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October 19, 2018


Or prevent the people who recognize the lie from doing anything about it. Voter suppression and gerrymandering are the next resort. I read just this morning that nearly 10 percent of eligible voters have been purged: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/10/19/1805604/-Republicans-Have-Purged-Ten-Percent-of-All-U-S-Voters?utm_campaign=trending

Paradoxically, very very paradoxically, one of the events from the time period in question that always gave me hope for humanity was the Wannsee Conference. How could this be? Was this not the conference in which the institutions of the Nazi state organized industrial scale murder? Sure was. But the reason it was organized was that the lies had to be concealed. The whole process was organized because there just weren’t enough monsters willing to do it. The mass murder of Jews and other undesirables in the field was having horrendous adverse psychological effects on ordinary troops where they were used for such purposes.

The bureaucratic solution was to divide the task into discrete functions like rounding up the victims, transporting the victims and, most importantly, building the slaughter camps outside of Germany. This allowed lesser monsters to avoid knowing what was going to happen to these human beings. And it maximized the the utility of the truly dedicated monsters, psychopaths to be accurate, in carrying out the actual murders. It was probably the first effort of its size to create plausible deniability for most of its participants. We didn’t know they almost universally asserted. The truth is they didn’t want to know.

The hope I derive from the fact that no nation on earth has enough psychopaths to repeat such an operation and not enough deplorables to pretend it isn’t happening while they help it happen. Which is not to say mass murder does not happen because the psychopaths exist. The Pol Pot regime was somewhat innovative in trying to recruit them young and train them. And you often see these pitiless child warriors in many remote conflicts. But the events can not be hidden. And they mostly get stopped in due course.

The Brits couldn’t even hide their Windrush deportations of legal black immigrants. The instincts are still there obviously.

It's the non-psychopath accomplices. Read Timothy Snyder, who writes extensively how a perfectly normal nice person can go from a neighborly neighbor to standing over a killing pit with a gun. The Einsatzgruppen did not stop their shootings (with much, much local assistance) after Wansee and advent of the extermination camps. The point is it does not take that many psychopaths - there are always more than enough willing accomplices.

Exactly. The Holocaust was planned by psychopaths, but carried out by bureaucrats.

I quite agree that the non-psychopaths, the enablers, are the key to the problem. Which is why I seldom engage with your truly nutty extremists. With their fellow travelers on the other hand I delight in explaining to them that they aren’t going to get away with the defense of ignorance. You are what you tolerate.

And it is a useful technique for distinguishing the two groups.

There were even more locals than bureacrats, not only local militia and irregulars but also pretty much anyone who wanted in on the killing.

We saw much the same in Rwanda, just 24 years ago. We thought we'd left the era of mass murder when we have not. The post-WWII count is worse than the war itself.

The enablers from their sheer numbers are ultimately responsible for the bulk of the mass murder which was the Holocaust. The nutty extremists have the ears of the enablers. We could not foresee the degree to which Trump would take over the party, that the "resistance" was even more illusory than we'd feared; the party is the enabler. The guardrails are off. Maybe they were never really there.

One thing that continues to give me hope is that the Trumpistas have failed to dominate popular culture. Our most visible pop artists and entertainers are decidedly liberal and, critically, are still free to express themselves. This is never the case in authoritarian states, such as Nazi Germany or Rwanda under the MRND. In such cases, pop culture was completely owned and dictated by the government so that citizens weren’t able to be exposed to alternate voices and perspectives (the Nazis actually appropriated swing music but falsified the identities of its creators and then used swing to lubricate the Nazi message). That matters. There’s much about pop culture that causes us to roll our eyes, but it can serve as an important bulwark against authoritarianism. Shake, rattle, and roll, baby!

Not to overstate the obvious but the US is not a country with a hugely dominant ethnicity and an eminently scapegoatable minority. Even among whites in the US many are descendants of people who were by the Nazis considered sub human. Of the many things I could find to worry about an American slide into that type of oppression is not one of them. Nationalism may be a problem but not ethnic nationalism. One needs only check out the weeping white nationalists lamenting the unfairness of losing their jobs just because they exposed themselves.

Oh and completely off topic but Nancy Pelosi just demonstrated once again her political smarts. But that may be because she just announced she intended to do exactly what I thought and hoped she would do. Essentially she has declared herself to be only an interim Speaker should the Democrats retake the House. Which avoided a messy pre-election bun fight over who should replace her. And also presaged a changing of the guard. And it will be time for that as our host has more than once suggested.

I do hope I get my wish and once more get to hear the Republicans forced to call her Speaker Pelosi.

Maybe this is at the root of our ongoing cultural Cold Civil War:


I figured as much.

The problem with that theory is that it isn’t true. And I seriously doubt that any Trumpers could even tell you what it is. This is basically a bogeyman piece. No one outside of some quite obscure academics gives a crap about Marxism in theory or practice.

Who would have guessed the Trumpers who show up at his rallies have a culture?


There is a Marxist theory of rock and roll, and it's every bit as hilarious as you can imagine and then some. As expected, it is filled with horrendous errors of basic fact, but they need that to prop up their laughable "model."

As for Whitewall and "cultural Marxism," the latter is an already-dated lame attempt of the right wing to insert "Marxism" into any phrase they can, and it's gone nowhere.

Back to Marx, generations ago Groucho Marx did approximate the current right wing: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them, well, I have others."

And even then, most people who invoke Marxism don’t really know what they’re talking about. They’ve just heard from someone who’s heard from someone that Marxism means such-and-such and that it’s bad.

For generations the word has been used to smear anyone and any idea to the center of Joe McCarthy. That's all. You can go as deep as you want and be assured you won't get your ankles wet.

So the Frankfurt School of social theory and post war liberalism just fly right past you boys? Liberation Theology rings absolutely no bells? Bolivarianism just never existed in South America?

You folks have it all stitched up! Well done you in this 'circle'!

All known and discredited, decrepit ideology. Like your own, if you have anything beyond your need to define yourself by your hatreds. Which we have not seen.

New York University is hosting a two-week celebration of Karl Marx’s May 5 birthday Oct. 17-28...wrong month, but this is rampant in higher education. The ideas are catching on among the university crowd for some odd reason. Professors? The rotting culture? Academia needs to get on the ball and read erudite blogs like this one.

I am not defined by any hate. That simply takes too much effort for no gain. I self define as 'American". Plenty good enough.

Ohh, isn’t that scary, boys and girls?

“Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.”

Drivel. You have a long enough history posting at this site to have shown how you define yourself by who you hate.

Riiiigght. Shame they didn't extend the date to October 31: Boo!

Max, that's just lazy on your part. Disagreement is not 'hate'. Maybe you are just intolerant and narrow minded or insecure?

Nope, you're just hateful as we have seen in all you other right wing-soaked nonsensical posts. Now go chase that acorn.

That is the damn truth. I was exposed to so much Marxism in grad school that I finally got bored with it, but I couldn’t find much in its broad contours to disagree with. Its validity seems pretty self-evident at this point. I just don’t view it as the total explanation for everything that it’s most hardcore proponents make it out to be.

Everyone can see you in your “full glory” here.


As they say, you can run, but you can’t hide.

Thanks for this chestnut. My favorite is Whatwall blaming women for men oogling them. And of course anyone who in '18 is still ranting about Hillary is certifiable.

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