Nov 25, 2016

Crisis: Trump's "fascism", Aleppo, Greens Question Trump's Victory
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How Much Mussolini Is There in Donald Trump?
2. "Nothing Short of a Slaughter": 1 Million Syrians in
     Aleppo Under Siege with No Hospital, Food

Greens Question Trump’s Victory

This is a Nederlog of Friday, November 25, 2016.

This is a crisis log with 3 items and 3 dotted links and it consists (mostly) of some further deliberations on the meanings of Trump's election as president of the USA:

Item 1 is about an article in Spiegel International that I consider pretty awful (it doesn't know much about what it is talking about and it is horribly, sickeningly politically correct); item 2 is about the horrors in Syria; and item 3 is about Jill Stein's questioning Trump's victory (I don't like Stein, but she is perfectly justified in doing this).

Also, this is considerably later than normal, and with fewer items than normal. The main reason is that I woke over 5 hours later than is normal for me.

-- Constant part, for the moment --
B. In case you visit my Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days. And it still does (on 11 - 17.xi.2016). 18.xi. was correct as
was 19.xi. 20.xi again was a stinking mess, as was 21.xi and 22.xi.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: This worked correctly on 11 and 12 xi.2016, but not the day before nor on 13.xi.2016. It was OK on 14.xi.2016 and on 15.xi.2016. But not on 16 and 17 xi.
18.xi. was correct as were 19, 20, 21 and 22.xi. (I say!)

And I think now this happens intentionally on both my sites, for this did not happen for 20 years on the one, nor for 12 years on the other. (And this is not "automatic": it changes from day to day.)

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.

I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.

1. How Much Mussolini Is There in Donald Trump?

The first item today is
y Dirk Kurbjuweit on Spiegel International:

This starts as follows:
If Donald Trump were a fascist and his regime governed as such, the likely outcome would be that America's true champions of democracy would ultimately dare a revolt in order to defend their freedom. The rest of the West, which stands universally for freedoms like democracy and human rights, would also have no choice but to support this insurrection, even if it turned into a civil war.
I say. Who wrote this totally gratuitous bullshit? Dirk Kurbjuweit, of Spiegel International. WTF is Dirk Kurbjuweit? He is 12 years younger than I am, he studied "popular economy" ("Volkswirtschaft" in German) and he worked mostly as a journalist. That's all I know about him, but because I do know a lot about Nazism, I can say a little more:

I must guess Kurbjuweit's grandfather was probably a Nazi, which I do because that is the probability (I don't know the facts in his case, but this is the probability) and this matters to me because my grandfather was not a Nazi but a communist, who was murdered in a German concentration camp for resisting the Nazis, while my father survived 3 years and 9 months of four German concentration camps, where he was put because he resisted the Nazis as a communist. My mother was also in the Dutch communist resistance against the Nazis. Also, my father seems to have been the only communist who was knighted in Holland while the Dutch communist party existed. [3]

And I do think these personal facts are relevant. They are relevant to me because they explain part of my concern over and interest in Nazism and fascism. They're relevant to Kurbjuweit, because most of the Germans who survived WW II survived by collaborating with Hitler: Those who didn't were
arrested and murdered. (This also means that while I admire the Germans
who did resist, I don't much blame those who didn't. That is, if they didn't do far worse, indeed. But ordinary collaboration indeed was ordinary and Hitler was a dictator.)

I'll get to some implications in  a moment. To start with, here is some of Kurbjuweilers' evidence that Trump may be a fascist [4]:
So is he a fascist? "Yes, a Trump presidency would bring fascism to America," conservative Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan wrote in May. "Trump is a fascist," SPIEGEL ONLINE columnist Jakob Augstein recently offered. "Trump is a media figure and a fascist of our times," Fred Turner, a communications researcher at Stanford University recently wrote for the German weekly Die Zeit. "This is surely the way fascism can begin," New Yorker Editor in Chief David Remnick wrote the day after Trump's election.
I say, for this is new to me. (I read around 35 magazins every day, so I do what I can.) Do I trust these people? No, and for three reasons: (i) I have heard of only two of those mentioned, and I do not know how qualified they are about
fascism and nazism. Also (ii) I know "fascism" is a fairly sensational term, and
all four are journalists, and journalists make money by - among other things - plugging sensational claims. And most importantly (iii): Because I know a lot about politics, fascism, nazism and communism, I also know that - indeed especially - the term "fascism" is quite unclear.

Next, because I have been writing about the
crisis now for more than eight years (Thank you! And yes, it was (and is) a crisis all these eight years, at least for the many poor if not for the few rich), and because I myself thought, already quite long ago (namely in 2012) that fascism of some kind may be involved, I decided to write about this, and clarify what I understand by the terms "fascism" and "neofascism".

I did so mainly by reflecting on a Wikipedia-item, "Definitions of fascism" (<- Wikipedia link), which contains no less than 21 definitions and "definitions" [5],
and wrote up the result of my reflections in "
On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions" (recommended, but dry). And you find my definitions of "fascism" and of "neofascism" both there and in note [2] below, and I do insist they are better than any other definitions of these terms I know, indeed in part because I both know a lot about the subject(s) and because I know a lot about definitions (since I know a great lot about logic), and most historians and political scientist do not appear to know anything about what a proper definition is.

So here is Kurbjuweit's start of fascism or "fascism" [6]:

Fascism is both a historical and political term. Historically, it describes regimes from the first half of the 20th century in Europe that were authoritarian and had a high propensity for violence. Politically, it has been deployed ever since as a battle cry used to lump opponents into the same camp as Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in an effort to discredit and silence them. Many perfectly democratic politicians have been blasted as fascists by the left without the slightest justification.

That is not what is happening here.
The factual indication - "Fascism is both a historical and political term." It is "authoritarian and had a high propensity for violence" - is hardly sufficient, and the political indication - "it has been deployed ever since as a battle cry" - although it is true in some sense, also reduces this to mere slander, which is false.

And then we get the following utterly sick deception and major lie:
If it is fascism, then it would be a disaster on a global scale. See above. But if it isn't fascism, it would be a defamation of Trump's voters to call it that, akin to accusing them of helping to bring a fascist to power and potentially driving them away from democracy forever.
This is utterly deceptive and dishonest bullshit, I am sorry to say: "Fascism" at this point has not been defined at all, but nevertheless Kurbjuweit pretends that he knows that if it (?!?!) exists in the USA, then we will be saved from it by the revolution (?!?!) he opened his article with, and if it isn't, then anybody who says so is committing "a defamation of Trump's voters".

This is total baloney (i) because "fascism" has not been defined at all  (so nobody can say whether or not it holds for Trump and (ii) "Trump's voters" are a completely anonymous mass of Americans, who may be characterized in vast majority, and irrespective of whatever else they are or may be (including fascists) as stupid and ignorant people who in the main have been deceived.

And it is deceptive and dishonest bullshit because it is bullshit (there was not even an attempt at a definition) and it is both deceptive and dishonest because the feelings of an anonymous mass of American voters are or should be completely irrelevant to the issue whether Trump is a fascist, and if so in what sense, and if not, what else he is.

Now Kurbjuweit (after having written the above deceptive bullshit) says the first reasonable thing in this article:
At the political level, though, comparison is difficult because there are so many different ideas about what truly constitutes fascism.
Yes, indeed. (And so you can't speak as if you know what it is. And you can't speak as if anonymous voters would be "defamed" if you use the term for their  leader or president.)

In fact, I strongly suspect Kurbjuweiler did what I did: He read the Wikipedia item
"Definitions of fascism" - but he doesn't say so. (My reasons are that most of the things he says and attributes can be found in that article.)

Here is the main person
Kurbjuweiler credits:
In the mid-1990s, when fear broke out over the possibility of a new fascism in Russia, novelist and scholar Umberto Eco defined elements of an "Ur-Fascism." The main question he posed at the time was this: Is there a way of defining fascism to make it recognizable during any period of time?
I have read about Eco in the "Definitions of fascism" and I did write about it in "On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions" and what I said there about Eco was this:
This is a decent list of various interests, concerns and characteristics of fascists. It is not a definition, and it also is a bit "too psychological" for my tastes, but the reason for this is that Eco did not study the classical fascisms of Spain, Italy and Germany, and was concerned with "the modern form" of fascism.
That is considerably clearer than what Kurbjuweiler gives. And clearly there are at least three shortcomings in Eco's list of criterions: (i) it is not a definition (and also not: "elements of a definition") (ii) it is too psychological, and (iii) Eco - on purpose - did not consider the real fascistic systems there have been.

There is a considerable amount more about Eco and his criterions that I skip. Here is the sum-up:

So the ultimate tally: When we apply Eco's fascism test to Donald Trump, eight of the criteria apply, five do not and one cannot be determined yet. Eco did not provide guidelines for interpreting the results. But he did write: "It is enough for one of them to be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it."

My own conclusion (Umberto Eco is dead) is that these are two reasons to say that in Eco's opinion Donald Trump probably is something like a fascist, but I suspect this is not enough for Kurbjuweiler, for this might offend some of Trump's anonymous voters. (Clearly, this concern with the feelings of ignorant anonymous voters is political correctness, incidentally: "Thou shalt not say anything offensive to anyone, even if it is true" c.q. "Thou shalt not call a probable fascist a fascist for this might offend him or her.")

"Definitions of fascism" there are no less than 21 definitions and "definitions" (for most do not qualify as proper definitions). Among these is one of Robert Paxton:
So let's perform a cross check. In his classic book, "The Anatomy of Fascism," Robert Paxton cites nine "mobilizing passions" when it comes to fascism.
I said about Paxtion (treated by me as definition 15 of 22): "Robert Paxton is a political scientist and a historian, and since I got my degree as a psychologist (after having been removed from the right of taking a degree in philosophy, briefly before taking my M.A. in that subject) I can assure him this has too much psychology in it, and too little sociology, economics, and politics. I don't think this is adequate."

We are also told Paxton's criterions are also met in majority by Trump, but that Paxton himself advises against calling Trump a fascist. In fact I agree, but probably not for Paxton's reasons, for I think Trump is much more of a neofascist than a fascist.

Here is Kurbjuweiler's first conclusion:
So where does that put us? Going by the criteria set by Eco and Paxton, there are some indications that Trump could be a fascistlumping half of Americans into the same camp as Hitler and Mussolini. and the leader of a fascist movement, though not the kind of organized fascist movements seen in the past.
In fact, I'd say that if you are only using Eco's and Paxton's criterions, on the majority of both their criterions (which are not the same) Trump classifies as a fascist. And Kurbjuweiler is correct in his claim that Trump's movement is (as yet, at least) mostly "not the kind of organized fascist movements seen in the past".

But it is not the past, and for the present here is Kurbjuweiler"s extremely dishonest bullshit again, which is also the last bit that I quote from this article:
But as abhorrent as Trump's election campaign was, calling him a fascist at this early stage also implies that his voters stooped to the level of fascism. Half of America. Basically, it means lumping half of Americans into the same camp as Hitler and Mussolini. In Germany, especially, people should consider very carefully before making such comparisons.
This is almost completely utter baloney, that I take it is meant to deceive:

First, calling Trump or his election campaign (both of which consisted of over 70% lies and extra-ordinarily many insults) "fascist" does in no way "imply" that Trump's voters "
stooped to the level of fascism": Trump did not say "I am a fascist", his campaign did not mention "fascism", and in any case to even consider the unknown feelings of millions of anonymous voters most of whom probably were deceived anyway is political correctness on an enormous scale.

Second, to say "Half of America" is simply a big lie. First, there are nearly 325 million Americans. Second, about 60 million voted for Trump. That is 1 in 5 of all Americans. (I think 57% voted.) Third, Hillary Clinton seems to have pulled at least 1 million more votes than Donald Trump, who won in the Electoral College and not with the voters.

Third, to infer from all of the above that "[b]asically it means
lumping half of Americans into the same camp as Hitler and Mussolini" is a sick manipulative dishonest politically correct lie. It neither implies this nor means it, and even if it did it should not matter for the question whether Trump is "a fascist" in any clear sense.

Fourth, there are at least 20 more definitions of "fascism" than Kurbjuweiler considered (just in
"Definitions of fascism") and I say that - from a far better
consideration of fascism and neofascism - that Trump is better described as a neofascist than as a fascist.

But I am done with the Spiegel, I think, for I dislike being lied to and I utterly despise
politically correctness.
2. "Nothing Short of a Slaughter": 1 Million Syrians in Aleppo Under Siege with No Hospital, Food

The second item is by Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now!:

This starts with the following introduction:

As the United Nations says nearly 1 million Syrians are living under siege and the last remaining hospitals in eastern Aleppo have been destroyed, we speak with Syrian analyst Bassam Haddad and get an update from a physician in touch with medical personnel in Aleppo. Dr. Zaher Sahloul is founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. He has visited Aleppo five times since the war began.

I merely pick out some bits from this interview. First of all, here is Nermeen Shaikh sketching the background:

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We begin today in Syria, where the United Nations is warning nearly 1 million Syrians are living under siege, double the number last year. The vast majority, 850,000 people, are being blockaded by the Syrian government. On Monday, the U.N. human rights agency said civilians trapped in eastern Aleppo, where the last hospitals have been destroyed by Syrian government bombing, are facing annihilation. On Tuesday, the U.N. spokesperson, Rupert Colville, said the attacks on hospitals, if proven deliberate and as part of a systematic pattern, could amount to war crimes.

In fact, I think "the attacks on hospitals" are "deliberate" but I admit my evidence is indirect, partial and statistical. In any case, there are several hundredthousands of civilians locked up in Aleppo who risk both being starved and being bombed.

And here is some more on the two persons Nermeen Shaikh interviewed:

In Chicago, Dr. Zaher Sahloul is founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. He has visited Aleppo five times since the war began. He was a classmate of Bashar al-Assad in medical school. And in Washington, D.C., Bassam Haddad is director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies program at George Mason University. He’s co-founder of Jadaliyya and director of the Arab Studies Institute.

This is dr. Sahloul (who visited Syria five times since the war begun):

DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: It’s even worse than last time. And really, words at this point do not mean anything. The use of "catastrophic" or "beyond description" do not mean anything, because we’re talking about a city that has 300,000 people, among them 100,000 children, who are trapped with no food or medicine for the past four months and a half. And everyone is watching them with indifference. That’s at least what they perceive.
Every 17 hours right now in Aleppo, there is a targeting of healthcare facility. Every 60 hours, there is a targeting and killing of a healthcare worker. In the last 144 days, there were 143 attacks on healthcare facilities in Syria committed by the Syrian government and its ally, mostly Russia, and one-third of them happened in the city of Aleppo. So, right now, to be a medical worker in Syria is the most dangerous job on Earth.

This is part of "the statistical evidence" I spoke of, above: There have been far too many doctors and hospitals bombed - I think - not to assume that bombing
hospitals and doctors are not deliberate. And the present evidence is new to me.

And dr. Sahloul is quite correct - it seems to me - in saying that (almost) "
everyone is watching them with indifference", which is indeed also expressed by the fact that there is not much reporting on this (and especially not in the mainstream papers).

And here is Bassam Hassad:

BASSAM HADDAD: Thanks, Nermeen. Well, clearly, there’s been a slamming of western Aleppo by the rebels. And the issue here or the point here is that these, of course, pale in comparison to the brutal bombardment of eastern Aleppo and the almost total destruction of life. The issue is not necessarily want to create any kind of parity, but it reveals a lack of reporting in Western media about that kind of direction of shelling into western Aleppo. But the more significant point, as my co-panelist, if you will, has just shared, is that what we are witnessing in Aleppo today, and especially in East Aleppo, of course, is nothing short of a slaughter.

Yes, he (also) seems quite right: There was "a lack of reporting in Western media" and (to the best of my knowledge as well) "what we are witnessing in Aleppo today" (..) "is nothing short of a slaughter".

I merely reported this. There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended.

3. Greens Question Trump’s Victory

The third and last item today is by Joe Lauria on Consortiumnews:

This starts as follows:

The Green Party is demanding a recount of votes in three key states that could potentially affect the outcome of the election that saw Donald Trump chosen as president. The party was able to raise $2.5 million needed to at least pay for the recount in Wisconsin in less than 12 hours from the time the Greens’ intentions were reported by the media on Wednesday.

Jill Stein, leader of the party that received less than 1 percent of the national vote, said in a press release that the Greens wanted the recount “because reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable.”

The Green Party wants recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan – the three states that effectively determined the result of the presidential race by slipping from the Democratic column in 2012. The deadline to file for a recount is Friday in Wisconsin, Monday in Pennsylvania and Wednesday in Michigan.

I say, and I do not because I hadn't heard of this before. I have, but this is clearer and that is why it is here. What do I think?

Basically, I am for it for two general reasons: (1) democratic reasons: The votes must be counted both fairly and exactly, and indeed also must be the real votes (and not somehow - e.g. elctronically - falsified ones). And (2): Trumpian reasons: Trump is not an ordinary presidential candidate, and will not be an ordinary president. I think he is a neofascist (and see note [2] below and item 1 above), and I think such persons should be stopped by all legal means, and demanding a recount is a perfectly legal means.

Here is some more:

The party’s home page appeal for money says the entire cost with legal fees could be $6 million to $7 million. This statement also includes a quote from Stein that blames “foreign agents” for hacking into “party databases, private email servers, and voter databases in certain states.” Her quote in the press release  removed the words “foreign agents.”

It so happens that I do not like Jill Stein much, and that in fact I like her less than the program of the Green Party. But that is probably in part due to the fact that I am a European intellectual (of Stein's age, also) who also has a very strong leftist background (intelligent and sincere communist parents all their adult lives, and both in the resistance against the Nazis, and both with anarchist or communist grandparents [7]).

In any case, Stein did something she is perfectly entitled to. And since her reasons include the possibility of electronic voter fraud, which I have repeatedly argued is entirely possible, and which, if it happened, may have been done by foreign agents, she is quite right in mentioning the possibility.

And here (at long last) is the real background:

Trump narrowly beat Democratic contender Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and is leading in Michigan, which more than two weeks later is still too close to call. Just a 55,000-vote swing is all that is needed in the three states to flip the election to Clinton.

I say, which I do this time because I did not know the difference was as small as that.

Next, so far Joe Lauria reported the facts and did so rather well. But the rest of the article consists of mostly unfounded speculations and also - it seems to me - bullshit that should be absent from a factual journalistic report (and which I also saw in other articles about this issue):

The move by the Greens raises many questions. At face value, they say the integrity of the electoral system is the only thing at stake. But the Greens must know that the recount effort could only help Clinton and hurt Trump.

Is there some collusion between the Democratic Party and the Greens? Are they a Trojan horse for Clinton who can stay above the fray while getting the recount that some of her supporters have called for?

Have wealthy Clinton donors been behind the flood of cash into the effort in so short a time? Or are the Greens sincere in wanting voting irregularities exposed?

So what if this may help Clinton more than Trump? The issues are (1) to check the correctness of the count, in part because (2) one fears Trump more than Clinton. Both are perfectly correct theses.

So what if there may be a "collusion"? So what if Jill Stein may be "a Trojan horse"? (Well, I very much doubt that metaphor applies...) And so what if part of the cash comes from "Clinton donors"? And so what if "the Greens" (?!) may not be all sincere?

Those are all accusations phrased as questions given without evidence. I very much dislike that. I could do the same with Joe Lauria's name, for he isn't in Wikipedia and I don't know him at all. (What if Joe Lauria was a communist once? Or a fascist? Or a fraud? Or was raised a Christian? Or got a conviction for drunken driving? Or wasn't quite honest in his journalism? Or, or, or, or, or ...)

Therefore I can't recommend this article. I simply think Stein did something she
is perfectly entitled to. And in fact, I do not expect much of it, but I may be mistaken, and we will soon find out.

[1] Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

I am saying this not because I want to offend but because I want to explain, and my own explanatory definition of neofascism is this:
Neofascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that propounds an ethics which has profit as its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist, anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are stronger than a national government or stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.

Also, I am rather certain that most (not: all) of those who style themselved as "neoliberals" in fact are neofascists as defined (even though they probably do not like the term).

And this is fascism as I defined it:
Fascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror, that propounds an ethics founded on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist, anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian, rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
See the following if you are interested: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions. (This lists 22 definitions of the term "fascism", and critically reflects on them.)

[3] My father was made "Knight in the Order of Oranje-Nassau" in 1980, briefly before his death, and for designing and also mostly making what became the National Exhibition on WW II, Nazism and Concentration Camps (I think it was called), that was exhibited a lot between 1965 and 1980, all over Holland.
In 1980, he was a communist for 45 years (since 1935).

The Dutch Communist Party went into the resistance as a party on May 15, 1940, and lost around 2000 members (about 1 in 5) mostly because they were arrested and killed. But because they were communists no one ever got a knighthood, mostly it seems because communists were (completely falsely) accused of being "traitors".

I am not much interested in knighthoods (e.g. because I am the oldest son of two communist parents, and while I gave up communism at 20, mostly because I had seen Marx was mistaken, and the Dutch Communist Party was both mistaken and totalitarian, I did always agree with their moral judgments) and wrote therefore "seems", but it probably is correct: Until the Dutch Communist Party had disappeared (in 1991) communists were not knighted. After that, some former communists who had behaved heroically during WW II were knighted.

And yes, it is quite possible that my father was knighted by mistake, because he was not knighted as a member of the communist party, nor for what he had done in WW II, but because of the exhibition he designed and mostly built (at least the earlier versions).

[4] In fact, I think Trump is not a fascist but is a neofascist. Then again, the evidence Kurbjuweiler gives is extremely slight (given the enormous amount of books about fascism, Nazism etc.) and he does not even provide any decent definition of either. I do, and in terms of my definition Trump is a clear neofascist. (But the whole term "neofascism" doesn't occur in Kurbjuweiler.)

[5] First, there certainly are more definitions or "definitions" of fascism, though the main ones are in the article
"Definitions of fascism". Then again, what I wanted to say is especially that - because I spent a great amount of time on logic and philosophy of science - most of the "definitions" that are offered by sociologists, politicologists, psychologists, historians etc. are no good as clear and good definitions, and the same applies to most definitions I have read of "fascism".

This is perhaps less serious than it seems (for you may give a more or less clear list of criterions or some descriptive statements that pick it out, and indeed this happens considerably more often than the giving of an explicit and tolerably clear definition) but it is a shortcoming (that will not be repaired until sociologists etc. know considerably more about logic than they do).

[6] There is a great difference between fascism (or X) and "fascism" (or "X"), which is not clear at all to Kurbjuweiler because he starts with "
Fascism is both a historical and political term". No, it is not: "Fascism" is a term, but Fascism is not: That is a social system or a political ideology.

The difference is great because when talking about terms we are talking mostly about the combination of <term, meaning of term> where also the meaning of the term is ambiguous between the ideas in someone's head, or the real facts (if any) he or she may be referring to, whereas when talking about things, we are mostly talking about the combination of <thing, definition of thing> where the definition of a thing is derived from the definition of the meaning of the term for the thing (and again may be ambiguous, as before).

[7] I am stressing my - pretty extreme and rather extra-ordinary - leftist background for two reasons:

First, it is very probably quite unlike that of any American, although this is indeed mostly so because my parents and grand- parents lived through Nazism (which also murdered my father's father).

And second because I studied philosophy in the University of Amsterdam, that from 1971 till 1995 was in the hands of the students (as the only country in the world), most of whom where quasi-communists from 1971 till 1983, by which I mean that they pretended to be marxists because it would help them gettting a degree. None of them was a marxist if my parents were communists, which means that none of them was a marxist, but because I honestly said I was not a Marxist and thought Peirce a greater philosopher than Marx, I was called "a fascist", "a dirty fascist" and "a terrorist" between 1977 and 1988, for the following reason: "Peirce was an American, all Americans are fascists, therefore somebody who says Peirce is greater than Marx is a fascist". (I asked, because this happened quite a few times. This was the answer I got.)

Indeed, in 1988  when I criticized my "teachers" I was denied the legal right of taking an M.A. in philosophy, briefly before taking it (which would have been brilliant: I was an extremely good student) and was extensively called "terrorist".

So yes: That was the University of Amsterdam for me: A complete cheat, a total fraud, a degenerate deception, a stinking pretense, and an utterly sick institution.

Incidentally: ALL of "the marxists" in the UvA have long since (between 1991 and 2002) converted to neo-conservatism, to the best of my knowledge.

Finally, this is one of the reasons why I like my parents and their friends: They were honest, they were intelligent, they were extremely courageous, but indeed they also were not highly educated and therefore mistaken. And this is one of the reasons why I detest most people I met in the context of the University of Amsterdam (where most pretended to be marxists): They were dishonest, they were stupid, they were extreme cowards, and while they were nominally highly educated almost everyone I met was an ideological idiot.

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