What were the great mistakes for the right and left?

December 24th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Was thinking about what were the great mistakes generally by the right and left in the last century or so. What I mean by that, is an issue on which there was a common view, and decades later almost everyone agrees was the wrong approach.

I’ll start with one for each.

For the right, I’ll cite South Africa and apartheid sanctions. Most on the right argued sanctions won’t work, that the ANC should remain suppressed  that any move to democratic rule would end in a bloodbath.  Basically they were wrong. The sanctions did work. South Africa did crumble under international and domestic pressure and Nelson Mandela did not seek vengeance, but peace. Sure South Africa is far from a perfect democracy - but it no longer has second class citizens, barely better than slaves who lack full human rights.

For the left, I’ll cite the peace movement which advocated unilateral disarmament as the solution to the cold war. They marched in every capital in Europe against nuclear weapons, and demanded the arms race stop. They were absolutely wrong. The soviet empire crumbled as it could not match the economies and militaries of the west. If the left had been listened to, the repressive soviet union could well be still enslaving people today.

So they’re my two great mistakes for the right and left. What other ones would you nominate. They should be ones that most fair minded people today would say they were wrong on. Another example would be those who argued for biofuel subsidies, which ended up starving millions as productive land went from food to biofuels.

No tag for this post.

169 Responses to “What were the great mistakes for the right and left?”

  1. tvb (4,199 comments) says:

    Placing South Africa in the same basket as the cold was is stretching things a bit. South Africa is hardly a world power. Its problems are not that important in terms of the world. But I think the right can claim responsibility for the GFC which has placed Western Economies on their knees. I agree with you on the errors of the left.

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  2. Mobile Michael (411 comments) says:

    Pinochet needs to be included – while Alende was a Marxist who would had all but let Soviet troops be based on the Eastern Pacific coast Pinochet’s human rights record is “up” there with some of the worst post WW2 dictators.

    For the left it would have to be the idolisation of Ernesto Guevara. The guy was a womaniser (the nickname ‘Che’ was earned because he was a friend to every woman), signed off thousands of extra judicial executions and imprisonments, and a coward who begged for his own life when captured in his third bloody civil war.

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  3. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    But I think the right can claim responsibility for the GFC

    GTFO

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  4. Grant Michael McKenna (1,156 comments) says:

    It is extremely anachronistic to look at an event which occurred in one historical context and then make claims about a completely different context. During the cold war the ANC/SACP alliance wanted to create a communist state. They abandoned that goal during the negotiations period; if the Soviet Union were still around they would not have.
    The South African National Party was prepared to abandon power precisely because their fear of Communism was abated by the collapse of the Soviet Union; they did not abandon apartheid because of sanctions- they did so because apartheid was broken by the internal opposition. The SANP tried to keep power without apartheid, but when the SA military refused to fight an all-out civil war, and it became clear that the ANC was prepared to abandon the “complete revolution” line [and yes, it is moot whether it was ever a real principle as opposed to negotiating strategy] a negotiated settlement became possible.
    In other words, up until 1989 the cold war overlay South Africa; afterwards South Africa was free to be free.

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  5. David Garrett (6,336 comments) says:

    Surely the biggest mistake was that communism could ever work as a system of government? The purest surviving communist state is Cuba, and most would agree that – first class free medical care notwithstanding – it is a disaster. China is nothing like “communist” any more, it is simply a totalitarian one party state. In fact it is the best example of what happens when a state abandons communism and embraces the free market. For the sake of the rest of us, perhaps it would be better if they had all stayed in Mao suits riding push bikes and hunting sparrows…

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  6. somewhatthoughtful (451 comments) says:

    Secular soviet bad, repressive pseudo dictatorship with powerful church good? I’m not sure Russia is better off now, especially given the liberalization that was happening at the end of the soviet union. They may have become a china eventually, but instead they’re now just another corrupt dictatorship.

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  7. Grant Michael McKenna (1,156 comments) says:

    Despite what I said above the right did get it wrong in South Africa- they didn’t question the Manichaean premise of the South African National Party that the choices were to acquiesce to apartheid or to support communism. Had there been proper support for the liberal centre, much bloodshed could have been avoided.
    The irony of the negotiations process is that it was the liberal argument that won; power is constrained by a constitution, private property and other civil rights are protected.

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  8. David Garrett (6,336 comments) says:

    (not very) thoughtful: While you may be right about Russia – and of course you forget all the other states that used to comprise the USSR which are now free to pursue their own destinies – what about all the success stories in former communist countries? Poland, the Baltic states, East Germany, Roumania, Hungary, Bulgaria…FFS even Albania now has a tourism industry of sorts!

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  9. nasska (10,622 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    Even the first class medical care synonymous with Cuba may be a myth or at least restricted to patients who can pay with hard currency.

    Ref: http://www.therealcuba.com/Page10.htm

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  10. gump (1,474 comments) says:

    @Sonny Blount

    Alan Greenspan acknowledges that his policies of deregulating financial markets while Fed Chairman helped to precipitate and deepen the GFC. So it’s fair to attribute some (but not all) of the responsibility for allowing the GFC to develop at the feet of the right.

    I would say the great mistakes of the left were the failures of centrally planned economies and the horrendous famines that resulted in millions of deaths during the 20th century.

    I would say that the great mistakes of the right were the excessive powers granted to global corporations, and the wars and other social harm that have subsequently resulted (e.g. the outrageous levels of incarceration that have resulted from privatising the American prison systems).

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  11. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Left: Burgeoning state welfare
    Right: Fiat currency

    If you control access to resources, you control the people who need those resources. The left and the right understand this.

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  12. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    For the right, I’ll cite South Africa and apartheid sanctions. Most on the right argued sanctions won’t work, that the ANC should remain suppressed that any move to democratic rule would end in a bloodbath. Basically they were wrong. The sanctions did work. South Africa did crumble under international and domestic pressure and Nelson Mandela did not seek vengeance, but peace. Sure South Africa is far from a perfect democracy – but it no longer has second class citizens, barely better than slaves who lack full human rights.

    Really, so when did this come to pass.
    Weeks ago they shot black miners just like they always have.

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  13. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,810 comments) says:

    somewhatthoughtful, take a trip to Russia and North Korea to compare and contrast whether Russia is better off today or not.

    Personally, I think its never been better for Russia than right now and its only getting better.

    However I’m sure some people believe that New Zealand was never better than under Rob Muldoon’s rule in the early 80′s.

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  14. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    The Holocaust
    World War One
    Stalin’s death camps

    Versus universal suffrage, free health education welfare and pensions. Yes, I really see your point, David.

    The campaign for nuclear disarmament was not a failure. It worked.

    The Soviet system collapsed because it couldn’t feed itself which was a market failure, and capitulated to ‘democracy’ because the freedom to exchange ideas (for example CND which which the right tried to suppress) was too influential to ignore.

    The major failure of the left has always been that is has traditionally been promoted by people who, once they turn forty, turn out to be just as institutionalised and dysfunctional as their forefathers (and foremothers).

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  15. David Garrett (6,336 comments) says:

    gump: your post started off quite sensibly and ended with utter nonsense…or do you really believe that the Judges in the US all get some sort of kickback for giving out prison sentences? And if so, how do they ensure that the prisoners are sent to the “right” prison, and not a state run one? Do tell…

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  16. thedavincimode (6,530 comments) says:

    What is this propensity to designate authoritarian dictaterships as “right”? Or even neo nazis (like those dumbfuck unemployable losers in Christchurch) as “far right”?

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  17. thedavincimode (6,530 comments) says:

    DG

    Heh. Neil Young at Woodstock: “… this is a song that starts off real slow and then kinda fizzles out altogether …”

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  18. David Garrett (6,336 comments) says:

    davinci: Quite so…China still calls itself communist, and I don’t think many of our leftie friends would deny that it is an authoritarian dictatorship…or perhaps they would…these are the same people who called the Berlin wall the “anti fascist barrier” designed to keep the west out…even though you could go into East Berlin by accident, as I once did, but you sure as hell couldn’t come out the same way!

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  19. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    davinci

    I use the axiom ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ (Acton) as a bench mark. To my mind, seduction by power= Right, and attempts to balance its abuses = left.

    At some stage, perhaps because of human nature, most ‘left’ systems once they get power go to the ‘right’ and become the very thing they set out to destroy.

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  20. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    David – How the hell did you get into East Berlin ‘by accident’? Did you fall on it while cleaning out the vegetable rack?

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  21. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Merry Christmas David. And try not to come on here either drunk or with a hangover. It shows up in your phrasing.

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  22. thedavincimode (6,530 comments) says:

    Lee C

    I’m not sure that the last 13 years of government here, nor the melon policy agenda is all that consistent with your power equations. Certainly power = control, as we saw for 9 years. We have a stark contrast between changes that that weren’t manadated in elections and those that were.

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  23. Andrei (2,499 comments) says:

    It was a big mistake to vote for National in 2008 believing that this would be an end to big state, left wing, nanny state policies – hah the joke’s on us more of the same with bells on from our so called “right”.

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  24. greenjacket (416 comments) says:

    Assuming we mean left/right parties in the western world in the past 50 years:

    On the right – support for George W Bush’s fiasco in Iraq. I think most conservatives thought that Bush would govern as a conservative and pursue a modest foriegn policy without “nation building”. Instead he spent like a drunken sailor and got embroiled in a disastrous war that trashed America’s reputation. Mea culpa.

    On the left – the creation of the welfare state from what the Labour Party had originally envisaged as a safety net for the “deserving poor” into a full universal benefit system virtually without question. The ongoing intergenerational disaster of welfare dependency is due to the Left’s utterly naive muddle-headed idea that if you pay people money for doing nothing for as long as they live, they will develop into contributing members of society – bzzzt wrong. That most Lefties still believe this is true in spite of the evidence in front of them is profoundly depressing.

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  25. kowtow (7,588 comments) says:

    South Africa is on it’s way to being a failed state. Murder and rape are at huge proportions. The world’s media have turned Mandela into some sort of saint when it was the whites who gave up power and are the ones who should be the icons.

    The right were correct to support the old South Africa regime. It was all part of a bigger anti communist picture.Which brings us to the left and their support of “peace”,that was no mistake,it was a deliberate policy ordered from Moscow.They were willing agents in a world wide struggle for domination by the left.

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  26. David Garrett (6,336 comments) says:

    Lee C : What a bitter little chap! I am neither drunk nor hungover…

    I got into East Berlin by accident because Berlin, like many European cities, has several train stations. I stayed on the train at what was in fact the main station because everyone hadn’t got off, not realising it was the last stop before the wall (I wasn’t drunk then either). Then the train started moving again, and next thing it was ploughed up ground, razor wire, and stern looking chaps in a watchtower. We then pulled up at “Berlin Ost”.

    As I said, getting out again wasn’t so easy.

    Have a lovely Christmas

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  27. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    David Garrett – did you get there on your false passport?

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  28. gump (1,474 comments) says:

    @David Garrett

    It has nothing to do with judges and sentencing.

    The problem is that private prison operators are pouring huge amounts of money into political lobbying (as do many other American corporate interests). The results of the lobbying are laws that allow politicians to appear “tough on crime” while increasing the overall size of the prison population e.g. mandatory minimum sentences and imprisonment for small crimes such as low-level personal drug possession etc.

    Consequently the size of the Anerican prison population had exploded over the last thirty years. America has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.

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  29. David Garrett (6,336 comments) says:

    gazzwanker: Most amusing…all the more so because you hide behind a pseud…

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  30. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    David – there are plenty of people who know I am my pseudonym since I have used it for a decade and a half. Anything I say isn’t exactly anonymous.

    If you’re stupid enough to get in trouble for having a false passport, and then become a member of parliament, then you deserve all the public criticism you get. Especially when your platform was to be tough on crime.
    You deserve it more since you’re one of the major reasons why the ACT party has failed, meaning that New Zealand doesn’t have a decent economically liberal political movement any more.

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  31. tas (591 comments) says:

    Fighting inflation through price controls. This was tried in many countries around the world and failed miserably. I’m not sure whether this is a mistake of the right or the left. Though I’d like to pin it on the left since Russel Norman still thinks its a great idea.

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  32. alex (301 comments) says:

    DG appears to have derailed the thread to talking about his various travel arrangements, so I’ll get it back on track.

    Left? Surprised nobody has mentioned Rogernomics yet, but I suppose they were put through by a right wing clique within the Labour Party. I disagree with DPF on disarmament. Nuclear weapons were, and remain, an absolute abomination. Their sole function when used it to destroy cities, regardless of the loss of life of civilians.

    I would say the biggest mistake made by some on the left would be to view the Soviet Union under Stalin as anything other than a murderous dictatorship. I suppose given the context of the time Hitler may have seemed worse, but still, many ideological people are unwilling to critisice the practices of similarly aligned countries out of fear of damaging them, and therefore yourself, politically. This is flat out wrong. Just because a nation’s rhetoric is one of social justice and equality for all, doesn’t make it true in practice.

    Same mistake on the Right, really. Americans have a saying about right wing dictators that they control, “He may be a sonofabitch, but he’s our sonofabitch.” Some of the regimes that have been sponsored by the American right wing have been truly terrible, Hosni Mubarak’s being a good example in the modern day. Both sides need to put aside their ideological preferences and support regimes that follow principles of human rights.

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  33. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Nelson Mandela did not seek vengeance, but peace.

    It is hard to be polite in the face of such ignorance, but I will try. Under Mandela, SA quickly became the murder, rape and robbery capital of the world. Hundreds of white farmers, and their families, were brutally murdered and tortured. The level of personal security, for black Africans, has Deteriorated enormously. Previously, blacks flocked in their thousands to SA, for better financial prospects and for the fact they were safe there. Sadly it is now going the same way as Zimbabwe.

    Mandela himself, was a convicted terrorist who used to deal with his opponents by placing a petrol filled tyre over them and setting it on fire. This is a little trick they used recently of refugees from Zimbabwe.

    I am disgusted that you, DPF, would use this as an example of the right being wrong !

    Even John Minto speaks out against this barbaric failed state.

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  34. alex (301 comments) says:

    @Kea – Apartheid was worse than what South Africa is now for a number of reasons, and to quote DPF himself, “South Africa is far from a perfect democracy.” He’s hardly defending what came after apartheid.

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  35. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    alex, the concept of Apartheid does not sit well with me, not at all. I used to be fanatically opposed to it, then I grew up and learnt a few things about the real world.

    Apartheid worked, way better than the appalling situation there now. I value outcomes, for people, more than the ideology of Western liberals. Many blacks agree that things were better then.

    Go do some homework.

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  36. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    To my mind, seduction by power= Right, and attempts to balance its abuses = left.

    Lee C, in the words of that great sage (and tennis player), “You cannot be serious!”

    Fundamentally, those on the Right favour reduced government, whereas those on the Left favour larger and more interventionist government. There is simply no way, given that, that the Right can be characterised by seduction of power, nor the Left by the balancing of its abuses.

    You have it the wrong way around

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  37. alex (301 comments) says:

    Ah, it worked so well that a terrorist group that opposed it became so strong as to eventually become the government? Must have been a lot of happy black folks joining the ANC under apartheid. Again, nobody is arguing that the practices of the current regime are much better, but to say apartheid worked is a bare faced lie. That’s not Western liberal ideology either, thats a fact. If it worked so well, why did the regime end up going the same way as the Soviet government?

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  38. Stuart (40 comments) says:

    I’ve got to agree with Kea, from discussions I’ve had with South Africans, Apartheid was terrible and needed to stop, but things were better for most, including blacks, before.

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  39. tvb (4,199 comments) says:

    South Afrixa and its problems are small potatoes compared with the Cold War. Mellon Mandela is a significant historical figure possibly in Africa. But I cannot get worked up about the global significance of South Africa.

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  40. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nobody is arguing that the practices of the current regime are much better

    Actually they are arguing it is much better. You said “Apartheid was worse than what South Africa is now for a number of reasons”

    I have no desire to give examples that support my view. They are freely available and if you wanted to know, you could do your own research. I am sure you mean well, but your view is poorly informed. You are putting your ideology before the welfare of millions of people.

    Surprisingly, I appear to have more common ground with John Minto, on this issue, than I do with many others.

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  41. eszett (2,332 comments) says:

    I have no desire to give examples that support my view.

    LOL LOL LOL

    I think that says all that needs to be said.

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  42. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    eszett, I assume most people can do a google search and find out for themselves. The horrors of modern SA are well reported (though rarely our media). I would assume that a nasty little prick like you would not be concerned about all that suffering though, just as long as your vile socialist ideology was preserved. Those of us who care about people can not understand what makes your sort tick.

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  43. eszett (2,332 comments) says:

    I would assume that a nasty little prick like you

    So nothing to back up your arguments and immediately turning to personal insults.

    Even more LOLs for that one, Kea.

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  44. gump (1,474 comments) says:

    The problems in South Africa stem from crushing inequality – which is reinforced by government corruption and general economic mismanagement.

    Fixing the economy would help to resolve many of the problems with violent crime. People will behave violently when they perceive their situation as hopeless.

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  45. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    For the left, the continuing paternalistic belief that the great unwashed are too stupid to make their own choices, and need the elite to make those choices for them. And the support of outrageous dictatorships.

    For this right, the continuing belief that you can make people like you by force. And the support of outrageous dictatorships.

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  46. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    The wonderful rainbow nation:

    “A woman in South Africa is more likely to get raped than educated, according to statistics. According to the report by the United Nations Office on Crimes and Drugs for the period 1998–2000, South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita”

    “South Africa has some of the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_violence_in_South_Africa

    “South Africa has a very high rate of murders, assaults, rapes (adult, child and infant), and other crimes compared to most countries”

    “Around 50 people are murdered in South Africa each day.[6] The murder rate has increased by an order of magnitude in South Africa during the last 40 years”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_South_Africa#Murder

    “Afrikaner farm owners are being murdered at a rate four times the murder rate of other South Africans, including Black farm owners. Their families are also subjected to extremely high crime rates, including murder, rape, mutilation and torture of the victims. South African police fail to investigate or solve many of these murders, which are carried out by organized gangs, often armed with weapons that police have previously confiscated. The racial character of the killing is covered up by a SA government order prohibiting police from reporting murders by race. Instead the crisis is denied and the murders are dismissed as ordinary crime, ignoring the frequent mutilation of the victims’ bodies, a sure sign that these are hate crimes.”

    http://www.genocidewatch.org/southafrica.html

    “xenophobic murders, rapes and other violence spread across the city and its satellite townships on Monday…In the city centre at the weekend, marauding gangs of men stopped people in the street or in minibus taxis to interrogate them about their origins. Those who did not speak an indigenous language were beaten up…They surrounded my place and they were shouting for me to come out. I was crying and telling them I have my babies in here, they mustn’t hurt them. But they weren’t listening. They were making too much noise. I think some of them were drunk,” she said.

    “Then they set a fire to force me out. I thought they were going to kill me but they were laughing at the fire and dancing. A few of them hit me but I was able to run..They always hated us,” said Muzenda. “We thought this might happen”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/20/zimbabwe.southafrica

    “Since the transition to democracy in 1994, South Africa has experienced an increase in xenophobia. The May 2008 xenophobic attacks… 670 were injured, dozens were raped and about 100 000 people were displaced (Landau 2009: 2). Two thirds of those killed were foreigners, while the others were South Africans who had either married foreigners”

    http://sites.duke.edu/sazimbabweans/2011/05/01/locals-only-understanding-xenophobia-in-south-africa/#more-16

    There is more, much much more. This is not even the really bad stuff. This is from main stream media and widely reported.

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  47. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    So nothing to back up your arguments and immediately turning to personal insults.

    A quick google search will back up my arguments. Go have a look and grow up.

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  48. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_violence_in_South_Africa

    A woman in South Africa is more likely to get raped than educated, according to statistics. According to the report by the United Nations Office on Crimes and Drugs for the period 1998–2000, South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita

    South Africa has some of the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world.[21] In 2001, it was reported by the South African Police Service that children are the victims of 41 percent of all rapes reported in the country

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  49. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_South_Africa

    A survey for the period 1998–2000 compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranked South Africa second for assault and murder (by all means) per capita and first for rapes per capita in a data set of 60 countries

    Around 50 people are murdered in South Africa each day.[6] The murder rate has increased by an order of magnitude in South Africa during the last 40 years

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  50. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/20/zimbabwe.southafrica

    Mandelas South Africa cont

    Thousands seek sanctuary as South Africans turn on refugees

    No one in Cleveland squatter camp seemed to know the names of the five burned or bludgeoned bodies. They were referred to simply as Zimbabweans, though no one could even be sure they were that.

    In the city centre at the weekend, marauding gangs of men stopped people in the street or in minibus taxis to interrogate them about their origins. Those who did not speak an indigenous language were beaten up.

    Another man, who has still not been identified, was barely alive after a mob threw a burning mattress on to him. He appeared to have been beaten with a concrete pillar first.

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  51. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    http://sites.duke.edu/sazimbabweans/

    Since the transition to democracy in 1994, South Africa has experienced an increase in xenophobia. The May 2008 xenophobic attacks, as well as evidence of renewed threats of violence in Gauteng and the Western Cape illustrates that hostility to foreigners is a prevalent issue in South African society

    So ezsett, what have you got ? We can see that the white western values of racial equality are just that, white and western.

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  52. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    http://www.genocidewatch.org/southafrica.html

    Over 3000 white farmers have been murdered since 1994. The South African police have not made investigation and prosecution of these farm murders a priority, dismissing them as crimes by common criminals.

    For ten years, Genocide Watch has been the only international human rights group willing to declare an Alert about the high murder rate of Boer farmers, perhaps because it is not “politically correct” to defend the rights of people who once supported apartheid. Genocide Watch is opposed to all forms of racism, from whatever the source.

    Afrikaner farm owners are being murdered at a rate four times the murder rate of other South Africans, including Black farm owners. Their families are also subjected to extremely high crime rates, including murder, rape, mutilation and torture of the victims. South African police fail to investigate or solve many of these murders, which are carried out by organized gangs, often armed with weapons that police have previously confiscated. The racial character of the killing is covered up by a SA government

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  53. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    So eszett, what have you got to back up your views ?

    We can see that the white Western view of “equality” is simply that, white and Western.

    It breaks my heart, but what you read above is a small dose of the reality of that place. It gets worse…

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  54. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Apartheid worked,

    Semi-literate cretin believes “mud races” should be grateful.

    /

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  55. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    cha, can you clarify your point, assuming you have one?

    Would you say the examples I have provided are “working” for people ?

    Do you think they are “grateful” for what your white liberal views have done for them ?

    Of course you wont answer any of those questions. Go live in SA mate.

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  56. eszett (2,332 comments) says:

    Firstly, you don’t know what my views are, Kea, I have never stated them.
    I was merely pointing out that you are making an outrageously stupid claim, then refusing to back it up and then insulting me for calling you out on it.

    And how do those articles back up your assertion that “apartheid worked”in any way, Kea? Worked for whom? Where in any of those articles that you mentioned is a single argument to return to apartheid? Or that apartheid was better?

    As usual, you are making an extremely simplistic argument here, based on some absurd assumptions, limited facts and without taking any kind of context or complexities into account. It must be nice to live in such a simple fantasy, but it has no bearing on reality.

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  57. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Unintended consequences.

    http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2009/090115.html

    They found that mass privatisation came at a human cost: with an average surge in the number of deaths of 13 per cent or the equivalent of about one million lives.

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  58. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    eszett, any comment on the situation in SA and the appalling state of things there ?

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  59. wat dabney (3,655 comments) says:

    Russia’s problem is that the Communists systematically destroyed any and all institutions and patterns of normal social activity which were not directly instigated and controlled by themselves; the victims being horrifically tortured and murdered by the thousands.

    Little wonder that when their reign of terror finally ended there was nothing but a vacuum, to be filled by the gangsters who now run the place.

    Cha,

    “The Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign and Russia’s Mortality Crisis”

    Political and economic transition is often blamed for Russia’s 40% surge in deaths between 1990 and 1994. Highlighting that increases in mortality occurred primarily among alcohol-related causes and among working-age men (the heaviest drinkers), this paper investigates an alternative explanation: the demise of the 1985-1988 Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign. Using archival sources to build a new oblast-year data set spanning 1978-2000, we find a variety of evidence suggesting that the campaign’s end explains a large share of the mortality crisis – implying that Russia’s transition to capitalism and democracy was not as lethal as commonly suggested.

    http://papers.nber.org/papers/w18589#fromrss

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  60. alex (301 comments) says:

    Yes, Kea, we are all well aware South Africa is a shitty place to be, like I said, its not much better than it was under apartheid in terms of economic and living conditions. However, blacks are now seen as fully human, as opposed to under apartheid. Surely that is progress, however small that may be in economic terms?

    And I agree with you and Minto, the current SA regime is terrible. Look through my earlier comments please and find where I praise any of their actions, oh wait, I don’t. Also, consider, if you will, my first comment, where I argued that people on all sides need to be able to criticise regimes with similar ideologies to their own, if they behave appallingly. I think the new regime (note – regime, as in political system, not government) is better than apartheid due to all people being nominally equal under the law. I also think the current government is in practice no better than the apartheid government. See the distinction?

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  61. alex (301 comments) says:

    Edit – Wish to change the word regime in the first sentence of 2nd para to government.

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  62. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Yes, Kea, we are all well aware South Africa is a shitty place to be, like I said, its not much better than it was under apartheid in terms of economic and living conditions. However, blacks are now seen as fully human,

    “Not much better” ! It is actually far worse. I provided a few links, for those too lazy, or disinterested, to look themsleves. The living conditions and levels of personal safety have deteriorated markedly. Economically it is going from a bread basket to a basket case, just like Zimbabwe has under majority black rule.

    You say “blacks are now seen as fully human”. The refugees from Zimbabwe may question that, as may the victims of rape, assualt, murder, robbery, raped babies etc. These thing were far less prevelent under the old regime.

    You are confusing your ideology, and views about equality, with standard of living and personal safety issues.

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  63. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    I know that I am late to this, but I agree with DG: the biggest mistake of the left wing in the last century was the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship that was the Communist bloc. A failed experiment that somehow still hasn’t convinced the left that socialism will always be a road to serfdom…

    I disagree with DPF on South Africa. The South African handover didn’t degenerate into strife immediately because Mandela had a change of philosophy whilst in prison. But note that it is effectively a one party state and has huge problems with crime and corruption, plus the intransigent communism of the ANC Youth Wing means that trouble might only be postponed, not averted. I sincerely and wholeheartedly hope I am wrong and that the country can keep itself out of the mire, but I am not 100% hopeful on that.

    I think Mobile Michael is more correct, although I go just beyond Pinochet. The Right’s support of any and all dictators who were not left wing is a stain that shows that some of the Right just don’t get that human rights, democracy and freedom should underpin Right Wing philosophies.

    Now, I know that the Left do not care about playing fair, which is something that the Right does try to do, but on principle the support of Pinochet and his ilk was wrong.

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  64. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Yep, it is no contest. The worst mistake was the ruthless pursuit of socialism, even while it failed miserably in front of their eyes. Rather than respond by looking at the ideology, the left simply became more brutal and employed more secret police and oppression. It was a shameful period of human history, when we should have known better.

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  65. Dean Papa (712 comments) says:

    “I know that the Left do not care about playing fair, which is something that the Right does try to do”

    Indeed, sanctions on Iraq were just so damn fair, especially for the children of Iraq. The “right” (whatever or whoever that means) can be duly proud.

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  66. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    A bit like the sanctions of South Africa then, considering it was the poor who were most affected by them?

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  67. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Dean Papa, we can indeed find fault on both sides. But the modern history of the left is bleak and murderous, far more so than the right.

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  68. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    I reckon the biggest political mistake full stop was the appeasement of Hitler.

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  69. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    I’d question the whole notion that one can distinguish ‘left’ and ‘right’ to the extent that one particular ideology or another is responsible for particular acts of violence, etc.

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  70. Rex Widerstrom (5,254 comments) says:

    The Right’s biggest mistake, surely, is to have handed most of its leadership roles to people who are happy to trample on the basic tenet of individual freedom.

    This is illustrated time and time again when someone ostensibly of the Right advocates some law or regulation that restricts individual freedom of choice and the Left’s response is to say “Us too, but moreso”. That alone should make anyone who claims to be of the Right stop and take stock of where they’re going.

    Scaring the masses and then offering them a solution has become the fastest way to power, since people seem all too willing to have their fear of “the other” alternately scratched and soothed, and have given up demanding principle from parties and politicians.

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  71. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    is to have handed most of its leadership roles to people who are happy to trample on the basic tenet of individual freedom.

    and

    llustrated time and time again when someone ostensibly of the Right advocates some law or regulation that restricts individual freedom of choice and the Left’s response is to say “Us too, but moreso”.

    Well said.

    Mild authoritarianism, which has been the goal of bureaucrats since WW1 (from which we draw the lesson that ‘temporary’ restrictions of freedom are always permanent) has become so much more popular in the last 20 years.  A lot of the present form comes from New Labour, who’se motto was ‘trust us, we know better than you what is good for you’ was adopted by Labour parties in both Aus and NZ, and then by the Tories in the UK and National in NZ. 

    Simon Power being the ultimate poster boy for New Labour, of course. There is a bloke who never met an authoritarian policy that he didn’t like!  Sadly, Power was an example of the norm among the professional politician class, all house trained and filled with a sense of entitlement to rule simply by existing.

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  72. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    mm,

    are you suggesting that Lenin was not left wing?

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  73. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    I reckon the biggest political mistake full stop was the appeasement of Hitler.

    While I disagree, you raise an interesting point.  The fact is that the appeasement of Hitler eventually led to him overplaying his hand, leading to his demise (albeit after a very costly war).  I wonder if a refusal to appease Hitler, short of forcibly deposing him, might have led to an entrenchment of the National Socialist regime in Germany?

     

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  74. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    Of course Lenin was left-wing, but much more than that he was someone who pursued power, convinced that a ruthless seizure of power and violent enforcement of the Bolsheviks’ rule would lead to the promised land. My broader point was really just to say that tyranny flourishes under a variety of conditions and pretends to follow all kinds of ideologies. To those on the receiving end, it does not really matter who ideas have prompted the terror inflicted on them.

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  75. wat dabney (3,655 comments) says:

    This is why I advocate Capitalism.

    Capitalism is what’s left when you remove violence and coercion from society.

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  76. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    Grant Michael McKenna nailed it at the beginning of the thread.

    The end of the Cold War facilitated the progress in South Africa. The South African elite knew that sanctions would be really applied only after the West was convinced there would be no communist regime. The ANC knew that post Cold War, a democratic process was the only viable option. That however has, as critics such as Minto have noted, meant slow change in the economic disparity.

    As to the Cold War, it was the unilateral disarmament campaign that led to the end of the Cold War. The decisive move that ended the Cold War was the agreement to withdraw US and Russian nuclear weapons from Europe. This lead to both liberation of Easdtern Europe and the end of dictatorship in Russia. It was however a defeat for the international democratic left because without the communist threat, globalisation has occured. With that capital has triumphed and wealth and income disparity in the West has risen exponentially.

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  77. wat dabney (3,655 comments) says:

    it was the unilateral disarmament campaign that led to the end of the Cold War. The decisive move that ended the Cold War was the agreement to withdraw US and Russian nuclear weapons from Europe

    So, not unilateral then.

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  78. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    Of course not, western government response was – we will not do this, unless they do too. So when Gorbachov said they would, then the Cold War was over.

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  79. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    The irony was that withdrawal from Europe of their military threat to each other undermined the security basis for Russian dominance of Eastern Europe. Ultimately this lead to revisionism in Russia itself as to whether the Communist regime should remain in internal dictatorship and international revolutionary mode.

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  80. Kimbo (667 comments) says:

    The right wing (and other western) governments recognising Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge as the legitimate government of Kampuchea/Camobodia, even after the Vietnamese sent them packing

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  81. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    SA pales in to a non issue when you have the memory of Neville Chamberlin who had the opportunity to crush Germany in 1938 politically and militarily but went down the appeasement track which resulted in millions dead.

    The world should never be allowed to forget Chamberlin for what he did not do

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  82. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    wat 4:58 +1

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  83. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    The fact is that the appeasement of Hitler eventually led to him overplaying his hand, leading to his demise (albeit after a very costly war).

    very costly war, that FES is the understatement of 2012 , Britain had the military to defeat Germany easily in 1938

    I wonder if a refusal to appease Hitler, short of forcibly deposing him, might have led to an entrenchment of the National Socialist regime in Germany?

    Don’t waste you time wondering, it would not have, Germany was already in a total state of terror due to Hitler, the appeasement did nothing but strengthen the Nazi’s .

    Read Duff Coopers Diaries, he resigned as Lord of the Admiralty over it and the Rise and Fall of the Thrd Reich by Willliam Shirer. Chamberlin has much to answer for

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  84. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    PEB
    There is another school of thought that Britain desperately needed the time from Munich to early 1940 to compete the aerial defence system that enabled it to avoid defeat.

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  85. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    “Britain had the military to defeat Germany easily in 1938″

    Ooh this is a good one- I will grab a drink and argue this call all night!

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  86. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    As I understand it, the theory is that the Czechs had a pretty good military in 1938 and would have fought, and fought well, against a German invasion, given support from Britain and France. These hypothetical scenarios are, of course, impossible to prove.

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  87. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    I’m going to stick with the school of thought that Hitler was absolutely unstoppable in the late 1930s (Maginot line anyone??)-
    Hence Britain and Russia signing pacts to ‘appease’ him….

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  88. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,810 comments) says:

    The BBC

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  89. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    The BBC has been a very successful voice for the conservative establishment in the UK.

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  90. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    All the generals close to Hitler that survived the war agree that had it not been for Munich Hitler would ahve attacked Czechoslovakia on October 1, 1938, and they presume that ,whatever momentary hesitations there might have been in London, Paris and Paris ans Moscow, in the end Britain, France and Russia would have been drawn into the war. And-what is most important to this history at this point- the german generals agree unanimously taht Germany would have lost the war, and in short order. ……The leading light among the latter was general Keitel, the chief of the OKW, toady to Hitler and constantly at his side. When asked on the witness stand at the Munich trail what the reaction of the german generals was to Munich he replied:

    we were extaordinarily happy taht it had not come to a military operation because.. from a purely military point of view we lacked the means for an attack whick involved the piercing of the frontier fortifications

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Riech page 423

    The same page also refutes that Munich stopped London and Paris getting bombed and saved the West from the war but I can’t be arsed typing it all it certainly had nothing to do with “defence systems” or lack there of, it was simply the fact the the french , Britain Russia and The Czechs would have defeated Germany and millions of lives saved.

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  91. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    ,i>Longknives (1,962) Says:

    December 24th, 2012 at 6:21 pm
    “Britain had the military to defeat Germany easily in 1938″

    Ooh this is a good one- I will grab a drink and argue this call all night!

    I’m in lets go

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  92. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    at the Munich trail

    should read his Nuremburg trial

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  93. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    Those would be the same German generals that opposed the deep panzer thrusts into France that won the 1940 campaign then.

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  94. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    ” in the end Britain, France and Russia would have been drawn into the war..”

    In 1938-39 Stalin was always going to sit and wait….war was inevitable but he was a very tactical player.
    France, for all their huff and puff and ‘Maginot lines’ couldn’t fight their way out of a soggy paper bag, therefore Britain would have been pushing it uphill to stop the Blitzkreig by themselves…especially in 1938.

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  95. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    We are talking 1938 lots changed because of Munich , this all had nothing to do with 1940.

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  96. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    It’s all hypothetical. No Munich agreement leads to many other ‘what ifs’. Hitler backs down/Hitler is deposed/Germany invades and defeats the Czechs before Britain and France can assist/ etc, etc.

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  97. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    There was no Blitzkreig in 1938, Munich was all bout the Case Green Hitlers plan to invade Czechsolvakia . Hitler hated it becasue it was a creation drawn up after the peace treaties after WWI. It was all about the Sudeten Germans there was over 3 million of them there and there had been a strong Nazi party there since 1933 ,The Sudeten German Party

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  98. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Its not hypothetical at all, Munich was the major reason the WWII happened,if there had been some balls shown Hitler would have gone ahead with the invasion of Czechoslovakia militarliy, as it happened he got it without a shot being fired and was in position to talk with Russia as they had half a million Ruthenians within Czecoslovakia the plan to invade had been on the books since 1937 there is much revisionist history about but it is proven that germany was not strong enough in 1938 to take on the Czechs, Britain, the French and the Russians

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  99. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    I think we are talking about the period Churchill referred to as ‘The Twilight War’? In my humble opinion Great Britain were simply dipping their toes in the water..they were certainly in no hurry to engage- especially with that lemon Chamberlain at the helm…

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  100. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    No we are talking 1938 you are referring to “the phony war”- the months following Britain and France’s declaration of war on Germany (shortly after the German invasion of Poland) in September 1939 and preceding the Battle of France in May 1940.

    Churchill was not even in government in 1938 at the time of Munich he did call it the Twilight war others called it the bore war

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  101. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    PEB
    It cannot be ‘proven’, one way or another. These kinds of historical debates can be fun, and even provoke fresh thinking, but they can never produce certainty about what might have happened.

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  102. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    Apologies PEB- My WW2 History may be a little rusty! ( I did a few ‘interest’ History papers at University but that was more than a few years ago..)
    I’d better brush up on Wikipedia, have a couple more JD Single Barrels, then get back to you!!

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  103. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I can say with certainty that if Hitler had been defeated in Czecsolovakia rather that be allowed to walk in and annex an entire country without a shot being fired. Appeasement monkeys betrayed a country every which way- the second world war would not have occurred, thats why the Munich is the biggest fail by the right in the history of mankind.

    Its hypothetical in the sense that it did not occurr but its is not hypothetical like lots of quantum physics, there is no guess work or supposition required over Munich it was just appalling bad decisions made which caused a catastrophe.

    Hypothetically the men who would have found a cure for cancer were killed during this war and therefore the world does not have a cure, thats hypothetical for you.

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  104. kowtow (7,588 comments) says:

    tvb
    Saint Nelson Mandela is Africa. Last time I was in the University Book Shop Dunedin ,about a year ago,under “Africa” there were some 10 books or so. 7 on the saint ,maybe one on Saint Bob Mugabe and perhaps one other……Africa,the whole effing continent is Mandela….I dread his death,the MSM will go ballistic,Diana ,move aside.

    As to stopping the Austrian corporal,I think Churchill states that it would have taken Britain and France together to have stopped Germany,the problem was the poltical will didn’t exist.

    Chamberlain?
    I recommend to any interested the excellent book, “C” The Secret Life of Sir Stewart Graham Menzies, Spy Master to Winston Churchill by Anthony Cave Brown.
    He is fairer to Chamberlain than history has been.PM in ’37. He had to play for time,thus appeasement.His view was the real enemy was Stalin who would benefit from a war between Germany and Britain (which he did).No prospect of alliance with the USA. Rusia was the principal enemy.With annexation of Austria in ’38 Briatin knew war was unavoidable,so stepped up the secret service effort to overthrow Hitler with by military coup.Canaris would be involved ,as he eventually was and lost his life at the end of the war.(this was not part of the British plotting though.)
    Context is important considering the memory of these men of the disasters of WW1,so the desire to avoid war with the germans.
    Alas it came to nought. Worth a read.

    Churchill in his history ofWW2 said the Allies should have put some minor royal on the German throne after WW1 instead of creating an easlily toppled republic. The vacuum left by the loss of the Royal family was eventually filled by Hitler,interesting point. Ha s relevance to the modern repblican boolcks too. Vacuums filled by political activists,who needs that?

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  105. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    Oh sure, there is a difference between saying that a military confrontation instead of the Munich Agreement might have changed the course of the next few years. It is impossible to say how that might have panned out. For example, would Hitler have backed down, or attacked anyway and risked military defeat? If he had backed down, would Germany have been stronger or weaker in the medium term? If there had been a military confrontation, it is impossible to say, now, whether the German or Czechs (with assistance) would have prevailed.

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  106. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    “the second world war would not have occurred,”

    That is a huge call- I liken the dynamic of WW2 to the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ with an underdog Ali (The Allies) fighting back to destroy a hugely dominant and powerful Foreman (The Axis).
    Therefore I just can’t picture Hitler being defeated early on in the piece.The Allies had to wait until he punched himself out on both the Russian and the Western Front….

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  107. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Hitler would have attacked, the quote above states as much he had planned it since 1937 it was called “Case Green” he didn’t have to because of the appeasement and the betrayal of the Czechs. A german general at Nuremberg states they did not have the juice to defeat the Czechs and the Poms and the Frogs and the Russians.

    Its not impossible given the relative military strengths available, the fact is at the time Germany was not ready for a pan european war and in 1938 had no plans for one .

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  108. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    Gee, you go away for a while and some good stuff happens!

    I am going to agree and disagree with PEB and agree with what longknives was meaning. I agree that Czechoslovakia had a very advanced military machine and would have given the Germans a good fight if it came to an invasion. I therefore agree that Chamberlain has a lot to answer for when it comes to the actual terms of the Munic Agreement. However, I also believe, as longknives pointed out, that the Poms were not militarily in a position to really do anything about it in 1938. The time to intervene militarily was actually with the Reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936. At that time the German military was not particularly strong, and the experience and knowledge that came with the Condor legion in Spain was not available to them. As a matter of international law, that was the time to move as it was a breach of the Versaille Treaty.

    However, in 1938 there was no international law justification for an invasion of Germany. Don’t forget, also, that Hitler was actively admired by much of the British Establishment, so there wasn’t the will to really do anything about it either.

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  109. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    Where is the edit function???

    I meant Munich, not Munic, but I am sure that you all knew that. I don’t agree that WW2 would not have occurred, for the reasons PEB at 7.51, but a Germany that had been bloodied after a fight with the Czechs and without the manufacturing might of that country being in operating condition after a war? A choice would have had to be made to open up a second front with Poland during the fight, or else, once a presumed German victory had taken place (and that is not a guaranteed outcome) then surely licking of wounds would have been required?

    As another mistake of the right in the 20th Century: recognition of the Peoples Republic of China instead of, and with the exclusion of, the Republic of China?

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  110. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    FES
    However, in 1938 there was no international law justification for an invasion of Germany

    This wasn’t about invading germany it was about coming to the aid of the Czechs, Hitler was going to invade come hell or high water to “free” his Sudeten Germans, the appeasement allowed him to take over Czechoslovakia for free.

    there wasn’t the will to really do anything about it either.

    Yes there was, better minds than Chamberlin saw it, Duff Cooper ,Lord of the dmiralty and Churchill. Kowtow is right above though when he states that there wasn’t the stomach in some for another fight becuase of WWI and thats understandable but Hitler was diaoboliche out witted them all with lies and propaganda

    that the Poms were not militarily in a position to really do anything about it in 1938. alone they weren’t but with the frogs and the czechs and Russians no worries.

    to move as it was a breach of the Versaille Treaty but he’s already breached it numerous times prior to reoccupying the Rhineland but youre’ right Hitler had lots of fans in britain

    Longknives destroy a hugely dominant and powerful Foreman (The Axis) 1938 germany was not what it was a year later

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  111. Grant Michael McKenna (1,156 comments) says:

    If Hitler had fought his way into Czechoslovakia he could well have won that campaign, but his forces would have been depleted- and a campaign against Poland would have had to be delayed- and the possibility that Poland would have become an ally to the Axis is not unimaginable, given their tensions with the Soviets.

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  112. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Grant

    If Hitler had attacked the Czechs militarlity it is just about certain that other countries would have come to its aid

    General Keitel, the chief of the OKW, toady to Hitler and constantly at his side. When asked on the witness stand at the Nuremberg trail what the reaction of the German generals was to Munich he replied:

    we were extaordinarily happy that it had not come to a military operation because.. from a purely military point of view we lacked the means for an attack which involved the piercing of the frontier fortifications,/i> of Czecoslovkia, they didn’t have the means in 1938 to even garuntee going in under the gun

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  113. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    “er fortifications,/i> of Czecoslovkia, they didn’t have the means in 1938 to even garuntee going in under the gun”

    I never realised till now how poorly Generalfeldmarschall Keitel spelled.

    No wonder he assisted Hitler to lose the war! :)

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  114. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    Well, didn’t the German generals pretty much consistently oppose Hitler’s strategic and operational decisions anyway?

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  115. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    And Keitel’s opinion, after the war, is not exactly proof of an assertion that remains unprovable.

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  116. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,810 comments) says:

    (In a Captain James T Kirk voice)

    But that’s not the way it happened.

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  117. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    it was about coming to the aid of the Czechs, Hitler was going to invade come hell or high water

     Which would have been a perfectly acceptable international law justification to do what they did with Poland a year later: invade and it is war.  The Czechs would have stood up to the Germans and one would hope the French would join.  Which leads us to:

    alone they weren’t but with the frogs and the czechs and Russians no worries.

    I agree, but there would have been no guarantee that the Russians would have joined, although the Poles might have.  Also no real guarantee that the French would have joined in; although they were reputed to have the finest military facing Germany at the time, we saw just how much they were victims of their own propaganda a year or so later!

    but he’s already breached it numerous times prior to reoccupying the Rhineland

    Absolutely, especially with re-armament.  But the reoccupatoin was the most egregious breach, and one on which the other signatories of the Versailles Treaty could step in to enforce the without being accused of using a sledgehammer to crush a fly.

    And good point re Keitel’s evidence.  The only unknown to that very orthodox High Command view was the opinion of a bloke named Hitler!

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  118. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    We hanged him anyway Milky. Unlike various HOBM coaches who deserved a similar fate! :)

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  119. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    FES
    but there would have been no guarantee that the Russians would have joined

    Not a lock but a good chance as so many of the Russian communists were Jews and its was out by this stage that Hitler was not doing Jews or commies any favours.

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  120. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Jews in Stalin’s Russia were probably slightly less informed than Jew’s in Hitlers Germany PEB.

    They rode the trains to the gas chambers.

    Your hindsight is a wonderful visionary device. It rivals Hubble! :)

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  121. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    so many of the Russian communists were Jews

    I am not so sure about this point.  There was and always had been an underlying anti-semitism within Russia, and the communists hadn’t done much on that front.  I accept that quite a number of the socialists prominent in the lead-up to the October Revolution were Jewish, but that was not a dominant factor in their socialism.  Indeed, Lenin and Trotski both found the need to downplay their Jewish heritage in 1917 in order to be more acceptable to people both within and without the Bolsheviks. 

    Most of the Old Bolsheviks were out of the picture by this time, anyway, either through execution or the sidelining that preceded a show trial and execution, and a lot of the party’s Jewish cadre was dead or soon to be dead.  I personally don’t think that Stalin would have worried about persecution of the Jews taking place within Czechoslovakia, but I could be wrong on that.

    The National Socialists had always fought with the Communists because they relied on the same support base, but Czechoslovakia was quite Capitalist in outlook, so I still don’t think that Stalin would have intervened.

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  122. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Were there really many Jewish Bolsheviks?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Bolshevism

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  123. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    Careful, you’ll get Reid coming in with the Masons/Jews/Bolsheviks stuff!

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  124. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Mike – you mean his 9/11 conspiracy crap?

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  125. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    HOBM Club Captains all have to learn a secret handshake I have heard.

    It involves a special circular grip.

    They use it in the showers to console the team after a usual defeat! :)

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  126. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    Rodders,

    Yes, there were quite a few, and even more within the socialist movement that existed in Europe at the time. It would be very wrong to suppose that the Jews were a driving force behind Communism, or even Socialism. That would be to wrongly place give a racial characteristic to what was rather an ideological one. It would also play into the hands of anti-semitic conspiracy theorists.

    A lot of the Jewish presence in Eastern European Socialism was to be found in the General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland and Russia, which a number of the later Bolsheviks avoided joining in order to show that their views were not Jewish but rather Marxist.

    Of course, the anti-semites will make hay with anything they can, but that shouldn’t stop us from acknowledging that some of the leaders of the Bolsheviks (which were a minority group within the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party). Of course, there were Jews in the leadership of the Mensheviks, the Agrarian-Socialists, as well as other Socialist factions in Russia pre-October Revolution.

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  127. kowtow (7,588 comments) says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the time to oppose Hitler was when he re occupied the Rhineland in 1936 in breach of the WW1 Versaille treaty and Treaty of Locarno. The French had previously withdrawn their occupation troops ,apparently under pressure from the pacifist Baldwin govt leaving it open to the Germans.
    France wanted to mobilise,Britain wouldn’t support that.appeal to the League of nations instead.

    Churchill states hat it is now known the German High command feared this re occupation knowing a military response from Britain and France was sure to follow and would defeat a not yet fully re armed Germany. Had the Allies responded a military coup would have happened and Hitler been overthrown.
    The failure of the Allies emboldened Hitler ,proved his generals wrong and laid the foundations for further adventurism by Hitler ,which were similarly unopposed by the allies.
    The fault lies with Baldwin before Chamberlain. But the Munich Agreement makes a better soundbite.

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  128. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Kowtow your’e right but I still think by 1938 there was no doubt that Hitler could not be trusted

    Re:the Rhineland re-occupation

    Hitler….that he was aided not only by the hesitations of the French but by the stupiness of their british allies. The French foreign Minister , Pierre Etinne Flandin flew to London on March 11 and begged the british Government to back France in a military counteraction in the Rhineland. His pleas were unavailing, Britain would not risk war even though Allied superiority over German was overwhelming. As Lord Lothian remarked “The germans ,after all are only in their own back garden”

    Anthony Eden in the House of Commons on March 9 “Occupation of the Rhineland by the Reichswehr deals a heavy blow to the principle of the sanctity of treaties, fortunately we have no reason to suppose that germanys present action threatens hostilities.

    Britain was obliged to assist France under the Locarno treaty. France would have had to attack Germany and then Britain would have had to come in. Anthony Eden legend- Suez still to come

    There were two major opportunities to avoid the second World War not taken – So, is this the biggest failure by the Right in the history of the world -The result – World War. I think so.

    Merry Xmas all

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  129. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    Is this working?

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  130. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    The Americans (Republican party right who financed and gave other assistance to build up the German military industrial capabaility) who thought they could use Germany to conquer Soviet Russia really made a mistake.

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  131. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    Hitler’s decision to war on Russia before victory on the Western Front and then the decision to declare war on the USA after the attack by Japan – foolishly thinking that Japan would be fighting Russia as an ally if this was done. This decided the war.

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  132. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    The Americans who gave China free trade (and entry into the WTO) without democratisation or agreement as to borders/unresolved disputes in the region. That and the GFC snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for private western capital/American supremacy in the 21st C.

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  133. emmess (1,368 comments) says:

    The Americans (Republican party right who financed and gave other assistance to build up the German military industrial capabaility) who thought they could use Germany to conquer Soviet Russia really made a mistake.

    While not condoning the isolationist American right at the time, surely the bigger part of the blame lies with the American left at the time who did even less than the British and French to oppose Germany before 1939, as they were in the power at the time, although they redeemed themselves later on.

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  134. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    I am not sure that was a choice of the American left. The USA was isolationist after WW1 – would not join the League of Nations and did not want to be involved in a European theatre war again.

    To get re-elected FDR had to virtually guarantee that the USA would not join the war in Europe. Thus Hitler declaring war on the USA, after Japan attacked, was really one of the dumbest things done by any right wing politician.

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  135. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    The American Democrat Party left is more culpable for allowing MacArthur to approach the Yalu River and for the Vietnam fiasco.

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  136. Yoza (1,525 comments) says:

    The great inherent mistake of the right is its belief that concentrating capital, and by extension authourity, in the hands of fewer and fewer people will have limited repercussions. Historically, the more intensive the process involved in concentrating capital/authourity the greater and more violent the reaction from the vast majority. As the reality experienced by the masses diverges dramatically from a manufactured belief system that serves the interests of their rulers the probability for widespread and unpredictable social upheaval increases (the ‘Arab Spring’ being the latest example).

    The big mistake of the left was allowing totalitarian thugs like Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin to get away with pretending they were socialists, Rudolf Rocker best summed it up when he pointed out that, “Socialism will be free or it will not be at all”. Abandoning the definition of socialism to the self-serving agenda of Eastern Communist Party apparatchiks and their Western counterparts has been an exercise in abysmal futility.

    Mikhail Bakunin predicted the impending disaster in Statism and Anarchism, “They [the Marxists] maintain that only a dictatorship—their dictatorship, of course—can create the will of the people, while our answer to this is: No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up.”

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  137. big bruv (13,218 comments) says:

    The United Nations must be right up there when it comes to huge mistakes made by the left and the right.

    The right for tolerating such a useless and corrupt organisation and the left for continuing to push for the UN to have more power.

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  138. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    I love it how people call Hitler “right winged.” The name of his party, the “National Socialists” (and the earlier “German Worker’s Party”) should give a clue as to where his politics really lay.

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  139. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    The great inherent mistake of the right is its belief that concentrating capital, and by extension authourity, in the hands of fewer and fewer people will have limited repercussions.

    Ah that old lie from the far (and middle!) left… designed as it is to instil envy in, and victim response from, the so-easily manipulated masses.

    It is the notion of personal property rights, enshrined in common law that’s led to the world’s greatest increase in the distribution of wealth. In other words the exact opposite of what is claimed by proponents of the failed ideology of socialism.

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  140. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    As usual, Yoza emerges from the 1930s, hands over his ears and chanting loudly in order to continue believing the outright falsity that ‘socialism is perfect, it just hasn’t been tried properly’.  Lenin and co were socialist, Marx was socialist, and the plan failed.  Get over it.

    I am not even going to bother addressing your complete mischaracterisation of Capitalism, because you are a fanatic.

    gazzmaniac,

    I agree, but most of the left wing will scream bloody murder at you if you say so.  Daniel Hannan agreed, in a column for the Telegraph. 

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  141. Manolo (13,336 comments) says:

    The biggest mistake of the Left is……its mere existence.
    Throughout recent history it has caused misery, destruction and famine, and killed more people than the plague.

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  142. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    gazzamaniac, I would have thought the persecution of communists, socialists and social democrats in Germany by Hitler and the ambition to destroy communism indicative of a right wing race based nationalism. Certainly it was the right wing, corporate and political, who thought Hitler their best chance to crush the left wing in Germany. Similarly the political right in the USA thought the Hitler dictactorship was the means to crush Soviet Russia.

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  143. flipper (3,537 comments) says:

    An interesting discussion with some thoughtful and serious contributions.
    But then there one or two crazies who want to wind by the clock 100 years.

    The talk of international law is just that- talk. The reality is that laws are what a sector (large or small) of nations or populace, say they are, provided they have the ability to enforce their view.

    There are any number of eminent scholars, including William L. Shirer , A.J.P.Taylor and W.S.Churchill himself, who point out that Nuremberg , those on trial, and the outcome, depended totally on who won. The Soviets wanted more blood at Nuremberg than they got. So international law is very much something in the eye of the beholder.

    There is of course the 2012 UN view of the world, but that entails another set of problems. Solutions likely? Not for so long as there is that pesky great, 3000+ mile wide democracy of 400+ million people, and their constitution. Any US President can “commit” his/her nation to the UN and its policies. But finally it is the congress that decides. That being so the UN today sought by some will never eventuate.

    One or two other points:
    • On the eve of the war in Western Europe, France was Germany’s biggest customer
    • Russian exports of oil, coal and food to Germany continued during the first few days of Barbarossa
    • When the war in Europe ended some 15 million military personnel had been killed (does not include Asia and the Pacific), some 35 (thirty five!) million civilians had perished, including six (6) million Jews in Europe, with more in the Soviet Union. Soviet civilian deaths exceeded 20 million.
    • Nazism, Fascism, and Communism as practised prior to and during WW II were almost identical. Only the names and participants varied.

    The biggest mistakes?
    • The terms (too harsh, and contrasts with the Marshall plan) of the Treaty of Versailles, and
    • The failure to assassinate Hitler between 1936 and 1939, when his Berlin residence was guarded by just two SS troopers.

    A costly oversight, was it not? :)

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  144. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    flipper,

    Dictatorship is the commonality. But there was little wealth re-distribution in Germany and the industrialists retained ownership of their businesses.

    There is an aversion to assassination of foreign state leadership – largely this is for self-preservation. An unwritten rule that political leaders are protected from war – similalry generals do not lead armies into battle and escape if their army is defeated.

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  145. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    spc,

    would have thought the persecution of communists, socialists and social democrats in Germany by Hitler and the ambition to destroy communism indicative of a right wing race based nationalism.

    No, the persecution was because the National Socialists and the Communists were competing for the same support base.  Their policies were very similar, with only differences in implementation rather than ideology.  See the column by Daniel Hannan, where he points out the fact that Fascism came out of Revolutionary Socialism and much of its outlook was the same as its progenitors.

    Interestingly, I understand that Sir Oswald Mosely remained a Fabian throughout his time as lead of the British Union of Fascists.

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  146. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    the industrialists retained ownership of their businesses.

    Socialism does not require nationalisation of businesss, so long as the business owners abide by the command economy put in place by the socialist rulers.  No difference between Socialism and Fascism there.   There were even debates within the Bolsheviks at the time of the Revolution about state ownership of all businesses or merely the important ones, or any at all. 

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  147. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

     Flipper,

    The failure to assassinate Hitler between 1936 and 1939

     Because history must be lived foward, do you therefore advocate the assassination of potentially dangerous political leaders by agents of foreign countries?  For example, you might justify the assasination of Hugo Chavez, for example?  Or maybe you would see the assassination of George W Bush prior to the Iraq invasion as being justified? 

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  148. mikenmild (10,628 comments) says:

    The history of modern Europe history is often reckoned from 1789 and any attribution to ‘left’ or ‘right’ usually fails to take account the mix of nationalism, ideology and technology that transformed the world since then. All the isms provided ample opportunity for conquest and mass murder of one kind or another. If some regimes were unremittingly evil, none were completely good and many countries, New Zealand included, have been fortunate enough to have been able to steer a middling path between the extremes of hate and destruction unleashed by forces that have more complex to explain that any one set of political ideas allows.

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  149. flipper (3,537 comments) says:

    FES et al…

    This is 2012.
    In the pre WWII chaos, Hitler’s demise would have saved many, many lives.
    You know, the bad bastards, the like of which the US/China/ Russia execute every week. ….
    1 or 4 vis 40 milkion…..????
    Advocate assassination ? No.
    But talk of international law is just plain away with the fairies stuff.
    Laws within a nation? Yes.
    Laws between nations?

    Now that is problem, with no acceptable solution in sight.
    HANXmas

    Back to dinner… :)

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  150. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    flipper,

    so it was ok then but not now?

    Ok, so what about Stalin? Or Mao? Both responsible for millions of dead, with Mao arguably responsible for the highest number of deaths as a result of politics of all time and Stalin already responsible for millions of dead by the time Hitler assumed power.

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  151. Yoza (1,525 comments) says:

    F E Smith (2,244) Says:
    December 25th, 2012 at 2:49 pm “Socialism does not require nationalisation of businesss, so long as the business owners abide by the command economy put in place by the socialist rulers.”

    I love the way far right nutters try to define what Socialism is without reading any of the literature produced by those at the forefront of the struggle. Socialism is the control of the means of production by those who physically produce that which sustains society’s wants and needs (a system that would cut out the parasitic grasping of lawyers and their ilk would no doubt not appeal to many here).

    “No difference between Socialism and Fascism there.”

    Hitler slipped the leash to which his big business backers thought the had him secured and they ended up ‘swallowing dead fish’ until the end of the war. There was very little difference between Russian totalitarianism under Stalin, German totalitarianism under Hitler, Italian totalitarianism under Mussolini or Spanish totalitarianism under Franco. Describing any of these systems, however, as socialist is plain ignorance or, more likely, an attempt at pitiful deception.

    Socialism/Participatory Democracy (Occupy Wall Street) are a million miles away from FE Smith’s sordid little fantasies about what constitutes socialism, another word for socialism would be common human decency – something foreign to more than a few posters here.

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  152. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    Now, now, Yoza, don’t try to pretend that communism is the only true form of socialism:

    Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy, and a political philosophy advocating such a system. “Social ownership” may refer to co-operative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them.

    None of what I said was wrong. 

    Mind you, the more that I read of your comments, the more I think you are simply an unreconstructed idiot.  Go back to the 1930s and your dead, useless and disproved doctrines.

    And in no universe is socialism common human decency.  Hasn’t been seen yet from socialists, especially the criminals of Occupy Wall Street, and won’t be seen ever from Socialism.

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  153. flipper (3,537 comments) says:

    FES…
    Two-issues:
    Pre 1939,
    and
    Mao/Stalin

    Cannot disagree with you re the latter two.
    Yes agree, probably (Mao) worse than Hitler and Stalin combined, but we will never know for sure.
    Frankly I do not know how such folk should be dealt with.
    It is easy to say”take them out”. But that raises other issues.

    “International law”, at the level of their crimes, will never prevent such people doing what history tells us they have done.
    But how to stop term?

    That brings us back to pre 1939/40.

    I cannot imagine that in 2012 many would condemn the assasination of Hitler in say, 1938-39, given what we now know. The same would apply to Stalin and Mao. But it is a circular discussion, is it not?

    Cheers

    F

    POS
    An after-thought. Yoza., You talk and write CRAP, albeit sun dried. :)

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  154. Yoza (1,525 comments) says:

    F E Smith (2,245) Says:
    December 25th, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    “None of what I said was wrong. “

    Er, you agreed with Gazzmaniac when he attempted to describe Hitler/Nazis as left-wing. Then you comically have the audacity to call me an idiot. There really is no arguing with this level of lunacy.

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  155. Yoza (1,525 comments) says:

    flipper (1,261) Says:
    December 25th, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    “An after-thought. Yoza., You talk and write CRAP, albeit sun dried.”

    The planet will not be survivable if the current socioeconomic paradigm continues and I seriously doubt the vast majority of this planet’s population are going to march quietly to their extinction to satisfy the self serving fantasies of an unelected ruling elite and their business class mercenaries.

    The choice is becoming pretty stark: Socialism/Participatory Democracy or the status quo and the extinction of the species.

    The ‘free market’ plutocracy is not providing any viable alternatives. Once again the lunatic right will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

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  156. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    You know, Yoza, Lenin and co used big words to sound intelligent as well. Nothing has really changed in the last 100 years with socialists; still caught up on their own little fantasy land and still all wrong.

    Of course I agreed with Gazza, I also agree with the Daniel Hannan column that I linked to.  Fascism grew out of revolutionary socaialism.  Hitler wasn’t a stooge, nor did he ‘slip’ any leash.  Go and read your history and you will see that.

    But then, doing that might cause you to doubt yourself, and we can’t have that, can we!!!

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  157. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    By the way, socialism and participatory democracy are, inevitably, antonyms.

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  158. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    The deliberate confusion of authoritarian government with left wing, by the modern day libertartian right, is based on the premise that government for the people is left wing and limited government is right wing. It speaks to the attempt to define libertarian thought as the only valid right wing ideology.

    The attempt to return to pre 20th C limited government posed as the true conservatism.

    Posing government as the enemy of the people is the traditional tactic of Republicans when in opposition. Whether it is Tea Party, or HUAC era McCarthyism oir the 1930′s resistance to FDR (the same people who aided the Nazi rise in Germany, local capitalists and American capitalists in bed with each other).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism

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  159. Yoza (1,525 comments) says:

    Facism/Nazism were an elite sponsored response to the rise of the the growing political clout of the working classes. So when you say: “Fascism grew out of revolutionary socaialism.” – you are correct only in the sense that the ruling classes were not going to allow their authourity to be challenged by those they considered their subjects.

    “You know, Yoza, Lenin and co used big words to sound intelligent as well.” ??

    Plutocracy? (Rule by the wealthy)

    Paradigm? (A model or pattern)

    I’m sorry if sorry if some of this is going over your head, but really its not that hard to google any words you don’t understand.

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  160. Yoza (1,525 comments) says:

    This has got to be one of my favourites: (F E Smith at 9:29 pm)“…especially the criminals of Occupy Wall Street, …”

    Only a true authoritarian would describe political dissent as criminal behaviour.

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  161. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    Still going, Yoza? A bit of a broken record, aren’t you?

    Facism/Nazism were an elite sponsored response to the rise of the the growing political clout of the working classes

    Yeah, sure, because it is all a conspiracy by the rich man, eh?  Fascism grew out of the working class social revolutionaries in Italy.  Unlike Bolshevism, led by that minor nobleman lawyer Ulyanov.

    Anyway, I am certainly no authoritarian- my time as a criminal defence lawyer has left me distinctly anti-authoritarian. What I am is not stupid, unlike you socialists.

    Oh, and OWS was a crimefest; go on, google it!

    Night all!

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  162. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    Damn, forgot to add in: I have no issue at all with political dissent. All in favour of it, actually. I do oppose bludgers and criminals who cannot even pick up after themselves when they go!

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  163. gump (1,474 comments) says:

    Here’s a late entry that I wasn’t aware of until recently.

    In 1965 & 1966 it is estimated that between one and three million Indonesians were killed by Suharto’s regime for the crime of being communist, or because they were suspected of being communist:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2012/12/2012121874846805636.html

    It would appear that the left doesn’t have a monopoly on state sponsored terror.

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  164. Yoza (1,525 comments) says:

    F E Smith at 1:31 am“Anyway, I am certainly no authoritarian- my time as a criminal defence lawyer has left me distinctly anti-authoritarian.”

    It speaks volumes for the loaded nature of the criminal justice system that a far right extremist (F E Smith, further right than Hitler) could be a criminal defence lawyer. How many people did you help the prosecution put away?

    F E Smith at 1:31 am “… go on, google it!”

    Nazism: “Nazism used elements of the far-right racist Völkisch German nationalist movement and the anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary culture.” which fought against the communists in post-World War I Germany. It was designed to draw workers away from communism and into völkisch nationalism. Major elements of Nazism have been described as far-right, such as allowing domination of society by people deemed racially superior, while purging society of people declared inferior which were said to be a threat to national survival.

    Fascism : ” Fascism is commonly described as “extreme right” although some writers have found placing fascism on a conventional left-right political spectrum difficult. …
    Fascism is considered by certain scholars to be right-wing because of its social conservatism and authoritarian means of opposing egalitarianism. Roderick Stackleberg places fascism—including Nazism, which he says is “a radical variant of fascism”—on the right, explaining that “the more a person deems absolute equality among all people to be a desirable condition, the further left he or she will be on the ideological spectrum. The more a person considers inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable, the further to the right he or she will be.”
    Italian Fascism gravitated to the right in the early 1920s. A major element of fascism that has been deemed as clearly far-right is its goal to promote the right of claimed superior people to dominate while purging society of claimed inferior elements.
    Benito Mussolini in 1919 described fascism as a movement that would strike “against the backwardness of the right and the destructiveness of the left”. Later the Italian Fascists described fascism as a right-wing ideology in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism, stating: “We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ‘right,’ a fascist century.”

    After King Victor Emmanuel III forced Mussolini to resign as head of government and put him under arrest in 1943, Mussolini was rescued by German forces and now dependent on Germany for support, Mussolini and remaining loyal Fascists founded the Italian Social Republic with Mussolini as head of state. Mussolini sought to re-radicalize Italian Fascism, declaring that the Fascist state had been overthrown because Italian Fascism had been subverted by Italian conservatives and the bourgeoisie. Then the new Fascist government proposed the creation of workers’ councils and profit-sharing in industry, however German authorities who effectively controlled northern Italy at this point, ignored these measures and did not seek to enforce them.

    In other words Fascism paid lip service to working class/left-wing aspirations as a means of ascending to power, but never seriously sought to implement anything remotely resembling a socialist/left-wing agenda.

    (Too hot to sleep)

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  165. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    In 1965 & 1966 it is estimated that between one and three million Indonesians were killed by Suharto’s regime for the crime of being communist, or because they were suspected of being communist:

    As in most things Indonesian, it is complex. One thing they did do was target the Chinese, who they wrongly associated with communism. Later they targeted them again, for being too capitalist. The attacks in the the 60′s were motivated by religion more than politics. Communism is associated with atheism and this does not go down well in the worlds biggest Muslim country.

    “As poor Indonesians tell it, the Chinese are targets because they are seen as rich, because the government is thought to have favored them, and because, more simply, they are different — they are a group that stands apart and sometimes appears aloof to indigenous Indonesian society. Rudy said he harbors no hatred toward the Chinese. But, he said, “they are just too rich and we are just too poor.”

    http://library.thinkquest.org/26477/indon2.htm

    http://www.hrsolidarity.net/mainfile.php/1998vol08no09/1630/?print=yes

    http://www.converge.org.nz/hrag/indochinwomen.html

    Terrible things happened there, but it does not fit easily into left/right. Many resent the Chinese for being too successful and controlling the money.

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  166. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    Yeah, Yoza comes back with the old standards and still cannot face the fact that his beloved left wing spawned the Fascists. That is the fascinating truth of the left: no matter how obvious it is to all, they will always find a way to deny that any failure of their policies was because they were left wing.

    Soviet Russia wasn’t left wing because they didn’t follow Marx correctly. Hitler wasn’t left wing because he was the tool of Big Business. Didn’t either Scott Chris or Luc Hansen call North Korea ‘Conservative’ some time ago on KB?

    So rather than admit that groups like the British National Party are left wing, they say “oh no, the BNP is racist and racism is a right wing idea”, ignoring all of the rest of their left wing policies. Convenient, eh? Conveniently ignores racism from the left, especially in the form of anti-semitism, but there you go.

    It is time that the right wing stopped being complacent in this. Allowing the left to use definitions of right wing that have a lot of their origin in the re-definition by the Soviets after WW2 is madness.

    If most of a parties policies are left wing then it is left wing.

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  167. Yoza (1,525 comments) says:

    “…Yoza comes back with the old standards and still cannot face the fact that his beloved left wing spawned the Fascists. “

    Socialism, Fascism/Nazism were spawned by a working-class reaction to the economic hardship created by the policies of an out of touch ruling elite, an historical lesson those who promote a similar agenda are unable to acknowledge. As the likes of the Koch brothers nowadays sponsor the Tea Party fiasco, then the established elite and the owners of industry, out of pure self-interest, sponsored both the Nazis and the Fascists. It take an extraordinary level of delusion to not only believe the kind of nonsense you spout FE Smith, but to also expect others to descend to your state of confusion is gob-smacking.

    I am curious though, do you also believe Thatcher and Reagan’s pet, Pinochet, was also left-wing,…are you truly that mad?

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  168. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    FE Smith, criticism of the state of Israel’s policies is not anti-semitism from the left – the Arabs are also Semites etc.

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  169. SPC (5,347 comments) says:

    And by the way saying socialism and particpatory democracy are antonyms is to define socialism as authoritarian.

    It is more credible to determine that it is the minority, not the majority, that has reason to be authoritarian and resort to this.

    For example the Bolsheviks did not have popular support when an opportunity to seize power came along … so they sacrificed legitimacy of mandate … . Until this time the ambition to be a party dictatorship fulfilling Marxist dictatorship of the proletariat idoelogy dominated their thinking – so much that they chose to ignore the democratic process (that did not exist in Europe in the time of Marx – the working class not having the franchise).

    What they failed to realise was that the threat of the working class seizing power is what motivated the extension of the franchise and once this was done – particpation in that process was the means to mandate for socialism.

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