IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU

One thing I try to impress upon my students in their writing is the under-appreciated value of succinctness. Most teachers give a minimum page requirement for papers; I only give a maximum. I warn them that the world has a short attention span and one does not have the luxury of making a point by rambling on and on about it indefinitely. Being thorough, in their minds, often equates to saying a lot. Being thorough without saying much is the hardest skill to learn but among the best to have.

This little lesson is hilarious, of course, because I am among the least succinct people on Earth. No one who dumps 500-1000 words per day on the internet should be lecturing others about keeping things short. I've made a conscious effort to improve this over the past year – particularly in academic writing, but also here – and there has been some progress. Yet sometimes I just can't find a way to be short and punchy, to deliver the blow without a ton of setup. For the past two weeks I've been working on a post that has turned into goddamn War and Peace regarding the poll in which 29% of respondents, and 44% of Republicans, agreed with the statement, "In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties."

It would be easy enough to mock the results or do the usual "Yep, these people exist" hand-wringing, but my actual thoughts on it were complex – something about the undercurrent of authoritarianism, even fascism, that we pretend does not exist in the United States. And the underlying dilemma that the United States, unlike other democracies, has never really learned its lesson about fascism as a society.

Then I found someone who did the work for me, and far better than I was. And it isn't even an Official Writer, it is a commenter from a Charles Pierce post.

30% of every OECD country polls fascist. That's just always been the case, for 150 years. In most modern wealthy democracies those people are afraid to express their opinions, because its commonly understood that people who hold those opinions are generally detrimental to the common good. That was the political lesson of WWII.

In the US however they get their own news channels and one-half of the political power, because for some reason around 1980 we all started feeling sorry for the narcissistic fantasists and sentimentalists that call themselves "movement conservatives," who told us they felt bad because they were left out of what they called "the Liberal consensus."

The Liberal consensus was really just an agreement not to let the aforementioned narcissists do what they do best, which is to monopolize the conversation and claim its all about *me* and *my pain* and what about *my people*, which in general prevents us from confronting actual real live reality, like genuinely poor people and genuine disasters like climate change. And we let down our guard, forgetting that these 30% always feel bad, because they really have nothing more to their belief system than a heightened sense of persecution coupled to a heightened sense of their worth. Everything else – their politics, economics, religion, sociology – is an attempt to rationalize those two basic principles: "I oughta be in charge, but my inferiors won't let me."

30 years later people in the media think they're entertaining and sell eyeballs so they give them a seat at the table, and they don't realize the fascists want all the seats and have bad table manners besides. And while the rest of us would like to pay attention to the reality we've ignored since Reagan first pretended he was President, the media and the conversation is dominated by these 30%, who refuse to give up their fantasyland, just as we should have known they would.

While we could pick nits with some of the specifics there, that's exactly what I've been fighting myself over trying to say for a fortnight. And this gentleman did it in about 200 words. I have nothing to add. This.

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44 Responses to “IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU”

  1. J. Dryden Says:

    Godwin's Law really needs to be modified to recognize a distinction between Hitler's rise to power and Hitler's use of power once in office. Or perhaps a distinction between Hitler as a phenomenon–"a model of the rise of the unscrupulous faux-populist to a position of absolute authority" and Hitler the individual. (Though whether one can divide the two–whether we will insist, as many responsible historians would, that Hitler divorced from the specifics of his context is not, in fact, Hitler–is debatable.) I'm indulging in this exercise in navel-gazing because there are points at which comparisons with Hitler–with the movement of Nazism and its appeal to a particular segment of the population–that are, in fact, relevant to much of contemporary politics, and perhaps that's just because Hitler's career has been recorded and re-told more than the rise to power of any other dictator of the modern era.

    I believe that a great deal of America is a fascist movement suppressed only by its incredible fat-assed laziness. (And thank God for that–keep up the good work, Netflix!) We don't have a Hitler, and I doubt strongly that we ever will–we're held in check by too many things: in particular, by our sheer size, which makes a real "nationalist" movement collapse before it begins because cultural differences divide even would-be allies (good luck getting, say, Alaskans and Floridians on the same page.)

    Without that catalyst–the single leader–the single voice–we're not going to have any kind of revolution; FOX NEWS would make Streicher proud, but there's no Hitler/Goebbels to call the shots and make it rouse the people to action. What we'll have instead is, well, what we've got–the slow, poisonous death of intractable opponents who will allow the foundation to crack, the walls to buckle, and the roof to cave in rather than address a problem that doesn't affect them directly.

    I still maintain my belief that the inherent laziness, selfishness, disorganization and cowardice of the majority of those who responded affirmatively to that polling question will, in the end, win out over their Barcalounger-contained rage against the Liberal Illuminati.

    I am, of course, also aware that that's what I want to believe, and that I therefore may be seeing a sloth/gluttony based lethargy that isn't there.

  2. HoosierPoli Says:

    Let us never, ever forget, J.Dryden, that Hitler's rise to power began with a free and fair democratic election. Let us never pretend that functional democratic institutions preclude authoritarianism. Indeed, one could defensibly argue that, at a certain point, they are necessary to ENABLE it.

  3. Sean Says:

    You are so correct, J. Dryden! 'Murr'kins will never do any rising up other than the kind it takes to go to the fridge and get another beer…and that is both a good thing and a bad thing.

  4. Middle Seaman Says:

    Find two distinct topics: brevity in writing and US fascists. Brevity is a result of clear thinking with enough articulation. The first is uncommon and the second is a skill. Many scientist write very complex papers that can be made way simpler.

    We are beyond the Reagan conservatives. Although they are still a dominant force in US politics, our problem now is totally different. We are an oligarchy dominated by ultra-rich finance, health care and oil companies. The whole political system, right to left, supports the oligarchy. Europe suffers from a similar problem.

    No one talks about weapons although that might be refreshing.

  5. Tom Says:

    Answering "no" is logically equivalent to the statement, "In the next few years an armed revolution will certainly not be necessary in order to protect our liberties." So the irony is that the people answering "yes" should be the rational thinking ones.

    I suspect, based on your priming the audience to think "no" is the crazy-person answer, that the crazies didn't realise they were answering the question rationally, and the Educated Folk didn't realise they were being reactionary.

    Do people hear what they want to hear or what they expect to hear?

  6. Xynzee Says:

    Not so sure about your analysis on Right Wing crazy JD.

    They're all pretty much on the same page — another Obamacare vote anyone? Just how quickly they'll go is the question. The laziness aspect is what's stopping them.

    Now if you're talking a general populace French Revolution style w a unified Left and Right, that's harder for the reasons you've stated, but is possible in about 10-15 years. However, social-political reality is that what people really want is a Singaporean benevolent dictatorship. Enough illusionary democracy, a modicum of upward mobility for those who want it, not living in abject poverty, free from violent threat, food on the table, a big screen, and a circus. The rest. Who cares.

    I have to agree with you on that Ed. It's pretty tight, not much to add.

    "While we could pick nits with some of the specifics there…"

    But that's it Ed. when you're the blogger himself, you're in the position where you *have* to sew up all the loose ends, otherwise you'll be the subject of someone's FJM. The other aspect of being in the commentariat is that ultimately we're *guests* on *your* blog. People are tuning in for you. We, the commentariat, must be cognisant of this fact and must abide by this and therefore succinctness is enforced upon us.

  7. c u n d gulag Says:

    We live in an era where American Conservatives have an absolute devotion to Manichean Absolutism and Hyper-purity.

    Only "Pure White" is pure enough.
    Anything other than "Pure White," has some trace of "Evil Black" in it.
    And to remain "Pure," you can't compromise with anything other than that which is "Pure White" – and so, no compromise is possible. Lest, of course, you be branded a heretic, and banished from their society.

    I've written about this many times before.
    Extreme as he was, Goldwater, in '64, rejected the Evangelicals (he rightly was afraid of what would happen if they got involved with politics), and largely rejected the John Birchers – the people who saw Communists everywhere, and thought Ike was a Commie.

    Reagan, in a blatant political move, welcomed the Dominionist Christian Evangelicals (now known as The American Taliban) into politics, as foot soldiers.
    But in the last 30+ years, they have worked themselves up from able foot soldiers, to the dominant force in today's Republican Party.

    And then, in 2009, seeing the progress President Obama and the Democrats were making, and fearful of the changing demographics, they went all out, and came up with the Tea Party movement – which allowed every Reich-wing loon, into the political process.

    In their attempts to try to derail "Obamacare" (because it might actually work, making their party seem like the regressive Nihilists they'd become in the last 30+ years), they 'unleashed the Krakens!' – the John Birchers, who'd been relegated to locked basements and attics for decades, far away from polite society – as far away as they could keep normal people from their imbecilic spittle-flecked ravings.
    And so, the Birchers went from the "shame" of being locked in basements and attics, to glory, in the Tea Party! – and they proceeded to openly revel in their maniacal, moronic, Manichean zeal. And if there's one thing any Manichean loves, it's a fellow Manichean – and so, they were welcomed with open arms, by the Jesus-freak Evangelicals.

    And now, the traditional "Powers-that-be" in the Republican Party (the old Low-tax, Pro-business and Pro-military wings), can't control their new two-headed Kraken monster – the Dominionist Christians, and the John Birchers.

    And the door at the gate is wide open to Fascism, if the lock is picked carefully enough.
    The Fascists are at the gate, waiting for their next chance – sadly, they are today's Republicans.
    And they're trying, desperately, to pick that lock, using their wedge-issue tools of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, and voter-suppression.

    And as the saying goes, as long attributed to either Sinclair Lewis, or Huey Long, “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.”
    And, I'd like to add, screaming "SOCIALISM!!!", at the top of their lungs.

    Today's Fascists, have an "R" next to their names, proudly wave their flags, attend church regularly, and scream "Soshializm" at every move made by a Democrat – especially that KenyanSocialistFascistCommuntistHeathenMuslim Usurper, in the (formerly) White (people's) House.

    And even those in politics who may not be 'true believers,' dare not admit it – lest they be primaried by some real "True Believer."
    And this moves the Republicans ever further and further to the right, and Fascism.

    So, never mind that Chinese curse – we ARE living in, not just "interesting," but potentially, "DANGEROUS," times.

  8. Graham Says:

    One might add that Conservative politics, Right Wing politics is not political philosophy at all: it is ID dominated politics led by squawking babies who want theirs – all theirs – right now.

  9. DiTurno Says:

    I agree that's a great comment, but I think you should cite him or her by name.

  10. Bernard Says:

    so… what else is new?
    how do you stop Frankenstein? or can you?

    thinking of you BB….

  11. JazzBumpa Says:

    C U N D –

    'And as the saying goes, as long attributed to either Sinclair Lewis, or Huey Long, “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.” '

    It's Lewis, in his book, IT CAN HAPPEN HERE.

    I just want to add that the Nazi party never had a majority vote in Germany. The most the ever got was some percentage in the 30's. So – though I'd like to take some comfort from JD's rather accurate observation, I can't. In the land of the fat and lazy, a small number of well organized zealots can wield power far beyond their numbers. Throw in unlimited funding by, frex, the Koch brothers, and you get us what we have today.

    But they are from from done. Plus, I see an equally large threat from trans-national mega-corporations, who will be quite content to eat us all alive.

    Bottom line —
    WASF!
    JzB

  12. Well, mostly Says:

    "Might" is the key word in the question, moving a vague notion into open pasture. We don't like to rule out options because of uncertainy. Things clear up when it's time to act. Bunkers, stockpiles (food and guns)-not many invest too much on that "might."
    But we just saw a scazillion people buy Powerball tickets based on "might" and for someone in Florida, might turned out to be did.
    Ask a better question, or a series of questions, and the answers are more meaningful. Ask one inflammatory question and the sparks fly. Is that worth even 200 words?

  13. Sarah Says:

    Very timely. In other news, this guy actually has the gall to compare the recent IRS scandal which "targeted" teabagger fringe groups with the Jewish holocaust.

  14. Ten Bears Says:

    Interesting, I was just commenting on this elsewhere. Bit of a mea culpa, as I got roped into falling down in my long standing conviction that the epitamy of mastery of communication is in the ability to thorougy curse someone out without resorting to vulgarities. Something about in rage, outrage and frustration stooping to the rubes' level.

    The Goebbels Model works because the constant barrage of faux reichwing outrage – the Tea Party Towne Hall Talking Points of late: whoever shouts the loudest wins – is as wearing as the constant barrage of propaganda. Throw in a healthy dose of rewritting the ugly out that folks today are oft genuinely surprised at the level of moral and financial support we afforded the Nazis. That Time Magazine awarded both Hitler and Mussilini "Man of the Year" in the early thirties.

    Or that Hitler was much enamoured of "America", built much of his Politics of Breathing Space upon the westward expansion model, and found the solution to hos "Jewish Problem" in the "American" solution to her "Indian Problem". And I have seen credible arguements that his Nationalist model, his community organization, is rooted in that of the Klu Klux Klan.

    I've been calling it what it is nigh on ten years now. After the war old timers said it just sort of snuck up on them. I don't Godwin applies anymore.

    No fear.

  15. Alan C Says:

    The right in this country also has a ready-made chant to shout down the opposition with, its "Sieg Heil" if you will–"USA! USA! USA!" I've f-ing hated that chant ever since it surfaced at the 1984 Olympics.

  16. DB Says:

    This post reminds me of an interesting (to me, at least) phenomenon that I've encountered with my writing: I suddenly become much more succinct when instead of trying to write out my ideas ex nihilo, I write about what I want(ed) to write about (the piece I have in mind possessing a sort of imaginary existence, which I then describe). The words also flow out of me much more readily, and I'm often able to overcome writer's block by using this approach to writing.

    I wonder if it would be of help to students.

  17. Doctor Rock Says:

    We also need to recognize that Godwin's Law is just an observation of how all discussions between and with mildly and sub-intelligent people inevitably reach the point of inane hyperbole. I see it often invoked as somehow automatically meaning that the person's argument is invalid or that they "lose" or something. This is a distortion. And obviously, engaging in hyperbole or clichés *already* tells you something about the quality of argumentation, whether it's bringing up Hitler, or Stalin, or the canard that 49% of Americans pay no taxes, etc.

  18. Major Kong Says:

    Does this brown shirt and armband make me look fat?

  19. Doctor Rock Says:

    @Graham. I misread that as id (as opposed to ego, superego) politics. Not far off I guess.

  20. Coises Says:

    “30% of every OECD country polls fascist.”

    Ed… is this a test? That just reeks of bogus statistic.

    Virtually no one defines himself or herself as fascist, so what could this mean, even if it is based on some actual data? We have no way of knowing.

  21. Green Eagle Says:

    "Let us never, ever forget, J.Dryden, that Hitler's rise to power began with a free and fair democratic election."

    How many times, oh God, will we have to point out that this is absolutely false, before we stop seeing people repeat this nonsense, even on blogs like this one, which presumably appeals primarily to relatively well informed people?

    Hitler was never elected to anything before he became Reich Chancellor. The Nazis' electoral fortunes peaked far short of a majority in 1930 and were on a steep downward slide by the time the senile Hindenburg appointed Hitler to lead the government. The only election he ever won was the massively rigged one in March, 1933, after he had already seized control of the government.

  22. blahedo Says:

    The commenter's name is apparently David Grover.

    Like Coises, I'm curious about the 30% statistic, and whether it's among the 47% of all statistics that are made up on the spot.

  23. Coises Says:

    The published release on the survey is here:

    http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/publicmind/2013/guncontrol/final.pdf

    A couple observations:

    It looks like the questions were always asked in the same order. I would expect that the first two questions primed the third, so I'd take the "Sandy Hook" results with a grain of salt.

    Beyond that… this was a random telephone survey of 863 registered voters. I don't know what you do when a cold call asks you to answer a few questions about (whatever); I usually hang up. If I don't, I sure don't spend a lot of time thinking about my responses. This is tabulating snap answers from people with nothing better to do than talk to a stranger on the telephone.

    I also find it curious that we live in a country where we were not long ago led into a war under false pretenses; basic protections of the fourth amendment have long been regularly shredded for convenience in prosecuting drug cases, and now give way to The War on Terror as well; the magic words "national security" are enough to cause nearly every court in the land to bow to executive privilege; the current administration, which promised "transparency," has mounted more prosecutions of whistle-blowers than any before; our financial system has metastasized into an ungovernable too-big-to-fail, too-big-to-jail leech on the real economy, with Wall Street values and corporate profits rising even as employment stagnates and median wages fall; the interpenetration of the interests of extreme wealth and the reality of politics has become so deep that it is now difficult even to imagine how they might be untangled…

    … and the immediate assumption is that the people who think we *might* need a revolution if we are to maintain the liberties we have left are the "fascists."

  24. Rusty Says:

    Whenever Republicans wrap themselves in victimhood, I always think of Kevin Baker's excellent piece that first appeared in Harper's which proposed that this phenomenon has existed for almost a century and really defines the party and those who identify with it.

    Stabbed in the back…
    http://harpers.org/archive/2006/06/stabbed-in-the-back-the-past-and-future-of-a-right-wing-myth/

  25. Rusty Says:

    Free link to Baker's piece…
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0715-27.htm

  26. Bob Says:
  27. Bob Says:

    Sorry – don't know how I did that. Here's my comment.
    “…something about the undercurrent of authoritarianism, even fascism, that we pretend does not exist in the United States. And the underlying dilemma that the United States, unlike other democracies, has never really learned its lesson about fascism as a society.”
    I agree that we are heading in a very bad direction. But virtually none of those 44% had any problems with the authoritarianism pushed on us by the Bush Administration, nor will they be taking to the streets to protest should Pres. Santorum or Christie or Bachman continue the program.
    All you need to know about what that 44% is reacting to is contained in the phrase “We want our country back.” It’s the double whammy of a black Democrat that has them, literally, up in arms. It’s not a meaningful rejection of tyranny. They’re all for tyranny – just not the tyranny of a black Democrat.

  28. stickler Says:

    The German example is both instructive and misleading for the situation in 2013's USA.

    It's misleading for many reasons, the most important one being the disappearance of the USSR. (Read Robert O. Paxton's _Fascism_ for the definitive explanation, btw.) The ONLY way Mussolini, Hitler, et. al., came to power was because of the elite's fear of Communist revolution. No matter how distasteful the Brownshirt thugs were, at least they were deadly earnest in their will to stop Stalin. Thus, the big money and the conservative generals could see supporting the Fascists. Plus: rearmament, patriotism, and big weapons contracts!

    Where the German example is more relevant is the poisonous and growing collusion between Big Money, Big Media, and rabid, irrational nationalism. Rupert Murdoch isn't Alfred Hugenberg, but man are there some scary similarities. And when a growing subset of your angry citizenry willingly embraces irrational and even repeatedly disproven myths, that's a big problem for democracy.

    The biggest difference between now and 1932 is the total absence of a charismatic right wing Leader. And, thank God, I can't even begin to think of a wingnut star who can actually give a good stem-winding speech like Uncle Adolf could. Romney? Ha! Rand? Coburn? Rubio? Look at the entire slate of GOP candidates from 2012. Feel free to laugh.

    For now…

  29. Big Sister Says:

    "We want our country back" bears a striking resemblance to "take back our country'" a slogan printed on the Howard Dean for President tee-shirt I wore with pride and still have in my dresser.

    I think all you guys ought to take a deep breath. You are engaging in an " us versus them" mode of reasoning, which allows US to seem reasonable, virtuous and caring while demonizing THEM. it's not that simple. We are not that virtuous, caring or reasonable when we get seduced into this mind set.

  30. Bob Says:

    Big Sister: The two messages bear no resemblance whatever. The Dean slogan is a political slogan championing one party over the other. There is nothing untoward about that in a democracy.
    If you don't see the rather obvious message in the Tea Party slogan let me try to help you out: it's racist.
    One is a political statement; one is a racist demand.
    Two different things entirely.

  31. Alex SL Says:

    Lots to agree with in this post. Where I come from, school and undergrad studies right up to a thesis were designed to train people for verbosity: minimum of 4 pages or I won't accept it, at least 6 pages or you'll lose credit, at least 100 pages or it is not a proper thesis*, at least 250 pages or it is not a proper dissertation. You learned to needlessly repeat yourself and to add superfluous padding to your sentences or you were punished.

    And then you want to publish your first papers and suddenly there are strictly enforced word limits, page charges, and peer reviewers who go "these two pages are an unnecessary repetition of part of the introduction, delete". When in the role of a peer reviewer myself, I have no trouble figuring out which papers were written by beginners either: they are at least one and a half times as long as they need to be.

    As for the American right, I am not the most qualified to assess the situation. But it is interesting to see how oblivious the right wing in the USA is to how similar it is in its mannerisms and ideology to other countries' fascists. One of the problems is perhaps that all the terms have been redefined in the public discourse of that country:

    (elsewhere) liberal = (Am.) libertarian
    (elsewhere) social democrat = (Am.) liberal/progressive
    (elsewhere) health insurance reform = (Am.) fascism
    (elsewhere) rabid conservative ideologue = (Am.) centrist
    (elsewhere) warmongering religious fundamentalist = (Am.) mainstream conservative

    So, what conceptualization is left when an American meets real fascism? Of course, that could be a feature, not a bug. (Note please that I am not claiming that the public discourse in my home country is all that sane.)

    *) My own supervisor was different though: "If it gets published in Nature three pages are enough for a master thesis." Not that a taxonomic treatment of an obscure neotropical plant genus would get into Nature, but I appreciated the point he made.

  32. Anon Says:

    Ed, thanks so much for this, and Rusty, thanks so much for the Harper's piece. I read it some time ago and was really struck by it.

    I've been warning about the U.S. slide into whatever-you-want-to-call-it for several years, now, but I felt that nobody ever listened. I feel like I used to warn people that sooner or later the U.S. govt would be openly killing Americans without trial, and people would call me a crazy conspiracy theorist. Now they say, "of course the US government is killing American citizens without trial- protecting us from terrorists is their job!"

    Re: fascism, one thing that is consistently left out of this conversation is all the links between the GOP and the Nazis. The GOP and conservatives are fundamentally a Nazi movement. Just one example:

    The second-in-command at the Heritage Foundation, back when it was first started, was Laszlo Pastor, who was in the Arrow Cross, which was basically the Romanian Nazi Party. For a time the editor of the HF newsletter was Roger Pearson, who was a very prominent neo-Nazi in Europe. The recent flap over Jason Richwine is nothing new. The HF always hires white supremacists and Neo-Nazis, and if they get caught, they make all kinds of grand declarations that they are shocked, shocked to find such people working at HF. The reason they hire these people is because Heritage is, at heart, a Neo-Nazi group. They just advertise themselves a little differently, for political reasons.

    During the 1970's, Heritage smuggled neo-Nazi Roberto D'Aubisson into the U.S. so he could network with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill. The result was that when Reagan became President, they were able to install D'Aubisson as the neo-Nazi dictator of El Salvador.

    Again, nobody listens to me when I present these facts. I get banned from a lot of liberal messageboards and comment sections for what I just said. Usually it's accompanied by a great deal of "I don't agree with what you have to say- I just disagree with how you said it." When I ask the liberal moderators to rephrase my argument in a way they would find acceptable, they usually say, "you should just say Reagan did some things you disagree with" or some such crap. What really offends them is that anyone would dare point out that REAGAN WAS A NEO-NAZI WHO FILLED MASS GRAVES UNDER THE BANNER OF THE SWASTIKA, which is exactly what he is, and the evidence is obvious to anyone who knows the history.

    I think part of the problem is the entire Godwin's Law crowd. As soon as I start talking about the connections between American conservatism and Nazism, some jackass pops up to say "Ha ha! Godwin's Law" like that kid on the Simpsons. Godwin's Law means you cannot discuss the Nazis at all, except to talk about how much you cried while watching Schindler's List. These are the same people who keep yammering on about six million, six million, six million. You know, like "Don't compare Obama to Hitler until he's killed six million people," or that documentary about the schoolkids who collected together six million paperclips to commemorate the Holocaust.

    Hitler did not kill six million people. That number is far too low. Every time you say "six million," you're not talking about Hitler's crimes- you're complicit in politicizing the Holocaust. Apparently "the Holocaust" means that Hitler killed six million Jews whose lives were more special than the lives of everyone else he killed, including all the Jews who aren't included in the six million figure. So if I say, hey, wait, the #2 guy at Heritage was a Nazi, people tell me I'm being offensive because he was technically in Arrow Cross, not the Nazi party, and sure, he killed lots of Jews, but that wasn't the Holocaust. D'Aubission openly said he admired Hitler and that he wanted to create his own Holocaust, and he used a swastika to rally his thugs, but how dare you compare the sufferings of a bunch of brown people to the Six Million.

    FWIW, the same goes for the religious folks who try to whitewash genocide. I remember once arguing with an orthodox Jew online. He was saying that all the people killed in the OT genocides deserved it because they were a cancer in the body of humanity. (He further justified the point by arguing that many of the people killed by Moses and Joshua were homosexuals. So, hey, checkmate, atheists!)

    I pointed out that the Nazis used the same rhetoric to justify their genocides, and supported that with quotes from _The Eternal Jew_. I explained that genocide is so repugnant, that there are only a limited number of arguments people can use to try to make it seem acceptable.

    Everyone else on the messageboard- Jew, gentile, Christian, atheist- tore into me for the "sleazy tactic" of comparing a Jew's pro-genocide, pro-killing gays rhetoric to Nazi propaganda. Never mind that a lot of Jews use the OT genocides to justify their modern policies against the Palestinians, calling them the "new Amalekites." Nobody can learn any lessons from studying Hitler. Even when someone overtly acts like Hitler, even when they fill mass graves under the banner of the swastika, it's so sleazy to point out the obvious that I have to be banned.

    They say that people who believe absurdities will commit atrocities. I think the real problem with America is that people believe *nothing.* When discussing Nazism, actual death and atrocity is irrelevant. What matters are the Marquess of Queensbury rules by which it's offensive to suggest that Hitler killed more than six million people, it's "new atheism" to condemn genocides committed by Jews, it's sleazy to call someone a Nazi when their swastika-wearing proxies fill mass graves to express their admiration for Hitler.

  33. Anon Says:

    I have (ironically) written too much already, but I wanted to add a note about some light at the end of the tunnel.

    Rick Warren decided to go to Uganda and preach about the evils of homosexuality while the Ugandan government debated whether to pass the kill-the-gays bill. It passed. Rick Warren hosted a Presidential debate in the U.S., and Obama invited him to speak at the inauguration. So Rick Warren is not some fringe figure. There's no political cost to embracing him. As far as most American Christians are concerned, Rick Warren is Christianity.

    Who else defines Christianity these days? Rick Santorum. The Pope. All the Christians who say that yes, in Leviticus God told us to kill the homosexuals.

    Now, there are a lot of Christians who insist "I'm not like those OTHER Christians." But if I ask them what they believe, they tell me it's offensive of me to even ask. So maybe they believe in Leviticus and maybe they don't, but they have zero voice in defining Christianity, because only the Rick Warrens/Santorums of the world are willing to speak up about what they believe. If you're a Christian and you take your marbles and go home every time homosexuality comes up, then naturally nobody cares what you think.

    How are people taking this? 25% of Americans don't associate with any organized religion, and it's about 1/3 of the 18-25's who don't. When asked, they point to homophobia as a big reason.

    Last Easter, Pew research found that only 77% of Americans believed in the Resurrection. One year later, the figure was 64%.

    Christians in America have allowed Christianity to be defined as a hate-cult. That includes both the overt homophobes, and the ones who tell me that they refuse to discuss Christianity if homophobia is part of the discussion.

    And Christianity in America is dying, because people want no part of it.

    Maybe, for all my pessimism, we have less to worry about from hate than I feared.

  34. Big Sister Says:

    I do SO love patronizing statements, Bob.

  35. Bernard Says:

    lol, such words. the Fairness Doctrine was killed/ended under Reagan. that's when the slide began. when truth lost out to slogans. it really is a Us vs. Them situation we are in now. and They know what they are doing, for over 30 years now. and they are very very good at what "they" do. lol

    this "slide" into fascism will have to be "ridden" out. as Bette Davis said in that movie, "fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride." these perverts are not going to give it up, till there's nothing left to give.

    watching how the Right has taken over is quite sickening, but "They" have done their "con" quite well, more than good enough. They brook no dissent and leave Goebels in the dirt with their efficiency. Got to give credit where it's due. They are still all out evil, no doubt about that. Just in total and complete charge.

    Divide and Conquer really does work, as we see now. It really is "Us vs. Them" We lost, They won.

  36. sluggo Says:

    @anon
    You used up your lifetime internet word allowance.

  37. Xynzee Says:

    Ever notice how quiet everyone (media, congress, teabagging conservatives, etc) is when a conservative uses the B.o.R. for tp, yet has a hissy when a dem comes to power. So f### you AP. the horse bolted and you left the gate open.

  38. Ten Bears Says:

    What was it Jesus said about puffed-up pontificating pontificaters puffed-up-edly pontificating on street corners? Oh, right, put it in the closet.

    Matthew 6:5-6:

    When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

    You want bonus points for that?

    Mt 6:1-3 (just prior to the above). Do it because it

  39. Ten Bears Says:

    's the right thing to do.

  40. Gerald McGrew Says:

    Little late to this party, but anyways…

    I agree with Big Sister that many of you are engaging in a bit of unneeded us vs. them hang-wringing and/or saber-rattling. If you look at what's given for the demographic data on this survey, it's pretty obvious that the people answering "yes" to the armed revolution question are old, white, poorly-educated males. IOW, the same angry baby boomers you see wearing the tri-cornered hats at tea party rallies.

    So with that understanding, does anyone honestly think grandpa is poised to take up arms against the US gov't? Really?

    Take it for what it is. Aging white conservative baby boomers have seen this country change dramatically since their early years. Not only are we de-segregated, we have a black POTUS! Gays can live openly, marry, and adopt children. Whites are on the cusp of no longer being a majority. Technology is advancing so fast (grandma just learned how to program the VCR dangit) old people can't keep up.

    If you're that demographic, it's not too difficult to convince you that America is on its way to hell. But you're also not about to do much of anything about it.

  41. Bob Says:

    Big Sister: As much as I love avoiding the substance of a reply?

  42. jake the snake Says:

    Change the 30 % to 27% and fascist to reactionary, and it is irrefutable.

  43. Kevin NYC Says:

    I was going to type something pithy and informed.. but I decided this guy already did it..

    "The relationship between Hitler and the Reichswehr – Germany’s regular military – was a critical factor in the survival and success of the Nazi regime. The Reichswehr was an important influence on German politics during the Weimar era. Strongly traditionalist and conservative, the generals of the Reichswehr despised the Weimar constitution, its political system, its weak and unstable democratic government. Most Reichswehr generals were of the Prussian elite, so favoured authoritarianism and military participation in government and policy formation. "

    http://alphahistory.com/nazigermany/hitler-and-the-reichswehr/

    a large portion of the population hated liberals, communists, poles, jews and hippies, and homosexuals. these people tended towards authoritarian solutions.. and liked guns.. and cannons.. .

    does this sound familiar in any way?