Monday, June 15, 2009

We Call Bovine Scatology on Fox "News": Did You Know That James Von Brunn was a Liberal? We Didn't. Glenn Beck's New Low, Part One



Anti-negro? no comment...

Glenn Beck's nonsense knows no bounds. I was so dumbfounded by this argument that I could not catch my breath as I choked on the bile that rose up from my stomach as I watched this garbage. Luckily, one of my people was able to perform the Heimlich maneuver and thus saved my life. Courtesy of one of our favorite guest bloggers, Werner Herzog's Bear, we now proceed to open a can of whoop ass on Glenn Beck. Let's form like Voltron (I have always wanted to say that) and take care of business:



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When go you go into the political sewer, how can you get any lower? When you abuse the image of Tom Paine, turning a proto-socialist, cosmopolitan, Deist into a ueber-capitalist, nativist, Bible thumper, how can you distort history even more? Glenn Beck knows, since he recently claimed on his show that the Nazis were a Leftist movement, a statement as preposterous as "Woody Hayes was a Michigan Wolverines fan" or "Ronald Reagan was a Trotskyite." In short, it is the exact opposite of the truth.

If the last few months have taught us anything, it is that Glenn Beck will spout the most obscene lies possible to prop up his misguided vision of the world. As a historian, and especially as a scholar of Germany, I feel that I simply cannot let this go without comment. Not only is Beck committing crimes against the historical record, he is doing so in order to distort the nature of the tragic killing at the Holocaust Museum this week.

Since the claims of Beck and his guest are so outrageous, I'll deal with them in bullet points. Here are just a few of the reasons that the Nazis were a product of the extreme Right, not Left, in Germany:

-The various strands of ideology that fed into Hitler's worldview: anti-Semitism, pan-Germanism, anti-feminism, beliefs in "Aryan" superiority etc. grew out of the extreme political Right in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Germany, mostly as reactions to the changes brought on by modernity. (In a literal sense, these ideas were radical expressions of "conservatism.")
-After World War I, Hitler accused various elements of a "stab in the back" that led to Germany's defeat. Along with Jews, he also blamed the political Left for the nation's ruin, and called for the eradication of Bolshevism.
-Before Hitler's rise to power, his brown shirted "storm troopers" engaged in lethal street battles with Communist militias, seeing them as their mortal enemies, rather than Leftist allies.
-As is well known, the Nazis received a plurality (about a third) but never a majority of the popular vote. Hitler took power only after being appointed chancellor by president Hindenburg with the support of the old guard German Right, who saw Hitler as an ally to their interests.
-Once Hitler came to power, the first people he attacked and imprisoned were his political enemies, the Communists and Social Democrats (Socialists). Just because the Nazis called themselves "national socialists" does not mean that they were on the Left. The operative word for them was "national." There are tens of thousands of Leftists who were killed in concentration camps for their opposition to Hitler, and this makes Beck's lies all the more disgusting, since they seek to erase the memory of Nazism's first victims.
-In every European nation occupied by the German military during World War II, the greatest resistance came not from the political Right, which in places like Vichy France collaborated enthusiastically with the Nazis, but from Communists and others on the Left. (If you want to see a dramatic illustration of this fact, watch The Sorry and the Pity sometime.) Again, Beck shits all over the memory of people who risked their lives to stop Nazism.
-After war began in Europe, many of the biggest voices calling for American intervention were on the Popular Front left, whereas hardcore conservatives like Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh not only opposed intervention, but actively sympathized with Nazi Germany.

And one last one, just to make all of this more relevant

-Von Brunn, the neo-Nazi who murdered the guard at the Holocaust Museum, was an avid poster at Free Republic, and a vocal "birther" to boot (a "birther" is someone who denies that Barack Obama was born in the United States.)

Now, just because Von Brunn and Nazis in general belong on the political Right does not make them representative of all on that side of the spectrum. Similarly, as someone on the Left I hardly feel obligated to defend or even feel any kinship towards the anarchists who go around breaking and burning stuff at anti-globalization protests. At the same time, it would be preposterous for me to claim the most radical anarchists are in fact on the Right. Beck, however, just chooses to lie about the nature of Nazism, perhaps because his alarmist, paranoid, hateful, and deceitful rhetoric gives tacit and sometimes active support to fringe whackos on the far Right, whom he doesn't want to be associated with.

Or he just might be using a tried and true method of mass media manipulation: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." The source? Joseph Goebbels.

One thing bolstering his lie about Nazism being a Leftist phenomenon is the Ayn Randian ideology about the Left being "collectivist" and the Right being "individualistic." This is rather odd coming from a man who tells immigrants to give up their culture, impugns the patriotism of anyone he disagrees with, and who constantly tells his viewers they are a "we" who surrounds a shadowy "them." In my next post I will dissect the increasing prevalence of Randian thought on the Right and break down its falsehoods.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You blew UP the spot. Great post. Thank you for it.

American Black Chick in London said...

Wow...every time I watch Glenn Beck, I feel brain cells die. Thanks for breaking down the history of Nazi Germany. I've read quite a bit on both Nazi Germany and the Holocaust as well and I almost choked on my lunch when Beck said the Nazis were a leftist movement. Last time I checked leftist movements generally worked with the Communists, not against them as the Nazi's did.

And Beck's little statement on Jeremiah Wright was completely inappropriate and out of place. I don't agree with Wright's anti-Semitic sentiments at all. But there's a big difference between talk and action. To talk of what James Von Brunn did and then point to Jeremiah Wright and say "but look at him, this former pastor of the President's is just as bad" is ridiculous and not even related to the topic at hand, ie. the possibility of extremism on the far right. I think Wright is a bigot...but he didn't go off and kill someone solely because of their race/religion.

As an unrelated side note, there's an interesting book on Nazi Germany from a black perspective called "Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany" by Hans Jurgen Massaquoi. He's the son of a white German woman and a African (Liberian) father who grew up in Hamburg before and during World War Two.

Watcher said...

"Von Brunn, the neo-Nazi who murdered the guard at the Holocaust Museum, was an avid poster at Free Republic, and a vocal "birther" to boot (a "birther" is someone who denies that Barack Obama was born in the United States.)"

Von Brunn was indeed a "birther", but he was not a poster at Free Republic.

He posted one of his more generic rants about the media at some obscure Norwegian forum, and some idiot Freeper named "wannabegeek" copied and pasted it to Free Republic.

And no, wannabegeek was not a pseudonym for von Brunn... it doesn't take much looking through his other posts at Free Republic to see why. Here is the first one to show up if you search for that username:
"Too late? Not really. I'm praying in Jesus Christ Name! that the SCOTUS will be vigilant enough, that they'll uphold the Constitution no matter what. I'll pray that they'll check mate the Zero!"

Ask yourself, why would someone who thinks Christianity was invented by the Jews as a conspiracy to destroy western culture be praying to Jesus Christ? He wouldn't... he hates Christianity.

Furthermore, there's this post complaining about some comments a fellow Freeper made:
"Yeah you are racist! Many posters here are racists. Please don't compare educated Filipinos coming to America for greener pasture with illegals sneaking via the southern borders."

Do you really think von Brunn would be capable of writing such a thing?

There's a simple explanation here: wannabegeek was trolling the internet looking for birther stuff to post, he stumbled across the rant von Brunn posted at the other forum, copied and pasted it to Free Republic without bothering to google von Brunn's name first, and went on his merry way never seeing von Brunn's main website or realizing what a racist dirtbag he was.

I know that doesn't fit the narrative you want to squeeze things into, but the facts are what they are... the vast majority of wannabegeek's posts are directly contradicted by von Brunn's other writings.

Batocchio said...

Nice job - please update this post to link to the follow-up when it's done!

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

@Watcher
I may have or may not have been misled on the Free Republic stuff, but my overall point still holds: Von Brunn is a Right wing extremist. Again, he is not representative of people on the Right or Freepers as a whole (just as anarchists aren't representative of the Left), but is undeniably not a Leftist.

And my "narrative" still holds: Nazis, both paleo and neo, are Rightists.

@ABCL
That sounds like an interesting book, there is actually a growing scholarship on the fate of black people in Hitler's Germany.

Watcher said...

"I may have or may not have been misled on the Free Republic stuff, but my overall point still holds: Von Brunn is a Right wing extremist."

Unless von Brunn had some sort of multiple personality disorder on top of his other craziness, yeah you were misled on the Free Republic stuff.

But as to your main point, there are a number of things in his manifesto that make it difficult to place him on the far right... like this for instance:
"F. P. Yockey, in his suppressed book Imperium, notes that MARXISM is seriously flawed because MARX, being a JEW, could not understand the real differences between CAPITALISM and SOCIALISM, which emanated from the WESTERN CULTURE-ORGANISM. Capitalism and Socialism are how a Nation (Family, People, Race) feels, thinks, and lives, and secondarily are ECONOMIC CONCEPTS. One is past history; the other, WESTERN SOCIALISM, represents the future of the West, and the end of JEWRY on Western soil."

He spends an entire chapter railing against Marxism, but his main beef with Marxism seems to be that it was founded by a Jew... and he has no love for Capitalism either:
"Capitalists found no fault with economically defeating, within the law, opposing economic groups. That was considered “healthy competition.” European States, goaded by Bankers, also competed with one another. Often with disastrous results. During WWI it became painfully clear that the IDEA of “rugged individualism” worked against the ARYAN NATION and its individual States."

And then there's this tidbit:
"Marxists, Bolsheviks, Communists denounce “capitalist pigs.” While from behind the scenes — in the on-going battle to implement the PROTOCOLS OF ZION — all wars and revolutions are financed by JEW CAPITALISTS."

I have a hard time placing a self-described socialist who hates individualism, and sees every war ever fought as a "Jew Capitalist" conspiracy, anywhere on the right end of the political spectrum.

T. said...

Good job in debunking the myth the guy was a right-winger, Watcher.

While I don't agree with Beck calling Nazis left-wingers, the left-wing were the ones who started that playbook by constantly calling conservatives Nazis or saying the Nazis were right wing. It's strange that they dislike it when it's done back at them.

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

I have watched with silence, but I have to ask both T and Watcher the following: I am confused a bit, and help me understand--

By what criteria and in what universe can a self-admitted skinhead and neo-nazi not be a member of the Right Wing?

Is this a definitional matter, i.e. how we define the Right Wing? is it ideological, i.e. if one is conservative or a "right winger" they can't accept that Von Brunn is an extreme outlier on their part of the team? is it something else, i.e. Beck's Orwellian newspeak where he redefines reality with the help of intellectual frauds like Jonah Goldberg?

My sense is that there is some confusion on this issue, and not necessarily on your part per se, where some are unable to understand the idea of a political compass, i.e. on the extremes of the Right and the Left there are many similarities. Here, most importantly an appeal to violence and group identity (for the Left, "collectivism" and for the Right, "the herrenvolk" or chosen people) each produce an us versus them mentality.

Please clarify.

Chauncey DeVega

Watcher said...

"By what criteria and in what universe can a self-admitted skinhead and neo-nazi not be a member of the Right Wing?"

That the Communists and the Nazis both hated each other doesn't have to make them polar opposites, it just makes them enemies... some would consider Trotsky to be a right wing extremist, whether it makes sense to or not.

"My sense is that there is some confusion on this issue, and not necessarily on your part per se, where some are unable to understand the idea of a political compass, i.e. on the extremes of the Right and the Left there are many similarities. Here, most importantly an appeal to violence and group identity (for the Left, "collectivism" and for the Right, "the herrenvolk" or chosen people) each produce an us versus them mentality."

I would put collectivism/statism/totalitarianism on one end and capitalism/individualism/minarchism on the other.

If you are putting some form of totalitarianism on both ends of the political spectrum, then I don't think you are talking about a straight line anymore, in which case I'm not sure what terms like "left" and "right" would even mean... or "center" for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Not that I disagree with anything you've said here, but I am a bit puzzled.

Glenn Beck is a dangerous hack who will literally say ANYTHING for ANY reason he sees fit at the moment.

In fact, I submit that this latest rant was so completely ridiculous, that to refute it with bullet points gives it much more creedence than it deserves.

To actually sit down and type out a response to this crap, rates up there with typing out a response to the flat earth society on why the world is round.