Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Ideologies] Right-Minded Individuals

Posted by Lex Fear on May 25, 2007

This Post Is Rated: M for You will probably be Mildly offended. But you won’t be able to explain why.

A while back Bryan Ferry was quoted in The Grauniad about his comments praising Nazi aesthetics.

“I apologise unreservedly for any offense caused by my comments… I, like every right-minded individual, find the Nazi regime, and all it stood for, evil and abhorrent.”

I found it interesting he referenced right-minded individuals (no, I don’t mean politically). I find it interesting because it causes me to wonder, do right-minded individuals really find the Nazi regime abhorrent? I think to verify that, we would need to know who would be considered a ‘right-minded individual’. We also need to establish what exactly was abhorrent about the Nazi regime?

Nazism, defined by Wikipedia is:

I haven’t listed every single reference on Wikipedia (one hotly disputed section argues that Nazism was anti-capitalist which is a joke), nevertheless these are the main associations with Nazi ideology. You will notice that ethnic nationalism, anti-liberalism, anti-communism and nationalism are on this list. Strangely enough, you can find examples of large groups of people who support these ideologies alive and well today (particularly in regards to the American government).

So is it really right-minded to oppose these ideologies? I suspect that many ‘right-minded individuals’ were caught up in the Nazi rhetoric before we could look back in hindsight knowing it was all evil and abhorrent. After all, how else would Hitler rise to power if he was not charismatic and good at blending a patriotic and religious message?

Perhaps being ‘right-minded’ is not enough… or perhaps it’s not about being ‘right-minded’ at all. The problem with using a term such as ‘right-minded’ is that it can only be defined in relative terms. Instead of acknowledging what is essentially evil or abhorrent, we define it as evil and abhorrent only as long as the majority of what we consider ‘right-minded individuals’ find it evil and abhorrent.

See how easy it is to fall into the trap of circular reasoning?

Why am I making such a meal of this? Because it’s quite apparent to me that “I, like every right-minded individual” is a rhetorical statement.

It’s important for us to analyse what makes an ideology evil, and to stand against it as a matter of principal. We should not stand against an ideology simply because someone we dislike believes in it, or everyone agrees it’s wrong – otherwise we will not recognise true evil when it stares us in the face.

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6 Responses to “[Ideologies] Right-Minded Individuals”

  1. Kel said

    Excellent point Alex. And don’t all of us consider ourselves “right minded individuals”?

  2. Lex Fear said

    Yes Kel,and I think most right minded individuals will agree with me when I say our stance would be much more effective if we didn’t rely on the justification through whatever is the current national conscience.

  3. mattghg said

    I guess the singular most evil thing about Nazi ideology was its denial of human dignity and value as fact. The treatment of Jews, Gypsies etc. as sub-human follows. I hope no-one out there thinks human dignity and value is just a matter of current national conscience.(I’ve written about this elsewhere)Btw does all this necessarily mean Ferry should have to apologise for liking the Nazi aesthetic? Aren’t they separate issues?

  4. Lex Fear said

    I think, when talking about the current national conscience, it’s a conscience that says “Oh yes, Hitler was bad” but doesn’t stop to examine why he was bad.

    This in itself is bad, since the world does not then learn any of the lessons of history.

    If your talking about nationalistic ideology then you can obviously find that at work in the patriotism rhetoric you hear by far right in the States. If you are talking about racism- definitely consider the gypsies and Eastern Europeans that much of the media raises concerns and fears over everyday in the UK. Hitler did not decide one day he was going to exterminate the Jews, it was a slow process of turning the German public against them. This was done by inferring they were hoarding money, didn’t belong and were of lesser worth or status.

    I think the Nazi regime was evil, because of certain aspects of their ideology, because of how they enacted their ideology. I do not think they are evil because I’ve been told that, or because everyone else thinks it. I fairly certain you, and Kel are of the same mind as me in this respect (feel free to correct me there).

    Should Ferry have apologised? That’s basically the question isn’t it? I think you’re absolutely right that these were seperate issues. Should we hate him for appreciating the Nazi aesthetics? Well if we did we should also hate all kinds of flags, military dress, and charismatic speakers.

  5. They clearly weren’t capitalists though — that’s where the ‘socialism’ in National Socialism comes from.Volkswagen, Adidas, the motorways etc.No, their ideology wasn’t abhorent unless you knew the extent of their racism and belief in eugenics.Of course not long before Hitler, everyone believed in eugenics just as everyone now believes in environmentalism. (Credit to Michael Crichton for the comparison).

  6. Lex Fear said

    Crichton was right!Regarding the Germans, they may not have been full blooded capitalists, but there is much evidence that Hitler was inspired by American corporations, and in turn, they embraced him.

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