[FoRK] 4 ways we're still fighting the Civil War

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Apr 16 20:43:18 PDT 2011

On 4/16/11 7:24 PM, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Apr 16, 2011, at 6:14 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> Interesting.  Good thing we're mostly one-sided in our "parading their piety and labeling opponents as infidels".  Still plenty of "demonizing your opponents" though.  Good thing our recent "Third Great Awakening" (more or less) didn't become too Third Reich-ish.  We only invaded-rebuilt two Muslim countries.
>> http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/04/08/civil.war.today/index.html?hpt=C2
>>> *The disappearance of the political center*
> The disappearance of the political center is illusory. It does not have any representation in either politics or the media currently, so it only seems like the center has disappeared to an insulated and

I agree, it is more of a muting of the center than disappearance.  But, in terms of influence, that is sometimes (temporarily) 

> provincial media. Outside of a handful of fringe kooks, most Democrats and most Republicans, and even Greens and Libertarians, are far more normal than people that obsess about politics seem to assume.
> Fear of "the others" in political punditry is driven by exactly the same kind of ignorance of other cultures that creates many social problems. The fashionability of libelous mischaracterizations of people we've made no attempt to understand just adds to the rancor. Calls for civility and decorum function better when they are less obviously hypocritical.

But you have to be willing to put up with thinking they are hypocritical for a bit until both sides get out of feud mode.

> As a case in point, the use of "Third Reich" above has no material relevance to the discussion of political polarization in the US except to signal status by casting aspersions on "others".  Everyone is correct when they assert the other guy is a big part of the problem.

I disagree, except with the "in the US" part as we are, of course, not so stupid to let things get that bad.  However, as I've 
pointed out before, the Third Reich arose, and was enabled by a very similar religious surge that caused a similar, but far more 
extreme type of political polarization.  By a population that held some questionable views already.  I didn't know any of that, 
or even what the "Third Reich" referred to until I read the exhibits at Dachau.  Unfortunately their web site doesn't have that 
part of the exhibit online.  In the Wikipedia article about Nazism, there are only hints:

> Aryan mysticism <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysticism> claimed that Christianity <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity> 
> originated in Aryan religious tradition and that Jews had usurped the legend from Aryans.^[42] 
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism#cite_note-autogenerated6-41> 
> Spengler's book /The Decline of the West <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West>/ (1918) written during the 
> final months of World War I <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I> in which he addressed the claim of decadence 
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decadence> of modern European civilization that he claimed was caused by atomizing and 
> irreligious individualization and cosmopolitanism <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmopolitanism>.^[50] 
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism#cite_note-autogenerated16-49> In /Decline of the West/, Spengler's major thesis was that 
> a law of historical development of cultures existed involving a cycle of birth, maturity, aging, and death when it reaches its 
> final form of civilization.^[52] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism#cite_note-Cyprian_Blamires_2006._Pp._628-51> Upon 
> reaching the point of civilization, a culture will lose its creative capacity and succumb to decadence 
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decadence> until the emergence of "barbarians <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarian>" create a 
> new epoch.^[52] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism#cite_note-Cyprian_Blamires_2006._Pp._628-51> Spengler considered the 
> Western world <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_world> as having succumbed to decadence of intellect, money, cosmopolitan 
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmopolitanism> urban life, irreligious life, atomized 
> <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Atomization> individualization <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individualism>, and the end of 
> biological fertility as well as "spiritual" fertility.^[52] 
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism#cite_note-Cyprian_Blamires_2006._Pp._628-51> He believed that the "young" German nation 
> as an imperial power would inherit the legacy of Ancient Rome <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Rome> and lead a 
> restoration of value in "blood <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodline>" and instinct, while the ideals of rationalism would 
> be revealed as absurd.^[52] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism#cite_note-Cyprian_Blamires_2006._Pp._628-51> 

But at the Dachau exhibit, the populist rise of Nazism drew specifically on religious polarization, fears, and claims of 
piousness.  Regardless of the lack and twisting of religion later, that's how they, essentially, started a civil war that became 
a world war.  Hence, my mention.


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