Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Those were the days... When was America 'great'? And who has Steve Bannon reincarnated?

Have you heard of “Godwin’s Law?” It asserts that: “If an online discussion (regardless of topic) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will invoke Hitler.” In practice, it is used to shame or chastise those who make any sort of comparison to the fascist hellscape of the mid-20th Century.*  To be sure, an overused, hyperbolic cliché can be tiresome.** 

Mike Godwin must be going crazy, right now, amid the tsunami of post-election comparisons. For the record, I do not think Donald Trump wants to, or will, become a Hitler. Parallels with Mussolini are creepy though, starting with Il Duce’s fervid rallies and relentless slogans, calling on Italians to rebuild classical glories and — translated literally— “make Rome great again.” 


Sure, I’ve made my own parallels with 1933 Germany, and they remain apt. Just as the Prussian barons, or Junkers aristocrats, fostered the racist-populist brown shirts as a counterweight to socialists and communists, so Fox News, Breitbart-Limbaugh-Jones and the Kochs deliberately whipped non-college white male boomers into a froth… exacerbated by their grouchiness over getting old and seeing the world change around them.

As those so-clever 1930s lords did then, today’s oligarchs stare in disbelief that a gifted shaman leaped aboard their carefully-trained beast, threw off the intended jockeys and grabbed the reins for himself.*** Back eight decades ago, at least a few of the Junkers had enough honesty to proclaim: “Mein Gott, what haf we done?” Alas, do not expect any such honor or decency from Rupert Murdoch, or the Worst Man in America, George F. Will.

Yet, I take solace from history. Back in the 1930s, as today all over the planet, common folk were mesmerized by new communications technologies. Back then it was radio and loudspeakers, that amplified the hypnotic voices of gifted, polemical svengalis, who took over almost everywhere, plunging humanity toward an abyss.

But not in the English speaking world.  Our parents and grandparents were captivated by gifted orators, too. But here, and in Britain, those gifted speakers were on our side, urging us — as Pericles did in Athens — to make the most of our democracy. Which brings us to a question that blue Americans really need to ask their red neighbors:

When do you envision that America had its “great” golden age?  “Make America Great Again” implies a clear notion of a time. So when was that?

It would seem that generally folks are referring to the era of the Greatest Generation – the boomers’ parents -- who overcame the Depression and Hitler, contained communism, built a booming market economy and got us into space, while too-gradually, but deliberately, taking on so many longstanding prejudices and injustices they inherited from their parents and a thousand other generations. 

Oh, but a funny thing about those folks in the World War II generation. They voted high taxes on the rich, which the rich patriotically paid. And they admired labor unions.

Above all, that clade of Americans had one favorite living human, a man adored by his people, his fellow citizens.

No wonder the New Lords have spent hundreds of millions and decades portraying Franklin Delano Roosevelt as Satan, incarnate.  All while invoking nostalgia for the “great” American era of the 1940s and 1950s, sweeping aside one fact -- that every notable aspect of that period was Rooseveltean. A time - I must reiterate - when unions thrived, the rich paid taxes, science was admired, and moving forward was in our blood. 

Oh, you sour boomers, don’t you dare to invoke the Greatest Generation!  They were union men, democrats mostly, held no truck with foppish billionaires, preferred facts over assertions, built giant projects, gave the world its first general peace and… oh, yes, can I say it again? Their favorite living human was FDR. And do you know who followed Roosevelt in that slot? Who was the most-admired American during the 1950s? A fellow named Jonas Salk.

Oh, they were far from perfect, my parents and their friends. Their faults were monumental! But they emulated the American Founders, and the soldiers of a righteous, abolitionist blue Union, and others who pushed our fine Experiment forward, not wallowing in nostalgia.  (See how I answer right wing adoration of the 1950s.) Moreover, we are not lesser beings than the Greatest Generation. We benefit by living in the great civilization they built. But they raised us to launch from their shoulders. And yes, we have mightily amplified all of their accomplishments with creativity, science and compassion. 

(BTW, the next generation – millennials, especially – are so much better than us boomers that there’s no comparison. Calmer by far. Generally wiser, nicer, smarter. As a parent I’ll take some credit. The best thing we boomers ever did! And we so owe the kids an apology, right now. We need to get out of their way.)

== They built ‘great’ America. FDR merely summoned their wills. ==

No, fanatics, you don’t get the Greatest Generation, who would be appalled by your quiver-lipped wrath and shrill, drama-queen wails. No. You must flee farther back from their Rooseveltean era, in search of your earlier “great” time!

Here’s a candidate period for you -- one admired by the alt-right and Fox – lauded in a song you might recall:

“Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
Didn’t need no Welfare State.
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days.”

Is it 1929 then, that alt-right and the folks at Trump rallies yearn for? Surely the oligarch-junker lords financing the movement would be pleased to crank-back before FDR.  And yet, we all know that’s not it. 

Forget 1929.

It’s 1861, they yearn for. Only this time a confederacy that’s victorious. Plantation lords and their fervid vassals finally overcoming the blue forces of science, facts and progress. (And let us admit that this round of the civil war, with help from the Czar, the Confederacy has taken Washington.)

Alas, stupidly, they ignore real history and where this can only lead.
Their conspiracy will carry us to Paris, 1789.

== Back to Godwin ==

Okay, we’ve drifted. Yes, it is vital to nail the Trumpists by demanding they say when they think America was Grrrrreat! ****  

Still, circling back to the beginning, we started with Godwin’s Law. Recall that I dismissed the likelihood that Donald Trump wants anything Hitlerian. So don’t exaggerate! It just harms your credibility. I doubt he’s personally very racist, while cynically egging on those who are. Though parallels with Mussolini seem apt.

No, I’ve taken you on this journey in order to convey a chilling moment of realization that I had today, when looking at Donald Trump’s White House appointments. A shiver of recognition that can only have come from watching way too much History Channel (before they became the Bigfoot Channel.)  Specifically…

…I looked at the epically prototypical brownshirt who is Donald Trump’s chief aid and ‘strategist’ — Steve Bannon, whose silver-spoon life and cushy parasitism at Goldman Sachs then subsidized a plunge into manipulative populist cant, raging against the civilization that benefited him for decades. (Forecast; no bills will be introduced to actually change Wall St. parasitism.)

I know him, you see. Not directly, but every howl against modernity. Every appeal to Cyclical History (the central incantatory touchstone of the reactionary right.) His contempt-drenched ragings against science and every other knowledge caste. I know the cult of neo-feudalists who aim for a return to the standard human condition of 6000 years, and his raves are identical to their calls for a return to kingship, to dominance by Aryan males, to Church and hierarchy and empire, stirring mobs to crush citizenship. 

Using populism to wreck government by-the-people.

Moreover, in all traits he seems eerily reminiscent of (may Godwin forgive me) a certain historical figure whose arc and ambitions and face strike chilling parallels. A fellow named --


The chief aid, factotum, ear-whisperer, private secretary and ‘strategist’ who controlled the flow of information and access to you-know-who. The Grima Wormtongue of humanity’s darkest time.

A stretch? Then photoshop-modify the hair. Ditch the peach fuzz. Hell, drawl the name

Now guess which of them said: ““Darkness is good… That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

Okay, that was Bannon. Here’s the full paragraph: “Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

And now some of you are mumbling: "Brin are you insane?  Bannon will surely see this! It will stand out and get you on a list." To which I answer, well... ******


I do have to ask: has any member of this generation actually read Mein Kampf? Anyone? At all? Read it! Or at least skim -- look past the screeching racism and rage at the deeper threads of romanticism and the incantations of cyclical history. The calls for not improvement or progress, but restoration of a spectacular purity and glory that never, ever existed in the past.

Then note while flipping through those pages, it isn’t Donald Trump whose voice you can hear, speaking the lines. (Trump is more like Huey Long or Father Coughlin or yes, Il Duce.) But Bannon is there. His voice.

Oh my Godwin.

== Best friends ==

Do I exaggerate?

---

Enough...

---------------------------

I was a participant in a long-ago, early-primitive message group, when attorney Mike Godwin coined his famous ‘law.”


** Speaking of clichés, it can be apt to swap the phrase “Godwin’s Law” into Godwin’s Law: “If an online discussion (regardless of topic) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will invoke Godwin's Law.” 


*** As DT eagerly toes the line of Koch orthodoxy, I have to wonder if he experienced recently a moment like that in the film NETWORK, when Howard Beale meets Ned Beatty's wonderful mogul, Arthur Jensen. Watch it. Watch Network, including the classic "Mad as Hell!" scene... and then my response to it.


**** Tony the Trumpeter Tiger?


******  Will I be put on lists? Oh, sillies, of course I'm already on lists. And other lists of people whose 'accidents' would be probed. I do have some courage and sense of duty to a civilization, planet and species that I love, and so willingly take some risk. But probably foremost is the fact... that I wrote the character Nathan Holn, in The Postman. And there are some tough hombres out there who don't care that I portrayed Holn as a villain. They adore him, anyway. And me as Holn's 'creator. And hence, I've been offered shelter in places where... let's just say it would take an army. Martin Bormann would have envied these 'redoubts.'  Of this I have little doubt.


******* Oh! Late breaking development. I'm not the first to notice the resemblance!  Aw shucks.  And also... relief. 



132 comments:

Laurence said...

There's another dictator who matches the description of Trump, Nicolae Ceaușescu. There's the loathsome taste in architecture, the nepotism (though in this case with his daughter rather than his wife) and most importantly the slavish aping of a foreign despot who matches him in evil, but outsmarts him at every turn. Ceaușescu had Kim Il Sung trump has Putin

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Parallels with Mussolini are creepy though, starting with Il Duce’s fervid rallies and relentless slogans, calling on Italians to rebuild classical glories and — translated literally— “make Rome great again.”


I'm finding that the phrase is hardly new--but we notice it now that Trump made it famous.

I just recently came across two examples where the phrase is used in the same context that Trump (and Mussolini) uses it. In the novel "Ship of Fools", which was written in the 60s but takes place on a German ship in 1931, there's a line of dialogue where some of the Germans on board talk about "Mak[ing] Germany great again!". And on one of the very first pages of the 1982 graphic novel "V For Vendetta", the Voice of Fate uses the exact phrase "Make Britain great again!"

It almost seems to be Fascism 101.

(And I agree, Trump is more Mussolini than Hitler. Bannon, on the other hand...)

LarryHart said...

Laurence:

and most importantly the slavish aping of a foreign despot who matches him in evil, but outsmarts him at every turn. Ceaușescu had Kim Il Sung...


I thought you were going to say Ceausescu has Count Dracula.

:)

Michael C. Rush said...

People who cite Godwin's Law have always struck me as severely restricted in imagination (and poorly versed in history and human psychology).

David Brin said...

Oh, Godwin's law serves a function, in moderate doses. All he did, after all, was point out an obvious fact that we leap to some metaphors too quickly.

Jonathan Sills said...

The problem most people have in citing Godwin's Law is that they assume the first person to draw the comparison somehow loses the argument. Which is not what Godwin said at all. Sometimes the comparison is quite apropos, after all - is it wrong, for instance, to refer to the American Nazi Party as "Nazis"? How does that make me "lose"?

Hairhead said...

One quibble, Mr. Brin. You doubt that Trump is personally racist.

I don't.

Trump's father was a KKK-er, and was arrested during a KKK riot. Further, as a landlord, Trump senior discriminated against blacks for decades, and was called to court to account for it several times. So, no, I don't think Trump junior has fallen far from that apple tree; the best predictor of racism in adults is racism in their parents.

Dwight Williams said...

DT-45 himself has been called to account by the US feds for his discriminatory landlord-ery in decades past. If there isn't anything on record about this in the NYC dailies of the 1970's and 1980's, I'll be surprised.

As for the would-be genocide whisperer himself, I'm sure that all of us are already on that creep's lists. Plural, intended. Somewhere. Before we even knew to watch for him and his antics, overt and covert.

Katy Williams said...

Doonsbury writer said "America has gone from a country that wants to be good and do good, to a country that wants to feel good and look good!"

LarryHart said...

@Katy Williams,

On its best days, America wants to feel and look good. Much of the time now, we're following the rule that Bill Maher nailed perfectly, "What Would A Dick Do?" For instance, climate change denial is not just about profits for the oil-ogarchs. Most of the denier cult will never see that money. The point is that it makes liberals feel bad. "Drill baby, drill!" was not just about not letting environmental concerns keep us from acquiring more energy. There was a positive glee about the fact that the environment would suffer. Degrading the planet is not just unfortunate collateral damage--it's the point of the exercise.

America has gone from a country that still wants to be the good guys when we win to a country who wants to be the biggest, baddest m***erf***er on the planet. Which is a different thing; in fact the opposite thing.




locumranch said...


Dehumanisation, Devaluation, Trivialisation, Extinction: These are the end results of Name-Calling and/or Identifying someone a Monster.

First, the act of 'Identifying someone as a Monster' dehumanises said monster and encourages others to dismiss the views, concerns & interests of the accused as contemptible & inhuman. Second, the act of 'Identifying someone as a Monster' devalues the humanity of those labelled 'monsters', identifies those who oppose monsters as virtuous and justifies the virtuous (hero) to become & behave as monsters to facilitate engagement, self-defense & revenge. Third, the act of 'Identifying & responding to someone as a Monster' trivialises & normalises the monstrous behaviour of those identified as either monster or hero. And, fourth, the act of trivalising & normalising monstrousness leads to psychological extinction wherein the label 'Monster' no longer has any significance as a corrective, insult or stimulus.

Hence, the Progressive Left's predilection to label anyone who stands to the political RIGHT of their position as a monstrous Nazi has the consequences of (first) dehumanising said monstrous Nazi, (second) justifying the Progressive Left to become, behave & emulate monstrous Nazi-like behaviour, (third) trivialising & normalising those Nazi behaviours that were once thought of as monstrous, and (fourth) causing the term 'Nazi' to lose any & all utility as either an insult or stimulus, bringing the US political situation to where it is today.

By the labelling all those who stand to the political RIGHT of their position as either Nazi or 'Anti-Science' monsters, the likes of Robert & David have only defeated themselves:

(1) They have denied the humanity of their conservative opposition; (2) They have adopted the very same Fascist & Anti-Science behaviours that they previously condemned because the opposition 'deserves it'; (3) They have trivialised & normalised the very intellectual, ethnic, racial, gender, thought & class distinctions that they once held monstrous, and (4) They have devalued the utility of terms like 'Nazi', 'Fascist' and 'Ant-Science' through careless overuse.

It's the plot of every Revenge tale every told, including that Uplift subplot with the naked vine-swinging Tarzan:

We become the monsters with which we go to war.**


Best
____

**The 'War on Alcohol' (18th Amendment) gave us gang warfare, Al Capone & the Valentine's Day massacre; the 'War on Drugs' gave us peak overdose death rates; the 'War on Terror' gave us ISIL, the IED & chemical weapon use; and now historically ignorant progressives have declared 'War' on Nationalism & Fascism.

Tim H. said...

Contemporary conservatives should consider deeply the way that large plantations took much of the economic "Oxygen" out of the room, leaving the Confederacy underdeveloped relative to the northern states, the prolongation of the conflict is a testament to the south's military skill, but the end was foreordained. More recently, Calvin Coolidge, would he be the Republican where one could say "Here's where Wall $treet really sunk it's talons into the GOP"? On the plus side, promotion of aviation development, reversing the debacle of the Wright brothers attempt to monetize aviation. On the negative side, a naive trust of enormous money, and he suffered a fatal heart attack when 1929 revealed the magnitude of his mistake, which suggests a depth of moral character lacking in conservatives today.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

**The 'War on Alcohol' (18th Amendment) gave us gang warfare, Al Capone & the Valentine's Day massacre; the 'War on Drugs' gave us peak overdose death rates; the 'War on Terror' gave us ISIL, the IED & chemical weapon use; ...


Excepting the phrase below that no one but you is using, all of those "wars" were conservative initiatives, not progressive ones.


and now historically ignorant progressives have declared 'War' on Nationalism & Fascism.

That war was declared in 1939 or 1941 (depending). And the good guys won.

LarryHart said...

...By that "logic", the War on Political Correctness should usher in a glorious age of Berkeley-led censorship; the War on Globalism brings TPP; and the War On Climate Science is bringing an end to the insurance industry.

On the other side of the aisle, the War on Christmas should lead to more presents from Santa, and the War on Coal gives us this lovely (intentional) mangling of two Trump speeches into a better whole:

“We're going to burn so much coal. You're going to get tired of coal. You’re going to say, ‘Please Mr. President, I have a headache. Please, don't burn so much coal. This is getting terrible.’ And I'm going to say, ‘No, we have to make America cough again.’ You're gonna say, ‘Please.’ I said, ‘Nope, nope. We're gonna keep coal.’"

Tim H. said...

One thing about Locumranch going with "Baffle them with bullshit", it likely gives him time to leave a room before he's called on it.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ from the previous posting:

I’m not convinced Comey damaged the country. We did. Every Democrat and Republican who thought it was a good idea to put up two of the most hated candidates in recent history did the damage.


How did Hillary become so hated, though. I mean besides the old Hillary-haters on the right who had it in for her since 1993. In 2008, she was the presumptive favorite at the start, and gave Barack Obama a run for his money, and there were plenty of Democrats (PUMA) who were as ticked off at Hillary's primary loss as the Bernie Bros were eight years later. She looked like a winner in the debates, and when she stood up to congress for 11 hours of Benghazi hearings.

So what did happen such that so many liberals and Democrats were willing to risk a Trump presidency by not voting for her? It seems to me that it was the steady drip, drip, drip of innuendo from the hacked DNC e-mails and Wikileaks, culminating in Comey's "We found more e-mails which might be important" announcement right before the election. To me, this suggests that had Bernie been the candidate, he also would have been turned into the "most hated Democrat" before November by similar means. They'd have hammered him with ads playing up his Jewishness, his atheism, his crazy-old-man rants, and socialism, socialism, socialism!


Comey was doing what he thought best for the FBI. THAT is the kind of person he is. The election was our concern… not his. Yes… I know which way he leans politically, but he is an institution guy at heart.


I still can't get over Comey's statement that (concerning Trump/Russia) they don't reveal details of an ongoing investigation when that's exactly what he did do with Hillary's e-mails. Unless he subscribes to the predisposition that most Americans seem to that the Republican Party is "patriots" and the Democratic Party is "socialist terrorist America-haters". So putting one's thumb on the scale for the Patriot Party is no vice, and anything which saves us from the Socialist Terrorist America-Hating Party is fair in war.


"Well, some are expressing their loyalty by standing by their man and their party."

So far, but we haven’t proven the top dog is a de-facto agent of a hostile foreign power yet, have we?


Well, the institutions who would be proving such things are all part of the problem. It's like climate denial--"We need more evidence" and the evidence-gatherers are in on the fix.


My suspicion is he is a dupe too thick to realize he is being played. He cares more about his image as a billionaire and got captured as a Russian asset. Some of his people might be more willing agents, though. That’s bad enough.


Yes, even if he's just a useful idiot, the fact that the president is doing the work of destabilizing America is a bad thing. The fact that the other branches of government enable him because they'll get Supreme Court nominees and tax breaks out of the deal is even worse.

And that aside, the fact that the Insulter In Chief will never say anything negative about Putin or Russia seems to indicate a certain amount of willing complicity.

Clell Harmon said...

I have asked multiple Trump supporters just when it was 'America' was last great.

The bulk of them mention the 1950s, and then go on to demonstrate that everything they know of the '50s comes from reruns of Happy Days. Utter ignorance of the political and racial strife of the time, or even the tax rates.

Some claim the Reagan years, and again seem to have no actual memories of the time, flat out calling me a liar when I point out the Reagan policies in direct opposition with Trump's nonsense.

One particular individual claimed the 1930s was the time when 'America' was great, because no one messed with the US then. He really got upset when I started laughing at him.

This this level of ignorance, why isn't this guy a high ranking official in the DeVos Education department?

LarryHart said...

Clell Harmon:

Some claim the Reagan years, and again seem to have no actual memories of the time, flat out calling me a liar when I point out the Reagan policies in direct opposition with Trump's nonsense.


Republicans' image of Reagan has become something like Jesus by now. Anything Reagan did was good, and anything that is good must have been done by Reagan.

And any praise for a Republican candidate has to involve equating him with Reagan. Mike Pence proved how vacuous such praise is when he asserted that candidate Trump reminded him of Reagan.

David Ivory said...

(BTW, the next generation – millennials, especially – are so much better than us boomers that there’s no comparison. Calmer by far. Generally wiser, nicer, smarter. As a parent I’ll take some credit. The best thing we boomers ever did! And we so owe the kids an apology, right now. We need to get out of their way.)

So Gen-X is the new Silent Generation? With the Gen-X's born between 1965 and 1980 I think they might have something to say about being next after the Boomers.

I guess the disregard for Gen-X stems from the now dominant (Boomer) generation's concerns for their own children - the Millennials. Gen-X's parents were the original Silent Generation and their influence has waned if they ever had any (no US president was from the Silent Generation).

But perhaps Gen-X's time is near - Generation-Xs moment of-power is almost here.

And with a job to sort out the mess that the Boomers have got us all in. As ever (Gen-X) Elon Musk is ahead of the curve in this.

Peter said...

Are game designers reading some Brin? I've been playing the new Mass effect game (Andromeda). The first 3 games had a lot of conflict between biological and machine races and why. In the the new game your character is has an implant and has shares consciousness with an AI. So the AI experiences the world thru the character and the character receives various benefits from the AI. Each benefits each other. Reminds me of how in Existence they raised the AI's from childhood in a mutual relationship. Rather then creating AI slaves they creative AI citizens.

Darrell E said...

David Ivory,

If the exquisitely execrable Ryan is leading the Gen Xers to their moment of power then we are in some seriously deep shit. And I am ashamed of my generation.

Jumper said...

A few points:
Playing the "generations" game requires too much truth to go out the window. Procrustean is the term, I think. You have one generation; people born the same year you were, and obviously people born the same year you were had experiences light years apart in many, many cases. Or put another way, you have about 110 different "generatios" alive right now. Or 7 billion is more like it. The idea of distinct "generations" is an exercise by the nattering classes akin to arguing about angels on pinheads. A game I am tired of playing, because truth doesn't hang around that game very closely.

Another point is that Prohibition was pretty far from what we now call "conservative." It came in on a wave of socialism, women's rights, and Germanophilia which included cold baths, whole grain diets and the now-comical exaggerated nonsense of Kellogg and his ilk so well skewered by The Road to Wellville. I personally could have handled Eugene Debbs and would fight for the right of any sane adult to vote, but the other stuff, please, no.

David Brin said...

Clell: Ask those guys to name one GOP official between Reagan and Ryan who was even mentioned at the recent convention. There was one - Trump-screecher Newt Gingrich.

Darrell & David: I thought boomers were supposed to be huge. But these days, I see very few in the news (except fools) and run into very few at conferences or online.

Otherwise, there were so ashamed of their past record (which was 100% and uniformly negative) that they mentioned no one. No accomplishments, not policies, no leaders, including both GOP presidents after Reagan.

Locum: “the Progressive Left's predilection to label anyone who stands to the political RIGHT of their position as a monstrous Nazi has the consequences …”

Aw, Waaaaaa! WHimper. After decades of hurling slander and vicious lying libel, these fellows squirm and whine when we get fed up and point out the simple truth. There are no moderate wings or factions anymore on the American right. It is all traitors and monsters… or else far more numerous confederates who shuffle along with arms outstretched moaning “Yessss Mahster!”

There are no moderate wings or factions anymore on the American right. But in fact there are millions of INDIVIDUALS who are exceptions and whose desperate denial squirmings are getting weaker and weaker as they realize their “side” has gone mad, threatening the very survival of their nation and world.

I think that victory will come from peeling just ten million marginally sane American conservatives away from that madness. I know some of these people… like John Mauldin… and if we get just ten million, then this phase of the civil war will end! Because gerrymandering and other cheats are brittle. they will shatter if that happens.

And hence, Locums hilariously stupid strawman about me is diametrically wrong. I do think we should minister to those ten million… and send retired colonels into every red district to do it!

But notice his yowl is a sign. Damn straight, son. You aim to murder our future and you cannot hide behind rationalizations anymore. And yeah, sure. That's monstrous.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | Excepting the phrase below that no one but you is using, all of those "wars" were conservative initiatives, not progressive ones.

Oops. Time to relearn your history. Prohibition came from Progressives. It wasn't a matter of social conservatism. It was seen as a matter of making a better society.

There are a number of issues where progressives and social conservatives are hard to distinguish. That should give all of you reason to pause a moment before asking for something to be changed.

Treebeard said...

Minister to ten million? Traitors and monsters? Murder our future? Survival of the world? Gotta love the fire-and-brimstone preacher masquerading as a rational scientist.

Chan Master Seng-T'san observed back in the 6th century that the struggle between good and evil is the primal disease of the mind; you obviously have a bad affliction. Taoists hold that when you seek one thing you bring about its opposite, which is locum's point. Nietzsche said something similar about fighting monsters. Pagan-slaughtering, Puritan witch-hunts, PC, Red Guards, authoritarian progism--they all come from the same diseased place. Non-Enlightenment, non-Judeo-Protestant traditional wisdom: good medicine for hysterical Manichean moralists of all stripes!

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Locum: “the Progressive Left's predilection to label anyone who stands to the political RIGHT of their position as a monstrous Nazi has the consequences …”

Aw, Waaaaaa! WHimper.


Also projection (again). They call anyone to the left of Mussolini a communist traitor.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Oops. Time to relearn your history. Prohibition came from Progressives. It wasn't a matter of social conservatism. It was seen as a matter of making a better society.


Ok, but the repeal of Prohibition was also a progressive action which happened as soon as Democrats were elected to power in 1933.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I've been told that Godwin reportedly said recently that his law should not pertain when a comparison with Hitler is both appropriate and apt. Don't know if it's true, but when you read of a Presidential candidate who kept a copy of Hitler's "New World Order" (a collection of his speeches and an outline of his political strategy) on his bedside stand, then a comparison is apt. Nor is it a fake news story: Trump is on video explaining that yes, he did have a copy of the book, but it was OK, because the friend who gave him the book was Jewish. Not only did that make no sense, but it was a lie: the man in question was not Jewish.
It is chilling how much of Hitler's playbook (which is what NWO effectively is) made it into his campaign style. Short, simple lies, repeated endlessly. Tailor the message for morons. Be all things to all people. Vilify opponents, demonize unpopular minorities. Find scapegoats. Make America great again.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I've been reading about this "negative mass" According to the Gwaud, "The experiment, described in the journal Physical Review Letters, created the conditions for negative mass by cooling rubidium atoms to just above absolute zero, creating something called a Bose-Einstein condensate." As I understand it, the condensate responds to gravity the way matter generally does, but when force (coherent light) is applied to it, it accelerates against the direction of the force. (F=(-m)a, I think). Does anyone have any idea why the dichotomy exists like that?

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

As I understand it, the condensate responds to gravity the way matter generally does, but when force (coherent light) is applied to it, it accelerates against the direction of the force. (F=(-m)a, I think). Does anyone have any idea why the dichotomy exists like that?


Without knowing much after undergraduate physics, wouldn't those two statements together offer proof that gravity does something other than exert a force on matter? I mean, there must be some qualitative difference between gravity and applying a force. Otherwise, it makes no sense that the two things would have opposite effects on anything, regardless of what the thing is.

Smurphs said...

Treebeard said:

Taoists hold that when you seek one thing you bring about its opposite, which is locum's point.

This is silly. Why, if that were true, then Trump's "Make America Great Again" will actually make things worse.

um, nevermind. Not so silly.

LarryHart said...

@Smurfs,

Yeah, if that Taoist "reasoning" is correct, then striving for white supremacy leads inevitably to multiculturalism.

TB never catches on to the fact that Fascism brings on its own destruction. The Thousand Year Reich only lasted a dozen years for that very reason.

Zepp Jamieson said...

And there's a puzzlement for you. I expect this sort of weirdness at the quantum level, but this sounds like it might scale up. Be the perfect bullet-proof vest, wouldn't it?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Fascism does contain the seeds of its own destruction, but the Third Reich is a rather poor example. Think Franco, or any of several dozen banana republics in south and central America. Fascism always fails for the same reason theocracies do; they are at odds with the needs and wants of a society. As a result, they have to impose what are unpopular ideas through subterfuge, and enforce them through secrecy and authoritarianism.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart,

I’m not really knocking the Progressives for Prohibition. They are also responsible for the end of slavery and the initial defense of the Union. Prohibition was an experiment that failed and it taught us something useful. If I have a gripe, it is because they tried it on too large a scale and messed with the Constitution to do it. What they were trying to fix was a social issue and NO ONE should screw with the Constitution as a social engineer. The amendment process really should be reserved for things where we have already reached a large consensus. For example, #22 came from FDR breaking Washington’s example which had become a custom. #26 came from recognition that a military draft could demand service from those unable to choose their elected officials and took about 3 months to ratify.

The thing to remember about Prohibition is that it came to a head during WWI when we were also doing things like the Espionage & Sedition Acts. These were direct assaults on Amendment #1 and were upheld by the Court at the time. Prohibition when considered in context is one of many changes that came about from large social forces in which Progressives weren’t involved in a small way. They were involved in a big way. Huge way. Turn of the Century big way. That decade saw the destruction of a huge amount of wealth (about three times the national incomes in Britain and France alone), the wounding of over 22 million people and deaths of at least 15 million more by WWI, and another 50 to 100 million deaths by influenza (50% infection level and 20% lethality rate). Lots of things were going on. In context I can forgive Prohibition as one of the smaller of the dumb ideas that sprouted during that stressful time. (Did I mention race riots in 1919? Anyone remember those?)

I’m not intentionally siding with locumranch, though. I’m just warning against simplifications that destroy your otherwise valid points. It is important to remember that some modern social conservatives are conserving an old-school liberal position without understanding they are doing so. Some go further back and defend the reactionary position that was in opposition to the early liberals, but ONLY some of them. Locumranch’s position are mixed. Listen carefully and you’ll find an old-school liberal within him that thinks he is a conservative. I don’t think you’ll find a progressive in the mix, but he is a confused soul. That is useful when tackling his simplicities.

matthew said...

Locum -
"Dehumanisation, Devaluation, Trivialisation, Extinction: These are the end results of Name-Calling and/or Identifying someone a Monster."

But Nazis are monsters, and there are actual, real Nazis serving in this White House.(see http://crooksandliars.com/2017/03/more-nazis-white-house-trump-aide)

I do agree with your fourth term, there, though. My favorite comic book growing up was "Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos", and he taught an important lesson. Dead Nazis are a good thing. "Extinction" indeed. I just laugh at locum beating his breast over how unfair it is that liberals want to destroy Nazism in America.



Alfred Differ said...

You don’t need to go to the quantum level to see things that look like negative mass. Tie a small helium balloon to a seat in your car and accelerate. If the balloon is free to move like an inverse pendulum, it swings forward while you accelerate. Obviously, the balloon doesn’t have negative mass, though. It is just responding to air pressure changes inside the car.

Near absolute zero the physics gets weird, but my suspicion is that other things might be happening to move the condensate. Exactly how does light interact with it? What else is nearby? What changes happen among the photons that don’t interact? This could all matter in a positive way. 8)

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

I’m not intentionally siding with locumranch, though. I’m just warning against simplifications that destroy your otherwise valid points.


The statement that the other three "Wars" were started by conservatives was really an afterthought. My main point was to answer the other one:

"and now historically ignorant progressives have declared 'War' on Nationalism & Fascism."

with the fact that that war was declared back in WWII.


Prohibition was an experiment that failed and it taught us something useful. If I have a gripe, it is because they tried it on too large a scale and messed with the Constitution to do it. What they were trying to fix was a social issue and NO ONE should screw with the Constitution as a social engineer. The amendment process really should be reserved for things where we have already reached a large consensus.


Here, we're in perfect agreement. The 18th Amendment stands out (in a bad way) in its form. Never mind whether I like or dislike alcohol consumption, a Constitutional Amendment forbidding the distribution of a particular substance feels weird. It reminds me of the Biblical law which covers what to do in the case where two men are fighting and one man's wife comes to his aid by grabbing the other man's testicles. Way too specific.


(Did I mention race riots in 1919? Anyone remember those?)


Yes, but that's because a famous one happened in Chicago.

LarryHart said...

matthew:

My favorite comic book growing up was "Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos"


Wa-Hoo!

David Brin said...


LH:”Ok, but the repeal of Prohibition was also a progressive action which happened as soon as Democrats were elected to power in 1933.”

Dividing lines were different then. William Jennings Bryan was bothe an economic reformer and a racist-religious fanatic bully. Woodrow Wilson was the founder of modern internationalism, giving muscle and moral tone to the utopian American tradition of self-determination — and also a nasty racist.

But the core lesson here is that Progressives are capable of re-evaluating mistakes. Reactionaries are not.

Zepp: I believe (might be wrong) that the negative mass moves that way because it consists of “holes” where other mass has been displaced.

Treebeard is doing it too! Whimpering like Locum. His cult raved manichean denunciations of every non-reactionary element of society for decades, spewing utter lies and gutting every mechanism that tried to refute with factual evidence. Now they wage open war against science and every single fact-centered profession…

…and so now a time has come when we finally accept their manichean premise of good versus evil... and their response is mewling "that's n-n-not f-f-fair? It’s YOUR premise, fellah. Every attempt at negotiation, evidence-based policy and compromise was shot down by you romantic, reactionary confederate fetishists. So do not whimper and whine when the Union finally gets sick of it and — seeing that your cult is an existential threat to our nation and children — spits in your eye.

You know we have the strength, the brains and skills to defeat your mad cult the instant we decide we’ve had enough and rise up. What? You expected you could knife us and our children's future endlessly and this day would not come?

BTW re TB’s Taoist mumbo jumbo: I do not draw wisdom from eastern OR western aphorisms. Nor from fools who proclaim: “I will now shout something that is OPPOSITE to all evidence and common sense and won’t that make me seem like a clever fellow who must have seen something everyone else missed!”

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | Pretty much everything he says in the snippet under his ‘Best’ signoff is a half-baked idea. There are few exceptions. I treat those parts of his posts as alt.locumranch peeking out from behind the façade for the brief time he is allowed to type. Gang warfare goes way, way back before Amendment #18 for example. Wars on Terror also go a long way back. Ignore all that, though, and it is possible to squint a lot and imagine that all the actions of a certain social group lead to undesired consequences. It’s very simplistic and leaves me treating that material as troll droolings. Responding to it feeds the troll. He’s usually got enough material above the signoff that is interesting in its own right, so I try to focus there.

Take his concerns about identifying monsters for example. Some of it provides a useful way to reach him. Calling someone a monster IS a dehumanizing act. Of course, it IS possible someone has already dehumanized themselves before we recognize they’ve done it, so we shouldn’t accept a guilt trip in calling out all of them, right? His ‘logical’ conclusion that follows ‘Hence’ is where he dribbles off into the usual non sequitur. He doesn’t think it is, thus makes no real attempt to argue for the if-then connection. He simply asserts it.

Then he says things like this… We become the monsters with which we go to war.**

…and his half-baked idea follows. The initial snippet is half decent if one adds a probabilistic qualifier to it. We CAN become the monsters. We don’t always, but we certainly can. In WWI, it would seem we tried if you think about the Espionage and Sedition Acts. It was our nationalism versus theirs; our destruction of free speech versus theirs. Unfortunately, he tries to explain this with troll droolings. Sigh. He ruins a statement that needs no explanation.

Alfred Differ said...

...a Constitutional Amendment forbidding the distribution of a particular substance feels weird.

Heh. Yah. That's because we've elevated our Constitution to the level of a Sacred Document. Of course it isn't, but if enough of us feel that way, we might even personify it some day. Not yet, though. Schoolhouse Rock managed to avoid it. 8)

David Brin said...

"We become the monsters with which we go to war."

Guy has watched too much Star Wars! "Looook! If you get mad at evil you will turn eeeevil! If you cut off my (the Emperor's) head, then it will make you become just as bad!"

Ooooooh! Funny thing... nearly all of the GIs who marched off to save civilization from evil did NOT become SS storm troopers! Some were traumatized. A tiny sliver did wander into their own evils. But the vast majority - even having done some bad things in war - sought the curative powers of family, nation, faith and self-control, and did the exact opposite of George spent-all-his-life-lucky-and-pampered Lucas's drooling insipid faux-eastern melodramatic crap ethos.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Ignore all that, though, and it is possible to squint a lot and imagine that all the actions of a certain social group lead to undesired consequences. It’s very simplistic and leaves me treating that material as troll droolings.


Hey, I'm all for warning of unintended consequences.

It's the idea that the intended consequences never work that seems foolish to me. Like saying, "If you hit the brakes on your car, it will speed up." It's the Frankenstein complex.


Responding to it feeds the troll. He’s usually got enough material above the signoff that is interesting in its own right, so I try to focus there.


Really? Lately, I've tended to skip those posts altogether. Sometimes, what's at the end catches my eye. I guess we're like Jack Spratt and his wife--between the two of us, we lick the platter clean.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

That's because we've elevated our Constitution to the level of a Sacred Document. ... Schoolhouse Rock managed to avoid it.


Heh. Schoolhouse Rock taught a generation of kids the preamble. I was a year too old. When I had to memorize the preamble in 8th grade, I had to do it the old fashioned way. There was "Multiplication Rock" that year, but none of the other categories yet. By the time it was my brother's turn two years later, the kids reciting the preamble were all but singing the thing.

LarryHart said...

...but seriously, the idea of the Constitution being a document handed down by God is laughable. The compromises that were made to get all the states on board are the opposite of the kind of thing you'd expect in a document revealed by God. The fact that there is a Senate and a House of Representatives and that the president has to be 35 years old and that the slave trade has to continue until at least 1808 is Revealed Truth?

Did Jesus really hand down in perfect form the bit about counting 3/5 of "all other persons" living in a state? 3/5 shall be the number of the counting, and the number of the counting shall be 3/5. 4/5 shalt thou not count, nor shalt thou count 2/5 excepting that thou then proceedest on to 3/5???

Zepp Jamieson said...

"We become the monsters with which we go to war."

Isn't that Nietzsche?

America keeps staring into the abyss....

Alfred Differ said...

Heh. Taking this stuff with monsters to a Lucas extreme is too much. I suspect there is some truth in the notion that the abyss can look back, but it isn’t fated to do so. Regarding our troops in WWII doing that, the evidence powerfully says otherwise. We stayed afterwards, but we didn’t conquer. Maybe we ran off with a few of their women, though. My mother is an immigrant who married one of those supposed occupiers, but that’s not very evil. She planned to leave anyway. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart,

Yah. It is laughable, but as a kind of half joke. We used to put Liberty on our coins. Now we put Presidents and Framers. Do you see the replacement of the preferred Transcendent being? Liberty might not be the limiting case of Transcendents, but she isn’t human either. As personifications go, she was right up there with what would have qualified as a demi-goddess if we were a pantheistic culture. Now we revere our Presidents and Framers? Recall the time we made that switch? It was another turn of the century thing.

Okay. The dollar coin is an oddball. The eagle and double eagle coins persisted in the old tradition for a long time. Still. Even John Adams could see the changes that were afoot before he died. Revisionist history is where it starts.

Heh. Of course if it really was a sacred document, amendments should be forbidden by the orthodox. Yet there is described within it the amendment process. Heh. And then there are all those essays in support of the thing making it clear that it had to be flexible and leave room for future generations to find their own ways forward. I think it is a terrible idea to treat it as sacred at all. It is too important for that.

locumranch said...


In the sense that 'Reaction equals Stimulus-Response', Smurphs gets it, LarryH approaches then veers away, David doubles-down & matthew operates in parallel: It's the social corollary of Newton's Third Law.

Yes indeed, LarryH, "striving for white supremacy leads inevitably to multiculturalism" as proven by WW2 wherein the Allied Forces started out just as Segregated, Anti-Semitic & Pro-Eugenic as were the Nazis but then defined themselves as their adversary's 'polar-opposite', much in the same way that the Nazis self-defined a defeated Post-WW1 Germany as the VICTIM of a monstrous Rothschild/Treaty of Versailles Conspiracy in order to justify their own monstrous WW2 brutality, and those ignorant of history are prone to repeat it, much in the very same way that the West's progressive Post-WW2 putsch towards multicultural & Pro-Union identity politics has led to the recent equal, opposite & reactionary 'push-back' wherein doubling-down aggravates, solving nothing.

Yet, 'doubling-down' is the only thing that our reactionary (pre & post) progressives know how to do. Faced with slow-growing but ill-organised conservative opposition (inertia, really), they push ever harder toward their respective goals only to organise & create the very conservative fascism that they oppose:

"More", roar the progressives as they label their adversaries as 'monsters', "Moar Multiculturalism, Moar Collectivism, Moar Gender Neutrality, Moar Climate Change Obedience", only to be so predictably rewarded with the equal & opposite effect.

We create the very monsters that we condemn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7TT4jnnWys


Best
_____
Aside to matthew: No one here disputes Nazi monstrousness, just the (1) Inapplicability of Godwin's Law and (2) West's belligerent complicity in their re-creation. To paraphrase Syndrome from 'The Incredibles', "If everyone is Hitler, then no one is".

Ilithi Dragon said...

On the subject of people on the right getting offended over references to or accusations of Nazis or Fascists on the right or in the leadership/governing officials on the right, two things:

1. It is a valid point that we must be extremely cautious about jumping to demonizing, dehumanizing, and turning our opponents into monsters. The consequences of those actions, if not warranted or if carried too far, can be dire.

2. Go suck a dick. Preferably, a great, big bag of them. Because you apparently have been completely deaf and blind, uncaring, or outright complicit in the accusations from EVERYONE on the right, who has more than the mildest right leanings and put even half an effort into forming some kind of political opinion, that EVERYONE on the left, or who is not right of center, or maaaaybe just a hair left of it (and not even that in a long time) is straight up a 100% Communist, Socialist, or the reincarnation of Stalin, that have been going on FOR DECADES. I do not have a living memory of when the media on the Right has not portrayed the Left in general as, at best, mild socialists, if not outright Communists and Stalin-clones (or Nazis and Fascists, and Hitler-clones, or everything all at once). I do not have a living memory of when my conservative friends and family who expressed any kind of political opinion did not refer to anyone on the Left in general as a Socialist or Communist (or socialcommunazifascist - I have seen people on the Right accuse people on the Left of being socialist, communist, nazis, and fascists all in one sentence, on multiple occasions).

And you want to complain, now, when the left points out that leaders on the right are USING NAZI PLAYBOOKS, and PROMOTING FASCIST IDEALS AND POLICIES, and are loudly supported by, and garnering support from NEO-NAZIS, WHITE-SUPREMACISTS, AND OTHER RACISTS GROUPS!?!!? Nevermind praising fascist and authoritarian dictators, past and present!??!

Pot. Kettle. Black.

The Right has been demonizing and dehumanizing the Left as a matter of course and standard policy FOR DECADES. The Right does not get to complain when their real faults are pointed out. And if that hurts your feelings, your precious, little, snowflake ass can sit down and rotate.




On a less belligerent, and more disturbing note, are any of you hear familiar with the book Foundations of Geopolitics, by Aleksandr Dugin? I would be extremely surprised if Dr. Brin is NOT familiar with it, at least by reputation. I'd like to find an English translation of it, because just the Wikipedia summary of it is both disturbing and enlightening, and it's probably something worth reading to have a better understanding of Russian motives and agendas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundations_of_Geopolitics

David Brin said...

LH… my generation memorized the Preamble as: “Ee Pleb Neesta….” Any geezers out there get the reference?

Locum gets an attaboy this time. His latest is not OPPOSITE to true but instead an EXAGGERATIOn of something true. The most extreme lefties certainly are insatiable and self-righteously pushy in their screams for reform. But to reactionaries, these rude outliers represent all of those promoting reform. They MUST make this exaggeration-lie. Because if they admit that the vast majority of reformers are decent people who just want to negotiate ways to end injustices and stop wasting talent? Then it reveals reactionaries to be fools.

Fool.

David Brin said...

Um... Iliithi Dragon? Has someone hijacked your account?

Ilithi Dragon said...

No, someone just hit on a long-festering peeve of mine, and I hit the post button before my temper cooled down.

locumranch said...



“Ee Pleb Neesta?" "I didn't recognise them at first because you said them so badly," said JT Kirk, StarTrek, Yangs & Colms episode, plus apologies to our special Game of Thrones snowflake, adding only that a Bags of Dicks ain't so bad if you don't mind chain barbecue restaurant food.

Best

Ilithi Dragon said...

On a calmer note, it is absolutely essential that we be mindful of the dangers of demonizing our political opponents.

The political Right, however, does not get to make any complaints in that regard, not after they have made such demonizing and dehumanizing a foundational principle of their standard operating procedure for decades. Some excitables on the Left have always spit fire back, but it is mostly in response to the blatant and unrepentant demonizing by the Right.

That demonizing has a long history, that dates back decades, well before I was born, and it has only gotten worse in the last few decades. It has a distinct, clear, and unmistakeable effects on how people behave and react to the demonized persons, and when an entire half of the political spectrum is doing so as A ROUTINE MATTER OF COURSE, it causes drastic and devastating damage to our countery's national cohesion, and the ability of our society to function as a society and shared civilization. The extent to which it has been carried out by the Right, and the horrendous damage it has caused, is so great that one cannot help but wonder if it wasn't all deliberate, not just the unintended consequences of political power grabbing through fear-mongering, but rather the actual intended purpose and outcome.


What is most galling, is that the Right will do this, and then the minute anyone on the left throws anything back, nevermind actually pointing out their real faults and questionable ideas and actions, they throw a holy tantrum of a hissyfit, all while heaping on shovelful after shovelful of BS about crybaby lefty snowflakes who can't take a bit of criticism or hard work or real life.

It infuriates me, and is one of my great peeves, because I grew up in a rural, conservative area, the majority of the people living in the area I grew up in are conservative to one extent or another, and most of my family is from conservative areas or has conservative traditions. I spent my entire life seeing all of this, having to put up with all of it, and having to keep my mouth shut about all of it, not daring to say a word, lest I create a unholy hellstorm of an extended family argument and feud.

The despicable and unrepentant hypocrisy of the Right, where everything they do is Right, Good, and Justified, and anything the Left does is bad and wrong, and nevermind if it's something the Right has been doing for decades, or just finished doing not five minutes ago, if it's being done by anyone who is not actively supporting the Right/Conservatives/etc., it is wrong and bad and evil and horrible and unprecedented.

But the Left doesn't dare point this out. Oh, no. Because the Right would cry and moan about how unfair and unjust and dehumanizing it is, and on and on and on.

I am normally inclined to urge the prevailing of cool heads and attitudes, calm and reasoned dialogue, etc., but I have been rapidly running out of patience, and this matter, in particular, has exceeded my levels of tolerance.

Mel Baker said...

In wake of our serious discussions about Mussolini and Trump.. here is a fun piece on all that gilding in Trump palace.

Trump’s Dictator Chic
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/trump-style-dictator-autocrats-design-214877

locumranch said...


Literally speaking, RIGHT means "morally good", "correct", "justified", "fair", "proper", "upright", "righteous", "virtuous", "ethical", "honorable", "honest". "lawful" and "legal", whereas LEFT means "sinister", "perverse" and "abandoned". Is everyone illiterate? Does no one own a dictionary? Has the world gone insane, thinking 'up is down', 'left is right' and 'right is wrong'? Orwell was a prophet!

Best

Connotation said...

Locum, please stop mistaking us with denotation. I'd accuse you using your DICK-tionary again--except you actually have a good point hidden in your "mewling" condescension.

Progressive is a more apt term. And The Left could stand to rebrand itself. #George Lakoff#hashtagssuck. Maybe we could re-frame the whole thing on the Cartesian coordinate system. Let the right be the right, but put them in quadrant IV and the progressives could land in quadrant I. Cause the left is positive and uplifting and the right is negative and puts us in the hole. Better yet, the rationals vs the irrationals. Dork out with me.

David Brin said...

I have long held that "left-right" is a lobotomizing metaphor that should be abandoned because it is French! But We are stuck with it. Moderates and leftists come in a wide variety of shades, that includes several that are crazy. There are no shades on the "right" that aren't insane, at present... though some are loony in the sense that they are decent people who are simply frantic in their denial.

Twominds said...

@Larry Hart

"Lately, I've tended to skip those [locumrances] posts altogether."

The same here. I might scan them diagonally, but I found that after the elections, there's little of interest anymore in his writings. Sometimes, after an interesting response from someone else, I go back and see what he wrote. Like in Illithi Dragon's fiery reaction.

"3/5 shall be the number of the counting, and the number of the counting shall be 3/5. 4/5 shalt thou not count, nor shalt thou count 2/5 excepting that thou then proceedest on to 3/5"

There is that level of detail in the bible now and again. Like the exact kind and placing of the gemstones on the pectoral of high high priest, or the details of the Arc. That was boring reading, I remember.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "It’s 1861, they yearn for."
More 1871 than 1861. Slavery was defeated, lots of spoils to be divvied out - lots of plantation lords easily appeased with a few gestures (so long as they paid their debts...and extricated every last penny from their sharecroppers). In 1871, they could create a romanticized mythology of a grand era that never existed, fight to preserve that era, and distract all eyes as they proceeded to pursue their own enrichment.

"I doubt [Trump]’s personally very racist, while cynically egging on those who are."
His racism parallels the cynical 1871 banker who financed the war against the Confederacy -
called himself a hero of the Union - then charged African-Americans 2-5x the interest rate as whites, all the while posturing about how he graciously helps 'those people.'

"I know the cult of neo-feudalists who aim for a return to the standard human condition of 6000 years..."
An 1861 feudalist actually believed he could preserve his entitlements by throwing away millions of lives - a reckless courage lacking in Trump and his ilk. An 1871 feudalist, however, converted public political battle into a sideshow distraction, while the backroom deals created trusts.

An 1861 feudalist sought pseudo-science (to justify slavery). An 1871 feudalist sought 'captive science' (with them as the sole beneficiaries) - they were comfortable adapting anything 'scientific' that enriched them. Trump has no problem with any of the 'knowledge professions' - so long as they are subservient to his ambitions. He wants pet scientists to line up like beauty pageanteers - and for some reason, there aren't many takers willing to don a bikini and march at his behest.

Marino said...

While I find somewhat unfair comparing Bannon to Bormann (I'm tempted, "unfair to Bormann", as he never came near someone so powerful as a 21. century POTUS, nuclear suitcase and all...) on account of resemblance, I should point out instead that it's common knowledge that Bannon reads and follows Julius Evola.
Here comes the issue: Evola never was a ideologue of the fascist régime in the '30s, at its zenith; he became the ideologue of choice of the postwar Fascist bitter-enders, heirs (or the some people) to the ones who joined the Quisling regime of the Salò Republic, engaged in rounding up partisans and Jews for the Nazis and such. And those nice people later engaged in covert ops like Gladio, were behind right-wing terrorism (Bologna railway station, worst bombing in the west before OK City) or beat leftwingers in the streets in our '70s (been there, seen that.)
So, I'm really sorry for locum, but "birds of one feather flock together", no? With such pedigree, labelling Bannon as a Nazi is true and fair. And, on a related subject, I wonder what kind of chutzpah is required, blaming the West for low birthrate caused by the "evil LBGT lobby and the feminists" while rooting for Putin, whose Russia is depopulating since the '90s with both low birthrate and greater mortality.

donzelion said...

Alfred: re Prohibition
I had long viewed it as a small veneer of 'progressives' looking to reformulate human conduct (seeing Prohibition as an extension of women's suffrage), backed by much larger anti-immigrant backlash (esp. motivated by certain key Protestant sects opposed to non-Protestant alcohol consumers - Italians, Irish, Russians, and esp. to those beer-swilling Germans) in the rank'n'file (not to mention fears of Native and African-Americans drinking liquor). The Progressives get blamed because they were articulate - but the Temperance movement goes back much further into the 19th century...even Lincoln launched his career with speeches at the Temperance Union...WWI + the Spanish influenza (+ Western romances describing brothel bars in unflattering terms...like the one our president's grandfather operated)...end of the day, the ugliest among Progressives aligned with the ugliest among Regressives to turn back numerous 'foreign tides.'

As for Locumranch: "Listen carefully and you’ll find an old-school liberal within him that thinks he is a conservative."
I see a contrarian, rather than an old-school liberal or a conservative. A confused soul, perhaps, but one who - when the chips are down - will drop silly arguments and stand up to defend his friends - as so many of us would defend him from any real threat. I hope I am not mistaken.

LarryHart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

...
The Right has been demonizing and dehumanizing the Left as a matter of course and standard policy FOR DECADES. The Right does not get to complain when their real faults are pointed out. And if that hurts your feelings, your precious, little, snowflake ass can sit down and rotate.


THANK YOU!!! (apologies to Tacitus2 for the all-caps)

Knowing that a sane member of the protector caste sees that is like finding water in the desert.

Coincidentally, I was about to complain about this morning's "Prickly City" comic strip in which the conservative girl asks rhetorically why we can't just understand each other, and the liberal dog responds with "Because you're just a dupe of FOX News!" Like you, Ilithi, I am old enough to have gone through decades of anything left of laissez-faire corporatism being labelled socialist communist, treason.

Right-wingers never like it and always whimper like little girls when we accept their own rules of the game and play by those very rules.

And speaking of "snowflakes", someone on the Stephanie Miller show passed along the observation that Republicans are the true snowflakes: They're cold and white, and if enough of them get together at the same time, they'll shut down the public schools.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Um... Iliithi Dragon? Has someone hijacked your account?


Are you kidding? That was Post of the Day!


LH… my generation memorized the Preamble as: “Ee Pleb Neesta….” Any geezers out there get the reference?


Yes, but this geezer is just a bit younger than you, and I first saw that Star Trek episode in re-runs. I was already familiar with the preamble by then, if only from having to memorize it in eighth grade.

To Alfred Differ's point, that episode's plot is what happens when the Constitution becomes a sacred document in a dead language.


LarryHart said...

Ilithi Dragon

The despicable and unrepentant hypocrisy of the Right, where everything they do is Right, Good, and Justified, and anything the Left does is bad and wrong, and nevermind if it's something the Right has been doing for decades, or just finished doing not five minutes ago, if it's being done by anyone who is not actively supporting the Right/Conservatives/etc., it is wrong and bad and evil and horrible and unprecedented.

But the Left doesn't dare point this out. Oh, no. Because the Right would cry and moan about how unfair and unjust and dehumanizing it is, and on and on and on.


I came to the conclusion a few decades back that America viscerally equates Republicans with patriotism and Democrats with terrorism and treason. Seen through that prism, it makes sense that cheating in defense of Republicans is no vice, whereas Democrats are to be resisted by any means. I thought that the illusion had shattered in 2006, but apparently not.

I am normally inclined to urge the prevailing of cool heads and attitudes, calm and reasoned dialogue, etc., but I have been rapidly running out of patience, and this matter, in particular, has exceeded my levels of tolerance.


As Dr Brin mentions often, the Union is slow to anger, but once finally provoked is a juggernaut which can't be stopped.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Literally speaking, RIGHT means "morally good", "correct", "justified", "fair", "proper", "upright", "righteous", "virtuous", "ethical", "honorable", "honest". "lawful" and "legal", whereas LEFT means "sinister", "perverse" and "abandoned". Is everyone illiterate? Does no one own a dictionary? Has the world gone insane, thinking 'up is down', 'left is right' and 'right is wrong'? Orwell was a prophet!


Even for you, this must be a joke, eh?

You're not seriously equating the particular connotations of the directional terms "right" and "left" with the political wings they were arbitrarily associated with in the French Assembly.

reason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reason said...

Mussolini:

http://www.historyextra.com/article/premium/mussolinis-willing-followers

Trump

https://howardrosenbergblog.wordpress.com/tag/mussolini-scowl/

This surely must be deliberate. Nobody pulls such a ridiculous face by accident. He must have studied Mussolini and practiced.

Darrell E said...

Aside from the ridiculousness of attributing a declining birth rate to the "evil LBGT lobby and the feminists" as Marino pointed out, since when is a declining birth rate a bad thing?

That position, believing that a declining birth rate is a bad thing, is one of those attention grabbing, eye opening things that makes it really clear that there is a great divide, a yawning chasm, between significant percentages of people on the "right" and on the "left."

On one side of the chasm are people with a world view little different from thousands of years ago. Authoritarian, ideology over evidence (science), looking to the past for the glory days, fatalistic, tribal (small circles of inclusion).

On the other side of the chasm are people with a world view influenced or derived from what came out of what is often referred to as the Enlightenment, and that is rather new in human history. At least in scale and extent. Though many of the ideas and attitudes were expressed piece-meal in many other places and times throughout history. Non-authoritarian, evidence (science) over ideology, looking to create glory days, optimistic, inclusive.

LarryHart said...

Darrell E:

On the other side of the chasm are people with a world view influenced or derived from what came out of what is often referred to as the Enlightenment, and that is rather new in human history.


I forget where I saw it now--possibly a Paul Krugman column--several years ago, but someone started referring to the current right-wing putsch as "The Endarkenment". It's a phrase worth reviving.

LarryHart said...

In the movie "The Rocketeer", which takes place in the 1930s, there's a climactic point where the Mafia-like gang leader realizes he's been duped into following the orders of a Nazi agent. The villain then turns on his masters and declares (to the applause of the audience) that "I may be a criminal, but I'm an American criminal!"

(John Byrne repeated the gag in his "Batman Meets Captain America" comic with The Joker playing the mafia part to the Nazis' Red Skull)

Why do I get the sense that the modern day Republicans, when faced with irrefutable evidence that their guy in the White House is (willingly or no) implementing the agenda of a hostile foreign power will go the opposite direction, asserting "Hey, as long as it helps us get our tax cuts, deregulation, and Supreme Court nominees, what the fuck do we care?" I'm looking at you, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

locumranch said...


My rant about Left & Right is sort-of a joke but not really, one that acknowledges centuries of linguistic & cultural conditioning as no Muslim traditionalist will laugh with you if you offer him the wrong (as in 'left') hand in friendship or use your left 'poopy hand' to serve food. It's a pre-Hand Hygiene & pre-Toilet Paper connotation to be sure, yet it is a non-arbitrary denotation that has coloured many social interactions from the typical Parliamentary seating arrangement to a left-handed compliment to a justifiable decrease in left-handed life expectancy.

Best

Darrell E said...

LarryHart,

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have occupied the top spots on my Most Disgusting People list all year so far.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

My rant about Left & Right is sort-of a joke but not really


Al Franken has a term for that: "Kidding on the square".

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

As far as Trump and racism go, let's not forget his relationship with Roy Cohn. Think any of that rubbed off?

AS for 'making great again', there are times where that has worked positively.

But, positive or negative, it requires exaggerating some elements and diminishing others. Ih short, it requires an agenda.

Look at the Arhturian Renaissance in late Victorian Britain. The purpose of which appeared to be to teach the British Aristocracy that they were responsible, in a good way, for all their people. How? By having the various Round Table stories of great heroes, and object lessons of the villains. Athur's sacrifices. Etc. ANd playing down that if that Britain existed at all, it still was under the feudal system.

The idea that the '50's were 'great' does similar. White picket fences, and husbands with undefined, but well-paying jobs. Mothers who ran their households with efficiency and without complaint. But it leaves out various economic policies, and the fact that the inner cities and extreme rural areas didn't have it so good. And the Red Scare, blacklisting and homophobia.

As for Star Wars, It has little value beyond entertainment. Joe Campbell used wrongly is about the worst possible way. Using a description as a prescription.

And yes, I get the TOS reference. Somewhat reminds me of a recent interview on some school districts wanting to remove Shakespeare from the curriculum in favor of business writing courses.

As far as Left vs. Right, being a person whose grandmother recommended highly tying my left hand behind my back until I lost my Satanic tendencies, I have strong opinions on the subject.

LarryHart said...

raito:

As far as Left vs. Right, being a person whose grandmother recommended highly tying my left hand behind my back until I lost my Satanic tendencies, I have strong opinions on the subject.


My mother-in-law is left-handed and is of an age when right-handedness was forced by teachers. To this day, she uses the words "left" and "right" almost interchangeably.


The idea that the '50's were 'great' does similar. White picket fences, and husbands with undefined, but well-paying jobs. Mothers who ran their households with efficiency and without complaint. But it leaves out various economic policies, and the fact that the inner cities and extreme rural areas didn't have it so good. And the Red Scare, blacklisting and homophobia.


To many #MAGA supporters, the Red Scare, blacklisting, and homophobia are part of the greatness.

Tim H. said...

I remember being caught writing left handed in the first grade, was told I was using the wrong hand, ended up somewhat ambidextrous. Still want a "Fifties", hold the Jim Crow, cold war and pollution.

David Brin said...

Marino, they do not even make sense in their own context! For example, blaming LGBT rights for low birth rates — (show us actual numbers, instead of arm-wavings!) - could be answered with a eugenics argument even more attractive to troglodytes; that giving LGBT rights allows them to come out of the closet and stop entering into hetero Cover Marriages to protect their own lives. It is arguable (no statistics) that LGBT folks had fewer offspring since coming out. Hence has freedom had the effect of reducing the prevalence of their genetic trait?

Of course In Vitro processes have reversed this a bit. STill it’s an example of where reactionary narratives don’t even make sense in their own context.

LH: Tasty in the Rocketeer was Errol Flynn as a Nazi agent. Har!

raito: The Arthurian legends reinforce the Second Worst Thing About Feudalism… that even if you have a genius-Saint king who creates a golden age, his son is likely to be a total schmuck, and no institutions stand that can prevent him screwing everything.

Smurphs said...

Larry H said:

I came to the conclusion a few decades back that America viscerally equates Republicans with patriotism and Democrats with terrorism and treason

Back before the 2012 election, I was working with several middle aged white guys (30 to 60) like me. We were driving around in rental cars all week doing site surveys. Being from different backgrounds, we had many disagreements (friendly) about what to listen to on the XM satellite radio. Rock, Country, Comedy, we spent some time on all of them. The one thing we all agreed on was NOT to listen to the political talk channels. As I pointed out one night at dinner, there were two main political channels, the left-leaning Democratic channel, and the right-leaning PATRIOT channel. None of them thought it odd or even noticed until I pointed it out.

The meme that you can't be a patriot unless you are right wing is buried deep in our culture.

Treebeard said...

If you are opposed to manicheism, why are you always speaking in manichean terms and pointing out the evil-doers? I say screw both the Confederacy and the Union; it's as useless as the left-right duality. If there's a war, I'll sell hats or guns to both sides and say good luck. Or I'll do nothing, in keeping with the Taoist principle that this is the best way to get things done.

With LGBT, it's not their birthrates, but the slippery slope of normalized deviance. What letters will be added next? B for Bestiality? P for pedophilia? It's the same reason why we focus attacks on the outliers on the Left; because making outliers mainstream is the nature of the beast; things that were unthinkable a few decades ago become mandatory tomorrow if the leftists get their way.

Darrell E said...

Dang Treebeard, you have some serious hang-ups. Are you afraid that you or yours might suddenly become lesbian, gay, bi, trans, or some combination thereof if society doesn't keep up the demonization and persecution of such people to threaten you with? Just so we can be clear on what exactly your specific hang-ups are could you please give the reasons why it matters to you what mutually consenting people do with their genitals, with their relationships or who they do it with?

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

The Arthurian legends reinforce the Second Worst Thing About Feudalism… that even if you have a genius-Saint king who creates a golden age, his son is likely to be a total schmuck,


Especially his incest-spawned bastard son.

LarryHart said...

Smurphs:

The one thing we all agreed on was NOT to listen to the political talk channels. As I pointed out one night at dinner, there were two main political channels, the left-leaning Democratic channel, and the right-leaning PATRIOT channel. None of them thought it odd or even noticed until I pointed it out.

The meme that you can't be a patriot unless you are right wing is buried deep in our culture.


Ed Schultz used to have left-leaning tv and radio shows, but he's the gun-toting midwestern sort of progressive (from North Dakota). Some time in the mid 2000s, he tried to get his show on Armed Forces Radio to counter the three hours of Limbaugh that they were already listening to. The argument the military gave for not carrying his show was along the lines of "Our soldiers don't need to hear three hours of arguments that America is terrible." To them, asking the Armed Forces to air a Democratic-leaning show was tantamount to asking for them to carry Tokyo Rose.

Treebeard said...

It matters because of the cultural impact. I've been around it enough to know. Faggotry is corrosive and disgusting; and demonic -- even though I don't really believe in that, it's as good a description as any.

BTW the Endarkenment is a great term; I've been using it for years, but apparently I wasn't the first. I think the real Endarkenment began centuries ago, when degenerate French philosophers opened the door to every sort of bizarre innovation, deviance, cultural subversion, spiritual inversion and sexual perversion and called it "progress". Kali Yuga is also a good term for this order, but that gets pretty esoteric. The real Enlightenment will come when Western man rediscovers spirituality, Tradition and harmony with the Tao, and leaves this evil age in the dustbin of history where it belongs.

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

With LGBT, it's not their birthrates, but the slippery slope of normalized deviance. What letters will be added next? B for Bestiality? P for pedophilia?


Are those your favorites?

If you want enforced lack-of-deviance, watch those parade videos from North Korea. Is that what you're thinking America should look like?


It's the same reason why we focus attacks on the outliers on the Left; because making outliers mainstream is the nature of the beast; things that were unthinkable a few decades ago become mandatory tomorrow if the leftists get their way.


First of all, that works both ways. Pre-emptive war, erosion of the Bill of Rights, and a jibbering idiot in the White House were unthinkable a decade or two back. Paul Ryan, Lindsay Graham, and Ted Cruz (rock-ribbed Republicans all) couldn't imagine a Trump presidency as recently as last July.

Your side doesn't mind when the right makes the unthinkable into the mainstream.

And if you're so hostile to tolerance of deviance, then what is freedom and liberty for?

LarryHart said...

@Treebeard,

Oh, the Tao thing again.

So by opposing homosexuality, you hope to bring about its golden age?

I get it.

Treebeard said...

I do respect North Korea for not bowing to Western liberal hegemony and its Invisible Governor system of conquest. I haven't been there, but it looks like they have a pretty strong culture to me. Though they're nominally Communist, it's really more of a traditional society led by an authoritarian strongman. Such governments differ from democracies in that they are often very popular, and this makes democratic leaders jealous and angry and want to destroy them.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Trump had visitors to the Oval Office yesterday, and I'm not making this up; if there is a joke, the joke is America. "Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock walk in to an Oval Office."
Keith Olbermann described it as the cast for an episode of "Dancing with trailer park trash" and someone noted the picture of Sarah next to Captain Pissmop at the executive desk and wrote "At last! A house she can see Russia from!"

A.F. Rey said...

Such governments differ from democracies in that they are often very popular, and this makes democratic leaders jealous and angry and want to destroy them.

Of course such dictatorships are very popular. Anyone who dislikes them finds himself and his family in a concentration camp for life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoeryong_concentration_camp

You seem to think the Twilight Zone epidose, "It's a Good Life" is the definition of paradise. :D

Faggotry is corrosive and disgusting; and demonic...

So is the Alt-Right and their supporters, but whatchagonnado? ;)

And consider your answer carefully, because like the Nuclear Option in the Senate, it will come back to bite you.

Winter7 said...

This is one of the best political analysis I have ever read. It is good to know that the Roosevelt era is a good guide for honest leaders.
What is sadder in the history of humanity is how easy fascist leaders can deceive. I have seen how honest and fair families were deceived by the local Nazis, making that family an efficient tool for the purposes of Nazi leaders.
The most powerful trick of fascist leaders is the camouflage of apparent honesty and religiosity. It is so easy to manipulate people through religion! No matter how many years in the future we are. Religion will always be the most useful tool of extortion of the fascists. The second best tool of the fascists will always be the creation of a truth and false reality that is imposed as real by means of mass propaganda in all the media.
Behind fascism there is always powerful funding from fascist plutocrats.
Fascism is the greatest threat in the history of mankind. Fascism is easily hidden behind the mask on the left or on the right (Russia is an example of that)

In spanish:
Este es uno de los mejores análisis políticos que he leído. Es bueno saber que la era Roosevelt es una buena guía para los líderes honestos.
Lo que es más triste en la historia de la humanidad, es lo fácil que los líderes fascistas pueden engañar. Yo he visto cómo familias honestas y justas fueron engañadas por los nazis locales, convirtiéndose esa familia en una eficiente herramienta para los fines de los líderes nazis.
El más poderoso truco de los líderes fascistas es el camuflaje de aparente honestidad y religiosidad. ¡Es tan fácil manipular a las personas por medio de la religión! No importa cuántos años en el futuro estemos. La religión siempre será la herramienta de extorsión más útil de los fascistas. La segunda mejor herramienta de los fascistas siempre será la creación de una verdad y realidad falsa que es impuesta como real por medio de la propaganda masiva en todos los medios de comunicación.
Detrás del fascismo siempre hay poderosa financiación por parte de plutócratas fascistas.
El fascismo es la amenaza más grande en la historia de la humanidad. El fascismo se esconde fácilmente tras la máscara de la izquierda o de la derecha (Rusia es un ejemplo de eso)

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post;

“Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
Didn’t need no Welfare State.
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days.”


That song had more verses than the few at the beginning of "All In The Family".

My parents had a record album (remember those?) of skits from "All In The Family", and the opening of the record had the entire song--not just the first two verses--being sung by Carrol O'Connor and Jean Stapleton. I can't do justice to the hilarious way O'Connor as Archie Bunker voiced the line:

Freaks were in a circus tent.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

I wrote the character Nathan Holn, in The Postman. And there are some tough hombres out there who don't care that I portrayed Holn as a villain. They adore him, anyway. And me as Holn's 'creator.


I'm surprised that there are Holn fans out there. Not that there are Holnist fans, but Holn himself was already dead at the time the novel takes place, so the book doesn't actually portray Holn himself in the sense of in-depth characterization of how the man thinks or feels. He's not in the book. He's already a martyr and a legend to the Holnists during the action.

Unless these fans latched onto the book within the book called "Lost Empire" by Nathan Holn, a few pages of which are read by the characters in your novel. Ok, I can see that. I'm still amazed though. I mean, Treebeard is as close to a Holnist as I can imagine here on this list, and he doesn't sound like he'd be on your side in a fight.

LarryHart said...

...Or am I forgetting the movie (which I didn't see)? Did Nathan Holn appear as a live character in the movie?

Luis Salgueiro said...

I'd like to point out has someone already mentioned that the "making X great again" is a typical hallmark of Fascism.


The term Fascism was originally meant as a tribute to the Roman fasces, that represented the strength of the union of the people of Rome under the Republic "et pluribus unum"

The fight against the Barbarians (other's) and the rebuilding of the empire justified the African adventures of Il Duce (or as I call it The Duck because he reminds me of Disney's sailor).

The fascist movement happened simultaneously in several european nations and can't be atributed only to the defeated parties of WWI (Italy was on the winning side and so was Portugal). The causes for the rise of fascism were economical and social before anything else. Any contemporary movement towards a strong central authority stems from impoverishment and a sense of powerlessness.



I'd like you all to consider the story of a slightly different dictator:

Salazar - the right wing's wet dream of leader, intelectual genius, morally sound, incorruptible and absolutely dedicated to the nation.
Life magazine (https://books.google.pt/books?id=xz8EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA65&source=gbs_toc_r&redir_esc=y&hl=pt-PT#v=onepage&q&f=false) proclaimed him the greatest Portuguese since Henry the Navigator and the best dictator ever. Time magazine in 1935 raved about the economical miracle he achieved.

Background: Fallowing the increase in education in the early 20th century the new intelectual classed rebelled against the old feudal structure leading to the assassination of the Portuguese king and creation of a Republic in 1910. In 1917 the Portuguese military was humiliated with the destruction of the Portuguese expeditionary corps in Flandres in the course of the Battle of La Lys.


Between 1920 and 1925 there were 325 bombings in Lisbon alone. I repeat 325 that's one every three days for 5 years. The bombings were perpetrated by secret societies and anarchists whose objective was the destruction of the social order.
In 1926 there was a military uprising that installed a dictatorship.

In 1928 Portugal was bankrupt, Salazar a bright professor of economics with ultraconservative views was asked to become minister of finance. In 1929 Portugal achieved a superavit and managed to get international loans again. By 1935 it was an economical and political power again due to the colonies (combined area of all territories almost the size of europe http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7dzmprWMM6M/VNo3kA_OclI/AAAAAAAAu8o/zwB-uQSGgY4/s1600/FIGURA%2B1%2B-%2Bportugal%2Bna%CC%83o%2Be%CC%81%2Bum%2Bpai%CC%81s%2Bpequeno.jpg)

There were no massacres of foreigners or jews or any other group. He was actively against the antisemitism but didn't lift a finger to help the persecuted German Jews. Political opponents were sent to an island prison. A few were murdered by the secret services.

The cost: 0 liberty - no groups of more than 3 people on the streets on pain of prison, snitches in every household, 13 years of colonial war, 0 social advancement, 0 scientific advancement (except pre-frontal lobotomy).

When Salazar died Portugal was a 19th century nation fighting a losing war, isolated from the rest of the world , where the ambition of the common man was: How the hell do I get out of here.

Jumper said...

Treebeard doesn't see misogyny as perverted.

Anyway, what is a dyslexic sociopath?

Jumper said...

A dyslexic sociopath is someone who doesn't know the difference between left and wrong.

Luis Salgueiro said...

Jumper: LOL

LarryHart said...

Luis Salgueiro:

There were no massacres of foreigners or jews or any other group. He was actively against the antisemitism but didn't lift a finger to help the persecuted German Jews. Political opponents were sent to an island prison. A few were murdered by the secret services.

The cost: 0 liberty - no groups of more than 3 people on the streets on pain of prison, snitches in every household, 13 years of colonial war, 0 social advancement, 0 scientific advancement (except pre-frontal lobotomy).

When Salazar died Portugal was a 19th century nation fighting a losing war, isolated from the rest of the world ...


Wow! Seriously, that's more information about Portugal during WWII than I ever knew before.

From the movie "Casablanca", I got the idea that Portugal was neutral in the war. The characters there had to get from Occupied France to Lisbon by way of Africa in order to escape from there to the west, which implied that Spain was not an option for French refugees, but Portugal was. Is that an accurate assessment?


How the hell do I get out of here.


Is Portugal not part of the European Union?

I'm not making fun of you. Asking the question in all seriousness.

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

A dyslexic sociopath is someone who doesn't know the difference between left and wrong.


We have one of those posting here.

Luis Salgueiro said...

During WWII Portugal was neutral.

In the same year WWII ended Portugal started a vicious colonial war in 4 fronts across 2 continents. If that wasn't enough India declared war on Portugal to assimilate the Portuguese colonies of Goa Damão and Diu into the Indian Republic (no provocation Salazar simply refused to negotiate with the Indian Government the "war" lasted 1 days: 40 000 Indian troops and 10 wwII warships including a light aircraft carrier against 1 portuguese gunship from the 19th century and a couple of propeler airplanes and 8000 troops.) Salazar ordered the soldiers to fight to the last man and die in combat. The Portuguese generals declared the resistance was futile and suicidal. Still the dictator ordered every soldier to fight to the death. Almost to the man the soldiers surrendered without a fight. Salazar abandoned those war prisoners that were only liberated after the end of the dictatorship in 1974.

Portugal entered the European Union in 1986, 12 years after the end of the dictatorship.

Portugal was a safe haven because at the time Spain was at war and Portugal was neutral.

Salazar played is own game, and managed to avoid a planned invasion first by Hitler in 1939 and latter by the Allies under Roosevelt: Portugal was spared in exchange to giving the airbase of Lages in the Azores to be used by the USAF to this day.

The situation was completely surreal: the Japanese invaded the portuguese colony of Timor and portuguese troops fought alongside the Ozzies against the Japanese but Portugal never declared war on Japan, and red cross packages passed through Portugal to the POWs in Japan AND to the Japanese troops in Tiomor. The 1st paratrooper regiment actively engaged the Japanese military in guerrilla war.

David Brin said...

Luis thank you. Very interesting summary. I enjoyed our recent visit to Portugal. A beautiful land.

----

Of course Treebeard screeches “I say screw both the Confederacy and the Union” — because that is how his Confederacy wins. Utter-malarkey false-equivalence, when:

1- Actual measuable major outcomes from his side’s peeriods of power have been almost 100% negative while the vast majority of such metrics were positive from blue governance, and still are in most (not all) blue states.

2- His confederate cult correlates perfectly with the war on science and against every fact-centered clade. And since those professions will determine whether civilization succeeds or fails, then his cult and its endeavors directly threaten our children with death. And hence, yes, manichean levels of evil.

3- You turkeys started this. Like playground bullies, you only start screaming for “fairness” when the victims are hitting back.

4- Oh and you cheat. Your politicians cheat and your “news” channels lie and cheat and your oligarchs and plantation massas cheat and want a system in which all competing (e.g. fact-centered elites are crushed, so tey can cheat without restraint.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Off topic question: OK, SF types--some of you HAVE to be watching the new run of "Fargo."
The scene where the police chief in in her dad's home, and the joint has pretty clearly been ransacked. She picks up an object, a trophy, to use as a potential weapon. Was that a Hugo Award she was holding?

David Brin said...

The other half did raise a topic: “*What letters will be added next? B for Bestiality? P for pedophilia?” And yes, now we are in territory where sincere conservatives have at least an understandable worry. A major sin of the far left is relentless chiding without listening. One reason why the Berkeley fools who are celebrating for shutting down Anne (Face of Satan) Coulter are counterproductive assholes who play into the hands of fox & pals.

The slippery slope is an excuse for much evil… e.g. refusal to consider treating guns like cars, the reasonable compromise on gun control, stymied by loony obsession with slippery slopes. (See http://www.tinyurl.com/jrifle )

In fact there is an answer to the ent’s question. Most rights expansions could be justified simply on grounds of maximizing the opening up of opportunity to talent, free of exploitation of others. Bestiality will run afoul of exploitation of animals and rouse animal rights activists as anti-bodies.

Pedophilia may indeed see some mutations of definition along the edges with passing generations. (The GOP had better hope so, since it seems that half their politicians are boy-buggerers.) But OVERALL? Pedophilia is clearly the predatory exploitation of the helpless who cannot protect themselves and thus see their opportunity to utilize talent ruined by trauma.

Tell me how those standards justify resistance to letting LGBT adults be themselves with consensual adults?

I gave you the benefit of the doubt for asking a sincere question. Then I read this: “Faggotry is corrosive and disgusting; and demonic.”

Now, I do have normal hetero reflexes and prefer that the imagery be kept demure . The majority should have a right to ask for tolerant respect for our wishes, that far. Still - blatantly Darrell E is right. You are clearly overcompensating for something that you deeply fear, inside.

BTW. The average N Korean male weighs half as much as his S Korean counterpart and is six inches shorter. Half his relatives are in concentration camps and the average IQ — of those who ESCAPE the North (hence smart guys) is double digits lower. You are one sick puppy.

Treebeard said...

Yeah, sometimes strongmen are hated, no doubt. But when they are wildly popular at home and widely respected abroad, like, say, Vlad Putin, while acting in ways that the Anglo neolib empire disapproves of, then they become targets of massive media Godwin smear campaigns. Putin is the next Hitler in case you haven't heard; I was skeptical myself until I heard it for the 1000th time on CNN/NY Times/The Daily Show. Also Trump is Putin's catspaw, and if not Hitler Jr., then at least another Mussolini (unless he nukes Russia and destroys the world, then all is forgiven). Oh and by the way, Saddam has WMD's, Libya was a threat to our freedoms, the Viet Cong attacked us in the Gulf of Tonkin, Assad gasses children, Iran has nukes and North Korea is going to destroy our cities any day now. The only solution? Liberating these lands from their popular (but EVIL) strongmen and giving them gift of democracy the American way: with bombs.

LarryHart said...

@Treebeard,

No one (except Trump) is saying we should free North Korea from itself by bombing it. We're just saying it would suck to live there.

Paul SB said...

A wee bit late to this conversation, but it might not be good to let someone who, shall we say, uses concepts very selectively, pretend expertise and claim to represent a philosophy of which he has only passing familiarity.

There is an old Tao story in which a scholar was hired by the Emperor to tutor the Prince, goes to his old master to ask his advice. He says to his master (to paraphrase), "I have been asked to teach a young man who is depraved and morally bankrupt." The master's advice; "you must not try to change him. You can only change yourself."

Most people interpret this as "lead by example" as the only real hope of making change happen (or Be the change you want to see in the world - if you don't mind mixing cultures).

Then the sapling ends with:

"Non-Enlightenment, non-Judeo-Protestant traditional wisdom: good medicine for hysterical Manichean moralists of all stripes!" This, of course, completely contradicts his point. Instead of trying to lead by example, he answers preaching with preaching, moralizing with moralizing, and is completely oblivious to what he is saying.

locumranch said...



Jumper sums up the last US Presidential Election with few words: A contest between Twin Evils, the Dyslexic Sociopathy of Donald Trump versus the Pathological Socialism of Hilary Clinton, referred to by South Park creatives as a contest between a Giant Douche & a Turd Sandwich. Most certainly, the Age of Douchiness is upon us when the Left attempts to vanquish right-leaning homophobia with (seriously?) right-leaning homophobia and the Right attempts to counteract preachy liberal moralising with (you guessed it) preachy liberal moralising. Self-defeat much? I can't wait for the next act wherein the failing Union attempts to use military force to restore left-leaning public order & expects an outcome different than that of the old Confederacy's last-gasp failed attempt to restore right-leaning public order at Kent State by National Guard. What sardonic circularity as the Right then steps up to the tunes of 'Gotta get down to it' and 'Four dead in Ohio'. Or, wherever. It is to laugh. Sadly. A sad man's laughter. Also known as 'manslaughter'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX95QSKBODo

Best
_____
In a 'smelt it, dealt it' way, Darrell_E and David really did that. They called Treebeard 'gay' because he dared to disapprove of 'gay-ness'. LOL. Does that mean that homophiles are 'straight' ?

Marino said...

for Mr. Salgueiro, I spent this Easter in Lisbon. Very beautiful city, expecially Baixa, Chado and Alfama. And the iconic streetcars and pastels de nata in Bélem, of course... so I happened to walk inside the Bertrand bookshop ("the oldest still operating bookshop in the world", no less) and bought this:
The First Global Village: How Portugal Changed the World
by Martin Page
Extremely interesting. Anyway, I'm old enough to remember the carnation revolution and "Grandola Villa Morena", but I had little knowledge of the earlier history. I was aware of the seaborne trade empire, but not of its sheer range.

On a different subject: ain't someone who roots for NK a monster or am I dehumanizing him? :-) The ent should change its (no typo, I'm dehumanizing...) nick into something more appropriate. Mouth of Sauron? Grishnákh (like its similarly minded Varg Vikernes)? Grima Wormtongue?

Jumper said...

If the guy in the orange hat is running around insulting and threatening all the guys who wear orange hats, those onlookers who point out that he himself is wearing an orange hat are not insulting and threatening him. He's doing that. They are pointing out his bizarre behavior.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

A contest between Twin Evils, the Dyslexic Sociopathy of Donald Trump versus the Pathological Socialism of Hilary Clinton,


Wasn't the problem with that "pathological socialist" that she's a tool of Wall Street and a warmonger?

This sounds a lot like the complaints against candidate Obama in 2008, that he was a Muslim and that he must subscribe to the radical leanings of the pastor of the Christian church he had attended for 25 years.

LarryHart said...

loucmranch:

They called Treebeard 'gay' because he dared to disapprove of 'gay-ness'.


Well, it's a Tao thing.

Paul SB said...

"Wasn't the problem with that "pathological socialist" that she's a tool of Wall Street and a warmonger?

This sounds a lot like the complaints against candidate Obama in 2008, that he was a Muslim and that he must subscribe to the radical leanings of the pastor of the Christian church he had attended for 25 years."
- There's a name for that one, it's called the Fallacy of Special Pleading. The basic idea is that you just throw out anything at all, even completely contradictory arguments, until something sticks. Carl Sagan did a particularly famous explanation of this in "The Demon-Haunted World." If you GooGoo "The Dragon in My Garage" you will find plenty of sites that discuss it. Here's the RationalWiki article:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage

And if anyone is interested, here is a bullshit obfuscation that turns up as a refutation of Special Pleading on a GooGoo search. It is someone claiming that th argument does not apply to proof of God, but like all such arguments about proving the "supernatural" it depends on a False Equivalency (that abstract concepts like love cannot be proven to physically exist - in spite of the fact that 1. they can be deduced from human behavior and 2. they have been demonstrated to have specific and consistent patterns in the brain through neuroimaging studies. The guy who wrote this one has a PhD (or so he claims), which only shows that having an education does not necessarily immunize you from having self-imposed blinders.

http://evidenceforchristianity.org/how-do-you-respond-to-the-dragon-in-my-garage-argument-of-carl-sagen/

It can be fun picking stuff like this apart.


Paul SB said...

Oh, and more locum scatology, who called Treebeard gay? Not Darrell E. He said:

"Dang Treebeard, you have some serious hang-ups. Are you afraid that you or yours might suddenly become lesbian, gay, bi, trans, or some combination thereof if society doesn't keep up the demonization and persecution of such people to threaten you with?"

The relevant phrase here is "...are you afraid that you and yours might suddenly become..."

Of course, locum has played this game before. It's one of his standard tactics.

Anonymous said...

One of the really strange things about the recent presidential election is that apparently no reporter ever asked Trump "What was America great?". It seems to be an obvious question, but I have not found an interview in which it was asked.

Jumper said...

I'll answer that. America is an idea. A great idea. It is an ideal. Through struggle and error, mis-steps and grief, we abjure those errors, condemn them, and still hope to achieve a closer adherence to the idea and the ideal. So America the idea has always been great.

Jumper said...

Four U.S. states were once sovereign nations. Who can name all four?

LarryHart said...

Jumper,

In order from metaphysical certitude to outright guesswork:

Texas!

California?

Utah??

Hawaii???


Jumper said...

3 of 4 ok!

Zepp Jamieson said...

I think Florida was sovereign for a brief spell.

Darrell E said...

Hmmm. I think just what is agreed to constitute a "sovereign nation" can have a large impact on the accuracy of the question. According to a the Wikipedia article (I cheated!) List of former sovereign states, which covers the whole world and a good chunk of world history, there were many sovereign states (nations) in North America between 1776 and the time since the last US state was admitted / annexed. Of course some of them only lasted a matter of months.

Is Vermont the 4th one you are looking for?

Catfish N. Cod said...

Texas, Hawaii, and Vermont are incontrovertible. California asserted sovereignty but never exercised it from all I know. The same population as Utah asserted sovereignty, but under different names and borders, as the State of Deseret.

Jumper said...

My sources said California, Hawaii (read the book), Vermont and Texas. Vermont was a hole in my knowledge up to now.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

All Caps forgiven. 'Twas in good cause.

Just skimming through in busy times. But the mention, and photo on facebook, of the odd White House visitors did put me to mind of something I had tried to locate a couple of years back when researching the links between Gilligan's Island and the Shah of Iran. (another day, another story). Supposedly the cast of Gilligan's Island was invited to the Clinton White House. But darn it all if I can find any pictures of it! Bob Denver's website, now inactive, mentioned the visit. Did they have the good sense to not snap any selfies?

Sorry for a bit of levity, you all seem to be in a Mood Most Grim of late.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Supposedly the cast of Gilligan's Island was invited to the Clinton White House. But darn it all if I can find any pictures of it! Bob Denver's website, now inactive, mentioned the visit. Did they have the good sense to not snap any selfies?


Selfies hadn't been invented yet.

Sorry for a bit of levity, you all seem to be in a Mood Most Grim of late.


Given the circumstances, I think we're keepin' on keepin' on pretty well. The occasional bout of righteous outrage isn't "grim". I'd say the grim ones are on the winning side.

In any case, always glad to "see" you around "here".

matthew said...

The county of Socorro, NM, was never properly ceded to the US in the hand-off from Mexico. To this day there are "Free State of Socorro" license plates. I have one.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2 (reprise) :

Supposedly the cast of Gilligan's Island was invited to the Clinton White House.


I wonder if he preferred Ginger or Mary Ann.

donzelion said...

re Oligarchy: anyone notice something strange? Several of my friends recently - and independently - posted a link to a story about Nobel-Prize winning economist, Robert Solow, on their various feeds, asking, "Are we becoming an oligarchy?"

The odd part is that Solow's argument was published in 2014 with The New Republic. The link I'm seeing points to The Atlantic, which merely paraphrased the other mag. 'Necromancing a zombie thread'...?

What exactly prompted the revival in 2017? Why to this outlet, and not to the other? What are these trackers doing, and who are they?

In order of probability, I'd guess - (A) Marketers selling something, (B) Progressives trying to identify one another, and (C) Regressives trying to identify progressives for some form of targeting...

In an actual oligarchy - that order of would be reversed. Been there, lived with it for years. We would all assume that the oligarchs are targeting us to strip jobs, deny loans or promotions, break leases, etc. We would not lightly share, repost, link to, or openly discuss this sort of article. We would know that the folks monitoring the discussion probably included agents looking to use everything we said against us in some way. Marketers would steer clear to avoid drawing fire from their feudal lords - but progressives would occasionally take risks and speak in code to try to identify one another.

Locum may enjoy pricking with his trollery, and the Ent as well - but neither of them would actually support such a world...consciously. Question is whether for all their protests of independence, how easily can they be turned into tools of those seeking to build that world? The use of words like 'faggotry' empower the Ent to similarly be tracked...probably not by some fantasy homosexual hit squad - so much as by folks calculating how to bend him to their will (particularly while he screeches about his freedom, as did every Confed).

TheMadLibrarian said...

One could also make an argument that some Native American tribes are still sovereign states by treaty or by never having accepted assimilation. IANAL, however, and can only go by what I know popularly, having not researched the nuances.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

sgharvey said...

While I know Bannon deserves Nazi comparisons, I also know he derives great pleasure from reading them. I'd rather accuse him of being the political reincarnation of Pat Buchanan, because it's just as valid of a comparison, and I know he'd absolutely HATE it.