When is a Nazi Not a Nazi?

When is a Nazi not a Nazi? Apparently after you parse your words closely enough to find a lame loophole to avoid what you said. Like Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Stupidville), for example.

It’s distressingly easy to find Democrats calling Republicans Nazis and Republicans calling Democrats both Nazis and socialists (Damn, I wish they’d get that straight). As expected, the recent calls for civility in the national discourse lasted about as long as it takes to call someone a Nazi or socialist.

Well, DUH.

I’m a believer in the George Carlin School of linguistics – they’re only words. If you’re a politician and you can’t overcome your rage at being called a name – which in this case are perfectly acceptable definitions of political ideology – then you shouldn’t be in politics.

How did these particular, common words end up being so offensive?

Because people use them with meaning that aren’t there. Obama is not a socialist. In fact, for a lot of people he isn’t even liberal. The Boehner Boys aren’t Nazis either (for one thing Nazis were efficient and took pride in being called Nazis). BTW, there are other code words  twisted into new meanings. “Liberal” is one of the worst epithets in the conservative insult arsenal. Dems prefer “tea baggers” with almost equal vigor.

It’s a basic tenet of communications theory that if you say something long enough, it becomes “true”. And boy, howdy these get tossed around like candy at a pedophile parade.

They’re almost always created as lies, or at least gross exaggerations of the truth. The problem is that people soak them up and begin to give the words their own off-topic narratives to “prove” their label fits. It’s a good political ploy – distract the great unwashed with some kernels of improperly named ideas and then step back and watch things roll. It’s one hell of a lot easier than actually offering alternatives or explaining your position when in fact, there isn’t one…you (insert epithet here).

It’d be useful if politicians didn’t do that and really great if the plebes called them out on it. But, I reckon that’s about as likely as the recent goofy “solutions” for preventing lunatics from shooting at people actually working.

America’s problem isn’t civility – it’s a willful refusal to own what you say.

First everyone buy a dictionary. It’s an invaluable tool here – that is if you can read.

Second, own what you say. If you proclaim someone a socialist, make sure Karl Marks would’ve used the word in the same way. And all you faux Nazi accusers, tell me Hitler wouldn’t have cheered on the continuance of his 1000-year Reich as the best thing since sliced brot.

But above all, stop parsing words to prove you didn’t say what you so obviously did. It’s unbecoming, divisive, and stupid.

Mr. Carlin, sorry we didn’t get your punchline. We’re a slow-learning bunch.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Hitler the Politician

In modern society the name Adolf Hitler is synonymous for evil. As the perpetrator of the greatest crime of this century and its most destructive war, Mr. Hitler well deserves this reputation.

Yet too often in speaking of Adolf Hitler people forget the man and see only the legend he has become. Hitler, after all, gained power as a politician in a democratic Germany. He played the game of compromises, elections, and leverage that all politicians play. Indeed, Hitler was quite adept at politics; without his skill the National Socialists would have remained a fringe party like so many others

Take the Enabling Act of 1933, the law which effectively turned a semi-democratic Germany into a one-party dictatorship. It essentially shifted all power – the ability to make laws, most importantly – from the legislative Reichstag (Germany’s parliament) to Germany’s executive government (Hitler, in other words). One clause, for instance, read:

Treaties of the Reich with foreign states which affect matters of Reich legislation shall not require the approval of the bodies of the legislature. The government of the Reich shall issue the regulations required for the execution of such treaties.

In getting this law passed Hitler could not merely declare his will and have all Germany follow; there were still checks against his power at that time. Because the Enabling Act modified the Germany’s constitution, it required a two-thirds majority in parliament. At the time the Nazis only controlled 288 out of 647 seats (under semi-free elections taken during the same month of March). Moreover, the Social Democrats and Communists – which together held almost one-third of parliament’s seats – were adamantly opposed to the Enabling Act. If Hitler was to pass his law, he would have to tread a very fine needle.

Events, however, had provided a useful tool for Hitler to wipe out his political opposition. A month before, in February 1933, unidentified arsonists set fire to the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament (today many suspect the Nazis themselves as culpable). Placing blame on the Communist Party, Hitler had passed an emergency decree eliminating civil liberties. Communist representatives in parliament were summarily jailed, prevented from voting against the Enabling Act.

Several other factors helped Hitler. The influential Catholic Centre Party agreed to support the Enabling Act; in return Hitler promised to protect the Catholic Church. Intimation was present: on the day of the vote Nazi Brown-shirts surrounded the legislature, chanting “Give us the Enabling Act or there will be another fire!” A number were present inside the building, armed and in full uniform, as voting proceeded.

In the end, the vote was 441 in favor, 94 against. On March 23rd, 1933 the Reichstag voted itself out of existence.

All in all, the Hitler portrayed here is quite different from the evil caricature. One sees a clever and ruthless politician, not a madman. Watching Hitler the politician makes the myth more mundane, but it also paints a more accurate picture of events as they were.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

Bush swipes at Obama from Israel

Bush, in a speech in Jerusalem this morning, has told the Kenesset that some candidates (meaning Obama) woud negotiate with terrorists and this is the equivalent to wanting to negotiate with Hitler.

This is a disgusting attack on more than one level:
- it contradicts the custom of campaigning against a political opponent in a foreign country...
= it ignores the fact that Bush's own State Dept is indirectly negotiating with the Iranians now...

  • it defies Bush's claim that he is not going to get involved in the campaigns during the primaries...
  • it ignores the fact that Bush has negotiated with terrorists in the past (Libya comes to mind
  • it is an obvious move to alienate American Jews in Florida against Obama...
  • it is without truth.

The question now is will McCain take a stand against this vile attack from Bush or join with it? He had better nake a statement regarding this statement by the President immediately, or he lowers his own campaign into Bush's gutter.

Under The LobsterScope

There's more...

Bush: The Final Target

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I don't like analogies between George Bush and Hitler or right-wing activists and the Nazis. "Cheap Shot!" I think. "Exaggerated!""Useless!""Where's the beef" of events that could be analogized to the Reichstag fire, the assasinations of inconvenient allies like Ernst Röhm, Kristallnacht, the concentration camps, the genocide of the Jewish population, the invasion of one country after another? As repugnant as the American right is, I've almost always thought that it is more appropriate to compare them to the segregation South than the Nazis.

But one Nazi analogy lingers persistently with me--the thesis that Hitler finally wanted to destroy Germany itself as a punishment for it's failure in the war. Hitler's

mission, according to [Joachim] Fest, was ultimately nothing
more than destruction. Destruction of the European political order, destruction
of undesirable peoples and finally the destruction of the German people
themselves. Even though the war was lost months if not years before, Hitler
persisted in having the remnants of the German army defend Germany and
ultimately Berlin. Thousands died daily and the city was turned into rubble not
because there was hope of victory, but because the German people had failed in
carrying out his fantasy of destroying the world. Fest argues that in those final days Germany itself was Hitler's final target. The German people had to be punished.

Bush administration figures have always defined the Iraq war in terms of a task that they've assigned the American people that are suspiciously like the terms in which Hitler defined WWII for the German people. Much as Hitler assigned the "destruction of undesirable peoples" as the "task" or the "destiny" of the German people, Bush administration figures have assigned the Iraq war to the American people as a kind of task or test. According to Condoleeza Rice, it's "a generational commitment to helping the people of the Middle East transform their region." George Bush emphasized that "the resolve of our great nation is being tested" while Dick Cheney believes that the war is a "test of American character."

There's more...

Diaries

Advertise Blogads