of elephants and men, and scumbags

Steve Kinney admin at pilobilus.net
Tue Nov 20 18:51:38 PST 2018

On 11/20/18 4:31 PM, jim bell wrote:
> On Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 12:08:58 PM PST, Razer <g2s at riseup.net>
> wrote:
>>There IS a "Left" and there IS a "Right"...
> Yes, and the origin of that meme was the outcome of the French
> revolution in 1789 onwards.  "The right", of that location and era, sat
> in the legislature on the "right", and "The Left", of that location and
> era, sat in the legislature on the "left".
> Simple for post-revolutionary France.  But applying that to other
> nations and at different times can be difficult.  And, being only
> one-dimensional, it's quite inadequate and highly misleading.  

In modern usage, the one dimensional Left/Right scale only measures how
stupid, immoral, evil, etc. others are relative to oneself, as a
function of the distance between them and oneself on the scale.  At
least, I have not seen it applied for any other purposes than
demonization or self congratulation.  The complexity of the rhetoric
varies in proportion to the speaker's intelligence and vocabulary.

Oddly enough, in this context the Left/Right scale works the same no
matter which end of that scale gets which label.  That feature enables
people to have endless fun "proving" that whichever end the the scale
they ain't on represents "the REAL Nazis."  The larger the distance
between a given Self and Other, the worse and therefore more "Nazi" the
Other.  One works backward from there to prove the conclusion.

A couple of years ago I made graph similar to the Nolan chart but much
simpler and more concrete, as its axes represent the distribution of
political power in State and Private sectors among larger vs. smaller
numbers of individuals.

The X axis represents distribution of Private power into fewer hands
(Capitalism) or more hands (Free Enterprise).  The Y axis represents
distribution of State power into fewer hands (Authoritarian) or more
hands (Anarchist).  I do not label the quadrants, leaving that as an
exercise.  Examining various "ideologies" in the context of this graph
provides a bit of potentially educational fun.  Which quadrant would you
rather live in, and why?

In this example I place the Right and Left on the graph:


My assignment of "Left" and "Right" to specific coordinates does not
refer to abstract ideological constructs, but rather represents my
observation of the aggregate behavior and practical objectives of people
who strongly self-identify with Right and Left brand labels in the
United States at present.

I like this kind of model because I prefer an ecological approach to
political studies:  I view popular political ideologies as emotionally
loaded verbal formulas used to manipulate people's cognitive processes
and responses to commands, for the speaker's benefit at the audience's
expense.  Conversely, I think of "political reality" as the dynamic
evolution of human power relationships in a changing material
environment over time.  (Lately I have been very gratified to see a
discipline called Biophysical Economics on the rise in academia; I would
describe it as "economics in a world where the laws of physics exist.")

In political rhetoric, Fascism can mean whatever anyone with Fascist
leanings needs it to mean, to pin the label on someone else.  But
academic historians do provide some useful guidelines for the rest of
us.  Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler
(Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and
several Latin American regimes.

Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make
constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other
paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on
clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of
enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are
persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of
"need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of
torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of
prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people
are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate
a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious
minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic
problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government
funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military
service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost
exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender
roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are
suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the
family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by
the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled
by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and
executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational
tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist
nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to
manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common
from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are
diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business
aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the
government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial
business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is
the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either
eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to
promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia.
It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or
even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the
police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are
often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties
in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with
virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are
governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to
government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect
their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes
for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even
outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a
complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns
against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of
legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries,
and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their
judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.


Remind you of anyone you know?  I count 11 out of 14 "direct hits" for
our present U.S. DemoPublican party.  To date the symptoms are in the
Moderate to Severe range across most of these domains, and increasing


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