, a US Muslim leader embraced by major figures in the Democratic Party, to liken Jews to termites, just weeks ago. It is what lodges knives in the backs of Jews standing at bus-stops in Jerusalem. It is what has prompted 40% of British Jews to consider leaving Britain, as Jeremy Corbyn - a man who hosts Holocaust deniers at Westminster and lays wreaths at the graves of terrorists who have spilled Jewish blood - nears the threshold of No.10 Downing Street.

Antisemitism is a remarkably robust and versatile form of hatred. It finds favour in the political left where the Jews are seen as too privileged, too comfortable, too establishment to be a vulnerable minority or accepted as allies in solidarity. To religious extremists, the Jews are too stiff-necked in their rejection of the later monotheistic teachings of Christianity and Islam, too content with their own beliefs and customs, and therefore deserving of scorn and hatred. While to the hard-right, the speed with which the Jews seem to bounce back from each calamity inflicted upon them, through a combination of resilience and bitter experience, only feeds the paranoid conspiracy theories about Jews secretly controlling everything and sowing our misfortune.

The appropriation of the Pittsburgh dead to fight the latest round of the cultural wars is an affront to the memories of the eleven people murdered as Jews in their place of worship.

Condemnations of Trump’s jingoism and dubious associations, right and necessary as they are, ring hollow unless one is equally reviled by the racism of Farrakhan and the associations of Jeremy Corbyn. The condemnation of antisemitism must be a matter of basic decency and not partisan politics. Otherwise, we will merely entrench the discord and polarization in which violent extremism lives and thrives and await the next bout of violence and the next mass burial of the Jewish dead.



Look left, look right, but look left again for hate

Comment from Australia

Was the aggressive rhetoric of ­Donald Trump responsible for the horrific murder of innocent Jews in the synagogue in Pittsburgh last week? The answer is no, but the increasingly hostile, bitter political debate is dangerous in the US and to a lesser extent in Australia.

It is not appealing to trivialise these shocking events by reducing them to partisan politics. But too many commentators have made a simplistic connection between these murders and Trump’s rhetoric. The facts don’t support the charge. The Pittsburgh killer, Robert Bowers, did not vote for Trump, has been violent and semi-deranged for a long time, and hates Trump, whom he sees as a globalist rather than a nationalist.

I certainly find some of Trump’s rhetoric exaggerated and offensive. But the development of the new level of deep, quasi-violent toxicity in political debate has many causes. The anonymity of social media and the vile language of tweets and online abuse is affecting the whole culture of politics. So is identity politics and the destructive sense that mere political debate now routinely involves issues of your deepest identity.

But what contribution does exaggerated rhetoric by politicians make to this toxic culture? The extreme Left and the extreme Right are mirror images of each other. Both are filled with hatred, demonising their opponents, violent language and intolerance.

What of more mainstream politicians? Far from Trump being a unique cause of violent language and intolerant thought, it is much more the Centre Left than the Centre Right, in Australia as well as the US, that routinely resorts to violent language and crude, demonising analogies. Very often they do this in the name of tolerance.

Consider: Many leading Democrats in the US refer to themselves as part of the “resistance” to Trump. Resistance is a term from war — the French resistance to Nazi occupation. Sometimes terror groups such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip refer to themselves as the resistance. So the implication is plain. For Democrats, Trump does not represent an administration they disagree with but an evil, illegitmate “occupying” force.

Former CIA director John Brennan ludicrously accused Trump of treason because of pro-Vladimir Putin remarks Trump made. I thought Trump’s remarks pretty weird and offensive too, but by no stretch of reason could they possibly be described as treason.

The man who shot Republican congressman Steve Scalise and a number of other people at a Virginia Republican event had written on Facebook: “Trump is guilty and should go to prison for treason.” He was also, as Trump himself has pointed out, an admirer of left-wing senator Bernie Sanders.

It is almost always bad manners to let the facts get in the way of a public moral denunciation, especially of Trump, but in terms of language there is a much closer connection between the extreme language of Democrats and that shooter than there is between the language of Trump and any foul right-wing terrorist.

The Democrat and centre-left rhetoric is infused with violence. Hillary Clinton, the perfect if always slightly delayed weather vane, forever blowing with the zeitgeist, explicitly urged her supporters not to be civil to Republicans until after next week’s midterm elections. Former Democratic attorney-general Eric Holder urged Democrats to “kick Republicans”.

There is a natural resort to violent language by what might be called the Centre Left throughout the culture wars. Jimmy Kimmel, a popular US late-night television host with an audience of many millions, said on TV that he wouldn’t mind Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed for the US Supreme Court so long as “we could cut off his pesky penis in public”.

Can you just begin to imagine the outrage if, say, a Fox TV host had said something equivalent about a left-of-centre figure, much less a judge?

Robert De Niro, an Oscar winner and beloved hero of Hollywood, in a considered YouTube video famously said: “I’d like to punch Trump in the face.”

Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters called on her supporters to publicly confront and harass Trump administration figures in restaurants, gasoline stations, department stores and other public places.

This resort to violent language, extreme demonisation of their opponents and the conviction that people who disagree with them are truly evil is common — not universal — in the Centre Left in the US and Australia.

It comes, I think, partly because the way you signal your own moral virtue is by vehemently denouncing something truly evil. When, inconveniently, your opponent is not truly evil, the easiest thing is just to pretend that they are.

One of the great unconscious ironies of our descent into vituperative hatreds is that very often the people who in one breath sincerely argue for greater civility in public debate, in the next breath denounce people they disagree with in the most extravagant and violent terms. This suggests they don’t fundamentally accept the legitimacy of disagreement. They want civility among people who broadly share their world view and silence from everyone else.

There are countless Australian examples.

Nick Cater on Monday on this page pointed to Kevin Rudd’s new volume of memoirs in which Rudd claims he wanted to “restore civility to our national discourse” and then describes Tony Abbott as “borderline violent”, without a skerrick of evidence or justification, and a “professional hater”.

Benjamin Law in the same-sex marriage debate famously joked that perhaps he would “hate-f..k” Coalition politicians to convince them of the proposal’s merits and later justified this gross and violent language by saying he meant it lightheartedly.

Subsequently he was rewarded with more programs on the ABC because apparently when centre-left people use foul and offensive language, it’s OK.

Dirk Moses, a Sydney University history professor, disagreed with me over the proposal from the Ramsay Centre for a course on Western civilisation and concluded, dishonestly and with no basis in fact, that I oppose racial diversity and support the ideas of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian far-right terrorist and mass murderer.

Without pausing to consider whether Moses studies and teaches history with the same extreme indifference to facts, not to mention common sense, which he exhibited in that article, one struggles to find similarly hysterical and dishonest instant rhetorical escalation on the Centre Right.

These are all respectable figures, esteemed in our public culture, who argue for tolerance yet use the most violent, dishonest, uncivil, polarising, emotional and profoundly unfair language about people who disagree with them.

The roots of our political malaise are many. The group decision by many on the Centre Left that anyone who disagrees with them is a monstrous and illegitimate low-life — taken long before Trump came around — is a big part of it.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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