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Friday, June 10, 2005

Rational Thought is to Leftism as Bicycle is to Fish

Those who read lefty Jordan Carter's blog may have noticed me recently in the comments harping on about Hitler and his political alignment in various threads.

Debunking the myth that Hitler was on the right side of the political spectrum is a hobbyhorse of mine of late, and so I have been pointing this out to the many leftist commenters there quick to label their political opponents fascists and Nazis. Inevitably the Jordanites would dispute this using a variety of fallacies of argument (more on that shortly). Not having a great deal of patience or time, I would leave the debate unresolved. Yesterday, however, having a bit of spare time, and feeling unusually optimistic that truth would prevail, I brought the issue up, and decided I would keep going until I got at least some degree of concession from the lefties.

It turned out to be the most pointless activity I have ever engaged in, though I did discover the leftist procedure for debating:

1. Label your opponent ignorant. Under no circumstances back up this allegation with any factual rebuttal or explanation.
2. Pretend to engage in serious debate, but only argue with irrelevant points. If you do make the mistake of arguing with relevant points, totally disregard logic while doing so.
3. Never provide even the smallest amount of evidence to back up your assertions, even when repeatedly requested.
4. Use the flat earth strategy (eg. the keywords of my argument get more hits than the keywords of your argument, therefore this proves you are wrong*)
5. Inform your opponent that they are not making valid points and refusing to listen, refuse to admit they are wrong.
6. If they still persist, forbid any further discussion. Ban them, gag them, shoot them, whatever necessary.

This all took place in the comments of a post bemoaning the decline in standards of debate in the NZ blogosphere. At least the leftists have a sense of irony I suppose.

Anyway, since I have now been censored from Just Left, I will post this challenge to the lefties here:

The Sir Humphrey's Lefty Nazi Challenge.

The challenge? Provide one single quote from Hitler that expresses a right-wing sentiment (ie that the role of government should be limited).

The prize? Find a suitable quote and as a reward, every post of RightWingDeathBeast from now until the election will include a huge "Vote Labour" banner, including photoshopped Helen Clark picture.

Go get 'em, gumshoes!

Just Left: A Change of Style

*this was an actual argument used by (former?) blogger Greg Stephens.

Posted by RightWingDeathBeast | 6/10/2005 01:17:00 am


Blogger Davros said...

Looks like he [Mr Hitler] missed a great opportunity as a wall street trader - "The idea of struggle is old as life itself, for life is only preserved because other living things perish through struggle… In this struggle, the stronger, the more able, win, while the less able, the weak, lose. Struggle is the father of all things… It is not by the principles of humanity that man lives or is able to preserve himself in the animal world, but solely by means of the most brutal struggle… If you do not fight for life, then life will never be won." Hitler, quoted in Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, abridged edition, (New York: HarperCollins, 1971)pp. 11-12

6/10/2005 09:21:00 am  
Blogger noizy said...

I have been pointing this out to the many leftist commenters there quick to label their political opponents fascists and Nazis

Got some links to those debates?

6/10/2005 09:36:00 am  
Blogger TomV said...

RW = the role of government should be limited? That eliminates most of the supposed RW governments or parties in western politics.

Most RW parties only seem interested in limiting the governments role in economics. They're mostly happy to interfere in social issues eg recreational drugs, sexuality etc.

All this illustrates really is that RW/LW is woefully inadequate as a description of political positioning and has become essentially meaningless

6/10/2005 09:36:00 am  
Blogger sagenz said...

stalin and hitler were big on wasting life in pointless struggle.

rwdb. seen you beating your head against the wall over at jordan's does the phrase flogging a dead horse mean anything to you?

6/10/2005 09:47:00 am  
Blogger Glenn said...

The mistake you make is a preoccupation with the straightjacket of the left-right spectrum model. This is *relatively* useful for contemporary western democracies, but becomes less so when comparing historical and theoretical political ideologies. Fascism (of which Nazism could be considered a variant, but remains debated – see Zeev Sternhell) and libertarianism/classic liberalism are not left-wing, right-wing, or centrist. They’re at opposite ends of a different spectrum which is not really applicable when discussing contemporary western politics. When comparing the full range of political ideologies, historical and theoretical, you need more dimensions than left and right.

It’s somewhat simplistic to define left wing as “favoring the societal influence of government” and right wing as “opposing it.” The Social Democrats and KPD resisted Nazism after Hitler came to power. Does this make them right-wing? The conservative/nationalist DNVP were Hitler’s coalition partners in 1933. Does this make them left wing?

6/10/2005 10:00:00 am  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

I couldn't agree more tomv. The current Bush administration is spending money like there is no tomorrow - 2.2 trillion fiscal year 2004. We've seen the same thing here in Oz with John Howard's conservative coalition throwing money at the electorate in a most unconservative fashion.

All this drivel about right wing Governments supposedly representing limited government is exactly that.

6/10/2005 10:08:00 am  
Blogger Phantasmagoric Political Junkie said...

Stephen Cooper provides one here

While mine is here

I hope you hold to your promise.

6/10/2005 10:56:00 am  
Blogger Jordan said...

I think RWDB that your mistake comes in your peculiarly NZ perspective of what the "right" is. Here in NZ we have a very strange right wing. The moral conservatives are not a strong force. So most of the right are libertarian and economically liberal.

Most of the right internationally is morally conservative, and interventionist economically. Look at the Republicans. Look at the French rightists. Look at the Tories in the UK. The Conservatives in Canada. The "Liberals" in Australia are a bit closer but are more conservative than we are.

The right, conservatism, is about protecting society as it is - hierarchy etc. That is fascism to the ground. The left is about society as we think it should be; more equal, ending hierarchy based on race or family or wealth and accepting only hierarchy created by democratic politics, where everyone has an equal legal voice.

Hitler thus is clearly on the right. He was totalitarian and interventionist but he was not left wing.

6/10/2005 10:59:00 am  
Blogger carnifex senatoris said...

I think that this is a completely disingenuous debate. While I, and you AF, may see Hitler as left wing, others can see him as right wing and that's fine.

You see right wing as defined by limited government. Others think that it comprises other aspects - perhaps, traditionally, nationalism. Moreover, many 'right wing' New Zealand Governments have been highly interventionist. It is somewhat absolutist to define right wing in a vacuum and then claim that government gone bad do not adhere to the rules. People's perceptions of left and right wing are defined by the governments themselves.

6/10/2005 11:07:00 am  
Blogger Philu said...

aren't those numbers one through whatever the comments thread policy of the sir humphrey collective?...:)


6/10/2005 11:17:00 am  
Blogger Sock Thief said...

There was an aspect of the Nazi movement that could be considered Left wing, "socialism" was after all part of the party's name. But the revolutionary socialist element was killed off along with Rohm in 1934.

But essentially the Nazi philosophy was centered on Race and that is a characteristic of the extreme Right. Stalin and co. justified their brutality on Class, typical of the extreme Let.

And if one looks at Nazi sympathizers of today they are all very clearly form the extreme Right.

In a sense the extremes to tend to morph into one another. But I think that to use this argument to claim that the Right is less responsible for the atrocities of last century than the Left is mistaken.

6/10/2005 11:27:00 am  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Jordan, look at Poland. Their "left" is far more right than our left. In fact, in NZ, their left wouldn't even be recognised as left.

Most people's views of the right internationally have been skewed by the international right being more centrist than right and generally having to take up the reins of power structures with a heap of imbeded leftist policies. Leftist policies are very difficult to dismember because they create dependants. Just taking away the policies would upset the balance so enormously it could upend society, and since rightists are generally convervative - they don't want to upend society.

The US's social security has been a great case in point - the rightist govts that have come in have not been able to remove it because of the number of dependants. Even though they have wanted to. Removing something artifical like social security is not interventionalist - it's the opposite.

6/10/2005 11:29:00 am  
Blogger Kimble said...

"The right, conservatism, is about protecting society as it is"

Utter left wing fucking crap Jordan. This is the bullshit accusation ignorant leftists ALWAYS make, and it underlines a wilfull miscomprehension of conservatives.

Would you accept the otherside of your argument? If the right wing is all about conserving does that mean that the the left wing is simply about constant unconsidered change? I hardly think you would.

'Conservative means to conserve so conserving the status quo is a Right Wing trait.'

Fuck off, by this logic Stalin was conservative.

"French rightists" Hahahahahaaaa!

"The left is about society as we think it should be; more equal, ending hierarchy based on race or family or wealth and accepting only hierarchy created by democratic politics, where everyone has an equal legal voice."

Again, this would mean that Stalin, Mao and Castro are all Right wing. A more ridiculous assertion has never been made.

Face it Jordan, your side of the political divide has more than its fair share of evil. If you cant stomach that then change your political views DONT REWRITE HISTORY!

Stephens quote - "Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction."

The liberalism that Hitler was talking about Stephen was what you would call right wing today. He wasnt refering to state controlled education, he was talking about unrestricted access to education.

Phantas quote has been attributed to Hitler and I am still looking for its context, if he did actually say it at all. Was he referring to the provate property of all Germans or was he refering to non jews?

The fact that SOME companies were privately owned and SOME citizens enjoyed private property does not mean that they lived in a totally or mostly capitalist system. Even citizens in the USSR enjoyed some level of private ownership and profit making. (not all my own words)

6/10/2005 11:59:00 am  
Blogger Lucyna said...

An explanation of Hitler's view of private property to counter an above link by Stephen Cooper on Hilter being for private property.

[...] fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, which are often erroneously depicted as "capitalist" societies. True, both Mussolini and Hitler tolerated private property in the means of production but only as long as it served the state. In the early 1920s Hitler explained to a journalist his views on the subject:

I want everyone to keep the property he has acquired for himself according to the principle: the common good takes precedence over self-interest. But the state must retain control and each property owner should consider himself an agent of the state. . . . The Third Reich will always retain the right to control the owners of property.

And indeed, this right the Nazi state asserted when it came to power by controlling dividends, interest rates, and wages. In regard to agriculture, it reserved to itself the authority to expropriate any farm that did not produce foodstuffs to its satisfaction. So what we had here was property in a very limited sense, more like a trusteeship than ownership in the true meaning of the word.

From Private Property, Freedom, and the Rule of Law

6/10/2005 12:03:00 pm  
Blogger Kimble said...

"And if one looks at Nazi sympathizers of today they are all very clearly form the extreme Right."

The Nazi organisations of today are founded in Racism, not political ideology. This is only right wing if you consider racism strictly a right wing trait. Is Robert Mugabe right wing? Was Milosovic? Were the Southern democrats that voted for huge social engineering under Roosevelt but then voted against civil rights laws right-wing?

(Not alot of people realise that a higher percentage of Democrats voted against the Civil Rights laws than Republicans.)

6/10/2005 12:11:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/10/2005 12:30:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn said...

The Nazi party had a left-wing (represented by Roehm, Goebbels, et al) but they were spectacularly unsuccessful at courting the traditional left-wing electorate (unionized workers, the unemployed, etc.) The National Socialists key support came from the Mittelstand.

Ernst Nolte, pre-eminent scholar of fascism, formulated a six-point definition: Anti-Communist; anti-liberal anti-conservative; party army; fuhrerprinzip; and aim of totalitarianism. Positions on gun control and environmentalism are non-essentials.

No political party in contemporary western democracies completely fits Nolte’s criteria. And the end of the day, you can redefine concepts of left, right and fascism in the face of established historical and political thought all you want, but then you can say anything.

Jordan: not true to claim fascism is about “maintaining society as it is.” Fascism is very much an idealistic, revolutionary ideology, focusing on national rebirth, remolding society to a particular image, etc.

6/10/2005 12:31:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/10/2005 12:38:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Ok, adding to the education quote above:

"Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction."

I agree with Kimble on his assessment and would futher add that state controlled education as it is known in the Western world today originated from Prussia.

Prussia was the marvel of the western world back in the 1800s when it managed to transform it's society using a form of state schooling to clamp down on independant thought. Schooling, not education. This schooling created people who made great workers, but not great thinkers. Hence, Prussia was able to very quickly industrialise and miliatarise.

6/10/2005 12:51:00 pm  
Blogger reid said...

Just to make a slightly tangential point, this thread illustrates the main problem with lefties, which is that they incorrectly tie socially and fiscally conservative policies into base human desires such as selfishness, agression, greed, lust for power, and lack of care for the human condition.

This is of course completely wrong.

But nevertheless, they keep doing it.

6/10/2005 06:15:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Yep. Logic training would help too.

6/10/2005 07:00:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

About the only thing this thread illustrates is that the left at least as represented here has a virtual monopoly on logic and the ability to present an argument coherently without working themselves into a state of hysteria. The original thread on just left illustrates this point fairly well also. The horse has been well and truly flogged.

6/10/2005 07:23:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

It's sad how we can look at the same thing, Ackers1, and see two completely different things.

Care to give an example of "hysteria"?

6/10/2005 07:50:00 pm  

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