Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jamel, Ayn Rand and German Racism

The news about Jamel has been slowly trickling down from the Spiegel article. It is wrong to view this phenomenon separated from the wider resurgence of European xenophobia.

Jamel signsThe Spiegel Online article linked below (and widely echoed in the media) tells an interesting story:

Hitler salutes in the street and firing practice in the forest: Neo-Nazis have taken over an entire village in Germany, and authorities appear to have given up efforts to combat the problem. The place has come to symbolize the far right's growing influence in parts of the former communist east.

Perhaps the lessons to be learned here are:

  1. Extremism flourishes on economic ruins – the West has never managed to bring the left-behind East at least back to its pre-‘89 levels.
  2. The neo-Nazis managed to grab only 10 houses or so out of the entire village, but have managed to completely poison the atmosphere and drive out the moderates.

Besides, let us not forget that everywhere else in Europe people are focusing on building walls. In France as in Italy and most other European countries the “fight” goes against Gypsies and Arabs / Muslims. Greece is stepping on Israel’s and Bible Belt states’ path and builds a wall against poor migrants.

What I would really like to know is to what extent is racism (or even “national/ethnic pride”) motivated by economic hardship vs simple, everyday idiocy. You can listen to her words below or read the entire Virtue of Selfishness. As we can gather from the conversation on the White Supremacist forum Stormfront as well as from the wikipedia article, Rand was a Russian Jew who had significant difficulties graduating from her University primarily because of Soviet political interference and harassment. Her detractors claim that “Allan Greenspan lost his virginity to her” and that she had to appear smart as an evolutionary strategy motivated by her less than appealing physique. Furthermore,

the left-leaning Mother Jones remarked that "Rand's particular genius has always been her ability to turn upside down traditional hierarchies and recast the wealthy, the talented, and the powerful as the oppressed", while The Nation alleged similarities between the "moral syntax of Randianism" and fascism

Regardless what you may think of her, it is hard to find flaws in her critique of Racism, summarized as

A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race -- and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin.

Going back to European extremism, some voices (such as Jonathan Jones in the Guardian) wonder why aren’t European unity efforts focused more on the common cultural ancestry, rather than the bland EU symbols, purposely devoid of any cultural connotations. I can only hope that when he claims that “Europe is written in stone” he is not referring to the stone of Jamel:


Sources / More info: spiegel-jamel, athens-wall, kathimerini, dk-nationalism, spiegel-right-wing (rss), stormfront-rand, wiki-rand, eu-stone, guardian-jones

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