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Neo-Nazis and James Madison's vision of the Republic

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  • Neo-Nazis and James Madison's vision of the Republic

    I saw the following reprinted on a weblog today:

    Neo-Nazis often express these ideas -- particularly their repugnance of minorities -- to white reporters as if they should be naturally understood. The leader of a group of white supremacist skinheads in Pennsylvania, described in a recent piece in News of Delaware County, talked exactly this way:

    However, according to a member of the Pennsylvania skinhead movement, the organization is not what people perceive it to be.

    "It's about love of your people and love of your country," said Ron, a self-proclaimed white nationalist and a college student who grew up in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

    Ron -- who did not want his last name released -- has been an active member of the skinhead movement for about one-and-a-half years and believes that white nationalists have received a bad rap.

    "Everyone to a certain extent prejudges people," Ron said. "White nationalists are just more open about it.

    "It's not about blind hatred, just wanting the best for myself and my country. There are people in our country that are hurting it," Ron said.

    The new resurgence of skinheads can be attributed to the fall of other hate groups and the skinhead music industry, according the head of ADL's Philadelphia Office, Barry Morrison.

    The skinhead music industry creates passion for young people to gravitate to, according to Morrison. Teardown, a Pennsylvania-based group on the label Final Stand Records is a favorite among white nationalists, according to Ron.
    Now, I have a straigtforward question about this building on something James Madison said in the Federalist Papers. Madison's view was that the chief threat to the future republic was factional division, and he specifically believed that the one faction with sufficient power to tear the republic apart was the division between rich and poor (see Federalist Papers, 10). His thought on the matter was that rather than outlawing factions, the republic should allow them to thrive. With a multiplicitly of factions in place, the "people" would be less likely to polarize into rich and poor: they would simply misrecognize their basic interests by identifying with one or another interest less threatening to the republic (even if more threatening to particular groups). Divide and control, the poor are more easily managed if they think of themselves primarily as Virginians or Whites or Democrats, etc.

    My quetion is whether you think that the neo-nazi movement is an unwitting tool of the economically privileged class? Was Madison on to something? Do Madison's comments about factional multiplicity explain anything about the Neo-Nazi movement?

    derdmeh

  • #2
    Re: Neo-Nazis and James Madison's vision of the Republic

    I will answer your questions in a straightforward manner.

    Originally posted by derdmeh
    My quetion is whether you think that the neo-nazi movement is an unwitting tool of the economically privileged class?
    No.

    Was Madison on to something?
    Yes.

    Do Madison's comments about factional multiplicity explain anything about the Neo-Nazi movement?
    Only to the extent that Madison may have considered the Neo-Nazi movement less dangerous to the republic than a wide, polarized political split between rich and poor. And technically speaking, my hypothetical Madison would probably be correct in that the threat posed by Neo-Nazi groups is most likely less threatening to the health of the USA than Madison's dreaded split. This in no way legitimizes Neo-Nazis or their beliefs, nor do I harbor any feelings towards them save pity towards their ignorance and embarassment at their presence.

    I think it's unreasonable to say Madison would be happy to see Neo-Nazi groups flourishing in the USA.


    Now on to my own points: I hope you're not trying to insinuate that "rich people" are funding or in any way supporting groups such as the Neo-Nazis with the intent of keeping "the poor" distracted. From the information you provided, it does not seem that Madison himself would have supported actions like this either.

    And, again speaking strictly from the information provided as I have no outside knowledge of Madison insofar as this subject in concerned, it is crucial to note that Madison does not seem to think that the poor people should be distracted from the gap between rich and poor for the sake of the wealthy; rather, he feels that all people should be distracted from this issue for the sake of everyone in the republic, be they rich or poor or in the middle.
    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

    "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

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    • #3
      Re: Neo-Nazis and James Madison's vision of the Republic

      +rep to Tybalt for a good response.

      This is a good set of questions, but Neo-Nazism or any other movement founded on hate and fear serves as an poor example of Madison's mutiplicity of factions. Various political movements, political action groups, and special interest groups are more of what I believe he had in mind. Such groups do in fact 'channel' citizen's interests and tend to marginalize the political effects of financial divide (insofar as rich and poor go) in the society. Of course in reality this isn't quite true, the gap between rich and poor has only been backfilled by this thing we call 'middle class', but that's for another debate.

      There's no positive spin on a hate group. They exploit the benefits of free societies and are by no means necessary under any kind of philosophical logic - Madisonian or otherwise.

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      • #4
        Re: Neo-Nazis and James Madison's vision of the Republic

        There are many factions perfectly willing to foster hate, fear, or other political passions in a segment of the population to serve their own marginally relevant political interests. A national campaign consists of mostly of convincing one group of people to hate another group of people. So in that sense, we are all potential tools (unwitting or otherwise) of the powers above us. I don't think Neo-Nazis specifically are being manipulated by any higher group.

        You could argue that their stupid and hateful interpretation of the world around them blinds them to issues that actually effect their lives and the rest of the nation. If the "privledged class" somehow benefits from that ignorance, then sure.
        In game handle: Steel Scion
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        • #5
          Re: Neo-Nazis and James Madison's vision of the Republic

          Originally posted by Steeler
          we are all potential tools
          Someone should sticky that quote. Strip away all the blah blah blah in the sandbox and we are all left standing before this Truth.

          "What do you do all day?"

          "Oh, I debate politics with strangers in an internet forum."

          "Cool."

          "Yeah."

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