Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Trotsky beset by blog "fascists"

Not content with starting small blog wars to get his new blog noticed, Chris Trotter is now going wider. After listening to "a fascinating interview" on Radio NZ -- an interview between a blowhard and a blonde "about the blogosphere’s malign influence on the quality of public discourse" -- Trotter now declares war on the whole blogosphere. "There is indeed a 'fascist' quality to the blogosphere," he says.

Certainly we find the same levels of misogyny, anti-intellectualism, and aggression. And, even more worryingly, what I would call “ideological exterminism” -- the notion that your opponents' ideas should not simply be refuted, but annihilated.
Thomas Mann’s famous observation about burning books leading to burning bodies springs to mind.
We live in worrying times.

Worrying times indeed, when the country's most quoted leftist critic is unable to distinguish between the annihilation of ideas and the annihilation of human lives -- between a dagger thrust through a syllogism and an ice pick thrust into a human heart -- and is willing to talk airily of "virtual fascism" just because a large number of bloggers think he talks bollocks.

Has he seen the books heaped up under his window? Can we just ascribe it to the nonsense new bloggers say just to get noticed? Or is he now feeling the chill wind of a new oppression -- of a culture in which corruption can be "courageous," and where principle has given way to the flexing of political power?

Here's Christy Moore with 'Burning Times.'

NB: For the record, 'fascism' is nothing to joke about, or to devalue through over-use of the term. The word "fascism" comes from the Italian fascismo, from fascio, meaning "group." Rather than being the opposite of communism, fascism is simply another vicious variant of the same ideal of collectivism; where the Marxist bases his collective on "class," the fascist's grouping is one of race, or of nation. Where Marxism is a totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies "class war" and assigns to the state control over every aspect of private life, fascism is a totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.

The result is the same: one neck, ready for one noose.

As Ayn Rand observed, the so called opposition of communism and fascism is a malodorous myth -- they are simply two jackals hoping to fight over the same corpse. "For many decades, the leftists [ propagated] the false dichotomy that the choice confronting the world is only: communism or fascism—a dictatorship of the left or of an alleged right—with the possibility of a free society, of capitalism, dismissed and obliterated, as if it had never existed."

It is obvious what the fraudulent issue of fascism versus communism accomplishes: it sets up, as opposites, two variants of the same political system; it eliminates the possibility of considering capitalism; it switches the choice of “Freedom or dictatorship?” into “Which kind of dictatorship?”—thus establishing dictatorship as an inevitable fact and offering only a choice of rulers. The choice—according to the proponents of that fraud—is: a dictatorship of the rich (fascism) or a dictatorship of the poor (communism).

Essentially, it's a choice between a dictatorship that nationalises factories, and one that nationalises people.

The effect is the same -- human destruction. Only the slogans are different.

UPDATE: Owen McShane disagrees ever so slightly:

There remains much confusion between communism and fascism. They are quite distinct philosophies.
Socialism is the dark side of the Enlightenment Tradition. (If science helps you design a bridge then science helps you design society.)
Fascism is the dark side of the Romantic tradition. (Reason is trumped by feelings. Primitive people have greater wisdom than intellectuals.)
Socialism is econocentric. Fascism is not.
Communism combines the two by drawing on the "charismatic leader" of fascism.
Go to "The Rise of the Urban Romantics"
here.

I heartily endorse Owen's excellent and thought-provoking article (go read it here), but respectfully suggest however that while agreeing that the two political ideologies have differing origins -- and on this I think Owen makes his case brilliantly -- the source of their power is the same, that is, the overarching philosophy of collectivism that was endemic in the Europe of the nineteenth century; it's no accident that both the communist Marx and the proto-fascist Fichte owed intellectual allegiance to GWF Hegel (whose idea of the authoritarian state as the "divine idea on earth" is one of those "big ideas" one wished had perished with the arsehole who devised it), and nor is it a surprise therefore that the ultimate result of both sick systems is essentially the same: dictatorship in the name of a collective.

It should be clear, then, that the antidote to both these variants of collectivism is their polar opposite: a good healthy dose of individualism.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

Good post Peter. I've been following Chris Trotter's blog with fascination: I think he is punch drunk stunned with the level of opposition against the ideas he represents, once they have finally been placed in an almost free arena.

Like watching a car crash I've also been addicted into posting comments to the Greens blog since you put up the (damned) link. Scary stuff there - although I think worth the time posting so they can also see many of us find their ideas abhorrent. At the moment my comments are mostly being unanswered.

9/02/2008 08:49:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Good for you in commenting widely, Mark.

Don't underestimate the effect of rational, well-argued comments around the blogosphere.

9/02/2008 09:24:00 am  
Blogger Owen McShane said...

There remains much confusion between communism and fascism. They are quite distinct philosophies.
Socialism is the dark side of the Enlightenment Tradition. (If science helps you design a bridge then science helps you design society.)
Fascism is the dark side of the Romantic tradition.
(Reason is trumped by feelings. Primitive people have greater wisdom than intellectuals.)
Socialism is econocentric. Fascism is not.
Communism combines the two by drawing on the "charismatic leader" of fascism.
Go to "The Rise of the Urban Romantics"on my page at:
http://www.rmastudies.org.nz/index.php/issues/43-smart-growth

9/02/2008 09:36:00 am  
Anonymous burt said...

Well looks like I have been banned from Trotters blog. I was always going to be only a matter of when rather than if. I seldom agree with Trotter and I tell him so. I pointed out that only a week ago he was slagging NRT for being intolerant to people who don’t agree with him and I’ve copped it.

Still trying to determine if my ban is permanent or not but we all know that in a few more weeks Trotter’s blog will be an echo chamber of “Well said Chris”. Sad really, for somebody that has made a living denigrating people who disagree with him and his ideology Trotter has really shown his irrelevance in terms of a political commentator.

9/02/2008 09:59:00 am  
Blogger Dave Cruickshank said...

Yer Burt

I'm just 'citizen nobody !' and they dont even like my conflicting opinions of Trotters ideology - Banned last night ! what a jerk
Dave Cruickshank

9/02/2008 10:13:00 am  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

I don't know, Burt and Dave, you have to give Bryan Spondre his due: he has been given the task of moderating, and it's Trotter's private property, so Trotter can ban anyone he likes - I would die (well, figuratively) supporting his right to be able to do so.

All opposing opinions are going up, Spondre is just chopping out anything directly personal: if that's the brief, I'm fine with it. As I said, private property, I know the guidelines if I want to post.

We can't eat our cake and have it too: either we're for freedom founded on private property, or we're not.

My $2 worth plus GST worth.

9/02/2008 10:19:00 am  
Blogger Dave Cruickshank said...

Mark
I agree whole heartedly with your comments about Trotters private property - I too would defend his right to ban anyone whose comments he dislikes

However his decisions to ban people indicates to me that he must be really shallow in terms of defending his own convictions if he would rather ban people than enter coherent debate about the comments raised

9/02/2008 10:27:00 am  
Anonymous burt said...

Mark

Of course it's his private property. I'll respect the ban - no problems with that.

It is funny thoughn that he starts his blog with a post denigrating NRT for being unable to handle people who don't agree with him then starts banning people for the same.

He is a good example of do as I say and not as I do which is not surprising from such a hardened Labour supporter.

9/02/2008 10:35:00 am  
Anonymous Ariel said...

Dave : However his decisions to ban people indicates to me that he must be really shallow in terms of defending his own convictions if he would rather ban people than enter coherent debate about the comments raised.

I completely agree with your point Dave. I think Trotter is basically shallow in terms of knowledge bank (nuggets of knowledge) to be able to defend his own, therefore it is easier for him to ban than to respond. This is no different to Redbaiter at Kiwiblog. Instead of Redbaiter to reply intelligently and give a reasoned argument, he abuses his opponents instead. Why does he do that? Well, because he has a shallow or empty in his knowledge bank.

In contrast, I see PC all the times, defending his positions on different issues here, and he is a formidable debater. This shows that his knowledge bank is vast & huge, in that he is less concern about banning but more interested in enlightening the opponents with reasoned arguments.

Why can't Trotter be more like PC?

9/02/2008 10:37:00 am  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

I took extreme umbrage at Trotter's immediate editing and crossing out of Redbaiter for having the temerity to (mildly for him) simply disagree with one of Trotter's blanket assertions and I made several comments telling him so.

I am now banned from commenting on this pathetic toerag's rant sheet... and this was a deliberate attempt of mine, just to see how long it would take. It only took about three (crossed out) comments. Now, having visited a few times, I have seen and read more than enough and I no longer visit.

The man is a pompous censorious self important prig. He would be laughable if it were not for the fact that his is a mindset that is all too often seen in New Zealand, where herding sheep, directing them and telling them how to think seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

As well as crossing out comments from a so-called 'right wing' viewpoint, this trotter seems to cross out comments from the 'left' as well if they don't totally agree with him.

I view it as a badge of honour to have been banned from commenting on this prick's blog and as far as I am concerned, many more people should take up the challenge.

9/02/2008 10:38:00 am  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

ariel, I don't think you could have said it better about debating and the knowledge bank generally and particularly in relation to PC as an example of rationality. Well said.

And, PC, well done with this blog.... always a well-informed, well written and thoughtful read :-)

9/02/2008 10:48:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Thanks Dave and Ariel, but I feel duty-bound to point out I'm not above calling my opponents morons or worse when the need arises. :-)

The chief value of Chris Trotter's writing is that, being an old leftie, his prose is not infected with the postmodern malaise of misunderstandable verbosity.

In other word, he's clear and up front.

These days, that's a virtue.

9/02/2008 10:59:00 am  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

Yeah, PC, and his grammar is pretty good too. I noticed several correct uses of the comma, but he doesn't seem to utilise the semi colon to its fullest extent; although the spell checker renders his writing almost faultless in that respect.

Yes, Chris trotter is a valuable addition to the blogosphere alright! hahahaha

9/02/2008 11:33:00 am  

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