Friday, January 04, 2008


The Left has always been plagued by "splits" -- all those big egos have a lot of trouble getting on with one-another. The splits are so Protean that you have to be a Leftist insider to keep up with it all. I neither know nor care what characterizes all the different "splittists" on the Left so I am a little puzzled to know where I should put a blog that apparently speaks for "decents". I gather that "decents" are moderate British Leftists but I am obviously not in on the inner workings of them so may have it all wrong.

One of their sites bewails the fact that some moderate British Leftists energetically reject the more Stalinist Left and instead pay some heed to conservatives. They particularly refer to Norm Geras, a noted Marxian scholar who is -- at least these days -- not much of a Marxist himself. Norm and I have occasionally exchanged mutually cordial emails and I believe I may have come to his attention because of my own forays into Marxian scholarship. I once ran a daily blog devoted to the writings of Marx and Engels for a period of five months -- rather rare in anyone on either the Left or the Right, I am sure.

Anyway, the "Decents" blog is very angry with Geras because he has a link to my blog on his site. They describe me as "utterly unhinged", but give no reasoning whatever in support of that ascription. Apparently you are just supposed to twitch appropriately when a Leftist speaks. Attempting a reasoned argument would get them into murky waters, I fancy. So even the "decents", like almost all Leftists, would seem to think that abuse substitutes for reasoned argument. Not exactly "decent", I would have thought.



My recent post on what surnames tell you attracted an unusual amount of interest. I reproduce one interesting email in particular below:
Hungarians have a patriarchal system with names which works in a different fashion to Russia, Iceland etc. The only people in Hungary this impacts on is the wife in a married couple. It's a very old system untouched by feminism or PC.

To give you an example, I will use the current French President's surname which is Hungarian in origin. If Mr Sarkozy was living in Hungary with his wife, his wife's official name would be Sarkozy Nikolasne. Notice that the first name of the wife is not even mentioned. It literaly translates to Nikolas Sarkozy's woman.

Married women over there use their regular first names in every day life -- for mail and documents etc. Another curious one in Hungary is the word for wife: "Feleseg" which translates to "Other Half" in English. "Fele"means "Half".

In Australia too we used to have a system something like that. Official letters to my mother, for instance, would be addressed to "Mrs F.E. Ray", although her Christian name was "Margaret". The initials were my father's. Even as a kid I thought that was pretty silly. I think the custom is totally extinct now.

Another reader wanted me to give a list of translations for Ashkenazi names so that he could look himself up. Below are the common ones that I could think of:

Adler eagle
Bettelheim begging home
Blankfield white field
Blumenthal flower valley
Ehrenfeld honour field
Ehrlich honest
Einstein one stone (testicle)
Eisenstein iron stone
Finkelstein sparkling stone (gem)
Friedman peace man
Goldberg gold mountain
Goldmann gold man
Goldstein gold stone
Hoffmann hope man
Klein small
Kren horseradish
Lowenstein lion stone
Nadelmann needle man
Perlmutter pearl mother
Roth red
Rothapfel red apple
Rosen roses
Rosenbloom rose flower
Rosenstrauss rose bouquet
Rosenthal rose valley
Rothschild red shield
Seligman blessed man
Silbermann silver man
Spiegel mirror
Stein stone
Vogel bird
Waldstein forest stone
Weinstein wine stone
Wiesengrund meadow land (maybe meadow ground)

Some of the names above may not be exclusively Jewish but most are (or were).



From time to time I gather together what I regard as the best graphics that have appeared on this blog. The most recent selection is HERE (or HERE or HERE)

France has a "good" New Year: "Vandals torched 372 cars as France celebrated the New Year, down on the figure last year after a night the police described as "relatively calm". Cars are burned fairly regularly in France and the image of vehicles in flames in poor suburbs became symbolic of riots in 2005 when angry youths set fire to thousands of cars. There is usually an increase in the number of cars torched on New Year's Eve compared to other days of the year. "The night was relatively calm, without notable incident, there were very few direct clashes with the security forces," said a spokesman for the national police. The Interior Ministry said 372 vehicles had been burned - 144 in the Paris region and 228 in the rest of France. That was down from 397 last New Year's Eve."

Shifty Hillary: "Hillary Clinton expects New Hampshire voters to believe her when she says she was a member of her husband's `White House team' who played an integral role in shaping policy during his eight years as President. Well, we'd like some proof, Mrs. Clinton. `I was a member of the White House team that was involved with trying to make a lot of changes... I think that people who are running for President should lay out for Americans their record, their experiences, their qualifications, their vision, their plan, and their understanding of how to make it all happen, and that's what I'm doing,' Clinton [said recently]... A candidate with White House experience who really believes that would let voters examine the records from the period during which she claims she was such a vital part of `the White House team.' But Mrs. Clinton's actions show that she does not believe what she says. Her husband is keeping secret many of those records --2,600 pages worth, a National Archives official told The New York Sun...."

Laughable quote of 2007 -- from the managing editor of the New York Times, oddly enough: "[W]e are agnostic as to where a story may lead; we do not go into a story with an agenda or a pre-conceived notion. We do not manipulate or hide facts to advance an agenda. We strive to preserve our independence from political and economic interests, including our own advertisers. We do not work in the service of a party, or an industry, or even a country. When there are competing views of a situation, we aim to reflect them as clearly and fairly as we can."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".



Anonymous said...

On Ashkenazi surnames:

cute story, at least to me.

my surname is Adler which your correspondent noted means eagle. my mother's hebrew name, Nesher, means...eagle! so when she married my dad she became Eagle Eagle. happy new year

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