Friday, November 09, 2007

How to Avoid Intellectual Hemophilia

King Charles II of SpainFor several centuries an anatomical peculiarity known as the “Habsburg lip” (or the “Habsburg chin”) occurred repeatedly among members of the royal families and aristocracies of Europe. It was a genetic abnormality of the lower jaw, and made normal chewing difficult for those who suffered from it.

The Habsburg lip resulted from generations of inbreeding throughout the royal families of European countries. Within this rarefied society, cousin marriage was the norm, and the accumulated genetic defects led to the frequent expression of recessive genes among the monarchs of Europe. As a result, physical abnormalities, insanity, and idiocy manifested themselves within the aristocratic breeding stock.

Another famous example was Queen Victoria of Great Britain, who, through her numerous progeny and their descendents, contributed hemophilia to the list of ailments bequeathed to Europe’s ruling families. Inbreeding was simply the order of the day; Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are both great-great grandchildren of Queen Victoria.

The harmful effects of inbreeding reached their dubious climax in Charles II, the 17th-century Habsburg king of Spain. Not only did Charles have the Habsburg lip, but he was also mentally and physically disabled. More importantly for the politics of the day, he was unable to sire children. The Habsburg line in Spain ended with him, sparking the War of the Spanish Succession.

From a systems-analysis standpoint, the gene pool of the European monarchs was a small closed system, with no mechanism for correction should the information within the system become corrupted. In a modern computer system, the solution would be multiple-redundant offsite backups with a disaster recovery plan in place to cover emergencies in the event the system should be compromised.

Such an approach was not available to the collective royal DNA of Europe. The obvious solution was outbreeding, but that was simply unthinkable. Resorting to it might — horror of horrors! — contaminate the line with common blood. That was just what was needed, but the system did not allow for it. As a result it carried the self-limiting seeds of its own destruction.

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The analogy with inbreeding can be extended to include other types of human information systems. Cultures, polities, corporations, and any other collectives of homo sapiens can be damaged by the informational equivalent of inbreeding.

In constructing a system, the trick is to keep it open enough so that it retains flexibility and responsiveness, while retaining a rule-based structure to avoid any descent into chaos. In classical capitalism, the “invisible hand” of the marketplace serves to keep the system open and functioning at maximum efficiency, but only as long as the rules constrain it. The enforcement of contracts, protection from theft and extortion, guards against monopoly, etc., are necessary preconditions before the invisible hand can work its magic.

When it does, millions of people can make their own uncoerced self-interested decisions. Information flows rapidly and effectively through the system, and the power of the market is unleashed.

To find its economic opposite we have only to look at the Soviet Union, a system that was so closed and encumbered with destructive rules that it failed to survive even for a century.
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Obviously, political systems are subject to the same kind of rules. For a constitutional republic to be successful, it must be rule-based but open. It needs a well-constructed constitution, the rule of law, and a well-defined system for changing its laws in order to retain flexibility. The farther a democracy strays from these ideals, the more corrupt and sclerotic it becomes.

All human organizations have a tendency to become rigid and sclerotic with the passage of time. Those who benefit most from the system — the people at the top with all the perks, privileges, and power — understandably want to restrict the flow of information in order to preserve and extend their position.

The worst-case scenario occurs in those dictatorships which consolidate absolute power into the hands of a single person. Preserving his position requires the maximum leader to eliminate his potential rivals, who are also the people most likely to provide valuable information, new insights, and alternative political strategies. His inner circle is eventually reduced to yes-men and toadies who convey nothing to their boss that he doesn’t want to hear. The system becomes totally closed, and once corrupt information enters, it persists and becomes magnified, eventually bringing down the entire structure.

Stalin may be the most extreme example of this process. At the height of his rule, reliable information about the governance of the country not only never reached him, it simply didn’t exist. From the top to the bottom the Soviet Union was riddled with lies, false statistics, cover-ups, and deliberate inventions. This wasn’t a bug in the program; it was a feature — each person in the Bolshevik system had everything to lose and nothing to gain by passing on correct information to other parts of the system.

The Lysenko affair could only have occurred within a closed system as deranged and corrupted as the Soviet Union under Stalin.

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The best overview of the theory behind rule-based open systems can be found in The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. The author extends the concept of the invisible hand to all large groups in which numerous sources of information are available. Varied, conflicting, and contradictory opinions, when aggregated within a large group, arrive at a much closer approximation of the truth than any individual can manage.

An example can be found in the old fairground contest, in which participants pay a dollar to guess the number of marbles in a large glass jar, with the closest guesser winning a prize.

Someone might make a lucky guess and hit the exact number of marbles in the jar. Others will be close, and still others will be wildly off in their guessing. But studies have shown that the average of all the guesses is invariably accurate. The aggregation of many ordinary opinions gives a better answer than any provided by a single informed expert.

Despite the contempt in which educated people hold the great unwashed, the collective opinion of the masses is more likely to arrive at the truth than the most educated expert.

It’s a bitter pill for us know-it-alls to swallow.

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So what does all this have to with blogging the Counterjihad?

The pugilistsWell, it helps explain why we try to keep the discussion here at Gates of Vienna as open and fluid as possible. Our forum is definitely rule-based, in order to keep the system from descending into chaos, but within these constraints we want the information to flow freely. Some of our commenters chafe at our guidelines, but the rules help make sure the wisdom of the crowd is effective here.

Part of this is a personal predilection: I really do like to listen to various points of view before making up my mind. But it’s also a strategic consideration — if useful working ideas are to emerge from our efforts and be utilized, we need to open up the discussion to as many voices as possible.

In dealing with European issues I am at a disadvantage, since my knowledge is so limited. Therefore I try to let people from the countries involved speak for themselves as much as possible. If there are differences among, say, the Dutch, my response is to post as many examples as I can find of opinions within the Netherlands, and let the readers and commenters sort through the results to reach a conclusion.

To let exponents of opposing points of view air their opinions — provided they remain civil and temperate — is one of the main missions of Gates of Vienna. What has worked well so far has been to present the information without a lot of editorializing, and allow the audience decide what makes sense.

Then the distributed intelligence of the internet does its work, and the “best fit” line appears through the scattered data points. Through the wisdom of crowds the truth emerges, and we can all absorb it and move on to whatever the next step might be.

The major mistake of a tightly-controlled forum is to suppress the distributed intelligence of those who voluntarily take part. The arbiters of the forum arrogate all the intelligence unto themselves, which of necessity makes for a lower IQ than the wisdom of crowds.

By controlling content, they effectively cull the herd within their forum, selecting for genetic material that most closely matches their own. It’s no surprise when all that inbreeding results in intellectual hemophilia and idiocy.

Which brings me to one of the reasons I happily endure the slings and arrows and brickbats of Gringo Malo and Jesus Christ Supercop: as long as they’re around, I know I don’t inhabit an echo chamber.

28 comments:

Homophobic said...

Take note LGF.

Darrin said...

Interesting and thoughtful post Baron. This is why I strongly resent 'know-it-alls' who refer to 'the people' as 'sheeple'. Ultimatley 'the people' are 'the voters' and the electorate is not stupid, sure we can be lied too but in an open functioning democracy the majority usually get it right.

Simon de Montfort said...

I understand and appreciate your point, Baron, but you take a Big Risk. LGF has a post every day with more dirt on the Belgian and Swedish parties that you're supporting

European Fringe Politics in the past decade or so has gotten very complicated and murky--no Soviet Threat to clarify things.

Do you know who your allies are? Are you sure?

Baron Bodissey said...

Simon,

Yes, I think I do. We have done due diligence and consulted extensively with others. Our allies are not perfect, and some people have past baggage.

We wish it were otherwise, but we go to war with the allies we have, not the allies we wish we had.

Once again, I recommend Christine's posts on the CVF blog. She has done extensive and thorough research.

Archonix said...

I think the bigger problem here is that it sows seeds of doubt about the veracity of all of LGF's previous claims, no matter what the status of those claims may be. People will look at future investigations through a more jaded eye and wonder. That isn't good for any of us.

Dymphna said...

Archonix--

I think it will teach people to look at the sources of future "investigations" with more understanding of the motives of the investigator.

Charles didn't investigate, he attacked and smeared. So far, Bat Ye'or, Richard Miniter, Dianna West, and Andrew Bostom don't agree with the results of Charles Johnson's witch hunt.

Further down is some reading on the particulars of "investigations."

And Simon, I would dispute that the dirt you are seeing is genuine. As Auster carefully fisks LGF's evidence, it turns not to dirt, but to dust...know your source.

These posts by Auster were sent by an interested reader who finds the echo chamber at LGF rather eerie:

Charles Johnson calls Brussels Journal "repugnant"

Open support for criminalization of truthful statements about Islam


The method of Charles Johnson

Putting Vlaams Belang in Perspective

Johnson's Nemesis

Charles Johnson Finds the Smoking Gun!

And finally, from a columnist at VDare (one of Chas' betes noires) here is another essay:

Brussels Journal Too Belgian (Or Flemish) For Little Green Footballs

Alexis said...

Afterwards, Levi held a big reception in his house for Jesus; among the guests was a large party of tax-collectors and others. The Pharisees, some of whom were scribes, complained to his disciples: 'Why', they said, 'do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?' Jesus answered them: 'It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick; I have not come to call the virtuous but sinners to repentance.

Luke 6:6

If anything, I have a more Pharisaical worldview than Dymphna and Baron Bodissey, for I have far less patience for the antics of Charles Johnson than they do.

Simon de Montfort:

Do you know who your allies are? Are you sure?

I could ask the same question about you and Charles Johnson. Look at this picture. It shows an "LGF Minion" looking like a latter-day Hell's Angel sporting an Iron Cross. Do you realize that the Iron Cross is used as a neo-Nazi emblem?

Please note that the link I'm giving you is to Indymedia. Yes, Indymedia. If Charles Johnson wishes to indulge in character assassination with leaked photos, he shouldn't be surprised if other people respond in kind. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Dymphna said...

Jeez Louise!

Alexis, is that picture supposed to be Charles Johnson? Gad.

Wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley.

Why I think I've changed my mind. Mr. Johnson is a real gentleman and I'm sure he's always right.

So sorry...[bows and backs slowly out of room]

Dymphna said...

oh..I just noticed. That's one of Charles' minions.

But wait... does tht make it different? If a baddie links to someone, by the gospel according to Charles, then the linkee is also bad.

At least that's one of the arguments LGF used to bash Paul Belien.

So far there has been much heat and sulphurous smoke emanating from that site, but very low wattage.

Let's hope he keeps it up. His hateful remarks and questionable "evidence" will simply increase the donations for the next Conference.

Though we'll wait till he's gotten over this one to hit him with another.

Nothing like free publicity.

Simon de Montfort said...

Simon says 'Chill out', Alexis

My post was one of concern, not criticism. I defended this site on LGF, and got the expected torrent of 'minuses' ( an odd feature ) and Choice Words

Someone noted here recently that irony does not work well on the internet. I agree: there is no 'tone', especially to those who insist on being tone-deaf.

Allowing nut-jobs to post their crackpot theories is also risky, because some people are Masters at taking quotes out of context.

I lived in Belgium for a while in the 1980s and got a taste of Flemming-Walloon-Bruxelles politics, which make Byzantine government look simple. Like every small Euro nation except Eire, the multi-party system encourages fringe and splinter groups. The ones on the Far Left are........beyond reedmption ( some of them make Stalin look moderate )

Conservative splinter /fringe political parties in multi-party parliamentary systems like Belgium can be labrinyth in their ideological manifestations--and in their membership and leadership structure. Everyone is always putting out pamphlets and making statements to the media, and because everyone speaks for everyone else in these parties, no one really speaks authoritatively for anyone

Some of these groups have Baggage, and you know what I mean. Anti-Semites have nestled into several of these parties, and on occasion claim to speak for them. The leadership--such as it is--seems reluctant to openly disavow several malignant surviving threads of right-wing extremism that just won't go away.

History never goes away: it complicates politics & government in Europe in ways that Americans find difficult to understand: America was the principal Ally which fought and defeated Nazism, and never had either real neo-Nazi political movement or a collaborationist group.

In Europe, there's still so much Sorrow and Pity, with some of the guilty still alive. The legacy of Degrelle is there to be used and abused by people whose motives are.......still a mystery to me

Be careful, Baron. That's all I'm saying. To Alexis, I suggest warm milk and Not Jumping to Conclusions

Simon de Montfort said...

....and I wasn't defending Irish politics. Fianna Fail is like the Congress Party in India, where they always win unless there is a temporary scandal which opens the door for a year or so to Fine Gael and whoever they're skulking around with.

It leads to smarmy and petty and not-so-petty corruption, but at least it keeps most of the squabbles 'in house' within Fianna Fail, ( the only political party in the world which stages its own burleque shows disguised as "Party Conferences" )

Alexis said...

Simon de Montfort:

Your nerve in defending the Gates of Vienna at Little Green footballs is commendable. If only they had listened to you...

I remember being in West Germany for a while in the 1980's. Neo-Nazis at the time had a slogan -- "Auslander Aus". Not only is the Baggage a problem in Europe, but it is a particular problem for any political party that opposes immigration and/or opposes Islamic imperialism. I remember seeing graffiti scrawled in a West Berlin bathroom in 1988 to the effect that "what happened to the Jews in WWII should now happen to the Turks". Neo-Nazism is not a shadowy bogeyman there; it's real.

I am also aware of how the National Party of apartheid South Africa used warm ties with Israel to obfuscate its origins as a pro-Nazi political party during World War II. And I am not particularly surprised that Belgian politics is a snake pit filled with dirty tricks, corruption, and racism.

Vote for the Crook. It's important.

While Vlaams Belang may need to shampoo some lice out of its hair, one should be careful about condemning the entire party for its unsavory associations. Should one condemn the Louisiana Republican Party because David Duke was once the Republican candidate for Governor? Should one condemn the San Francisco Democratic Party for its past association with People's Temple? There are limits to how far such condemnation should go.

Interestingly, American fringe groups carry their own "Baggage". It would probably help any European political party, especially an anti-immigration party, to be attacked by Charles Johnson and his followers. Charles Johnson's attacks on Paul Belien are probably the best thing to ever happen to Vlaams Belang because Little Green Footballs serves as the perfect foil for any European politician.

Vlaams Belang can condemn calls on Little Green Footballs to nuke Mecca. Vlaams Belang can condemn calls on Little Green Footballs to force Palestinians across the Jordan River. Vlaams Belang can condemn Charles Johnson's unequivocal advocacy of waterboarding. Charles Johnson is an easy and convenient punching bag for any political party in Europe, especially an anti-immigration party seeking to look respectable.

My negative comments about Charles Johnson come not from any love for neo-Nazis and what they stand for, but rather out of a realization that this man is an embarrassment to those who associate with him. I am annoyed with his hypocrisy. Besides, he makes neo-conservatism look bad.

Dan said...

I suspect red herrings, hasty generalizations, association fallacies, and ad hominem attacks are going to be much less effective, and more destructive to the one using them, on the web than on the tellyscreen.

So far that’s all I’ve seen about VB at LGF.

Hopefully he will give this up before he does any more damage to himself because he is doing no one any good.

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

I could easily imagine some European politician from an anti-immigration party saying the following:

Doubtless you have heard baseless accusations by a certain guitar player from San Francisco. You may have seen those photos accusing my political party of being a hive of Nazis. I assure you, we are doing our best to keep the real Nazis out of our party. If there are any Nazis here, please raise your hand so I can tell you to leave.

Come on, nobody will admit to being a Nazi? I don't understand. According to Charles Johnson, we're full of them. Now, where can they be? (A screen shows a picture of two LGF Minions.) Ah, there it is. See the Iron Cross? Oops, wrong picture. We must have gotten them mixed up.

Some folks in San Francisco may not understand what I stand for, but I don't base my politics on hating anybody. I am part of a national party because I seek to preserve our nation's liberty, and I am part of our nation's anti-imperialistic party because I oppose Islamic imperialism. The various attacks by Islamic imperialists throughout the past decade ought to show what the worst threat to our liberty is.

Unlike Charles Johnson, I don't hate Muslims. I merely seek to preserve the cultural integrity of my people. If Muslims come here to live under our laws and assimilate to our customs, they are welcome. But I refuse to live under sharia, and I resent any attempt by Muslims to impose their ways on us.

Just as I condemn torture by Americans at Guantanamo Bay, I condemn torture that is advocated in Islam. Just as I condemn calls at Little Green Footballs to destroy Mecca, I oppose any Muslim attempts to subjugate our people. I seek to live in peace with my neighbors, whether they are Muslim or not. But I will not bow down to the Islamic sword.

We must not change our laws merely to suit the prejudices of Muslims who know nothing of our heritage. I will not stand idly by as wife beating is imported into our land. I will not stand idly by as rape becomes rampant on our streets. Those who practice honor killing, those who advocate honor killing, those who tolerate honor killing, must not be seen as fellow citizens by foreign interlopers who seek to impose their barbaric ways onto our peaceful people. We must stand our ground.

Just as I condemn those on Little Green Footballs who would force Palestinians across the River Jordan, I condemn those who subjugate our people to the rule of Islam. I seek to live in peace, but it is hard to live in peace when faced by imperialists who call the house of liberty a house of war. As it is, we must make a stand for liberty whether some cult leader in San Francisco likes it or not.

But I give Charles Johnson credit on one thing. One should be careful about who one associates with. That is why I regard any smear campaign against me by Charles Johnson as a badge of honor. Consider the source. I'm not the one who advocates turning Muslim cities into glass. I'm not the one who advocates torture. I'm not the one who will tolerate death threats made by my supporters. Unlike Charles Johnson, I believe in the rule of law and it behooves all civilized people to fight the values we hold dear.

So, I say this to Charles Johnson. Thank you. Thank you for giving us free publicity. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to contrast our civilization to your barbarism. And thank you for helping us win the next election.


Thank you and good night...

IoshkaFutz said...

I see that LGF features Alessandra Mussolini, causing a stir among the EU nationalist group for telling the Romanians to clean up their act. LGF uses it to taunt Europe and show how evil and stupid and doomed to failure the nationalist-minded politicians are.

Yes there has been a terrific crime surge thanks to the mass and uncontrolled arrival of mostly Romanian Roma (gypsies). Rome is surrounded by legal "nomad" camps that are all absurdly swollen beyond their sanctioned capacity and now scores of brand new illegal camps (shantytowns). It's a real problem.

Politically, I'm not very fond of Alessandra Mussolini (though she was a sweet girl when she was an up and coming actress and I had the pleasure of working with her)... but what if we look at the issue that's bothering LGF from another angle?

Underneath it all - yet again - there's that terrible modern sin of telling a little nasty truth: Romanian immigrants, (mostly the gypsies among them) are INDEED responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime. Rome used to be a very safe city and it ain't no more. Not surprisingly this coincided with the arrival of certain immigrants: especially the Albanians, the "maghrebini" and now - quite dramatically - the gypsies. To deny it would only win you a Pinocchio Award. But to SAY it will have you accused of Fascism. And if your name is Mussolini, the whole thing takes on an almost surreal twist of triple irony!

LGF automatically sees Nazi death camps just around the corner... and does not at all focus on the sad truth that entire neighborhoods have become unsafe. I live near a gypsy camp myself and am afraid to send my daughter out alone to walk the dog. .. and that dog which used to have a broad space to run around free and unleashed now has huge stacks of garbage to root through and human feces to roll in (seeing as it's a fine gypsy custom to just chuck their refuse and take dumps any old place!).

I'm always for cutting immigrants some slack... Most regular Romanians are wonderful. but in this case we are dealing with a culture that has absolutely no desire to change its ways. They doggedly refuse integration (that's what gypsies are all about, isn't it?). It's their raison d'etre, why we both admire them and wouldn't want one to marry our sister.

Well the point is, that for all her popolismo, la Mussolini did express the thoughts of a great great many of Italian people. And she got her Romanian counterpart pissed off. In other words, it's REAL! If she had addressed her Flemish counterpart and complained about some crime surge of Flemings, there would have been slack-jawed silence and a call for a neuro-surgeon. Intsead the daughter of Benito Mussolini, the fascist Nationalist protectress of the Patria got into a row with her Romanian fascist nationalist protector of the Patria counterpart. And this proves to LGF that nationalists are doomed to disagreement. To me it proves that they are doomed to talk about real issues and demand real measures. Isn't that what politcians are for? Or are they just sitting there to make wonderful trans-national alliances based on the finest hide-the-truth principles known to man?

What's the saying? Vox populi vox dei... Well if somebody doesn't hurry and put God or the gods back into the smaller truths, I'm afraid it will become Vox populi vox Duce.

They the utopians, who have truly confused practical politics with high theology are the ones creating extremists. I have so much kumbaya inside of me that I could starve myself and still gain weight from the sweetness of my love for all humanity, gypsies included. But I love my kids, my neighborhood, my dogs and country as well. It's a sad state of affairs when the only politicians telling the little nasty truths are the Fascists. La Mussolini, is rightfully or wrongly called an "opportunista"... True enough it doesn't make much political sense to blame the Romanians for allowing people to leave their country. If anything it should be the Italians and the Europeans understanding the havoc that tens of thousands of gypsies might cause and to cook up some proper controls. But it's not bad to remind them that they have done a terrible job of bringing them up to a level of decency.

Nevertheless she broached the subject... and as far as I'm concerned most of the other parties are so steeped in their great Twilight Zome love of humanity devoid of any real appreciation for the meat-and-potaties dimension of man, family, neighborhood, country and culture that they can be accused of "innopportunismo."

Gypsies are a special case... Muslims are a much bigger issue. Vlaams and others are often accused of opportunism, of riding the swells of popular sentiment. Frankly, I'm not sure that's such a bad thing anymore. And anyway, it's really just a natural reaction, because the other parties have stopped believing in "vox popoli vox dei" and can be accused of the far more serious crime of innopportunismo. I can understand why a politician catches which way the wind is blowing and adjusts himself accordingly. It's not always right. We DO need ideals. But for the life of me I cannot understand why anyone, either driven by starry-eyed dreams of universal brotherhood or the calculations of back alley politics would wish to hide what the Islamization of Europe portends.

Archonix said...

Given the "wisdom of crowds", isn't the whole point of politics to ride the popular sentiment? I mean the very concept of an election is "populism"; the man who gets the most votes - who is the most popular and representative of the general opinion - gets to be in charge. When I see people being accused of populism it makes me laugh at the sheer arrogance of the accusation, as if catering to the popular opinion, the majority will, is somehow wrong and evil.

rohan said...

Baron,

You covered just about everything with this:

"we go to war with the allies we have, not the allies we wish we had."

All the backstabbing, name-calling, etc., is a distraction from the fight. Having read both GoV and LGF for a long time I think your site has been the most open and honest in this debate, as well as focusing on the true problems ahead fighting Islam.

Baron Bodissey said...

Rohan --

Thank you. The support we've received has been gratifying, and heartening.

This whole stupid argument should be trivial and unimportant, since it is occurring among people who bloviate on blogs and have nothing to do with the real world.

But because since the current war is mainly an information war, what's happening now can do real harm.

Alex said...

In regard to allies:

“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make positive reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”
– Winston Churchill, 1941

Simon de Montfort said...

Ja, Baron, that "real harm" was te point of my post.

One problem in this Information War is that most of the people with most of the Access are either duped or actively supporting an agenda which will result in the farily rapid disolution of nations and any concept of national identity

--and yes, of racial or ethnic identity, for whatever that's worth, or actually means.

If the stuggle to prevent the world from becoming a global multi-cultural village is to be more than a 'rear guard' action. it is going to get Ugly--very, very Ugly

Darrin Hodges said...

On that LGF post about Alessandra Mussolini, Johnson bolds the word "fascist" in the last paragraph, as if to somehow indicate that politics is a genetic trait. Sadly Johnson is just resorting to leftist smear tactics.

Alexis said...

Is Charles Johnson planning to condemn the American Legion?

According to Wikipedia...

At its January 1923 Convention, Commander-in-Chief of the American Legion, Alvin Owsley endorsed Benito Mussolini and Fascism. Saying "If ever needed the American Legion stands ready to protect our country's institutions and ideals as the Fascisti dealt with the destructionists who menaced Italy."

Asked whether that meant taking over the government, he replied "Exactly that. That American Legion is fighting every element that threatens our democratic government -- Soviets, anarchists, I.W.W., revolutionary socialists and every other Red ... Do not forget that the Fascisti are to Italy what the American Legion is to the United States."


According to the University of Texas at Austin, the Benito Mussolini was made an honorary member of the American Legion.

According to Michael Ledeen's book Universal Fascism, Chaim Weizmann met with Benito Mussolini in the Quirinale in September 1926. (p.137)

I would expect men like Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and Markos Moulitsas to condemn the American Legion and the World Zionist Organization as "fascist by association". Does Charles Johnson desire to join their ranks?

IoshkaFutz said...

Ciao Alexis,

For that matter there's a street in Chicago named after Mussolini's biggest Fascist competitor (sort of what Che was to Fidel Castro: Italo Balbo. Balbo Avenue, ex-seventh Avenue. And there are even picture of Indian Chief Crazy Horse giving him a gift.

leadpb said...

Alexis

You said "Besides, he makes neo-conservatism look bad." Is that sincere and not sarcastic? As I understand this maligned term, it represents an ideology that seeks, among other horrors, the dissolution of national sovereignty (in general) in order to bring about trading blocks that remove the hindrances to maximum profiteering by an elite group of players. In a word, globalism. This explains a lot of Bush's policies-- both Bushes-- I think. It also helps explain the EU and the sincere yet superfluous babble about a multi-culti utopia that seems to satisfy so many parties. This has been such a successful and seductive campaign that to voice opposition to it now you must be branded an anachronism or a nationalist or worse. This ideology being a driving force behind the prosperity of so many has cemented its validity as a universal doctrine, even though it is nothing more than a contrived syncretion of palliating liberalism and unprincipled capitalism. The worst of both worlds.

I hope you meant it sarcastically.

Alexis said...

leadpb:

I mean it both sincerely and sarcastically.

"Neoconservative" is often used as a shorthand to describe a liberal hawk who supports the war effort. In that sense, I qualify. I don't think I count as a "neoconservative" in the sense you refer to, though.

I am not one bit pleased with how President Bush tried to give control of our ports over to Dubai. I am on record as opposing the desire by both leftists and capitalists to replace one nation with another, under the reckless assumption that new immigrants will be easier to control.

I am utterly appalled by the "globalism" of Thomas Friedman, for I see his "capitalist utopia" to be every bit as much of a threat to liberty as a "communist utopia". It is one thing to attempt to live by one's ideals; it is entirely another to sacrifice one's children on the altar of an ideal. I am also annoyed with the prevalent worship of exoticism (also known as Diversity, or Political Correctness), as if having an exotic background automatically made one a guru with access to all wisdom.

My opposition to xenophobia is nuanced. I understand only too well that harsh solvents that break down cultural identity only serve to create the worst kinds of monsters who both lack any sense of their own heritage and militantly fight on behalf of what they have already lost. It may sound like a minor issue, but many Saudi women don't know how to make proper Arab bread. To me, that's a scandal. Saudi society is succumbing to the solvent of corporate capitalism, and has no outlet to express its cultural traditions other than exporting the worst rotgut versions of Islam along with its petroleum.

My "liberalism" is much like that of Theodore Roosevelt. I desire social justice, and I want the government to regulate industry so children don't get poisoned by toys from China. Yet, my desire for social justice arises from a desire for connectedness and continuity, not some utopian dream. My desire for worker ownership of industry derives from an admiration of the Mondragon experiment and a desire for people to control their own destinies. My suspicion of corporations derives from the fact that they are machines that represent stock certificates, and are not organic organizations representing people. If there is any way to make cooperative economics work in urban settings, I am interested. I think it would be wrong for the Left to monopolize advocacy for the cooperative.

I am both opposed to contrived notions of cultural purity and the mass conformity demanded by those who would dissolve any sense of heritage and family. In America, being American must not mean giving up who you are, yet it also means giving allegiance to the values of our people as symbolized by our constitution. If an immigrant refuses to reconcile himself with the values of his host country, he should not ask to become a citizen.

I still say that Charles Johnson makes neoconservatism look bad. I will concede, though, that if neoconservatism is the capitalist utopian solvent of heritage that you describe, neoconservatism is what makes Charles Johnson make neoconservatism look bad.

leadpb said...

Alexis,

Thanks for replying. There is a thoughtful review of the term "neoconserve" at "Vanishing American" (10Nov07), titled "The other n-word". It seems to be one of those words that is not spoken in polite company because it does have negative connotations and deservedly so. My greatest concern about the neocon agenda has more to do with geopolitics than the domestic scene. I'm glad you brought up the points you did in this regard.

To put it in blunt terms, neoconservatism has drained conservatism, in its broad sense (formerly represented by the Republican Party), of anything resembling a set of recognizable, principled beliefs. Think of Reagan and his legacy, what is left of it; he was not a globalist and the feelings he roused in people are a fright to modern neocons. In place of some of the things you speak of--connectedness and continuity, people controlling their own destinies, etc.-- neoconservatism has promoted consumerism and a shallow universalism. There is not much that is traditional-conservative about GW Bush and it is absolutely shocking that he can promote an agenda that is pure modern liberalism when it comes to immigration, interventionism and "free trade"-- NAFTA and the promised North American Union atrocity. As if that were not enough, he has corrupted the working model of executive branch power via questionable tactics and interpretations. George W. Bush is the emblematic Neocon at this time.

If by "the war" you mean the Iraq imbroglio, this is but another example of one of neoconservatism's linchpin doctrines, the one that says we not only can but we *must* democratize all the larger geopolitical regions of the earth. This in order to fulfill globalism's ultimate promise of peace and prosperity-- and oppression-- for all. I apologize for sounding so melodramatic but that's how I see it. Halting immigration of Muslims into the West would be a much more sensible and effective and inexpensive means of diminishing both terrorism and the demographic quest for sharia law than what we have got ourselves into in Iraq. But I suppose it is easier to go on a war footing than to sell such a scheme in political terms! I too am hawkish in the sense that we should use whatever force necessary to smash any acute mortal threat to our country or her citizens. Allies are a different matter and so are countries that could never be meaningful allies.

A good source of info on globalism is the "August Review" website and also Pat Buchanan has written at length on the topic.

leadpb said...

Make that "the term "neoconservative""