Nationalism and stupidity

Here is the epitome of nationalism:

Here is what I just read on Facebook:

Why don’t you go tell every veteran that they are racist then.

Agreeing to die for you nation is pretty nationalistic. But then again, you apparently wouldn’t understand that. Nationalism can also be inclusive; not inherently divisive and racist. But then again, maybe you don’t understand that either

Go ask a soldier and get back to me. If you don’t like our nation then move out.

These were all responses to another person’s posts contending and explaining why nationalism is categorically racist. (He was using “racist” with some liberty, but that was never really even the issue.) It may be the least fruitful discussion I have ever seen on Facebook. It’s like the person conflating patriotism with nationalism has never even considered these arguments. I…I’m speechless. I have to let George Orwell take over:

A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist — that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating — but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units, and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade. But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him.

Update: I usually make it a point to not publish names that come from non-public discussions, but whereas this person defriended the status maker over my comments, I don’t feel bad to say that I think Allyson McCreery is a twit who deserves zero respect.

What socialism isn’t

People seem to have a hard time defining socialism. As one person recently told me, it’s become nothing more than a four-letter word. It’s this catch-all for things people find different and therefore scary, and some are willing to define it as all-things-bad. This recent article really captures the point:

I heard on the radio a host list several components of fascism, including tyranny, government laws are more important than the individual, glorification of the nation, no dissent allowed, racism and intolerance. So I paused to listen. To my shock, not a minute later the host labeled this list of traits as “socialism.”

The author also points out the confusion over Nazis. I once personally found myself in a debate with a routinely inane and dishonest individual who actually argued that Nazi Germany was a socialistic nation because they used the word “Socialist” in their party name. To be fair, I think that person was just plainly ignorant in that case, but it was still pathetic to read. As the article says:

“Those people who insist that Hitler was a socialist show their ignorance about Nazi Germany. During the first half of the 20th Century, socialism had many meanings. When Hitler talked about Nazi socialism, he was describing the average German’s supposed social responsibilities to the State. Real socialists- social progressives- were usually sent to the concentration camps.” Author Jonathan Maxwell, Murderous Intellectuals: Nazis and the German Elite (personal correspondence April 13)

Whether socialism works or not, or whether it’s a good thing or not, is one issue, but it’s difficult to get there. When people run around conflating it with things they just don’t like, we can’t even have a decent discussion.

Stop making inappropriate comparisons

Between Glenn Beck/FOX Noise comparing everyone to Nazis and the media saying Madison, Wisconsin is like Cairo, Egypt, I can’t take it. These comparisons are just offensive. And I don’t mean they’re offensive because they might undermine how horrible WW2 Germany was, or because they do a disservice to the struggles of people under a 30 year dictatorship. I mean they’re offensive because they’re so fucking stupid. Just fucking stupid. And on that note, I welcome Providence, RI into the fray:

Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Angel Taveras is sending layoff warnings to all 1,926 of the city’s teachers…

“This is beyond insane,” Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith told The Providence Journal’s Linda Borg. “Let’s create the most chaos and the highest level of anxiety in a district where teachers are already under unbelievable stress. Now I know how the United States State Department felt on Dec. 7, 1941.”

Yes, this is exactly like when the U.S. was attacked and entered a massive world war. I can’t see where there are any differences. Steve Smith really hit the nail on the head this time.

God damn it.

Thought of the day

Evolution is to Nazism as gravity is to Nazism.

Petty revenge in Germany

Germany is once again acting out of revenge, not reason or rationality.

The return of alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk to Germany for trial on war crimes was delayed again Tuesday by a federal court, shortly after six immigration officers removed the retired autoworker from his suburban Cleveland home in a wheelchair.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay until it could further consider Demjanjuk’s motion to reopen the U.S. case that ordered him deported, in which he says painful medical ailments would make travel to Germany torturous.

“If he is deported, if this madness and inhumane action is not stopped by the 6th Circuit, he will live out his life in a (German) hospital. He will never be put on trial,” he said. “It makes absolutely no sense that the Germans, after nearly killing him in combat, would try to kill him once again.”

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center said it was undeterred.

“We remain confident that John Demjanjuk will be deported and finally face the bar of justice for the unspeakable crimes he committed during World War II when he was a guard at the Sobibor death camp,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, Wiesenthal Center founder.

This absolutely is not about making someone “finally face the bar of justice” for anything. It is purely about revenge. This man may very well have done horrific things to many thousands of people, but putting him on trial and imprisoning him for the last few years of his life does nothing. It does not increase the safety of others. If the point of a judicial system is to simply punish, then we’re just being euphemistic about a desire for revenge.

People should only be brought to justice if doing that serves some actual purpose. If the ‘purpose’ is simply for the sake of justice, then there is no real reason beside either rule internalization or revenge. (It’s revenge in this case.) People need to rise above this pettiness – no matter how emotionally difficult – and work from principles. Anger, distress, sadness, and other emotions just take the blindfold off Lady Justice and threw dust and grime in her eyes.

Hitler was an EVILutionist!

If I throw a baseball at your face, does that change the mathematics of its trajectory? No, of course not. You know that. You aren’t a flaming idiot. It may have been horrible what I did. In fact, I may have precisely calculated what was required to throw the ball at your face, built a machine to carry out those calculations with minimal error, and then pulled a lever to enact said machinery. But that doesn’t change whether or not my calculations were correct. No matter how many teeth you lose or how long you have a black eye, the accuracy of the math does not become a dependent variable.

So why does Richard Weikart think it matters if Hitler used Darwinism as a means to his ends?

Certainly raising the specter of Nazism does nothing to prove that Darwinism is wrong. However, the evil of Nazism should give us pause to reconsider and examine carefully the ideas, including the Darwinian ones, that led to that moral catastrophe.

So if Hitler’s ideologies have no bearing on the truth value of evolution (or baseball trajectories), then why should “the evil of Nazism” give us sufficient pause to examine evolution? Hitler had no idea how evolution worked, even by the standards of his day. He wasn’t an authority in the field. His opinions on evolution should not be the cause of any consideration toward evolution. Honestly. The man was also a big fan of art. Should we reconsider the value of being proficient renderers of people over landscapes, too?

Honestly, Hitler couldn’t have brought ‘Darwinism’ to its “logical outcome” since he clearly did not understand it. Race has no bearing on the quality of a human being. This is a rather subjective matter, not a scientific one. It’s hard to bring the science of evolution to the one possible outcome of a subjective matter. And insofar as science addresses this cultural fabrication of ‘race’, genetics tells us the 30 or so genes contributing to skin color aren’t too important as far as intelligence, personality, work ethic, ability, or anything else goes.

…in the introduction to my book From Darwin to Hitler I clearly state: “Nor am I making the absurd claim that Darwinism of logical necessity leads (directly or indirectly) to Nazism. In philosophical terms, Darwinism was a necessary, but not a sufficient, cause for Nazi ideology.

So ‘Darwinists’ are not necessarily led to Nazism. But Nazis are necessarily ‘Darwinists’ (among other things). Really, Bobby? Really? How well do you think Hitler – or most other Nazis – really understood evolution? Do you honestly think so many people said “I’m going to kill these Jews because life is about the survival of the fittest and I deem myself more fit than these hook-nosed crooks, therefore I am only hurrying up a natural process.” And of those that did say that, do you think they adequately understood ‘Darwinism’?

This is really the kicker. Bobby is here explaining that Nazis understood Darwinism when it’s so abundant they had no clue, much like Bobby himself. He even makes a highlight (unbeknownst to him) of this point.

When responding to a question from Stein about Hitler’s sanity, I replied that I did not think he was insane, but that he was taking ideas to their logical outcome. Here I was referring to Hitler’s ideology in toto, not just the Darwinian elements (though it includes them, too, of course).

Emphasis added. So ‘Darwinism’s’ logical outcome when combined with other Nazi ideology is genocide. Without ‘Darwinism’, Hitler would have never carried out the deeds he did, at least not to the same degree. Bullshit. Evolution has no ‘logical’ outcome, not in the sense intended here. Evolution is differential survival of organisms due to variation in phenotypes and genotypes interacting with a particular environment. The only logical outcome we can say evolution has is that some members of a species will survive long enough to reproduce while others will have some barrier to survival, whether it be infertility, death, or just being downright unattractive to the opposite sex. Genocide, racism, and war are not logical outcomes.

None of what I have said so far proves that Darwinism is implicitly racist, though it does demonstrate that Schloss’s attempts to distance Darwinism historically from Nazi racism fail. It is not as big a leap as Schloss thinks from Darwin’s claim in The Descent of Man that “the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races” to Hitler’s view of history as a racial struggle for existence.14 Schloss would surely argue that Darwin’s racist views were misguided, and that may well be (then he is arguing against Darwin, not against me). But why wouldn’t Darwin’s own views about the racial struggle for existence–embraced by the majority of Darwinists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century–be called Darwinism? And why would it be historically inaccurate to claim that this aspect of Darwinian theory influenced Hitler and the atrocities that he committed?

Emphasis added again. So Bobby’s point has always been that the original versions of Darwin’s theories were a key point in Hitler’s ideology. That would make sense since Hitler obviously couldn’t consider the modern version of the theory. So why is Bobby even discussing anything? If his point is that Hitler embraced the early version of a largely revamped theory, then why should anyone care? Or is it just that Bobby wants us to think that evolution is deeply connected to Nazism? Yes. Yes, it is.

But he wants to know why it is inaccurate to say a particular aspect of ‘Darwinian theory’ influenced Hitler. Aside from the fact that racism pervaded the entire world to the point where it was acceptable to not only defend it but start a war based upon it up until very recently in history (it still is a problem, of course), the author damn well knows what he’s doing. He knows that most people have no idea that Darwin was wrong in much detail. The overarching idea of evolution via natural selection is the most notable piece of the theory which has been retained. Darwin knew nothing of the unit of inheritance or cells. We have a framework which was reasoned out by Darwin, and brilliantly at that. Upon that retainted framework is neo-Darwinism, not ‘Darwinism’.

And the first point of this post bears repeating. What Hitler believed has no bearing on whether or not evolution is true. This Appeal to Emotions is baseless. This ‘historian’ damn well knows (again) he isn’t making an argument against accepted science. That’s why his argument is entirely inapprorpiate. He isn’t interested in educating people about what played into Hitler’s ideology. He is interested in undermining public confidence in the theory of evolution by playing to the base emotions of people. “Hitler believed in evolution? But he’s wrong about everything. Evolution must be wrong!” This is for what Bobby is hoping.

Please, can more people start addressing this blatant dishonesty? The guy is being propped up by this pseduo-scientific Christian Discovery Institute and basically lying. He’s telling us that, hey, whoa now, evolution doesn’t entail Nazism, Nazism just entails evolution. And, hey, come on, let’s just think a little more deeply about what that really means; let’s just reconsider the ideas of evolution because Hitler was a big bad man who was wrong on absolutely everything, but, hey, maybe he was on to something with this whole evolution-to-genocide thing.