Archive for the ‘Dissent’ category

Video: Robert Spencer on the Left’s war against reality and attempts to crush all dissent

October 8, 2017

Video: Robert Spencer on the Left’s war against reality and attempts to crush all dissent, Young Americans for Freedom via YouTube, October 7, 2017

(Please see also, A must watch, it is your time more than worth! An old geezer, it’s my bedtime so I haven’t watched Mr. Spencer’s address yet. I will do so tomorrow morning. –DM)

 

Today I spoke at the Young America’s Foundation’s 2017 Chicago Freedom Conference. As usual with YAF, the young people in attendance were informed, committed, and enthusiastic.

I start at 8:09 in this video.

Germany’s New Propaganda Bureau

January 18, 2017

Germany’s New Propaganda Bureau, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, January 18, 2017

“Considering the [upcoming] federal elections we must act very fast,” the officials urged in the memo, citing the need to combat “fake news.”

In other words, the Interior Ministry’s bureaucrats fear that Chancellor Angela Merkel will lose the elections in September 2017, and are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent that scenario, even if it means using (even more) federal authority to crack down on free speech by inventing an official state propaganda bureau. The current debate on “fake news” is a convenient excuse.

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A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July 2016 of creating a Facebook group that criticized the government’s migration policy. Also, in July 2016, 60 people suspected of writing “hate speech” online had their homes raided by German police.

None of the above seems to be enough, however, for the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, from Angela Merkel’s CDU party, who believes that what Facebook is already doing against “hate speech” is not enough. According to the CDU politician, there is a need for more legislation.

The German government’s view of what constitutes “hate speech” is highly selective and appears limited to protecting the government’s own policies on immigration from legitimate criticism.

When massive antisemitism swept large German cities in the summer of 2014, for example, no such anti-racist zeal was manifest on the part of the German government. On the contrary, there were instances of authorities practically facilitating hate speech. In July 2014, Frankfurt police let mainly Muslim “protesters” use their van’s megaphone to belt out slogans of incitement in Arabic, including the repeated chanting of “Allahu Akbar” and that Jews are “child murderers”.

Firebombing a synagogue, on the other hand, is simply an “act of protest”.

Officials in Germany’s Interior Ministry are urging Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to establish a “Defense Center against Disinformation” (Ab­wehr­zen­trum ge­gen Des­in­for­ma­ti­on) to combat what they call “political disinformation,” a euphemism for “fake news.”

“The acceptance of a post-truth age would amount to political capitulation,” the officials told Maizière in a memo, which also disclosed that the bureaucrats at the Interior Ministry are eager to see “authentic political communication” remain “defining for the 21st century.”

One wonders whether by “authentic political communication,” the officials of the Interior Ministry are referring to the way German authorities scrambled to cover up the mass sexual attacks on women on New Year’s Eve a year ago in Cologne? At the time, German police first claimed, surreally, on the morning of January 1, 2016, that the situation on New Year’s Eve had been “relaxed.” Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers later dryly admitted, “This initial statement was incorrect.” Alternatively, perhaps they are referring to the decision of Germany’s public broadcaster, ZDF, not to report on the attacks until four days after they had occurred? Even a former government official, Hans-Peter Friedrich, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Interior Minister from 2011 to 2013, accused the media at the time of imposing a “news blackout” and operating a “code of silence” over negative news about immigrants. How is that for “authentic political communication”?

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“Considering the [upcoming] federal elections we must act very fast,” the officials urged in the memo, citing the need to combat “fake news.”

In other words, the Interior Ministry’s bureaucrats fear that Chancellor Angela Merkel will lose the elections in September 2017, and are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent that scenario, even if it means using (even more) federal authority to crack down on free speech by inventing an official state propaganda bureau. The current debate on “fake news” is a convenient excuse.

Germany has, of course, been cracking down on free speech for quite a while now. Already in September 2015, Merkel said, “When people stir up sedition on social networks using their real name, it is not only the state that has to act, but also Facebook as a company should do something against these statements”.

Under a government program, which has enlisted the help of the German non-governmental organization, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, led by Anetta Kahane (who has turned out, in a fine twist of irony, to be a former Stasi agent and informer) German authorities are monitoring how many supposedly “racist” posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to look at legislative measures if the results turn out to be “unsatisfactory”. The program is scheduled to run until March 2017.

A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July 2016 of creating a Facebook group that criticized the government’s migration policy. Their page stated, “The war and economic refugees are flooding our country. They bring terror, fear, sorrow. They rape our women and put our children at risk. Make this end!”

Also, in July 2016, 60 people suspected of writing “hate speech” online had their homes raided by German police.

None of the above seems to be enough, however, for the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, from Merkel’s CDU party, who believes that what Facebook is already doing against “hate speech” is not enough. According to Lammert, there is a need for more legislation. A law to bring social networks under penalty of fines if they fail to erase “hate messages” and “false news” has just been announced by Volker Kauder, leader of the parliamentary group in Merkel’s current Bundestag and CDU/CSU faction, and Thomas Oppermann, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary group.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has also recently called on companies such as Facebook to address “false announcements” on the Internet, saying he felt that the Europeans were increasingly becoming “sensitive to who is fluttering around them and who is telling them the truth.”

All of this, naturally, has Merkel’s strong support. She told the Bundestag in a speech on November 23:

“I support efforts by Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to address hate speech, hate commentaries, devastating things that are incompatible with human dignity, and to do everything to prohibit it because it contradicts our values”.

Those “values” are clearly circumscribed: The German government’s view of what constitutes “hate speech” is highly selective, and appears limited to protecting the government’s own policies on immigration from legitimate criticism.

When massive antisemitism swept large German cities in the summer of 2014, for example, no such anti-racist zeal was manifest on the part of the German government. On the contrary, there were instances of authorities practically facilitating hate speech. In July 2014, Frankfurt police let mainly Muslim “protesters” use their van’s megaphone to belt out slogans of incitement in Arabic, including the repeated chanting of “Allahu Akbar” and that Jews are “child murderers”.

In another such instance, a German court found that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal by two German Arabs and a juvenile accomplice was not anti-Semitic, but rather “an act of protest” to “bring attention to the Gaza war.” The men were convicted of arson.

In Germany, it is criminal to bring attention to the problems that come with the government’s migration policies, or to criticize those policies, because this constitutes “hate speech.” Firebombing a synagogue, on the other hand, is simply an “act of protest.” Perhaps, once the “Defense Center against Disinformation” is set up, such “acts of protest” will be labeled, “Officially Approved Un-Fake Communication.”

Gulag, Western Style

November 23, 2016

Gulag, Western Style, PJ MediaDavid Solway, November 22, 2016

newspeak

In the last analysis, this system of subjugation looks to be even more effective than the cruder techniques of its tyrannical counterparts. In the absence of public awareness and concerted pushback, we will have sold our birthright for a mess of political potage.

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There are various ways of quashing social and political dissent, some more effective than others. The “Soviet method” practiced in stringently repressive regimes—torture, imprisonment, the ever-expanding Gulag, summary execution—works extremely well in the shorter historical timeframe, until a people rise up in revolt or such demonic societies collapse from their own internal contradictions. Of course, the truly Stygian regimes, closed to the world, indifferent to economic pressures, and under the heavy boot of unbroken military control, such as North Korea, may persist indefinitely or until defeated in war. But generally speaking, the tried-and-true methods of political oppression are sufficient to the task of keeping a population in a state of enslavement for a prolonged historical period.

In the sphere of the liberal West, however, there are other means of subjection to the will of increasingly centralized governments. Because they tend to function gradually and under the radar, these tactics are enormously efficient in their deadening effects, going unrecognized until it is often too late to mount significant resistance. They operate through a process of curricular distortions, social pressure and incremental legislation targeting speech habits, facets of normal behavior, assumptions of what counts as morally legitimate, and financial and job security.

A useful technique for anaesthetizing the individual citizen and rendering him compliant is the erasure of authentic historical knowledge. We’ve remarked the success of this approach in the U.S. with the “history from below” or “people’s history” movement, associated with Howard Zinn, and the foregrounding of a bowdlerized version of Islamic history in American schools. Canada is no different. Eric McGeer, author of Words of Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War, writes: “In my last years of high school teaching I was increasingly infuriated and disgusted at the portrayal of Canada in the history textbooks assigned for use in our courses. There was no sense of gratitude in the textbooks, no empathy with the people of the past or an attempt to see them in their own terms, no sense of the effort people made to create one of the few truly liveable societies on earth. You would have thought that this country was nothing more than a racist, bigoted, this or that-phobic hotbed. My first lesson involved taking the book and dropping it into the waste paper basket and advising the students to do the same.” (personal communication). The study of history, McGeer concludes, is nothing now but a progressive morality tale and a mechanism of social engineering. Sounds a lot like Title IX. Pride in one’s nation, its accomplishments and sacrifices, is contra-indicated. There is more than one way of burning the flag.

The center-right consensus that has characterized Western nations has been under attack for some considerable time as nation after nation in the once liberal West gravitates progressively leftward. Robert Conquest’s Second of his Three Laws of Politics states that “any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” The consequence of Conquest’s Law is, inevitably, what Robert Michels in Political Parties called “The Iron Law of Oligarchy,” which formulates how democratic institutions tend to succumb to the rule of an elite—in our day, a progressivist camarilla that controls government policy and media outlets, and harnesses the energies of dissenting associations and cabals. In many countries, the democratic process has become or is on the road to becoming a mere formality.

The oligarchic agenda can be detected in the disastrous nationalization of the health care system; the decadence of an academy which indoctrinates rather than educates; the rise of destructive feminism and the feminization of the culture; the transgendering of everyday life—in Canada, for example, Bill C-16 has been tabled, making “gender expression” a prohibited ground of discrimination and potentially mandating non-binary pronouns such as zhi or hir, as is already the case in New York City where astronomical fines are levied for contravention; the special status ascribed to the incursions of anti-democratic Islam; the “abolition of the family,” as Marx and Engels urged in The Communist Manifesto; and the regulatory strangling of the free market economy and the conjoint attrition of the middle class. Additionally, the leftist project is materially facilitated by the growing prevalence of kangaroo courts run by committed activists of every conceivable stripe and in which no provision whatsoever is made to assist those too often falsely accused of discrimination or being in violation of some obscure code or policy of sanctioned conduct. The judgments handed down against those who have offended the sensibilities of favored identity groups will often involve harshly punitive forms of retribution that may cost a defendant his employment and his livelihood.

A Romanian friend who suffered through Nicolae Ceaușescu’s dictatorship in his home country tells me that in many ways the situation in the “freedom loving” West is actually worse. In Romania, as in the Soviet Union and the rest of the Eastern Bloc, most people knew that the regime was founded on lies and that the media were corrupt, time-serving institutions. Here, on the contrary, people tend to believe that the government is relatively, if not entirely, trustworthy, that the judiciary is impartial, and that the media actually report the news. Citizens are therefore susceptible to mission creep and are piecemeal deceived into a condition of indenture to socialist governance, an activist judiciary, a disinformative, hireling press corps, and left-wing institutions. People will vote massively for the Liberal Party in Canada and the Democrats in the U.S., not realizing they are voting themselves into bondage, penury and stagnation. The process operates insensibly and takes longer to embed itself into the cultural mainstream, but the result is alarmingly effective and durable. My friend has never read F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom or George Orwell’s 1984, but his layman’s insights and practical experience bear out Hayek’s scholarly analysis and Orwell’s dire warnings.

A totalitarian regime will control its citizens through propaganda, censorship, and outright violence, modes of oppression that are at least publicly demonstrable, evident to most. But knowing that the enchainment of the spirit is ultimately more reliable than the enchainment of the flesh, a democratic polity veering towards oligarchy will focus on propaganda and censorship as well, but in a far more subtle form. It will function mainly through public shaming rituals, social ostracism, rigid speech codes, Orwellian disinformation, and legal or quasi-legal assault. It does not need to depend on physical violence.

Fear of social rejection, the lure of groupthink, the pestilence of political correctness controlling what one may say and think, public apathy, historical ignorance, and especially the Damoclean sword of selective hiring, job dismissal, and financial reprisal go a long way to subdue a people to the will of its masters and consign them to a Gulag that may be less observable a such, but one that is nonetheless socially and economically crippling to individuals, families and businesses.

In the last analysis, this system of subjugation looks to be even more effective than the cruder techniques of its tyrannical counterparts. In the absence of public awareness and concerted pushback, we will have sold our birthright for a mess of political potage.