Sep 6, 2016

Crisis: Hedges vs Reich, Future Catastrophies, Workers, Communism & NSA
Sections                                                                                     crisis index

Chris Hedges vs. Robert Reich
2. Soaring Population Growth Threatens to Cause an
     Environmental Catastrophe

3. A Message to Working People on Labor Day from a
     former labor secretary

4. The house is on fire! 

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

This is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is a quite interesting debate between Chris Hedges and Robert Reich.(I like both and agree with neither, but in this debate - about the American elections - I am with Reich); item 2 is about the main fact that will make the 21st century very probably much more horrible than the horrible 20th century: human population growth;
item 3 is by Robert Reich and addresses working people: I agree with what he is saying, but I am more pessimistic, it seems; and item 4 is mostly about the Soviet Union and communism, and is quite good, and ends with - I think - a warning for the incredibly increased powers of the secret services everywhere: They now know almost everything about almost anyone, while almost no one has any knowledge he or she is being traced, tracked and stored all the time by many secret services (and dataminers)
, for that is all done in deep secret, as if that is the right way to control populations.

Also, I like to draw your attention to a previous Nederlog, called Rewriting my site, that is indeed about that, or more precisely: About a resized graphical background that is necessary since I have now a normal sized squarish monitor. [0] This will take quite a lot of work, which I will continue after having finished the present crisis item. (It will probably be done before the end of September. I do not yet know when, but I will say so in Nederlog if it is finished.)

1. Chris Hedges vs. Robert Reich

The first item today is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows (after an introduction):

AMY GOODMAN: Today, a fiery debate between the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Chris Hedges is the author of many books, including Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt. He’s endorsed Dr. Jill Stein for president. Robert Reich is backing Hillary Clinton, after endorsing Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Reich served in Bill Clinton’s Cabinet as labor secretary from 1993 to ’97. He now teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.

Yes. I paid a lot of attention to both Chris Hedges and Robert Reich in my Nederlogs, and you can find many of my reviews of their opinions in the indexes (which go back at least to 2013 with fairly extensive reviews by me).

I like both writers, and should add that this is quite rare for me when I consider writers on politics (for I think the majority of the writers on politics are not intelligent and are usually, whether they know it or not, purveyors of some ideology that I can't take seriously). I also both agree and disagree with both writers, and I think both are intelligent and good writers.

And this is a quite interesting debate between them, from which I will quote a decent bit, but far less than there is in the interview, which is recommended.

I start with this bit:

ROBERT REICH: (...) I know Hillary, I know her faults, I know her strengths. I think she will make a great president. I supported Bernie Sanders because I thought he would make a better president for the system we need. But nonetheless, Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee. I support her. And I support her not only because she will be a good president, if not a great president, but also, frankly, because I am tremendously worried about the alternative. And the alternative, really, as a practical matter, is somebody who is a megalomaniac and a bigot, somebody who will set back the progressive movement decades, if not more.

I agree with Reich on Trump - in my terms, which may not be Reich's, but then I am a psychologist which he isn't: I think Trump is mad (insane); I think he is a neofascist; and I think he is extremely dangerous and should never be president of the USA nor get the command over the US's atomic weapons.

But I disagree with Reich on Hillary Clinton. I do not at all think she will be "a great president" and I also do not think she will be a good president. She just does not have the talents to be a great president, and she has far too many far too shady connections to very rich frauds in Wall Street and in Silicon Valley to be a good president: she will help the rich much rather than the poor, indeed like Donald Trump, if also very probably a lot less extremist.

And here is Hedges:

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, reducing the election to personalities is kind of infantile at this point. The fact is, we live in a system that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. It’s a system where corporate power has seized all of the levers of control. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We’ve lost our privacy. We’ve seen, under Obama, an assault against civil liberties that has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out. We’ve seen the executive branch misinterpret the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving itself the right to assassinate American citizens, including children.

If one of the two personalities you may elect is a mad neofascist bully and liar, as Trump is in my opinion, personalities do count. And besides, Hedges does not at all answer Reich's points: I agree with everything he says, but nothing he says undermines the facts (which I think are facts) that Trump is a dangerous mad lying neofascist bully, while Clinton (about whom I am much less positive than Reich is) definitely is not.

Here is Hedges on Poland. I quote this because I think it is relevant and because Hedges seems right about Poland:

I just came back from Poland, which is a kind of case study of how neoliberal poison destroys a society and creates figures like Trump. Poland has gone, I think we can argue, into a neofascism. First, it dislocated the working class, deindustrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system. And we are now watching, in Poland, them create a 30,000 to 40,000 armed militia. You know, they have an army. The Parliament, nothing works. And I think that this political system in the United States has seized up in exactly the same form.

I agree with Hedges on Poland, but I disagree that "the United States has seized up in exactly the same form": Its history is too different; it has a Constitution even if that is not followed; it has had several centuries of
relative freedoms for sizeable parts of the population; it still has freedom of speech - so no: There still are considerable differences between the present
Poland and the present USA.

Here is more Hedges, and with this I quite disagree:

We’ve got to be willing to step out into the political wilderness, perhaps, for a decade. But on the issues of climate change, on the issue of the destruction of civil liberties, including our right to privacy—and I speak as a former investigative journalist, which doesn’t exist anymore because of wholesale government surveillance—we have no ability, except for hackers.

What I disagree with is the willingness "to step out into the political wilderness", as if Trump is just another bad Republican whose government has to be weathered after which it will be time again for some good Democrat (or Green Party).

Trump is not just another bad Republican: He is a mad disaster waiting and trying to happen, and no one can predict anything about his presidency, except that it will be quite mad, probably quite illegal, and very dangerous.

Here is Reich in answer, and I think he is right on this:

ROBERT REICH: Well, Amy, it’s not just taking a walk in the political wilderness. If Donald Trump becomes president, if that’s what you’re referring to, I think it is—there are irrevocable negative changes that will happen in the United States, including appointments to the Supreme Court, that will not be just political wilderness, that will actually change and worsen the structure of this country. I couldn’t agree with Chris Hedges more about his critique, overall, of neoliberalism and a lot of the structural problems that we face in our political economy today.

Yes, I agree. And I also agree with the following estimate (which will not really be answered by Hedges in this conversation):

I think that voting for Donald Trump or equating Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump is insane. Donald Trump is certainly a product of a kind of system and a systematic undermining that has occurred in the United States for years with regard to inequality of income and wealth and political power. But we don’t fight that by simply saying, "All right, let’s just have Donald Trump and hope that the system improves itself and hope that things are so bad that actually people rise up in armed resistance." That’s insane. That’s crazy.

I quite agree. Here is Hedges' reply, that completely misses and confuses Reich's arguments:
CHRIS HEDGES: And I admire Robert and have read much of his stuff and like his stuff, but if you listen to what he’s been saying, the message is the same message of the Trump campaign, and that his fear. And that is all the Democrats have to offer now and all the Republicans have to offer now. And the fact is, from climate change alone, we have no time left. I have four children.
Reich's message is not "the same message of the Trump campaign": That really confuses things. Reich's message is or should be (for he doesn't put it like I do) that Trump is a mad neofascist, and to risk that he will be the next president is (and this Reich does say) to court insanity. I agree.

Here is Reich on what he thinks should be done:
ROBERT REICH: Well, all I can say is that at this particular point in time—I mean, again, many of the things that Chris Hedges is saying, I completely agree with. The real question here is: What do we do right now?
Namely this:
And right now, given our two-party system, given our winner-take-all system with regard to the Electoral College, it’s just too much of a risk to go and to say, "Well, I’m going to vote—I’m not going to vote for the lesser of two evils, I’m going to vote exactly what I want to do." Well, anybody can do that, obviously. This is a free country. You vote what you—you vote your conscience. You have to do that. I’m just saying that your conscience needs to be aware that if you do not support Hillary Clinton, you are increasing the odds of a true, clear and present danger to the United States, a menace to the United States. And you’re increasing the possibility that there will not be a progressive movement, there will not be anything we believe in in the future, because the United States will really be changed for the worse.
Again, I quite agree, and indeed would have formulated it stronger if I were Reich.

Here is Hedges' reply, which again does not answer Reich's point that Trump is a unique political danger who is quite capable of destroying the United States, its Constitution and its laws, and replacing them by something much worse than there is, while also nominating Supreme Court judges who will follow his ideas for the next 25 to 30 years:

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, I think we have to acknowledge two facts. We do not live in a functioning democracy, and we have to stop pretending that we do. You can’t talk about—when you eviscerate privacy, you can’t use the word "liberty." That is the relationship between a master and a slave. The fact is, this is capitalism run amok. This whole discussion should be about capitalism. Capitalism does what it’s designed to do, when it’s unfettered or unregulated—as it is—and that is to increase profit and reduce the cost of labor. And it has done that by deindustrializing the country, and the Clinton administration, you know, massively enabled this.
Again this is either a non-answer of Reich's point or an - implicit, unstated - denial of Reich's point that Trump is uniquely dangerous. And while I agree
with most that Hedges says, it simply is not an argument that meets Reich's arguments.

Here is the last bit I will quote from the article, and it is again by Hedges:
When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react. And that is how you get fascism. That is what history has told us.
My reply: Maybe you get fascism either way, for the rich have been deregulating the laws that protected the non-rich and the economy like crazy, and for 35 years. I don't know.

But I feel pretty certain that the fastest way to get a real neofascist system in the USA is to vote for Trump, and the next fastest way to get a real neofascist sytem in the USA is not to vote for Clinton.

And while I much dislike Clinton and expect very little from her that I will regard as good or desirable, I also insist that she is not mad, does not propose neofascistic plans, and is by far the least bad of two evil candidates.

Also, Hedges really did not answer Reich's points.

This is a recommended article that contains a lot more than I quoted.

2. Soaring Population Growth Threatens to Cause an Environmental Catastrophe

second item is by Tim Radford from Climate News Network on Truthdig:

This starts as follows - and human population growth is the main reason for the crisis we live in which, if it is taken as an ecological crisis has been festering since the 1980ies or indeed before, possibly from the 1950ies onwards.

Indeed, in 1950, when I was born, there were less than 3 billion persons. Now, 66 years later, there are over 7 billion persons - and most want to have at least what average Americans have, and that as "testified" by American TV-series:
Human numbers are predicted to grow by 33% in the next 33 years—and that is worrying news for a world already struggling to deal with the impacts of climate change.

By 2050, there could be 9.9 billion people alive on the planet, and the global total is expected to hit 10 bn by 2053, according to the latest calculations by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), a private not-for-profit organisation based in the US.

By 2050, the population of Africa will reach 2.5 billion, which was roughly the population of the entire globe at the close of the Second World War in 1945.

The number of people on the two American continents will rise by just 233 million to 1.2bn, and Asia will gain 900 million to reach 5.3bn, but Europe’s population will fall from 740 million to 728 million.

Meanwhile, while there have been huge technological changes in the past 66 years, none has stopped the human population from growing enormously, and none has stopped or replaced the plunder of resources, and especially of oil (which is much more important than merely fuel).

Here is some more:

These numbers will soar in a world increasingly challenged by climate change and the potential loss of “natural capital” in the form of natural biodiversity in forests, wetlands and other ecosystems that underwrite or deliver for free a whole range of natural services, from pollination to water management.

Nor are the PRB’s projections the worst. In 2014, UN statisticians looked again at their own projections and warned that human numbers will not stabilise at 9bn by 2100 as hoped. By the end of the century, these could be as low as 9.6bn or as high as 12.3bn.

I think that the most likely expectation is that there will be one or several enormous environmental catastrophes - if we are lucky, and the politicians we have or elect will not destroy the whole world with atomic weapons.

And I also fear that while the 20th Century was awful with two world wars and
very many minor wars, the 21st Century is likely to be far more awful.

I much hope I am mistaken, but I have been following "the climate" since 1971, and I have only seen it grow worse and worse and worse.

3. A Message to Working People on Labor Day from a former labor secretary

The third
item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
Your typical wage is below what it was in the late 1970s, in terms of what it can buy. Two-thirds of you are living paycheck to paycheck. Almost 30 percent of you don’t have steady employment: You’re working part-time or on contract, with none of the labor protections created over the last 80 years – no unemployment insurance if you lose your job, no worker’s compensation if you’re injured, no time-and-a-half pay for working more than 40 hours a week, no minimum wage, and you have to pay your own Social Security. Over 37 percent of you have dropped out of the workforce altogether because you’ve become too discouraged even to look for work. That’s a near record. As if all this weren’t enough, the schools and infrastructure on which you rely have been neglected, and the ravages of climate change – droughts, fires, and floods – are worsening.
Quite so, to the best of my - considerable - knowledge. Also, I do like to point out that the non-rich owe their relative or real poverty to the manipulations and lies and deregulations of the few rich and to the vast majorities of the politicians - "left", right and center - who voted, again and again and again, for the benefits for the rich and for the steady setbacks of the non-rich that have been going on and on since 1980.

Here is what the rich have done, I think mostly in reply to Lewis Powell Jr.s 1971 call to organize themselves and save and extend their privileges [1]:
Those with great wealth have translated it into political power. And with that power they’ve busted labor unions (to which a third of private-sector workers belonged in the 1950s but now fewer than 7 percent do), halved the taxes they pay (from a top marginal rate of 91 percent in the 1950s to 39 percent today, and from an effective rate of 52 percent then to 18 percent now), cut safety nets, deregulated Wall Street, privatized much of the economy, expanded bankruptcy protection for themselves while narrowing it for you, forced you into mandatory arbitration of employment disputes, expanded their patents and intellectual property, got trade deals that benefited them but squeezed your pay, and concentrated their market power so you pay more for pharmaceuticals, health insurance, airfare, food, internet service, and much else.
In contrast, the non-rich and the "leftist" politicians who pretended to work for them achieved almost nothing since 1980, or indeed in the case of most of the politicians (like Clinton, Blair, Kok and Obama) in fact favored the case of the rich while pretending to work fot the non-rich.

And the result for the great majority was and is what Reich opened with: "
Your typical wage is below what it was in the late 1970s, in terms of what it can buy." Also: what the many non-rich lost was gained by the few rich.

That is the political and economical history of the West - the USA and Europe - since 1980, and I see almost nothing to stop the tide that allowed and allows the few rich to get richer while screwing the many non-rich further and further.

This is also why I expect a catastrophy or catastrophies in the 21st Century: The few rich have far too much power; the many non-rich have far too little power; and the rich are continuously shifting more riches to themselves while
completely destroying the climate, the environment and the natural resources.

And there are far too many people for the available resources...

4. The house is on fire!

The fourth item is by Gary Saul Morson on The New Criterion:

This starts as follows:
Ninety-nine years ago, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, and, after a few months of weak parliamentary rule, the Bolsheviks seized power. We call that seizure the Russian (or October) Revolution, but it might better be designated the Bolshevik coup d’état. A party of 10,000 people gained control of an empire occupying one-sixth of the earth’s land area.

From the start, they made up for their small numbers with outsized violence. If at first their executions of liberals, socialists, workers who showed independence, and peasants from whom grain was seized at gunpoint seemed like a short-term necessity, it soon became evident that the violence would never stop. In fact, it was to grow, with Stalin proclaiming “the intensification of the class struggle” when Bolshevik control had long been total.

Indeed - and this is an interesting article. One reason to review it is that it shows what Soviet socialism really was; another is to point out some of the reasons that stopped my being a communist when I was 20 (and at that time still under age), even though my parents and grandparents were - intelligent and honest, but not highly educated - communists or anarchists.

And incidentally, in case you are interested in the history of the Soviet Union,
here are two good books: Robert Conquest's "The Great Terror", about Stalin's purges of the second half of the 1930ies, and Simon Sebag Montefiore's "Stalin - The Court of the Red Tsar". (There are very many more books about the Soviet Union, but these two are good.)

Here is a first comparison between the violence of the Russian tsars and the violence of the Bolshevists after they had seized power:

Soviet Russia was far crueler than its tsarist predecessor, which had long been proverbial as “the gendarme of Europe.” Between 1825 and 1905, the tsars executed 191 people for political reasons—not for mere “suspicion” as under the Soviets but for actual assassinations, including that of Tsar Alexander II. In The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn remarked that between 1905 and 1908 the regime executed as many as 2,200 people—forty-five a month!—“calling forth tears from Tolstoy and indignation from Korolenko and many, many others.” By comparison, conservative estimates of executions under Lenin and Stalin—say, twenty million from 1917 to 1953—yield an average of over ten thousand per week. That’s a tsarist century every few days.

Note that the ratio Tsarist violence : Bolshevik violence = 10 : 10.000 approximately, i.e. the Bolsheviks slaughtered a 1000 persons for the Tsarists 1. (And the estimare that Stalin had 20 millions killed may be too low.)

Here are more numbers, this time not only about the Soviet Union, but also about China and other communist (or "communist" [2]) countries:

Some figures speak for themselves. The volume’s scholars estimate twenty million deaths in the ussr, sixty-five million in China, two million each in Cambodia and North Korea, 1.7 million in Mengistu’s Ethiopia and other African countries, and so on, to a total of about one hundred million. (Eerily, the chief revolutionary in Dostoevsky’s novel The Possessed predicts that the cost of perfect equality will be “a hundred million heads.”) So far as I can tell, these estimates are understatements. For example, the most authoritative study of Stalin’s war against the peasantry in the early 1930s, Robert Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow, arrives at a figure twice the one in this volume. The difference between the two estimates—the margin of error—equals the number of Jews killed by the Nazis.

So that is at least 100 million persons who were murdered for being in the way of some particular form of "socialism" or "communism" [3].

Incidentally, here is a toast by Stalin (<- Wikipedia) of 1937, that explains his own values quite well:

Delivering a toast on the twentieth anniversary of the Bolshevik seizure of power, Stalin declared: “We will destroy each and every enemy, even if he was an old Bolshevik; we will destroy all his kin, his family. We will mercilessly destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts—yes, his thoughts!—threatens the unity of the socialist state. To the complete destruction of all enemies, themselves and their kin!” Even when the tsars imprisoned or executed revolutionaries, they never thought of arresting their spouses, children, grandparents, and cousins as well. And note Stalin’s insistence that not just wrong actions but improper thoughts merit “destruction.” Georgy Arbatov, adviser to five general secretaries of the Soviet Communist Party, observed that “the main code of behavior” was “to be afraid of your own thoughts.”

That is, Stalin's values were those of an absolute tyrant who wanted to destroy everyone who in any way disagreed with him - and at the same time also  destroy their families, as if these were responsible for one man's thinking thoughts Stalin did not approve of.

Here is Lenin's morality, and also Pyatakov's, who played a role in my seeing through the Soviet Union, in the 1960ies:

“Morality is entirely subordinated to the class struggle of the proletariat,” Lenin declared. At the Thirteenth Party Congress in 1924, Trotsky explained:

Comrades, none of us wishes or is able to be right against his Party. The Party in the last analysis is always right, because the Party is the sole historical instrument given the proletariat for the solution of its basic problems. . . . I know that one cannot be right against the party. It is only possible to be right with the Party and through the Party for history has not created other ways for the realization of what is right.

By the same logic, truth is what the Party says it is. Georgy Pyatakov, who was twice expelled from the Party and eventually shot, wrote that a true Bolshevik is “ready to believe [not just assert] that black was white and white was black, if the Party required it.” In 1984, O’Brien proclaims this very doctrine—two plus two is really five if the Party says it is—which he calls “collective solipsism.”

Lenin's morality was as absolute as Stalin's (and Lenin is taken responsible for the death of 4 million people).

As to Pyatakov: My father was a prominent communist since the middle of the 1930ies, and had a reasonable collection of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin in Dutch and German. He also was a member of the top of the Dutch CP around 1950, and was made the main person responsible for teaching Marx, Engels and Lenin to the Amsterdam members of the CP between 1951 and 1969.

And he had several Soviet books, in Dutch, published in the late 1930ies, that
gave Stalin's version of the trials he organized against many of his former comrades, in which these almost all admitted during the trials that Stalin was
quite right, after which they were shot or condemned to the concentration camp, where they usually died.

And Pyatakov (<- Wikipedia) was extensively treated in one of these books, that I partially read around 1965, which made me conclude then that I believed that the only reason Pyatakov admitted what he admitted during his trial was that he was severely tortured.

At that time I had only the Soviet text, which of course did not mention any torture whatsoever. It was only much later that I read testimony of others who
said that he was physically almost completely destroyed when he testified in his trial.

Here is the last bit that I will quote, that also ends the article, and that is about truth and morality:

The idea that truth and morality have no objective basis but are simply what power says they are, is, of course, also a key tenet of many current postmodernists. Society more and more teaches us to regard each other in terms of good and evil groups.
Today one hears that neuroscientists will soon be able to read thoughts from the outside. What would Stalin have done with such technology? Perhaps my training as a Russian specialist distorts my judgment, but as I contemplate the ideas spreading from the academy through society, I fear, a century after the Russian Revolution, a tyranny greater than Stalin’s. Comrades, the house is on fire.

And this - implicitly - explains my fundamental opposition to postmodernism, which I first met in the late 1970ies in the University of Amsterdam, that was in fact ruled by the students from 1971 to 1995 [4], and most of these students (who ruled) were members of the Dutch CP from 1977 till 1984, and were postmodernists after it (they also admitted this, but only in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union and after the end of the Dutch CP).

Finally, on the last paragraph: I am a psychologist, and am less impressed
by "neuroscience" than others. What I fear much more than neuroscientists
is the fact that everything anyone does with any computer or cellphone that
is connected to the internet gets tapped and stored by the NSA, the GCHQ, probably most other secret services, and also by many dataminers, all of
whom have dossiers about anyone that comprise far more knowledge than
their subjects are likely to recall themselves, and that may be used by any
one in any government that heads such a secret service.

For me, that fact alone (and there are plenty of others with similar import)
is sufficient to expect the dominance of neofascism very soon, both in Russia and in the USA, and very probably also in Europe.

And my reason is very simple: Secret services that know everything about anyone are THE tools of tyranny.
And to believe that while they know everything about anyone they will not abuse that knowledge is the height of naivity.

This is the most dangerous thing that threatens absolutely everyone, and its
tools are the modern computer, the modern cellphone, and the utter immorality of by far the greatest part of all ruling politicians, who are mostly - in fact, not in their propaganda - only interested in their own power, their own income, and their own careers.

So I am quite pessimistic, and also am glad I was born in 1950 and not in 2000.

[0] Incidentally: I do want to keep my sites to look reasonable on the monitors (and computers and OSs) that I use, and I am trying to do so for
the new monitor I have, but I gave up (by 2012) trying to please everyone:

I do take care it works well on Firefox, on Ubuntu, on a normal sized squarish monitor, but I will not check anymore how my site is displayed on other monitors, other OSs and other screens: Too much work for my health. (I guess it works on most systems, but I lack the health to check and repair.)

[1] I do not think Lewis Powell's text of 1971 was the only reason that the rich organized themselves, but I do think it is an important text (and will reproduce and review it later in Nederlog).

[2] There is a great difference between communism (that my parents and grandparents desired) and the actual "communism" that was practised by socialist states and - so-called - communist parties, but one of the many tragedies of history is that most communists in Western Europe, at least, including my parents and grandparents, did not see that there was a great difference between what they hoped for, and what the socialist states, and indeed also the communist parties, delivered in fact.

In brief, and this certainly holds for my parents: They were seriously misled by the propaganda from "the socialist states" led by the Soviet Union (and in case of my parents also by the horrible experiences they went through as members of the communist resistance against the Nazis).

[3] Again, my parents did not know much about this, and the main reason was that they believed in the
propaganda the socialist states made for themselves (which was mostly false, but then my parents did not know much about "the socialist countries" they admired), and also in the propaganda of their own communist party (which was also mostly false, and included strong
statements that one should not - NOT! - read opponents of socialism like George Orwell, because these were "traitors of socialism").

I am not excusing them, but I am explaining their choices - which I think would have been different if they had been better educated, or if they had not have to survive Nazi terrorism.

[4] It was, as I have several times attempted to explain in various Nederlogs. I don't think I have succeeded well, and indeed the situation in the Dutch universities between 1971 and 1995 was completely unique in the whole world (and did last 25 years). Another thing that makes it even more difficult to discuss, is that no one in Holland seems to remember anything about the university-years from 1971-1995: It is as if nothing ever happened then - although in fact the communist students, and then the postmodern students, together with some members of the Dutch Labour Party ruled supreme for 25 years, and destroyed most of the universities.

But not if you ask any Dutch academically employed nitwit: According to them nothing happened that needs remembering, or else what happened was Good because it allowed them and many others to get academic degrees without having any talents.

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