Niedersachsen in Winter
I was going to post this as a postscript to my last post, but considering the events of the past few days I think it better posted this way. "Up Date" fits the current politics much better.
America is attempting a rare period of introspection, but it isn't coming easy, nor with much chance of success. Already the local sheriff has been labeled "Leftist". The guy's over 70 and has been sheriff of this particular county since 1980, and he's a "Leftist"? If you are so "friendly", then why do you react this way?
Whatever "noise" there is on the "Left" is only a reaction, and basically only noise.
First lesson for all Americans should be: Basic definitions. "Conservative", "Radical" and whatever else including "Liberal", "Socialist" . . .
Imo the Radicals are winning and the Conservatives (as in "conserving and operating according to our oath to the Constitution and the values behind it") are in total retreat and confusion. What else exactly would "conservative" mean? The other labels aren't even in the game.
You really have to shake your head, how it's played out and displayed in the media. They're "fighting" so fierce since that is after all what they are about, what drew them together in the first place. No one expected a rational argument, but at least coherence. But not even that, I'm afraid.
Rather it was about power, and the moneybags and their lackeys were running scared a couple of years back, not that they couldn't have made a deal. Would it have really been so difficult, with this administration?
Truth is the elites now in the driver's seat gave up on democracy long ago. It wasn't really even much of a decision on their part. Rather instead, they'll now spin it was all the pitchfork talk and all. So they started themselves a "movement" and now we all see what sort of "movement" it is, and also for whom, in whose interest . . . by what means.
Agitation. Focus. Confrontation. Raw anger, "firing people up" . . . their dirty little "secret". Funny that, as well since it's been hanging out for all to see for sooooo long.
Angry? You bet, and I know I'm not the only one. This is what has become of the country we served? This is what has become of our shared legacy? Of what we were entrusted to pass on? What follows us?
Direct action is defined as "direct integration by means of corporativism, militarism, and myth"; this is to replace democracy and parliamentarism. But the true significance of direct action lies in its assignment of the central place in its policy to violence, which it then surrounds with a special philosophical interpretation of reality. Briefly this philosophical system amounts to the belief that the use of violence in a supreme effort liberates creative moral forces in human society which lead to social and national renewal.
The Revolution of Nihilism, pp 27-28
What conclusions can we draw from Rauschning's work? How does he rate as a theorist?
First, these conclusions refer to Rauschning's work and to a lesser extent that of Hannah Arendt, who produced about the best book on Fascism/Totalitarianism imo.
Second, these refer to Rauschning's subject which was Nazi Germany around 1939. I leave it to the reader to draw any similarities between Rauschning's subject and what we are/have been experiencing in the US.
1. What Rauschning describes is a radical right-wing movement which exhibits elements of left-wing attitudes as well. There is a significant "socialist" element to Nazi policy, such as government support for families, public housing, jobs on public works projects, etc. Mobilization of active public support for the goals of the movement is extensive.
2. There is a strong distinction between the movement and the state. The state, and even the nation, are seen as "instruments" for attaining the goals of the movement, or rather for the goals of the leadership of the movement. The movement/party works behind the facade of the state, and attempts over time to supplant it.
3. The movement/party's goals are irrational, based on a shared myth or notions which are not supported by reality. "Faith" in the movement/leadership is absolutely necessary and is consistently reinforced and promoted. Rhetoric appeals to instincts and myths, not to rational thought which is considered as "cowardice" and a lack of resolve.
4. What allows for the success of the radical right is conservative confusion, indecisiveness, lack of understanding of the nature of right extremism and cynical opportunism. Apolitical economic interests share certain attributes with the conservatives, but are not to be trusted to act in conservative interests, rather in their own which might be diametrically opposed. It does not seem that difficult to win over corporate/plutocratic interests over to this type of political system (as long as property is more or less guaranteed).
5. The radical right is the greatest enemy to conservativism. They use conservative symbols and rhetoric, but consistently undermine conservative values and ideals. They are radicals and destroying what is in place is necessary for the achievement of their radical goals.
6. Politicizing the military is one of the first goals of the radical right.
7. What made the Nazis a global threat was their radical goal of re-ordering the world along their notions of race. It did not matter that there was no scientific evidence supporting their views, rather what was decisive was holding and expanding power, the ability to organize a nation state along these lines. This achievement made it possible to do it elsewhere, in other words "Greater Germany" was not the goal, but the means.
8. There is a hierarchy of membership groups within the movement, with the fellow travelers at the bottom, followed by the rank and file members, elite organizations and finally the leadership cadre at the top. A high level of true belief is prevalent at the bottom levels, but becomes less and less as one rises, with cynicism replacing faith. At the top, the leadership has little respect for the masses, sees them as "herd animals" and expendable. This hierarchy of faith being replaced with cynicism explains the success of their irrational propaganda and "big lies".
9. The leadership have an unfailing belief in the power of human organization, anything is in fact "possible" no matter how fantastic in their eyes.
10. Violence is not only a means of achieving goals, but the primary means, the means of choice. Brutality is rewarded and the most brutal and ruthless rise quickly in the movement.