The Libertarian National Socialist Green Party

I like Bob Brown. I especially like how he manages to drive those who dislike his politics into paroxysms of rage. So yesterday, we learnt from Liberal Senator George Brandis that Bob Brown is objectively pro-fascist [excerpted from yesterday’s Hansard]:


I think until fairly recently the Australian people tended to divide the Greens party into two camps. There seemed to be two points of view about the Greens party. There were those Australians who thought that the Greens were a collection of well meaning oddballs — and there was certainly a degree of evidence to give comfort to that view. There were others, I think, in Australia who regarded the Greens not so much as well-meaning oddballs but as a mob of scruffy ratbags. There was certainly plenty of evidence to give comfort to that point of view. But, as their behaviour last Thursday demonstrated, the Greens are not well-meaning oddballs and they are not scruffy ratbags; they are something much more sinister than that. They have introduced into our democracy — one of the world’s greatest and most successful democracies — a new and sinister element. The journalist Andrew Bolt, in a very perceptive piece published in the —

…[Brown interjects to raise a point of order; Senator Brandis continues:]

In a very perceptive column syndicated throughout Australia in last Sunday’s newspapers, the journalist Andrew Bolt pointed out the striking and very dangerous antecedents of the fanaticism of contemporary green politics in this country, and its commonality and common source with the views that inspired the Nazis in prewar Germany. In an earlier piece, published in July, Mr Bolt directed our attention to two studies that have been written of contemporary green politics — and I have read them in the last day or so; they make chilling reading — which go all the way to explaining the modus operandi of the Greens last Thursday. The first, by an American scholar, Professor Raymond Dominick, examined the common source of the fanaticism of contemporary greens with the nature worship practised by the Nazis in the 1930s.

…[Brown interjects to raise another point of order; Senator Brandis continues:]

And I intend to continue to call to the attention of the Australian people the extremely alarming, frightening similarities between the methods employed by contemporary green politics and the methods and the values of the Nazis.


Brandis goes on to point out the “similarities”:


First of all — and this is the most obvious point of the lot — is the embrace of fanaticism, the embrace of a set of political values which will not brook the expression of legitimate difference. So, as we saw from Senator Brown’s and Senator Nettle’s behaviour in the House of Representatives chamber last Thursday, they are unable to listen to somebody whose political colour they dislike, whose political views they disagree with, without screaming at them. They will not even brook the legitimacy of alternative points of view. The zealotry — the fundamentalism — we saw from Senator Brown and Senator Nettle last Thursday identified them as true fanatics.

I wonder what Brandis would say of a person who is “unable to listen to somebody whose political colour they dislike” without screaming “fascist!”, “Nazi!” etc. The really odd thing about this is that cries of “fascist!” and “Nazi!” are something you’d expect from, say, Counterpunch, not from Liberal members of the Upper House. But Brandis is not to be stopped:


The second feature of contemporary green politics which bears chilling and striking
comparison with the political techniques of the Nazis and the fascists is not merely their contempt for
democratic institutions but a very cynical willingness to use those democratic parliamentary institutions to achieve antidemocratic ends. Let it never be forgotten that the Nazis came to power in 1932 when they won a majority in the Reichstag in free elections.



The mechanistic use of democratic institutions — the invocation of the good repute of democratic institutions by those who wish to destroy those institutions — is a hallmark of contemporary green politics, just as it was a hallmark of those who were their antecedents.

It wasn’t that long ago that a green party shared power in New Zealand, and for the last five years the greens have been part of the ruling co-alition in Germany. Yet, surprisingly, they have not attempted to use their power in the Beehive and in the Bundestag to “destroy those institutions”, at least not to my knowledge. Indeed, Germany’s greens haven’t even managed to destroy themselves, despite constant speculation.


But wait, Brandis has more:


The third feature which we see in common between the Greens and the Nazis is a kind of ignorant nationalism, as reflected most obviously in their hatred of globalisation. Professor Staudenmaier, in his book about ecofascism, tracing those values back to their philosophical antecedents, their philosophical roots, writes:


At the very outset of the nineteenth century the deadly connection between love of land and militant racist nationalism was firmly set in place.

“Militant racist nationalism”. Also, “free the refugees“. That makes perfect sense. I leave it to you to decide if these policies sound like “a kind of ignorant nationalism”.


Brandis’ analysis concludes:


As well — and I will not go too much further into this — we see other common features. We see the very clever use of propaganda. We see the absolute indifference to truth. We see the manipulation of bodgie science in order to maintain political conclusions. We see the hatred of industrialisation. We see the growth of occultism built around a single personality. We see a
fundamentalist view of nature in which the integrity of the human person comes second to the whole of the natural system. My point is that the behaviour we saw from Senator Nettle and Senator Brown last Thursday was not just a publicity stunt. It was not just a random event. It was the very mechanical prosecution in this parliament of a profoundly antidemocratic ideology having deeply rooted antidemocratic antecedents. To hear Senator Brown — and no doubt Senator Nettle in a moment — stand up and seek to claim democratic cover for their actions and for their ideology should shock us.
It should alert us to their game and it should send a message loud and clear to the Australian people — not just to the 90 per cent of Australians who condemned their behaviour last Thursday but to 100 per cent of Australians — that this is the kind of crypto-fascist politics we do not want in this country.

Well, I must say that I am shocked to hear someone other than Gore Vidal use words like “crypto-fascist”. Interestingly, Brandis’ inspiration, Andrew Bolt, is actually less extreme in his Greens-as-Nazis rantings. Here’s one of the Bolt columns that Brandis referred to:


True, Bob Brown means to do good and is not a Nazi. Nor are any of the other Greens politicians.

But Fatherland or Mother Earth, the pull is much the same. People bury themselves in a totalitarian cause that treats people as mere cogs, or else nasty grit, in a mighty and holy machine.

Bolt at least has the sense to make it quite obvious that he doesn’t actually equate the Greens with the Nazis, even if he does wish to imply some doctrinal and tactical similarities. In so doing, Bolt makes clear that his is a position that a sane person might hold, even if it’s not one that many to his left would agree with. I mean, Bolt’s implication is silly enough, but Brandis’ remarks are just stupid. Even apart from all that other stuff about killing Jews and invading other countries and advocating eugenics and so forth, Bob Brown is homosexual, and the Nazis hated homosexuals, or at least they hate every homosexual who wasn’t Hitler.


Also, try and figure out where John Howard stands on this:


In a statement, Mr Howard says he understands and supports Senator Brandis’s criticism of the Greens’ behaviour.

But Mr Howard says a comparison with the Nazis is not one that he would have made.

If Howard “understands” whatever point it is that Brandis is trying to make, he’s doing better than me. And if Howard supports Brandis’ criticisms, does that mean that he also thinks the Greens want to destroy Australia’s democratic institutions? That the Greens “embrace of a set of political values” that involve silencing “alternative points of view”? That they’re “crypto fascists”? Come to think of it, is it even possible to support Brandis’ criticisms without also supporting the ludicrous Nazi comparison, upon which said criticisms were based?


Oh, and the title of this post, explained.

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craig
craig
2021 years ago

Funny thing is Bob Brown is exactly the type of person that would have ended up in a concentration camp.

I can only speculate as to what Brandis would be doing.

Alan
Alan
2021 years ago

Actually I seem to remember various Nazi politicians putting quite a lot of energy into explaining why the ‘moral quality of the leader’ is much more important than parliamentary checks and balances. The Greens, grandstanding or no, managed to ask some serious questions about the Guantanamo detainees and why we should trust the personal judgment of George Bush rather than something as old-fashioned as due process.

zoot
zoot
2021 years ago

Ahh yes … John Winston Howard in full weasel mode. Why aren’t the media asking him these questions??

zoot
zoot
2021 years ago

Ah yes, John Winston Howard in full weasel mode. Why aren’t the members of our unconstrained fearless media asking him these questions?

Softly
Softly
2021 years ago

“Bob Brown is homosexual, and the Nazis hated homosexuals” – so does the Wahabi Islamic sect of which Mamdouh Habib is a member and the Taliban of which Mohammad Dawood, a.k.a. David Hicks is a member. As for “killing Jews and invading other countries” neither the Wahabi sect or the Taliban have any moral qualm about either action. And no, I don’t agree this shows Bob Brown is a “Nazi” but it does show anti-Americanism on the Left trumps every other value.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Bob Brown supports the Taliban? That’s news to me. Are sure about that, Softly, old boy?

Brandis really shouldn’t go throwing around terms like Nazi. There are plenty of the Nazis ‘victims alive in Australia, and they could tell that ignorant sod what real Nazis are like. Bob Brown is guilty of single mindedness, at worst obsessiveness. Nettle is just a post adolescent Trot.

They don’t threaten anything or anyone.

By the way, Roop, yours was an excellent post. But I think due credit should be given to the person – i.e. me – who first (on this blog site) used the term, “paroxysms of rage” to describe the emotions felt by those on the Right, caused their bete noires on the Left.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

I’d be eternally grateful for a broad-based moratorium on using “Nazi” as a catch-all term of political abuse – and George Brandis is way too smart to be digging around in the all too familiar “when all else fails” dungheap from whence this sort of political ‘inspiration’ is drawn.

It may well be Dave’s “paroxysms of rage” that underlie the Brandis outburst – though I have to say that Bartlett’s bored/laidback characterisation of Brownettle as “sanctimonious pricks” seeems more reflective of the general parliamentary verdict, and that doesn’t sound too much like ‘paroxysms’ of anything much – except mirthless chuckles maybe….

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

I don’t think Brandis was motivated by any paroxysm. Why do back benchers say things that are designed to attract attention? So they can get noticed and get marked down for higher office.

Sometimes this tactic works —

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

when anyone uses the term nazi and attempts to make a modern day analogy all that happens is that the evil that the Nazis let loose on the world is devalued!

He should be made to read what they did in their period of power and then made to apologise. The Greens maybe idiots but nazis they most certainly aren’t.

By the way the Nazis got to power by democratic means!

jozef
2021 years ago

Funny thing is Bob Brown is exactly the type of person that would have ended up in a concentration camp.
I can only speculate as to what Brandis would be doing.

Carr once particularly prided himself on having kept his role secret: They still haven’t found my fingerprints on the axe handle.

Whose fingerprints are on Brandis’ handle as he keeps Bobbing up and down?

Stalin, selfbaptised man of steel, had rarely directly ordered character assassinations via Pravda (Truth) newspaper. Stalin, like other political cowards, would innocently inquire over a glass of Vodka Will no one get rid of this (****) Nazi?
For Soviet axemen even speechless finger pointing was a sufficient signal to cause midnight knocking on heavens’ (gulag’s) door…

Part Machiavelli, part Hitler is in all of us.
We all need those Czechs and Balance and especially the Fourth Estate!

These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others Groucho.

Alan
Alan
2021 years ago

Look, it’s a pet hate of mine to read that the NSDAp came to power by democratic means. They gained parliamentary seats by a campaign of considerable public violence against opposing election candidates. They at no stage before their seizure of power gained a majority in the Reichstag.

Hitler was installed as chancellor by an imbecilic president who had been persuaded by a group of industrialists and conservative pundits that he would be a manageable figurehead. Hindenburg had imposed chancellors by decree for some time before naming Hitler to the post.

Apart from the customary supervillain riffs uttered by various Nazi luminaries about the inevitability of their taking power, what they really relied on was a foolish group of rightwingers like von Papen, an extraordinarily bad constitution and a worse president.

Murph
2021 years ago

Brown certainly doesn’t have much respect for liberal democracy. Surveys of Green party politicians have found significant numbers who don’t believe that democracy is the best form of government. Furthermore, a few years back Dr Bob “Down” Brown was on the ABC trying to sell the idea of 16yo getting the right to vote. The ABC interviewer, whilst taking a break from sucking the good doctor’s bell end under the desk, asked him to name examples of democracies which had suffrage for 16 year olds. Dr Bob’s reply: Iran.

Murph
2021 years ago

Brown certainly doesn’t have much respect for liberal democracy. Surveys of Green party politicians have found significant numbers who don’t believe that democracy is the best form of government. Furthermore, a few years back Dr Bob “Down” Brown was on the ABC trying to sell the idea of 16yo getting the right to vote. The ABC interviewer, whilst taking a break from sucking the good doctor’s bell end under the desk, asked him to name examples of democracies which had suffrage for 16 year olds. Dr Bob’s reply: Iran.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Murph, try closing the comments window after hitting Post. That way, we’ll only see the benefits of your wisdom once, which is enough.

Murph
2021 years ago

Good idea

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

Alan,
They had the largest vote of any party and although hindenburg didn’t want to appoint hitler he was persuaded to.No chancellor came from a party that gained more than 50% of the vote.
(See there is a virtue in preferential voting!)
It is hard to argue they ORIGINALLY got to power by means other than democratic.

roop
roop
2021 years ago

to alan, check out the hansard. right after brandis says “Let it never be forgotten that the Nazis came to power in 1932 when they won a majority in the Reichstag in free elections”, Robert Ray interupts to say, “They didn’t win a majority”, to which Brandis remarks, “When they won control of the Reichstag — thank you, Senator Robert Ray — in free elections.”

wmb
wmb
2021 years ago

Ahh Alan,
The “imbecile president” – read Governor General – is a worrying precedent. Perhaps, democratic accountability should never be taken for granted. Nor, should those who insist on it, regardless of their party membership, be subject to undue contempt and ridicule.

Richard
Richard
2021 years ago

“Funny thing is Bob Brown is exactly the type of person that would have ended up in a concentration camp”

Yes, but as prisoner or as Kommandant? He even looks a bit like Rudolf Hoess.

Tysen
Tysen
2021 years ago

At the very least, Brandis is using ‘Green logic’ to critisize the Greens. I don’t agree with what he says but it carries the same degree of logic that any Greens speech ever has.

Perhaps thats the greatest insult Brandis could recieve!

TJW
TJW
2021 years ago

Some Klassic Kommie Komedy today in Bolt’s article.

Brown was being interupted during a speech and responded by calling for a “dignified and adult debate”. “If some of the bleaters opposite listen here, they might learn something.” “There are rules…”.

The deputy president said “Senator Brown, irrespective of what people think, has the right to be heard”.

I assume he saw the irony.

(the quotes are taken from the article but not the rest)

craig
craig
2021 years ago

Richard

I don’t know of any socialist kommandants, only prisoners.

mgl
mgl
2021 years ago

The real problem with using the Nazis as an analogy is that it leads to silly reductio ad absurdum discussions. The “Greens as Nazis” meme can easily be debunked by pointing out that none of them wear brown or black shirts, or that so-and-so is a homosexual and Look! The Nazis hated homosexuals, so he can’t be a Nazi. And so on.

If Brandis had pointed out that:

a) Many environmentalists hold the view that the environment transcends all human considerations and is infinitely valuable, and

b) They often favour policies that would drastically curtail or eliminate the scope of individual choice,

…then maybe we could begin sensibly to discuss the potential for Green ideology to develop into a form of authoritarianism or even totalitarianism. After all, the Nazis believed that racial purity and Aryan destiny were transcendent values brooking no compromise; Communists were willing to sacrifice millions to the hallowed goal of a socialist paradise; and we may be facing something similar in the Islamists. This is why the Nazi analogy is so counterproductive (and tedious): not all totalitarians lock Jews and gays in concentration camps and wear spiffy uniforms, but they are all dangerous to liberal democracy nonetheless.

I suspect that Karl Popper, had he lived to the present day, would be tempted to include modern Deep Green ideology–with its transcendent ideology, its contempt for individual choice, and its open hostility to critical rationalism–in the roster of enemies of the Open Society. The Greens may be a minority in the Australian parliament, bu that’s because they can’t get their agenda approved by the citizenry via democratic means. In the face of this failure, many Greens have abandoned democratic fora in favour of having their policies adopted at the transnational level, where there is far less accountability and oversight.

Geoff
Geoff
2021 years ago

Brandis’ speech against the Greens was discussed a bit in this article in today’s SMH. One interesting point:

His attack was not a spur-of the-moment slur. It was premeditated and passionate, quoting evidence from academic research on activities within the Green movement in Germany and their connections with the Nazi past. […]

But a reading of the sources Brandis quoted indicates that the research shows eco-fascism is not a product of left-wing extremism but of the “new far right”. What it shows is attempts by far-right groups to cloak their vicious anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and Aryan white supremacist neo-Nazism in the respectability of environmentalism. That is where the label “eco-fascism” comes from.

How this is relevant to Brown and the Greens in Australia Brandis did not demonstrate.

wen
wen
2021 years ago

We’ve recently experienced a little bit of eco-totalitarianism/terrorism here. A young couple, living on an acreage out of town, woke up one morning to find that the row of pine trees they’d planted to border their property (the trees were a year or two old, I think) had been chainsawed down in the middle of the night. Nothing else was touched. They’d planted the pines, rather than natives, because their property adjoins a state forest – a pine forest.

Jozef
2021 years ago

Education without imagination is empty, and imagination without education is blind …

Webdiary offers a bright light in times when there are tendency of empty minds seeking blind spots…
· Spirit of the Chinese curse? [SMH]

Ouch…I think the wonderful, lapsed liberal Hillary Bray (crikey.com.au) started it – that the PM must have been sorely disappointed when the Ship of Death eventually landed in Eritrea, because he lost an opportunity to be dockside and welcome home our ‘heroic’ sheep. As Soldier Svejk, Homer Simpson, says, Its funny cos its true.

mgl
mgl
2021 years ago

…but for the bad behaviour of Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle, Bush would have gone back to the White House with a less informed view of how the world sees him and his policies than the very limited one he already has.

I see that the SMH’s Geoff Kitney is able to read George Bush’s mind. Handy! And thank the heavens for the selflessness of Brown and Nettle, without whom George Bush would doubtless be entirely unaware of the existence of people who disagree with him.

Whatta maroon. He also conjures up an almost entirely imaginary distinction between the German far-left and far-right, a topic that Oliver Kamm has covered at exhaustive length.

That said, Kitney has a point at the end there…

mgl
mgl
2021 years ago

…but for the bad behaviour of Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle, Bush would have gone back to the White House with a less informed view of how the world sees him and his policies than the very limited one he already has.

I see that the SMH’s Geoff Kitney is able to read George Bush’s mind. Handy! And thank the heavens for the selflessness of Brown and Nettle, without whom George Bush would doubtless be entirely unaware of the existence of people who disagree with him.

Whatta maroon. He also conjures up an almost entirely imaginary distinction between the German far-left and far-right, a topic that Oliver Kamm has covered at exhaustive length.

That said, Kitney has a point at the end there…

mgl
mgl
2021 years ago

Argh, sorry. Got an error message, reloaded, and my comment wasn’t showing, so I pressed ‘Post’ again. Hope this gets fixed soon.

jozef
2021 years ago

We All Love Free Speech!? as long as it toes our line of prejudices….

Someone emailed me suggesting that no one cares what ****** of webdiary write

This comes from centrish Brissiediary:
The new politics: criticise and perish
The almost unfettered progression of ‘third way’ styled governance by both left and right worldwide creates a minefield for those who criticise policy or advocate against government in the pursuit of social justice. Traditional forms of social critique, says author and social researcher, Dr Clive Begg, find no home in the ‘third way’ as political parties gallop further to the right to gain power at the expense of traditional social democratic principles.
· Only Way: only power on the block [Brisbane Institute]

Gummo Trotsky
2021 years ago

mgl,

David E.Sanger, the NYT correspondent who had travelled with Bush on his six-day journey through Asia, reported how the “fearsome security bubble” that cocoons the President from reality wherever he travels was pierced just briefly during his trip.

The first time, the article said, was when Bush met Islamic leaders in Bali and was totally surprised to be told that they believed the US was pursuing a deliberate anti-Muslim foreign policy. The second was when the Greens interrupted his speech in Parliament and confronted him with the “uncomfortable reality” that Bush’s approach to the world “is deeply unpopular among Australians”.

Sanger reported that even some of Bush’s top aides conceded that the President had only begun to discover the gap between the picture of a benign superpower that he sees and the “far more calculating, self-interested, anti-Muslim America the world perceives as he speeds by behind dark windows”.

It doesn’t look to me like Kitney has been trying to read George Bush’s mind; more like he’s been reading David E Sanger in the New York Times, describing his travels with the president.

mgl
mgl
2021 years ago

Gummo,

You’re right, of course; sorry if I misrepresented Kitney.

That said, the Sanger article is rather thin gruel: Sanger tries quite hard to demonstrate Bush’s cluelessness, but succeeds mainly in portraying a man frustrated by his inability to persuade Muslims that he doesn’t see them as the enemy. And this, by Sanger, is priceless:

He sounds like a man who believes himself genuinely misunderstood.

Perhaps he sounds that way for a reason, eh?

Gotta go.

Guido
2021 years ago

What an absolute cock up the libs did with Senator Brandis and his attack on the Greens with his ‘Nazi’ connotations. This sort of unsophisticated barb is reminiscent of when the ALP was accused of being commie symphathisers in the 1950’s.

But there is more surprising comments in the press gallery. According to Geoff Kitney Brandis’ intent was clear: to challenge the democratic credibility of the Greens and scare away potential Green voters. While Louise Dodsonwrites: Less well known is that the Greens are winning votes from the Government’s “small-l” Liberal constituency. One possible reason is the sidelining of the “small-l” Liberals or moderates in the Howard Government..

I don’t know the figures, but my belief is that the number of Liberal voters who would switch to the Greens is relatively insignificant, according to Morgan Polling only 15% of Liberal voters would preference the Greens (compared to 56% to One Nation).

And if Howard wanted to scare off potential Green voters such a ridicolous tactic is sure to backfire. Green voters tend to be part of his hated ‘elites’ which were ex-Labor voters rather than outer-suburban battlers who may be ‘scared’ by sinister connotations (not that I believe for one minute they would be scared either).

I believe the motivation was purely revenge. Howard keeps grudges for a long time. Who could forget Staley & Co. going after Keating and his business deals long after he was defeated? and of course the ‘omissions’ during the Bush visits. Howard is trying to punish the Greens because they spoilt his party.

mgl
mgl
2021 years ago

That’s a rather “sophisticated” analysis, Guido. The Greens won’t steal many votes from the Liberals so Howard must be getting revenge. What other explanation could there possibly be?

How about this: Brandis, off his own bat, made a clumsy (and inappropriate) comparison of the Greens with a specific, notorious totalitarian movement. He’s not nearly the first to do so. Trouble is, by focussing on the superficial similarities, he leaves himself open to banal criticisms which fail to address the more interesting points he raised. Many Greens do have contempt for individual choices, do often favour strongly coercive action by the state (such as enforced sterilization, zero economic growth, or radical restrictions on trade), and do flout laws and parliamentary conventions whenever it suits them. These are dangerously illiberal characteristics, and it’s not unreasonable to point out that some of the 20th century’s bloodthirstiest governments started out as small movements that exhibited these same habits, among others. It doesn’t necessarily mean the Greens will end up there (most such movements die or mellow before they get to power), but it may be a discussion worth having.

But it’s just easier, I guess, to express shock–shock!–that anyone could even begin to think such an awful thing, point to some trivial superficial difference (the Nazis hated gays!), and feel safe to ignore the whole thing.

Norman
Norman
2021 years ago

It’s ironic that immediately prior to this item, I commented on the need for people to become more aware of the implications of cognitive dissonance. The fury generated above could have been prepared as a commercial supporting just such a need.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with Howard. I rarely do myself; but when Roop tells us it’s beyond his comprehension to work out how Howard “understand” what Brandis had been saying, I think he’s selling himself short. I’ve no doubts Roop [and others] COULD understand what their “evil” opponents were saying, if only they’d put aside their inbuilt prejudices, and try to analyse their opponents’ points.
They’d still be unlikely to agree; but they might find themselves better able to understand what has been said.
Brandis relied upon rather cruel humour in his speech. The problem with this, is that people usually only recognise such humour when it’s directed at their enemies. Hopefully Roop et al will one day be able to detect the humour, even if it’s directed against themselves; but perhaps I’m just being over optimistic again?
In the meantime, be thankful the Liberals aren’t making use of Bob Brown’s Gulf War I speeches, when he attacked Bush senior for NOT finishing off Saddam. I know the media aren’t ALL unaware of the details, so I can only assume they’re doing their usual job of protecting Bob who, after all’s said and done, is clearly always going to be good “copy” for them.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

There’s a case to be made for the similarities between aspects of modern Green theology and the forest-based Teutonic romanticism of German fascism, but it’s a bow stretched exceedingly far. Whatever, it’s unlikely to engage hearts and minds in anything like a major way. It’s simply too obscure a point to catch electoral fire. “Nazism,” doesn’t so much evoke a hike through the Schwarzwald as it does torchlit Nuremburg rallies and death camps – and no-one is about to read Bob n’Kerry into those scenarios.

Leaving aside the moral aspects for a moment, the Brandis strategy is, quite simply, bad politics. His claim just looks strident, histrionic and altogether “extreme”. In essence, he succeeds in representing Bob as the calm, considered, put-upon moderate while he emerges as the fanatic. Not, I think, his original intention.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Guido could be right.In last year’s Victorian elections the Greens took huge slabs of votes from the Liberals in their safe, safe-ish and marginal seats. The preferences went to Labor and cost the libs big time. It was young people who voted Green, youngsters who normally follow Daddy and Mummy and vote Liberal without a second thought.

if this was repeated in a federal poll it could be bad news for the Libs.

BTW, at that election the Greens did very poorly in safe Labor seats. Working class people don’t vote Green

David Tiley
2021 years ago

Its an interesting rhetorical trick to start by saying “Many Greens do have contempt for individual choices”.. and move to “It doesn’t necessarily mean the Greens will end up there”.. because there is no logical connection between the two statements at all. Many Greens wear Birkenstocks, but it doesn’t mean the movement will campaign for compulsory sandals.

The fact that “many Greens’ believe this says nothing about their strength, and other strands in the party. The “many Greens” is still the dingbat end – the mirror image really of Andrew Bolt. It would be pretty hard to prove they are powerful, particularly in relation to Bob Brown.

The actual article Mr Bolt used for his remarks, which Brandis took much further is here – http://www.spunk.org/library/places/germany/sp001630/peter.html – in full. It has been quoted (unsurprisingly) so selectively it means the opposite. Its an argument from within the Greens against mysticism, anti-intellectualism and the detachment of the movement from wider politics and explanation. It cites the role of early environmentalists in the Nazi movement to make its point.

The Brandis speech is surely a smear, but scholarship it ain’t.

Norman
Norman
2021 years ago

I’m shocked to hear that politicians would smear.

Tiu Fu Fong
Tiu Fu Fong
2021 years ago

This looks like the sort of place that Bob Brown would live!

roop
roop
2021 years ago

to mgl:

Brandis, off his own bat, made a clumsy (and inappropriate) comparison of the Greens with a specific, notorious totalitarian movement.

on lateline brandis refused to deny that other members of the liberal party approved the speech.

Many Greens do have contempt for individual choices, do often favour strongly coercive action by the state (such as enforced sterilization, zero economic growth, or radical restrictions on trade), and do flout laws and parliamentary conventions whenever it suits them.

martin luther king (1) had contempt for individual choices [eg, he disliked southern shop-keepers who chose to refuse service to blacks], (2) favoured strong coercive action by the feds as a way of defeating segregation [calling in the national guard etc] and (3) flouted any law he felt it expedient to flout [especially those concerning public assemblies]. i submit that it is nevertheless unreasonable to compare m.l.k. to the nazis.

But it’s just easier, I guess, to express shock–shock!–that anyone could even begin to think such an awful thing, point to some trivial superficial difference (the Nazis hated gays!), and feel safe to ignore the whole thing.

how is the nazis’ attitude toward homosexuality a “trivial superficial” point of difference between them and the greens? the nazis considered homosexuals to be enemies of the state, people who did not fit their vision of the aryan master race. the death in concentration camps of several thousand of their number is no trivial fact, and is in my opinion indicative of more than a superficial difference between their ideology and that of the greens.

but in any case, i didn’t make the homosexuality the basis of my argument.

roop
roop
2021 years ago

to norman:

I don’t expect everyone to agree with Howard. I rarely do myself; but when Roop tells us it’s beyond his comprehension to work out how Howard “understand” what Brandis had been saying, I think he’s selling himself short. I’ve no doubts Roop [and others] COULD understand what their “evil” opponents were saying, if only they’d put aside their inbuilt prejudices, and try to analyse their opponents’ points.

it’s not that i don’t understand what’s being said, merely that i don’t understand the point of saying it. it is, as others have said, dumb politics, so why do it?

Brandis relied upon rather cruel humour in his speech. The problem with this, is that people usually only recognise such humour when it’s directed at their enemies. Hopefully Roop et al will one day be able to detect the humour, even if it’s directed against themselves; but perhaps I’m just being over optimistic again?

brandis’ performance on lateline showed a straight-faced, indeed earnest politician, and there was a noticeable lack of winks and nudges. perhaps you might explain the joke.

Anthony
Anthony
2021 years ago

Ah, the old “it was a joke” defense. Glad to see someone came up with that.

Gummo Trotsky
2021 years ago

Well, Brandis is a natural joker; he can’t help himself. Anyone remember the “greatest own-goal in the history of Australian politics”?

mgl
mgl
2021 years ago

roop:

martin luther king (1) had contempt for individual choices [eg, he disliked southern shop-keepers who chose to refuse service to blacks], (2) favoured strong coercive action by the feds as a way of defeating segregation [calling in the national guard etc] and (3) flouted any law he felt it expedient to flout [especially those concerning public assemblies].

Interesting, adam…uh, roop. By making this comparison, you tacitly agree that the Greens do in fact display those characteristics. And your MLK example is also interesting, since I suspect we’d have entirely different reasons for dismissing any comparison to the Nazis. I’d argue that MLK headed a movement that was fundamentally liberal; he wanted to extend the benefits of the open society to all races. His support of non-violent civil disobedience and coercive action by the state were judiciously applied; he supported the (entirely legal) calling in of the National Guard, for instance, to enforce court-ordered desegregation. Once its major goals were achieved, the civil rights movement basically ceased its support for illegal action.

The Nazis were a little different from the American civil rights movement. Rather than having specific, limited goals, they advocated nothing less than a top-to-bottom reordering of society to reinstitute a mythical, lost Golden Age. Rather than extending freedom to all, they argued that individual goals must be superseded by the transcendent cause, and were willing to use severe repression to this end. Rather than advocating for a more liberal society, they felt contempt for the ostensible “weakness” of liberalism, and fear of liberalism’s embrace of ceaseless change.

I suspect you’d argue that the MLK/Hitler comparison is invalid because King didn’t invade Poland or put Jews in concentration camps, but perhaps I’m being unfair.

How about the Greens? Well, I’d argue that they hearken back to a mythical Rousseauian Golden Age, in which humans lived in harmony with nature, and they believe that modern society is “fallen” from that happy state. From paying attention to influential, more or less mainstream Green figures like Paul Ehrlich, Garret Hardin, David Suzuki, Lester Brown, Bill McKibben, William Rees, Kirkpatrick Sale, Jeremy Rifkin, and others, I perceive a strong suspicion of liberalism, which tolerates–even encourages–learning by trial and error, and generally allows citizens to decide matters for themselves, even if the people in power disapprove.

I have many conversations with “ordinary” environmentalists, since my work intersects with their advocacy, and the refrain is always the same: people, when allowed to choose their own ends, too often choose wrongly. Which is to say, they do not choose in accordance with the tenets of environmentalist ideology, and the environmentalists I speak to invariably seem to know what is better for me than I do. Individual freedoms–what to drive, what to eat, what to use on one’s lawn, what to consume, what energy sources to use to heat one’s house, what technologies to allow, who should breed, whether people in developing nations should be allowed to aspire to greater wealth, whether people should be allowed to trade freely–should therefore be curtailed, since they are insignificant next to the transcendent and romantic notion of the “environment”.

So. Are Greens nascent Nazis? Hell, no. Are they illiberal? Hell, yes. Are they nascent authoritarians or even totalitarians? I think so, but I readily concede that the point is highly arguable. Have at it :).

roop
roop
2021 years ago

“The Nazis were a little different from the American civil rights movement.”

well yes, that was the point i was trying to make. however:

Rather than having specific, limited goals, they advocated nothing less than a top-to-bottom reordering of society to reinstitute a mythical, lost Golden Age.

if anything this is a similarity between the american civil rights movement and the nazis. the top-to-bottom reordering of a segregated society was king’s goal, though the golden age he sought was based on his ideas of justice, equality etc, and not on some mythical past, long since lost.

I suspect you’d argue that the MLK/Hitler comparison is invalid because King didn’t invade Poland or put Jews in concentration camps, but perhaps I’m being unfair.

that’s part of it, but mainly i’d argue that the comparison is unfair because, at a sufficient level of generality [your 3 points re (1) individual rights, (2) coercive state action, (3) flouting of law] the nazi comparison can be used against almost every political movement you care to mention. the idea that insufficient respect for liberalism means a fair comparison can be made to nazism, or totalitarianism [which so far as i can tell is what you’re saying] is just silly.

at random: children in detention centres, right of asio to detain people without charge, therefore ok to say howard is comparable to the nazis; collective bargaining to be preferred over freedom of contract, therefore ok to say unions are comparable to the nazis; indian courts are corruptable and do not always uphold rule of law, therefore ok to compare indian judiciary to the nazis etc.

these are self-evidently ludicrous propositions.

Mork
Mork
2021 years ago

Roop – that post, particularly the last two paragraphs, strike me as obfuscation. Specifically, you’re cherry-picking extreme examples in order to avoid addressing the general proposition.

To simplify, I take mgl as proposing that on the scale of deference to individual preferences versus the belief that ideology should take preference, the greens lie closer to the totalitarian end (ideology trumps the preferences of individuals) than other political movements in Australia.

Why don’t you try addressing that proposition?

Mork
Mork
2021 years ago

ideology should take precedence

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Funny how people so often think that it is only others who are struck by ideology. To translate: “… on the scale of deference to the ideology that favours individual preferences versus the belief that other ideologies should take precedence”.

Mork
Mork
2021 years ago

… speaking of obfuscation!

You’re just playing with words, Chris. The word “ideology” is obviously too susceptible to manipulation. Perhaps my sentence would have been less susceptible to wilful misinterpretation if I’d put it thus:

“On the scale of deference to individual preferences versus the belief that the preferences of an “enlightened” group should take precedence, the greens lie closer to the totalitarian end than other political movements in Australia.”

Obviously, liberalism might raise the paradox you think you’ve found if ever you were to have a majority of people who were prepared to voluntarily relinquish their rights to a central authority, but I don’t think that really comes into play in this example.

Any more objections?