The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

On Charlottesville: Why the Center Is Okay with Nazis but Hates the Left

Look, the Charlottsville march of Nazis (they had the swastika and the salute, they’re not alt-right) showed very clearly the difference between how Nazis and left-wingers are treated. Left-wingers march, and the riot police are in their faces. Nazis march, and the police don’t even intervene while they are beating up counter-protestors.

Then, of course, we have the Nazi who drove his car into the crowd, and much of the media calling it a “clash with counteprotestors” (no) and saying things like “amid violence” rather than “in an act of terrorism.”

The center, which includes what is laughably called the “center left,” may condemn Nazis, but they certainly prefer them to left-wingers. They can do business with Nazis. The people they hate are those they call the “alt-left” in an attempt to pretend that wanting universal healthcare and cops to not kill blacks is the same thing as being a Nazi.

But the reason is simple enough: Centrists make a lot of money from prisons and for-profit healthcare.

The left–people who want single payer healthcare and less people in prison–are a direct threat to the center.

A lot of people get confused about Nazis: When Hitler got in power, he broke the unions, and the socialists, and lowered wages. “National socialism” is not socialism. Corporate profits went up and wages went down; it was good times for business.

So the center, including the center left, is essentially okay with Nazis. If they have to choose between Nazis and the sort of scum who want everyone to have healthcare at the cost of corporate profits, or to reduce profits on prisoners, well, they side with their self interest.

It has always been thus, and it will always be thus.

(Update: Do I need to say that people who blame Russia for this are tendentious morons? Sadly, I think I do.)

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Book Review: Bad Samaritans, by Ha-Joon Chang


Nazis Are Not Socialists


  1. Herman

    I have seen some Democrats blame Bernie Sanders and his supporters for the Charlottesville incident because supposedly something like this wouldn’t have happened if Bernie didn’t torpedo Clinton’s campaign during the primary causing her to lose in the general election.

    Something like this was eventually going to happen no matter who was in office and might have happened sooner had Clinton won because some far-right types would have assumed she rigged the election and would have been out for revenge. Also, there was far-right violence under Bill Clinton too, and of a much greater magnitude (Oklahoma City bombing), so having a Democrat in office does nothing to reduce the likelihood of right-wing terrorism.

    Maybe the neoliberal Democrats should be blamed for Charlottesville because they, along with the Republicans, have supported policies for the last 40 years that they knew would make life much worse for most ordinary people and went ahead with these policies anyway and shouted down any alternative voices from the left as unrealistic and stupid.

    Now we have a population that is increasingly miserable and looking to different ideologies as answers. Some might turn to socialism but others will certainly turn to fascism. It was all very predictable but nobody in power from either party has made a serious effort at stopping the car from going off the cliff.

  2. V. Arnold

    Fundamentally, I don’t feel anything’s different; just out, more than in the past; and I would credit Trump with creating that atmosphere.
    The U.S. isn’t post anything; as much as they would like to think such.
    In fact, it is possibly approaching a tipping point in rights and freedom to speak and report.
    Frederick Douglass expressed it best, IMO;
    “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”

    It is presently, a work in progress.

  3. Hugh

    Trump did not directly condemn the white nationalists behind the attack but did manage the false equivalence of condemning hate on many sides, as if those run down were somehow asking for it for protesting against the white nationalists that Trump could not bring himself to name, apparently because many of them support him. Oh well, I’m sure the Trump snowflakes (used in its original sense of angry white flakes who tend to go ballistic and melt down) will have much to say and more to obfuscate about this.

  4. Indeed, it’s out of the closet, though I would argue it stopped being an undercurrent during Cheney Administration, festering since. Drumpf uck is just the pinprick that popped the boil.

  5. V. Arnold

    Ten Bears
    August 13, 2017

    LoL; you have such a way with phraseology…

  6. Will

    I agree that the guys with Nazi flags and the racist rhetoric aren’t the alt-right. But those people out there counter protesting them aren’t the alt-left either. They are the morons that the slurs like “Bernie Bro” etc were intended to fire up. Anything that approaches things from a universal economic standpoint is anathema to them.

    At least that’s how it looks to me and I could well be wrong.

    Is there a moral equivalence between them? Not in this case. But I believe more than anything else the “antifa” movement shows two things.

    One is to show everyone that yes, you can indeed approach fascism from the left end of the political spectrum. The second is an almost superhuman ability to lack the self awareness to recognize this.

    I consider both of these groups to be a political threat to the things that Ian has championed. And both are dangerous as hell although small in size. I pray for a meteor strike every time these imbeciles take to the streets.


  7. Mallam

    The guy who rammed his car into people had Pepe memes all over his Facebook. He was an “alt right” asshole. Alt right people are a flavor of Nazi like any other. Counter protestors were burning Keke flags. Etc.

    The night before: we have the white supremacists talking about their love for Assad. Why? He fights the “globalists”:

    The fascists understand this fight is international.

  8. Quanka

    Who honestly gives a shit what Trump said about this event. Seriously, stop wasting oxygen on a topic that doesnt matter – the blowhard is already wasting enough oxygen just gracing the world with his presence.

    This is about corporatism and the police state, which came into being with full throated support from moderate democrats. Thats the point of this article, not the orange kool-aid man blowing through another of society’s taboos.

  9. The Stephen Miller Band

    The American Government tacitly supports the act of Terrorism that took place yesterday in Charlottesville. If it was a Muslim and a shooting, rather than a White Supremacist and a car, his Mother would have been in custody immediately and considered complicit and guilty until proven innocent. Considering Jeff Sessions’ DOJ, instead, we get the exact opposite. Federal Authorities didn’t even inform her let alone attempt to reach her about who her son was involved with and what she knew about it. Why? Because the DOJ approves of what went down in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s In Bed with the Skinheads, and sorry, but the Alt-Right are The Nazis and The Skinheads & The White Nationalists & The Aryans & The White Supremacists. The Alt-Right is just lipstick on that F*CKING PIG. What THEY ALL ARE, Jeff Sessions’ DOJ and the Racists it supports & protects, are COWARDS. Plowing your car into a crowd with no means to protect itself against a Sucker Punch Violent Action like that is the act of a COWARD. Our POTUS is a COWARD. The Racists are COWARDS and Jeff Sessions’ DOJ is a collective bunch of F*CKING COWARDS. Do you hear that you F*CKING GOONS who are reading this. You’re a bunch of F*CKING COWARDS and you are going to LOSE and LOSE BIG TIME.

    I don’t blame Russia, I blame the traitorous morons & COWARDS who take Russia’s bait and lend support to Kleptocratic Russia by dancing on a string for Putin. These FREAKS are not American, whatever American is. They belong in Russia. Let’s send them there, to the Land of Cowards.

    Ohio Man Charged With Murder In Virginia Car Attack Following White Nationalist Rally

  10. george hirst

    I’m wondering if there isn’t a missing element to their hate. this next bit is from personal observation I’ve been trying to make sense of, so let me add the caveat, like most initial attempts to understand something, I’m likely wrong, so alternate explanations are welcome.

    NOTE: none of this is about the professional political class or their servants – I tend not to analyze them, just as I tend not to analyze Christian Bale and Adam West for how they played Batman. Rather, this is about citizen voters.

    My experience has been the purest rage towards the left doesn’t necessarily flow from those making money on what the left wants to do away with, but from those who’ve compromised their own version of the values the left is espousing.

    Sometime in the 90s (Clintonian Centrism), that the idea of compromising your values for progress was elevated to be a holy thing, almost a right of passage. The 80s elevated the idea of compromising everyone else to get ahead, so it’s probably only natural that the 90s would elevate compromising yourself. Anyone on the left who wasn’t onboard with the ‘smart center’ then tuned into The West Wing, and were treated to seven seasons of how heroic it is to compromise on what you believe and the welfare of other people, with rarely a discussion of the cost (pro-tip: if you’re outside the US, do not underestimate the power of television to shape US culture. Forget religion, TV is our true holy temple)

    So all these people who found their political beliefs shaped or tuned by the 90s and Aaron Sorkin were taught that compromise was ‘smart’ even as it was selling us all down the river.

    anecdotal example: the conversations I have with dedicated free-market souls who believe letting government control healthcare is evil are far, far more civil than those who support the ACA / Obamacare, even as they say… no not say, scream “I would love to support medicare for all, but it’s not possible!”

    Those are the good days, by the by. The more common explain how continuing to have values is ‘being too pure’ or it must be ‘nice to have privilege’, or its about being ‘unwilling to do the hard work.’ How not getting on the bus is killing the chances for something better…

    These views all come from people who on paper agree with the left, but claim to have ’embraced reality’, and turned away from ‘pie in the sky’ ideas. Suddenly, anyone who’s still fighting the good fight is offensive to them. Whatever else they’ve done, they behave as if someone maintaining their beliefs is being intentionally hurtful – it’s not about holding to your beliefs, but rather you’re just trying to hurt them / stop them / etc… Once this switch is flipped, they don’t debate, they don’t discuss, they instead scream that it’s time to ‘get on the bus, or get left behind!’

    My suspicion is they actually hate (not consciously) the people they’re yelling at, because the idea that someone who *didn’t* compromise their views might find a success makes them feel like their ‘sacrifice’ was for nothing – that the person not getting on board doesn’t understand how hard it was for them to compromise.

    This is almost certainly true – entirely beside the point, but certainly true.

    Side note: this might even be another political spectrum – I suspect most people are onboard with sacrifice right up to the point where *they* decide to compromise. Anyone going further than them “isn’t serious”, and anyone who didn’t hold out as long wasn’t serious either. Much like right / left, authoritarian / anarchist, we also have ‘fanatical / catalyst’ (or something like that): measuring ‘I believe in this to the death’ vs. ‘I just want to find the best compromise available to us.’

    Returning to our compromising soul… what happens next is the interesting part – that’s when they actively want the person who held to their beliefs to fail. They don’t say it out loud, but if the person who doesn’t compromise finds success, it means all that compromise was indeed for nothing. Thus, they scream loudly that we must support the ACA / support Hillary Clinton / support our troops / support de-regulation of the markets / etc… while inside, they’re hoping, praying, needing anyone who doesn’t get onboard to fail… just so their personal pain wasn’t for nothing.

    that’s when – for all they say they want medicare for all, inside what they *need* is for it to fail.

    That’s when people begin to embrace the center and pragmatism as a value rather than a means (danger Will Robinson), and decide that ‘anything’s on the table’ deal-making is the only way to be ‘serious.’ That’s when they need things like the ACA to pass – a wholly terrible solution to healthcare in this country, but the progress is their new drug – one they’ll defend even harder than real progress, because of what it cost them.

    It’s an entirely self-serving view and I’ll acknowledge it, but this is where I think purest hate of the left comes from – not profiteers and not the right, but centrists who feel we just don’t acknowledge their pain.

    … in other words, they’re the very thing they accuse us of being… delicate snowflakes who think their pain is special.

    Addendum: Despite my flippant close, these are people who are simply looking for an effective act to feel successful / dispel a feeling of failure. They’re turning to the orthodoxy they were given to find success, and my guess is that despite their protestations to the contrary, it’s failing them. Like all orthodoxies though, it can never fail – only you can. Thus, they’re doubling down… and doubling down again, likely feeling worse and worse when it’s not working.

    Assuming I’m in any way correct, how much sympathy this garners, that people in emotional pain are using that pain to excuse causing real, hurtful trauma to many others, is a personal choice everyone gets to make.

  11. Ché Pasa

    Filling the summer news hole, traditionally with sharks and missing white women, but this year with Nazis and their ilk, together with their Leftist/Antifa counterparts (‘both sides! both sides!’) is a big part of this display of unpleasantness.

    Charlottesville apparently has a whole long and sordid history leading up to this incident, a history that essentially predicted this or something like this would happen and people would die because of it, but despite warnings, the city’s institutions and the university did almost nothing. So here we are.

    That may be the key to understanding what happened and why. The center creates the conditions and the space for fascists and Nazis to flourish, even while “condemning” them, and it aligns with them to suppress the Left, even when their targets are only the “Left.” So-called.

    The street brawls in Charlottesville, like those in Berkeley, were theatre. Dude who rammed his car into the counter-protest on the pedestrian mall in the city was something else again. Yes, terrorism, stark and obvious, but not part of the overall brawl between Antifa and the Nazis. This was terror designed to intimidate, instill fear, and cause harm and bloodshed even unto death to the designated enemy du jour, whoever that might be.

    I suspect we’ll see more of this and bloodier until there is a resolution. Antifa can’t win and won’t; the Nazis can, but they probably won’t. Note who is targeted and who is immune.

    The fighting and death in the streets can go on indefinitely, and it will never, ever affect those who hold and wield power over us.

    Cui bono and all that.

  12. StewartM

    If they have to choose between Nazis and the sort of scum who want everyone to have healthcare at the cost of corporate profits; or to reduce profits on prisoners; well, they side with their self interest.

    That’s not a bad analogy to what happened in Germany in the late 20s/early 30s. Rather than to live under a government of Social Democratic trade unionists (the SPD being the only consistent defender of the Weimar Republic) ‘respectable’ people threw in their lot with the Nazis.

  13. rkka

    Exactly StewartM,

    An oft-spoken Centrist lie is that ‘The extremes touch’ that the Left transmogrifies into the far Right.

    Look at the vote for the Enabling Act, 18 March 1933.

    Every single element of German political life, except the Left, voted to give Adolf the power to rule by decree for four years. They even had a ‘Center Party’ that went with Adolf.

    So it ever was thus, Ian.

  14. nihil obstet

    While the medical and prison industries are indeed the source of a lot of money for the centrists, I think what makes the left universally anathema to the centrists is more generally the leftist call for more economic equality. At a decent minimum wage, who would do the service jobs that centrists want to be cheap? Ask liberal Democrats why not pay agricultural workers $20/hour with benefits to get an earful about how much you’d have to pay for a tomato (and of course how much that would hurt poor people!)

  15. realitychecker

    The center wants and needs assurance of order and stability, because their circumstances, generally speaking, are such as would benefit from that.

    Separate point, why don’t we find “authoritarian left” and “authoritarian right” or just “authoritarian” being used more often, so as to avoid, e.g., the dumb debate about whether the Nazis were lefties or righties?

  16. Tomonthebeach

    Ian, I think you understate the profits of prison. It is not the prisons per se. They do have guards that draw salaries, and people bringing in food and heat, and bedding, etc. to house the prisoners. However, if we stopped this madness, it would put countless lawyers, marshalls, court recorders, and even judges out of work! It would also, in time, justify reducing the size of our now militarily equipped, storm-trooper trained urban police forces. We are talking 10’s of billions here; not millions, every year for the foreseeable future — that is, if we really had a vision for a better world.

  17. Synoia

    The European ruling class believed the Nazis were a model of strong Government, until they started invading.

    In the UK, during the 30s, Oswald Mosley and his brown shirts were quite prominent.

    Churchill was opposed to the Nazis, because he understood the history and expected their imperial desires.

    The militaristic culture of the US is a reasonable fit with a few concepts of Nazism, certainly both the law and order and the militaristic mindset.

    Trump and Obama are both authoritarian yet expressed in different ways, Obama mendaciously and Trump brash.

  18. Willy

    The angst comes from a (conscious or unconscious) sense of increasing powerlessness from the Powers that Aren’t, which is then expressed towards the perceived “enemy”. Imagine if all that energy could be redirected toward the real cause of the increasing powerlessness. It’s already started, with situations like Brexit and Sanders. Even Trump took advantage.

  19. sglover

    I suggest you take a look at the reaction from a site **you** have listed, which I have to assume is a tacit endorsement: Lang’s reactionary echo chamber. In that Bizarroland parallel universe, the lesson of the Charlottesville disgrace is that we have to vigilant about — “the antifa left”.

    You really wanna endorse that reactionary scumbag?

  20. Purslane

    @sglover, you said:

    “I suggest you take a look at the reaction from a site **you** have listed, which I have to assume is a tacit endorsement:”

    Oh yes, of course! Listing a website in one’s blogroll is the same as endorsing the other blogger’s message and opinions 100%. Jeebus, your comment is the perfect example of why rational discourse is dead in America.

  21. sglover

    Lang’s neo-confederate yearnings have been pretty obvious for the entire time he’s been on the web. Hell, I suppose StormFront might have some useful tips about nutrition or car maintenance. Why not include them, too?

  22. Peter


    I wonder how you would go about ‘stopping this madness’ of having too many people in prison for committing too many crimes? You seem to have disappeared the criminal element in this equation who seem to be expanding their use of crime even with the large prison inmate numbers.

    Many states have revenue problems and can’t easily expand their prison systems so private prisons allow then to handle the expanding criminal population without the huge cost of building new prisons.

  23. Synoia


    Don’t have a war on drugs?

    Which appears to be focused on punishing Black people, because of the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and to “used by affluent whites” variety.

    Prohibition worked so well, making rich gangsters and expanding police budgets, it was reinvented as a “war on drugs” which evolved to become a “war on disadvantages black drug retailers.”

    Depending on one’s POV, the war on drugs has been remarkably successful. It certainly kept the police, lawyers, Judges and Prison growing nicely and prevented the discussion of improving social benefits.

    So much so that other needy persons invented the “war on terror” and have had similar success.

  24. Myiq2xu

    Yeah, the Berkeley police were all over Antifa the last 4-5 times they rioted.

  25. rkka


    With respect, I’d like to say that the good Colonel has his quirks, but his experiences have given him powerful insights on the modern middle east. If I had a blog, I’d blogroll him just for that.

    And most ‘neo-Confederates’ didn’t vote for Obama in 2012, nor were they critical of the both Republican Party’s neoconservative and nativist wings in 2008.

  26. Richard

    What the heck are you people reading? What fantasy world do you live in?

    Are the police “the center” now? Is Trump “the center”? Because he is the only one I see who engaged in “both sides” language and doesn’t condemn the Neo-Nazis. The center-left publications I read condemn the neo-Nazis and criticize Trump for not condemning the neo-Nazis.

  27. Richard

    And in Weimar Germany, it was the Social Democrats who were most strongly opposed to the Nazis. They failed to stop them because the Communists (under Stalin’s orders) did not unite with the (center-left) Social Democrats against the Nazis and Stalin thought the Social Democrats were a bigger enemy than the Nazis were. Remember that Stalin colluded with the Nazis to split up Poland and was dumb enough to trust them not to invade.

  28. Bill Hicks

    It reflects a problem with some leftists’ “is it okay to punch a Nazi?” nonsense. The answer to that question always was: except in self-defense, you’d better not unless you’re prepared to go all the way. And if you’re prepared to go all the way, recognize that they likely have you outgunned.

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been any major shootings at one of these confrontations. It’s also interesting that the media doesn’t refer to this asshole as a terrorist even though he likely got the idea to turn his car into a weapon from the media reports on the truck attacks in Europe.

  29. Synoia

    @Bill Hicks

    There are no “white” terrorists. You must be some shade of browns o be a Terrorist.

  30. Peter


    This loose application of terrorist doesn’t seem to serve any useful purpose beyond personal attitudes. Terrorists make long range plans often in cooperation with a group and look for short and long range effects from their actions. They are methodical, organized and don’t act on emotions of the moment.

    This young extremist in Virginia acted out his madness in a moment of fury or so it seems. 2nd degree murder with his recorded extreme behavior should put him away for the rest of his miserable life where he can’t terrorize anyone.

  31. sglover


    “With respect, I’d like to say that the good Colonel has his quirks, but his experiences have given him powerful insights on the modern middle east. If I had a blog, I’d blogroll him just for that.”

    Yeah, I used to think that, too. Enough to put up with the extraordinary self-regard that’s shared by everybody who posts on that site. Or his endless obsession with proving that some blacks “served” under the Confederacy. (That doesn’t quite rate as a “quirk”, to me. Something tells me there’s a little more going on there than pedantry, if you get my drift.) Anyway, I used to look in on his site for a while. Until I had a very bizarre, but telling, encounter.

    In a comment thread for a post on the site, one of the regulars seemed to be saying that Anders Breivik, lifelong fuck-up & king of self-pity, was really forced into his cowardly mass murder by, of course, the libs. Or the feminists. Or feminized libs. Anyway, this was a new kind of lunacy to me, so I replied, just to be sure he really meant what he seemed to be saying. I think I wrote something like, “You mean Anders Breivik, the loser who responded to his lifetime of failure by who murdering all those people in Norway?” The reply I got was something along the lines of “Yeah, him, and you’re probably gay yourself”, to which I replied — and this wording I **do** recall — “Got it, you’re a loon, and now I know I can skip your remarks”,

    And it was **this** that drew a rebuke from Lang himself, to my **personal e-mail address**. Lang was outraged that I should call one of his “correspondents” (ha!) a “loon”. Really truly. Bastard sent me an **e-mail** telling me it’s wrong to be rude to a guy swooning over a mass murdered. Though he did allow that it was alright to say something like, “Those are the words of a loon”. Christ, what a fucking blessing to get **that** point of etiquette.

    Look, Lang’s not the only Mideast hand who’s got something to say, and I think his reactionary knee-jerks are so pronounced that I don’t trust anything coming out of him anyway. This latest example just puts the nail in the coffin — the big lesson from Charlottesville is that the **left** is a menace? No surprise, coming from Lang. But fuck that, and fuck him. And if Welsh considers him some kind of savant, that doesn’t say a helluva lot for Welsh.

  32. Well written, Thanks. As usual, the answer to these kinds of questions is usually found if we follow the money.

  33. NJrubble

    @sglover: i am another former sometime reader of SST. not sure what happened, as i didn’t drop in for a couple of months last year, but when i did do so earlier this year something had changed. the explication of the sometimes cryptic blog posts had been replaced with some seriously reality-challenged blather about our new fearful leader. worse, there were no longer any dissents, even from the professional dissenters. as a result reading the posts there became about as useful as watching CNN (somewhere between 1 and 0). unfortunate, but i don’t regret giving up on them: i went there to learn something, not to spend time in an echo chamber of the self-deceived.

  34. MojaveWolf

    @sglover & others:

    I just read the sic semper tyrannis (where the “pat lang” sidebar link goes to, for people not following what the side discussion is about) article I believe you were referring to, and I don’t find it particularly objectionable.

    Here’s the direct link to the particular article:

    He is not defending nazis or the alt-right; he’s criticizing the news media and the left for how they are handling the coverage.

    The gist of the (very short) post is this:

    The nut-jobs who went to Charlottesville to “protect” the statue of a man who would not have wanted to be “protected” by them are implied to be representative of all Americans who do not wish to see a new, socialist, globalist paradigm for the US.

    The intention of the antifa left and its Democratic Party and media wings seems clear. It is to silence through shaming, ostracism, loss of income and perhaps eventually legally anyone who does not submit to be assimilated into a new collective consciousness

    I can’t say he’s particularly wrong about most of this–I would quibble with the particular wording (I don’t think the democratic party or the news media are very fond of socialism, and I think the antifa types are nasty pawns of the two “wings” he mentions, not something on the same par w/them yet, or close) but the overall point stands.

    And I am not that site’s best buddy. The one time I ever engaged there at any length was an attempt to persuade them that their view on the wrongness of letting women in the infantry was perhaps worthy of rethinking. On the positive end of the responses, it was suggested to me that since I had never been in the infantry, I should shut up on the topic (which makes a certain amount of sense, and if I didn’t know both men who served in combat who thought those women who were able should be allowed to AND some women who both wanted the chance and who I thought pretty impressive, I would have been less persistent). On the less positive side, it was suggested that HAD I been in the infantry, I would have been deliberately killed by friendly fire. Since I was trying to persuade rather than argue I was polite about this as insulting back would not have been helpful, but trust me that the overall experience did not make me inclined to go out of my way to defend them. Still, I see no reason to misrepresent them or condemn everything they say simply because you don’t agree w/some things they say, and still less to get upset that someone has them on their blog roll. Good grief, I can’t think of a single person in the whole world with whom I agree on everything, and some of my friends have other friends that I can’t stand. Am I supposed to insist they only talk to people who don’t hold any views I disapprove of? Your “if you have this person with problematic views on your blogroll I think you are a problem too” stuff is comparable to that, imo.

    And last but not least, when did the antifa crowd become anyone’s idea of a force for good? I don’t want them running things any more than I want Mike Pence running things. As far as I can tell, they seem to BE what they claim to be “anti”.

  35. Rkka


    It’s a little more complicated than that.

    Add the KPD votes from March 1933 elections to the SDP votes. The Enabling Act still passes.

    Stopping the Nazis wasn’t in the hands of the Left, but required some party in the center to cooperate with the Left rather than the Nazis. Figure that one out.

    So, no, Stalin didn’t help elect Hitler.

    And how exactly would WWII been improved if the Soviets had allowed Germany to conquer all of Poland, occupy the Baltics, and launch Op. Barbarossa from the ’38 Soviet border?

  36. V. Arnold

    “You’re a better man than me, Gunga Din.”
    If you really think you understand the present U.S. politic.
    Hell, 90% of Usian’s haven’t got a clue about much of anything.
    So, carry on Ian; but, don’t forget; you’re witnessing the rot of that which was empire, once upon a time.
    Different day; same old shit…

  37. Rkka


    He did that to me once, except that I used a fake email address, so he publicly banned me, and there was quite a long thread discussing my sins.

    It passed.

  38. V. Arnold

    Lang? I’ve always been somewhat underwhelmed by his blog and followers.
    It’s interesting how retired military types like to hang on to old titles; no longer relevant; but meant to inspire fealty.
    Quite interesting, those who bow down, to their assumed betters.
    But it is telling, regarding the character of Usian’s in their class system.
    A nation of followers groomed all those multi (200+) hundreds of years; a mere baby in the world of Persia, China, Russia, England, France, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), and Cambodia (Kampuchea), to name a few.

  39. StewartM


    And how exactly would WWII been improved if the Soviets had allowed Germany to conquer all of Poland, occupy the Baltics, and launch Op. Barbarossa from the ’38 Soviet border?

    In fact, it was the British and French who stiffed Stalin, who offered up a million men in secret negotiations to stop Hitler.

    Papers which were kept secret for almost 70 years show that the Soviet Union proposed sending a powerful military force in an effort to entice Britain and France into an anti-Nazi alliance.

    Such an agreement could have changed the course of 20th century history, preventing Hitler’s pact with Stalin which gave him free rein to go to war with Germany’s other neighbours.

    The offer of a military force to help contain Hitler was made by a senior Soviet military delegation at a Kremlin meeting with senior British and French officers, two weeks before war broke out in 1939.

    The new documents, copies of which have been seen by The Sunday Telegraph, show the vast numbers of infantry, artillery and airborne forces which Stalin’s generals said could be dispatched, if Polish objections to the Red Army crossing its territory could first be overcome.

    But the British and French side – briefed by their governments to talk, but not authorised to commit to binding deals – did not respond to the Soviet offer, made on August 15, 1939. Instead, Stalin turned to Germany, signing the notorious non-aggression treaty with Hitler barely a week later.

    Stalin *was* playing both sides, to be sure, but you can’t really blame him for that.

  40. bruce wilder

    @ sglover

    Lang served for an extended time in Turkey and is clearly fond of the place and people. (As am I, despite Erdogan.) In Lang’s case, it has led him to endorse apologia for the historic massacre of the Armenians — he doesn’t deny it or justify it exactly, but argues in a convoluted way that it had nothing to do with Turkish nation-state formation or nationalism. I cannot accurately reproduce the reasoning, but if he is obsessed with proving that slaves fought for the Confederacy, I would associate the ideas with the same defect of mental health.
    I am not big on sorting people out into good and evil baskets, but I do think we need to recognise defects in judgment — especially in people like Lang, who purvey their judgment. Lang reminds me a bit of Bonner Feller, a founder of the John Birch Society who very nearly destroyed Montgomery in North Africa in WWII, by being a martinet.

  41. Rkka


    And the day after that Soviet offer, the Deputy Chiefs of Staff of the British armed forces wrote that accepting that Offer was Poland’s only hope of resisting a German attack for more than a brief period of time. Unfortunately, the Polish gvt disagreed, and refused their only hope of successfully resisting a German attack. And they predicted the M-R Pact as the most likely Soviet response to that Polish refusal.

    Begin quote:
    DCOS 179
    Committee of Imperial Defence
    Deputy Chiefs of Staff Sub-Committee of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
    Russian conversations: Use of Polish and Roumanian territory by Russian forces
    At our meeting on 16th August 1939 we gave consideration to the military aspects of the action proposed in connection with Mission Telegram #3 from the Russian mission in Moscow and Telegram # 197 from H.M Ambassador Moscow.
    2. We understand that action has already been taken by the French government on the lines suggested in the above mentioned telegram.
    3. From the military point of view, we welcome the action which has been taken. We feel that this is no time for half-measures and that every effort should be made to persuade Poland and Roumania to agree to the use of their territory by Russian forces.
    4. In our opinion it is only logical that the Russians be given every facility for rendering assistance and putting their maximum weight into the scale on the side of the anti-aggression powers. We consider it so important to meet the Russians in this matter that, if necessary, the strongest pressure should be exerted on Poland and Roumania to persuade them to adopt a helpful attitude.
    5. In view of the speed with which events are moving, it is possible that this report will be to a large extent out-of-date before there is time to circulate it, but we feel that it may be of advantage to put on record certain general observations on the broad question of the use of Polish and Roumanian territory by the Russian forces.
    6. We are in entire agreement with the Ambassador and Admiral Drax that the problem now raised by the Russians is fundamental and we consider that even if the Russians are willing to continue conversations without agreement on this point, the results to be expected from the ensuing conversations would be of very little value.
    7. It is perfectly clear that without early and effective Russian assistance, the Poles cannot hope to stand up to a German attack on land or in the air for more than a limited time. The same applies to Roumania except that the time would be still more limited. The supply of arms and war material is not enough. If the Russians are to collaborate in resisting German aggression against Poland or Roumania they can only do so effectively on Polish or Roumanian soil; and, as the Ambassador points out, if permission for this is withheld till war breaks out, it would then be too late. The most the Allies could then hope for would be to avenge Poland and Roumania and perhaps restore their independence as a result of the defeat of Germany in a long war.
    8. Without immediate and effective Russian assistance, not only in the air, but on land, the longer that war would be, and the less chance there would be of Poland or Roumania emerging at the end of it as independent States in anything like their original form.
    9. If war does come the Poles and Roumanians will find themselves with their backs to the wall and they will inevitably be only too glad to seek support from any source. Unless the Poles and Roumanians have faced this fact beforehand, the assistance they will receive will be much less than if preparations and plans have been made in advance.
    10. We suggest that it is now necessary to present this unpalatable truth to both the Poles and the Roumanians. To the Poles especially it ought to be pointed out that they have obligations to us as well as we to them; and that it is unreasonable for them to expect us blindly to implement our guarantee to them if, at the same time they will not cooperate in measures designed for a common purpose.
    11. The conclusion of a treaty with Russia appears to us to be the best way of preventing a war. The satisfactory conclusion of this treaty will undoubtably be endangered if the present Russian proposals for cooperation with Poland and Roumania were turned down by these countries.
    12. At the worst if the negotiations with Russia break down, a Russo-German rapprochement may take place of which the probable consequence will be Russia and Germany decide to share the spoils and concert in a new partition of the Eastern European States. Alternatively, Russia might stand out as a neutral in the war and, unexhausted at its conclusion, take advantage of the subsequent chaos to take what she will from her neighbors.
    Presumably, both the above alternatives must be equally repugnant to the Poles and the Roumanians.
    In conclusion, we wish to emphasize once more our view that, if necessary, the strongest pressure should be brought on Poland and Roumania to agree in advance to the use of their territory by Russian forces, in the event of attack by Germany.
    T.S.V. Phillips
    H.R. Pownall (for D.C.I.G.S)
    J.C. Slessor (for D.C.A.S)
    16th August 1939
    Cab 545 11 pgs 217-220
    End quote.
    Such is the intensity of Polish hatred of Russia that the Polish Government, when faced with the choice of total defeat, conquest, and occupation by Nazi Germany or accepting Russian assistance, refused to even discuss accepting Russian assistance.
    And as the DCoS predicted in Paragraph 12, this Polish policy avoided none of prompt defeat by Nazi Germany, or Russian occupation. It was a total catastrophic failure for which the Polish government now blame everybody but themselves.

  42. sglover

    @MojaveWolf —

    Good grief, I can’t think of a single person in the whole world with whom I agree on everything, and some of my friends have other friends that I can’t stand. Am I supposed to insist they only talk to people who don’t hold any views I disapprove of?

    Any views? I’m not saying that. I’m saying that

    1) Lang’s got a long track record as an apologist for the “noble cause”, which — sorry! — I believe is abhorrent.

    2) He really doesn’t have a helluva lot of insight on tap anyway, all things considered. It’s really hard to glean the few kernels from the ocean of chaff. So how is he much of authority on anything, other than new frontiers in crank thinking?

    @bruce wilder —

    Didn’t know about Lang’s take on the Armenians. Didn’t know that he’d ever been to Turkey, either, though I suppose if you’re an intelligence guy in SW Asia you’re practically fated to spend some time there. I definitely agree with him and you that Turkey and the Turks are fabulous. Hopefully Erdogan will be just a blip (go to Turkey and you get a sense of how long historical time really is), but it doesn’t look encouraging at all so far….

  43. dbk

    @bruce wilder –yeah, I didn’t know that about Lang either; that’s one weird view to hold about how the modern Turkish nation-state was purged of its Christian populations. I visit Lang, but rarely comment–he’s set in his views, not open to questioning. He seems to have a bit of an obsession with what he calls the “Borg”, which he thinks is out to overturn POTUS–not a supporter of same, but still, pretty conservative (he claimed he voted for the libertarian candidate). He knows most (maybe all) of the senior military men now surrounding POTUS. I respect his military expertise and the fact that he speaks Arabic (taught at West Point) and can thus read primary sources.

    Anyway, sorry to continue this SST derailing.

    I agree with the thrust of this post; the problem is what to do about it.

  44. sglover

    It’s interesting how retired military types like to hang on to old titles; no longer relevant; but meant to inspire fealty.

    Some, maybe. I dive with a bunch of retired naval officers. Definitely a conservative crew, but very informal. I can’t imagine any of them ever saying, “Ahem, that’s Commander so-and-s0″.

  45. StewartM


    Such is the intensity of Polish hatred of Russia that the Polish Government, when faced with the choice of total defeat, conquest, and occupation by Nazi Germany or accepting Russian assistance, refused to even discuss accepting Russian assistance.

    Yeah, we in the US are propagandized about ‘the poor Poles in WWII’–and while genuine sympathy should be given to ordinary Poles who suffered in WWII, along with many others, I can’t think of any government who consistently made more stupid decisions than Poland’s. This started in 1934 (Poland was Hitler’s first ally!) and extended with the Polish government joining Hitler at Munich over carving up Czechoslovakia, even though the eventual result left Poland encircled on three sides by German armies. The Polish government as you say also suffered the delusion of being a Great Power able to stand up to the Wehrmacht without Soviet assistance–and accepting help in 1939 might have been its best chance at maintaining its autonomy.

  46. Mark Level

    Thank you, Ian, for a cogent and clear comment (as usual) on where the US empire seems headed. I don’t comment often on this site often because (a) I try to have a life beyond the wwweb, & (b) some of the ad hominem sniping among commenters here seems trivial and ugly.

    That said, I really appreciate what George Hirst said as well, and I know some of these people, exactly. I just hadn’t made the connection to the 80s-90s cultural zeitgeist you do, but– spot on! I have lost friends due to this kind of preemptive compromising. History is not made by people who start any struggle looking to how they can compromise their values, and it’s interesting that this (self-defeating) “pragmatism” is so common in the weak tea, “centrist” left that thinks that we can have cultural tolerance (good) but not even the pretense of economic justice or fairness.
    There used to be a supposition that history was open and subject to change by human agency, but (as Ian has covered well with others), interestingly Neoliberalism as the dominant paradigm since the fall of the USSR has certainly killed that. Now we MUST accept that the Market rules, there will never be a 2nd Progressive Movement or New Deal, labor will continue to be crushed and we’ll all be out on the streets with no homes, pensions, etc., just gotta accept it.

    I’m really interested here in those who express their hatred for AntiFa activists. To me it looks like the usual DFH bashing that the Clinton machine perfected, and I have to wonder– if Nazis come into my community and say they are going to kill, enslave, rape or (whatever else) me, I find it very interesting that you are agreeing with Rich Lowry on Beat the Meat yesterday and stating that I have no right to defend myself or my friends, family, community, etc, because–? Rich was at least clear, AntiFa are “leftists”, ideologically “unclean,” nobody to the left of William F. Buckley has a right to self-defense. Is that your position as well?

    Are they, like the American veterans of the Abraham Lincoln brigade in the Spanish Civil War, alongside George Orwell (dirty goddamn hippy) “premature anti-Fascists” and thus deserving of blacklisting, job loss, etc? Is violence even as self-defense improper if not under the command of wise Authoritarian Patriarchs like Pat Lang?

    As Ian alludes to (& “Gin & Tacos” also covered nicely today), the “legitimate” local authorities had no interest in reining in the heavily armed Nazi-KKK crew crowing about genocide and the poor white man’s oppression by “multiculturalism,” post-Enlightenment tolerance, etc. (& full disclosure, I am a late 50s white male, but I would be a target for violence as a lifelong union activist and general anti-authoritarian.)

    Has anyone on this site read William T. Vollman’s excellent “Rising Up & Rising Down”? A rather nice distillation of the history, sociology, philosophy and (potential) ethics of political violence through history. (And I have only read the 1 volume abridged version, not the original 7 volumes.) He points out Gandhian pacifism is futile and suicidal with committed Nazis, & (as already said) the local constabulary had ZERO intent of protecting the locals . . . so what’s the solution? Let the Nazis win? Hope the Neoliberals will . . . some day . . . shut down targeting of non-whites, gay folks, etc. because it’s so bad for the imperial forces’ morale and discipline?

    If you look at the Democracy Now page today, you will see Cornel West’s account of him and peaceful back clergy being menaced by Nazis while the police drove by, uncaring, and he thanks the DFH “Anarchist” AntiFa for “saving my life.” Explain why this was wrong, stupid? (And yes, I will concede West’s group was stupid in offering themselves up for martyrdom in that way, an originalist Christian instinct not seen in modern mega-churches, obviously.)

    Here’s a nice review of the WTV Rising Up book, for those who may have read this far:

  47. Peter


    I don’t think anyone should tell you not to shoot Nazis if they come goose-stepping into your neighborhood but these poor creatures in Virginia were neo-Nazis and probably unable to march with any precision. They also don’t represent any sizeable demographic including most of the people at this alt-right demonstration.

    Cornel West is still a drama queen painting a picture of innocence and menace while the local government seems to have helped guarantee these confrontations occurred. Alt-right eyewitnesses including a visiting Finn tell of being ordered by the authorities to leave the city immediately and being forced to run a gauntlet of antifas to make their exit. The antifas were not told to leave and screamed victory while continuing with their menacing behavior.

  48. Mark Level

    Peter– thank you for replying, and in a straightforward respectful way.

    Being a student of history, it is clear to me that the early Brownshirts were losers like the crew you reference, but nonetheless they did ignite traditional Prussian militarism and “efficiency” into a genocidal movement that killed millions. So for that reason I cannot absolve the sad Nazi turds that came to Charlottesville, clearly enflamed by DJT’s presidency. (Not that I voted for or ever supported the Red Queen). So the size of the demographic doesn’t matter if there are rationales of the political classes behind the scenes that can empower those people and their movement.

    I don’t know whether Cornel West was being a “drama queen” or not in what was shared on Democracy Now. Perhaps I will research that. He is a good writer though, and his piece on Obama “We Wanted Coltrane, We Got Kenny G.” spoke volumes to me. If the alt-right turds were children, I could absolve them from some responsibility for their behavior. An analogous case occurred here in the SF Bay Area where some students at Albany High School posted racist hate on Instagram and were made to “run a gauntlet” of their peers on returning to school. I think a minor could grow from ignorance, but cannot cut the Charlottesville KKK/Nazis this level of slack, as they should know better than to indulge in blind, genocidal hate and think they could publicly exalt that view with no pushback. They deserve a little shame, at least. What is interesting about Trump is that he has absolutely no shame regarding anything (well, okay, pretty much the entire American ruling class is that way, but some know how to at least pretend to be ashamed when caught in scandal. Trump can’t.)

    Anyway, here’s a link to the Albany story if you are interested. Again, I’d cut minors more slack.

    Oh, yeah, that Finn you referenced– a Nazi? I know they have it tough being on the border of Russia, but having a non-proto-Indo-European language (like the Magyars and Basque people), I expect that no matter how light skinned they are, Nazi “racial science” would dictate they cannot be “Aryans.”

  49. rkka


    “and while genuine sympathy should be given to ordinary Poles who suffered in WWII, along with many others, I can’t think of any government who consistently made more stupid decisions than Poland’s. This started in 1934 (Poland was Hitler’s first ally!)”

    It gets better. The Polish government was also the first to outright repudiate an element of the Versailles Treaty System, the Treaty on Minorities, in 1934.

    What a wonderful precedent Pilsudsky set for Adolf!

    Then in the Munich crisis, the Polish government were furious, not at Nazi Germany taking apart a neighbor, but at her ally Romania, for allowing Soviet SB-2 bombers with Czechoslovak aircrew to fly over Romania to Czechoslovakia.

    Blind stupidity driven by blind hatred.

  50. Henry Larsen

    > A lot of people get confused about Nazis …. “National socialism” is not socialism.

    You know this and we (most readers of this blog) know this. But tens of millions of Americans are indeed ‘confused’. And when one tries to explain it to them, they scoff: ‘OF COURSE “National Socialism” is socialism! Why, it even has the word “socialism” right in the name!’

  51. realitychecker

    It used to be common wisdom that every player in a given human scenario plays his/her own part, driven by his/her own moment-to-moment personal behavioral choices, and therefore every participant has SOME responsibility for the events that subsequently unfold in that scenario. Every couples or family therapist knows this, and insists on enforcing and allocating responsibility accordingly.

    The contrary modern political insistence on portraying every public player as either pure good or pure evil (usually dependent upon whether one regularly favors that actor or not) guarantees that our divisions will never be healed without violence. (“It’s always the other guy’s fault, and justice demands that I find a way to retaliate.”)

    How about this instead? The first asshole who commits an actual violent act (ACT, NOT WORD!!!!!) is the bad guy in that moment. Sometimes it’s the righty. Sometimes it’s the lefty. Sometimes (gasp) it’s even a member of a cherished minority group.

    Doesn’t matter WHO. What matters is that violent action is a bright line that is clear and unmistakable. We know who violated that bright line, and we should not tolerate any ambiguity about the fact that that first violator must be legally punished, or else there is simply no defensible ethical line to maintain and defend.

    What if the violent one is being violent out of honest revolutionary fervor?

    We never discuss this, but we should. If one chooses to commit an act of armed revolution against a given government, then one is also accepting that the arena changes from one where laws can be appealed to for protection, to one where there are no accepted rules anymore except jungle rules, and anything goes, including that the govt might just crush you; that is the risk true revolutionaries must take, and why so many hesitate to take such actions.

    Not being moralistic, just pragmatic. Some things only make sense via pragmatism, not ideology or emotional fantasy.

    But this is basic, and it is important to have some clear thinking about it. Right now, we just have everyone trying to distort the various scenario pictures in their own favor. All that does is fuel future resentments, leading to future clashes that reflect unthinking rage rather than any useful sense or purpose.

  52. Peter


    The Brownshirts were a paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party organized, funded and regimented to further the Nationalist Socialist/ Workers Party agenda. There is no organized power behind these pitiful neo-Nazis and there aren’t enough of them to do anything but go on parade occasionally. Their rare appearance along with media hype does offer an opportunity for political pearl-clutching and guilt by association attacks on conservatives.

    The snowflakes are having little luck with their Trump/Putin collusion farce and their impeachment and resistance memes have floundered. The neo-Nazis, however few, have given them something to hyperventilate over and use to flood the news-cycle with weak Trump criticism.

    The only group that even resembles the Brownshirts is the Blackshirt antifas groups. They are organized nationally and seem to be funded and directed by NWO political powers. Their attacks on unpopular speech works because snowflakes have been conditioned to fear and overreact to any opinions that are not part of their party approved groupthink.

  53. J Thomsen

    Ian, – all your cups are not in the cupboard. The vast majority of public violence comes from the left. Our BLUE cities are sewers of corruption, murder, rape and debauchery.

    I looked at the Charlotte torch parade the night before… it looked like Auburn University yuppies.

    the next day – the alt left showed up with nazi flags. Today the LEFT is still pulling down statues and raising mayhem.

  54. StewartM

    J Thomsen

    The vast majority of public violence comes from the left. Our BLUE cities are sewers of corruption, murder, rape and debauchery.

    Not by the per-capita crime rates.

    Notice all the dark splotches in *red* America. And even in some of the blue states, it’s the red districts with the crime.

    (Anyone who lives in a Appalachia, a very white area, like I do, knows this).

  55. S Brennan

    From my FBook today:

    A lot of friends & friends-of-friends are putting up posts to show how much they hate neo-Nazi groups…and that’s heartening, I am all for an anti-Nazi spirit 24/7/365…as long as it’s consistent.

    So…I have a question, how come in the years 2014-2017* I have not heard one word of protest from my friends, the media…Antifa about the direct & continuing US Government support of the genuine Nazis in Ukraine? Think I am making this up, see photos in comments [not included here].

    The direct support of publicly avowed Nazis by politicos like John McCain, Victoria Nuland, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Obama is documented…these people aren’t statues, how come they are immune to criticism?

    *[and the foreseeable future]

  56. Hugh

    Lord, the amount of selective, revisionist history is appalling. If either France or Great Britain had opposed the Remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the German forces entering the Rhineland had orders to back down and leave. But no, it is the Poles who were stupid.

    Especially in 1937-38 but also in 1940-1942, Stalin purged many of his most senior generals and military officers, greatly weakening the Red Army’s ability to resist the Nazi invasion of 1941. But it was the Poles who were stupid.

    In 1938, Chamberlain declared, “Peace for our time” after agreeing to the slicing up of Czechoslovakia in Munich. But it was the Poles who were stupid.

    In 1939, Germany and the USSR signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. This paved the way for a joint German and Russian invasion of Poland. The German side of the invasion triggered the start of WWII, but Stalin also invaded Poland from the east. He also seized the Baltics and parts of Finland. And this is the guy the Poles were stupid not to invite into their country. Tell that to the 20,000 Polish officers and other prominent Poles Stalin murdered in the Katyn Forest massacre the following year.

    There is all kinds of flotsam and jetsam that bobs around on the ocean of great historical events, but it is the rankest form of intellectual truancy to assign greater value to that flotsam and jetsam than the ocean which carries them.

  57. realitychecker

    Get with it, Hugh!

    There is no history anymore.

    There is just the bullshit of the moment. (sigh)

  58. StewartM


    The “other people screwed up too” observation does not exclude “the Polish government screwed up” observation. The Polish government, after all, attacked the Soviet Union in 1919 with the dream of re-establishing the glory of the medieval ‘Greater Poland’ encompassing much of Belorussia and the Ukraine, territories in no way Polish. The Poles weren’t innocents who didn’t harbor their own dreams of empire, they deluded themselves into thinking that they too were something of a Great Power, they were among the first to cut deals with Hitler (and joined him in dismembering Czechoslovakia) and they blew what was probably their best shot at maintaining their independence by refusing to accept Soviet aid in 1939.

    Other governments screwed up too (though Munich being Chamberlain’s screwup is debatable, both for military and political reasons). But the Polish government does share a good deal of responsibility for what happened to Poland.

  59. Peter


    These revisionist attacks on Poland have more to do with what is happening in Poland today than what happened around WW2.

  60. jackiebass

    I disagree with your assessment calling these people centrist. These hate groups are mostly far right of the center but there are some that are far left. The people making money from prisons aren’t usually part of these hate groups. They do promote their self interest but they don’t usually support hate groups.

  61. rkka


    The DCoS paper I posted has a clue.

    By 16 August 1939 war was inevitable, but there was a chance that it would be a relatively short war. That chance was for the Soviets to prolong Poland’s resistance until the British and French empires got mobilized, but as the DCoS say, Soviet soldiers can only do that if allowed onto Polish territory and their operations coordinated with the Polish high command.

    Failing that, it would be a long war, and long wars transform things, which is one of the points the DCoS made.

    So boiled down, by the choice of the Polish government WWII was a 6-year orgy of blood and horror killing ~50m Europeans, rather than a ~1 year war causing relatively little upheaval & destruction that Poland might have survived in something like its prewar form.

    Instead, Poland was utterly defeated by the German armed forces, then was occupied by the Soviets postwar.

    And note, in 1940 the un-Purged armies of the advanced civilized Western countries, numbering over 3 million, folded up or ran for the coast in six weeks, killing 27,000 German troops in the process.

    In the first 7 weeks of Op. Barbarossa, those bumbling Soviets with their Purges killed over 83,000 German troops, plus thousands more Finns, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, and Italians.

    No Westerner has any standing to criticize the Red Army’s performance in 1941.

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