China

Not the Strongest Possible Argument

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protestsign

[Via Roderick Long.]

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  1. ROFLMAO!!! JW gets the post of the week award.

    Guessing that is a History grad carrying the sign?

    Betcha the rally chants did not rhyme either.

  2. Reality-jamming is taken to a whole new level.

  3. Maybe the sign is in support of the Chinese hosted Olympics. After all, even the fricken Nazis got to host them.

  4. I’ve seen dumber signs, but this person needs to take a comprehensive course on 20th century German history.

  5. Dumbasses, they should have said “Soviet Russia” instead.

    Oh, wait…

  6. Uh, I think that if we are generous as to who that person means by “we” – that sign makes a lot of sense. Read the sign this way: If you and I were back in 1936 today, wouldn’t we have protested and tried to stop them?

  7. Wow, they Godwinned the thread themselves before we could even have a crack at it. Awesome.

  8. It leaves one speechless, I can’t even come up with a snarky joe comment about it.

  9. Jesse, I think someone at reason ought to cover this in the context of freedom of the press and their targeting. Or may be along the lines of your recent article about “The Hub”.

  10. I so, so hope that this is protest-trolling. It’s got to be. Please, please, if there is any hope for America at all…

  11. …and after we allowed the to host the Olympics, the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. But it wasn’t over! Hell no! And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough the tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go!

  12. Next sign- WOULD WE HAVE ALLOWED HITLER TO BE TIME’S MAN OF THE YEAR?.

  13. I’M BOYCATTING UR LOLYMPICZ, PEEING ON UR TORCH!!!!1!!one!

  14. Helloooo! The Germans did not bomb Pearl Harbor. The Russians did.

  15. Clearly we should boycott all imports coming from China! That will create jobs manufacturing garbage in the US, and that means that everyone will be better off! You see? More jobs! JOBS!!

  16. Helloooo! The Germans did not bomb Pearl Harbor. The Russians did.

    Alex Jones told me the government knew about it too, and…

    DUNT DUNT DAH

    Did nothing!

  17. *shrug*

    I remember after Tito’s death hearing a journalist fret over the threat of Balkanization in Yugoslavia, too.

  18. You people fail at Animal House references. Miserably…

  19. I knew what you meant, Jozef… that and “seven years of college, down the drain” are classics.

    CB

  20. that is great

  21. I’ve seen dumber signs, but this person needs to take a comprehensive course on 20th century German history.

    Or even seen the movie Contact.

  22. I think Mao actually took the gold in genocide, with the silver going to Stalin and Hitler having to settle for bronze.

  23. Is it Friday already?

  24. R-moose,

    It’s spelled “JORBS!!”

  25. Photoshop or just a smartass protest-crasher.

    Speaking of hoaxes, did everyone see that Yale abortion artist has admitted she made the whole thing up?

  26. “We”?
    Oh, that’s right…”we” are the world.
    We are…oh, never mind.

  27. Or even seen the movie Contact.

    No, the comprehensive course would be better.

  28. The Germans did not bomb Pearl Harbor. The Russians did.

    Goddamned conspiracy theorists. Everybody knows that Joe Kennedy blew up Pearl Harbor by accident when a shipment of bootleg liquor caught fire. There was no attack, it was all a hoax.

    -jcr

  29. I think Mao actually took the gold in genocide,

    He did, but let’s not forget that Pol Pot did in a higher proportion of the population of the country he ruled than anyone before or since.

    -jcr

  30. Photoshop or just a smartass protest-crasher.

    Could conceivably be Photoshop, but I don’t think so. Click on the image: It’s from a Flickr set adjacent to other (non-stupid) images from the protest.

  31. You would think that someone in the group would go over to them, tap them on the shoulder, and say excuse me, but…..

  32. He did, but let’s not forget that Pol Pot did in a higher proportion of the population of the country he ruled than anyone before or since.

    So he takes the cake?

  33. JW,

    Any Evil Bert posters at that march?

  34. Jonathan: Uh, I think that if we are generous as to who that person means by “we” – that sign makes a lot of sense. Read the sign this way: If you and I were back in 1936 today, wouldn’t we have protested and tried to stop them?

    I doubt that’s what they had in mind, but that is a good point. “We” did not allow Nazis to host the olympics, our na?ve ancestors did.

  35. Jeeeooooorrbs!

  36. Ch-ch-ch-ch–CHINA!
    Turn to face the strain … Pr-Pr-protests
    gonna have to forget bout Chairman Mao
    Ch-ch-ch-ch-CHINA!
    Turn to face the strain … Pr-Pr-protests
    gonna have to win them over now
    Time may change Mao, but Mao can’t trace time

  37. Jeez.

    Get a Brain, Morans!

  38. I think Mao actually took the gold in genocide, with the silver going to Stalin and Hitler having to settle for bronze.

    Funny you should bring that up.

    Alexaner Sozheneitzn (sp?), the author of Gulag Archipelago and certainly no apologist for the USSR, had a truly weird op-ed in the Boston Globe a few days ago, insisting that the Ukrainiain famine during Stalin’s reign was NOT a genocide. The claims are all a plot by the perfidious Ukranian nationalists, you see.

    I know that Russian nationalism has been dipping into Stalin nostalgia, but Alexander Solzheneitzen?

  39. joe | April 18, 2008, 11:34am | #

    Jeez.

    Get a Brain, Morans!
    ——————-

    You must be from Northern Virginia. That is the correct spelling there.

  40. He did, but let’s not forget that Pol Pot did in a higher proportion of the population of the country he ruled than anyone before or since.

    So he takes the cake?

    No, Cambodia is like Class A ball. Strictly minor league. China, THe USSR and Germany are the big leagues. Nobody really cares if the Michigan Whitecaps win the Midwest league.

  41. From the flickr comments:

    view profile
    reabhecc Pro User says:

    Please tell me they were being ironic?
    Posted 7 days ago. ( permalink )
    view profile
    dead-ro Pro User says:

    I really really hope so, but they didn’t look it.
    Posted 7 days ago. ( permalink )

  42. joe,

    Yeah, Russians are still pretty nationalistic. Even many Russian dissidents are still in denial about the Soviets’ crimes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

    It’s really heart-rending to hear the accounts of those days. Whole towns were fighting over the right to eat a few scraps of shoeleather.

  43. If we’re counting the Ukranian starvation as a genocide, does the Irish starvation in the 1840s count, too? There were certainly aspects of government policy and conflict between peoples that brought that about.

  44. Pol Pot may have done in a higher percentage of his people, but Stalin edges him out for the gold on degree of difficulty. Pol Pot also lost points in the compulsories and his killing floor routine was, frankly, uninspired.

  45. Dugg for teh LULZ.

  46. If we’re counting the Ukranian starvation as a genocide, does the Irish starvation in the 1840s count, too?

    No, because the Irish aren’t human.

    (ducks and runs off laughing like Daffy Duck)

  47. *picks up bottle to throw, notices it’s not empty, thinks the better of it*

  48. Episiarch, stealing my thunder, or I have shown yet another the light. Work on that proper capitalization of irish, k?

  49. Jesus Chrysler, Jesse, that is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. What a coup!

  50. Jesse,

    I don’t think it is photoshop, but it’s not clear it isn’t meant to be a deliberate provocation. After clicking over I see that a few folks on Long’s blog have the same thought. It’s just such a great gag. Unfortunately unless someone takes credit it is impossible to know for sure.

    Anon

  51. That is the best thing I have ever seen in my life. So many arguments against mankind summed up so succinctly.

  52. *picks up bottle to throw, notices it’s not empty, thinks the better of it*

    That’s pretty funny, too.

  53. Regarding the Ukrainian famine, I’ve seen people make similar anti-genocide arguments concerning the starvation of the Great Leap Forward. The argument seems to be that intentions matter more than results: the Communist famines were attempts to usher in a workers’ utopia rather than kill people in huge numbers, so they’re considered unfortunate but well-meaning mistakes rather than actual capital-c Crimes.

  54. From past discussions the nightmere team of Genocide:

    Hitler – efficency and volume of murdered victims (as opposed to starvation)
    Stalin and Mao – shear volume
    Pot – percentage
    Amin – cruelty

  55. If we’re counting the Ukranian starvation as a genocide, does the Irish starvation in the 1840s count, too? There were certainly aspects of government policy and conflict between peoples that brought that about.

    Joe, I think they are materially different.

    The Irish potato famine had a natural origin, and that government policy and anti-Irish bigotry prevented effective help from reaching the afflicted persons.

    The Ukrainian famine had no natural origin, but was the intended result of policies aimed specifically at liquidating the kulaks as a class.

    NKVD troops kicked down doors to seize the harvest from Ukrainian farmers in the specific hope that those farmers would then starve.

    If British troops had been seizing all the potatoes they could, and then twirling their moustaches to say, “This will force the Irish to either starve or leave! Our plan is working! BWAHAHAHAHA!” then the two would be similar.

  56. Well, genocide is the attempt to eradicate, in whole or in part, an ethnic or national group, so screwing up the Great Leap Forward at the expense of millions – whether well-meaning or not – is categorically different from, say, eliminating Armenians from Turkey. I’m not sure if either is necessarily worse than the other, but they are different in important ways.

  57. Maybe if we had let Al Qaeda host the olympics things would be different. A little appeasment goes a long way.

  58. Look out Itchy, he’s Irish!

    I think the Ukrainian famines were materially diffferent. The main cause was government action.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

    Whereas the Irish famine was basically a naturally-induced crop failure.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_famine

    The proximate cause[2] of the famine was a pathogenic water mould, Phytophthora infestans, the disease it causes is commonly known as late blight of potato.

  59. Jennifer, that’s not quite what the author of the Gulag Archipelago argued.

    Fluffy,

    The “natural origin” of the Irish famine – the spread of potato blight – only caused starvation because of the imposition of a certain model of agriculture on Ireland by the Brits. Had the system they imposed not brought about near-universal dependency on the potato crop for subsistence by the Irish rural population, it would have just been a bad year for one crop.

    In addition, the British landlords exported an enormous amount of grain from Ireland, just as the Soviets exported it from Ukraine, even as the starvation was going on.

    I’m not sure how far the fungus you in drawing a distinction, because without the teamwork of the Crown and the British landowners, the fungus wouldn’t have caused anyone to starve.

  60. I knew it! The irish potato phantom was a British agent!

  61. Breaking…breaking…

    Guy Montage Missed Point, Expresses Stupid Thought, Hopes Readers Think It’s Someone Else’s

    But first, Sports.

  62. I knew it! The irish potato phantom was a British agent!

    Good show!

    fixed

  63. How is it that genocide has come to mean “killing lots of people”? Doesn’t it mean trying to destroy a whole race or ethnic group? Mao and Stalin may have been mass-murdering fuckheads, but based on a stricter definition of genocide, I think Hitler still takes the cake for genocide.

  64. How is it that genocide has come to mean “killing lots of people”? Doesn’t it mean trying to destroy a whole race or ethnic group?

    What would be the term, if any, for wiping out a “social class” or even “personality type?” I’m thinking of the Khmer Rouge wanting to purge Cambodia of city-dwelling intellectual types (with “intellectual” meaning, among other things, “prone to wearing eyeglasses”).

  65. Joe,

    The British “imposed” a certain system of agriculture on Ireland merely by dint of owning the land and attempting to collect rents. The Irish themselves continued to subdivide plots among sons until the plots were so small that they could support a family only if they planted the potato nearly exclusively.

    This pattern of landlordship had repeated itself across Europe for the last millennium. If the Irish potato famine was a genocide, then EVERY famine in Western Europe after the fall of Rome was a genocide.

    The difference, I think, remains the fact that the “government actions” that led to the Irish famine did not have famine as their aim, but were merely foolish policies of long standing – while the Ukrainian famine was the deliberate result of policies that had been specifically designed to reduce millions of farmers to starvation, in order to destroy the existing system of agriculture and allow a new one to be put in its place.

    I do not believe that there was ever a meeting of the British “party” where the Brits got together and said, “Boys, we need to starve lots of Irish. How can we best accomplish that in a tight time frame?” But that is precisely how the Ukrainian famine was brought about.

  66. Taktix? | April 18, 2008, 10:31am | #
    Helloooo! The Germans did not bomb Pearl Harbor. The Russians did.

    Alex Jones told me the government knew about it too, and…

    DUNT DUNT DAH

    Did nothing!

    I actually heard it wasn’t the Japs, Ruskies, or the Krauts at all. I heard Pearl Harbor was done by unmanned drones controlled by our military trying to whip our nation into a war fervor.

  67. Mao and Stalin may have been mass-murdering fuckheads, but based on a stricter definition of genocide, I think Hitler still takes the cake for genocide.

    Except that the mass-murder of Mao and Stalin seemed to be directed at certain ethnic minorities in reality, even if not in rhetoric.

    For example, 92% of the Chinese population is of the Han ethnic group today, and about 50% where Han prior to WWII. During the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, there appears to be a significant reduction in ethnic minorities. While mass-murder might not have been overtly racist, it does sound a little suspicious, doesn’t it?

  68. To be fair, the 1936 Olympics weren’t awarded to Nazi Germany, they were awarded to pre-Nazi Germany.

  69. What would be the term, if any, for wiping out a “social class” or even “personality type?”

    I think the Chinese called is a cultural revolution, so would the term “Culture War” fit that description? Namely, attempting to remove the influence of those deemed undesirable by the state?

    How about “castaecide” ?

  70. Sam,

    To be even fairer, they weren’t unrewarded.

  71. Fluffy,

    The British “imposed” a certain system of agriculture on Ireland merely by dint of owning the land and attempting to collect rents. Remind me again how all of those British people came to own that land.

    If the Irish potato famine was a genocide, then EVERY famine in Western Europe after the fall of Rome was a genocide. Name another famine during that millenium that involved people who didn’t live in the affected area exporting the remaining food from that area, for profit.

    The difference, I think, remains the fact that the “government actions” that led to the Irish famine did not have famine as their aim, but were merely foolish policies

    They meant well? Really?

    while the Ukrainian famine was the deliberate result of policies that had been specifically designed to reduce millions of farmers to starvation, in order to destroy the existing system of agriculture and allow a new one to be put in its place

    1. Many English landlords said the same about the excess population of Irish farmers, and that the famine should be allowed to run its course “without government interference” of course, in order to produce greater efficiencies which would benefit everyone in the long term. You can find some quite libertarianism expressions of this thought from contemporary sources, if you care to look.

    2. The goal of the Soviets was not starvation, it was collectivization of farming. The starvation was just something they were willing to see happen in order to get there – the eggs in the omelette. Ditto with Ireland.

    I do not believe that there was ever a meeting of the British “party” where the Brits got together and said, “Boys, we need to starve lots of Irish. How can we best accomplish that in a tight time frame?” So, because it wasn’t so much pre-arranged and accommodated, that’s ok?

    I rarely see that moral argument made by anti-communists.

  72. Fluffy,

    I’m with joe on this one. You forget at the time that the Irish were:

    1. Poor (with a fair amount of British blame)
    2. Catholic (institutionally hated by the Angelican church)
    3. Driven off of land by increasing British purchasing. I think the percent of land owned by Irish circa 1849 was around 25%. [Thomas Cahill, Ireland: A History]

    They were forced on to smaller and smaller plots of land. And at the time, potato bulbs were the cheapest seed available (the British heavily taxed most other crop seed, you see).

    Now grated, the British could not have predicted the famine itself, especially with the crude knowledge of microbes at the time. However, their reaction to the problem was as joe said:

    Let the fuckers starve to solve population issues and to free up more land.

    It was the memories of this and many other oppressions that led to things like the Easter Rebellion of 1916 and the eventual separation of Ireland from the U.K.

  73. joe,

    There is a difference between “not genocide” and “okay”. A big one. You get upset when people read things into what you write. That was a HUGE misread on your part based on what Fluffy wrote.

    That being said, I put Ireland in the genocide category myself. But, you know, the good kind of genocide, because they were Irish.

  74. Oops, forgot to include scare quotes around British “purchasing” there. To elaborate, British “purchasing” was akin to our eminent domain, except the compensation was less and landowners faced prison or violence if they refused.

  75. Taktix,

    So it was exactly like our eminent domain?

  76. I apparently didn’t close a tag either. If I can find a way to blame that on the British as well, I’ll get back to you.

  77. robc,

    Pretty much, the difference being that ours is institutionalized, while in Ireland in the 1800’s, the British troops would just beat you up on the spot.

    Or shoot you, or threaten to shoot members of your family.

  78. Fluffy,

    At least some historians argue that government policies were undertaken as a means to get at goals which had a long shelf-life; goals going back perhaps to those of the murderous rule of Cromwell or beyond.

  79. robc,

    I’ve neither misread what Fluffy said, nor accused him of thinking the British role in the Hunger was “okay.”

    We’re fine. We’re talking about genocide, like good little geeks.

    All set.

  80. So, because it wasn’t so much pre-arranged and accommodated, that’s ok?

    Huh, I wonder who wrote that?

  81. That being said, I put Ireland in the genocide category myself.

    I’m not so sure myself. Ditto with Ukraine.

    They both just seem to belong in the same category, whatever it may be, is my point.

  82. Maybe you shouldn’t take a quote from an extended exchange out of context and proceed to lecture us about it there, perfesser.

  83. Fluffy,

    …but were merely foolish policies of long standing…

    I think it is fair to say that old and new policies were viewed by some in British government at the time as a means to “reform” Irish society. Whether one wants to consider that “genocide” is another matter. I don’t however think that they were necessarily haphazard efforts and I do believe that at least some in the British government specifically favored them as a means to bring about certain ends. In other words, it was for some simply another round in efforts by the government to create the Ireland that they favored.

  84. joe,

    I would go with continuum over categories, with Ukraine being rated a “mostly intentional genocide” and Ireland being “a not really the goal, but we dont much care genocide”.

  85. BTW, the Irish Potato Famine was simply one of the many famines that happened in the British Empire during the 19th century.

  86. I’m pretty close to robc’s position; maybe I’d go with Ukraine as “as long as they’re starving, let’s purposely withhold aid as that will allow us to get rid of a bunch of counterrevolutionaries,” while Ireland was more like “sure, they’re starving, but they’re Irish. Pass the salt.”

    FWIW, there is a law in NY State dictating that the Potato Famine must be taught in schools as having been a genocide. I always thought that was a lovely bit of educational micromanagement.

  87. What would be the term, if any, for wiping out a “social class” or even “personality type?”

    Democide works, even if the term is not very specific.

  88. Death by Government

    Genocide: among other things, the killing of people by a government because of their indelible group membership (race, ethnicity, religion, language).

    Politicide: the murder of any person or people by a government because of their politics or for political purposes.

    Mass Murder: the indiscriminate killing of any person or people by a government.

    Democide: The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder.

    So to answer Jennifer’s question, “genocide” would seem to be the best term for Pol Pot wiping out intellectuals, for instance.

  89. Brian24,

    …while Ireland was more like “sure, they’re starving, but they’re Irish. Pass the salt.”

    Yet there is a lot of evidence to suggest that at least some elements of the British government thought the famine was a means by which to bring to fruition longstanding goals of said government.

  90. For example, 92% of the Chinese population is of the Han ethnic group today, and about 50% where Han prior to WWII. During the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, there appears to be a significant reduction in ethnic minorities. While mass-murder might not have been overtly racist, it does sound a little suspicious, doesn’t it?

    Whaddamean “ethnic minorities” in China? They’re all gooks to me.

  91. You would think that someone in the group would go over to them, tap them on the shoulder, and say excuse me, but…..

    The group member who can read was leading the march.

    while the Ukrainian famine was the deliberate result of policies that had been specifically designed to reduce millions of farmers to starvation, in order to destroy the existing system of agriculture and allow a new one to be put in its place.

    Like killing off the buffalo to subdue the Indians, except we didn’t quite let them starve.

  92. So, in conclusion: the Nazis can host the Olympics, but not the British.

  93. No, not the Irish

  94. Wow, this discussion of the Irish Potato Famine just been fascinating. You’d don’t meet nearly enough amateur historians these days.

  95. so what are you people saying that we should allow the olympics to be in beijing where they killed students for protesting and where theyre trying to liquidate the tibetan people?

  96. No, we should nuke them. Beijing, I mean. That, or enforce a no-fly zone over China, so none of the athletes can get there.

    What the hell does “allow the olympics to be in beijing” mean? Congress doesn’t decide where the Olympics are held.

    The Chinese government is getting its nose rubbed in it every day by protesters. They wanted this to be their big coming out as a respectable nation, like South Korea in 1988, and it’s blowing up into a big embarrassment for them instead.

    Take comfort in the fact that it’s hitting them right where they hurt.

  97. I think Mao actually took the gold in genocide, with the silver going to Stalin and Hitler having to settle for bronze.

    That depends: if you include “allowing to starve” under “killing people,” then I believe Uncle Joe gets the edge.

    Hitler comes in third either way…

  98. He didn’t just “allow” them to starve, he enforced anti-capitalist laws that prevented them buying food, therefore consciously murdering them.

    When government coercion causes death, that’s at least manslaughter. When it knowingly causes death, even indirectly or to random people (think banning switches on airbags), that’s murder.

  99. Michael Pack | April 18, 2008, 10:24am | #

    Next sign- WOULD WE HAVE ALLOWED HITLER TO BE TIME’S MAN OF THE YEAR?.

    You know, I lost a lot of respect for Time when they named Rudy man of the year instead of Osama. It’s supposed to go to the person who had the most influence over the world that year, good or bad, not the “coolest kid on the block” or something.

  100. Uh, I think that if we are generous as to who that person means by “we” – that sign makes a lot of sense. Read the sign this way: If you and I were back in 1936 today, wouldn’t we have protested and tried to stop them?

    The protester’s sign says “would we have allowed,” not “would we allow.”

  101. Wait… never mind. But no. The man is either stupid or intentionally ironic.

  102. I don’t get it.

  103. To be fair, the decision to have Germany host the 1936 Olympics was made before Hitler’s rise to power and hence prior to the atrocities committed by Nazi regime.

    In contrast, the world was well aware of the human rights abuses committed in China over the past decades when the location of the 2008 Olympics was decided.

    In this way, the sign is, in some respects, a decent analogy.

  104. Oh, that’s right…”we” are the world.
    We are…oh, never mind.

    ed! I gotsta know!!!
    the Borg?
    the children?
    the children of the Borg???
    Don’t leave me hangin’ man…

  105. “To be fair, the decision to have Germany host the 1936 Olympics was made before Hitler’s rise to power and hence prior to the atrocities committed by Nazi regime”

    Uh, you need to attend the same remedial history class as that sign maker. When exactly do you think Hitler rose to power? I will give you a hint: it was prior to 1936.

  106. “Genocide: among other things, the killing of people by a government because of their indelible group membership (race, ethnicity, religion, language).

    So to answer Jennifer’s question, “genocide” would seem to be the best term for Pol Pot wiping out intellectuals, for instance.”

    Only if intellectuality is an ‘indelible’ trait.

    On Mao’s policies: He didn’t have good intentions. His intentions were only to stay in power. And when Deng Shao Peng offered a way out through sounder economic ideas, Mao rejected those ideas out of jealousy and for fear of having his power threatened. So, he was guilty of democide – whether we should call it ‘mass murder 1’, ‘2’, or ‘mass man slaughter’ I am not sure as I’m not a lawyer and didn’t watch enough David Kelley shows.

  107. Dear B,

    It appears you might need remedial reading classes. The post I made clearly stated the decision to have Germany host the 1936 Olympics was made before Hitler rose to power, not that Hitler rose to power after 1936. Not sure if you were aware, but the location of the next Olympics is generally decided upon a little whiles before the Olympics actually take place. In this case, Berlin was decided over Barcelona in 1931, as stated in the second sentence of the 1936 Olympics wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_Summer_Olympics

    I’ll allow you to read what the third sentence of said article states.

    Cheers.

  108. further to previous comments- I thought the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour? Hence Hiroshima, Nagasaki etc?

  109. What has any one of you ever done to make this world a better place. Or lets not get too big now, how about your local community. No, wait…still seems to big for some of you. How about your families? Seems to me too much time is being spent here.

  110. …and after we allowed the to host the Olympics, the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor???? And I always thought that that was done by the Japanese!!

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