A matter of degree
Posted by aogMonday, 13 May 2013 at 14:12 TrackBack Ping URL

Apparently Naziism is obviously slavery for the citizens. This does bring up the question, if that is so, is not a strongly regulated economy also slavery? Both control the day to day lives of the citizens, forcing them to do as the appartchiks want rather than as the citizens want, with frequently arbitrary and excessive punishment for infractions. What, procedurally, is the fundamental difference? I must confess I don’t see it.

My personal opinion is that it is quite wrong and a redefinition of the word “slavery” to apply to Nazi Germany in general. Certainly there were slaves, those sent off to the work camps, but it is my view simply inapplicable to the state of the general German population.

P.S. When I first read the comment I thought Eagar was talking specifically about the untermensch sent to the camps, while others had quite different views or didn’t understand it at all. I do appreciate being shown what is mean to have a professional writer to deliver clean, direct text that is understandable to readers.

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Bret Monday, 13 May 2013 at 15:33

I don’t think it’s quite just a matter of degree. In a society where you’re guaranteed or nearly guaranteed basic life’s necessities even if you do nothing productive at all, taxes and regulation aren’t necessarily slavery. It’s more domestication - in other words, the citizens can choose to be “pets”.

In the modern west, I think we’re closer to pets than slaves. Whereas in Nazi Germany, they were much closer to slaves.

The catch is that once we give up any pretense of freedom, it’s an easy transition for the government to turn pets into slaves.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 13 May 2013 at 15:40

I see your point, but in order to have pets, you must have some slaves producing the pet food (because you can give them no choice about that production).

Have you read any of the Niven-Pournelle Co-Dominium series? They postulate such a society, with “citizens” who are the domesticated pets and “taxpayers” who are the slaves producing for the pets.

P.S. This is of course what I mean by “nanny fascism”.

Hey Skipper Monday, 13 May 2013 at 17:55

I was more struck by Harry’s invocation of Nazi slavery as somehow an indictment of free markets. Until that is, I was even more struck by the glaring elision: communism in every one of its manifestations.

It seems he has as much trouble with the concept as he does with his recent slinging of “racism” at RtO. That word doesn’t mean what he thinks it does. Although, to be fair, that seems typical of progressives.

And I would have commented on both at Great Guys and RtO. Unfortunately, since I am currently in a well regulated economy, China, I am well regulated from access to everything on blogspot, Youtube, the NYT, Watts Up With That, and facebook, just to name a few examples. And since the internet is so well regulated, it is also bog slow.

You too will learn to love well regulation; there are camps for that.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 13 May 2013 at 18:32

I’m not sure it’s trouble with the word — my experience is that Mr. Eagar will use idiosyncratic convenient definitions for words deliberately. I presume it’s done as a rhetorical trap so he can change the definition after you’ve answered a question (e.g., such as about slavery) which is why I tend to ask for definitions first. I think we should agree, though, that an invocation of “Fox News” means he’s lost the argument.

Jeff Guinn Monday, 13 May 2013 at 22:10
I’m not sure it’s trouble with the word …

I am quite certain Harry simply doesn’t get the concept. In the post at RtO, he approvingly cited some blogger called Berkeley Bear calling Jason Richwine a racist nut for his PhD dissertation that concluded there are deep set, and at least partially genetically based, differences in IQ between the races.

That is not racism.

Unless this, from today’s WSJ is, too.

Actually, the link is a twofer. It both demonstrates how scurrilous Harry’s accusation is, while also showing progressives are the real racists.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 14 May 2013 at 07:32


Apparently you are right and Eagar does not see communism as a bad thing — he’s now going hyperbolic on American anti-Communists. He also seems to think Nazi Germany was a free market based society. I think the root is that any exchange of money makes a free market to blame for any ill effects. Naturally, then, the only way to avoid that is to not have money. Hence, communism.

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