Wednesday, 29 May 2019

The Age of the Simpleton

I can remember the forlorn, solitary figures with sandwich boards around their necks who walked the streets of London in all weathers. The message on their boards was simple: "the end is nigh".
Sometimes the presence of these figures annoyed me. I thought: simpletons, why don't you just piss off.
Other times I felt sorry for them.

The advent of the computer and internet changed their lives completely.
They could now come in from the cold, communicate with each other and, as a group, spread their simple message with a keyboard.
The forlorn, solitary figures formed pressure groups and later political parties. 

Nowadays, they walk the corridors of power. No longer forlorn and solitary, but esteemed and worshiped.
Their message is still the simple: "the end is nigh".

And yes, they are right. When simpletons take over, the end is nigh.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Brexit Blues

The politicians are not to blame. They are representative of the people. And the people are suffering from a Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The people want to leave I am told, and they want to remain I am told.
They are willing to revolt and fight for the right to leave and to remain.

If you represent the real will of the people you cannot compromise, because that would be a betrayal of the people.

All hail the revolting people with mental health issues.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Blame it on Bismark, not on the Jews

I wrote about the octogenarian Dutchman who told me Churchill was responsible for the Second World War and that if the Jews had not tried to control the world, Hitler would not have had to kill them.
(As an aside, the Dutch Strasserist leaves the option open of some “good” Jews who did not try to control the world; sounds very modern.)
This is a form of extreme historical revisionism that tries to downplay the evil role of the Nazis, and is only voiced by right-wing and Muslim Jew-haters.

Unfortunately, other forms of revisionist claptrap are supported by more people.
One of the most popular delusions is the assertion that the (draconian) reparations Germany had to pay at the end of the First World War led to the election of Hitler and the Second World War.
Not in the sense of one of the contributing factors, but in the sense of a causal relationship.

On social media everybody is a historian and everything can be explained with a one-liner. In this case: it was the reparations.
The claim paints the German people as victims who chose Hitler because of the persecution of the allies and usually blames the Jews, who are said to have controlled the finances of the reparations system.
It is mainly voiced by historical revisionists. However, there are also stupid, naive people everywhere who lap it up.
I have just seen it presented as “fact” by Jews on a Dutch FB-friend’s site. I did not comment as I have nothing to say to them.

In the following paragraphs I will take a short, casual look at the revisionist claim: there was a causal relationship between the reparations, the election of Hitler and the Second World War.

Did the Germans actually elect Hitler during the democratic period of the Weimar Republic? No they did not.
In the last free elections of November 1932, his party received 33% of the vote. That was a drop of 4% from the previous election.
It was the fragmentation of the vote and the peculiar working of the system of proportional representation, not a majority of the German electorate, that helped him seize power.

What about the reparations then?
Yes the reparations were draconian, but 1933 was 15 years after the end of the First World War.
And, I would add, have you never heard of the Dawes plan and the economic "Golden Years"?

In April 1924, an American economist named Charles Dawes was recruited to help set a new, realistic, target for Germany’s reparations payments.
This was called the Dawes Plan. Besides reducing the reparations, his plan reorganized the German National Bank and called for a loan of 800 million gold marks (emphasis on gold) for Germany.
The loan, financed primarily by America, was given. 

These measures eased the economic pressure on Germany.
The economic improvement led to the years between 1924 and 1929 becoming known as the “Golden Years”.
In October 1929 the Wall Street Crash occurred and the German economy collapsed. 

There are libraries full of analyses of the factors that contributed to the rise of Hitler and the Second World War.
Some refer to political science theories, like the J-curve of frustrated “rising expectations”, to explain the growth of left-wing and right-wing extremism in Germany in the interbellum years.

Even I have tried my hand at analysis. I wrote a paper on the subject that was well–received by my peers. Unfortunately, my epistle was written many years ago and I can only remember the highlights.

I highlighted the fact that Germany had no democratic tradition.
Bismark had united Germany under Prussia through wars. He did not allow any real democracy. The tradition of militarism and autocracy was predominant.
The Weimar Republic created wonderful democratic institutions. However, they were not populated by democrats and were not a buffer to the rise of extremism.

So my one-liner would be: blame it on Bismark, not on the Jews

Sunday, 12 May 2019

In Western Europe, Jews have become expendable - again

You may have read about it. It is déjà vu.
May 4, 2019: Remembrance Day in the Netherlands. Official commemorations with deep emotional empathy for the Dutch Jews murdered during the Holocaust.
May 5, 2019: Liberation Day in the Netherlands. There is a public celebration in The Hague. A group of some 50 supporters of the Rotterdam football club Feyenoord chant the usual Jews to the gas chant.

Hundreds of people are there.

Nobody does anything, except one Jewish man.
He tries to talk to the haters.
They rough him up a bit.
He goes to a policeman who is nearby. What does the policeman do? Does he call for more police to arrest the chanters?
No, he sympathizes with the Jew and does nothing.

May 5, 2019 an article by a Jewish columnist, Rosanne Hertzberger. She is not anti-Israel, just against the current Israeli government.
She comments in her article that she is proud of how the democratic institutions function towards Jews in the Netherlands: “I see a lot of concern and involvement with the fate of the Jews, and I appreciate that.”

If I connect the Jew-hating event in The Hague to Ms Hertzberger’s article, then I should appreciate the policeman who expressed sympathy and did nothing.
Many Diaspora Jews, including Ms Herzberger, do not seem to realize you should judge people by their deeds not by their words.
They do not realize that Jews have become expendable. 

The Netherlands endorsed the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Nice words of support for Jews.
Should I be cheering?
After all, hate speech is a criminal offence in the Netherlands.

No, I am not cheering at this “concern and involvement with the fate of the Jews”. 
They did not incorporate it into law. Therefore, it has no validity.

In the centre of Amsterdam, on Dam Square opposite the Royal Palace, stands the 22-metres high National Monument. 
This is the Netherlands’ most important memorial to World War II.
Most of the dead were Dutch Jews who were killed in the death camps.
Yet, there are regular manifestations of hate speech against Jews in front of this monument.
The police do nothing. If you intervene, you may be arrested.

Jews have become expendable - again. Not just in the Netherlands, but in most of Western Europe.