Is This Really the Way to Celebrate Sputnik?

Over breakfast my wife noted that the Washington Post's Shopper column was devoted to "Sputnik Chic" to commemorate the launch of the world's first artificial satellite 50 years ago. The Shopper directed readers to various sources for purchasing chandeliers, jewelry and so forth mimicking the early Space Age sheen of the little satellite that could (and did scare the bejesus out of Americans).

Among the items (for only $50) is a red lucite charm of the Soviet Union's hammer and sickle that one can hang around one's neck.

I know we've visited this topic before, but I still think that is the moral equivalent of selling a Nazi Hakenkreuz (swastika) charm.

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  • ||

    how sadly ironic that only a market economy can provide chintzy shit like this for 50 bucks. There would have been lines for it in Mother Russia!

  • Andre||

    russian bling bling

  • ||

    A mere 50 smackers, and it won't fade like the hammer and sickle T-shirts I see all the college kids wearing.

  • NeonCat||

    Morally? Probably the same, but the US never liberated any gulags or filmed the Ukrainian famine for the world to see.

    OTOH, and I don't mean to be a troll, just curious, are the Great Seal of the US and the American flag tainted by our ethnic cleansing of the native Americans? By the Mexican War? The Philippine Occupation? The Annexation of Hawai'i? Does scale matter, or intentions?

  • ||

    I don't know, I think it is more like a sign that Soviet Communism is dead and has been reduced to an ironic joke. This is quite different from the cult of Che, who is seriously seen as some kind of "hero".

  • ||

    It offends me.

  • ||

    I know we've visited this topic before, but I still think that is the moral equivalent of selling a Nazi Hakenkreuz (swastika) charm.

    I disagree. The hammer and sickle may (at worst) represent a brutal totalitarian country that no longer exists, but it does not project anywhere near the same message towards a specific group of people that the swastika does currently does.

  • ||

    I know we've visited this topic before, but I still think that is the moral equivalent of selling a Nazi Hakenkreuz (swastika) charm.

    I actually saw an (obviously just off the boat) Japanese woman wearing a swastika necklace on the bus one day when I was at university. I almost said something, but decided against it. In Japan, the swastika (like the cross and the star of David) are occult symbols and nothing more. So I knew she meant no harm.

    Somebody must have said something, though, because I saw that girl again, but never wearing the necklace.

  • ||

    The hammer and sickle may (at worst) represent a brutal totalitarian country that no longer exists, but it does not project anywhere near the same message towards a specific group of people that the swastika does currently does.

    Kulaks?

  • ||

    Here's a stupid WWII question - how did the Nazis reconcile their racial purity stuff with their alliance with Japan?

    And obtuse fuckwit Dan T. - the Soviet Union did project the message the swastika represented to a particular group - human beings. The Soviets killed 30 million of them.

  • ||

    It's also the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Leave It to Beaver.

  • Jozef||

    As someone who was born and grew up behind the Iron Curtain in a country occupied by the Soviets, I'd feel very offended if I were capable of getting offended. Still, I fully agree that it's just as bad as selling Nazi flags as bumper stickers.

  • ||

    And obtuse fuckwit Dan T. - the Soviet Union did project the message the swastika represented to a particular group - human beings. The Soviets killed 30 million of them.

    Well, America killed quite a few people herself, so what?

    And it must be mentioned that someone wearing a hammer and sickle could just be showing support for our former WWII allies. Or are we supposed to forget that part?

  • ||

    Kulaks?

    I don't think any were left alive to get offended, so it's all good.

  • ||

    When in American history have we killed millions of our own citizens (Civil War excluded)? At the very least, the USA has never had (until possibly this administration) murder and oppression of its own people as a plank of our governance. Stop being such an insufferable dick.

  • ||

    NeonCat:

    "At some point numbers matter: quantity becomes quality."

    See an interesting New York Times article on Soviet political murders here.

    Also explore the Democide site here.

  • ||

    When in American history have we killed millions of our own citizens (Civil War excluded)? At the very least, the USA has never had (until possibly this administration) murder and oppression of its own people as a plank of our governance.

    Why is the Civil War excluded? That's the perfect example of how we were willing to kill our own citizens to acheive a political end. Never mind the dubious morality that it's okay to kill "others" to get what you want as long as you don't kill your "own".

  • Syloson of Samos||

    When in American history have we killed millions of our own citizens (Civil War excluded)?

    I guess I don't see much of an important distinction here. People are people.

  • ||

    Iconography is iconography. Do we throw away all the Aztec artifacts in museums because they were cruel bastards? All the Red Army CCCP hockey jersies sold through sovietski.com?

  • ||

    It is immoral to wear the symbol of a brutal communist state as jewelry. It is moral to wear clothing manufactured in a brutal communist state, because it's a few dollars cheaper.

    Hooray for the China trade.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    The civil war's excluded because we were killing confederates instead of americans.

  • fyodor||

    I still think that is the moral equivalent of selling a Nazi Hakenkreuz (swastika) charm.

    Meaning there's nothing morally wrong with it at all?

    Ha-ha.

    Symbols mean different things to different people, and I don't think that the selling or wearing of Soviet flag imagery reflects any endorsement of the Soviet system or indifference towards that nation's government's crimes.

    Swastikas are seen differently primarily because...they're seen differently. That's how symbology (as well as all language) works.

  • ||

    People are people

    I couldn't have said it better myself!

  • ||

    stephen the goldberger,

    Hey, now! Some of us had ancestors in that group :(

    Speaking of that, I guess Confederate flags are okay now. The CSA just continued the rich American tradition of enslaving people, it didn't murder them en masse. Right?

  • ||

    Now if Mr. Bailey comes out on Monday with a denoucement of Columbus Day, then I'll be impressed.

    I'll be doubly impressed if he uses that as a springboard to point out the injustice of the government having holidays at all. Days not spent toiling are for lazy Euro-socialists.

  • Nat||

    I think it is more like a sign that Soviet Communism is dead and has been reduced to an ironic joke.

    I agree - the same way there's a renewed appreciation for Soviet-era propaganda posters, etc. The iconography of Communism is perversely fascinating, perhaps as an example of the sickening extent to which governments attempt to warp our minds.

    I think Americans are just more familiar with what the swastika represents, and of the two tyrannies, that's the one we actually went to war with. People also make a (semi-conscious) distinction, however inappropriate, between mass murder in pursuit of collectivism versus mass murder for the advancement of a single ethnic group. One of the regular substitute teachers at my high school had been in the army at the tail end of WWII and picked up a few mementos which he lent to our history teacher. There's something about a large Nazi flag that scares the shit out of me the way a hammer-and-sickle never will, and I was born nearly 35 years after the swastika became irrelevant.

    That said, every time I see people in Che shirts or the Revolutionary Communist Party freaks passing out pamphlets on campus, I want to beat them to a bloody pulp.

  • ||

    When in American history have we killed millions of our own citizens (Civil War excluded)?

    Well like others said, why exclude the Civil War. Also is millions a magic number for you? How about hundreds of thousands? At least Dan T is making a coherent argument here.

    The swastika has come to represent one thing and one thing only, no matter what in which context it is used (at least in the west).

    Where as the hammer and sickel never became so single minded. Its meaning can still be altered depending on the context in which is it used. Like on a hockey jersey? Maybe on a bottle of vodka? But if you wear that necklace with a t-shirt of Joseph Stalin, then ya its offensive.

    Get it? CONTEXT.

  • NP||

    Ron, no sane person would deny that the Kremlin Bolsheviks were a bunch of thugs, but comparing them to the Nazis is going a tad too far. I don't think even Robert Conquest would agree.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Pro Libertate,

    Well, roughly a hundred and forty-seven years ago there were approximately four million Americans in bondage (a condition that most of them were born into).

  • Syloson of Samos||

    val,

    Even during the Cold War the hammer and sickle was used as a means of advertisement, etc. which had nothing to do with communism, etc.

  • T||

    NP,

    I agree completely, because the ideology that leads to 30 million dead is less offensive than the one that leads to 11 million dead.

    Oh, wait, I disagree completely. What, are we calibrating our scale of mass murderers by something other than body count? What makes the Nazis worse?

  • shecky||

    I hate putting things like aesthetics up to the political test. This is simply political correctness.

    I just saw a DVD of old Soviet propaganda animation. As I evil for admiring the creativity exhibited there?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    So, is it better for the swastika and the hammer and sickle to have a uniform negative meaning for all time, or is it better that folks empty them of their associations with Nazi and Soviet mass murder?

  • ||

    Why don't we wear little swastikas to celebrate the anniversary of Volkswagen?

  • ||

    A few decades ago, there was a fishing industry agreement with other nations called a joint venture.

    A lot of the processing ships that would buy the American caught fish were Russian. Great guys and where I first learned about Stoli. They's trade or gift the American fishermen Sable hats, vodka, some other things I'm forgetting, and these little pins with the hammer and sickle, a single red star or Lenin. I loved them. Irony...

    And yeah, as for our bondage and extermination in the U.S. the sleavery issue and the Native Americans. Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears. Or something more local, the repeated braking of treaties for local Indians once the land they had been given by treay was found to have something the U.S. wanted. Like oysters.

    That doesn't excuse by any means, what Lenin and Stalin did...but the hammer and sickle is still found on other flags.

    And lastly, get huffy about the Hammer and Sickle why enjoying the cheap Chinese goods. That's irony.

  • ||

    T | October 4, 2007, 11:59am | #
    NP,

    I agree completely, because the ideology that leads to 30 million dead is less offensive than the one that leads to 11 million dead.

    Oh, wait, I disagree completely. What, are we calibrating our scale of mass murderers by something other than body count? What makes the Nazis worse?

    The Nazis have had movies made about them depicting them as bad guys. The Soviets, not so much.

    Add in that the Soviets were allies against the Nazis, and also far too many 'important' people lauded the Soviet Union as the wave of the future, and the cognitive dissonance in saying the Soviets were as bad if not worse than the Nazis would be too great for many to bear.

    For the record, I think they were every bit as evil, and anyone who wears this nonsense should be treated as a pariah

  • ||

    I think people are more tolerant of communist symbols vs. fascist ones because theres a meme that communists were just misguided humanist idealists that got carried away, while the ideology of fascism was unmitigated evil--even on paper.

    Of course, thats bullshit but its what the public at large mostly believes.

  • ||

    I agree completely, because the ideology that leads to 30 million dead is less offensive than the one that leads to 11 million dead.

    Oh, wait, I disagree completely. What, are we calibrating our scale of mass murderers by something other than body count? What makes the Nazis worse?


    One was the end the other a means to an end. Despite the murders carried out in its name, communism is not an inherntly 'EVIL' idelogy, the nazi ideology on the other hand was.

  • ||

    Oi, I go look at the bloomberg machine for 5 minutes and realize I mentioned the civil war on a libertarian board.

    The reason I excluded it is because (arguably, I know Lincoln was a mega-dick who destroyed Habeas Corpus and federalism and all that stuff) but there is a difference between a civil war and a government rounding up and slaughtering its own citizens. Unless you're one of those people who think war is never acceptable under any circumstances.

    Also, wtf, that's me, Mr. Jingo-Nationalist. All governments do evil things, but some governments make it their stated policy to do evil things. I think there's a difference between the two.

  • New World Dan||

    Maybe some people are just nastolgic for the good old days of the cold war. Back then, we had a nice, clear, defined enemy. There was a sense of purpose that the current global war on terror lacks. They were our enemy and our brothers, locked in an exquisite dance. Frankly, it was a far superior global conflict.

    There is, in fact, a very good market for cold war nostolgia.

  • ||

    PS of course the standard libertarian disclaimer, I think people should wear whatever the fuck they want but it won't stop me from thinking they're dicks for wearing it.

  • ||

    Lincoln could be a dick sometimes, but Jeff Davis and the secessionists were bigger dicks.

  • ||

    val,
    what makes the distinction between the evil nazis and the acceptable Soviets? Staying power?

  • ||

    strike "but" from the 12:09 post and it makes sense. oops.

  • Scooby||

    Randolph:
    Here's a stupid WWII question - how did the Nazis reconcile their racial purity stuff with their alliance with Japan?

    Easy: there weren't any Japanese in Germany's desired Lebensraum.

    On-topic:
    I'm not particularly offended by swastikas, hammers & sickles, "confederate battle flags", Che shirts & posters, or any other of many "offensive symbols". I admit I do take a mental shortcut and assume that someone flaunting them is ignorant- either for being ignorant of what the symbols stand for, or for holding ignorant ideas.

    Of course, there have been a shit-load of bad things (and even intentionally evil things) done under the stars and stripes, too. It's kinda why my patriotism is limited to "I'm glad I was born here instead of one of those worse places" instead of "rah, rah, the US can do no wrong!"

  • ||

    what makes the distinction between the evil nazis and the acceptable Soviets? Staying power?

    Are you asking me the difference between 'race-purity' based idelogy and large scale 'communal-living' based idelogy? Seriously you dont see the difference?

    Or are you trying to put words in my mouth and suggest that I said that the murders carried out by the soviets are somehow excusable?

  • ||

    no putting words in your mouth - I'm just trying to figure out how a race-purity ideology and a class/attitude-purity ideology are different.

  • ||

    There's also a little irony in that America spent who knows how many trillions of dollars on a military designed to annihilate Soviets on a massive scale but will mourn the deaths of those we were willing to kill to make a sanctimonious political point a few years later.

  • Ryo||

    I think an important difference between Nazis and Soviets is that the atrocities under the Nazis defined their entire reign. Whereas the atrocities committed by the Soviets only defined part of their history, and largely occurred under Stalin (and was mostly over by WW2). The majority of Soviet history is mass murder free™.

  • ||

    Yeah, in the Brezhnev era the KGG would just dope you up and throw you in a mental hospital for the rest of your life and deprive all your relatives of employment instead of killing you at a GULAG. Yeah, thats much better (sarcasm).

  • shecky||

    Capelza makes an interesting point. Why is it evil to wear Soviet kitsch, but not evil to support communist governments? Putting this stuff through the political litmus test is simply political correctness.

  • ||

    This is the perfect thread for one of my all-time fave movie quotes:

    You know, tha Nazis had pieces of flair, only they made the Jews wear them.

  • fyodor||

    Are you asking me the difference between 'race-purity' based idelogy and large scale 'communal-living' based idelogy? Seriously you dont see the difference?

    And YOU don't see the difference between a voluntary "communal-living based ideology" and one in which people are KILLED for not going along with it? Hint: the Soviet Union was NOT the former.

  • ||

    So, t-nad's argument boils down to "some Americans killed Indians once upon a time, so you have no place to criticize the Communists murdering people by the tens of millions under Stalin's rule."

    Is that right?

  • Scooby||

    Ryo,

    That's just staying power. Once the Nazis killed all the Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs under their control, they would have restricted it to only the handicapped and political troublemakers- no more than a few hundred thousand a year, tops.

  • shecky||

    I'm just trying to figure out how a race-purity ideology and a class/attitude-purity ideology are different.

    To play devil's advocate, someone like me could theoretically have at least survived under a class/attitude-purity ideology. I would not have survived under race-purity ideology.

    While neither choice would satisfy me, the difference is clear to me personally.

  • ||

    fyodor, my point exactly. Both were governments where the political class owned the people. I guess the nazis were worse - at least in the Soviet Union if you just got on board and acted right they wouldn't kill you.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Scooby,

    The Japanese did actually did have some reservations about Nazi racial ideology because they thought that it could turned on them. This is one of the reasons why the Japanese did not persecute a number of Jewish persons who escaped into Japanese held territory from the Nazi clutches in WWII.

    If some of the Nazi documents and the like on this subject are to be believed, the Nazis eventually wanted to create a "world empire" with a core German state making up a large part of Europe and the rest of the planet being either colonies or subject states,

  • ||

    One has at its root the idea that all people desire to be absolutely equal and communal (non-idealistic), the idea that equality is the natural, ideal state of affairs. Of course that idiotic, and completly ignores human nature to compete and be free. The other one suggest that if you dont happen to blond and blue eyed your are a genetic/gods mistake and should be removed from this earth.

    See the swastika became singularly associated with the 'blond-blue-eye-or-die' idelogy. While the sickel and hammer became associated with WWII allies, hockey, space race, burly women (US propoganda), etc..., and at the same time with negative things like mass murder etc.... One sigularly evil, one with multiple meanings.

    You really dont see the difference between a tshirt featuring sputnik and the red-star and a tshirt sporting a wolksvagon and a swastika?

  • ||

    I know we've visited this topic before, but I still think that is the moral equivalent of selling a Nazi Hakenkreuz (swastika) charm.

    Agreed. Unfortunately, history remembers and judges organizations by their speeches, not how many people they killed.

    As for America's mistakes, we can distinguish between the parties that committed crimes in the past and the unafilliated current generation. There is a difference between the modern day German flag and the Nazi flag. Similarly, is a difference between the current US flag and KKK symbols.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Randolph Carter,

    ...at least in the Soviet Union if you just got on board and acted right they wouldn't kill you.

    Soviet terror in the 1930s was fairly indiscriminate. Indeed, Bolsheviks were the first to feel the sharp end of things when Stalin's major purges started up, though they didn't make up the bulk of the bodies. As with all such regimes someone could inform you simply so they could have your apartment.

  • ||

    Well, America killed quite a few people herself, so what?

    Dan T. - That moraal equivalency crap gets more tiresome every time you spout it!

    Try something new, PLEASE!

  • ||

    You really dont see the difference between a tshirt featuring sputnik and the red-star and a tshirt sporting a wolksvagon and a swastika?

    No. Both were good things that came out of extremely evil regimes, whats the difference?

    Though when I was in college I often thought of doing an experiment. After seeing all the kids with Che t-shirts, I thought it would be fun to make a red t-shirt featuring a German eagle with the letters NDSAP under it to see if anyone even knew what those letters stand for.

  • ||

    "Or something more local, the repeated braking of treaties for local Indians once the land they had been given by treay was found to have something the U.S. wanted. Like oysters."

    Extinction rears its ugly head. Pity the poor Land Oyster, gone the way of the Dodo.

    Unless you mean the Rocky Mountain type.

  • ||

    should read "And walk around on campus with it on to see if anyone knew what the letters stood for".

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Cesar,

    The Nazis produced a couple of hundred Volkswagon automobiles as I recall.

  • ||

    Syloson,
    I guess I mean a little later in the USSR's life, after most of the early Trotskyite purge stuff happened.

    To others, just to be clear - I don't think Karl Marx is evil. I don't think Freidrich Engels is evil. Communism would be sweet in a small-scale voluntary society.

    I think the implementation of some communist ideas at the end of the gun in the Soviet Union was evil, and I think it's hard to argue with that.

  • ||


    No. Both were good things that came out of extremely evil regimes, whats the difference?


    Gorbachev?

  • ||

    The Nazis produced a couple of hundred Volkswagon automobiles as I recall.

    They also invented the Autobahn (which served as the model for our interstate highway system), and their scientists basically served as the basis for our own space program due to their advanced rocketry research.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Cesar,

    Allied soldiers used the autobahn more than the Germans did before and during WWII. For their size, expense, etc. they were were quite derelict of traffic until the post-war years. The German state could have spent its money in better places.

  • ed||

    I know we've visited this topic before, but I still think that is the moral equivalent of selling a Nazi Hakenkreuz (swastika) charm.

    Yeah, we visited this topic a few days ago when we celebrated the charm of Soviet propaganda posters. I think joe pointed out that the posters didn't actually murder the peasants and send the intellectuals to the gulag. And even if they did, that was a long time ago. Or something. Discuss.

  • ||


    Allied soldiers used the autobahn more than the Germans did before and during WWII. For their size, expense, etc. they were were quite derelict of traffic until the post-war years. The German state could have spent its money in better places.


    Still where do you think Eisenhower got the idea for the IHS from?

    Regardless it shows that yes, some advances that benefited people came out of the Nazi government--as some did from the Soviet government. It doesn't make up for, nor does it excuse, their crimes.

  • SIV||

    Communist symbols are OK because many Americans revere(d) the ideals and actions it represented.
    The group included much of our best and brightest in the Arts and Academe. Nazi iconography represents the enemy of nearly all Americans excepting the German American Bund and postwar Neo-Nazis and prison gangs.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Cesar,

    Nazi doctors were also the first show a definitive link between smoking and lung cancer.

  • ||


    It doesn't make up for, nor does it excuse, their crimes.


    Who the heck anywhere in this thread is trying to excuse Soviet crimes and murders? We were discussing the difference in symbolism here. Not trying to paint Stalin as a hero of the people.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Cesar,

    And Nazi Germany was the first modern state to institute a smoking bans in public places.

  • ||

    When in American history have we killed millions of our own citizens (Civil War excluded)? At the very least, the USA has never had (until possibly this administration) murder and oppression of its own people as a plank of our governance.

    Why is the Civil War excluded?


    Uh, because there's a world of difference between killing soldiers who are busily trying to kill you in combat, and killing people because they happen to be of the wrong social or economic class, the wrong political party or faction, or because they are priests or monks?

    But let's include the Civil War anyway. On the Union side, 360,000 total dead; on the Confederate side, 258,000 total dead. Nope, nowhere near "millions."

  • ||

    And Nazi Germany was the first modern state to institute a smoking bans in public places.

    Yup, and thats one more reason to hate them.

  • ||

    One has at its root the idea that all people desire to be absolutely equal and communal (non-idealistic), the idea that equality is the natural, ideal state of affairs.

    Well, sure, that's what they said. I seriously doubt most of the masters of the Soviet Union actually believed that, though.

    at least in the Soviet Union if you just got on board and acted right they wouldn't kill you.

    Well, that's all right then. Its much worse to be killed for your race rather than you beliefs.

  • ||

    I mean, as far as technological advances from the Nazis, I'm sure there have been some cures for disease found in monkey turds, but they're monkey turds regardless.

  • ||

    If the proportion of soldiers that were killed in the Civil war were the same proportion of the population today, it'd be in the millions.

    The South is really the only part of the nation that knows what its like to be fought, destroyed, defeated, and occupied for any length of time.

  • lunchstealer||

    So wait, does this mean that Jesse Walker's sandwich-for-stalin pic is racist?

  • lunchstealer||

    Wait, not a sandwich, tasty and refreshing Coca-Cola beverage for stalin.

  • ||


    Communist symbols are OK because many Americans revere(d) the ideals and actions it represented.
    The group included much of our best and brightest in the Arts and Academe. Nazi iconography represents the enemy of nearly all Americans excepting the German American Bund and postwar Neo-Nazis and prison gangs.


    Not only that, but for most of of USSR's existance except in few situations Russians were enemies of an idelogical variety, where as the Nazis were of the 'ill see your bloody corpse on the end of my bayonett' variety

  • ||

    sixstring...I don't get what the hell you are talking about.

    Oysters aren't extinct, though the tribes that inhabited the bays they were found on on the central Oregon coast are. Two bays are named after extinct tribes...and extinct not because they were declared so, but because the folks all died off. Most the central OR coast was reservation land for the natives that lived here. Until we changed out minds, of course.

  • Edward||

    Considering all the Indians our government exterminated in the process of taking over the land, one might consider banning the Stars and Stripes. Let the market decide what's in good taste.

  • Guy Montag||

    Communism is the opiate of dumbasses.

  • ||

    Still where do you think Eisenhower got the idea for the IHS from?



    Eisenhower became convinced of the need for a National Highway network during the 1919 First Transcontinental Motor Train that he rode from Frederick, Md., to San Francisco in 1919. The autobahn system in Germany simply provided a working model.

    The US was building "superhighways" in the late 1930s.

    The notion that the US interstate system was inspired by the German autobahn system is a myth. But one, it appears, that needs to regularly be put to rest.

  • ||

    Edward,

    No! I demand that the government suppress all things that offend me!

    Since all we're talking about is whether it's offensive or not to wear symbols associated with mass murder and oppression, I suggest that everyone who favors Soviet imagery just be sure to keep quiet in the future about any symbol that happens to offend them. Or be hypocrites--what the heck?

  • ||

    Pro Libertate,

    You should just ignore Edward. He is a liar, after all.

  • ||

    I think we need more, not less, of the hammer and sickle. Therefore, here's the HTML code for the symbol: ☭

  • ||

    McCarthy was right! There are communists in your keyboard!

  • ||

    No! I demand that the government suppress all things that offend me!

    Help, help, I'm being suppressed!

  • ||


    I think we need more, not less, of the hammer and sickle. Therefore, here's the HTML code for the symbol: ☭



    McCarthy was right! There are communists in your keyboard!


    Har, that probably why it didnt work.

  • ||

    ☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭
    The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.
    ☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭☭

  • Andrew||

    Sorry, guys: Nazis and Communists are in the same league, not only for the death tolls but for one of the traits they have in common: THEY (and only THEY) have the MASTER PLAN to run YOUR life. And if you don't fit that plan, you, well, "go away" somewhere probably never to return.

    So, yes, wearing a Hammer & Sickle is just as bad as a swastika. But what about Che Guavara T-shirts?

  • ||

    "There's also a little irony in that America spent who knows how many trillions of dollars on a military designed to annihilate Soviets on a massive scale but will mourn the deaths of those we were willing to kill to make a sanctimonious political point a few years later." - Dan T.

    That's not irony, Dan T.... Unless you're Alanis Morrissette. Those trillions of dollars were spent in self-defense and in the hope that they'd never be used (they weren't used + the USSR fell = best possible solution).

    Also, since sanctimonious political point-making is your stock-in-trade, I don't think you should bemoan it too loudly.

    Bottom line: The hammer & sickle, like the swastika, are both symbols of mass-murdering political systems. Claiming that communism is less of a bloody, mass-murderous ideology than Nazism is ridiculous. Claiming some sort of moral equivalency due to the laundry list of U.S. mis-deeds as a nation just shows that some people can do basic addition and subtraction...

    Which makes a sad sort of sense when it's the same people who have trouble with basic addition and subtraction publicly flaunting their inability to tell the difference between systems that are as evil as humanly possible from a system that is fundamentally good but humanly flawed.

  • Edward||

    Fuck you and the rest of your wacky "Urkobold" cronies, PL. In fact, fuck this entire lunatic blog and everyone on it. I'm done with it.

  • ||

    Edward,

    May Ron Paul forgive you.

  • Sandy||

    So when are we going to celebrate the first launch of a ballistic rocket with a guidance system? Arguably that's a bigger achievement.

    I propose we sell commemorative swastikas. I mean, they didn't just kill the jews, right? Though the Soviets also killed jews in pogroms, but hey, they were equal opportunity. Let's acknowledge how racially diverse the victims of the Nazis were, too, and celebrate their important achievements of recovering Germany from the Great Depression and inventing ballistic guided rockets and thus inventing the space age.

    Or we could admire the technical achievement without celebrating the political ideology in both cases. But I know that would be extremist and unreasonable.

  • ||

    Edward, why don't you leave a link or e-mail address? I want to send you personal messages about how useless your existence is.
    BUT I WON'T! BUT I MUST! BUT I CAN'T! BUT I MUST! I"M LEAVING FOREVER!

    I'M BACK!

    AAAAAARGH!

  • ||


    Which makes a sad sort of sense when it's the same people who have trouble with basic addition and subtraction publicly flaunting their inability to tell the difference between systems that are as evil as humanly possible from a system that is fundamentally good but humanly flawed.


    Dont take this wrong way, but maybe you should first learn of what it is you speak. Do a little research about Engels and Marx and the come back and tell us about communism. If there ever was a system that is humanly flawed it's communism. Infact it is so flawed because it completely ignores human flaws, which were pesonified in the ruthless dicators that seemed to have always end up at the top; Mao, Stalin, Castro etc....

  • Timothy||

    I am aborting this thread.

    *Pulls out wire hangar*

    *Thrusts*

    *scrambles*

    There, it is done.

  • Paul||

    Among the items (for only $50) is a red lucite charm of the Soviet Union's hammer and sickle that one can hang around one's neck.

    Premier Lenin is rolling over in his grave.

  • ||

    Say what you will about Communism, but it's great for the waistline!

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    Edwarrrrdddd(ild)ooooooooooooooooooo!

    Of course we're wacky, you silly goose!

    We run a WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MEN store.

    There you can find a WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MAN for every occasion that would call for a WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MAN.

    So if ever you're in the market for WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MEN, you'll know where to find the WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MAN to suit your needs.

    WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MEN
    WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MEN
    WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MEN
    WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MEN
    WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MEN

  • ||

    Imagine that Edward is 40 feet away from the figurative H&R exit door. Every time he says that this is his last comment and he will leave forever, he moves half the distance to the door.

    When will Edward actually reach the exit door?

  • VM - a proud Minion of URKOBOL||

    When will Edward actually reach the exit door?

    oh! oh! oh!

    not soon enough!!!!

    Edward(ild)oooooooooooooo = The unfunny, less physically-attractive "Eric Cartman" of H&R!

  • VM||



    d'oh.

  • ||

    Fuck you and the rest of your wacky "Urkobold" cronies, PL.

    When did I become an Urkobold crony? I'm not even a contributor to the blog! (A glaring omission when you consider that I just going Boingboinged yesterday.)

    Edward can't stop lying long enough to properly insult people. Maybe that's because he's a lying liar that lies.

  • ||

    de stijl,

    Ah, yes, Parmenides and Zeno. Early trollosophers.

    VM,

    Are you what makes us wacky? Or is it me? Wacky? I'd rather be called a bloodthirsty but sartorially popular Communist, I think.

  • Timothy||

    I also believe that Edward's pants are on fire.

  • ||

    de stijl,

    Zeno's Paradox would make a nice comment handle.

    By the way, is it possible to step into the same river twice? (Sorry, philosophy minor.)

  • VM||

    the lying liar of lying layers?

    and it's MINIONS, thar, um, Eddie.

    You know, I thought you had some potential in your movie about you and the Cruisers. That 'stache really did it for me.

    And pretending that the real band's name is "Beaver Brown Band" really adds to the humor of the moment.

    You see, as you know, the band, as it were a band, and not merely a collection of rapscallions looking for a singer, not unlike Six characters in search of an author - quite overrated - you, forsooth! - you had a vision and a quest. But there was no big hair and no wrestlers around. Well, by "no big hair", you do realize that your 'stache has to stay. A sort of poor man's Matt Houston stand in, as it were.

    So I guess that about sums it up.

    Good day.

  • Doktor Moose||

    Not to worry, timothy - some penicillin will clear that up. Awik Dunder(hea)dooooooooooo will have to be checked, too.

    ProGLib - wacky? nah. I'm just a guy makin' his way through the maze of trees and outhouses of the mean, gritty city streets paved with dreams and gold and salty ham tears of my enemies. But wacky? That's probably stretching it a little.

    Indeed, Wackolumus the Sooth of Macedonia and Rome (he figured out how to travel in time, too, but that's another story for another kitchen. He also had dual time-space citizenships) realized in his treatise, "Treatise" that being wacky certainly had drawbacks. It is a lonely life, being wacky. However, with generous doses of wackmestics, you can lead a perfectly normal life, apart from wanting Smurfette (gotta love those blue boobies) every other full moon, twice as hard during a blue moon, of course.

  • ||

    Why has nobody discussed the real tragedy here, that people are willing to pay $50 for a $.10 chunk of plastic on a chain?

  • Heraclitus||

    No.

  • jimmydageek||

    Kwix | October 4, 2007, 2:25pm | #

    Why has nobody discussed the real tragedy here, that people are willing to pay $50 for a $.10 chunk of plastic on a chain?



    Well, people buy Urkobold&trade merchandise...how much worse can this be?

  • Timothy||

    I only steal URKOBOLD products...from Communists.

  • ||

    Would it be wrong for a Christian to wear a shirt with Hitler's face on it that said, "I forgive him?"

  • ||

    I would prefer that the type of person who would wear a swastika be encouraged to wear them in public.

    It makes them easier to identify, avoid, and at times, target...

  • ||

    Wow. Timothy's "procedure" was unable to stop this thread. Maybe, if I Godwinize it... with teh Ramones!

  • Timothy||

    Maybe I just like writing on dead fetuses? You consider that, my little Caliente Penguino?

  • dhex||

    you can't abort a thread without a wet-dry vac.

    everyone knows that.

  • ||

    If I say "ick", I'll just see twice as many postings on this topic, right?

  • SALTY HAM TEARS GIRL||

    No. No. Please. Stop. No. No more.

  • ||

    VM,

    What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be working on the Taintsville post?

  • VM||

    *sneaks off*

  • JBinMO||

    "When in American history have we killed millions of our own citizens (Civil War excluded)?"

    When did we have a civil war thar killed MILLIONS?

  • ||

    Y'all ever hear of the doofus detector? Take a 25¢ quartz crystal, mount it in a dollar leather headband, and sell it for $25. Anyone wearing one is a doofus. Well, lucite hammer-n-sickles are even better. They don't just detect doofuses, they detect PEOPLE WHO NEED KILLING.

    Val, it has nothing to do with context. The swastika was once a Hindu good luck charm. The H & S was always and forever and from the get-go the symbol of organized theft, envy, and murder. Got it? Show me ONE use of the H & S that doesn't in some form reference communism.

  • ||

    Timothy, just for that, I'm telling George Bush on you.

    Since this thread won't die, let me get back OT by just saying: as libertarians, we shouldn't be criticizing this sort of thing, we should be doing it - selling a bunch of commies and fellow travelers cheap crap so they can show off their lefty cred to other idiots.

    I'm going to start with Che t-shirt where he's wearing a Yankees cap. I'm going to buy the cheapest t-shirts I can find from Malaysian sweat shops for $.35 ea., get crappy iron-on transfers, and sell them to yuppie dumbasses and college punks for $25 a pop.

    And a portion of my profits will go to the Ron Paul campaign. Ha ha ha! MWAH HA HA HA!

  • ||

    Timothy, I beleive the Properspanish is "Infierno Parajo Bobo."

  • ||

    actually that means "fire penguin"

  • VM||

    *imagines affixing a jet engine onto a Fire Penguin*

  • ||

    Hmmm... FirePenguin, huh? I like the irony.

  • ||

    What about Gebackenerpenguin?

  • ||

    I have a cunning plan neat idea.

    Maybe the people who really hate Soviet kitsch and the people who wear it should form a social networking organization. A club, if you will.

    Our kind of folks hate Che sporting college kids like a party clown hate a mime. The purpose of this club would be to walk around and beat the snot out of these degenerate miscreants.

    Now all the cool clubs have regalia so you know who else is in the club. It sucks to be walking down the strasse and not know who else is a like-minded Che hater.

    Shirts! Shirts would work and everyone looks good in brown!

    But, shit! Lots of volk wear braunes Hemd. How are we to differentiate between a plain old brown shirt and a true Brownshirt?

    Scheisse, scheisse!

    I know! Buttons! Maybe even some kind of armbands with a symbol of some sort on it! Hell, I don't know, some sort of physical signal - a hand gesture or something; I'm trying to think outside the box here, people.

    After we rightously crush the Che-sporting pukes we sould move onto a different target - Social Democrats, maybe.

    Who's with me?

  • ||

    BakedPenguin -
    You're evil because you can think up ways to make products that people want and deliver them to the market!
    Oh wait? They're Che t-shirts... AWESOME! I want one!

  • ||

    de stijl,

    You are wise to fear the Blackadder.

  • ||

    Off-topic, but does anyone know how to stop this annoying popup that started today at this website asking me to click OK to use an ActiveX control? If I don't click the OK button, the page doesn't load.

  • ||

    prolefeed,

    I think it's that The Great American God Out ad. If you're an IE user you're probably hosed for now.

  • Bill Gates||

    Off-topic, but does anyone know how to stop this annoying popup that started today at this website asking me to click OK to use an ActiveX control? If I don't click the OK button, the page doesn't load.

    I've seen that before and assumed it was malware trying to install. I avoided the website.

  • ||

    Val - I honestly can't tell if that was agreement or criticism...

    Maybe an analogy will help...

    If a car is designed, within the best capabilities of modern physics, in such a way that every time it is driven it's likely to kill nearly everyone except the driver, it is pretty clearly an evil design. (Think Stephen King's "Christine.") This would be communism, a system that is pure evil from the get-go, as it is designed to remove property rights and other natural rights. (Whether the intent was to create an evil design or not, it is pretty clearly an evil design.)

    If a car is designed, within the best capabilities of modern physics, to ferry people around to places where their lives have a high chance of becoming better instead of worse, but the driver occasionally runs over some pedestrians. that isn't evil design but human mistakes influencing what is clearly a good design. (Think "Lightning McQueen" from the movie "Cars.") This would be the American system of a democratic republic focused on individual rights - including property rights and capitalism - a system that is pure evil from the get-go, as it is designed to remove property rights and other natural rights. (Whether there are bad things that occur or not, it is pretty clearly NOT an evil design.)

    I think our main disagreement is probably a "bugs" vs. "features" argument about whether the parts of human nature that communism ignores are flaws or virtues.

  • ||

    Sorry... That second bit that reads "- a system that is pure evil from the get-go, as it is designed to remove property rights and other natural rights" should have read

    "- a system that is NOT pure evil from the get-go, as it is designed to PROTECT property rights and other natural rights"...

    Must. Learn. To. Use. Preview. Before. Posting!

  • Heidi||

    I'd rather celebrate by looking at the good that came from the launch of Sputnik. It pushed America to get ahead. Think where we would be today without satellites, how satellites have shrunk world boundaries.

  • ||

    rob,

    Are you contending that the Amana Colonies, The Shakers, The Rappites, et al. are evil?

  • ||

    rob,
    So was American Democracy evil until after the Civil War?

  • ||

    de stijl - No. None of those outfits were willing to kill millions to achieve their goals.

    Mo - No. Why would you think I was making that sort of point?

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    You people are all still annoying. Remind me to show up at the next H&R Happy Hour in Hammer and Sickles. Who in the fuck cares what the other guy wears? Seems to me that it's a good thing that these idiots are wearing the stuff -- it's like an early warning system when you see it coming.

  • NP||

    T, Sean & Andrew,

    Judging by the body counts alone, of course one must conclude that the Soviets were worse than the Nazis. But you must also consider the nature and substance of the crimes committed. Just ask yourselves, is a collectivist system that inadvertently (with obvious caveats, of course) led to totalitarianism really worse than an ideology that was inherently racist and totalitarian?

    Again let me mention Robert Conquest: he answered no and said, "I simply feel it to be so." And this from someone who has done more than perhaps anyone else to expose the true nature of the Soviet communist regime. I'll stop now and let you guys decide.

  • ||

    TPG,

    I think my big objection isn't to the symbols themselves--I can decide what I think about the person wearing them in context--but the insane hypocrisy of people bitching about other symbols.

  • ||

    Are you contending that the Amana Colonies, The Shakers, The Rappites, et al. are evil?



    de stijl

    One of the most prominent features of those communities was that noone was forced to stay in them. That alone would set them apart from the Soviets. However there are many other differences as well.

  • ||

    Isaac Bartram - I get the feeling that de stijl was sort of trying to say that my criteria for judging evil would end up lumping Buddhists and other non-materialists into the same category as Communists.

    I think it's pretty clear that they're not in the same league - in fact, it's not even the same sport!

  • atrevete||

    "(O)ne crucial aspect stands out above all the others: the need to revise our sense of the septh of the horrors committed by communist regimes onordinary humanity. The numbers are so grotesque at this level that we must actually revise our sense and sensibilities about the comparative study of totalitarianisms to appreciate that of the two supereme systemic horrors of the century, the communist regimes hold a measurable edge over the fascist regimes in their life-taking propensities.

    For buried in the datum on totalitarian death mills as a whole is the terrible sense that communism is not "Left" and fascism is not "Right" - both are horrors - and the former, by virtue of its capacity for destroying more of its own nationals, holds an unenviable "lead" over the latter in life taking.

    One might argue that the fascists had a greater sense of technological modes of destruction, but the communists utilized the natural hardships of life the better to destroy individual capacities for survival. Thus, those for whom the technology of death remains central may still prefer to think of the Nazis as worse offenders, whereas those for whom an elaborate prison system is forever enshrined as the Gulag by Solzhenitsyn will see the communists as worse offenders.

    But it is the wisdom of Rummel to urge us beyonde such dubious honors into an appreciation of the linkages of totalitarian systems in the murderous pursuit of worthless objectives"

    Irving Louis Horowitz - forward to "Death by Government" by R.J. Rummel

  • ||

    If a car is designed, within the best capabilities of modern physics, in such a way that every time it is driven it's likely to kill nearly everyone except the driver, it is pretty clearly an evil design. (Think Stephen King's "Christine.") This would be communism, a system that is pure evil from the get-go, as it is designed to remove property rights and other natural rights. (Whether the intent was to create an evil design or not, it is pretty clearly an evil design.)

    To me your christine analogy is nazism. Evil by design. Communism to me would be someone creating blue prints for a bus, now a bus is not for everyone and most people would rather own and drive a car, so the design is flawed, but not inherently evil. Then someone come along puts a giant meat grinder on the front of the the bus and proceeds to run down and grind people into pulp. Evil in execution but not evil by design.

    Also Im not defending Communism, commuism was never achieved anyways, they got a to Totalrian Socialist regimes, which is NOT communism.

    I was discussing symbols, the hammer&sickel vs the swastika and why I felt the two are completely different and how one could still be modified by the context in which it is used and the other really couldnt. And the fact that nearly a half of the posts here feel the same way, where as not a one defended the use of the swastika should be a pretty good indicator that the two symbold are perceived differntly.

  • ||

    "Remind me to show up at the next H&R Happy Hour in Hammer and Sickles."

    Somebody wearing the hammer and sickle is a warning sign just like somebody wearing a swastika is a warning sign. If it came to fisticuffs, I'd rather get into a tangle with the person wearing the hammer and sickle.

  • ||

    When in American history have we killed millions of our own citizens (Civil War excluded)?

    Funny you should ask...

  • ||

    I'm sick and tired of spoiled Westerners pretending to be oh so horrified by the crimes of Communism when their whipped up outrage is really directed at their political opponents in the West. Spare us your outrage and your sympathy and stop using the history of Eastern Europe as a prop to bash your ideological enemies with.

  • ||

    Vanya, this thread was about some "spoiled Westerners" using the symbols of mass murderers as fashion accessories. Apparently, you find this less offensive than us objecting to it.

    Also, Communism's history extends beyond Eastern Europe.

  • ||

    "this thread was about some "spoiled Westerners" using the symbols of mass murderers as fashion accessories."

    That's where you're wrong. The swastika is about one mass murderer: Adolph Hitler and the fact that his purpose was to murder people. The hammer and sickle stands for a country that had many rulers, some more murderous, but the purpose wasn't the murder.

    But we spoiled westerners have become more compassionate, and instead of murder, we have the highest incarceration rate in the world. How magnanimous of us.

  • ||

    To me your christine analogy is nazism. Evil by design." - val

    Actually, I would say that authoritarianism/totalitarianism is what's evil by design. As for communism being like a bus, it's definitely a design flaw if every bus you build comes complete with mass-murdering giant meat grinder attached, which is what has happened in every major communist country and most minor ones.

    "Also Im not defending Communism, commuism was never achieved anyways, they got a to Totalrian Socialist regimes, which is NOT communism." - val

    That's actually a pretty well-known, hackneyed defense of communism...

    "the two symbold are perceived differntly." - val

    They are, no doubt about it, but that's just sad ignorance of the facts on the part of those who don't see the hammer & sickle the same way as the swastika.

    "I'm sick and tired of spoiled Westerners pretending to be oh so horrified by the crimes of Communism when their whipped up outrage is really directed at their political opponents in the West. Spare us your outrage and your sympathy and stop using the history of Eastern Europe as a prop to bash your ideological enemies with." - vanya

    Funny, I'm sick and tired of people defending mass-murdering authoritarian regimes with a bunch of chaff about how regime A wasn't as bad as regime B despite the staggering body counts. I think anyone who is a fan of liberty and an opponent of authoritarianism/totalitarianism is hard-pressed not to make the point that whenever it rears its ugly head, mass graves usually soon follow REGARDLESS of which flavor of authoritarianism/totalitarianism is being discussed.

    "The swastika is about one mass murderer: Adolph Hitler and the fact that his purpose was to murder people." - Lamar

    No, mass murder was just one of the evil tools he was willing to employ to achieve his in nationalist and ideological goals... Exactly like Stalin, Mao, and any nearly every other tin-pot dictator you've ever heard of. The only real delineation is that Hitler, Mao & Stalin have the biggest body counts.

    Hitler, like Stalin, Mao, etc., wrote entire books about what his goals were - mass murder was a means to them, not an end.

  • Scooby||

    The swastika is about one mass murderer: Adolph Hitler and the fact that his purpose was to murder people.

    What about all those other people that were "just following orders"? Were they blameless?

    The hammer and sickle stands for a country that had many rulers, some more murderous, but the purpose wasn't the murder.

    I don't see much of a moral distinction between murder committed in the course of an armed robbery and premeditated murder- the former doesn't get any points for being willing to not kill if everything went just right.

    The Soviets may not have been the Ed Gein-style serial killers that the Nazis were, but they were definitely bloodthirsty monsters that had no qualms about killing anyone who got in their way (or even looked at them crossways) through the vast majority of their reign.

    I hope the standard for government brutality is a little higher than "at least they weren't as bad as the Nazis."

  • ||

    NP | October 4, 2007, 5:14pm | #
    T, Sean & Andrew,

    ... is a collectivist system that inadvertently (with obvious caveats, of course) led to totalitarianism really worse than an ideology that was inherently racist and totalitarian?

    There was nothing inadvertent about the road to totalitarianism under communism. It had to happen to make the new Soviet Man.

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