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« The DVD Release | Main | Philadelphia Doppelgänger »

March 15, 2007

Steven on Leni

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

For film and art buffs, the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, who died in 2003 at the age of 101, is a scab that it's hard to stop picking at. How to sum her up? If you care about beauty, it's impossible to deny her filmmaking ambition, talent, and achievements. If you care about cultural history, there's no getting around her importance and her influence. (Present-day sports and political iconography both owe a lot to her work.) Yet, if you care about humanity, how can you not be horrified by someone who made gloriously beautiful Nazi propaganda films?

What kind of responsibility should she be made to bear? How harsh and relentless does our condemnation of her need to be? She was anything but a thinker; she didn't create Nazi ideology. She didn't run death camps either; she made films. She was one of the Third Reich's decorators and salesmen, in other words, not one of its trigger-pullers or financiers.

Dreadful as her actions were, how hard do we owe it to ourselves to come down on such figures? And, among all the people who did aesthetic work for the Nazis, what's special about her? After all, if we're to spend many decades and many heavythink volumes exploring and condemning Leni, don't we owe it to ourselves to make similar efforts to denounce Hitler's favorite graphic designer, whoever that was? Where's that person's biography? Why isn't he/she debated-over repeatedly in the NYRB?

As far as I've been able to tell, Riefenstahl was a talented, sexy, and narcissistic opportunist. She certainly appears to have been completely unprincipled -- something that, in my experience, makes her anything but unique among artists. But if it's true that her only real devotion was to herself, then it would follow that her attachment to Naziism was opportunistic, and not deeply-held. Could this have been the case?

I wonder. Had she come of age in a different environment, perhaps she'd have made Communist films, or Catholic films, or Hollywood action-adventure films; perhaps she'd have done whatever it took to get to the top of those worlds too. So: Was Leni Riefenstahl really evil? Or was she an ambitious, self-regarding, talented idiot who happened to do her striving in the world the Nazis made? Perhaps the inner Leni Riefenstahl was no more (or less) evil than Madonna.

But perhaps not. There's something unavoidably peculiar about the way Riefenstahl's love of dynamism, animal spirits, and physical beauty jibed with Nazi creeds. And cozying up to Hitler ... Not appetizing, to say the least.

All the above statements seem to me to be true, and (in my view, anyway) none of them cancels the others out. Is there any one easy statement that can be made about such a person? I mean, besides "Fascinating! Horrifying!"

Although I'm glad to see that the subtle and intelligent Steven Bach has just published a biography of Riefenstahl, Richard Schickel's review of the book makes me feel a little wary nonetheless. (Link thanks to Arts and Letters Daily.) Can Bach's biography really be as one-note, stern, and moralistic as Schickel makes it out to be?

I've always found Bach (who's best-known for "Final Cut," an account of the "Heaven's Gate" fiasco) to be an unusually canny and insightful writer. So maybe I'm reacting to Schickel instead. I often find him a ponderous drag, overeager to render final judgement, and all-too-happy to play Big Daddy. In Schickel's view, it can seem that every artist is, finally, a moral failure. He seems incapable of playing with the idea that maybe artists, or at least many artists, need a streak of amorality in order to be creative. Is opportunism always and everywhere a bad thing? If so, then there goes much of the entertainment I like best. Plus, I often find art that doesn't contain a playful and irresponsible element unappealing.

Still, maybe Bach himself felt the need to drop (and then drop, and drop again) the moral hammer. Perhaps that's what encountering the realities of Riefenstahl's life would bring out of any sensible person. In this interview, he confesses that he was appalled by Riefenstahl, her actions, and her story, and that he was relieved to be done with the biography. Sigh. Leni clearly deserves moral condemnation. No argument about that. Still, a biography that does little but pass along information and reaffirm moral condemnation doesn't intrigue me as a reader.

I see that Jurgen Trimborn has also just published a bio of Riefenstahl. I wonder what his take on her is. A short blogposting I wrote about Leni on the occasion of her 100th birthday can be read here. The Leni Riefenstahl website is here. Those intrigued by the Leni thang but who don't have the patience or time for a long book-bio should enjoy this excellent documentary about her.

Best,

Michael

UPDATE: Hadleyblog's Drew has put a lot of searching and well-worth-checking-out thought into the Leni phenomenon. Great line: "The closer we get to her work, the more we edge away from it."


posted by Michael at March 15, 2007




Comments

Albert Speer has gotten a lot of attention over the years. However, he was much more involved in the actual business of the Nazis.

Posted by: Rtother on March 15, 2007 5:43 PM



Here's all you'll ever need to know about Nazi aesthetics...

http://tinyurl.com/22uvym

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on March 15, 2007 6:32 PM



Just as good Germans like Leni Riefenstahl had the right to live long comfortable lives after the defeat of Nazi Germany and never issue one word of apology or even doubt about the project in which they played their part, I have the right to hate their fucking guts.

Posted by: ricpic on March 15, 2007 7:02 PM



Any rational moral condemnation of anyone who supported or empowered Nazism or racism has to include Communism as well. There is no way at all to conclude that either of these ideologies is more murderous than the other. And you could throw in the Jacobins for free, too - and how about Napoleon?

But if you apply this test you wind up throwing out 3/4 of the writers and artists of the last two centuries. If this had a point, it's not really clear what it would be. So why do we still need to perform these ritual kowtows to anti-Nazi McCarthyism? Carleton Putnam is interesting reading, too...

Charlton, thanks for that link - I'm always looking to add to my Hitler Studies shelf, appall though it does my girlfriend...

Posted by: Mencius on March 15, 2007 7:19 PM



"Perhaps inside Leni Riefenstahl was no more (or less) evil than Madonna"

-- "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Posted by: ASB on March 15, 2007 7:21 PM



Michael:

I agree completely with your take on Leni. I find it quite amusing that Schickel practically froths at the mouth about her "blind ambition" and how an artist's art and politics should not be seperated when he himself wrote a biography of Elia Kazan that embraced Kazan's dishonest justification for his friendly testimony before HUAC. He is also demonstrably wrong when he says that her two most famous films visually codify the Nazi aesthetic when "Olympiad" celebrates Jesse Owens, who Hitler refused to shake hands with.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on March 15, 2007 9:24 PM



If you were to throw out every artist that shilled for Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Che Guevarra, Castro, and now Chavez, you'd probably have cut out ninety percent of Hollywood.

Curiously enough, no one mentions how many of Big Media's elites were at one point in their youths fanatical apologists for genocide and tyranny.

If some rich kid becomes a Communist, it's forgiven. If a poor kid becomes a neo-Nazi, it's not.

Posted by: secret asian man on March 16, 2007 12:14 AM



RTother -- Speer seems to be the main equivalent to Leni where Nazis are concerned, doesn't he? I confess that I don't know the Speer literature the way that I do the Leni lit. Have arguments raged back and forth about whether he was really a Nazi, and whether his art was more important than the ideology he served, etc?

Charlton -- I've really got to read that, tks.

Ricpic -- Hear hear to that.

Mencius -- Well put. One of the basic things that seldom gets said about artists is that, except as artists, they usually don't have a lot on their minds, and that they're usually no better or worse politically/morally than anyone else. Generally, they're talented people who want to put their talents to work, make money at it, and win some acclaim. And that's about it. So they generally wind up serving (in some way or other) whatever power structure is around and responsive -- Renaissance Medici Catholicism ... Present-day globalism ... PBS ... As people, they generally aren't deep thinkers, they generally aren't morally remarkable, and they generally don't know anything the rest of us don't know. Why do we expect them to be better, or more heroic, than anyone else? Just because they can write/paint/make films? Or because profs and critics and journalists have made them out to be something other than what they are?

ASB -- That's one that deserves repeating.

Peter L. -- Schickel's an odd one, isn't he? He's smart, writes well ... I've seen a TV documentary or two that he's written that were good. Yet that eagerness of his to sum up and pass judgment ... I find it so weird. Years ago I read his D.W. Griffith bio and was appalled. Good facts, OK writing, etc. But his whole point was "D.W. Griffith was a failure." Sheesh, I thought, that's pretty harsh. If D.W. Griffith was a failure, what are the rest of us?

Secret Asian Man -- "If some rich kid becomes a Communist, it's forgiven. If a poor kid becomes a neo-Nazi, it's not." That's a great line!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 16, 2007 1:05 AM



Michael,
Most of the time I appreciate you diplomatic tone and delicate understatement, but this post is a notable exception -- the usual delicate phrasings and commitment comes, in this context, frighteningly (for my tastes) close to a Nazi apologetic. If Riefenstahl should merely be judged as a product of her time (no worse than Madonna but a product of different circumstance), oughtn't this same reasoning apply to the trigger-men and financiers themselves. I cannot agree that people be evaluated not by what they actual do, but by their potential-for generating-interesting-fodder-for-thought.

I'm particular puzzled by this: "after all, if we're to spend many decades and many heavythink volumes exploring and condemning Leni, don't we owe it to ourselves to make similar efforts to denounce Hitler's favorite graphic designer, whoever that was? Where's that person's biography?"
What is it you're trying to express? Perhaps we haven't punished and exposed the graphic designer quite enough ...

My own view is that talented artists have demonstrated in (at least one context) superb ability to perceive and sound judgment. So its fair to expect more and hold them responsible for lapses of judgment in other contexts. It strikes me how rare the gifted are and it makes me angry when they chose to spend their gifts for antisocial purpose.

At bottom, I think I agree with a variation on the point you are making: a person may be wretched but we are still able to consider their biographic sketch and the merits of their work seperately from their wretchedness. My other-half recently mentioned that she found something appealing about Dick Cheney ... a man who could credibly be called evil, but posses the virtues of mental nimbleness and has the remarkable ability to stay at or near the center of the White house for a great length of time. Not all of John Yoo's legal scholarship is uninteresting because he once wrote memos supporting torture of individuals, not all Nazi Germany politics should be fenced off in the world of Nazi politics and never considered as part of our political science. The aesthete notes and appreciates excellence and excellence is praise worthy. The trouble is (and why artists and critics are so often labeled immoral) that the inquiry about a person and how we judge them is not just about their excellence ... it's an evaluation of their actions.

Finally, I can understand not wanting to look past the moral judgment of a person. I would not want to have dinner with Riefenstahl despite her genius. Some actions are so strong that they define what a person is. Allegiance to the Nazi party is one such action; a gruesome murder is also a fair example. It strikes me as fair for a person to not want to look past (what would there be to look for) and for that person to view trying to look past that as itself wrong.

Posted by: JoeyAntitrust on March 16, 2007 1:12 AM



JoeyAntitrust (good name) -- I actually think we largely agree here, so I may simply not have been clear enough. I'm not arguing that Leni wasn't a Nazi, or that she deserves to be excused, or that her art achievements mean that we should overlook her Nazi-iness. Various people over the years have actually made all those arguments, and I think they're all silly, or blind, or both. Leni's actions in support of the Reich (and her judgment, god knows) demand condemnation.

That said, many other things about Leni are true too: talented, influential, and not a trigger-puller. And probably a fascinatingly bizarre and self-enraptured personality too. My beef with Shickel isn't that he's wrong in his judgment of her, he clearly isn't. It's that he has very little else of interest to say about her. Once done condemning her, he has nothing else to add. Boring.

I'm hoping Steven Bach, despite his aversion to Leni, came up with some interesting and insightful passages about her in his book. But it's gotta be tough, don't you think, writing a bio of someone you really dislike? As all actors know, sympathy of *some* kind is generally needed if insight is to be arrived at. The useful cliche is that you can't play Hitler convincingly if you can't find some way of seeing the world from his point of view. And if you can't get yourself to see the world from his point of view, then you should decline the opportunity to play him. Likewise, a biographer probably can't really portray someone convincingly if he can't find his way somehow into his/her brain and feelings. Which becomes a challenge if your moral aversion to the person is super-strong.

Anyway, my point really is that Leni, horrifying though she was and her actions were, was fascinating as a person and a phenomenon. And saying "Bad girl!" and leaving it at that doesn't do much for readers -- or for history, really. Apologies if I could have made that clearer, and thanks for joining in, as well as for getting me to clarify my meaning.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 16, 2007 1:48 AM



Things that are obvious to us now weren't necessarily obvious to people at the time. There's an anecdote about the then-famous poet Gottfried Benn. Apparently on the day of Hitler's accession to power he went to visit his friend Hannah Arendt to celebrate the good news - "A new, glorious day for Germany!" and so on - and couldn't understand why she was so depressed. Gee, do you think it could have something to do with her being Jewish? (To be fair, Benn did turn against the Nazis later.)

So I can imagine Leni as being less than a monster, even if she was hobnobbing with the leadership and ought to have understood more than she did.

Posted by: Intellectual Pariah on March 16, 2007 8:49 AM



Michael:

I'm currently a few chapters into Jurgen Trimborn's biography & while Trimborn acknowledges her talents, he also clearly doesn't like Riefenstahl at all.

The book so far is largely an attempt to debunk the claims that Riefenstahl made about her career & the extent of her involvement in the regime (e.g., a typical entry discusses how in her autobiography Riefenstahl claims that say, she was forced to participate in a particular project. Trimborn then demonstrates through the use of letters, government documents, etc. that these claims are fabrications).

There's also a lot of nitpicking at Riefenstahl's mythmaking about herself (e.g. she claims that her first film was a wild success, he produces film reviews from that year that show the reception was mixed; she claims the inspiration for a particular script came to her in dream, he shows it was a bit less poetic than that).

Overall, it's not a bad read, well-researched, & a useful corrective if like me, most of what you know about Riefenstahl came from her autobiography or the documentary "The Wonderful, Horrible Life..." - that is, projects where she was able to control what was said about her.

However, whatever insights into Riefenstahl I've gleaned so far (& to be fair, I'm not even halfway through), have come from Riefenstahl herself, from the letters she wrote that Trimborn reprints, from the types of myths she created about herself, or the quotes he includes from the people who knew her. Her "fascinatingly bizarre and self-enraptured personality" (that's exactly right) comes through loud & clear, but not due to any special insights of the biographer, who mostly seems slightly appalled by what he's telling us.

Posted by: Tia on March 16, 2007 9:11 AM



If you don't define artists as heroes and moral examples, there's no paradox. There seems to be no essential connection between talent, good judgement, and decency.

Riefensthal's particular problem is that here greatest art was explicitly Nazi. Again, if you don't worship Art there's no paradox here. Art per se is ethically and politically neutral or random, not necessarily a benevolent force.

By contrast, Knut Hamsun was a great novelist who supported the Nazis. But his greatest works were written decades before Hitler took power and have no fascist themes, so you don't have to think about his politics.

Both conservatives and leftists try to make works of art primarily into political statements. In reaction, purists claim that politics is entirely irrelevant to Art, which is stupid if you look at Brecht or Milton or Havel or hundreds of others.

One problem is the interpretation of art through canned politics (critical theory, Christian humanism, whatever). Another is the idea that art actually doesn't amount to much until it's given a responsible, orthodox, flat, non-fiction interpretation.

Posted by: John Emerson on March 16, 2007 9:24 AM



At the end of the day, I do think you have to hold Leni accountable. Saying she never paid much attention to the actual message of the Nazis, just in selling and glamorizing it, really doesn't wash. If I made a beautiful film recording the Ku Klux Klan and was sympathetic to their plight---a film about how "misunderstood" they are---I don't think it's "beauty" would be the first thing discussed, or ever discussed. Leni made Hitler "palatable" to the Germans and helped them look the other way, and for that, she is a "murderer", not a "talented filmmaker." Goebbels is a "bad guy" with his propaganda machine---so is she.

Posted by: annette on March 16, 2007 10:36 AM



Part of the problem here is that we have at least partially cheapened our vocabulary with regard to radical evil by throwing around the accusation too lightly. The constant comparisons of various American politicians to Hitler come to mind. Of course, Clinton was not Hitler, Bush is not Hitler, Cheney is not Hiler, Johnson was not Hitler, and all such accusations do is cause people to think (subconsiously)"well, if Hitler was like Bush, Clinton, Johnson, etc, he must not have been THAT bad...". Serving a Hitler of Stalin or Mao requires an explanation in a way that serving a Clinton or Cheney or Johnson does not, and as far as I know, LR never gave one, so she is off my menu, her great talent notwithstanding.

Posted by: tschafer on March 16, 2007 10:44 AM



Michael,

Excellent post, and excellent comments from everyone as well. I wrote about Riefenstahl last year as part of a larger discussion regarding morality and art, as to the question of whether or not the morality of the artist could be separated from the art itself, or if it was a package deal.

At the blog I contribute to we've been having this discussion extensively - the role of morality, politics, and other factors of art and the artist, including a roundtable discussion last week. It's a fascinating topic, and I always enjoy being able to get other people's takes on it.

And I think Secret Asian Man's absolutely spot-on - how different things might have been if she were a Communist instead of a Nazi. Do you think people would be nearly as embarrassed to admit their admiration of her work?

Drew

Posted by: Drew on March 16, 2007 10:51 AM



Intellectual Pariah -- Circumstances count for a lot. God knows how any of us would perform if America went evil. Who'd prove heroic? Who would acquiesce? Who would forge ahead within the new system despite its evil? I confess that I sometimes have this fantasy ... What if, in 30 years, life has moved on and people looking back at the US in 2007 have decided that it was evil? Should that happen, we all -- all of us today, just going about our everyday lives -- would be seen as conspirators in evil. Is there any absolute guarantee this won't happen?

Tia -- Thanks for the bulletin! It'd be fun to have the time and space to look into the Leni thing exhaustively, wouldn't it? Interesting too that most of the insights come from Leni. When it comes to narcissistic monsters, I think normal-range people often find themselves with little to say. We're baffled by 'em. Can it really, every single thing, be all about themselves? How is that possible? Yet it seems to be. So maybe there is no way for a normal-range person to have much of insight to say about narcissistic creatures, and maybe there really is nothing a biographer can do with 'em but line up the facts.

John -- Agreed: There are many problems with the ways people routinely look at art. I'm puzzled by the determination of many to either worship art or to want to believe artists are somehow heroes or moral marvels. Are Americans particularly prone to this delusion? I suspect we are, credulous rubes that we tend to be. Americans seem to have trouble with the idea that an involvement with art might be rewarding even if there aren't a ton of positive moral lessons to draw from it. But I'd love to know more about the history of this tendency.

Annette - Agreed, most definitely. Leni did what she did, and there's no getting around it. Actions count.

Tschafer -- We do tend to hyperbolize things a lot, don't we? And that does tend to cheapen our perceptions. If Bush is Hitler, well then, what was Hitler? We don't seem to do well these days at keeping things in perspective. Perspective seems to be becoming a thing of the past. Maybe it's just not exciting enough for contempo tastes ... I kinda miss it myself.

Drew -- Excellent posting, tks.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 16, 2007 11:18 AM



The case of a communist fellow traveler in the West and someone like Leni Riefehstahl are totally different, and the fact that one would even compare them shows a moral blind spot.

First, the proper comparison with Riefenstahl would not be to a Western sympathizer with Communist Russia, but someone in the upper reaches of the Stalinist arts bureaucracy during the 30s, while the purges were going on. In other words, someone on the inside and aware of a murderous system.

There were numerous Americans, much like some posters here I imagine, who sympathized with Hitler during the 30s because he was anti-Communist and supposedly a lesser evil, while being unaware of his full intentions. Types like that would be the right comparison with pro-Communist fellow travelers.

Second, Nazism is in the end worse than Communism. In its German version, Nazism was dedicated completely to destruction and extermination of racial inferiors, it is an ideology of hatred. Communism at least has humanitarian intentions which one could be in sympathy with, while not being fully aware of how Stalin was to implement it. What is there in Nazism that would even fool anyone? The hate is right there on the surface.

I have somewhat more sympathy with pro-Facist artists and intellectuals who supported Mussolini than with Nazis. I think they're a better comparison to pro-Communist types. Mussolini was a thug, a brute, and a dictator, but he was not exterminationist.

Posted by: MQ on March 16, 2007 11:52 AM



Oh, also -- "Mephisto" is a terrific movie about precisely this theme, an artist caught up in the rise of the Nazis who has moral choices to make. It's based on the true story of a famous stage actor who became a Nazi favorite. Excellent movie, fantastic central performance by Klaus Maria Brandauer.

If you are interested in the themes discussed in this post, I really can't recommend that movie highly enough -- it is exactly "on point", as they say.

Posted by: MQ on March 16, 2007 11:55 AM



Several years ago I watched Triumph of the Will. Its a great film, but I also very depressing: if you can whitewash that you can whitewash anything. So, I don't think I'll ever watch it again.

I think John Emerson is on to something. We don't expect beautiful women to necessarily be good people, so why should we expect it of artists. Bad character doesn't make the women any less beautiful though, or the artists less talented, and we shouldn't be afraid to admit it.

Posted by: Thursday on March 16, 2007 11:59 AM



Michael,

If you define a "democracy" as a form of government in which sovereignty is legitimized by popularity, all the Western 20th-century regimes were democracies - their mutual loathing notwithstanding. For such a state the management of public opinion is essential, and all such states have practiced it.

The fact that the liberal democracies which won the wars, and which rule the world today, can allow free elections and do not (in general) use violence against heretics and apostates, is a measure both of the superiority of the (classical) liberal system of government, which they have preserved albeit in a somewhat decayed form, and of their mastery of this art. Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion is essential reading for anyone interested in the subject.

In general, Western governments manage public opinion not by sending racists, libertarians, fascists and fundamentalists (ie, dissidents) to treatment centers in Alaska, but by subsidizing a large and comprehensive system of official and quasi-official education and publishing that inculcates appropriate thinking from cradle to grave.

This educational system is increasingly important and powerful in Western society. It dictates an increasingly narrow range of "acceptable" policies which the political system, which is increasingly symbolic and meaningless, must live within. And it assigns the social status of individuals in a way that resembles nothing so much as Peter the Great's Table of Ranks. Once a Harvard man, always a Harvard man. (Or Brown and Berkeley, in my case.)

In other words, a democracy is a society ruled by scholars, just as a monarchy is ruled by soldiers or a plutocracy by merchants. Since there is no objective difference between a scholar and a priest, of course, you can look at it that way as well.

(In Freda Utley's wonderful autobiography she has a bit where she is talking about her friendship with Bertrand Russell, and she notes that Russell, whose background was by no means proletarian, always said "we" rather than "they" when referring to the government. This is the best test for a ruling class that I've come across yet, and applying it to the present day is not hard.)

In this form of government, of which large-scale mind control is an inalienable element (this is why I always wear my tinfoil hat, even in the shower), the political opinions of artists are not and cannot be irrelevant. Artists whose views favor the center of power (which is not George W. Bush, but the universities, press and civil service) will always be rewarded. Those who oppose it, even if they don't actually have to work all day in the uranium mines with an hour or two of diversity training in the evening, will find it very difficult to get anywhere.

It is inevitable that most artists will succumb to this temptation. Most do not even realize it's a temptation. So I can't blame Leni Riefenstahl for being a Nazi, any more than I can blame Robert Pinsky for going on NPR or Frank Capra for shilling for FDR. Politics certainly did not improve any of their art, but nor did it eliminate or suffocate it, as it did for numerous minor figures who are now justly unremembered.

Posted by: Mencius on March 16, 2007 12:22 PM



MQ loses me at this second to last paragraph, although he does repeat a standard cliche. In reality, Communism and Naizm are basically the same -- a fulfillment of the charismatic leader's will to power.

The big difference between Hilter and Stalin is PR. Both were mass exterminators, except that while Hilter was a provincial boor, Stalin knew how to charm Americans with words like "international friendship", "brotherhood" etc.

Posted by: PA on March 16, 2007 12:31 PM



MQ,

I have to take very strong exception to your views.

Prewar Nazi Germany was in no way comparable to Stalinist Russia, or even East Germany. As Simon Wiesenthal once put it, "The Stasi was much worse than the Gestapo, if you consider only the oppression of its own people." I think the Stasi at its height had almost two orders of magnitude more employees than the Gestapo.

And the gap between East Germany and high Stalinism is really just as wide. Nothing at all like the cannibalistic insanity of the Stalinist purges happened under Ulbricht, Honecker, etc.

Again before the war, the Nazi state was extraordinarily popular with its citizens. In Richard Evans' recent history of the Third Reich, he quotes extensively from dispatches from the exiled Social Democratic leadership. Around 1938 they were admitting that opposition to the Nazis essentially no longer existed, much as opposition to the New Deal no longer exists in our society.

Remember that the Holocaust was a military secret. It is inextricably bound up with the history of WWII. It is best understood as a war crime. It is very difficult to imagine anything similar happening in a peacetime Third Reich.

Supporting the Nazis in the 1930s meant that you wanted to expel the Jews from Germany, not that you wanted to murder them. If you look at how you feel about, say, the whites of Kenya and Rhodesia, you can perhaps find a rough approximation to the same sentiment. It is very hard to find anyone these days who has not given some kind of moral support to some species of totalitarian nativism.

It is ridiculous to say that the Communists had "good intentions" whereas the Nazis were somehow intrinsically evil. In fact, both movements were entirely sincere in their beliefs, and both were purveyors of hatred on a massive scale. There is no contradiction at all in these statements. Why is it somehow worse to hate someone because of their race, than because of any other accident of birth - such as class origin?

I am not a Nazi. In fact, my father is Jewish, and his father fought in the Battle of the Bulge. But only by understanding these "totalitarian democracies" (in Jacob Talmon's phrase) as proper parts of history can we defend ourselves against them. Exceptionalizing the Nazis promotes a fiction which is not, in any way, shape or form, useful to anyone.

Posted by: Mencius on March 16, 2007 12:43 PM



How much does the standard defense that she was just doing her job apply here? Lawyers who defend child rapists/killers are not demonized in society. At what point does "cozying up" to the subject matter of the piece of art/trade cause an indelible stain?

My opinion is that her films should not be a reason for hating her. However, if she had indeed freely used concentration camp labor and if she, out of personal conviction, was an avid adherent of Nazi ideology, then she deserves to be hated for it.

Posted by: JM on March 16, 2007 2:01 PM



What Mencius said.

Further, if it's reasonable to demonize Riefenstahl for Triumph des Willens (I think it is), why is it not also reasonable to demonize Warren Beatty for Reds? After all, Beatty had decades of information about the evils of the Communists. By the late 1970s (when he was presumably writing the script), the Ukrainian genocide was well known, the Kulak genocide was well known, the various purges of the Soviet military were common knowledge, and Communist treatment of the Jews in the USSR was both well known and a regular topic of conversation (The Gulag Archipelago was published in 1973).

Soviet hagiography in the late 1970s was arguably even less defensible than Nazi hagiography in the mid 1930s.

I note with considerable dismay, however, that Warren Beatty is still considered a respectable member of Hollywood society.

(Note that I only use Beatty as an example; he was certainly not alone in his propagandizing for evil.)

Posted by: Doug Sundseth on March 16, 2007 2:33 PM



The difference is that socialism enraptured a lot of the lefties who make movies. But you knew that.

Leni Riefenstahl vs Warren Beatty. Interesting comparison. I think the thing is that Riefenstahl was actually associated with the Nazi power structure, whereas Beatty was part of the American Left, even then in decline. He wasn't involved with the purges, etc.

I don't think it incredible that people could say the America of 2007 is evil and we were wrong to be part of it. Global warming? If it turns out to be as bad as they say, future generations are really going to hate our guts. And the Iraq war is not going to make us look good. Of course, I'm a liberal, so I invite some conservative to come up with a similar example. (Mass abortions?) Just as the whole series of complaints about how all the Germans could go along with all those awful things--well, would you criticize Hitler in Nazi Germany? Really? Criticizing Bush or Clinton doesn't count--we have norms about freedom of speech. The reason the US isn't Nazi Germany and our Japanese interment camps didn't turn into death camps has more to do with the culture we've evolved over a few hundred years than anything else, and it could change.

Posted by: SFG on March 16, 2007 6:52 PM



It is best understood as a war crime. It is very difficult to imagine anything similar happening in a peacetime Third Reich. Have you ever read Remarque or Heinrich Boll?

And then, Supporting the Nazis in the 1930s meant that you wanted to expel the Jews from Germany, not that you wanted to murder them. If you look at how you feel about, say, the whites of Kenya and Rhodesia, you can perhaps find a rough approximation to the same sentiment.

I can't believe my eyes, Mencius.

Are you saying the whites of Kenya and Rhodesia somehow deserved their treatment by the black majorities of these countries? And then the Jews of Germany somehow deserved the treatment by their fellow citizens?

You can nod all you want in direction of your Jewish relatives...Jewish self-hatred is a well-documented thing, I am sorry to say.

Posted by: Tatyana on March 16, 2007 9:37 PM



SFG,

Well, since I am not partial to anti-abortion rhetoric, I think your best example of a future horror story is decolonialization.

This movement, which still enjoys rock-star status in our universities, handed over a couple of billion people, who previously had been led to expect that Europe would bring them the blessings of law and a liberal order, to the loving kindness of any gang that could scrape together three initials two of which were "Liberation" and "Front," and whose nationalist ideologies were, in general, quite indistinguishable from "Blut und Boden." The resulting bloodbath was entirely predictable and many people predicted it. But they were not fashionable, so they have been forgotten.

Watch Africa Addio sometime. (Warning - video link.) If there was a rating system that made any sense, this film would be something like an NC-40. "For live-action executions, barbaric assaults on photogenic large mammals, and helicopter footage of genocide." Nonetheless, it is a cinematic masterpiece and anyone who sees it will remember it forever. Rent the DVD if the low-res Google Video version is inadequate. It really should be seen on the big screen, but fat chance.

Iraq in a way is the repetition of this process as tragic farce, with the time lapse between colonialization and decolonialization set to 0, a murderous, incompetent lie from day one. But the role of Western humanitarians in the road to power of Mao, Castro, Ho, etc, is part of the same process, and will be no less forgotten.

Posted by: Mencius on March 16, 2007 9:44 PM



Eisenstein is a great filmmaker who was also a Communist propogandist. One difference is that Riefensthal's most famous film was focused on Hitler himself and was a real-time part of his propaganda effort. Eisenstein's best films (I've seen Nevsky and Potemkin) were historical and didn't have a lot of specifically Communist or Stalinist content. "Ivan the Terrible" was suppressed beause it was thought to be anti-Stalinist.

Posted by: John Emerson on March 16, 2007 10:19 PM



Tatyana,

Certainly not! I am not saying I hold these views, just that most well-educated Americans do. I'm just trying to point out a pair of historical events which are (very roughly) comparable, and noting that the current consensus view judges them very, very differently. In time, perhaps, this will be rectified.

But I agree: no one should be ethnically cleansed.

However, it strikes me as inarguable that ethnic cleansing is not as bad as mass murder. I would rather be chased out of my home by a screaming mob and forced to leave with only the shirt on my back, than torn to bits by said mob. I think it was Isaac Deutscher who said: "Roots? Trees have roots. Jews have legs."

If in the 1930s the entire planet had not been undergoing an ugly infection of nativist populism, the Jews of Eastern Europe would have suffered the same fate as the Rhodesian whites: mere expulsion. FDR, for example, was not willing to sacrifice even a smidgen of his nearly-absolute auctoritas for them. His wife's famous bleeding heart suffered some sort of temporary coagulation. Even America's German-speaking Jews turned up their noses at the stinky Yiddish masses, so they had to stay and most of them were murdered.

I suspect pretty soon we'll see how this plays out for the Afrikaners. Rumor has it that the US military has a secret plan ("Operation Orange") to rescue them. But have they reckoned with the Congressional Black Caucus? Drama, drama...

Posted by: Mencius on March 17, 2007 1:28 PM



I have a question for those more knowledgeable about Leni Riefenstahl that I.

I note that her pro Nazi films were all in the thirties, with the last, Olympia, being in 1938.

While it seems clear that Riefenstahl was a supporter of the glorification of the Nazis and their program of extreme nationalist pride and perhaps also expansionism – and probably in a least some ways supremacism (the beauty and discipline of the Germanic race and culture and so on), was she truly a supporter of the Holocaust? After all, it didn’t even begin (as distinct from rounding up Communists and others (many of whom were Jewish) and sending them to concentration harsh labor camps, until late 1941 or early 1942. Well, there were lots of Communists and sympathizers (many of whom were Jewish) and sometimes explicitly Jews killed on the eastern front after the invasion of Russia began. Far as I know anyway.

If Riefensahl merely supported early German fascism as a way to renewed or finally triumphant “greatness” of her Germanic peoples – well, that is still mighty politically incorrect by today’s standards in the West, but it falls I’d say falls far short in the horror index of explicitly supporting Stalinism (which many US and Euro leftists did through the 50’s, despite abundant evidence of the massive death atrocities which many of them chose to ignore, disbelieve, minimize or even excuse). In other words, we know NOW (and since the mid 40’s) what supporting 30’s style Nazi Nationalist Socialism lead to.

But was it so clear then?

Again, for all I know Riefensthal may have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Holocaust, full bore. If so, that’s utterly inexcusable. Horrific. Revolting. If so I’d like to know.

What I do rather gather is that she never, or if at all not until much later, said much against. She kept quiet. That’s bad as well. But perhaps somewhat different. There might be a number of reasons.

Posted by: dougjnn on March 17, 2007 3:37 PM



Tatyana said

I can't believe my eyes, Mencius.

Are you saying the whites of Kenya and Rhodesia somehow deserved their treatment by the black majorities of these countries? And then the Jews of Germany somehow deserved the treatment by their fellow citizens?

You can nod all you want in direction of your Jewish relatives...Jewish self-hatred is a well-documented thing, I am sorry to say.

I wrote my post immediately above before reading the Mencius comment you refer to. I find myself largely in agreement with Mencius, assuming Riefensthal didnt end up endorsing the Holocaust once what actually occurred was known to her.

As for the whites of Kenya deserving to be stripped of their land without compensation and booted out of the country, no I dont think thats write or defensible, but most of the lleft does, more or less, including Id guess most intellectuals and a great many Jews. I certainly dont hear much organizing and protesting by Jewish groups of any sort against this process in Kenya.

As for the self hating Jew canard, its beyond tired. Transparent attempt at browbeating someone back into line. Garbage.

And not Tatyana. Im hardly a Jew hater. Im a great admirer, work with all the time, have greatly benefit from, was married to a Jew, and have many friends and so on. But there are a lot of things Jews make taboo under the rubric of anti-Semitism that should be openly, but reasonably, discussed. I bridle at all taboos, flout nearly all of them lots and lots online, and so on. But only in an effort to explore whats true. Not to just shock or be contrary. Not saying I always get things right. Just try to.

Posted by: dougjnn on March 17, 2007 3:57 PM



I?m a great admirer, work with all the time, have greatly benefit from, was married to a Jew,

Ah-hah! Now we know why you're an anti-Semite! ;)

Posted by: SFG on March 17, 2007 7:51 PM



Murray Rothbard, obviously no goy himself, once proposed a good "if and only if" test for anti-Semitism.

The test is: if you favor legal discrimination against Jews, you're an anti-Semite. If you don't, you ain't.

A number of my favorite writers - such as Albert Jay Nock - were excommunicated for anti-Semitism despite passing this test (in Nock's case, quite explicitly).

Imagine, for example, if in 2027 the (Chelsea) Clinton administration rounds up and executes anyone whose lifetime Wal-Mart purchasing record includes any item branded with the Confederate flag. Then in 2034 a commando of ex-Afrikaner mercenaries working for Blackwater launches a coup and restores order, making it possible for a white woman of nubile age to open her front door without air cover, and leading to public rejoicing among all registered genetic citizens. The problem is, your blog archive from the 'teens shows 87 hits for the word "redneck..."

Posted by: Mencius on March 17, 2007 9:29 PM



Whether or not anybody agrees that ethnic cleansing is a bad thing, it is exactly what goes on in multi-racial and multi-ethnic societies. It's almost predictable. The only reason it seems to work in some places is because of a totalitarian government and/or good economic times. Just like Yugoslavia or Iraq, America is one big (financial) crisis away from race wars too, although no one seems to want to deal with it. If you don't think so, look at the ethnic cleansing of blacks by latinos out in L.A. (really, all over the United States) or what happened after Katrina. That's the real America. Most people self segregate by race in America anyway. Even the high and mighty moralists.

The left cheers the ethnic cleansing of whites out of Africa. White leftists are anti-white racists, just like the leftist blacks, latinos, and muslims, who are also anti-white racists. They cheer on the ethnic cleansing of whites from the workforce and media too, especially the men. They are ridiculous hypocrites and racists. It just goes to show you that there is no refuge from human nature on either the right or the left.

Take illegal alien invasion, for example. Does anybody really think that if it were all Swedes, Irish, Germans, or Italians anybody would be raising a fuss? No, very little. But the fact that it is mostly a bunch of dumb mexicans and all the problems they carry along with them is the real nub. Why try to hide it?

Democracies will always vote for self-preservation, and the Germans were no exception. The fact that this is not going on means that we really don't have a democracy in this country. That's another ugly fact that people like to avoid, but its true. We all like to think that somehow if we try hard, and we really get a democracy back, we'll vote for multiculturalism based on merit, etc. But that won't work. The dim races will not do as well as the brighter ones, and there wil be ethnic (race) conflict.

We are on a one-way express to totalitarianism in this country. That's what history tells us. The smoke and mirrors economy we have is not going to hold up much longer, sagging as it is under ridiculous mountains of debt. As our economy shrinks to levels more appropriate to our population and its real output, then the illusions will fall apart. The old lines will return, as people fight to survive in a cut-throat global economy. There will be no money for race bribes. And the unlimited illegal immigration our elites have planned for us to lower our wages to competitive third-world levels will spark either a revolution or martial law. I'm hoping for the first. If we do get a democracy instead of a totalitarian government, with hard times, it will lead to a race conflicts, probably low-grade wars, because of the ensuing tribalism. The result will be ethnic cleansing and race segregation. Am I just a nut? Look at (the former) Yugoslavia. It can happen here too. In fact, its already happening. To all the high and mighty moralists, don't hold yourselves too high above the Germans. I'm sure that when the shit hits the fan, you'll set a fine, high moral example by living in the latino and black neighborhoods, won't you? There's no better example than role-modeling, its there? Who's kidding whom? You'll either be serfs or choosing sides soon enough. Most of us have already made that decision.

You can name-call, shout the word Nazi, and skewer Riefenstahl and the Germans all you want, but you have never faced such unbelievably hard times in multi-racial society where the overwhleming number of problems are caused by one (now two) distinct races. Like I said, I guess we'll all see how it shakes out soon enough. I'll get back to my bunker now. Toodle-loo!

Posted by: BIOH on March 17, 2007 10:07 PM



Before you hide in your bunker, BIOH, can you answer these questions: what "unbelievably hard times "Germans had due to presence of Jews in their society? What were the problems (overwhelming number of, as you said) caused by Jews?

I recall an old thread on this blog, when commenters tried to remember examples of "marginal" people they've met - and by "marginal" they listed such insignificant personal quirks!
What a contrast with present situation. This blog became a magnet for marginals (I'm really, really trying to use neutral words).

Posted by: Tatyana on March 18, 2007 7:31 AM



I'm not sure if I qualify as a "marginal," but I have spent a pretty fair amount of time trying to understand the perspective of the BIOHes of the world - to the point where I sympathize with them about as much as I do with their opponents, the universalist progressives.

I would be happy to try to to explain to BIOH why progressives are progressives and why they believe so fervently in equality, democracy and human rights. But the task seems superfluous. Accidents of military history have already solved the problem. Since BIOH seems, at the very least, literate, it is inconceivable to me that he has not received more lessons in universalism than I could possibly deliver.

But the problem for BIOH is that the role of Jews in pre-Nazi German society bears zero resemblance at all to the role of blacks and Latinos in today's US. In fact if anything the relationship is reversed. Jews - at least, Hochdeutsch-speaking Jews - in Wilhelmine and Weimar Germany had become pillars of the establishment. Yiddish immigration may have been a small problem but was certainly not a large one.

In fact, in some ways German anti-Semitism bore more resemblance to black racism (Louis Farrakhan) than to white racism (David Duke). It was the racism of resentment, not the racism of contempt. National Socialism, unlike mainstream socialism (which was aristocratic and intellectual from day one) was in many ways a genuinely lower-class and lower-middle-class movement.

So BIOH's rhetoric of racial struggle is a two-way street. In Nazi Germany, the white proletariat won the battle for power, and created a state which genuinely reflected their hopes and fears. But in the US, and ultimately in the world, it went the other way around, and the elite made the white proles their bitch - using the black and Latino underclasses as a sort of paramilitary army. (Sam Francis's very useful phrase for this is "anarcho-tyranny.") BIOH has been 0wned, he knows it, and there's no reason to expect him to like it.

I would like to think these very different, but both interesting and historically important, "political religions" could at some point reconcile themselves to living peacefully together under the rule of law. But I ain't holdin' my breath for it, neither.

And since my cultural (and racial!) identity is very much of the intellectual elite, if I have to choose between the Third Reich and the New Deal, and "neither" is not on the menu, I certainly know which side my bread is buttered on.

Posted by: Mencius on March 18, 2007 11:56 AM



From what I recall, what the Nazis and the German right in general were originally so peeved about was the Treaty of Versailles, which put Germany on the hook for millions of dollars and gave up lots of (disputed) German lands to other countries, as well as being unable to have a serious military. They were also blamed for the war (which actually was unfair).

The assumption was that if the left (which was heavily Jewish, of course) had not opposed the war, they would have been able to win.

Myself I can't blame anyone for wanting to call World War I quits.

Posted by: SFG on March 18, 2007 1:10 PM



Thanks for the link and the kind comments, Michael!

Posted by: Drew on March 18, 2007 2:09 PM



Mencius said--

In fact, in some ways German anti-Semitism bore more resemblance to black racism (Louis Farrakhan) than to white racism (David Duke). It was the racism of resentment, not the racism of contempt. National Socialism, unlike mainstream socialism (which was aristocratic and intellectual from day one) was in many ways a genuinely lower-class and lower-middle-class movement.

Youre quite an interesting guy. Not just for this quote but for much else that youve written. I like your balance point quite a lot.

As for the quoted bit -- absolutely dead on right. German anti-Semitism was based on three things. First there was a long tradition of religiously based European anti-Semitism, which in the post Darwinian, eugenics friendly (usually in fairly mild form before the Nazis) pseudo scientific race theorizing world of 20s and 30s Western intellectual thought, the Nazis recast as racial otherness. Second, as SFG and Mencius both allude to, the Jews were indeed considered by the Nazis as the key group behind Communism and other ideologies of the Left, which as from opposing vehemently on broad general terms, they blamed for both causing the domestic support for the war particularly among the elites to collapse when Germany still could have won or at the very least received an honorable draw without Versailles consequences, AND for both the scandalous sexual, homosexual and other decadence of the Weimar period, and its ruinous end in massive inflations (since Jews were claimed to be pulling the stings in Weimar, and were in fact very influential in that government). At one point in 1923 during the Weimar hyperinflation/depression, only 29% of the total German labor force was employed. Amy Chua, World on Fire, p. 202.

Third, and this was by far the least openly discussed, but I believe the most potent factor, Jews were in many ways hugely and very visibly greatly overrepresented at the hights of the German economy. Not among the aristocratic great landholders of old, nor among the very richest industrialists (e.g. the Krups), but in a great many other places. The situation was somewhat similar to the US today, only perhaps 50% more or double the US power and wealth percentages. They were about 5% of the German population (2.5 or 3% in the US depending on definitions of Jewishness). In 1930 Jews owned 40% of Germanys wholesale textile firms and nearly 60% of the countrys wholesale a retail clothing businesses. In 1932 Jews owned nearly 80% of all department store business. Nearly half of the countrys private (in US terms, Investment) banks were owned by Jewish banking families. (Jews owned almost none of the countrys more numerous and increasingly important credit banks (US terms, commercial banks) however.) Jews made up about 10% of Germans doctors and 16% of its lawyers. By 1933 nearly of Jews in Germany made their living as members of the middle or upper middle classes (and sometimes above) in trade, commerce, banking and the professons, whereas only of the non-Jewish population of Germany was similarly employed. All from Amy Choa (see above) pp. 202-203. (Still, Id like to make it clear that Chua says that the Chinese are a much more economically dominant minority today in much of Southeast Asia, than the Jews were in pre-Hitler Germany. There were in the case of Germany nor only a resentful but also a capable majority, and a long history of Euro resentment and persecution of Jews.)

Amy Chuas World on Fire is a fascinating and majorly insightful work. Theres really nothing else like it, or wasnt before she published. Everyone with any world social/political conflict interest should read it, seems to me. Shes a law prof. at Yale, whose extended family was/is big time upper class (capitalist exploiter class if you wish) Chinese in the Philippines, though her dad came to America when she was a kid. Her husband who also teaches at Yale, is Jewish.

Posted by: dougjnn on March 18, 2007 2:54 PM



xxx!! I forgot I need to scrub through a plain text editor if I'm going to avoid at least most of the indeciferable symbols for such things as parens, on this (Apple oriented) site. Trying again:

Mencius said--

In fact, in some ways German anti-Semitism bore more resemblance to black racism (Louis Farrakhan) than to white racism (David Duke). It was the racism of resentment, not the racism of contempt. National Socialism, unlike mainstream socialism (which was aristocratic and intellectual from day one) was in many ways a genuinely lower-class and lower-middle-class movement.

Youre quite an interesting guy. Not just for this quote but for much else that youve written. I like your balance point quite a lot.

As for the quoted bit -- absolutely dead on right. German anti-Semitism was based on three things. First there was a long tradition of religiously based European anti-Semitism, which in the post Darwinian, eugenics friendly (usually in fairly mild form before the Nazis) pseudo scientific race theorizing world of 20s and 30s Western intellectual thought, the Nazis recast as racial otherness. Second, as SFG and Mencius both allude to, the Jews were indeed considered by the Nazis as the key group behind Communism and other ideologies of the Left, which as from opposing vehemently on broad general terms, they blamed for both causing the domestic support for the war particularly among the elites to collapse when Germany still could have won or at the very least received an honorable draw without Versailles consequences, AND for both the scandalous sexual, homosexual and other decadence of the Weimar period, and its ruinous end in massive inflations (since Jews were claimed to be pulling the stings in Weimar, and were in fact very influential in that government). At one point in 1923 during the Weimar hyperinflation/depression, only 29% of the total German labor force was employed. Amy Chua, World on Fire, p. 202.

Third, and this was by far the least openly discussed, but I believe the most potent factor, Jews were in many ways hugely and very visibly greatly overrepresented at the hights of the German economy. Not among the aristocratic great landholders of old, nor among the very richest industrialists (e.g. the Krups), but in a great many other places. The situation was somewhat similar to the US today, only perhaps 50% more or double the US power and wealth percentages. They were about 5% of the German population (2.5 or 3% in the US depending on definitions of Jewishness). In 1930 Jews owned 40% of Germanys wholesale textile firms and nearly 60% of the countrys wholesale a retail clothing businesses. In 1932 Jews owned nearly 80% of all department store business. Nearly half of the countrys private (in US terms, Investment) banks were owned by Jewish banking families. (Jews owned almost none of the countrys more numerous and increasingly important credit banks (US terms, commercial banks) however.) Jews made up about 10% of Germans doctors and 16% of its lawyers. By 1933 nearly of Jews in Germany made their living as members of the middle or upper middle classes (and sometimes above) in trade, commerce, banking and the professons, whereas only of the non-Jewish population of Germany was similarly employed. All from Amy Choa (see above) pp. 202-203. (Still, Id like to make it clear that Chua says that the Chinese are a much more economically dominant minority today in much of Southeast Asia, than the Jews were in pre-Hitler Germany. There were in the case of Germany nor only a resentful but also a capable majority, and a long history of Euro resentment and persecution of Jews.)

Amy Chuas World on Fire is a fascinating and majorly insightful work. Theres really nothing else like it, or wasnt before she published. Everyone with any world social/political conflict interest should read it, seems to me. Shes a law prof. at Yale, whose extended family was/is big time upper class (capitalist exploiter class if you wish) Chinese in the Philippines, though her dad came to America when she was a kid. Her husband who also teaches at Yale, is Jewish.

Posted by: dougjnn on March 18, 2007 2:56 PM



Tatanya,

I never said any Jews caused problems. I was talking about how the Germans lost the War and the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic brought out buried resentments and moved the Nazi's into power.

Menicus,

You have a good point in that the resentment against the jews was more fictional than real, and differs from our resentment against the minorities here because it was largely unjustified. I think we have a much better case here with our minorities. However, resentment leads pretty quickly to contempt, doesn't it?

I'm not a NWO guy. My experiences with government and what I know of politicians has led me to the conclusion that government and politicians are short term thinkers basically engaging in crisis management. Outside of crisis management, they simply buy votes and campaign contributions with our taxes, period.

I don't think the blacks were used as some kind of army, or the latinos either, for that matter. To me, the underlying cause for all of this is inflation and debasing of the currency. The blacks were pandered to in the 60's and 70's (and beyond) because the politicians knew in the 60's that manufacturing was beginning to move offshore due to high wages here in the US, and that blacks would have few recourses for employment if not for AA and government hiring. Nobody has really coveted their labor since slavery. Hence, the forcing of them upon the rest of us to try to avoid riots and unrest (crisis management). Whites responded by moving out of the cities. Unfortunately, the pandering to blacks has continued, but the tables are starting to turn on that.

Now our monetary inflation has led us to try to keep wages low by importing hordes of dopey mexicans and H1-b visa holders to hammer domestic wages down. The US elites' model is to outsource our manufacturing and hammer domestic wages down to keep prices low and monetary inflation hidden in the real economy--the monetary inflation is just supposed to show up in inflating assets, like stocks, bond, real estate, etc. Their plan to deal with commodity shortages as the rest of the world industrializes and buys things with our trade deficit dollars is to control the king of commodities, oil, to keep its pricing in dollars, and to then simply have the US outbid the rest of the world for the oil as we inflate our domestic money supply. Then the rest of the world will have to send us more and more goods to pay for their share of the oil. Unfortunately, this is falling apart. Right now, we buy an ever-increasing amout of oil on the open market with dollars. But the oil producers are now going back to pre-1973 days and locking their oil production up with long term contracts to china, India, and others. Less and less oil will be availabe for purchase on the open market. And what's left will be availabe for purchase in other currencies, not just dollars. That's how dollar hegemony fails. That is why we are going to war in the Middle East. We will lose, too. Just you watch!

NWO is jut a fantasy of the elites as they see the American empire decline. They think that somehow they can continue to be masters of the universe by "globalizing" the elites! What a laughable plan that is! The asian elites that were second class for so long are going to eat them alive. Sweet faces and happy talk now, but when the empire crumbles, the long knives will come out.

The cultural elites in the media and movie business are just a bunch of 60's radical misfits who now are in the positions of media power. They think its funny to try to emasculate the white man and put the black man in his place. It looks like some sort of coordinated effort of the elites, but it isn't. Its just 60's leftovers. I wouldn't mind deposing (and worse) these worthless twits.

Guys like me, Menicus, are not owned. We are biding our time. I know how bad it will get when the shit hits the fan and we lose our oil war. That's when we will rise up and take over again. Right now, people's stomachs are fat. Wait until they have to skip a few meals and don't know where the food will come from tomorrow. It will get that bad. God help the leftists that are dragging us down, and I mean that, because as far as I'm concerned, the gloves will come off then. Not one thing will be out of bounds. You don't destroy my country, try to steal my money, property, and women, try to emasculate me, and put my kids future in great harm without paying like a mother. That's the definition of a war. You think us regular guys won't kill? Think again. Hard times make for hard people. These bastards will pay, I guarantee it.

Posted by: BIOH on March 18, 2007 6:13 PM



dougjnn,

Thanks - I knew all those years at Miskatonic would serve me well. (The Hitler Studies program is small, but selective.) Unfortunately it has been a long time since I read Chua and I don't remember her book that well. It would be interesting to see how she compares to, say, Jouvenel, Kuehnelt-Leddihn or Burnham.

For me the pons asinorum of Hitler Studies is and always will be, though, Victor Klemperer. All three diaries (including the East German period) are essential, as is, of course, LTI.

The thing is that it's by no means easy to see how one would prevail in an argument with a fanatical Nazi. How do you prove that there isn't a world Jewish conspiracy? What evidence is there for such a claim?

The only effective tool for this fight is Occam's razor. But if you can smuggle Occam's razor into the room, you can argue just about anyone out of any unnecessary belief. Even the Nazis probably could still land a slash or two on most of us with this wicked little blade. In practice the argument was won not with philosophy but explosives, not an unusual heritage for a meme.

(Unfortunately you still have strange characters coming through, at least for me on Safari. Smells like Windows-1252 to me.)

Posted by: Mencius on March 18, 2007 7:41 PM



If anybody's wondering, Miskatonic was H.P. Lovecraft's fictional university. You can buy Miskatonic sweatshirts and other paraphernalia from Chaosium, the company that makes the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game.

Posted by: SFG on March 18, 2007 9:51 PM



BIOH,

Just the other night I was watching "Jesus Camp," which is not at all a bad documentary given that it's made by liberals, and admiring the scenes of Pentecostalist 11-year-olds with camo paint on their faces being trained as "warriors in Christ" with all the paramilitary metaphors you could shake a stick at.

Great, I thought, as far as it goes. But why not a little actual weapons training? Is there any possible harm in knowing how to field-strip the AK-47? Couldn't there be a little spare time at the end of the day for understanding the difference between detonation and deflagration? Don't you think Christ would feel a bit more confident about his warriors if they could put five out of six in a three-inch circle at 100 yards?

So I'm not at all unsympathetic to your cause. I suppose it really would come down to which side could pay me more for my unhinged, spittle-flecked rants. (I'm not much myself with firearms.) Maybe I could use two names and work for both.

No, seriously, as someone who got a 150% dose of the NWO growing up (father in the Foreign Service, mother worked for DOE, stepfather was a Congressional staffer) and still lives in Nancy Pelosi's district, I'd say the one critical observation about the elite which I wish everyone with your political views could understand that they are invariably sincere.

You might think there's no way that such smart people (elites are smart by definition, at least this kind of elite) could actually believe such stupid things. But you would be wrong - they do. There's a reason intelligence and wisdom are separate stats in D&D.

So no liberal actually thinks they are deploying black gangs or Third World thugs (but I repeat myself) as their military wing in a political pincer movement to crush the old, preliberal elites. It is all served up dripping with honey and peace and love.

But it just so happens that people are designed to succeed in the chimpanzee struggle for power, even people who think they are "working for social change" rather than "scheming for power." It is natural and common for humans' ideals and their interests to coincide. And one can see them executing devastatingly effective and ruthless political strategies without any conscious idea of what they're doing.

It's like a dog chasing a ball. The dog has no idea that he's actually a highly modified wolf and he is acting out a portion of his old hunting instinct. Perhaps when he catches the ball he even shakes it like a rag. But he doesn't actually think it's a rabbit and he's trying to break its neck. Nor will he try to eat the ball once he catches it. He just thinks it's fun to chase small, fast-moving objects.

I mostly agree with your economic analysis, but note that what matters is not the currency that commodities like oil is traded in but the currency that it ends up in. Ie, reserves. Trading does not affect the demand for dollars and dollar instruments - it cancels out. Saving does. At present the Gulf countries and China have their own political reasons for saving $1 trillion a year - they back their own worthless currencies with these pieces of paper, fueling their own inflationary booms.

But the conclusion is the same. It can't hurt to pick up a few Krugerrands before you duck back in that bunker. Some bullion in Zurich can't hurt, either.

Posted by: Mencius on March 18, 2007 10:58 PM



Mencius, I disagree vehemently with almost everything you've written on this thread, yet I've enjoyed reading every comment of yours. Witty and well-written stuff.

Posted by: the patriarch on March 19, 2007 9:31 AM



dougjnn,

According this this source:

http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/jger33.htm

Jews amounted to less that 1 percent of the German population in the 1933 census (about 600,000). I don't know what that says about Amy Choa's sources. I suppose that, post-Hitler, some people might not have admitted their Jewishness to the census-taker - but 80 percent? Anyway, it's hard to believe there 3 or 4 million Jews in Hitler's Germany. That would give them one of the lowest victimization rates of all Nazi-occupied countries.

Posted by: Intellectual Pariah on March 19, 2007 11:59 AM



patriarch,

Thanks! To me that's exactly the difference between propaganda (communication designed to propagate ideas to an audience that is unaware of these ideas or hostile to them) and polemic (communication designed to elicit emotional responses in an audience already sympathetic to those ideas).

Unless its audience is actually literally captive (in which case you are no propagandist, but a mere shill), propaganda cannot succeed unless it can entertain an audience which is at least neutral and probably hostile. It is impossible to simultaneously entertain and offend anyone (at least if the offense is genuine, rather than ironic). Absolute and sincere respect for the reader / viewer is a sine qua non.

Unless you are dealing with children (the classic captive audience), you cannot convince anyone of anything. When an adult changes his or her mind, it is his or her own decision. As a propagandist, all you can do is offer up a few crude tools and tips which may be of some rough assistance in this enormous and delicate task.

(For example, a lot of people when they're working with the hole saw will try to hold their head still and position the drill by hand. Big mistake. You'll get much cleaner, more accurate results if you clamp the drill in a vise and move only your head.)

The world is awash in polemic. It's dripping with the stuff. It's encased itself in a gigantic sphere of radio-frequency polemic, 75 light-years in diameter and expanding at the speed of Hitler. But it is drowning for a drop of propaganda.

Posted by: Mencius on March 19, 2007 12:12 PM



There's a reason intelligence and wisdom are separate stats in D&D.

ROFL! First Cthulhu and now D&D. Do you have a blog I can read?

Posted by: SFG on March 19, 2007 8:56 PM



Intellectual Pariah said--

Jews amounted to less that 1 percent of the German population in the 1933 census (about 600,000). I don't know what that says about Amy Choa's sources.

The Jews were 5% of Germany's population before WWII I did not get directly from Chua's book. I think she does say, but I haven't looked it back up. Actually traveling now and don't have it handy.

It was from memory, which I may have gotten wrong. All the other figures I posted above I got not from remembering what Chua had written but looking it back up just before posting.

Still I find the less than 1% figure you are posting very hard to believe. Perhaps that might be the case if restricted to regularly religiously observant Jews, or the like. I HAVE seen reliable numbers and I thought it was 4-5% but perhaps I'm a bit wrong. But 1%? I don't think so. Got other sites? Done other checking? I don't have/feel like spending the time at the moment. Anyway if your number is right, it makes the disproportion thing that much more extreme, doesn't it?

Posted by: dougjnn on March 30, 2007 10:15 PM






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