Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What Terrorists Want

WRT the stabbings in Turku, Finland. Interior Minister Paula Risikko said on Twitter on 19 August: "Terrorists want to pit people against each other. We will not let this happen. Finnish society will not be defeated by fear or hatred."  Terrorists want to pit people against each other? Really? All the evidence suggests that terrorists just want to get their way. And lest anyone think I just mean Muslims, no, that would be what we are currently naming "domestic terrorists" as well. They don’t want the chaos of groups opposing each other, except as a tactic to get what they really want, which is victory

When I read government officials making statements like this, I wonder if they really believe this nonsense, or if these are calculated statements in the hopes of reducing conflict.  Did someone really convince George Bush that Islam means “peace,” or did he and his advisors decide that they could stretch the truth that far in the interests of cooling tempers? There is a Scandinavian sentiment that does really believe that "we got here by sticking together, so not sticking together is always the great danger for us." That reflexive attitude may be in play here.  One can see how that attitude could turn into fascism in the wrong hands, yet it is also quite leftist, quite communist/socialist.*

The Scandinavians are caught between the us-ness of blood and soil, opposed to the us-ness of "we're all in this together" once you have moved here and are called Danes or Finns. They are trying to come down on the side of welcome and absorption.  The problem is, the arrivees don't want to assimilate, be absorbed, and just contribute a few dishes to the national cuisine.  They want to first be able to do things their own way now, and later, for everyone else to do things their way too.  In the meantime, they want stuff.

Pretty clearly, they have no interest in pitting people against each other.  Scandinavians, and many Europeans, and even many Americans seem to want to defeat an ideology that does not actually exist.

*WRT that Liberal Fascism idea of Jonah Goldberg's, it is relatively difficult for Europeans to see, because since the 1930's they have seen the fascists and communists as warring with each other, openly or quietly, so the disconnect is too large, regardless of the ideologies behind them.  In North America, it is similarly difficult to see, mainly because the symbols and culture of the right and left have become separated around that issue of universalism versus nationalism.  But if you are a North American looking at Europe in the 20th C, it is actually quite easy to see how fascism, socialism, and communism are very much the same thing. 


Sam L. said...

Quite so.

Old Curmudgeon said...

The Nazis as right wing is based on, to my understanding, two things:

1) They used nationalism in their rhetoric, while communism used universalism.

2) After they invaded the Soviet Union, it was a way of opposing them the two sides.

To the best of my knowledge, Nazi is a shortened form of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

In American politics, the Republican Party was founded as an anti-slavery party; the Confederate South was Democrat, as were those who passed the Jim Crow laws, and the KKK. It was the Rebublican party that was responsible for voting rights and the equal rights laws.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Old Curmudgeon - I assent.

My shorthand for the party development and switch is that the Republicans were the party of Old New England, which was old money, manufacturing, and free trade. They actually were "modern and advanced" in terms of public education, public works and infrastructure. But they were anti-union and in one sense anti-immigrant. They were fine for hiring immigrants, but didn't consider them equals. They were snobs.

Immigrant groups, including Irish, Slavs, Italians, and Jews resented this, and came to reflexively oppose WASP power (which reflexively opposed Southern power, so there you are.) The Democrats became the anti-snob, pro "little guy" party. My father-in-law, who ran his own science-heavy business, worked well into his 80's and was a conservative Catholic could have been a natural Republican, but he was half-Irish (in Massachusetts). He was an FDR Democrat who maintained until the day of his death that the Democrats were the party of "the little guy."

While economic growth was steeper in the south post WWI and especially WWII, it started from a lower point and the sons of the slaves and the sons of the non-slaveowning-but-by-god-SOUTHERNs both considered themselves "the little guy." This shifting of white alliance...

Wait a minute. This isn't shorthand. It's a longer analysis. And it deserves its own post. But not just yet. Even though I'm partially retired, this is one of those weeks it's not partial and I've got a lot to do, including fulltime work and two fantasy football drafts. Plus, I need to think about this just a bit more. I'll get back to the Myth of the Solid South later. I hope I have something to contribute.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Old Curmudgeon - hey, thanks. Nothing I enjoy more than to start following a thread of something I have half-known and half-understood and am trying to see more clearly.

Grim said...

There's a racial aspect to Southern attitudes towards immigrants, too: the South has typically viewed race as chiefly binary, and thus if you're not black, you're kind of white. If you're Irish or German or Italian, you just are white. The ungenerous way of phrasing this is that the need to subjugate first a large slave population, and then a large minority of persons with a legitimate historical grievance, made native Southern whites eager to make allies of anyone coming in from the outside.

As a consequence, you never hear of Irish oppression in the South. Lots of Irish went to Savannah, as well as Boston and New York, but they were just happily accepted and integrated right into the community. They were poorer labor (and before the war were often used for jobs too dangerous to employ slaves with, as you had a permanent investment in a slave who was killed but only a day laborer's single-day wages if he died). Still, they were welcome. Germans, about whom such a big deal was made up north (see Prohibition-era illustrations of drunken Germans) were integrated into the South from the beginning: one of the first groups brought to Georgia was a bunch of Germans. Same with the Scots, whom Oglethorpe brought over to serve as a buffer against the Spanish at a time when they were still considered dangerous rebels by the English crown.

So the Democratic South of the old days was friendly to white immigrants, and a lot more ready to see people as "white" rather than "German/Italian/Irish" in the first place. That's another reason the old system was the way it was.

Sam L. said...

My dad grew up in central Texas. I remember him saying he could recall the first Republican he ever saw.