Streetwise Professor

August 20, 2017

Even Orwell Would Be Agog

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 6:18 pm

If you read the news lately, you’d think it’s the 1930s all over again, and Nazis are the gravest threat the world faces  in 2017. Case in point, the Prime Minister of Sweden:

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven called for people to stand up against the growing threat of Nazism and white-power movements to protect democratic values.

Fascist groups are moving forward their positions “step by step,” the premier said in a speech in Eskilstuna, Sweden, highlighting local demonstrations across the Nordic country as well as “Nazi groups, the Ku Klux Klan and white power protesters in Charlottesville.”

“It may be easy to try to laugh away these angry men with big words, small hearts and closed fists,” he said. “But all fascist movements were small when they were founded and were able to quickly gain followers during difficult times.”

I’ve spent time in Gothenburg. I’ve been through Malmo. Hell, I’ve been to the Stockholm train station. Based on what I’ve seen with my own two eyes, I can state with metaphysical certainty that Nazis in Sweden are not the country’s biggest problem, let alone Nazis in Charlottesville,VA.

For this . . . person to say this in the immediate aftermath of a Islamist terror attack in Spain that killed 14 in a reprise of an Islamist terror attack in Stockholm in April that killed four (and targeted small children), and in the immediate aftermath of an Islamist terror attack in nearby southwestern Finland that killed two, and in the aftermath of other Islamist terror attacks in Europe and the US almost too numerous to list is loathsome and appalling.

All the more so because it is deliberately political. Lovfen and others like him–including the increasingly loathsome Angela Merkel–are hyperventilating about Nazis–including Nazis thousands of miles from anywhere that is their business to begin with–precisely to distract attention from the real danger lurking in their midst, and their responsibility for letting this danger metastasize.*

And it’s even more cynical than that, especially in the US. By setting up Nazis as the straw man to epitomize evil, the left is staking out its claim as being the main adversary of this looming menace, and laying the foundation to claim that anyone who opposes the left is pro-Nazi. We are seeing this daily in the US, and we are also seeing cowardly political putzes like Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham buy into this premise and validate a cynical strategy that will be used not just against them (which they actually well deserve) but against tens of millions of other Americans whom the left despises and wants to silence.

Given that Nazis in the United States, and even in Europe, are fringe figures, present in tiny numbers, made up exclusively of losers, hyping the Nazi menace actually trivializes the monstrousness of Nazism in the 1920s-1945.

If Nazis and white supremacists did not exist, the left would have to invent them. In a way they have. They are not completely a figment of the imagination, but the outsized role they are playing in current discourse is completely fantastical, and bears no relationship to reality. This is a calculated attempt to seize control of the political narrative and to silence vast numbers of people who oppose the identity politics of the left.

Ironic, isn’t it? The most ruthless practitioners of identity politics wildly exaggerate the danger posed by fringe groups obsessed with racial identity in order to silence those who are disgusted by identity politics. I think even Orwell would be agog.

*Lest you say that Europe’s Islamism crisis is thousands of miles away from anywhere that is an American’s business, I remind you that (a) the 9-11 plot was hatched in Hamburg, under the eyes of the German authorities, (b) Americans have died in many of the Islamist attacks in Europe, including in Barcelona last week, the attack in Paris in November, 2015, and the attack in Nice in July of last year–and that’s just off the top of my head, and (c) the foreign ISIS recruits that the US has spent billions killing in Iraq and Syria, and who have killed Americans engaged in that fight, come from Europe in large numbers.

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  1. with the election of Trump, lots of things in America have been laid bare. Perhaps the worst is the establishment Republicans in the House and Senate that have gotten zero big things done. They are transparent now, and we know who they are.

    Comment by jeff — August 20, 2017 @ 6:22 pm

  2. @Jeff–Yes, I truly despise the establishment Republicans. They are more interested in virtue signaling and appeasing the media crocodile, in the hopes that it will eat them last, than actually accomplishing anything. As my grandfather would have said, they are as useless as tits on a boar hog.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 20, 2017 @ 6:37 pm

  3. All my life I’ve read about the threat of neo-Nazis in Europe, and all my life it’s been rubbish. Now the rubbish-mongers are getting excited at the sighting of neo-Nazis in the US. But they too will turn out to be of no consequence.

    Comment by dearieme — August 20, 2017 @ 7:05 pm

  4. @dearieme–A political bogeyman.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 20, 2017 @ 10:12 pm

  5. SWP, your last two posts have been particularly excellent. It’s amazing that such huge swathes of the West can be so fearful to face real problems. I think humanity always needs to push itself to crisis, and we’re not far off. I just listened to a video about Rotherham from Douglas Murray’s book tour. Everyone’s chasing ghosts and ignoring actual crimes in the present. Stunning.

    Comment by Howard Roark — August 21, 2017 @ 1:36 pm

  6. hmmmmmm – haven’t heard much about rasha rasha rasha lately

    Comment by elmer — August 21, 2017 @ 2:14 pm

  7. Erudite commentary as usual. Destruction of Confederate statuary is revenge against Trump. That it has baited a disgusting but fringe element in American society, is a bonus. Neo Nazis are bad, but there were no good guys in Charlottesville. (For the left wing activists, fighting supremacists makes a change to trashing Starbucks). The rewriting of the past to define statues as representing ‘racism’ is truly frightening. That random acts of (Islamist) violence and death are inflicted upon unwary societies is another parallel with ‘1984’. I expect before too long, we may be moving into ‘Animal Farm’-esque farce…

    Comment by Malkovich — August 21, 2017 @ 2:56 pm

  8. Today I had to read the transcript of the trump press conf from last week to see why everyone still had their panties in a bunch over his “siding with Nazis”. I could find nothing to justify it, particularly the panties of Mitt, Mitch and Marco. How do they look at themselves in the mirror after repeating that bs.

    Comment by shaq fu — August 21, 2017 @ 3:44 pm


    @shaq fu – I think your question may best be answered by a slight revision to the lyrics of that one song where the hook is “everybody was kung-fu fighting”

    “everybody is virtue signaling”

    Comment by elmer — August 21, 2017 @ 4:25 pm

  10. One might observe that in the United States, Mr. McCain is surrendering voluntarily to the very sort of people he defied and resisted under torture in Vietnam.

    One supposes their success was only a matter of technique.

    Comment by Pat Frank — August 21, 2017 @ 8:02 pm

  11. “the very sort of people he defied and resisted under torture in Vietnam”: alas, it turned out that his resistance had been exaggerated.

    Comment by dearieme — August 22, 2017 @ 9:35 am

  12. The French Interior Minister has suggested that at least a third of lone wolf attacks are by nutters, not Islamists.
    I’d call him right about this.
    Islam, petty crime, illegal drugs and prescription drugs are a toxic mixture.

    Comment by james — August 22, 2017 @ 5:35 pm

  13. Further to your posts about statues, prof.
    Some sick bitch in UK news has suggested razing Nelson’s Column.
    Stupidity can’t claim it. Imbecility might.
    Nelson only went past the UK and the Med when he was a junior officer. Did he send a contingent on shore to rape and plunder the local villagers after the Battle of the Nile? No he didn’t.
    Was he a Lord? Yes, but being in full time service against Buonaparte, who had reinstated slavery, I think he was probably voting (rarely) to ensure the press gangs. And the difference was a pittance of pay and the rum ration.

    “You must obey my commands without question or hesitation. And you must hate a Frenchman like you hate the devil” Erm… the frogs were white.

    Comment by james — August 22, 2017 @ 5:45 pm

  14. @james-It’s totally out of control. Once iconoclastic fury gets started, it tends to have no limits, and feeds on itself. Every little obsessive with a particular grievance feels empowered to act on it, and they all feed off of one another. (Cf. Cultural Revolution.)

    And it’s revealing about the utter lack of humility, and indeed the narcissism, of the iconoclasts. They stand in judgment of all of history, and obviously believe that future generations will not judge them harshly. They reproach everyone from all times, and are beyond reproach for all time. Which is even more amazing given that many of them are failures at life.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 23, 2017 @ 11:08 am

  15. I’m a bit more optimistic than you, Prof.
    These people seem to feed off others’ ideas, not come up with their own.
    Like, give the dog a different bone and he’ll chew on that.
    Suggestion: tax anyone who doesn’t offer the spare bedroom to a down and out while their child is away at university.

    Comment by james — August 23, 2017 @ 3:21 pm

  16. @Prof:

    My grandparents fled the actual, flesh and blood, Nazis as children in the 1930s. Most Americans seem to have absolutely no conception of what the real Nazis were. It’s an insult to those persecuted by them to equate a few losers in Virginia to real Nazis. Incidentally, I’m fairly sure at least my grandfather voted for Trump.

    Comment by FTR — August 23, 2017 @ 7:46 pm

  17. So, is de Blasio bringing down Columbus statue the next step in the drama? And restoring America to pre-Columbus state the one after?

    Comment by Ivan — August 24, 2017 @ 1:48 am

  18. Elmer (comment #9):

    Nice musical flourish w/ the ‘virtue signalling’ reference. Made for a nice detour on Vlad’s insomniac adventures this AM.

    Be well, all. Please PLEASE continue to think [and post], even if it hurts or gets taxed. The left HATES ideas.

    VP VVP

    Comment by VP Vlad — August 24, 2017 @ 2:27 am

  19. @11 dearime, I’ve read “Honor Bound” which describes the tortures McCain and other prisoners endured.

    Your casual dismissal is callous and, if it’s not innocent by way of ignorance, disgraceful.

    Comment by Pat Frank — August 24, 2017 @ 10:55 pm

  20. oops… Igor is not very happy, I imagine

    LONDON/MILAN (Reuters) – Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo has encountered problems syndicating a loan to Glencore and Qatar’s wealth fund to finance their purchase of a stake in the Kremlin-controlled oil major Rosneft because of new U.S. sanctions against Russia.

    Comment by Ivan — August 25, 2017 @ 2:25 pm

  21. @Ivan. No longer Igor’s problem. It’s the idiot Italians, who extended the loan BEFORE arranging a syndicate. This is like taking off in a plane and planning to build the landing gear while in flight.

    Every bank knows what Intensa’s position is. They can drive an extremely hard bargain, and Intesa has no bargaining power. Zero. Zip. Nada.

    Now, maybe there is some backdoor guarantee from Rosneft, or from Russian banks. The possibility has been whispered. But Intesa had to have gone overboard on the chianti if they thought they could syndicate a loan involving Rosneft after the money was out the door.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 25, 2017 @ 8:55 pm

  22. @Ivan-That story pushes the line that the new sanctions, plus the Qatar-GCC mess, are messing with the syndication efforts. But the deal was originally done over 8 months ago. They had months to arrange a syndication before these problems cropped up. These basically give the other banks an excuse to stall (which they’d been doing anyway) or demand even more favorable terms.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 25, 2017 @ 9:02 pm

  23. “No longer Igor’s problem” – well, I have not seen the actual contract(s). Given the weirdnes of the whole deal, I imagine there might be some weird contingency clauses that would make it Igor’s problem. But you are probably right.

    Comment by Ivan — August 25, 2017 @ 11:32 pm

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