One of the most invoked pearls of wisdom of the Internet era, Godwin’s Law, states that in any discussion, regardless of topic, the probability of introducing a Nazi argument or counterargument approaches 100%. As a rule, it marks the end of a discussion. Of course, the Nazi theme used in the original Godwin adage is just a particular case of a more general principle: whoever of whatever at present personifies evil the best could be used as a discussion-stopper. Whoever or whatever is perceived now as the ultimate bogeyman will do.
There are numerous examples of such phenomena. Reductio ad Hitlerum, or playing the Nazi card, is just another name. Reductio ad Stalinum (red-baiting) has a similar effect, as well as playing the “race card” or “me too” card. In the Soviet Union, the “you lynch blacks” argument against Americans was used very often.
When somebody invokes the “ultimate bogeyman” argument, emotional issues, always present in a somewhat dormant form in any discussion, suddenly outweigh any rational ones, emphasizing an argument’s decay. Eventually, the discussion is morphing into a hysterical phase and predictably self-destructs.
Obviously, Godwin’s Law does not apply when a dialogue is explicitly about National Socialism, the Third Reich, concentration camps, or whatever the epithet of the current ultimate bogeyman is. In all such cases, the discussion, of course, should not and does not stop. Moreover, the self-fulfilling properties of an ultimate bogeyman at hand (or, in the politically correct world, bogeywoman) prevent discussions from stopping. Who can demonstrate the instances when left-wingers suddenly stopped a discussion about “evil capitalists” or right-wingers swiftly abandoned a conversation about “evil attacks on states’ rights?”
However, one aspect of Godwin’s Law is still not adequately resolved.
What if one or both discussing parties have no idea what Nazism (or an ultimate bogeyman for that matter) is? What if one of the parties, in fact, promotes Nazi ideology, albeit renamed and repackaged? Should conversation in these cases stop, as Godwin’s Law prescribes? In other words, what will happen if parties do not know what the current bogeyman actually is? They might know the name, know how to spell it, and even know what the Politbureau thinks about it, but they have no idea what it is. They might think they know precisely what they are talking about. Still, the simple idea that all their knowledge about the subject may result from sophisticated indoctrination never occurs to them.
A typical example is Antifa. The original Antifa – Antifaschistische Aktion – was created by Ernst Thalmann, German Communists leader, in 1932. At that time, three major left-wing political parties in Germany represented the working class: Communists, Social Democrats, and National Socialists. Contemporaries had little or no understanding of what the difference between them was. All three advocated for a workers’ paradise; only the Nazis had specific reservations about what races/nationalities shall be allowed or prohibited to enter the Utopian paradise.
As a side note, recall that the Nazis’ antisemitism was not religious or grassroots antisemitism. They practiced pure ideological antisemitism, based on the idea that natural resources are limited, so they need to restrict the number of people entering the workers’ paradise one way or another. They decided to allow only one (non-existent) race – the Aryan race – to enter the “thousand-year” Socialist Reich; all other mischling must be exterminated or expelled from Eden. (The process was known as Vernichtungsschlachten – Battles of Extermination.)
Anyway, to a man on the street, the only visible difference between Communists, Socialists, and National Socialists in the 1930s was the size of their red flags. (After the war, Marcuse et al. had to invent something to alter that perception.) The bloody infighting between those three cousins was not just commonplace – it became a fixture of that time. Being parties of the left, all three rival factions attacked each other mostly from left-wing ideological positions.
The intraspecific competition was fierce and brutal, for these parties were fighting for the same electoral base. From this perspective, Antifa was, in fact, anti-fascist, but with the negligible ideological difference between them – one followed International Socialism and another National Socialism. They were the same peoples separated by a common ideology.
All three pre-1933 parties in Germany represented three sister strains of the same ideology. Fast forward to the 21st century, where bloodthirsty Nazi thugs are gone, but bloodthirsty communist Antifa thugs become a respectful militant arm of American leftists, albeit with a superficial knowledge of who they are. Modern Antifa is not the same organization as before, but they inherited many inscrutable attributes, tactics, and zeal of the original Antifa. It is doubtful that rank-and-file Antifa adherents remember their roots. People who exhumed and revived Antifa to use them as cannon fodder certainly do know, but they never participate in any public discussions.
Regardless of who the current bogeyman is, his/her/its real aficionado and nincompoop will show up in a discussion sooner or later. Ultimately, we will witness a polemic where some daft Antifa folks will unload on the other side with a justifiable criticism of the Nazis. What should Godwin’s Law look like if Antifa has no understanding that they, unbeknownst to them, represent essentially the same ideology as Nazis?
The resulting logical controversy is not easy to resolve. According to Godwin’s Law, the invocation of a Nazi-based argument would eventually stop the discussion. However, based on the Godwin’s Law exception, when the discussion is explicitly about the Nazis, polemics should continue – but it assumes that both sides have a clear understanding that they are talking about Nazis. If only one side – opposite of Antifa – knows that they are dealing with the primordial Nazi’s sister ideology, we hit a wall.
The irony of the situation is that Hollywood blacklists of the 1950s were designed to root out “reds” while canceling blacklists of the 2020s aim at … “reds” again. (I must confess I have no idea what the politically correct equivalent of “blacklist” is.) However, the present “reds” are not the 20th-century “reds.” The color, previously associated exclusively with left-wing ideologies, has been redefined and currently carries the diametrically opposed meaning – it means those who oppose left-wing policies.
Navigating the waters of never-ending transmogrifications of Newspeak is not easy and having a logical debate in such an atmosphere is almost impossible. Repeating, rephrasing, or otherwise repackaging a dogma repeatedly could serve as a new definition of insanity. However, that is how alarmingly many discussions are proceeding.
Is our Republic transforming itself into the Reich? The answer to this question depends not only on what the meaning of the word “is” is but on precise knowledge of what the Reich is. Even in a fog of Newspeak, even for low-information citizens, and even for knuckle draggers who promote the Reich-like ideology (but have no clue about it), the Reich is a bona fide bogeyman. People who did not study history are condemned to repeat it alright, but are people who, in fact, study history condemned to helplessly observe how all others repeat it?
If America slowly and painfully evolves into a Reich, it cannot be the Third Reich – the name is already taken by American leftists’ ideological predecessors. It cannot be a viable Fourth Reich either because there is no network of re-educational concentration camps, and digital prisons and digital executions are not an adequate substitute for planned Pan-American deprogramming. Let us settle on a halved, semi-Reich: The Third-and-a-half Reich. The Reich, which, like everything else in history, repeats, but this time as a farce.
[Originally published at NoQ Report]
That is the question. To be precise, that is the $50,000 question, or whatever amount Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, is making per hour.
To brin: a verb meaning to break under the torture of censorship and/or cancellation, or, as Hamlet put it, “to take arms against a sea of troubles /And by opposing end them.” Should we struggle against dorseynization and zuckerberging? Or should we comply with the ruling party orders and brin into submission?
We all know that “net neutrality” has nothing to do with the internet or neutrality. “LGBT” has nothing to do with sexual preferences. “Black Lives Matter” has nothing to do with Black people. “Climate change” has nothing to do with the climate whatsoever. “Saving the planet,” like any other environmental extremism, has nothing to do with the planet. “Political correctness” has nothing to do with correctness, and “social justice” has never assumed any justice.
To continue, “microaggressions” have nothing to do with any aggression. “Critical Race Theory” has nothing to do with race. “Safe space” has nothing to do with safety. “Feminism” has nothing to do with women, and “toxic masculinity” has nothing to do with men. “Minimum wage” has nothing to do with wages. “Antifa” has nothing to do with anti-fascism – the list goes on and on.
These terms could be easily substituted by just one simple word: control.
For political power, control is paramount. The Marxist dogmas of abolishing private ownership and the inevitable establishment of collective ownership did not age well beyond the 19th century. The original idea was realized in the Soviet Union and its satellites only by the use of unheard-of-before terror. Many Western Marxists and leftists rightly argued that forced wealth redistribution would lead to bloody civil war, citing the Soviet Union’s experiment as an obvious example.
That left leftists in search of some novel ideas to revitalize Marxism. They did so by (temporarily) dropping the involuntary wealth redistribution requirement. While possessing the same strategic goal as classical Marxists, they decided to introduce quite different tactics designed to smooth society’s transition to a Utopian worker’s paradise.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the leftists’ thought process looked like this: business owners controls all their businesses’ aspects. Why? Because they own it fair and square, de-jure and de-facto, as a matter of law and as a matter of fact.
Classical Marxism aims at dumping both de-jure and de-facto ownership, eliminating both the legality and tangible ownership components. However, what if we temporarily and reluctantly drop just one of them? If the de-facto ownership requirement is dropped, but de-jure stays? The resulting non-Marxist leftist ideology gets assigned a new term – Fascism. Fascism was designed as a significantly less bloodthirsty alternative to Communism. (By the way, if, on the contrary, the de-jure requirement is dropped, but the de-facto ownership stays, the resulting non-Marxist, leftist society would resemble a mafia enterprise on a state level, also known as a plutocracy.)
Practical implementation of the Fascist idea took many forms. It was implemented in Italy by a group of prominent Socialists with Mussolini, orthodox Marxist, at the helm. Mussolini’s mantra was “Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” In the 1930s, he managed to get all Italian industries and all Italian finances under state control while leaving the private ownership mostly intact. He called this state-run capitalism “true socialism.” The second, predetermined step – national government taking over all private ownership – was announced in due time but did not materialize thanks to the Allies’ invasion.
Another obvious example is the National Socialism of the Third Reich. However, from a purist’s point of view, real National Socialism was established not in Germany but in Italy. Mussolini, who was a famous statesman already when Hitler was just a nameless community organizer, was furious when he learned that Hitler “borrowed” – read “embezzled” – the term. “National Socialism” redefined “Fascism” by incorporating anti-Semitism and racism into it; the Third Reich’s real ideology could be described as Aryan Socialism.
Reforms along the lines of eliminating de-facto ownership while keeping de-jure ownership sprung in many counties on both sides of the Atlantic. The simplest version of the idea assumes near-total control of an enterprise by the government, while legal ownership still lies with the rightful owners and their heirs.
Did owners revolt? Did they protest? Anywhere? Anyone? Nope. Stripping owners from any control of their enterprises was mostly met with jubilation. Hitler never hid the eventual goal when he confronted German industry with the ultimatum: “Private enterprise cannot be maintained in a democracy.” The Third Reich never ran a nationalization program, with just a few notable exceptions (like the expropriation of Junkers airplane factory with more or less fair compensation to the owners.)
In return, captains of the German economy poured millions into Nazi party coffers. Why? Because the transfer of control to the government removes owners’ perpetual headaches. Owners no longer need to worry about competition, management, environment, labor law, strikes, profits, unions, taxes, and any other burden. Everything has been taken care of – just go to Davos, or Miami Beach, or Courchevel and enjoy your life while the government, thru its ideologically-purified agents, does the hard work.
China’s current state of affairs scrupulously follows the Fascist template. They do it under a different name, of course (Fascism got a bad reputation, you know). Their followers in the United States and other Western countries are trying to foist it under separate banners, too (and for the same reason).
In the United States, we have not reached a total control phase, but today we see suspensions, demonetizations, terminations, and other forms of cancellation methods and digital executions practiced by para-government agents. For the time being, these agents still own all these famous tech giants de-jure. However, de-facto, they carry a baton from 20th-century book burners into the 21st, enthusiastically enforcing the nomenklatura demands of the Post-Marxists.
The dirty little secret among the Post-Marxists is that they temporarily, at least during this transitional phase from capitalism to a leftist Utopia, ignore economic components entirely and care only about unrestricted political power and total societal control. Until the workers’ revolution is successful on a global scale and worldwide wealth redistribution is a done deal (this idea is known as globalism), comprehensive control – the de-facto part of ownership – is all that drives the would-be-revolutionaries.
The international cocktail of various leftist -isms genuinely believes that political censorship on a global scale is within reach. To achieve this goal, leftists outsourced the dirty task of censorship enforcement to private companies, an army of courtier journalists, and Academia.
During the previous millennium, universities were free speech oases and have suddenly turned into free speech arbiters and suppressors that coerce people to brin. Beginning with the present millennium, many colleges set the template for this dreadful and arrogant dismissal of opposing views. Cancel Culture and Comprehensive Control are two sides of the same coin, for if they cannot control you, they must cancel you. That’s why we are witnessing a pitiless pogrom of statues – leftists cannot assert control over the past, so the only course of action for them (following the example of their predecessor, Joseph Stalin) is to simply cancel and erase the past.
The Soviets had a program nicknamed “expulsion to the 101st kilometer,” referring to the forcible eviction of dissenting or otherwise “undesirable” citizens beyond Moscow’s 100 kilometers. Google manipulates internet search results analogously. It shows links to leftist political and news sites at the top of the search results, and links to sites with “undesirable” views are artificially moved beyond the first hundred links. Google knows that people, as a rule, glance at the first dozen or so links. Consequently, Google creates the impression that the whole world is full of leftist ideas only. Many people still don’t realize they are inside of a digital Gulag.
Let us emphasize that this is done by para-government agents at Big Tech legally, without brute violation of the law. With diabolical ingenuity, these post-Marxist leftists assumed the role of digital gods and utilize the existing laws that protect private ownership de-jure for asserting control de-facto over all aspects of social life to establish a post-American America. As Soviet communist Nikolay Bukharin put it, “We asked for freedom of the press…and civil liberties in the past because we were in the opposition and needed these liberties to conquer. Now that we have conquered, there is no longer any need for such civil liberties.”
Should we comply with their demands to follow the letter of the law while they deliberately violate the spirit of the law to pave the road for Pan-American serfdom? Per Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Not to act is to act.” It would be so un-American to comply with demands from, let’s say, YuanTube, even if it will result in adding one’s name into the government blacklist of dangerous subversives. It would be so un-American to submissively stay in a solitary compartment of a digital reeducation camp. It would be so un-American to go quietly into the night.
It would be so un-American to brin.
[Originally Published at Chronicle of Current Events]
P.S. The recently established in the United States Chronicle of Current Events takes its name from the journal Soviet dissidents compiled and circulated in typescript on human rights violations in their country in the mid-20th century. Many of those brave Russians, who risked more than social ostracism for exercising freedom of speech, were humanists and scientists, as their current American successors. Original Chronicle was more than a list: it became a platform for discussing and analyzing the workings and strategies of totalitarianism.
Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, the presidential election of 2020 was a colossal political disaster, a catastrophe on the level of Dunkirk. However, the Dunkirk 1940 fiasco quickly turned out to be a Dunkirk miracle. Do conservatives, whose “root and core and brain” are currently in disarray, have a chance of performing a similar marvel?
When the Dunkirk saga concluded, Prime Minister Churchill had occupied 10 Downing Street for a little less than four weeks. When the fiendishly clever (and practically undetectable for the untrained eye) 2020 election steal happened, President Trump was occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a little less than four years.
Leftists tried to destroy Donald Trump these past four years by attacking him from various ideological directions. Recall unsuccessful attempts by the Bolsheviks (Bernie Sanders) and Mensheviks (Hillary Clinton). The third attempt, under the banner of the rulers of the Middle Kingdom — a strain of socialism practically unknown to the general population — succeeded, and now Chairman Joe Biden is currently at the helm.
One of the reasons it has happened is clear: Americans do not have immunity to the current Chinese version of socialism. In contrast, other socialism strains (including, but not limited to, Communism, National Socialism, International Socialism, and Fascism) have been known to American citizens for over a century. As a result, our society had developed a decent immunity to them.
China’s socialism occupies a distinct position in the cesspool of leftism, but it is not that unique. It shares with its sister ideologies — National Socialism and Fascism — an idea referred to as “anathema” to all other leftists: they allow private businesses to coexist with collective and government enterprises but under strict ruling party control.
The crucial word here is “control.” No wonder Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Brin are precisely implementing just that — a 21st-century version of total ruling party control. The merciless, preordained purge of dissidents is a well known tradition of all leftist ideologies. If they burned books and exterminated about 100 million innocent souls in the 20th century, we should not expect their ideological successors in the 21st to do anything different from what they are doing now. Moreover, leftists even borrowed some of their ideas from Leon Trotsky and, incapable of implementing permanent revolution, organized, quite predictably, a permanent impeachment farce.
However, the main reason for conservatives’ Dunkirk’s existence lies with a strategic, decades-long blunder of exploiting the Republican Party for conservative objectives. Conservatives were trying to pull the same trick leftists have done with the Democrat Party. The originally pro-American Democrat Party has been successfully hijacked and repurposed by leftist anti-American forces. In return, the hijacked party had acquired a reasonably coherent, consistent ideology — Democrats had become a Big Government and Big Taxes party.
From the very beginning, the Republican Party had an internally conflicting ideology. The two Republican Party pillars — Low Taxes and Big Government — are not compatible with each other. Republicans, like Democrats before them, are an extraordinary bundle of contradictions. Since World War II, conservatives were attempting to bend the Republican Party into a more coherent movement, advocating Low Taxes and Small Government. They only partially succeeded — inside Washington, there is a small (and outcast) conservative Republican fraction. This fraction has never betrayed and will never betray its own — Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.
In other words, the loss in 2020 was not a failure of Conservatism per se. It was a failure of the apriori self-defeating myopia of incorporating Republicans into the conservative movement.
On the surface, it looks like the Republican Party bosses betrayed President Trump, but that is not true — they were not backing Trump to begin with. They tolerated (and many even supported) Trump as long as he promoted low taxes, but everything beyond that was too alien to them. As a result, the Maoist revolution’s violent reality is upon us, and ebullient, perfectionist, and workaholic Trump has been replaced by someone who displayed remarkable ineptitude.
There are all signs that the Republican Party nomenklatura are ready to put themselves into a groveling position and allow rabid socialists to run the show. As with many leftist revolutions before, we should expect massive human jetsam to be seated in the front row, especially at the incoming Ministry of Truth’s helm. Imagine the unimaginable fandango: Chinese attaché for American affairs Joe Biden plans to transform the United States into China’s economic and political fiefdom. Chinese communists are proficient in Stalin-like massive purges, so expect the “cancel culture” and vast blacklists to reach a pan-American, industrial scale pretty soon.
What should immaculate conservatives do while subservient Republicans prepare to join forces with the (D)eranged for expelling dissidents and non-conformists who dare to protect the “archaic” Constitution of the United States?
We should follow Winston Churchill’s magnificent oration during the horror of Dunkirk “to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary, for years, if necessary, alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do.”
As Winston Churchill would proclaim, reminiscent of his famous “we shall fight on the beaches” speech, even though large tracts of America and many states have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Demshevik party-controlled thought police and all the odious apparatus of Maoist rule, we shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in America, we shall fight for the Republic for which it stands, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength, we shall defend our beacon of freedom, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the internet, we shall fight on the TV grounds, fight in the fields of science and education, and fight on the airwaves.
We shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Republic or a large part of it were subjugated and lost its freedom to the immature left-wing bohemians, then our people beyond the Washington swamp, armed and guarded by the Constitution, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World patriots, with all their power and might, step forth to the rescue and the liberation of the entire World.
[Originally published at American Thinker]