Monday, February 16, 2009

Comments on Belmont Club
"The Middle East"

The Israeli press and blogs are all saying that Avigdor Lieberman and his party with their 15 seats are out and a coalition between Likud and Kadima with almost everyone from Labor on to the right is in. That would leave just Meretz, Lieberman and the arab parties in opposition. Debka seems to believe it also but that does that have to mean that it is untrue? The good news is that such a coalition would be resistant to blackmail by threats of defection. That threat by small partners is the curse of proportional representation coalition governments. The bad news is that such a government may be stable but to broad based to actually accomplish anything. Israel faces hard choices and will need to make decisions, both domestic and in foreign policy, that a compromise government may be unable to make.

The acid test will be when Susan Powers’ plan to insert the US military into “occupied Palestine” moves froward. The military will not mutiny whatever they think and Obama knows it. Will the Americans open fire on the Israelis? Will the Israelis open fire on the Americans? The anti-Semitic and anti-American and anti-military convergence are having a wet dream imagining the possibilities.

One of many reasons to feel unhappy about Chavez getting his prize the third time he tried is that it encourages the Democrats wilder dreams of a perpetual revolution in America. It also encourages EU advocates who do not want to take “No” for an answer. You will keep voting until you deliver the correct answer, after which voting will become a compulsory but meaningless ritual.

Israelly Cool has a link to an archive spread, out of Russia it seems, of Life Magazine photos of Hitler and the adoring crowds. Damn damn damn.

Take the time and go through the images, the horror of it is how normal they all look. Sure they are addicted to funny uniforms and big flags but that could be a High school rally. These aren’t slavering creatures from under a rock. Some of the aids, Goebbels for example, have a peculiar look but most seem very focused calm and normal. Hitler listens respectfully to people and charms the ladies. These aren’t skinhead sadists on parade, except that we know that they were.

On the "Banality of Evil."
Contrast the Nazis with the Islamists. The Germans used the scary images to an extent, to whip up and unify the crowd, to emphasize the reduction of the individual to a totalitarian ideal. Robert Hughes pointed out that the same tricks are used in Nuremberg and Mussolini's EUR and Lincoln Center in New York. Hopefully for the last that effect will be reduced after the current renovation. However on the whole the Germans stressed retaining an appearance of normalcy. They held off even going to a full economic mobilization. It is possible that if the war had lasted longer or the Soviet Union had collapsed that the wilder and more medieval fantasy aspects of the regime would have become more visibly dominant.

The Islamists have the formula backwards. First they stress their unworldly separation from normal society. Even when resident in Western countries they make a point of dressing in the beards, baggy trousers and loose vests that mark a hard core Al Qaedist, and which are rare among men in most moslem countries, as the burkha was rare until recently among most moslem women. It is true however that even at its origins Islam distorted its adherents social relations so as to isolate them and control them. The isolation of women also advanced that goal.

Now this is not unique to Islam. Other groups, for example, Hasidic Jews, the military and the police, also use ritual and costuming to identify and control members of the group. However what any resident of NY knows is that members of the Hasidim and other distinctive minority groups make a point of interacting with the greater host community in a decidedly productive and positive way that imposes the minimum of inconvenience on members of other communities with whom they deal. Even police when off duty do not seek to impose on others.

For Islamists the goal is quit different. They seek to dominate and coerce the submission of others to the will of their group. So they absorbed all of the supremacist ideology from the fascists and the glorification of violence without any of the sense of a need to pay tribute to forms of traditional bourgeois courtesy.

It can happen here. There was a lot of fascistic imagery in play in America during the early 1930's. Mussolini was very popular for time. See Thomas Wolfe's "You Can't Go Home Again" especially the "Credo" at the end.

I think the enemy comes to us with the face of innocence and says to us:

"I am your friend."

I think the enemy deceives us with false words and lying phrases, saying:

"See, I am one of you--I am one of your children, your son, your brother, and your friend. Behold how sleek and fat I have become--and all because I am just one of you, and your friend. Behold how rich and powerful I am--and all because I am one of you--shaped in your way of life, of thinking, of accomplishment. What I am, I am because I am one of you, your humble brother and your friend. Behold," cries Enemy, "the man I am, the man I have become, the thing I have accomplished--and reflect. Will you destroy this thing? I assure you that it is the most precious thing you have. It is yourselves, the projection of each of you, the triumph of your individual lives, the thing that is rooted in your blood, and native to your stock, and inherent in the traditions of America. It is the thing that all of you may hope to be," says Enemy, "for"--humbly--"am I not just one of you? Am I not just your brother and your son? Am I not the living image of what each of you may hope to be, would wish to be, would desire for his own son? Would you destroy this glorious incarnation of your own heroic self? If you do, then," says Enemy, "you destroy yourselves--you kill the thing that is most gloriously American, and in so killing, kill yourselves."

The rule used to be that you could tell the difference between children and adults. Adults are easy for a skilled con man to hustle, the more they think that they are wise to the hustle the more likely they are to be the mark. However an adult who has dealt with a variety of people learns to detect something wrong about the fantasist who is not processing the available information the same as everyone else. A child has an untarnished BS detector that protects them for the confidence man but leaves them open to the lunatic who truly believes in himself. Elwood Dowd saw the corruption and falsity of the world and retreated to a childlike simplicity. Fortunately the messiah who’s fantasy he followed came from his own pure heart rather than some Leader’s.

The question with BHO is whether he is a fraud or a lunatic. Are his devotees gullible children retreating into an extended adolescence for a large well meaning rabbit who may be wrong headed but who means well and really believes with them that if you really really believe in hope then you can change the world? Or are his followers cynical small time grifters looking to rip a free ride out of some targeted hate group,such as rich people or Jews, and deservedly doomed to get taken to the cleaners for their sins?

Last year, before Axelrod packed the caucuses and stole the Democratic nomination for BHO, we all speculated on what Hillary as POTUS would be like. Despite my misgivings, from having met the person, I was often told not to worry since she is so ambitious, corrupt and cynical that she could be relied on to do the right thing when it came to defending America, even if it was for the wrong reasons. My question now is not so much for his followers as for the man himself. Is Obama simply a Red Diaper Baby true believer, as crazy as Dinnerjacket, and able to sweep along the children of the Kossite left and millions of whiskey’s hysterical women because he really believes that he is the Messiah? Is he a cynical and deeply corrupt tool of the Chicago political machine who, as his memoir indicates, spent his youth practicing how to manipulate and deceive the white society that he despises? If the latter, is he the leader or the lead? Does he write the script or is Soros pulling his strings? We still do not know.

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