Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Are You a Nazi Too?

Senator George Brandis' attack on the Greens in Federal Parliament has been getting a lot of blog-play, particularly at Troppo Armadillo, where Roop Sandhu is taking on all comers who want to argue the issue. He seems to be making some headway, having talked a few commenters down from an "of course Brandis is right - the Greens are Nazis" position to a more nuanced "They may not be Nazis but they're a hell of a lot closer to totalitiarianism than any other Parliamentary Party".

This is obviously one topic where Godwin's Law needs to be suspended; it's impossible to have any discussion of Senator Brandis' remarks without some mention of the Third Reich. Or more realistically, we might take the view that the whole discussion started out as a pointless one, from the moment Gorgeous George got up on his feet and started reading Andrew Bolt into the Senate Hansard. Still, as a public service to Ozblogdom, I've knocked together this short quiz which will allow you to make a quick qualitative assessment of whether the opinions you express in your blog place you at risk of an accusation of Nazism. All you have to do is note down whether you agree with each of the ten following statements, then follow the instructions at the end to score your results.

1. Most people believe everything they read in the press or see in other news media.

2. The press and media generally pursue a misguided "politically correct" agenda which undermines respect for important traditional values and institutions.

3. On many issues, the Left are the tools (witting or unwitting) of big business.

4. Businesses and their employees would both be better off if they worked together for their common interests, rather than indulging in bloody-minded industrial disputes.

5. A centralised system of wage conciliation and arbitration benefits the economy by providing a means to resolve industrial relations problems without costly and disruptive strikes.

6. On the contrary, the best way to promote industrial harmony and productive enterprise is not by collective bargaining and central arbitration, but by individual or enterprise level negotiation between employers and employees.

7. Some people are naturally more talented than others; they will naturally achieve higher social status than others. Society should not interfere with this.

8. All human progress is the result of individual creativity and invention; the best way to foster social and technological progress is to foster individual creativity.

9. Modern kids are unhealthy because they don't get enough sport in school.

10. The US has the world's most sensible system of immigration controls.

How to Score Your Results

Give yourself one point for each statement that you agreed with. If you scored ten out of ten, you're obviously going to have a hard time participating in on-line discussion groups or blog comment threads without inviting an accusation of Nazism. If you agreed with only one or two, you should probably be cautious in expressing such views publicly; you might consider changing your mind or alternatively, try to develop a more "nuanced" approach to stating your opinions that won't provoke immediate self-righteous outrage. It's unlikely, however, that outrage addicts will have much patience with your approach.

For those who are offended at scoring even one point on the quiz, here are some relevant excerpts from Mein Kampff to consider (link via Professor Bunyip).

1. ...Generally, readers of the Press can be classified into three groups:

First, those who believe everything they read;

Second, those who no longer believe anything;

Third, those who critically examine what they read and form their judgments accordingly.

Numerically, the first group is by far the strongest, being composed of the broad masses of the people ...

Vol I Chapter X, "Why the Second Reich Collapsed"

2. But what sort of pabulum was it that the German Press served up for the consumption of its readers in pre-War days? Was it not the worst virulent poison imaginable? Was not pacifism in its worst form inoculated into our people at a time when others were preparing slowly but surely to pounce upon Germany? Did not this self-same Press of ours in peace time already instil into the public mind a doubt as to the sovereign rights of the State itself, thereby already handicapping the State in choosing its means of defence? Was it not the German Press that under stood how to make all the nonsensical talk about ‘Western democracy’ palatable to our people, until an exuberant public was eventually prepared to entrust its future to the League of Nations? Was not this Press instrumental in bringing in a state of moral degradation among our people? Were not morals and public decency made to look ridiculous and classed as out-of-date and banal, until finally our people also became modernized? By means of persistent attacks, did not the Press keep on undermining the authority of the State, until one blow sufficed to bring this institution tottering to the ground? Did not the Press oppose with all its might every movement to give the State that which belongs to the State, and by means of constant criticism, injure the reputation of the army, sabotage general conscription and demand refusal of military credits, etc. – until the success of this campaign was assured?

3. Before the War the internationalization of the German economic structure had already begun by the roundabout way of share issues. It is true that a section of the German industrialists made a determined attempt to avert the danger, but in the end they gave way before the united attacks of money-grabbing capitalism, which was assisted in this fight by its faithful henchmen in the Marxist movement.

4. In place of this struggle, the National Socialist State will take over the task of caring for and defending the rights of all parties concerned. It will be the duty of the Economic Chamber itself to keep the national economic system in smooth working order and to remove whatever defects or errors it may suffer from. Questions that are now fought over through a quarrel that involves millions of people will then be settled in the Representative Chambers of Trades and Professions and in the Central Economic Parliament. Thus employers and employees will no longer find themselves drawn into a mutual conflict over wages and hours of work, always to the detriment of their mutual interests. But they will solve these problems together on a higher plane, where the welfare of the national community and of the State will be as a shining ideal to throw light on all their negotiations.
Vol II, Chapter XII "The Problem of The Trade Unions".

5. See previous.

6. National Socialist workers and employers are both together the delegates and mandatories of the whole national community. The large measure of personal freedom which is accorded to them for their activities must be explained by the fact that experience has shown that the productive powers of the individual are more enhanced by being accorded a generous measure of freedom than by coercion from above. Moreover, by according this freedom we give free play to the natural process of selection which brings forward the ablest and most capable and most industrious.

7. ... the struggle between the various species does not arise from a feeling of mutual antipathy but rather from hunger and love. In both cases Nature looks on calmly and is even pleased with what happens. The struggle for the daily livelihood leaves behind in the ruck everything that is weak or diseased or wavering; while the fight of the male to possess the female gives to the strongest the right, or at least, the possibility to propagate its kind. And this struggle is a means of furthering the health and powers of resistance in the species. Thus it is one of the causes underlying the process of development towards a higher quality of being.

If the case were different the progressive process would cease, and even retrogression might set in. Since the inferior always outnumber the superior, the former would always increase more rapidly if they possessed the same capacities for survival and for the procreation of their kind; and the final consequence would be that the best in quality would be forced to recede into the background. Therefore a corrective measure in favour of the better quality must intervene. Nature supplies this by establishing rigorous conditions of life to which the weaker will have to submit and will thereby be numerically restricted; but even that portion which survives cannot indiscriminately multiply, for here a new and rigorous selection takes place, according to strength and health.

Vol I, Chapter XI "Race and People".

8. Therefore not only does the organization possess no right to prevent men of brains from rising above the multitude but, on the contrary, it must use its organizing powers to enable and promote that ascension as far as it possibly can. It must start out from the principle that the blessings of mankind never came from the masses but from the creative brains of individuals, who are therefore the real benefactors of humanity. It is in the interest of all to assure men of creative brains a decisive influence and facilitate their work. This common interest is surely not served by allowing the multitude to rule, for they are not capable of thinking nor are they efficient and in no case whatsoever can they be said to be gifted. Only those should rule who have the natural temperament and gifts of leadership.
Vol II Chapter IV, "Personality and The Ideal of The People's State"

9. Our system of education entirely loses sight of the fact that in the long run a healthy mind can exist only in a healthy body. This statement, with few exceptions, applies particularly to the broad masses of the nation.

In the pre-War Germany there was a time when no one took the trouble to think over this truth. Training of the body was criminally neglected, the one-sided training of the mind being regarded as a sufficient guarantee for the nation’s greatness. This mistake was destined to show its effects sooner than had been anticipated. It is not pure chance that the Bolshevic teaching flourishes in those regions whose degenerate population has been brought to the verge of starvation, as, for example, in the case of Central Germany, Saxony, and the Ruhr Valley. In all these districts there is a marked absence of any serious resistance, even by the so-called intellectual classes, against this Jewish contagion. And the simple reason is that the intellectual classes are themselves physically degenerate, not through privation but through education. The exclusive intellectualism of the education in vogue among our upper classes makes them unfit for life’s struggle at an epoch in which physical force and not mind is the dominating factor. Thus they are neither capable of maintaining themselves nor of making their way in life. In nearly every case physical disability is the forerunner of personal cowardice.

Vol I Chapter X, "Why the Second Reich Collapsed"

10. At present there exists one State which manifests at least some modest attempts that show a better appreciation of how things ought to be done in this matter. It is not, however, in our model German Republic but in the U.S.A. that efforts are made to conform at least partly to the counsels of commonsense. By refusing immigrants to enter there if they are in a bad state of health, and by excluding certain races from the right to become naturalized as citizens, they have begun to introduce principles similar to those on which we wish to ground the People’s State.
Vol II Chapter III, "Citizens and Subjects of the State"

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