Postmodern classic?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

EU, Germany and the Nazis

Just reading a quick post over at Medienkritik. Pretty interesting stuff, as I often say. Just a recent one about the growth of the Neo-Nazi party in Germany. Makes the whole controversy over Prince Charles and the Nazi costume seem relevant again. What is the solution? Ban it, take their constitutional rights away. Is this a solution?

From my imperialistic, ethnocentric, condescendingly chauvinistic American point of view, no. This is why political diversity in Europe means different views on just how bad the Americans really are. Okay, okay, stretching the anti-American thing a little too much, but I just remember the appalling lack of any kind of balance in their bookstores. Everywhere you go in the world, rest assured, you can find Michael Moore. Fat chance in finding some conservative point of view to retort the trash you get on TV... and you wonder why Fox News is getting so popular in the US. I digress. So you have this self-reinforcing cycle on 'EU great, open and diverse', but then those damn Nazi's and anti-immigration folk keep turning up! Well, you could just have them assassinated like the Dutch did to Pim Fortuyn, but that kind of negates the whole diversity/open-minded thing... or marginalize them, or ban them. Ban is easy, let's do that.

Problem solved, right? Nope. There is no forum for a balanced disagreement with the dominant orthodoxy of transnational progressivism and socialist welfare programs, so the rational reaction to the kind of cognitive dissonance someone stuck in that kind of ideological prison would be nihilism or fatalism- enter the Neo-Nazi's stage right! If it doesn't fit in the orthodoxy, then you must be a radical rightwing fascist.

The problem, is, you can't just keep pigeonholing, banning and shaming these dissenters into the absurd right wing that exists in Europe. Shame is a good tool for a society, but doesn't work if you're also telling everybody in school there's nothing to be ashamed of. So you have these alienated individuals that become communities- maybe not radicals at first, but with nowhere to go, what happens? They start to grow and become more resistant, since the alternative is the kind of rigid adherence to openness in defiance of rational characteristics. And the cycle begins.

It doesn't apply to the US model, as much as people would like to think. Here we can mostly disagree in peace, which is why we have a responsible (relatively speaking) body politic that can change and adapt as needed, instead of just reacting. Our wingnuts and crazies don't go out of control, mainly because those who disagree have a voice and therefore (mostly) don't become radicalized which they would be more likely to do in another place. Those that do are either punished by the law, or shamed by society. A person in Europe seems to have little other rational choice than to become a Neo-Nazi, if they find themselves confronting the reality of a state that does it's best to force ideology down their throat but can't deliver the social welfare promised.

Ban dissidence, eventually they'll get powerful, so then they'll be appeased and then there'll be another landwar in Europe. But somehow it'll be America's fault.

Theories are like.... eh, you know what I mean. But it says something for civility in politics, as well as accepting liberties as much as we despise those who feel they have to utilize them in that manner.


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