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My point is that all is fine in war and rhetoric.

Strictly speaking you're right. But no one on the right is going to say 'Well, technically...' when they're hardly known for adherence to fact themselves.

This is not a scholarly debate, this is about people being forced into penury - which in itself will make a return to hard fascism more likely across Europe.

Making a rhetorical point which might make some people stop and think about what's happening, instead of accepting it as an economic inevitability hardly seems excessive in the circumstances.

Of course it might be labelled shrill and unserious.

But anything the left says and does is already shrill and unserious by definition. So why should we care about rhetorical propriety when no one else in the debate does?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 09:09:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Making a rhetorical point which might make some people stop and think

The point is that (as talos says above) this one is for the historically literate. Most people have never heard of Gleichschaltung.

If you're addressing the historically literate, Gleichschaltung is not the right term to use; if you're addressing the general public, Gleichschaltung is not the right term to use. And this is not "scholarly debate".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 09:22:37 AM EST
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I agree.

Though the thread has moved far from this by now, I think the development of the thread is proof enough that using Gleichschaltung is unproductive.

(On the other hand I find Niemöller moment apt, as Niemöllers quote has been and continues to be used in many situations unrelated to actual nazists.)

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Sep 7th, 2011 at 03:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the things the Logical Positivists got right was their insistence "emotive language" is Un-Useful.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Sep 7th, 2011 at 03:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As opposed to the other kind of language?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 7th, 2011 at 03:24:50 PM EST
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I think emotive language can be quite useful (admitting that I am uncertain of the exact definition Logical Positivsts used), but one needs to know what emotions one wakes. As I see Godwin's law, in general any reference to nazis gives "evilness on the scale of the Holocaust" as the main connection. And as I have quipped not even the 1930ies nazis lived up to that. Most people not agreeing that X = evilness on the scale of the Holocaust will react badly to your implication that it is, even if you were just trying to say that X = aspect of nazi policy.

As an example, the Swedish Pirate Party has mostly used references to former DDR when doing examples of oppressive surveilliance. That I think is wise as former DDR is in Sweden mainly known for its oppressive surveilliance while for example Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, though examples of oppressive surveilliance, are more known for other things, like mass murders and wars.

So back to the topic here, it might have been more useful to use Merkel expects other countries to fall in line, to form lines as straight as in the 1st of May parades of her youth in DDR if one wants to evoke a picture of oppressive commands from Germany. It is not very catchy (I had to come up with an example right now) and I have no idea of what Merkel did under communism, but it is still more precise and uas a more well known image then Gleichschaltung.

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Sep 7th, 2011 at 03:50:06 PM EST
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