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> I think this is a fascinating question, but one that's not tied up in culture at all. It's not just the Koreans and Chinese that have succumbed to this, but also the Russians, Germans, Yugoslavs, and South Americans that I can't name.

That's probably because you need to study more history.

Taking the past 200 years in Russia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Russian_constitutional_cri... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat_... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Revolution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_of_1905 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_II_of_Russia#Assassin... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decembrist_Revolt

That's just the largest, most-well known events.

It would also help to know a bit about current events (NazBols/Other Russia protests, the Caucus wars going on for the past 10 years, etc.).

By Germans I assume you're referencing Nazis. Where was the Nazi injustice for the Germans? Given how much ordinary Germans profited (http://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Beneficiaries-Plunder-Racial-W...), it's surprising more of them didn't support the Nazi party.




You forget US citizens after WWII. I've seen bigger fuss than Occupy Wall Street over milk prices over here.


> That's just the largest, most-well known events.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. The fact is that all of those nations I listed have, at one point or another, knuckled under (collectively, if not in the case of every individual) to a despotic government. There's no question that the Russians were cowed to the point that they were afraid to protest, for fear of being ratted out by their neighbors.

Are you trying to say that because some people protested, it's a different story? I that doesn't wash. For every one that stood up, countless people were ground down (e.g., accused of being "Kulaks"[1] or "wreckers" [2]), sent to the Gulags.

> Where was the Nazi injustice for the Germans?

It was positively rampant. If you didn't toe the party line, you were doomed. See, for example, Defying Hitler, by Sebastian Haffner [3]. Quote regarding the latter [4]:

The book is carried forward by waves of contempt and disgust — for the Nazis; for the people who believed them; for those who didn't, yet failed to do anything to stop them; and for the German character itself — but reason is the source of its passion. ...

The question that always springs from accounts of Hitler's Germany is "Why didn’t the Germans resist?" Some of the reasons have long been obvious. There is a natural human instinct for survival, however odious the forms it takes or the lengths it may go to.

...Haffner takes it for granted that Germans knew about the brutality of Nazi rule — brutality that, logically, would only increase as the state consolidated its power — and that they lacked the will to resist it.

...

If by now the incidents that follow are familiar — the intimidation, the erosion of press freedom, violence in the streets, people fleeing or attempting to flee — it’s their novelty to Haffner that carries the book, the distorting mirror effect of the degradation of the ideas of freedom and individuality that should be the very stuff of everyday life. And at the book’s end (Haffner never finished writing it), Haffner sees how easy it is to get swept up in the spirit that was taking over Germany.

It’s announced that all law candidates (including Haffner) must, before taking their final exams, attend training camps for ideological indoctrination and to perform military exercises. Haffner goes off with trepidation, determined to keep to himself lest he reveal his true political beliefs...

Perhaps we're having different conversations here...

EDIT: Added some citations. Upon re-reading the thread, I do think we're viewing this differently. I believe that your point is that some people, maybe many people, did protest. My point, however, is that most people knuckled under. The questions "why did some people stand up for themselves?", and "why were most people cowed?" are both worthwhile, but distinct.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulaks

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrecking_(Soviet_crime)

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian_Haffner

[4] http://www.salon.com/2002/09/03/haffner/


Yes, we are viewing things very differently. You're pretending that huge groups of people spread out over vast distances in different circumstances all act the same, just because you can assign a convenient label to them ("Russians", "Germans" etc.) and do not know about the internal processes of the government. "The People vs The System". This is not how history works, and it is a mistake to view it as such. Manuel de Landa calls this historical fallacy "reifying generalities" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZUotjDvJyM)

To take an example from your reply, what is the "party line"? Forget about Rohm vs Hitler - Goring, Himmler, Speer, top Wehrmacht officers, etc., etc. - they all had different ideas that resulted in different policies in different times.

I don't understand your counter-argument re Germany. I said that most people had absolutely no motivation to go against the Nazis because they were benefiting from their rule. It makes no sense to say that they were afraid of defying Hitler, because defying Hitler is something that never occurred to them as a logical or possible course of action in the first place. Just like stabbing yourself in the eye with a fork doesn't occur to you over dinner.

"Most people" don't care about minorities like Haffner. Look at the immigration issue in the US today. In fact, people use the same logic as you have to question "why is nobody resisting Obama?"


You're pretending that huge groups of people spread out over vast distances in different circumstances all act the same, just because you can assign a convenient label to them ("Russians", "Germans" etc.) and do not know about the internal processes of the government. "The People vs The System". This is not how history works, and it is a mistake to view it as such.

Not at all. I'm recognizing that huge groups of people spread out over vast distances in similar circumstances, forced upon them, each individually decides that surviving by going along is the correct decision. If you don't mind, I'd like to switch this part of the discussion from Germany to China, just because I know the details much better.

Of course the experience of every individual is different. Some are farmers, some are urban, some are wealthy and some are poor. Central to my point is the fact that at some point in time, despots have put the same shackles onto all of these people (other than their chosen supporters). If you were in China during the Cultural Revolution, it didn't make very much difference whether you lived in Shanghai or in the mountains somewhere. Every person in that vast nation (one made up of many different cultures, it's worth pointing out) was forced to submit to Party Rule.

That submission involved performing the actions that you were told (down to performing a ridiculous dance in honor of Mao), saying the things you were told to say. Above all, you needed to avoid any appearance that you were not another person struggling for Communist progress. Because others needed to prove their own allegiance, you always needed to take pains not to allow the slightest excuse to be denounced.

It's absolutely legitimate to generalize the experience of these people. I've concluded this not just from reading history books, but from intimate conversations with dozens of people who actually experienced it (and hence, no citations you can look up; sorry). So I can assure you that in at least the Chinese case, I'm not generalizing from crappy books: I'm getting the story directly from a diverse group of first-person observers.

It didn't matter that there was other politics going on with Jiang Qing, or that the movement itself was a maneuver to consolidate power over other officials like Deng Xiaoping. The fact that those other people in positions of power had their own interests was of absolutely no concern to the Chinese masses. There was, indeed, a single party line that everyone must follow.

Getting back to Germany...

I have less in the way of first-person reports from those fleeing Germany. Honestly, I can only think of one non-Jewish person (if you want to leave them out of the discussion for some reason) meeting the description. But in my conversations with him, he makes it clear that pre-war Germany was not a nice place to live.

So I don't think I'm guilty of reifying generalities, when so much of what I'm think is coming not from generalities, but from individual specifics delivered by the actual participants.

I don't understand your counter-argument re Germany. I said that most people had absolutely no motivation to go against the Nazis because they were benefiting from their rule.

This is simply false. In some ways the people did benefit from Nazi rule. The chaos of Weimar hyperinflation was checked, they had renewed nationalistic pride. But there are countless reasons for Germans to be motivated to oppose the Nazis. But, for example, the economic success came at the price of throwing women out of work, and requiring men to perform national service. Later in the '30s it became mandatory for Aryan young people to join the Hitler Youth. And, of course, there's the simple moral objection to seeing one's neighbors -- the Jews, Communists, homosexuals, etc. -- treated so badly. There were innumerable reasons for Germans to dislike Nazi rule.

"Most people" don't care about minorities like Haffner. Look at the immigration issue in the US today.

Are you saying that the widespread anti-immigration sentiment in the USA shows that people don't care about minorities? If so, I find that difficult to believe. I see little evidence that many people object to those racial minorities that already live and work with us here in America. The objection appears to me to be more related to (a) economic ignorance and the belief that immigrants steal jobs, etc.; (b) the opportunity for abuse of the welfare system; and (c) the incorrect belief that immigrants, not having achieved stability, are more likely to commit crimes.

To tell you the truth, I grudgingly half-agree with you that most people don't care about minorities, at least here today in the USA. While most people give lip service to ideas like universal human rights, that seems to be little more than hot air. If people really believed it, there would be much less grumbling about free trade, outsourcing jobs and manufacturing, etc.

In fact, people use the same logic as you have to question "why is nobody resisting Obama?"

I'm having trouble reading this in the same context as your comments about immigration and minorities, since I don't see that Obama has done very much with the status quo in those areas.

Perhaps you mean that sentence to stand on its own, in which case I agree with you (and would also agree with you had you applied the same question to GWB). Indeed, a more generalized writing of that question is what I'm trying to ask. And I can provide generalities of an answer, regarding the relative values and risks to the individual's utility function overall. But I'm interested in more specifics, about where the lines between abstract values and material values get drawn.


> Are you saying that the widespread anti-immigration sentiment in the USA shows that people don't care about minorities? If so, I find that difficult to believe. I see little evidence that many people object to those racial minorities that already live and work with us here in America. The objection appears to me to be more related to (a) economic ignorance and the belief that immigrants steal jobs, etc.; (b) the opportunity for abuse of the welfare system; and (c) the incorrect belief that immigrants, not having achieved stability, are more likely to commit crimes.

Let me put that into perspective for you:

Are you saying that the widespread anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany shows that people don't care about minorities? If so, I find that difficult to believe. I see little evidence that many people object to those French and Slavic minorities that already live and work with us here in Germany. The objection appears to me to be more related to (a) economic ignorance and the belief that Jews steal jobs, etc.; (b) the opportunity for abuse of the banking system; and (c) the incorrect belief that Jews, not having achieved stability, are more likely to commit crimes.

> I'm having trouble reading this in the same context as your comments about immigration and minorities, since I don't see that Obama has done very much with the status quo in those areas.

No, but a lot of freedom-loving concerned citizens still want their country black, errm, back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkmxTIUq4L0 Cheers to them for standing up to oppression.

> But I'm interested in more specifics, about where the lines between abstract values and material values get drawn.

Again, let's put things into perspective with a personal example. Why are you not at #OccupyWhatever right now? (check one or more):

* the current system works ok

* I'm too busy

* all the #Occupy people are stupid hippies

* it's not going to change anything

* don't want to get maced/arrested

* I have a job to go to/kids to feed




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