The politics of dumb anger

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, June 20th, 2016 - 112 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, activism, capitalism, class war, International - Tags: , ,

In 2009 I wrote a post called The F word. It summarised an article, Is the U.S. on the Brink of Fascism?, which in turn described a definition of fascism and the five stages of the development of fascism in a country, concluding that America is now well in to the third stage, the transition stage or “tipping point” beyond which there is no turning back:

America’s conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country’s legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America’s streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won’t do their political or economic bidding. This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins. It’s also our very last chance to stop it.

Now America has Donald Trump, a hero to the neo-nazis, and the warnings of fascism are coming thick and fast.

In England the campaign for Brexit has exploited racism and xenophobia. Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a man who gave his name in court as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”. He had “decades-long affiliations with neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations” and was in possession of “extreme right-wing literature”.

Extreme right-wing politics is the politics of dumb anger. The ultimate causes are inequality and fear. The inequality that exploits and weakens the average worker / family. The fear that naturally arises from this stress, and looks for someone (someone “different”) to blame. The more the elite enrich themselves at the expense of the majority, the more they dumb down education and the media, the more they exploit racism and fear, the more the politics of dumb anger gains traction.

In general the elites don’t mind this, because it works pretty well for them. They think they can control and profit from this situation, e.g. Republicans in the USA. But then along comes a tipping point, like Donald Trump (who is nothing more than the logical consequence of dumb anger), and ooops – the elites have lost control of their system, with unpredictable and potentially catastrophic results.

How are we doing in NZ? (Anyone else here a fan of “Sleeping Dogs”?) Heather du Plessis-Allan had a go at this question in the weekend.

Fascism is just a few votes away

If you think fascism has no chance, don’t get too comfortable. It’s the kind of thing that’s here before you know it. In 1928, the Nazis got only 2.6 per cent of the vote. Five years later, the party won 44 per cent.

Every part of me wishes New Zealanders could feel smug about our tolerance and absence of men who do weird things with their hair, but have a look at what some of our politicians have said this week.

Act leader David Seymour suggested we force immigrants to sign a document pledging a commitment to New Zealand values. No hating women, no hating people who aren’t the same colour, no hating homosexuals, and so on. Then he and Winston Peters had a spat about whose idea it was first.

It’s a nice idea. Well, it would be if all Kiwis were like that. But we all know Kiwis who are misogynist or racist or homophobic. …

The politics of dumb anger is alive and well in NZ. Here’s some factors that HDPA missed: It is there in the dirty politics blogs, the comments sections of far far too many online forums, in attitudes sometimes given voice in talkback radio or through prominent media propagandists. We have a “PM” who was hosting dirty politics from his office, does prison rape jokes on talkback, and disparaging inconvenient science at every opportunity. We have a government that is actively increasing inequality, damaging health, education and democratic systems, and lashing out viciously at any criticism. How far will we go down this path?


Update: I’m not the only one having these ponders: “Brexit-ism and Trump-ism are symptoms of deep ills, reactions against all-knowing and all-owning elites who have presided over growing inequalities and other societal reshapings that have upset, disempowered, dispossessed or scarred “everyday” folk who feel left out and/or let down, outcasts-in-their-own-lands.”


112 comments on “The politics of dumb anger”

  1. tc 1

    HPA and husband Soper are playing the old 1-2 role in a nuanced rendition of Dirty politics.

    I’d be intrigued to know how much of it is hers or copy/pasted from other shills and the CT playbook in her typical once over lightly treatment of a very serious issue.

  2. Sabine 2

    Humanity not learning, they may have all the education that money can but they never gain any knowledge.

    Dumb fucks.

    • Halfcrown 2.1

      I like that, May I add it to my quotable quotes?

      That is without the expletive

  3. “Extreme right-wing politics is the politics of dumb anger.”

    Like this?

    British Labour MP shot dead

    KG: “Once upon a time I would have regarded it as a strike against the norms which make for a civilized society.
    But politicians long ago abandoned those norms and if one of them becomes a victim of that, well….. *shrug*”

    Oswald Bastable: “Start of a trend, I hope.”

    KG: “I hope so too.”

    KG: “Q: What’s one dead politician in the face of that massive betrayal of an ancient civilization?
    A. Not enough. Nowhere near enough.” http://falfn.com/CrusaderRabbit/?p=29978

    Except that doesn’t sound angry.

  4. Ad 4

    Anger is not all bad: it’s a summation and force of one’s judgement.

    Trump wouldn’t be this popular if his points didn’t have some validity.

    As for fascism, well, call me when we’re clearly corrupt, when the state jails reporters, when the public service has the same uniform, when we gave an overly-strong military, when Police are commanded by Ministers, when the economy is very weak or hyperinflated, when central elections are suspended, when all dissent is brutalized, or when we’re under major external threat.

    None apply here. Or in US. Or Britain.

    • Sabine 4.1

      which points have some validity?

      the deportation of 11 million ‘mexicans’
      the racial profiling of ‘others’ that he is advertising
      the make america great again merchandise made in china or mexico that will bring jobs to the US again, to make it great and beautiful again?
      the build the wall, the mutherfucking awesomest and most beautiful wall on earth?
      (prettier then the wall of Berlin, more awesome then the wall of Gaza, and surely more deadly then the wall separating Korea)
      the casual misogyny?
      the ‘look over there, there is ‘our african – american’?
      the ‘in the old times we did not have to put up with this shit – re protesters?

      I read today that the copy right of “mein Kampf” – held by the State of Bavaria has expired and the book is now in the public domain.
      I long held the believe that the book should be required reading, as much as the radio shows in rwanda (as far as they have been taped) should be required listening.

      Humanity, dumbest specimen ever brought forth by this planet.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Most of your points simply confuse fascism with ‘not liberal’.
        I don’t have to defend Donald Trump, nor the Brexit campaign. But, regrettably, nothing on your lovely list of leftie unhappiness counts as fascism.

        Clearly you know what real fascism looks like.
        The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself.

        • Sabine 4.1.1.1

          I was born in Germany. I was marched through our history by teachers that believed in never again. I was raised by educators that spend years working in various kibbutzes all over Israel as a form or repentance.

          I say these things not as a liberal, not as a women, not as a kiwi, but only as a German.

          Make of that what you want.

        • Greg 4.1.1.2

          My uncle shot Fascists, he was awarded the MM but never accepted it.

        • Li 4.1.1.3

          She was disputing your claim that trump has valid points, ya dork.

      • Richardrawshark 4.1.2

        Ta Sabine saved me the job of pointing that out.

        Your references to Mein Kampf is spot on, his divisive tactics are a parody of Hitlers hate, unfortunately I suspect his current voter base will be dropped like a hot potato or used to further his insatiable ego. He’s exactly the sort of self obsessed jerk we’ve seen who could go on a world domination tour and the might part is enough for me to say Trump should be stopped and disqualified.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    if you think things are bad now just consider what it will be like when the climate crisis becomes a crystal clear reality to the remnants of the western middle class within the next 10 years. These are the people who have happily and consistently voted for the working class and the under class to be repeatedly fucked over the last 3 to 4 decades.

    Remember it is always the middle and professional classes who enable a police state, not the working classes – they are typically the victims.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    also, if Clinton wins the Presidency, you are going to see the internal pressures within US society ramp up even more as she enforces the status quo even harder and further.

  7. Nelson Muntz 7

    I saw a video of a Trump rally on Youtube and it was like all his supporters were wearing black with arm bands and were doing Nazi salutes. And Trump was like wearing this thing that looked like and swastika. Oh, and each time Hilary’s name was mentioned they would all shout “Kill the bitch”. Oh, and it was all males at the rally, no women at all.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    I’m not keen on the title of this post “dumb anger”. What people are we calling dumb? What voters are we calling dumb?

    Do we think that our politics are so much smarter?

    Are we so blind that we can’t see that the Left has been an integral part of this result, and that our push for voting for the Least Evil has still been a push to vote for the Evil.

    • r0b 8.1

      I choose the word carefully and with some trepidation. The various definitions of “dumb” include mute, unheard, simplified, lacking intelligence or good judgement, all of which are relevant to the anger (not necessarily the people). Somewhat inspired by a Roosevelt quote. I certainly don’t mean to imply that all extreme right-wingers are stupid.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        That’s how I read it too CV.

        The word ‘dumb’ originally meant mute, someone unable to speak. Extending it to include lacking in intelligence or stupid is a degenerate use of the word.

      • Richardrawshark 8.1.2

        If you believe in a far right ideology or a far left ideology, intelligence is something I doubt you could claim. A more intellectual person would see the harm in both, the extreme suffering the lack of compassion.

        • Li 8.1.2.1

          That’s a silly summation to make. Surely an intellectual would judge an ideology on it’s merits and flaws and not just it’s placement on some subjective spectrum of left to right.
          You are right on compassion tho. Compassion always needs to be a big part of one’s deal.

          • Richardrawshark 8.1.2.1.1

            But once you pass the analysis stage of examining both extreme ideologies and are ready to make your conclusion, your left with your choices, if you decided to follow a proven failed ideology that has through historic events caused deaths to millions of people then you would be dumb to follow it and conclude it’s good.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2.1.1.1

              The failed ideology that both Left and right are following is capitalism.

              • Richardrawshark

                It’s just a fancy pyramid Scheme both communism and capitalism, the higher up you are the better things are.

                Both end up with a tyrant in charge. absolute power . it’s poison.

                DTB. I agree, there is a balance, it’s achievable, it requires exactly what you say, if by that you mean regions actually representing their own interests and not being bound to party lines.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  It’s just a fancy pyramid Scheme both communism and capitalism, the higher up you are the better things are.

                  What if I were to say to you that communism doesn’t have a hierarchy? That it is fully democratic?

                  I agree, there is a balance, it’s achievable, it requires exactly what you say, if by that you mean regions actually representing their own interests and not being bound to party lines.

                  I can’t even guess what you’re saying there.

                  • McFlock

                    What if I were to say to you that communism doesn’t have a hierarchy? That it is fully democratic?

                    Trouble with that is that by now it relies on a No True Scotsman fallacy.

                    But then it was always bunk, because Hegelian dialectics are bunk, it’s just mashing historical square pegs into thematic round holes.

                    Marx’ masterpiece was in his precise, thorough, well-researched, and logical identification of the catastrophic problems with capitalism and feudalism, and their common themes.

                    His analysis about how to address those problems was sweaty donkey balls, though.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Trouble with that is that by now it relies on a No True Scotsman fallacy.

                      Kinda which is why I didn’t want to point it out but in this case it happens to be true.

                      Q: How can you tell a communist society?
                      A: It has no hierarchies and is fully democratic.

                      Marx’ masterpiece was in his precise, thorough, well-researched, and logical identification of the catastrophic problems with capitalism and feudalism, and their common themes.

                      His analysis about how to address those problems was sweaty donkey balls, though.

                      That is also true but it can also be argued that Marx only looked to the implementation of a dictatorial system to start off with which would then be replaced by a worker run society (Pols 201).

                      Then there’s the fact that we have learned a lot since then and we should be looking at how to apply those lessons. Instead we keep doing the same failed ideology.

                    • McFlock

                      My problem wasn’t so much with the prediction of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but that it was a transitional phase to the synthesis that was commun1sm.

                      DotP are the natural outcome of the pressures marx described, but the problem with the theory is that any system that starts out following Marx then says it’s the embodiment of his synthetic (as in “synthesis” of feudalism and capitalism) state. Then they generally get overthrown, as dictatorial governments do, and suddenly no, no they weren’t. And everyone else who follows marx then says “ah, well, the fact that they were corrupt energiser-slaughter-bunnies proves they they were just a transitional stage that didn’t bear fruit, next time it’ll be better and I can read the matrix so agree with me or you’re supporting the capitalist hegemony”. It’s all pseudo-scientific, deterministic bunk. It’s “capitalism, revolution, hand-wave, utopia”.

                      At least being democratic or fabian socialist one can incrementally work towards improving the system, whereas your path to faith-based utopian could easily be that things haven’t become bad enough.

                  • Richardrawshark

                    What if I were to say to you that communism doesn’t have a hierarchy? That it is fully democratic?

                    i’d say in a perfect world, the realities have not been so. Hoxha, Stalin, Mao, Castro etc

                    • Richardrawshark

                      It’s starts in Universities, reading dreaming of a perfectly equal society, it ended in Albania as soon as the revolutionary leader had control he killed/imprisioned and worked to death every intellectual that could possible form resistance and took control.

                      A starving stupid population will be to busy trying to survive to challenge the elite.

                      this is the historical strategy from the university of Paris to his reign over Albania Enver Hoxha created in very simplistic terms, i’m still learning of the atrocities of his leadership now..

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      A starving stupid population will be to busy trying to survive to challenge the elite.

                      Which is why we need a well educated populace. Unfortunately, my time at uni doing economics, I can say it’s more indoctrination than education.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2.2

          I think that our resources should be used sustainably, that everyone should be housed and educated and that no one should be living in poverty and the environment needing to be protected. This brings about actual real limits that we must live within including a maximum population and preventing anyone from being rich.

          I also think that we should be a democracy rather than the elected dictatorship that we have now. This brings about personal responsibility for our governance that cannot be abrogated as well as putting in place policies that we mostly all agree on.

          Extreme Right?
          Extreme Left?
          Or simply the reality that we have to live within?

          • D'Esterre 8.1.2.2.1

            Draco T Bastard: “Unfortunately, my time at uni doing economics, I can say it’s more indoctrination than education.”

            If you want to get away from indoctrination, I heartily recommend philosophy. At least as I studied it many years ago: can’t say what that environment’s like now….

            • Stuart Munro 8.1.2.2.1.1

              Very much depends where you are – too many Feyerbend pushers in some faculties.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.3

        I think the citizens who are angry are making themselves heard as clearly as the system allows them to, and in the only ways that the system will permit them to express their legitimate rage against the power elite (whether Democrat or Republican, UK Labour or UK Conservatives).

        Also, anger is an emotion. Whether an emotion is expressed or not, or heard or not, does not make it “dumb.”

        • Richardrawshark 8.1.3.1

          My cognitive behaviour therapist used anger to get me out of depression a few times, it’s useful for that,

          In violent situations a calmness is needed, a clarity of mind, to focus ones thoughts, or achieve a single feat anger can trigger the chemical reactions you need.

          What we need is a clarity a calmness dealing with the political and social issues we are experiencing, getting angry, protesting? MLK led a peaceful protest, far more powerful.

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.3.1.1

            They – the power elite – killed MLK for that.

            • Richardrawshark 8.1.3.1.1.1

              and then promptly lost the whole fight.

              that was peace being attacked , to people it was like killing an unarmed man and they paid the price IMHO. Not saying it’s over, but they lost the hearts and minds, and it’s been getting slowly better there ever since. EDIT: Or did for a period afterwards at the minimum it caused big racism changes in the US.

      • Chris 8.1.4

        “I certainly don’t mean to imply that all extreme right-wingers are stupid.”

        But if not stupid certainly greedy or nasty or both, which kind of leads us back to stupid, via a stop-off at lacking intelligence, surely?

  9. Greg 9

    The assimilation of the Left into the cause of Feminism has hastened the awakening of Fascism. Its always been an underlying undercurrent in America politics. Its apparent in the McCarthy era, when Communism challenged the victory capitalism in 1950’s. The media played their part then, as they are doing now, of not reporting news, but creating it. Shooting protesting students on Campus, etc etc.
    Clinton is no better, she is a Saudi shill, her foundation has received huge kick backs in weapons deals and responsible for Saudi hegemony in splintering Iraq, and taking over Syria with its proxy ISIS army, so no peace in the Middle East for Islam.

    The only good news is that the TPPA will be consigned to the rubbish bin, and other fanciful FTA’s that do NZ workers and consumers no favours.

    • r0b 9.1

      The assimilation of the Left into the cause of Feminism has hastened the awakening of Fascism.

      That’s the silliest thing I’ve heard in ages.

      • Xanthe 9.1.1

        Yes it is the silliest thing ever, unfortunaly its also accurate

        • Sabine 9.1.1.1

          if we could just get the womens back under the tutelage of men, remove their access to credit, good jobs, equal education and above all remove the right to vote………then all would be good ey?

          and then, once the women can’t vote anymore, nor hold office and such, we remove certain rights from certain men? Yes?

          Maybe we start with non-white men? No right to vote. There problem removed.
          Maybe then we add the white men that don’t hold property? No right to vote. There problem removed.

          I gather that you are NOT a women, NOT a non-white man, and NOT a tenant in your own country, so you will still have the right to vote? Oh….maybe not you say?

          But but but Feminism ….

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.1

            as the economic and environmental situation deepens further into crisis, you can expect many of the gains of identity politics to be rolled back as old prejudices which never actually went away are put into motion again.

            In an inherently nasty, dog eat dog capitalistic system, this was always inevitable, and the reason why it was the economic system itself which needed to remain the central focus for change.

            Time has basically run out to do that however.

            • Sabine 9.1.1.1.1.1

              yes dear.

              • Colonial Viper

                Ignore my message if you want. Makes no difference to me. But apparently women can be 100% the equal of men as condescending pricks, amongst other things.

                • Sabine

                  indeed we can, we have had several thousand years of men giving us good examples of being pricks, amongst other things. Eventually we learned.

                  I don’t see you as part to the solution CV, I see you as part of the issue.
                  You have lost what ever believes you had, you have run out of champions to rally behind if you ever had any, and now have reached the end of the road where there is essentially nothing left but cynism. And i don’t have to validate it.
                  We have had a previous conversation where you have glibly stated that women will be poorer, more abused, and going backwards etc etc etc under both Hilary and Trump. Something that I don’t quite believe. But you seem to have no issues throwing females under the bus, i guess this might be because you are no female, hence certain things in life will never really happen to you.
                  So again, dear CV, i am only trying to be charitable and polite, as a good women should be 🙂

                  • Colonial Viper

                    We have had a previous conversation where you have glibly stated that women will be poorer, more abused, and going backwards etc etc etc under both Hilary and Trump. Something that I don’t quite believe.

                    Glibly? Something that you don’t believe?

                    Then you should look up the recent statistics for declining life expectancy of white American women.

                    It is the first time in recorded history that this has happened in the USA.

                    Researchers believe that this change amongst white women is due, amongst other things, a rising tide of suicides, pharmaceutical abuse, alcohol dependency and narcotics use.

                    And its happening under Barack Obama, who IMO is far to the left of neocon pro-regime change champ Hillary Clinton.

                    • weka

                      Another way to look at that is that feminists can see that in the context of 5,000 years, and that perspective looks a bit different.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Now there’s a glib response.

                      Nevertheless, I stick with my previous prediction that life will get shittier for women (and men too) under both Trump and Clinton. Just in different ways.

          • Xanthe 9.1.1.1.2

            Politics of division and polarisation.
            Have a look in the mirror sometime

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.2

          Feminism was never going to be a successful rationale and basis for its own political party so it had to get itself incorporated into other existing political parties.

          • Richardrawshark 9.1.1.2.1

            Can someone explain the goals of feminism if they differ from the achievement of equal rights regardless of race sex etc?

            Isn’t that promoted by all parties? Drawing attention to issues of equality is an issue we all must maintain. To separate the inequalities in our society and label them is a great way to focus issues, but as a political movement i’m not so sure it should be called one.

            • Stuart Munro 9.1.1.2.1.1

              Two kinds of feminism – one is founded in equality and only scumbags can oppose it. The other works on a discourse model, it doesn’t want fairness as an outcome, but merely advocates for its side amorally. Second type creates as many problems as it solves.

          • Bill 9.1.1.2.2

            CV. Capitalism has been around since the 1800s, yes? Could it have arisen if some of its underlying assumptions hadn’t been informed by a culture sunk deep in patriarchy…if it hadn’t been shaped by patriarchy?

            I’d say ‘no’.

            Outside of some nonsense Marxist argument based on determinism (that would have us believe that capitalism was inevitable), I’m not really aware of any thought besides feminist thought that can explain why our economy has assumed the general shape that it has – ie, how this economy was able to come into being or gain supremacy.

            The story of colonisation, based on Darwinism, guns and horrendous bad shit is almost simply a descriptive analysis relying on the far more critical or deeper analysis of patriarchy.

            edit – and exploitation was never going to a rational basis for a political party any more than was or is feminism. Of course the dominant culture subsumes.

            • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.2.2.1

              Capitalism has been around since the 1800s, yes?

              No. Capitalism has been around, in various guises, for at least 5000 years (i.e. all of recorded history). It has always brought about the destruction of the society that it arises in.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.2.2.2

              The story of colonisation, based on Darwinism, guns and horrendous bad shit is almost simply a descriptive analysis relying on the far more critical or deeper analysis of patriarchy.

              All of which may be correct, but all of which ignores the fact that people adapt themselves and their energies to the structural economic environment that they find themselves in.

              You change that structural economic environment eg via a UBI, via democratic communal structures, via co-operative facilities, and people will quickly find new ways of organising and prioritising their lives which don’t orbit around patriarchy.

              TL/DR even if you have correctly identified that the centre of the capitalist knot is “patriarchy”, pushing and pulling against the centre of the knot is not always the way to get a knot undone.

              • tricldrown

                DTB ou can’t change human nature human greed is a survival instinct.
                Communism is utopic moral idealism it will never succeed.
                Out of 3 million voters less than 100 support communism.
                Pure capitalism has more support .
                Moderated capitalism has a huge majority.
                You should read some research around political science.

                • Colonial Viper

                  pol sci has led us down this dead end mate. There is no such thing as “moderated capitalism ” when it is killing the planet. Shall we moderate the speed that happens at?

        • Li 9.1.1.3

          Someone on the internet doesn’t like feminism. What a shocker!!

          • Xanthe 9.1.1.3.1

            Li thats a long bow (if you were basing that on my comment).
            Personally and professionally i do actively and substantively support feminism.
            I dont support bullies and i think that politics of division do promote facism.
            I do think that feminisn assimilating the left is more accurate then the left assimilating feminism.
            Thats my honest opinion , nothing to do with “not liking”

    • Li 9.2

      The assimilation of the left into the cause of Feminism… What!?
      I can not picture a left that could dismiss women’s rights and movements. Surely there was no assimilation but instead feminism is part of the root system of left ideology.

      • Xanthe 9.2.1

        Equality! and opposition to discrimination are the root that you are referring to. This root was perverted by the oxymoronic doctrine of “positive discrimination” , thus the left was derailed and assimilated.

        Please dont call me Shirley 🙂

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2.1.1

          This root was perverted by the oxymoronic doctrine of “positive discrimination”

          Rubbish. The Left was founded on the notion of levelling the playing field. of seeking redress for injustice. That has always involved targeted assistance.

          • Xanthe 9.2.1.1.1

            Yup that many saw it like that was their achilies heel, and it got them in the end.
            Its gonna be hard to climb out of that hole, but it can be done with care and love

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2.1.1.1.1

              “the end”

              It’s your story, I guess.

              • McFlock

                Indeed.

                I’m not sure how the idea of “positive discrimination” can be more oxymoronic than eliminating socioeconomic power structures (the class system) while doing nothing to address the inequalities those structures created.

                • Xanthe

                  I agree both approaches fail, my point is. If you see a hungry child, feed them, If you see discrimination challange it and where it is whithin your power undermine it.
                  BUT!
                  If you apply discrimination on the basis of “class” then you promote and cement in that class structure you oppose.

                  And if you believe that somehow this wont happen in case of “positive discrimination” then we need to step back several steps and examine the nature of discrimination and class and also history!

                  • McFlock

                    Images of this sort say it far more succinctly than words ever can:

                    https://ehhsdean.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/equity-vs-equality-300×168.jpg?w=300

                    • Xanthe

                      Exactly!
                      You wanna spend yer life standing on a couple of cardboard boxes?

                    • McFlock

                      They only need to be there until I grow tall enough.

                      So, in the meantime, positive discrimination is to give me an extra box. Only real-world positive discrimination actually speeds the “growth” of the recipient group, as well as often making the institutions that practise it stronger.

                    • Xanthe

                      Well thats speculation and certainly in the case of “the left” not matched by the reality which we are now presented with

                    • McFlock

                      Well, making the institutions stronger is speculation with a certain amount of evidentiary support.

                      and certainly in the case of “the left” not matched by reality which we are now presented with

                      If you’re arguing that positive discrimination has harmed “the left” in NZ, I’d actually say that the debates about “identity politics” have been irrelevant to the polling of the left, except insofar as they were indicative of the general factionalisation of Labour that was deepened and extended by a minority of zealots who vehemently opposed the discussion of any issue that they did not deem worthy.

                      But that’s just my own speculation. The Greens have pretty strong diversity without any true believers throwing their toys out of the cot.

              • Xanthe

                And a new beginning in hope

  10. Pat 10

    dumb anger sums it up pretty well imo

  11. Richardrawshark 11

    http://www.dailysabah.com/balkans/2016/05/26/albania-recalls-atrocities-inside-communist-era-prison

    Just the tip of the iceberg, I have the books, see those pictures, almost all of them were engineers, teachers , educated, all of them. Think about that. That’s the politics of anger, applies to the far right, applies to the far left.

    As I have several members of the family who were killed beaten jailed had their eyes removed
    raped, and forced to work in conditions you cannot even imagine, I know what i’m talking about here.

    There is only one political view point that doesn’t lead to suffering, it’s called love.

  12. Corvidae 12

    Why are the comments beside the picture of Trump blurred out?

  13. weka 13

    Re the NZ situation, I think there is also an issue in how parts of the left demonise all RW people. Yes inequality creates a big gap between people. But so does ideology. If we cast all RW people as greedy, nasty, sefish etc, how can we ever have anything else but a swing back and forth with the risk of fascism taking hold as the post-neoliberals gain more and more power? We should be building relationships with old school conservatives, and looking at the politics of the people who are now not on the left/right spectrum. If we can’t treat each other well as humans we’ve no hope.

    • Xanthe 13.1

      Yes yes

    • Stuart Munro 13.2

      If we could find a few honest conservatives that might be tenable – but what about those who are still conspiring to destroy our state so that they can loot its assets? I want them in prison at the very least. If I run round stealing stuff that’s where I’ll go.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1

        +1

      • weka 13.2.2

        “If we could find a few honest conservatives that might be tenable – but what about those who are still conspiring to destroy our state so that they can loot its assets? I want them in prison at the very least. If I run round stealing stuff that’s where I’ll go.”

        What about them? And what does that have to do with my comment when I obviously wasn’t talking about them?

        Do you believe that all conservatives are conspiring to destroy the state and loot its assets?

        • Stuart Munro 13.2.2.1

          Judging by the last thirty years, many or most are – Gareth Morgan may be an exception. Certainly those with whom we engage on here never fail to endorse the most antisocial looting – they are not conservative in the traditional sense at all, but neo-liberal.

          • weka 13.2.2.1.1

            Are you saying that you don’t know anyone in your life who votes on the right but is a good person otherwise?

            I did differentiate between old school conservative and neoliberal for a reason.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 13.2.2.2

          Perhaps you can provide an example of an honest Tory who isn’t delusional, whose political views don’t employ false narratives and “polite” hate speech.

          • weka 13.2.2.2.1

            I don’t know any Tories OAB. I do know people that vote on the right, some of whom are old school conservatives, and of those many are decent enough people. You can call them whatever variation of evil you like, but that just takes me back to my original point. When we get closer to fascism, that gap that we’ve taken part in creating is going to be part of the problem. Unless you are thinking you’ll eventually be able to get them all with their backs against the wall, but there’s still a problem there too because we are all related to and live with conservatives.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 13.2.2.2.1.1

              “Decent enough people”, like I said, can still be delusional. Their delusions have real and harmful effects on other citizens.

              What makes you think I want their backs to a wall? Can’t you think of other ways to prevent lies becoming government policy?

              • weka

                I’m not talking about govt policy. Go back and retread my original comment.

                The backs against the wall comment is in reference to NZ becoming a fascist country which is what the post and my comment were about.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  If we cast all RW people as greedy, nasty, selfish etc…

                  I’m not: I’m saying they’re in possession of false and harmful beliefs.

                  We should be building relationships with old school conservatives…

                  …and sitting down with them and taking them step by step through the reasons their false beliefs are hurting people.

                  • weka

                    “I’m not:”

                    Good. I was talking about the propensity on the left, including here in ts, to cast all RWers as evil. And then what that means in terms of the context of the post.

                    If you want to talk about something else (eg sitting down and showing RWers the error of their ways), that’s a different conversation.

  14. Mosa 14

    Evil only gains a foothold when good people do nothing.

  15. aerobubble 15

    Fascism is just canniballism practiced by society on itself. It consumes the ecomony, social and economic wealth with negative outcomes.

    When wealth disregards its resposubilities, ignores its own foundations, the good will of the majority, then fascism can take hold.

    I mostly blame Murdoch. Growing economic outcomes of cheapening energy prices was not caused by neo-conervativism, rather neo-conservtivism allowed for a new class to emerge that redirected the growth into pandering to wealth. Once removed the skill set of pretty much every segment of society is geared to pandering to wealth. Our society is incapable of return to a civil order that regenerates itself, but when it does seize the opportunity, chooses faith, or strong men, or media befumbling answers that paper over. We just need a free press, shaming for the right principled reasons, and a breakout of humility, well, i could be wrong but dobt troll me coz you can but because you have a good reason….

  16. Mrs Brillo 16

    Oh, Heather DPA, I fear we cannot celebrate an absence of men who do weird things with their hair in our national life.

    We put Nandor T in Parliament.

    The Toxic Tit is still holding a co-presenter hostage on Seven Sharp.

    And Grahame Thorne’s perm even has its own web entry in our national encyclopedia: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/video/29262/grahame-thornes-perm

    We’re more deviant than we like to acknowledge.

  17. Draco T Bastard 17

    In general the elites don’t mind this, because it works pretty well for them. They think they can control and profit from this situation, e.g. Republicans in the USA. But then along comes a tipping point, like Donald Trump (who is nothing more than the logical consequence of dumb anger), and ooops – the elites have lost control of their system, with unpredictable and potentially catastrophic results.

    This is why we cannot afford the rich. They will always destroy society in their drive to have ever more. It’s why usury is banned in all major religions. We also need a new definition of usury to include all interest, shareholding and other forms of business ownership and everything that results in the commons becoming owned by individuals.

    EDIT:

    We have a government that is actively increasing inequality, damaging health, education and democratic systems, and lashing out viciously at any criticism. How far will we go down this path?

    Probably all the way. No society yet has managed to bring itself back from the decline once it’s set in.

  18. Bill 18

    World War II came and went. There was fascism well before that war and fascism after that war. What we got (roughly referring to the English speaking world) was a cotton candy wrapped version of fascism sitting between two extremes that offered up examples of less cotton candy fascism – examples sat to ‘the left’ of us and others sat to ‘the right’ of us.

    Mind you, if you think liberal democracy was or is either liberal or democratic, then you have to set a high bar for fascism, y’know, brown shirts and black shirts and whatever colour shorts on top of militarism and something about worthy and identifiable victims of state terror.

    • Redelusion 18.1

      Oh Bill you are such a glass half empty sort, happiness. Is just an attitude shift away

      • Bill 18.1.1

        Can’t see what calling a spade a spade has to do with relative levels of happiness Redelusion. Don’t bother to explain even if you have an explanation. It would be a distraction to what was written. Address that (what was written) if you’re going to address anything.

  19. Incognito 19

    Anger per se is neither good nor bad; it is a raw emotion, raw energy, if you like. Anger can be channelled and directed or it can be stoked into an all-destroying force that is blind, deaf, irrational, and “dumb”.

    People that prey on other people’s fears & anger play with fire.

    The comments on this Post as well as on HDPA’s piece take some worrying twists & turns that reveal much confusion. This is not helped much by misconceptions of fascism or Nazism, on the contrary, as confusion and uncertainty are only a few steps away from loss of control (perceived or real; it doesn’t matter in the first instance) and full-on fear.

    To counter these developments we need adequate political and public discourse, easy access to accurate and trustworthy information, and proper analysis by trustworthy and preferably non-partisan ‘thought leaders’.

    How far will we go down this path?

    Perhaps ironically, I think that New Zealand is too multi-cultural, diverse, and pluralistic to slide into full-on fascism. This doesn’t mean that things cannot turn ugly but it may not end up catastrophically.

  20. Richardrawshark 20

    -incognito

    not having a go at all. reading your post I was struck by this

    you said

    Perhaps ironically, I think that New Zealand is too multi-cultural, diverse, and pluralistic to slide into full-on fascism. This doesn’t mean that things cannot turn ugly but it may not end up catastrophically.

    I read it and wondered if the minorities and Jewish people in Germany during the 30’s thought the same.

    I do not think either, it would happen here, but thinking that did make me question it.

    • Incognito 20.1

      Interesting question and comparison.

      I am speculating (!) that most (ethnic) minorities in the Weimar Republic had a dim view of the future, in those days, and lived harsh, risky, and uncertain lives. They did not have access to news and information as we do nowadays.

      I am also speculating, but with slightly more confidence, that NZ demographics are very different from pre-war Germany. In the 2013 Census a total of 213 ethnic groups were identified in New Zealand.

      New Zealand is classified as “super diverse” based on the size of the non-majority populations and the number of immigrant and ethnic communities. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11170288

      As I said before, I think our demographics could be an important ‘buffer’ against fascism taking a foothold here.

      • Richardrawshark 20.1.1

        I’d imagine words of mouth spread bad news real quick amongst jewish, gay, and coloured communities in those years too. News always had a way of getting around.

        Your right about NZ, I can’t see it at all, we are more tolerant of other ethnicities in the main.

        We are not the rat race that is the overcrowded Nations of the world. The fear is getting dragged into their messes. Wars through treaty alliances kind of messes.

  21. Stuart Munro 21

    On dumb anger – violence is the rhetoric of the inarticulate.

  22. Michael 22

    I think fascism is awake again because the progressive left is no longer interested in the task of mass political leadership. Its office holders are drawn from the ranks of the cosmopolitan bourgeoisie, who benefit from neoliberal capitalism (or, at least, are not discomfitted by it); their preoccupations are with “identity” politics, while they have no empathy with the urban proletariat, who are now the fodder for right-wing populism that encompasses fascism. While there are certainly significant local variations in this pattern, I think my analysis is valid for most western polities today. My particular sorrow is that the New Zealand Labour Party so conspicuously abandoned its founding principles and its place in my country’s political spectrum at the very time both are necessary for the wellbeing of our people.

    • Richardrawshark 22.1

      Did Labour Abandon their core or was it dismantled by dropping compulsory union membership by the Tories in the 80’s, along with the unity of the large industries of the time, like manufacturing, shipmaking, rail, and anything else that had a good union membership.

      The failure IMHO was in Labour not reversing this immediately they regained power. Lump it or don’t vote for us.

      Did you think the progressive left were ever interested in mass political leadership and not focused more on progressive economic methods that were not going to have them labelled taxers and spenders?

      It was the old left IMHO who were keen to promote the ideology of communal decision making, the reality is their seemed to always have to be someone in charge, to stop the arguments, simply put.

  23. Michael 23

    Isn’t “dropping compulsory union membership” synonymous with “Labour Abandon[ing] their core”? I know the formal severing of compulsory union membership from employment occurred under the Nats but I seem to recall that the fourth Labour government went a long way towards weakening the industrial arm of the Labour movement by virtue of its actions between 1984 and 1990. The Nats merely continued the trajectory set for them when they took office in 1990. While the Clark government did not, for the most, take the country further to the right, neither did it return the political pendulum to a leftward movement. Thus, the Nats, again, merely restarted the swing rightwards after 2008 (albeit less violently than they did in 1990). In the context of this thread, Labour’s decision to abandon its historic principles deprived it of its legitimacy as a political force, with the result that the proletariat is now fertile ground for fascism.

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