Thursday, October 21, 2004

A tale of two spectrums

I suppose I could invoke Godwin’s Law, but that seems a little too easy and there are so many other things I could point to that make Todd lose the argument.

My disagreement with Todd began in the comments section of the previous post. I was just going to let it lie, but when I got a certain email from him this afternoon, I thought that it might be worth taking a little time out to properly address his statements.


I’ve seen the cycle before and never fail to be amazed by the lack of grace that some people on the other side of the political spectrum exhibit, especially if they accidentally mistake you for one of their own and – for a brief, shining moment – are actually nice to you. Todd and I had been exchanging emails complimenting each other’s writing styles for the last couple of days, life was rather peachy.

Then Todd suddenly realised that he and I might not agree with each other politically. The cycle had begun.

First, there’s ‘Anger’ at accidentally being suckered into civility:

“I should have guessed from the hair-do that you’d turn out to be a right-wing bean counting nut-job.”

As I told him in a follow up comment – he should have guessed by my writing. He did mention that he read my blog ‘all the time’.

I do absolutely nothing to hide my ideas. As the old saying goes – I wear my heart on my sleeve. One better, actually, as I wear an American dollar sign around my neck...I wore it when I worked in government, I wore it when I worked in a factory, I wear it when I walk into parties of people I know are openly hostile against Americans.

I also have this little blog here which is only censored for language – because I care about what goes up. Sometimes (like right now) I’ll just write off-the-cuff because the material is light. Sometimes I’ll take days to write a post because I want it to be just right, because I’ll want to make my thinking as clear and unambiguous as possible. I don’t censor for political ideas, I don’t blunt my message, I don’t couch the things I think in language that will soften the very real impact that they should make.

In other words, the only way I could make who I am and what I believe more obvious would be to have a neon sign installed above my head. That’s not going to happen, though, because the general populace is intelligent enough to figure these things out rather quickly from other cues.

Anyhow, the next stage in the cycle is ‘Throwing Up Buzzwords As Evidence’. Pretty much anything will do, although if it’s fresh and topical it’ll be a more likely candidate. Bear in mind that an actual, cogent presentation of a case isn’t necessary. The mere existence of said event/buzzword is proof enough that capitalism is out to ruin us all and boil our children down for soap:

“Now, from the people who brought you the marvelous efficiencies of private enterprise, we bring you the Enron show, brought to you in part by the Savings and Loan debacle.”

My answer to that is lengthy and can be found in the ‘Thinklings’ of the previous post. Suffice it to say that I rebuked it as best I could and admitted where I had insufficient information to make a comment.

Evidently, everything was moving along according to the script because the ‘Patronizing and Belittling Condescension’ kicked in. This phase is triggered when it looks like (horror of horrors) the person on my end of the political spectrum is quite willing and able to enter into a rational point-by-point discussion rather than merely fling mud and exchange insults:

“Darling, I wasn’t using the Enron case as an exception, I was using it as the rule. Private enterprise has as its goal profits, not efficiency. The two only rarely go hand in hand outside macroeconomics classrooms. Neither, however, benefit public libraries. The only thing that justifies your argument is the cute little pout you get when you proclaim its virtues.”

Again, my (lengthy) answer is in ‘Thinklings’ in the last post.

Before I posted my answer, however, Godwin reared his ugly head and I received this email:

“Sorry Nazi Girl, I'm not going to comment on your site anymore, even though I know you're dying to lead people over to it. You'll just have to go back to playing GI Joe.Have fun in California, Todd”

Todd lives in a parallel universe where I play with children’s toys, where his commenting on my blog (leaving a link to his blog) somehow drives traffic to me, where I live in California and where I am a Nazi.

Fascinating. Bloody predictable really as it’s the last phase of the cycle – 'Implying Fascism', but still fascinating in its scope and execution.

It’s this last comment that pushed me from casually watching the proceedings to taking more immediate action. I’m a little tired of being called a Nazi or a fascist. It’s insulting, tiring to hear again and again and so terribly, blatantly and evidently wrong that I’m amazed at people with a seemingly comprehensive education espousing the view.

Let’s do a lesson in Politics 101. Just one lesson I promise, then back to my usual lighthearted nothings about fashion and what Britney’s going to do with her life.

Please click on each image for a larger version.

The Spectrum

Right, this one’s pretty self-explanatory. That there’s a spectrum. Note the important feature of very different things being at each end. Keep it in mind, it'll come in handy later.

This is what I was taught at school. Bear in mind that my teacher was an idiot. He used to talk about the spectrum as a strip that looped back in on itself as Communism and Fascism shared some similar traits. No kidding? Like being almost identical, perhaps?

This is not the kind of spectrum that will have women swooning over you when you start talking about politics. I warn you now – he probably died alone in an apartment full of cats and inaccurate history books.

...after all, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it? Picking up at a soiree. Don’t tell me I never do anything for you.

This little diagram makes so much more sense. It’s a spectrum – one thing on one side and a very different thing on the other.

Note the numbers, here’s an explanation:

1 – Where we’re told we are
2 – Where we actually are
3 – Where we’re headed for

The Fighting Thing

Yes, yes, the Communists and the Nazis fought. They disliked each other. They threw propaganda, tanks, men, threats and bullets at each other – it’s a matter of historical record. This DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY ARE IDEOLOGICAL OPPOSITES.

To help illustrate this, let’s look at an analogy – two mafia dons battling for territory. They will throw propaganda, grenades, men, threats and bullets at each other. This doesn’t mean that because one is a bloodthirsty murderer, the other must be a yoga-practicing, wheatgrass-juice-gargling, Kerry-voting peacenik. They’re both just barbarian dictators fighting over territory and the ensuing riches that they can extract from them.

Right. Got that?

So coming back to the whole Communist-is-the-opposite-of-Fascist idea, the fact that they didn’t particularly like each other or that they fought each other isn’t grounds for saying that they are opposites. They fought for power over territory – usually Poland, because that’s what Poland is there for.

In fact, anyone who actually paid attention during History lessons at school (I didn’t really. Neither did my teacher, who used to practice his golf swing in the corner while we copied down the notes the previous class had had from their teacher and that were still on the blackboard.) will recall that Nazi stands for National Socialist Party. Yes, socialist. Socialist as in the central idea behind Communism.

I just know that there was a collective gasp of realization out there in the blogosphere from that one.

Bringing it all Together

Now – the last stage – synthesis of all these ideas.

I talk about freedom from government intervention, I talk about individualism, I talk about productivity and business, I talk about hair product. All of these, I think you will agree, firmly belong at the Capitalist end of the spectrum. Far, far away from anything requiring goose-stepping and jodhpurs.

I most certainly don’t talk about the South of Poland or large ovens or how very pretty it would be if we were all blonde.

Silliness aside (*pushes entire post to the side with the aid of a small bulldozer*), stating that anyone who doesn’t believe in state redistribution of riches is a Nazi is quite ignorant. It blatantly ignores the fundamental philosophy behind Fascism as well as that behind Communism, it shows that you are either unwilling or incapable of discussing politics at an adult level invokes Godwin’s law for chrissakes.


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