George Orwell during the Second World War, in “Pacifism and the War“:
Pacifism. Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. […] remarks that ‘according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”.’ But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries […] while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. […] In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.
I am not interested in pacifism as a ‘moral phenomenon’. If Mr Savage and others imagine that one can somehow ‘overcome’ the German army by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen. […] Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force. But though not much interested in the ‘theory’ of pacifism, I am interested in the psychological processes by which pacifists who have started out with an alleged horror of violence end up with a marked tendency to be fascinated by the success and power of Nazism. […]
— George Orwell
Which reminds me of this meme from the NAFO group:
It is truly like this: “Pacifism in practice: the weak must fear the strong“. The greatest success of democracy is that the weak must no longer fear the strong, and therefore pacifism and democracy do not belong together.
From Eliza Mondegreen’s article about Milton Mayer’s “They Thought They Were Free”:
And he explores the pressures of “mitschwimmen,” or swimming along. Nazism appealed to the ambitious and also offered a refuge to the politically suspect. One of the men, a teacher, anti-Nazi by disposition, joined the party to deflect scrutiny of his socialist past, which constantly threatened to be revealed. This teacher talked about how a chill settled over educators at the gymnasium level, while their colleagues at primary schools succumbed rapidly to the new ideology: ‘Speed is an instant so short that a grade-school teacher hasn’t time to change his politics.’ He speculated that primary-school teachers, who must know a little bit of everything but don’t have the opportunity to develop deep expertise in any one subject had little ground to challenge Nazi ideology. Who were they to say what was right or wrong or plausible or implausible? So real expertise in some subject area can be protective — it can give you ground to stand on.
As for what was taught in the classroom, he observed that “everything was not regulated specifically, ever.” But without a clear list of prohibitions to give an idea of where the land mines were buried, teachers became ever more cautious about what terrain they strayed into:
“Everything was not regulated specifically, ever. It was not like that at all. Choices were left to the teacher’s discretion, within the ‘German spirit.’ That was all that was necessary, the teacher had only to be discreet. If he himself wondered at all whether anyone would object to a given book, he would be wise not to use it. This was a much more powerful form of intimidation, you see, than any fixed list of acceptable or unacceptable writings. The way it was done was, from the point of view of the regime, remarkably clever and effective. The teacher had to make the choices and risk the consequences; this made him all the more cautious.”
Looking back, the teacher described the terrible turmoil he experienced before he joined the Nazi party:
“I fooled myself. I had to. Everybody has to. If the good had been twice as good and the bad only half as bad, I still ought to have seen it, all through as I did in the beginning… But I didn’t want to see it, because I would then have had to think about the consequences of seeing it, what followed from seeing it, what I must do to be decent… after the decision [to join the Nazi party] it was better, always better. I enjoyed doing those little things at school, ‘defying’ the Party, not because what I did was right (that, too, of course) but because I showed I was clever and, above all, because I ‘belonged.’ I belonged to the new ‘nobility,’ and the nobility can get away with certain things just because they are the nobility; merely getting away with them proves that they are nobility, even to themselves. So I slept.”
Mayer writes that “responsible men never shirk responsibility, and so, when they must reject it, they deny it. They draw the curtain. They detach themselves altogether from the consideration of the evil they ought to, but cannot, contend with.”
It should not be a surprise that I support the Danish monarchy. In general, countries “ruled” by constitutional monarchy – that is, severely limited in power – have enjoyed substantially more peace and prosperity that republics or dictatorships, be they despots, communists or absolute monarchs.
But Nassim Nicholas Taleb puts it rather simply this way:
The main purpose of religion […] is not to affirm that there is a God, but to prevent humans from thinking they are Gods.
Likewise the purpose of a modern king is not to rule, but to prevent politicians & office climbers from thinking that they are kings.
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Constitutional monarchy is an interesting legal construction and the Danish constitution is no less so. For example, on paper, the Queen is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the head of government. In reality, not so much.
As an aside, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Margrethe II has become Europe’s longest serving current head of state, and globally only the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei have served longer.
In this case a reticulated python, native to South and Southeast Asia:
I’ve had friends fanboying for Russia for more than 10 years, something that did become a problem back in 2014 when Russia invaded Ukraine for real. Same friends showed a similar support for Trump and I think there’s a reason for that overlap, no matter that Trump didn’t collude with Russia.
This thread by James Rands presents the obvious problems with this support:
I am baffled by Westerners supporting Russia at the moment. (Generally actually but specifically at the moment)
They seem to fall into a few categories:
1. Communists! Honestly, if you’re a grown adult and you’re still a tankie that’s actually really cringeworthy, but have you noticed how the Russian leadership aren’t communists anymore and haven’t been for over a generation? Once upon a time communists could cite this global struggle between communism and the West and kid themselves Russia was standing up for the weak and oppressed. It was a pretty crass claim at the time, but now it’s just nonsensical.
2. Ultra-left supposed anti-fascists. These are the same people but some are claiming they are primarily anti-Nazi. Now Ukraine has an issue with neo-Nazis like many countries do. But spotting a Nazi doesn’t make the society Nazi. And the claims of Nazism in Ukraine are pretty weak in reality – lots of references to the Asov battalion and quite often photos which are actually of Russians. Because Russia has a serious Neo-Nazi and they’re integrated into the establishment. Wagner Group have that name for a reason.
3. The hard-right. Some of them rather like the fact that Russia has a Neo-Nazi tendency, but they’re mostly attracted by the ultra-masculine ultra-tough non-PC Russian Army. The thing about that is for all the posturing and macho recruiting adverts and homophobia and bigotry and not letting women into the Armed Forces the Russians have turned out to be rubbish at fighting. If your worldview is might is right Russia’s a terrible role model.
[4.] The last group seem to be bloody-minded contrarians; folk who “do their own research” and “don’t trust the MSM”. If you think reading reputable newspapers or watching reputable TV news and then just saying the opposite is clever you’re an idiot.
If you pretend to include everything you are automatically excluding some things. A simple example:
If you add meat to a dish it cannot be a vegetarian dish.
We have categories for a reason.
In an examination of the story about Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” crashing some laptops, Adam Neely not only find the (most likely) frequency but also why it happened so rarely:
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Apparently trigger warnings before content neither discourages people from experiencing the content nor does it lower the impact of the content.
Overall, we found that warnings have no effect on affective responses to negative material nor on educational outcomes (i.e., comprehension).
— “A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Trigger Warnings, Content Warnings, and Content Notes“
There is one effect though:
Finally there is just ONE aspect on which trigger warnings do have a consistent effect.
They cause people to feel more anxious after receiving the warning, but before actually seeing the thing they were warned about.
— Payton Jones
From Brian E. Frydenborg’s “Ukrainian Prudence Meets Russian Limitations: Explaining the Current Pace and Nature of Russia’s War on Ukraine”
Contrary to such views [that there is no Ukrainian offensive or that it has stalled], the offensive is very much underway, with Ukraine simply taking a prudent, risk-averse strategy while it can still easily hit Russian targets far behind the front lines. Unlike Russia, Ukraine actually highly values the lives of its soldiers, a major factor in morale, as Ukrainian soldiers can count on their commanders to not throw their lives away carelessly or needlessly, unlike the clear, callous indifference that permeates Russian command […]
[…] Ukraine knows it has a big comparative advantage with its ability to strike precisely at a distance with superior Western technology and that it is content to keep weakening Russia’s positions and logistics—keep baiting it to send more resources into bad satiation for Russia—as long as Russia keeps presenting juicy targets, targets that, if taken out methodically and patiently by Ukraine before any general infantry-led assault, will mean less resistance from Russia and fewer casualties for Ukraine.