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Samizdata quote of the day

The logical end-point in the reach of government is either state ownership of all private property, which is communism, or state control over what people do with their property, which is fascism. With communism discredited, the world is moving inexorably towards the latter. Every business is regulated in some way or other, and economic freedom is being progressively restricted with ever-tightening regulations.

Alasdair Macleod

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53 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • The Jannie

    “communism discredited” Has anyone told the lefties?

  • Paul Marks

    Good quote – a proper understanding of Fascism. Too often the Soviet NKVD and Hollywood false (agitprop) definition of Fascism is followed – Fascism as the control of the state by “Big Business”.

    In reality whether it was German “War Socialism” in the First World War, or Italian Fascism or German National Socialism – it was the STATE that had the whip hand and even the biggest businessman was reduced to a “shop manager”. See Hayek’s “The Road To Serfdom” and “Omnipotent Government” by Ludwig Von Mises. The Soviet NKVD – Hollywood (including television entertainment now) view is just false.

    How does it happen? How does private ownership lose all real meaning?

    It happens by regulations – by the Executive (officials and so on) being able to order about business enterprises as they see fit.

    Such things as the United States Federal Government and the European Union have a very obvious tendency towards economic fascism.

    And as “The New Despotism” (Chief Justice Hewart 1929) showed – the rise of “delegated legislation” (Parliament passing vague Enabling Statutes allowing ministers and officials to order the public about with endless regulations) the British government has long has had a tendency towards this also.

    It is bad enough that a “legislature” exists that can pass any “law” it likes – which is why the Texas idea of having the “legislature” limited and only meeting for a few days is a good idea.

    But to have ministers and officials with the power to pass edicts (regulations) with the force of law – that is an abomination.

  • Edward Spalton

    If you Google ” The European Union’s Evil,Pedigree” you will find a very full description of
    what the Nazis called ” the state-led economy” by Walther Funk, Reichsminister for the Economy. It was published in Berlin in 1942 as lead paper in a book called “European Economic Community”.
    He insisted that there was a place for the entrepreneur and private business within the rules of the game. It talks of ” the creative power of the individual, grounded in the community” – could have been Tony Blair, couldn’t it.? The same idea as a ” stakeholder”!

  • Matthew McConnagay

    state ownership of all private property, which is communism, or state control over what people do with their property, which is fascism.

    Leaving aside the question of whether that’s accurate, can I ask: is that actually a meaningful distinction? i.e. are not fascism and communism, in some important sense, basically the same thing?

  • Umbriel

    Mr. McConnagay — I’d say the important sense in which they’re basically the same thing is their ultimate subordination of the individual to the “collective good”. The chief difference is in the packaging. Fascism/Nazism identifies the collective as “the Nation” — identified in terms of characteristics like ethnicity or culture. Communism generally identifies it in terms of class, as in “the workers”.

    The class distinction is more easily scalable globally, so Soviet expansion justified itself in terms of liberating the world’s workers to join in a single collective, while Fascist expansionism justified itself in terms of subjugating inferior cultures and races in a hegemony.

    Communism also inherits from Marx a desire to describe itself as economically scientific, so it’s more openly anti-private property in favor of collective ownership. Fascism, because it glorifies its own culture, generally nominally respects private property as part of that culture — Nazism was particularly obsessed with family-run farming as the backbone of Aryan culture. But any individual choice, regarding property or self, deemed contrary to the collective good of the nation, is unacceptable. Thus, the substantive meaning of private property is essentially hollow.

  • Laird

    Finally, someone who actually understands that fascism is an economic system, not merely an empty vessel of a word into which you can pour any meaning you choose simply to vilify someone you dislike. I have argued for the last 8 years that Obama is not a communist (or a Marxist) but a fascist. Whether Trump is one can’t be determined yet (his policy statements are too erratic and inconsistent to give them a label), but I suspect that for the most part he will not be, most certainly not to the extent Obama is.

  • Matthew McConnagay

    Umbriel – thanks. They’re more alike than not, I suppose – and when you’re lined up in front of the firing squad, what’s the difference anyway?

    I’m partial to the above definitions of fascism, they’re what I’ve come to on my own – but I do worry that it might not actually be accurate.

    You know those people who insist on a difference between communism and socialism? It’s all just so they can saddle communism with all the bad stuff and leave socialism looking nice by comparison. They’re redefining words for their own benefit.

    Are we not doing a similar kind of thing here? (Alright, it’s not directly analogous.) Fascism as “communism for the nation” makes sense to us who understand how similar it is to communism (i.e. how bad communism was). But is that actually what fascism is? We’re basically describing national socialism here, but is fascism the same thing? Did the Nazis ever describe themselves as fascist?

    I know Mussolini came up with the word, but did he ever use it to describe a coherent political philosophy? Or was it as nebulous back then as it is now?

    If anybody could enlighten me on the subject, I’d be grateful.

  • James Hargrave

    1. Look what happened to Reichsminister Funk.

    2. The term is too easily one of abuse. Italian Fascism, whatever it was wasn’t National Socialism, at least for most of its existence. The ‘Clerical Fascists’ of 1930s Austria were possibly clerical (devoutly RC, prone to take economic policy for Papal encyclicals) and nationalist but just took to symbols and dressing up to appear a bit modern and populist. Of course, they were definitely not National Socialists – more akin to Salazar. There were many governments and regimes at the time in Europe and Latin America who borrowed ideas or costumes, but they stretch from/through anti-clerical, military, conservative, reactionary, even – well I’ll have my mini-coup in case you have yours and, again, adopt a few modernising features (usually limited to the surface ones of symbols, ceremonies, costumes, flags, a bit of paganism if Roman Catholicism isn’t the local brew – often with a manifest degree of embarrassment). Fascism in the eye of the beholder.

  • Mr Ed

    With fascism, the root of the word, from the latin fasces, the bundle of rods that symbolised the power of the Roman Magistrate, makes the nature of the doctrine quite clear. You do what you are told by the Magistrate. And I’m told that some bundles in Roman times had an axe in the middle, to symbolise the power to execute.

    And fascism’s snivelling little runt of a brother, corporatism, is more like the modern-day EU, and indeed the UK in the 1960s, with ‘NEDDY‘, the National Economic Development Council. And I have just found out something else to John Major’s credit, he abolished this in 1992, it survived the so-called harshness of Thatcherism.

    The other good thing John Major did was to relax the laws on Sunday opening of large shops in England and Wales. His faults are legion, but he did pay for his sins by shagging Edwina Currie.

  • Darin

    Matthew McConnagay

    I know Mussolini came up with the word, but did he ever use it to describe a coherent political philosophy? Or was it as nebulous back then as it is now?

    Check “The Doctrine of Fascism” by Benito Mussolini. Exactly the thing you wanted, there can be nothing more authoritative.

    The Doctrine of Fascism

    The best article about origins of fascism I know is here, from LA site, you will probably already know it.

    The Mystery of Fascism

  • bobby b

    That “Mystery of Fascism” article is excellent. Thank you for the link.

  • Flubber

    This may be disturbing for some but I reckon Edwina would have been a right goer in the sack…

  • ragingnick

    Laird

    I have argued for the last 8 years that Obama is not a communist (or a Marxist) but a fascist. Whether Trump is one can’t be determined yet (his policy statements are too erratic and inconsistent to give them a label), but I suspect that for the most part he will not be, most certainly not to the extent Obama is.

    Jacob Hornberger convincingly makes the opposite case I think, Trump will usher in a new era of economic fascism. while it may not be libertarian I think that economic fascism is still preferable to the socialism of Obama and Hillary. Actual historical fascists were a mixed bag, some bad (Hitler, Mussolini) some good(ish) (Dollfuss, Franco). I think in some ways the so called ‘alt right’ represents a fusion of classical fascism and Libertarianism.
    ter

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Fascism is certainly an aspect of Progressivism, but I still say that “Left Puritanism” better fits the zeal with which Progressive governments inflict virtue.

    And anyway, Orwell nailed the uselessness of the term ‘fascist’ seventy years ago.

  • Edward Spalton

    James Hargrave

    Reichsminister Funk got out of jail on health grounds in ( from memory) 1957 and went straight to Hanover where Professor Doktor Heinrich Hunke ( who had organised the 1942 European Economic Community meeting) was prominent in local,politics.

    Funk gained some sort of position in academic life. By the time I was on my school trip to Hanover in 1958, our German contemporaries had been taught in school ” Our economic community will guarantee our living standard ” – just a year after the treaty of Rome. That leads me to surmise that Reichsminister Funk may well have influenced the curriculum.

    Sir Nevile Henderson, the pre war ambassador to Berlin, placed Funk in the Nazi “peace party” during the era of Appeasement – which could just possibly be why he was not hanged.

  • rxc

    Maybe it would be best to stop arguing about whether communism or fascism is the correct word, and instead use the word that subsumes both of them – totalitarianism. Total control of the society by the leadership. The left will argue that the large corporations effectively control our society at this point, but I don’t agree because corporations don’t have the legal right to levy a tax or draft people into an army or put people into jail or apply the death penalty. Governments do, and therefore it is governments that are totalitarian. Even when they do it “for the greater good”, or “for the children”. Unless governments give these sorts of rights to corporations, an individual can walk away from advertising and other attempts by corporations to pursuade consumers to buy things. Corporations only have the powers that governments give them.

    It just struck me, when I was reading something about public health campaigns, that this is one area where totalitarianism flourishes particularly well. The experts identify a “problem” that affects the public health (a flexible definition here can be helpful), and then progress(!) to solutions that require government intervention. The arguments usually are based on the inability of members of the public to understand how they should best be living their lives (eat less sugar and salt and sat fat, get more exercise, lose weight), or on the cost of those activities on the public purse (healthcare for lifestyle illnesses). I.e., either the people are too stupid to be able to make their own decisions about what they put into their mouth or what they do for their own entertainment, or else they need to be restrained from doing things that bust the public purse.

    It used to be that public health worried about clean water supplies and sewers and outbreaks of communicable diseases, but now it is about eating more kale and teaching that guns are dangerous and everything associated with CO2 is dangerous. Totalitarianism.

  • Jacob

    “Fascism” is historically associated with street violence perpetrated by hooligan paramilitary movements, which did not yet control state power. After grabbing state power, fascists embraced totalitarianism – i.e. unlimited, monopolistic, power exercised by the state (run by them).
    The original totalitarian model was invented and put into practice by the communists (the Bolshevik revolution). The Italian and German fascists adopted the totalitarian state model with a few marginal modifications (permitting nominal private property).

  • (permitting nominal private property).

    And that is the very essence of economic fascism: you can ‘own’ the means of production just as long as you use them in ways the state wants you to use them.

    I recall talking to the grandparents of a German friend who said as whilst they were not at all political, they were more or less the poster children for Nazi Germany (blond hair blue eyed German dairy farmers near Hamburg). They admitted that at the time they could not see what the fuss was about the Nazis as life seemed ok, until about 1943 when it started to dawn on them that things might end in tears. But before then, life was much as it had been, but that was because they had no desire to do anything that would make them fall foul of the state.

  • Laird

    ragingnick, I don’t disagree with anything in Hornberger’s article, I just think that the limits of Trump’s supposed “economic fascism” (a redundancy, in my opinion) will be at major manufacturing corporations such as Carrier and Ford, precisely because it is applied through his one-off direct interventions. By contrast, Obama’s brand of fascism extended to the smallest enterprises, because it was implemented through universally applicable regulatory edicts. I just don’t expect the Trump administration to engage in such broad dictatorial edicts, but rather to actually eliminate many of them (which he correctly calls providing “regulatory relief”). The end result should be perhaps a bit more interest by the federal government in the activities of major corporations (and I won’t dispute that that is fascistic in nature) but less such interest in the smaller entities which make up the vast bulk of our economy. But who knows? We’re all just speculating. Time will tell, won’t it?

  • Jacob

    “they could not see what the fuss was about the Nazis as life seemed ok,”

    Don’t you buy this.
    In July 1934 Hitler murdered about 1000 people in the “night of the long knives”. “Life seemed ok” ? Yes, if you consider mass murder as ok. Maybe many Germans did…

  • Jacob

    “you can ‘own’ the means of production just as long as you use them in ways the state wants you to use them.”

    The difference is that the Communists confiscated everything, they abolished private property in a total and absolute manner. They confiscated, actually, physically, everything. Businesses of course, land – of course, but even private homes, money, deposits, everything. That was ideologically driven.

    The Nazi’s intervention (confiscations, decrees) was light and selective and pragmatic. The state didn’t grab all bakeries, hairdressers or ice cream stands (the communists did), it intervened in some cases, and mostly – by directing the owners to act according to decrees, and not by expropriation.

    There is no big difference in principle (private property was not honored by the state), but there was a big difference in practice – in the amount of intervention.

  • Don’t you buy this. In July 1934 Hitler murdered about 1000 people in the “night of the long knives” (…) Maybe many Germans did

    They were land owning farmers. From what they said they shared the prevailing opinion that the Nazis only killed the awful communists who wanted to take everyone’s land, or it was internal Nazi political matters that seemed remote fro them, so like I indicated, for ‘normal’ people (particularly landowners who were using their land the way the state wanted them to use it), things seemed fine at that stage, so yeah, many Germans did.

    These were not very sophisticated folk and frankly from what I gathered in 1943 it wasn’t that they started to think Nazism was a terrible political system but rather that the Nazis might have got Germany into an unwinnable world war. Apparently in July 1943 their farm was covered in ash and strips of aluminium foil and at night they could see like it there was a nearby bonfire next to their house as Hamburg burned (during Operation Gomorrah) almost 40 kilometres away. I think that was what really ‘adjusted’ their views about the Nazis.

  • Mr Ed

    What sort of questions did people ask in Nazi Germany? (A comedy sketch).

    And then there was the German POW who left £384,000 to a village in Scotland

    After the end of the war, Mr Steinmeyer worked on a farm before returning to Germany.
    Mr Steinmeyer died two weeks after Comrie resident George Carson, who became a close friend of the former soldier.
    Mr Carson said of Mr Steinmeyer: “He was a dyed in the wool Nazi and once thought that Hitler was the finest thing ever to happen to Germany.
    “He was captured and taken to Comrie and eventually was allowed to work and was treated with great kindness by people.”

    .

  • Michael Jennings

    In July 1934 Hitler murdered about 1000 people in the “night of the long knives”. “Life seemed ok” ? Yes, if you consider mass murder as ok. Maybe many Germans did…

    It’s very easy to downplay things like this, or even convince yourself that they are a good thing, as long as you can also convince yourself that the victims are other people, who are not like you. There’s nothing special about the Germans in this regard. Both Russia and Turkey today are much the same.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Isn’t this just all semantics to the libertarian?

    There is only really authoritarianism or libertarianism, you are either bothered about what other people get up to (regardless of whether their actions have any effect) or you are not. Life is full of obnoxious nannies who get in a stink about nefarious activities of other people, and they don’t like it and want it all stopped, so they create controlling ideologies to do just that.

    Religion is just the same purpose, convoluted institutions designed specifically to control people, regardless of the mysticism behind it. Fascism and Communism are just variants of the same thing, effective replacements without the baggage of deity, they’re a bit more “science-y”, but no less controlling.

    Listening to a talk between two prominent atheists, who were generally disputing religion in favour of rational thought, I realised they were just as authoritarian as any old lefty could be, they only disagreed with religion because it was factually or scientifically incorrect, but the association of “free thinking” to a lot of atheists and humanists extends only as far as their own rationality, when it comes down to it many are just as big a control freak as any big state supporter. I know of many good natured and rational people who as happy to accept policies of what is effectively group punishment, like taxing certain food and drink, banning certain objects, punishing certain activities. If this is pointed out they lapse into some excuse like “the good of society”, like suddenly those adversely affected by such policy are not part of said society any longer.

  • Jacob

    Perry, that was exactly what I was saying.
    A normal, typical, church going, small German land holder would find nothing objectionable in Nazi policies and practices. It would seem to them normal and acceptable that the Nazi State murders thousands of people, and closes up in concentration camps tens of thousands. It would seem to them normal for the State to kill some 70 thousand disabled Germans in the name of eugenics (improvement of the race). It would seem to them normal, even acceptable, and probably even praiseworthy that Synagogues are burnt down and Jews murdered in the streets. All these events happened up to 1938 (before the war).

    A “normal” (average) German would never think that Hitler was totally and terminally criminal and crazy. It was only when they started to suffer personally from the consequences of Hitler’s madness (in 1943) that they started to have doubts… The regular norms of Western Civilization haven’t penetrated the German mind. They retained (most of them) a special German mentality or meta-context which can only be described as barbarian.

    If Hitler hadn’t invaded Russia and declared war on the US in 1941, and had kept his rule over Europe from the Atlantic to the Russian border for some 2 decades, as was easily feasible, he would have been considered by the Germans the greatest German leader and personage of all times.

  • Jacob

    German barbarism was amply manifest in WW1 too. It didn’t start with Hitler, Hitler wasn’t an oddity. If we called him “a typical German” we wouldn’t be far wrong.

    (And, yes, I’m aware that I talk in collectivist terms and you can find many types of people in such a big nation as Germany, and not all were barbarian or crazy… etc. etc. ).

  • Erik

    With fascism, the root of the word, from the latin fasces, the bundle of rods that symbolised the power of the Roman Magistrate, makes the nature of the doctrine quite clear. You do what you are told by the Magistrate.

    Unsubstantiated rubbish. I can just as well say that the same bundle of rods makes it quite clear that the nature of of the doctrine fascism is Stronger Together. Hence, enforce unity and purge dissenters, which can perfectly well be done by headless mobs as well as Magistrates.

  • Mr Ed

    Erik,

    ‘Stronger Together’ is simply a slogan, an observation, without necessarily having an element of compulsion. Mobs are just mobs, but the ‘Magistrate qua Fascist’ is the State.

  • Richard Thomas

    Edward, intellectually, I know I’m reading some political/economic history but it feels like I’m reading a history of Jazz.

    Nice.

  • Jacob

    Communism was a much, but enormously much bigger disruption and overturning of normal, every-day life than Nazism.
    The Communists confiscated (“nationalized”) ALL private property, and they actually did it, i.e. carried out in reality. It was not a slogan (abolition of private property) in the books – it was actually carried out. They confiscated all businesses – not only big business, ALL business, including your Ma and Pa grocery store, the barber shop or the shoe-repair booth. They confiscated land, houses, wares. They confiscated all private savings and bank deposits (and banks too, of course). They ordered all people (bourgeois) to hand over to the state their family jewelry and silverware.

    The Nazis “only” murdered a few tens of thousands and incarcerated a few more tens of thousands, but they didn’t actually touch the every-day life of tens of millions of Germans. In principle – no person and no property were secure, but in practice, most people were untouched. All were intimidated and indoctrinated and bullied, but relatively few were actually harmed.

  • Julie near Chicago

    [In the following, all the italic and boldfaced type are mine. –J.]

    . . .

    Jacob, at 3:38 pm:

    ‘The Nazis “only” murdered a few tens of thousands and incarcerated a few more tens of thousands, but they didn’t actually touch the every-day life of tens of millions of Germans.’

    In this remarkable statement, I will assume you speak only of Germans dead (or imprisoned) at the hands of the Nazis. But according to the political scientist Prof. R.J. Rummel, who studied intensively the subject of the numbers of people murdered by their own governments:

    ‘The Nazis thus killed some 288,000 Germans, not counting Jews, homosexuals, and those forcibly “euthanized.” If these are included, then the Nazis murdered at least 498,000 Germans, probably 762,000. As shown in table 1.2, this was one out of every hundred Germans.’

    498 – 762 thousand Germans strikes me as more than “a few tens of thousands.” And from the context, these figures do not include those, whether civilian or military, who died as a result of WW II (the “war dead”).

    From the article:

    ‘Shown at the bottom of the table [1.1] is the number of civilians and military killed in the war, presumably exclusive of democide.2 In total, the war killed 28,736,000 Europeans, a fantastic number. But the democide of Hitler alone adds 20,946,000 more.’

    .

    If we broaden the class of victims of Nazi murder to include non-Germans, then we must include the entire 6 million Jews (for instance, Warsaw is not in Germany), as well as some others. Note that these figures do include those in Nazi-occupied countries.

    ‘As high as this human cost of the Nazis was for the Germans, it was higher for the countries they invaded and occupied, particularly in the East. Not only did the Nazis eliminate actual critics and opponents as a matter of course, but they also prevented any serious potential opposition by simply exterminating the top leadership, intellectuals, and professionals. Besides Jews, the Germans murdered near 2,400,000 Poles, 3,000,000 Ukrainians, 1,593,000 Russians, and 1,400,000 Byelorussians, many of these among the best and the brightest men and women. The Nazis killed in cold blood nearly one out of every six Polish or Soviet citizens, including Jews, under their rule.’

    Finally:

    ‘Annually, as shown in table 1.2, the Nazis killed six to seven people out of every hundred in occupied Europe. The odds of a European dying under Nazi occupation were about one in fifteen.13 As table 1.2 points out, this is twice the odds of an American dying from one of the nine worst diseases, specifically stroke, heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, and liver disease.14

    Moreover, even though the Nazis hardly matched the democide of the Soviets and Communist Chinese as shown in table 1.3 , they proportionally killed more. Figure 1.2 illustrates this.’

    This is the briefest sketch of the work presented on Dr. Rummel’s page at

    https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NAZIS.CHAP1.HTM ;

    the excerpts quoted above need the full context of the page so as to avoid misinterpretation (insofar as that’s ever possible, of course).

    Note also the Figures and Tables there.

    . . .

    This comment doesn’t go into the relative demerits of Communist regimes, which indeed do seem to lack the limelight in the general awareness of the two contenders’ record of evil. I only aimed to correct what seems to me Jacob’s misstatement.

  • Jacob

    Julie,
    I addressed Perry’s comment which stated that the “normal” German (the specific person that he mentions) was untouched by Hitler’s atrocities, and therefore supported the Nazi regime as correct and good. Only when the horrors of war touched them personally in 1943, they started opposing (or disapproving in thought, not in deed) the Nazi regime.
    What I wished to stress is that the criminal, barbarous and mad nature of the Nazi regime and of Hitler were obvious long before 1943, at least since the night of the long knives, 1 July 1934.

    The fact that “normal” Germans (a very great majority of Germans) supported Hitler enthusiastically despite his barbarous acts shows that the majority of German people were not-civilized and barbarous.

    Hell, most Germans even supported with enthusiasm the war Hitler started. It was only when he started LOSING the war that their enthusiasm faded.

    Few people (Germans or others) would now (after the fact) dispute the barbarous and mad nature of Hitler and the Nazi regime, as it became manifest during the war and his policy of mass extermination. My point was that this barbarous and crazy nature of the Nazi regime was amply manifest even before the war started. (I therefore didn’t mention the millions of victims during the war).

    The numbers you cite are, of course, correct, and I erred in writing “tens of thousands” instead of “hundreds of thousands” (German victims of Nazism, before WW2). This only strengthens the point I made: that the barbarous and crazy nature of the Nazi regime was obvious long before the war, and despite this it had the enthusiastic support of most Germans.

    It is now fashionable to attribute the horrors of Nazism to Hitler and whitewash the role of the German people as if Hitler acted in a vacuum. It is also fashionable to attribute the horrors of Communism to Stalin and whitewash the role of Communist ideology and the Russian people.

    Thank you for correcting my error and presenting the correct numbers.

  • Matthew McConnagay

    Darin

    Thanks. I’ll add those to the big pile of things I have to read. But before I dive in, can anybody tell me: does Mussolini’s “Doctrine of Fascism” accurately describe (1) a philosophy or political system, and (2) did the system as described in the “Doctrine” bear any resemblance to the state Mussolini created? (Or any other state that listened to his “Doctrine”.)

    Or was it just a load of old waffle?

    rxc

    Agreed about totalitarianism.

    On public health: perhaps an important first step was seatbelts in cars? (And I wonder if there’s a correlation between seatbelt legislation and a decline in the general intelligence – perhaps the more we prevent people from dying in stupid ways, the more stupid way are living to reproduce. A macabre thought.)

    Jacob

    How much did the average German know about, say, the eugenics and the concentration camps?

    (I realise this is a question I should know the answer to by now, but not knowing, isn’t it possible that Perry’s friend’s grandparents were simply ignorant? If the papers and the radio are censored, and they’re out on some farm somewhere, how would they know?)

    And I’ve seen this “Germanic barbarism” idea before, I think that Spengler fellow pushes it. Got any more on the topic? It’s an interesting notion, even if it is, as I suspect, a bit mad.

    Julie near Chicago

    To clarify, is that 498-762k Germans killed pre-1939?

    And then that figure for war dead:
    – that 28 million figure includes Brits, Americans, etc, yes? Does it include deaths in Asia too?
    – is that an extra 20 million killed on top of the 28 million, i.e. nearly 50 million people died in the war, 40% of which were killed by the Nazis outside of military contexts for political reasons?

  • isn’t it possible that Perry’s friend’s grandparents were simply ignorant?

    Manifestly true. Indeed the grandmother freely admitted they were “breathtakingly naive”.

  • Matthew McConnagay

    Still, better to be thought naive than the alternatives, eh? 😉

  • Jacob

    I don’t buy the “didn’t know” claim.
    True, the crimes were not reported in the papers or radio, which were censored.
    But you can’t murder 498-762K people, and imprison in concentration camps two or three times as much and keep secrecy. People talk, rumors spread.
    So, it seems to me that the claim “we didn’t know” adds hypocrisy and lying to the charge of German barbarism.

    Somewhat more plausible would be the claim “we knew but couldn’t do anything about it”. But that was not the case – Hitler had very great support among the Germans, as Perry said – maybe until 1943.

  • Jacob

    “And I’ve seen this “Germanic barbarism” idea before”

    Of course you have seen… they didn’t call them “The Hun” for nothing, in WW1.

  • Matthew McConnagay

    Jacob

    Again, got any more on the Germans as irredeemable barbarians? If I google it all I get it stuff from Ancient Rome

  • Michael Jennings (London)

    I don’t buy the “didn’t know” claim.

    No, I don’t buy it either. But people are good at ignoring things that they want to ignore, or that they don’t think affect them personally, or that they simply want to believe don’t affect them personally.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Jacob, in my remarks of January 5, 2017 at 5:33 pm I only intended to correct the numbers, because there is a tendency in certain quarters to downplay them in defense of the Nazis.

    .

    Matthew,

    Julie near Chicago –

    To clarify, is that 498-762k Germans killed pre-1939?

    And then that figure for war dead:
    – that 28 million figure includes Brits, Americans, etc, yes? Does it include deaths in Asia too?
    – is that an extra 20 million killed on top of the 28 million, i.e. nearly 50 million people died in the war, 40% of which were killed by the Nazis outside of military contexts for political reasons?

    First, note that Jacob on January 5, 2017 at 12:45 pm in his response to Perry’s comment wrote:

    “All these events happened up to 1938 (before the war).”

    As to your questions about Prof. Rummel’s figures for the war-dead: Within a quote from the article in which I messed up the html quote-tag, to my everlasting shame, you will see this:

    “In total, the war killed 28,736,000 Europeans [thus presumably not even including Americans], a fantastic number. But the democide of Hitler alone adds 20,946,000 more.’”

    It is not entirely clear to me whether the ~ 21-million number of “democides” cited includes only those killed during the War but not as a direct result of it, or whether it includes also pre-war murders; I take it as the latter.

    I will say that to my mind those interested in this subject should read for themselves Prof. Rummel’s page cited, at

    https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NAZIS.CHAP1.HTM ,

    as well as his page at

    https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/DBG.CHAP2.HTM ,

    which begins with a definitions of “genocide,” “politicide,” “mass murder”, and “democide.”
    I do not myself find his definition of the latter entirely satisfactory, as he writes:

    “Democide: The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder. “

    I have always understood the term to refer to the killing of large numbers of people, so this definition puzzles me somewhat. Wikipedia is no help in this. Wiktionary gives the definition I’ve always understood:

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/democide :

    Noun

    democide ‎(plural democides)

    (Mass) murder of people by a government which has power over them.

    So along these lines, I would prefer not to offer my own conclusions as to what he probably means in various statements, as I don’t find unambiguity in the context. People will do better, I think, to read him in his own words.

  • Julie near Chicago

    For some reason the Spambot has pounced upon my responses to Jacob’s and Matthew’s comments and questions above — which were already a little behindhand, apologies. Oh well, you guys can come back in a few years. I’m sure the Cats will have smitten the Spambot by then. :>)

  • bobby b

    It’s a German spambot. They’re always a little touchy about this topic.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Ah. That explains it. Thanks, bobby. 😉 😉

  • Julie near Chicago

    And thanks to whichever zookeeper smote the Spambot. :>)

  • Jacob

    “Again, got any more on the Germans as irredeemable barbarians? ”

    If I’m not mistaken in was Paul Johnson who drew attention to German children stories. For example the Hansel and Gretel story published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. Or the Max und Moritz stroy published in 1865: “The boys are ground to bits and devoured by the miller’s ducks.” (Written in verse).

    These ghoulish tales are standard bed stories for 4-5 year old German (and Austrian) children.

  • These ghoulish tales are standard bed stories for 4-5 year old German (and Austrian) children.

    Not that different to British tales really. I was raised on Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes.

    At rifle-practice on the sands at Deal,
    I fired at what I took to be a seal.
    When later on I learnt ’twas sister Florrie
    And that I’d shot her, I was very sorry.
    But still it gratified me just a trifle
    To find myself so expert with a rifle,
    For, with so large a target as my sister,
    I should have been a duffer if I’d missed her.

    and…

    When Baby’s cries grew hard to bear
    I popped him in the Frigidaire.
    I never would have done so if
    I’d known that he’d be frozen stiff.
    My wife said: “George, I’m so unhappe!
    Our darling’s now completely frappe.”

  • Jacob

    The Brothers Grimm were 19th Century collectors of German folklore.

    “Twentieth-century educators debated the value and influence of teaching stories that include brutality and violence, causing some of the more gruesome details to be sanitized.[45]”

  • Jacob

    Perry – cultural influences… have you checked to origin of these verses? Maybe you imported from Germany more than a royal family.

  • Ruthless Rhymes were written by Harry Graham and taps into a long English tradition of dark humour 😉

  • PeterT

    “Twentieth-century educators debated the value and influence of teaching stories that include brutality and violence, causing some of the more gruesome details to be sanitized.[45]”

    In one of the stories I read to my daughters the three little pigs all survive. Well they would if I stuck to the script. In my version they get eaten noisily, and the last scene of the three little pigs dancing is easily explained as being the surviving pig with his two ghost brothers.

  • Quite right too Peter, you are obviously a sound man 😆 I have been told there is even a version where the wise third pig survives because he keeps a Kalashnikov under his bed just in case any Lupine Huffer Puffers tried to shake him down.

    And of course there are other edifying children’s tales I strongly recommend to make certain your sprogs do not grow up to be timid snowflakes…

  • Jacob

    But… it’s the thieving bastard raven that is shanked, not small Haensel.