On which side of political spectrum is the Beast?
…I despair of getting any ideology to take responsibility for the totalitarianism committed in its name. Perhaps its just an artifact of my being a Jew, but as a member of a religious group that has been subject to uninterrupted centuries of condescending tolerance, implacable hatred and occasional outbursts of savage genocide at the hands of nearly every political party, religious group, chowder society and social club on the planet, I am less concerned with the ideological orientation of the perpetrator than I am with the fearful mechanism by which intelligent people who kiss their babies goodnight and pat their dogs lovingly become capable of lining other human beings up beside trenches and shooting them in the head (the Nazis) or hacking them with machetes (the Hutus, the Khmer Rouge and the TonTon Macoute)or putting explosive jackets on their children and setting them loose on innocent civilians (Palestinians) or flying airliners loaded with passengers into skyscrapers filled with white collar workers(Al Quaeda). The perpetrators of these and so many other horrors are blind not simply because of the ideology they profess. Of course, their beliefs are idiotic, but that’s not the point, all totalitarian systems are based on nonsensical ideas. Approached ideologically, there is only a tautology- they don’t see because of their blindness; they are blind because they are convinced of something that is impossible and they are so committed to that idiocy that anyone who is not part of their system, especially one who that sees the stupidity of what they believe, is a threat to their entire universe of denial.
That is what Totalitarianism is.
Yaacov is both right and wrong. The current Islamist, or Islamo-fascist, ideology does not fit exactly into the mold of European totalitarian ideologies. But European totalitarian ideologies are all leftist. Yes, that includes the Nazism (also here) and Fascism. Do follow both of these links, and you’ll see that the policies advocated by both German National-Socialists and Italian Fascists are very similar to those advocated by the acknowledged leftists like Socialists and Communists. My late grandfather repeatedly told me how, after infamous Moloto-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, the Soviet newspapers were constantly praising it as a treaty of friendship between two socialist countries. On the other hand, Hans Bernd Gisevius in his book “To the Bitter End: An Insider’s Account of the Plot to Kill Hitler, 1933-1944” describes how the former Communists eagerly joined the Nazi Party and became so called “beefsteak nazis” (red on the inside, brown on the outside), because there was not much difference between their ideologies. The opposition, in which Gisevius participated, came from the Right because the Right deplored the Nazi disregard for the rule of law. The tradition of placing the Nazis and the Fascists on the right side of political spectrum comes from the fact that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany ended up on the opposite sides of World War 2 after June 22, 1941. It is also a product of the successful Soviet propaganda, that the western leftists are too eager to repeat: they would rather forget those compromising 2 years of alliance between the Communists and the Nazis. I am not even calling it “shameful” because supporting the Communist ideas is shameful in its own right. To be sure, there were and are rightist totalitarian regimes, but they lack ideology. Their only reason for being is the opposition to the leftist ideology. They are also necessarily more free than the leftist totalitarian regimes, since they seek to preserve private property and free enterprise. The economic freedom provides at keast some political freedom. Besides, I can name at least 2 rightist totalitarian regimes that were specifically designed to transform the rightist dictatorships into representative democracies: Franco’s regime in Spain and Pinochet’s regime in Chile. I am not saying that the rightist dictatorships are somehow good, but merely suggesting that the leftist ideological dictatorships are inherently much worse precisely because of the presence of ideology. Besides, can you name a leftist dictatorship that had a transfer of power in mind from the outset and gave up power on its own when the time came?
But back to the beast of Islamist totalitarianism. As I said, it does not fit into the mold of Western totalitarian ideologies. As far as I know, Islamist ideology does not advocate the abolition of private property. It is similar to Nazism in its genocidal anti-Semitism. It is similar to Communism in its international character. Indeed, they will take you in, no matter what is your ethnic origin, as long as you adopt their ideology. As an example, look at the Al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, who is half-Jewish (my G-d, what a shame!). Should Islamist ideology win, it will be just as deadly to the American Left, as it will be to the American Right. Yet in this country the support for the Islamists comes primarily from the Left, even if it is just in the form of propaganda and active rejection of resistance. The Left-Right debate in this country is no longer about the extent of the economic safety net. That debate takes place now exclusively to the right of center. Joe Lieberman is the last relic of that debate. The debate now is whether to surrender to Islamists or resist and achieve victory. The Left does not think our civilization is worth the sacrifice necessary for the fight. During the Cold War they used to say: “Better Red than dead”. Perhaps now they should re-phrase it: “Better Islamist than dead”. The trouble is, they will be Islamist and still dead: do you think those Hollywood idiots would survive the Islamist takeover? As for those of us who think that the fight is worth it, that places us right of center on the current political spectrum. Our victory is not assured. All we can do is try our best, “for without victory there is no survival“.
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