Monday, July 14, 2014

Symbols and Smears

If you compare symbols, you compare what they stand for.  Don’t say you don’t.  If you compare a Nazi swastika to a Confederate battle flag, you are comparing Nazis and Confederates. You are comparing what Nazis did with what Confederates did, and likely to attempt to draw similarities between the two.

Comparing symbols without comparing what they symbolize reduces you to, "Well, this one is red, white and blue, and that one is red, white and black." Ludicrous.

Simpson has a post up doing just that — comparing a Confederate flag with a swastika, and he attempts to forestall criticism with this, "…do not invoke Godwin’s Law, for in this case the issue is the use of symbols, not an argument that the Confederates were Nazis or vice-versa. That’s not an argument I would make."

Actually, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

He’s leading up to the utterly risible notion that Confederate heritage people should join forces with the Raelians, a "religious" group, who are attempting to rehabilitate the swastika. Sez Simpson, "It would seem to me that there might be some common ground here for people who decry “political correctness” and “presentism” and “revisionism” in their advocacy of flying Confederate flags to join forces with the pro-Swastika crowd. Both groups argue that their cherished symbol has been twisted out of context to represent something it never was meant to represent."

I don’t believe for a New York minute that "it would seem" that way to him. This is just a typical, visceral Simpson smear job of Confederate heritage.

He says, "There’s not a lot of difference between a group that wants to rehabilitate a symbol used by a hate group in the twentieth century and a group that wants to rehabilitate a flag used by a hate group in the twentieth century … just ask Matthew Heimbach."

Let’s examine how utterly ridiculous this is… Two "hate groups" in the 20th century is so idiotic I have to wonder if Simpson doesn’t know he’s assassinating his own intelligence by making this claim.

First, the swastika, as he means it, symbolizes the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which existed from 1920 to 1945. They were a political party that came to power in Germany and took control of the government.  The party’s leader, Adolf Hitler, established a totalitarian government. Under his dictatorship, Germany aligned with the Axis powers during WWII, and sought to maintain power by imprisoning and/or exterminating groups it considered to be a threat to the "master race."

That is, in a nutshell, what the Nazi swastika symbolizes. I make a point here of noting that it is a far more complex subject than my recap covers, because Simpson has a history of wallowing in derision (because he loves derisi-gasms) when I write a recap of a historical era or event, implying that I’m ignorant of what isn’t covered in the recap.

The Ku Klux Klan, on the other hand, has had three incarnations. The first started in 1865 as social club for a handful of Confederate veterans in Tennessee. It grew into a vigilante group protecting ex-Confederates from the excesses of Reconstruction, but it devolved into violence, and was disbanded by its leader, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Since Simpson confined his comment to the twentieth century, this incarnation is not pertinent to this discussion.

The second incarnation — the first incarnation in the 20th century —  was a nationwide fraternal group organized at the national and state level. With a membership in the millions, it was anti-Catholic, nativistic and sometimes, at the local level, violent.

The third KKK — the second incarnation of the 20th century, which is likely what Simpson is zeroed in on — arose in the South in the middle of the century in response to the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation. It was not organized much beyond the local area, and it was extremely violent and used terrorist methods.

Since the 1960s, the KKK has been heavily infiltrated by FBI informants. who numbered in the thousands. It has steadily lost power since then, but it is still filled by government informants, which sometimes make up entire local chapters, and holds leadership positions in others,

Obviously, it is ludicrous to imply that the Third Reich and the KKK both "hate groups" to further the implication being that there’s little to no difference between them. Simpson’s reason for making himself look stupid this way seems to be so he can use one of his weasel phrases —  "Just ask…"  In this case, "Just as Matt Heimbach,"

Exactly what are we supposed to ask Matthew Heimbach? What’s the difference between Nazi Germany and the KKK? Why ask him? You can find out everything you need to know by going to Wikipedia. And if you do a little additional surfing, you’ll find out tons more stuff about it.

So why bring up Heimbach? Well, Heimbach is a tar-dipped brush Simpson loves to use to smear people with. Usually it’s the VaFlaggers, for whom he harbors the worst hate and bile. But in this case, it happens to be SCV CIC Michael Givens, because one time he and Heimbach had a picture made together at some event or another. And in the flogger mentality, smearing Givens smears the whole organization he leads.

But as the flog post wraps up, we see who Simpson actually has in his crosshairs. Sez Simpson, "After all,…" (another weasel phrase) "…what is the difference between this…" and he posts a photo, below, of the proSwastika group’s symbols on an airplane banner, and continues with "and this?" after which he posts a photo, also below, of the Virginia Memorial Flag at Fredericksburg.

The implication — the pretense — is that he’s comparing groups trying to "rehabilitate" a symbol.  Tissue-thin cover for what he’s really doing — smearing the Confederate flag with the swastika because they both have proponents — and, by extension, smearing those proponents. Namely, the Virginia Flaggers. Ludicrous.

His peanut gallery responses range from incredulity to more derision. I won’t mention any of them — they’re just sooo obvious — except from Kristen "Wonder Woman" Schroeder, who says, "There are those symbols that have too much “hate” attached to them – rehabilitation is not an option. These people need to find new symbols and stop with the sand pounding."

I could tell her it’s not her prerogative to decide that for other people. I could say that Americans need to find a new symbol because the starzenstripes is smeared with the hate and destruction of the most powerful government in the world — which attempted to genocide the Plains Indians, put others in concentration camps artfully called "reservations" in conditions worse than plantation slavery, which did put Japanese Americans in concentration camps, which destroyed the black family with "welfare", and which aided and/or allowed horrific torture in Central and South America during the Cold War.

But I won’t bother with Shroeder/Konate more than that… She forfeited whatever moral high ground she thought she had when she put her home address on Facebook and then accused Barry and Grayson of doing it.

For those who are unclear, or blinded by Simpson’s implications, let me give you just a few vast differences between Nazis and Confederates…

There were nine million Jews in Europe before the Third Reich — three million afterward. By contrast, the black population in the United States, before the war, during it, and afterward — both during slavery and after emancipation — grew at basically the same rate as the USA’s white population. Some sources I’ve read said it grew at a rate of 7% during the war — and that’s with privation the entire South suffered under.

There were no concentration camps that slaves were herded into in the Confederate states. Inmates in death camps were worked to death and/or given rations scientifically calculated to starve them in three months. By contrast, American slaves ate much the same thing white people ate — at least, in the South. What they ate is called "soul food" today and it’s viewed very positively — tasty and nutritious, if rather high in starch.

Laws in various states mandated that slave owners support aged slaves who were no longer able to work and that pregnant slaves be given lighter duties. I could go on, but I think this is sufficient to demonstrate that my opinion is right in line with reality; and my opinion is that those who would claim Confederates were on a par with Nazis are engaging in hate speech.

The attempts to smear the VaFlaggers is unspoken or implied hate speech, as well. The only reason anybody would portray the VaFlaggers, even by implication, as on a part with Nazi apologists is the hope that their smears would incite somebody to harm or injure the VaFlaggers.

If you think that’s not the desire and aim, you tell me what you think it is.

(Simpson can’t tell the difference between these two photos, or the two groups responsible for them. At least, he wants to convince his followers that there’s no difference. )

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