Monday, April 23, 2007

On Celebrating Treason

Watching the documentary on Sherman’s March on the history channel the other day got me to thinking about a problem we have in this country. That problem is the continued celebration of the legacy of the Confederacy. They look back on the Confederacy with nostalgia and claim to celebrate its legacy of honor. In reality, the true legacy of the Confederacy is treason, lawlessness, and racial inequality/persecution.

It is quite ironic the type of people who celebrate the Confederacy. These people today are quick to point the finger at those who criticize our government and call us traitors. At the same time they are celebrating the Confederacy, a mass treason by the South against our United States government.

They decry any attempt to remove the Confederate battle flag from certain Southern capital buildings, claiming discrimination and their right to celebrate the legacy. This is ironic since the legacy of the South is that of discrimination against African Americans: first in bondage, and then as second class citizens. Is this a legacy that we really want our country to be celebrating?

Also they claim to celebrate the honor of the Confederate troops and bravery on the battlefield against overwhelming odds. After the defeat in the war, this is what took over and the claim that they could not win against the overwhelming industrial strength and population of the North. Actually, if that is true I just call it stupid. One doesn’t go into a fight knowing one is going to lose unless they have absolutely no choice. The South had a choice, and it chose treason in order to protect its immoral institution.

Please, no one give me the states right argument. That is, for those unfamiliar with the subject, that the South did not secede to protect slavery but to protect states rights over federal authority. That was pure rhetoric, total crap, and only applied for the Southern states since they had no problem imposing their will on the Northern states. What was that will that was imposed? That would be the Fugitive Slave Law, which in effect forced all citizens in the North to become slave police. If they helped an escaped slave or did not participate in capturing an escaped slave they could be punished by fines and/or jail time. This is what broke the back, this is why abolitionism took hold, because the South was not intent on leaving things alone, they had to force an otherwise complacent Northern population, typically not effected or exposed to slavery, and made them part of the system.

As for Sherman’s March, and the bitterness still in the South, and the complaints what is the viewpoint of these people who continue to celebrate the Confederacy on our current farce in Iraq? Or our continuing miffed stance towards Iran? They are conservative so likely there are those among their ranks who have advocated using nuclear weapons against Iran and Iraq and their populations. Of course this would have no correlation, according to them, to the suffering of their ancestors due to Sherman’s March since they were all innocent and over in the Middle East they are all only Muslim terrorists who we must destroy to protect our country.

I could go on and on with this, but I think my point has been made. These same people who deride government critics as treasonous themselves celebrate treason when they celebrate the Confederacy. They celebrate slavery and racial injustice when they celebrate the Confederacy. They celebrate the death of over 600,000 men on both sides during that war just so they could keep fellow humans in bondage. Celebrating the Confederacy is not a celebration of honor and bravery; it is a celebration of treason, death, and racism.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Are Republicans/the right-wing Comparable to Nazis?

I’ve been thinking about this post ever since I wrote the post about the differences between Communism and Fascism. There is inherently a danger in asking such a question, because at this point the Republican administration and regime have not committed anywhere near the atrocities of the Nazi regime. However, asking the question and making the comparison is legitimate since the right consistently calls the left communist.
Of course, I’m waiting for the right to scream in unison ‘Godwin’s Law!’, but they have through their words forfeited that protection. We on the left have tolerated being called communists by the right for a long time because frankly, how can one respond to such uneducated and infantile accusations? The right of course has taken it a step further and begun to call us fascists and Nazis. In his book, Tom Delay (or more accurately, his ghost writer) compares his struggle against the accusations against him a big lie comparable to the tactic used by Hitler. I could go on about how Republicans consistently get their history wrong, but it is more important I think to show them how they are wrong in labeling the left as Nazis/fascists/Hitler. In fact it is my hope that by pointing out the similarities between Republican ideology and policy and that of Nazis, the entire back and forth over who is a fascist and who is a communist will end. I won’t hold my breath though.
Without further rambling, the comparison:

Ultra-nationalism and superiority: Nazi ideology was obsessed with the position of its country. Their country was superior to all others and all citizens must support the country, any criticism of Germany was anti-Germanic and in fact treason. On the right in America one often hears how the left is un-American for criticizing the actions and policies of this country. The religion of the right is loyalty to the nation, and any words that disagree with that are blasphemy.

Obsession with the Military: Nazi ideology placed prime importance in military renewal and dominance. Defense spending came first, and every Nazi political leader made sure they wore military paraphernalia. The American right is similarly obsessed with the military, decrying any attempts to cut the bloated defense budget. Also, Bush has used the military as a political prop, and even showed up in a fighter pilots uniform for his mission accomplished speech.

‘Traditional Family Values’: Nazi ideology placed great importance on traditional family values, which would place the woman in the home and make it her duty to produce more German babies. The right in America has decried the fact that the birthrate in this country has gone so low and often blame the independence of woman for that. They would like nothing more than to have women back in the home.

Racism: Nazi ideology proclaimed that theirs was the dominant race, that of the Aryan folk, and that it was being diluted by lesser races and therefore those races had to be excluded and the German people cleansed. In America, the anti-immigration right uses similar terminology, claiming that our country is of Anglo-Saxon decent and that by allowing all these Mexicans in we are diluting our culture. They also comment on how Hispanics are out breeding whites and that is another reason why they support Traditional Family Values, because they are afraid that Hispanic immigrants are going to come here in droves, out breed us and take over. One also needs to believe that their own race is superior to another in order to view the other race as a threat to their existence.

Obsession with Security: This extends to both economic and physical security, and overlaps with many other points. The Nazis used the Jews and blamed them for many of the problems facing Germany. The Jews control all the money they said, and thus keeping the true German down. The Jews were part of the international secular communist conspiracy they said. Now we have the Muslims to be fearful of. The right here thinks all Muslims are terrorists and detrimental to the security of this nation and many, such as uber-ignoramus Michelle Malkin, believe all Muslims should be rounded up and put in camps for our own security. Now there is a slippery slope. After that we can round up all Mexicans, because they are a danger to our jobs. I’m also willing to bet that people like Malkin would have no problem having all liberals rounded up and put in camps also since we are a danger to their ‘reality’.

Extra-legal prison camps: As everyone knows (except for idiotic/racist holocaust deniers) there are two basic categories for the concentration camps of Nazi Germany: death camps and prison/work camps (where people still died, but were not killed outright). The prison/work camps were questionably legal, but were less detrimental to public support in Germany. All the death camps which applied murder on a factory/mass production scale were outside of Germany. All prisoners who were to be exterminated were taken outside Germany since technically German law did not apply there and it could be done out of the sight of the German people. Similarly, the United States has Gitmo where it can hold prisoners labeled ‘enemy combatants’ indefinitely, whether or not they are US citizens, the citizens of an allied country or citizens of an enemy country. Also, torture is used as an interrogation technique at secret CIA bases around the world, away from public scrutiny and away from US legal jurisdiction.

Need for a single, powerful leader: The Nazis in their campaign leading up to the seizure of power in 1933, claimed that a single powerful leader was what would pick the country up and that all the different groups only led to bickering and the floundering of the country. Same with the American right, they have put all their faith in Bush as their president and the only power of this country such is seen by how the republican congress just rolled over for this administration. They also decry any opinion contrary to their own as supporting the terrorists, supporting the enemy and making us look weak.

Pure Capitalism: Nazi ideology supported the role of business and the free market over the rights of the individual worker and consumer. Regulation was near nonexistent and Unions were illegal. In fact, before the Nazis came to power, businesses had come into the habit of hiring Nazis and firing their other workers because Nazis would not join a Union. The right in America has come to believe a total free market without regulation is what is needed, and that Unions are dangerous. In many cases different groups that do not trust Unions have been hired by businesses to undermine Unions. Also, businesses will close down rather than accept unionization which Wal-Mart has done in some instances. The laws on the books since the Reagan administration have taken a pro-business stance and an anti-worker one, thus limiting the rights of unions and often leading to their destruction.

There are many more points I could probably go through, but I think if anyone has gotten this far in the post, they get the idea by now. Fascism/Nazism is a right wing ideology, so stop labeling the left as fascist. Now I must also state that the right when it is moderate has very noble ideas. However, the right in this country and the Republican Party are dangerously far to the right. They have gone so far right that, I think, they put a greater value on security and money, than they do on humanity and life. That in itself is a threat to our country and the planet.