Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Who is worse--Democrats or Nazis? 

A serious question.

Yesterday, 25,000 people turned out to rally against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia. They held up signs like "Hitler Lives," "No Nukes for Iran," etc. There were several motives that brought the protesters out, including perhaps fear and genuine concern for Israel. But the main motive was to come together in unified hatred of "evil." The ultimate envisioned goal was a war with Iran that would somehow approximate to a re-enactment of World War II that could be viewed on live television--the History Channel come to life, the thrill of watching a real movie in which one actually plays a (minor) role.

The idea is to "be" on TV, without having to risk getting killed. That's what the protesters want. (For further thoughts on this, find the posts from last "9-11 Day" about the NYU president's assertion that 9-11 proved that "history is still happening" because we can "watch" it and it is "breathtaking.")

Sentiments of hatred, stirred up by the media and intended for expression in the media, sentiments which ultimately serve the interests of a narrow syndicate or corporation--this is the textbook definition of fascism. Yesterday's rally was a fascist rally.

A very appropriate analogue is presented by the Nuremberg rallies. The people at those rallies weren't calling directly for the Holocaust. They just wanted to get together, be participants in something "real" (because filmed and broadcast on radio), unite against "evil," and hopefully foment violence against people whose corpses they wouldn't have to see.

The most active participants in yesterday's fascist rally were NY Democrats like Sheldon Silver and Elliot Engler and Columbia president Lee Bollinger. Bollinger's performance--accusing Ahmadinejad of supporting terrorism because he supports the wholly legitimate Hezbollah organization, accusing Ahmadinejad of killing US troops--was, quite simply, a call for war.

That war will happen. It may not happen under Bush. But even if Hillary Clinton is president, it will simply not be possible to inaugurate policies that de-escalate U.S.-Iran relations. Iran's control of oil and Shi'a radicalism, its non-aligned status, its refusal to bow to the U.S./Saudi Arabia/Israel axis of oil and weapons sales (a real axis of death, if not of evil)--all of this makes Iran "our" enemy and an inevitable war-object. There will be war. Bollinger did his part to bring it about.

The rally and the war-mongering constitute a big step toward the murders of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people.

Bollinger's antics may be compared (unfavorably) to Heidegger's infamous pro-Nazi Rector's Address of 1933, calling for the German people to remember, appropriate, and project its true historical destiny. Did Heidegger call for the Holocaust? No--and in fact he eventually lost his job because he wouldn't be a mere sycophant--though he remained a Nazi party member. Will Bollinger lose his job, ever, because of anything resembling a principled position? No--he will just pour more blood on his head and demand that everyone notice that his face is dripping and red. At least Heidegger wrote some good philosophy.


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