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April 21, 2012

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svh

power over others

Answered in three words.

Next?

R. Sherman

The "moralist" aspect rings true as well, inasmuch as the sadism and cruelty are dressed in the ostensible moral concepts of "fairness" and "equality." These tend to be attractive to certain people, but if a society gets seduced, they ultimately discover a very lovely tranny in drag.

Regards.

Sanity Inspector

The social plans are all different, the social planners are all alike.

DensityDuck

I think you've got the right answer. Marxism is a religion; and, like all religions, it attracts a certain kind of person who wants to hate and fight, and enjoys being mean, but wants a veneer of moral authority because they know how wrong it is to do that.

Simen Thoresen

Very good, David - thank you.

Bradley seems to historically bundle multiculturalism, PC, feminism and post-modernism into a post 1989 -package to show how Marxism as a whole moved foci, and he also brings up the wast leftist conspiracy as if it's something cohesive rather than just a lot of people having the same insane ideas. To me, this does not detract much from the whole, but it still jars a little.

Still, very good ;)

-S

David

DensityDuck,

“…it attracts a certain kind of person who wants to hate and fight, and enjoys being mean, but wants a veneer of moral authority because they know how wrong it is to do that.”

Well, based on my encounters with such people, Marxism appeals to some very unpleasant urges. How aware those people are of the ugliness of their own desires isn’t clear to me. How does one read Marx and Engels and not notice the obvious implications, the sheer arrogance and delusion, and the overt sadistic fantasies? Maybe some people can just mentally delete the bits about “the murderous death agonies of the old society,” the “complete extirpation” of “reactionary peoples” and the advocacy of “revolutionary terror” - for which “we shall not make excuses.” Each generation of dupes seems to be making great efforts not to register the psychology of the thing or its practical consequences. (See, for instance, this. And this.)

It’s quite strange talking to people who are unable or unwilling to see that what they profess to want is – to say the very least - morally obnoxious and personally insulting. Declaring a taste for communism is rather like saying, “If I had my way, I’d control you and ruin the lives of everyone you care about.” And the people who say such things don’t seem to appreciate the fact one has shown great restraint in not punching them insensible.

Lovernios

"Maybe some people can just mentally delete the bits about “the murderous death agonies of the old society,” the “complete extirpation” of “reactionary peoples” and the advocacy of “revolutionary terror” - for which “we shall not make excuses.” Each generation of dupes seems to be making great efforts not to register the psychology of the thing or its practical consequences."

Not to mention the stench of 100 million rotting corpses.

Lovernios

"And the people who say such things don’t seem to appreciate the fact one has shown great restraint in not punching them insensible.

The ingrates.

Mike James

A Leftist would have to be honest with himself about what sort of person he is to appreciate, and to show gratitude for, any restrain shown towards him. How many honest Leftists do you know?

David

It’s worth hunting out Thomas Sowell’s concise and informative essay Marx the Man. On reading it, you can’t help wondering how much of Marx’s philosophy – such as it is - was an attempt to excuse his own parasitic and irresponsible behaviour.

Stuck-Record

“If I had my way, I’d control you and ruin the lives of everyone you care about.”

There is undoubtedly a huge section of the left that think like this. The problem is the vast supporting block who, instead, think, "If I had my way, I’d control you and improve the lives of everyone you care about.”

I meet them every day. They actually believe the 'improve' bit. What's interesting is when you see the mask slip on some; the ones who really, really don't want to hurt anyone, but they find out that a non right-thinking person has suffered from a 'progressive' policy. Their glee at that pain is impossible to conceal.

rabbit

When pointing out the catastrophic failure of communist regimes, one invariably hears the same old line: "True communism has never been tried."

It makes me wonder how many hundreds of millions must die before they get it right.

David Gillies

Communism smashes eggs with wild abandon, and never a hint of the promised omelette.

sackcloth and ashes

'A Leftist would have to be honest with himself about what sort of person he is to appreciate, and to show gratitude for, any restrain shown towards him. How many honest Leftists do you know?'

Comparing every left-winger with Marxist-Leninists is as apt as comparing right-wingers as Nazis. It's a cliche, and its as meaningless as it is insulting.

Back on topic, I would say that the only way extreme-leftists can justify their beliefs (post-1989) is either outright denial, or displacement. In the most far-out cases, you get efforts to deny the enormity of Communist atrocities in the USSR, China, Cambodia, North Korea etc - which can be compared to Holocaust Denial by neo-Nazis - or you get an effort to either minimise the scale of human suffering, embellish the (largely mythical) achievements of Communist regimes, or state that there are alternative reasons behind socio-economic failure.

Seumas Milne's work provides classic examples of all of the above. His comments on the 'catastroika' that followed the USSR's collapse imply that all was peachy beforehand. His ludicrous boasts about the economic achievements of Eastern Europe during the Communist era do not make any allowance for the very real economic miracle that took Western Europe from ruins in the 1940s to prosperity a generation later. He is also on record as claiming that 'the number of victims of Stalin's terror has been progressively inflated over recent years' - which mirrors the efforts to David Irving et al to deny the existence of gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka:

http://standpointmag.co.uk/overrated-september-11-seumas-milne-michael-mosbacher-guardian-china-communism-lenin-stalin

The crucial difference is that whilst the far-right is regarded (correctly so) as beyond the pale, and the Irvings and Griffins of this world are pariahs, their far-left counterparts are still considered acceptable company. I think that contributory factors include a residual distaste over McCarthyism in the 1950s, and also the persistence of the 'left can speak to left' notion (which Nick Cohen comments on). But it is a matter of regret for me that democratic leftists do not combat totalitarian leftists with the same fervour as they do centre-rightists.

David

Sackcloth,

“The crucial difference is that whilst the far-right is regarded (correctly so) as beyond the pale… their far-left counterparts are still considered acceptable company.”

It’s almost as if totalitarian sympathies and activism were nothing more than a youthful indiscretion, a charming phase of one’s twenties and something to be remembered fondly. What’s remarkable is the way Marxism and its variants have been sanitised and excused as somewhat impractical but nonetheless well-intended. (And not, say, the elaborate and sadistic rationalisations of a chronic moocher.) It’s a mystery of the age how so many people can believe that the authors of communism – a system rooted in and dependent on monstrous coercion - were well-meaning souls. It’s the last fig leaf. And yet, in the pages of the Guardian, we still find people telling us, quite emphatically, that “we need the political will” to “abolish private property,” and others telling us that such totalitarian fantasies are “great in theory.” And even Bill Ayers has a grotesque kind of kudos as the man who spent years dreaming of “re-education centres” and the “elimination” of people like thee and me.

Wilbur Post

"Start with rationalised envy and a vindictive desire for power over others, wrap it in a drag of altruism, and then take it from there."

It's true of even a lot of left-leaning people I know who are not hardened Marxists. Though they are reasonably well-off (new cars, decent homes, can STILL afford to retire after the troubles of the last 5 years) they still have a lingering resentment over people who are better off, how it's "unfair", blah, blah, blah. At root, it's an emotional or psychological problem.

dicentra

Comparing every left-winger with Marxist-Leninists is as apt as comparing right-wingers as Nazis. It's a cliche, and its as meaningless as it is insulting.

It's especially meaningless if you understand that the Nazis weren't actually right wing: the National Socialist Workers Party of Germany was a phenomenon of the Left, a "heresy" of Communism or Socialism. The notion that the Nazis and Italian Fascists were "right-wingers" comes from Stalin, who sought to discredit his ideological and political rivals by calling them impure.

If the Nazis are on the Right and the Communists are on the Left, what's the name of the continuum they're on? The farther right you go, the more what? More racist? Uglier mustaches? More dead Jews?

The continuum runs from total government on the left to anarchy on the right, and the name of the continuum is "degree of government control." Hitler and Mussolini were every bit as totalitarian as Stalin, the difference being that Mussolini and Hitler, sociopathic narcissists that they were, wanted their own personal utopias that didn't answer to Moscow, so they went for National Socialism instead of Global Socialism, as the Bolsheviks proposed ("Workers of the world…"). They also co-opted private industry instead of seizing it outright, which differs from the Communists only on an organizational chart, not in function.

Stalin and the Communists were the victors in WWII, which is why their "Nazis/Fascists are on the right" narrative survived. That doesn't mean any of us have to buy it, though, and I certainly don't.

sackcloth and ashes

'It’s almost as if totalitarian sympathies and activism were nothing more than a youthful indiscretion, a charming phase of one’s twenties and something to be remembered fondly'.

Except for the individuals concerned it's not really an 'indiscretion', because that implies they got involved with an ideology - and committed acts - which they later regard as at best a stupid mistake. Denis Healey, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Joschka Fischer and David Aaronovitch all have in common a youthful flirtation with far-left ideologies (and in two cases involvement in political violence) which they subsequently renounced.

But what's evident with certain individuals (more than a fair few who end up at Farringdon Road) is that they do not actually make a break with totalitarianism and try to justify it. I can accept the former, but not the latter.

'It's especially meaningless if you understand that the Nazis weren't actually right wing: the National Socialist Workers Party of Germany was a phenomenon of the Left, a "heresy" of Communism or Socialism. The notion that the Nazis and Italian Fascists were "right-wingers" comes from Stalin, who sought to discredit his ideological and political rivals by calling them impure'.

If that is indeed the case, then please explain to me (1) the destruction of the German and Italian socialist parties after (respectively) 1933 and 1922, (2) the conclusion of the Anti-Comintern Pact, (3) Hitler's association of anti-Semitism with anti-Bolshevism, and his conviction that Communism was part of the 'Jewish conspiracy', (4) the survival of private business and major corporations in the Nazi state, and (5) Operation Barbarossa.

If you are arguing that ideologies of the extreme right and extreme left are equally vile and share common characteristics, then I quite agree. But if you are basically saying that Communism and Nazism are the same, I think you've been watching too much Fox TV.

'Stalin and the Communists were the victors in WWII, which is why their "Nazis/Fascists are on the right" narrative survived'.

Funnily enough there were two other victors in WWII, but I don't recall such pinkos like Winston Churchill or Harry S. Truman proclaiming that Hitler was a leftist.

dicentra

please explain to me the destruction of the German and Italian socialist parties after (respectively) 1933 and 1922; Hitler's association of anti-Semitism with anti-Bolshevism, and his conviction that Communism was part of the 'Jewish conspiracy'; operation Barbarossa; anti-Comintern pact

You seem to be assuming that if National Socialism and Bolshevism were "essentially the same," there would be no fighting between them.

The fact is that Hitler and Mussolini broke off from mainline socialism to craft their own NATIONAL socialisms that would not be beholden to Stalin or Moscow or the rest of the socialist/communist movement. Therefore, those whose allegiance was with international socialism were ENEMIES of National Socialism and had to be suppressed, coopted, or eliminated.

It's like Coke and Pepsi competing for market share: they're both carbonated cola drinks, but that similarity is precisely what engenders the COMPETITION rather than cooperation or alliance. The red on the Nazi flag was supposed to attract REDS to Hitler's cause. Perhaps NATIONAL SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY didn't make that clear enough.

Is it really a stretch to imagine that Mussolini (an avowed Marxist), once he took power, would not want to share the power with his fellow-travelers? Or that Hitler's fanatical desires for world-domination would NOT include taking over the Soviet Union, his chief totalitarian rival?

It's exactly the same as warring between different organized crime syndicates—they're functionally identical, but each wants to eliminate the other so that they can take over the other guys' territory.

Hitler killed the socialists because they weren't on board with HIM, not because they were ideological opposites. Not because Hitler was philosophically opposed to Karl Marx.

the survival of private business and major corporations in the Nazi state,

They were private only in a de jure sense, but they were de facto instruments of the Nazi apparatus. Any company owner that didn't dance to Hitler's tune would be removed and replaced. That was part of the "heresy" aspect of NATIONAL SOCIALISM over Stalinism, but it didn't represent any essential difference with the Left. It certainly didn't affect how the average person experienced totalitarianism.

In other words, you didn't have the workers rising up and ousting their masters from the workplace—so that the Soviet Party masters could take their place—you had the masters joining up with the Nazi party directly.

Same oppression; different optics.

Besides, EVERYONE was Left of Stalin. Calling Hitler a right-winger is correct only if you're standing in Stalin's shoes.

but I don't recall such pinkos like Winston Churchill or Harry S. Truman proclaiming that Hitler was a leftist.

They didn't need to. The Communist sympathizers ensconced themselves in academia and the media, where the textbooks are written and the stories told, and they've continued the claim so insistently that hardly anyone questions that STALIN=LEFT and HITLER=RIGHT.

But they never explain the nature of the continuum that puts Stalin on one end and Hitler on the other, nor where anarchy fits on this continuum, nor democracy.

Nor have you, I notice. What exactly DO you make of this: "The continuum runs from total government on the left to anarchy on the right, and the name of the continuum is 'degree of government control.' Hitler and Mussolini were every bit as totalitarian as Stalin."

Oh, and I don't have cable, so I don't watch FoxNews at all. #CONDESCENSIONFAIL

sackcloth and ashes

@ dicentra

I'll repeat my point so it's clear.

If you are saying that totalitarian ideologies share common traits, and are equally despicable, then there is nothing to disagree with.

If you are claiming that the extreme right is actually part of the extreme left, then you are a nut.

gustav

@dicentra
you are, of course, correct.
Extreme 'left' & extreme 'right', are subdivisions/subsects of the authoritarian pole of that spectrum you described (ie leftwing-authoritarian vs rightwing-anarchist).
Matters become much more clear when this perspective point is discovered.
Nuttiness nowhere in sight.

AC1

So what is the difference between left and right...

It seems that the difference between national and international socialism is that one has a group of people that Marx approved of killing off based mainly on their parentage, and the other has a group of people to be killed off based mainly on their parentage.

TaterSalad

Do you think the Federal budget can be balanced? It can't and here is why:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW5IdwltaAc&feature=youtu.be

dicentra

If you are claiming that the extreme right is actually part of the extreme left, then you are a nut.

No, I'm claiming that Hitler and Mussolini were men of the LEFT, and that calling the Nazis "far right" is a misnomer at best and a lie at worst.

LEFT=TOTALITARIANISM; RIGHT=ANARCHY

Therefore, a Minarchist is a bit to the left of an Anarchist, and Fascists are slightly to the right of Stalinists.

Also, absolute anarchy (which is actually the extreme right), is highly unstable and usually results in a strongman or party taking total control at the behest of a population that's being terrorized by the chaos, cf. the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan following Soviet withdrawal.

Fred

"If that is indeed the case, then please explain to me (1) the destruction of the German and Italian socialist parties after (respectively) 1933 and 1922,"

By that measure, Lenin and Stalin were both "extreme right" because they wiped out the Menscheviks, Social Democrats and all other competing forms of socialism within the Soviet Union. They also wiped out a lot of the original Bolsheviks.

When I'm retired in about 2346, I'm going to do a study of Western communist party newspapers and their portrayal of Nazi Germany between Molotov-Ribbentrop and Barbarossa. I think the results will be enlightening as to their portrayals of National Socialism as a brother-Socialism to Communism.

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