AMA Response: Revolutions

Nuke1776 asks:

Recognizing that all revolutions are not created equal and contain a mixture of direction by leaders and directionless chaos from the masses or agitators, what revolution from history do you see our present situation most paralleling? I presume that our present state is more the pre-revolution stage setting in which the elites at the top refuse to make any changes to their power structures and consolidate control, rather than the actual revolution itself.

This requires a longer answer than just a response in the post (as does the “best of the 1990s” question), so I’ll put it here.

This seems too easy, but I also think it’s right: The Nazi Revolution. We’re in the midst of the Machtergreifung.

(Normally around here we refer to these guys as “Cat Fancy,” but since this is a direct historical analogy, in response to a specific question, I’ll use real names),

The main reason I say this is ideology, or lack thereof. In prior revolutions, it was quite clear what the revolutionaries wanted. All revolutions bring out the weirdos, of course, and go through purity spirals, and the rest, but the English, American, French, and Bolshevik revolutionaries had a clear, universalizing ideology — a coherent worldview, a real body of doctrine, hashed out in hard debates among serious thinkers. The Nazis were a lot more intellectual, and more ideological, than they’re given credit for, but they were unique in their ideological commitment to Fuhrerprinzip, the “leader principle.” Such that while, say, Communism in practice ended up being “whatever Comrade Lenin says it is,” Nazism started out that way.*

Because of this, it was easy to “project” onto Hitler. It was one of the keys of his appeal. When he talked about “international finance capital,” for instance, he often meant “Jews”… but often he didn’t, and even when he did, you could fairly easily convince yourself that he didn’t. Same with his other big bugbear, “Jewish Bolshevism.” Was he primarily an anti-Semite, or an anti-Communist? You could convince yourself either way — that the part you didn’t like was just a personal psychological quirk of Hitler’s, while the part you did like was “true Nazism.”

Unlike the Bolshies, then, or the French or even American and English revolutionaries, you really didn’t know what Hitler and the boys would do once they were in power. You knew it wasn’t going to be sunshine and roses for the folks in tiny hats, of course, but you could very easily convince yourself that stuff was only a small part of Hitler’s program. So much really depended on one man’s psychology.

Which fed into the other big ideological pillar of Nazism, Social Darwinism. The Nazis weren’t the hyper-organized, hyper-efficient monsters of popular imagination. Their org charts looked like plates of spaghetti, by design. Indeed it was often hard to tell who, exactly, was in charge of what — again, by design. Just to take one prominent example, Heinrich Himmler was, in his capacity as head of the German Police, nominally subordinate to the interior minister, Wilhelm Frick… but as head of the SS he controlled a much more powerful organization, and he used it to split the police into several bureaus (Orpo, Kripo, etc., for the specialists), which were then amalgamated into the Reich Main Security Office. Plus, guys in the various police organizations also held SS rank…

All of this, again, was explicitly ideological. As Social Darwinists, the Nazis wanted the various groups to fight it out, letting the most talented (and, needless to say, ruthless) guys rise to the top. Power was wielded by whomever seized it, in whatever capacity. Again, you had Adolf Eichmann running the entire Reich’s transport network in the darkest, most desperate part of the war… and he was a lieutenant-colonel. Not even an Army LTC; he only held rank in the SD, the secret police.

In practice, then, you had little islands of authority. The guys in charge were all freelancers, advancing The Cause however they saw fit, with whatever tools they had to hand. SA guys (brownshirts, “storm troopers”) and SS guys were always locked in conflict with each other; inside the SS, the “general SS” lost out to the SD, all of whom were backstabbing each other. The Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS were always stomping on each other in the field, constantly squabbling over equipment, manpower, areas of responsibility… even the occupation governments were a mess, with some functions falling to the Army, some to the HSSPF (the parallel SS/SD adminstration), some to the Waffen-SS, some to the Einsatztruppen, and all with the approval of the head honchos, which is why e.g. Poland (the “General Government“) was such a mess… and why such comprehensively awful shit happened there (when you’ve got SOBs on the order of Hans Frank and Odilo Globocnik competing to out-asshole each other, it’s really, really bad).

That’s why I say the Machtergreifung is a good, though obviously not perfect, analogy to the current mess. What’s Joe Biden’s ideology, really? (Let’s stipulate that ol’ Rutabaga Joe has enough brain cells left to have an ideology). Why does he do what he does? (again, assuming the rancid tapioca that passes for his brain coheres enough for him to do things intentionally). He’s a gangster, sure, but is that all he is? He’s a nasty fucker, no doubt about that, but is his nastiness racial? Socialist? Elitist? Or is he a pure cynic, doing whatever his paymasters want? Or a combination of all of them? In what proportions?

Who knows? You could, if you really really wanted to, convince yourself that he’s some kind of “moderate centrist.” The NeverTrumpers aren’t just cucks and grifters; one gets the sense that some of them have been sniffing their own farts for so long, they really believe that stuff. One could also convince himself that Biden is just a puppet, doing whatever the Chinese want for as long as their checks clear. But that’s obviously not true. He’s got some core beliefs (assuming “elitist, anti-White malice” rises to the level of “belief”). Like Hitler, then, so much of what’s coming from the Bidenreich depends on the individual psychology of Biden (again, stipulating etc.).

But as above, so below. While Biden dithers and drools and “calls a lid” by 9am every day, the various Gauleiters do whatever it is they do. You can see this clearly in the Blue States’ COVID response, which only makes sense as a bunch of mid-level players jockeying for position within the Party ecosystem. Gavin Newsom is Ernst Rohm (but gayer), Whitmer is Reinhard Heydrich (but stupid and menopausal), Kamala Harris is a slightly more repulsive (but so much dumber) Heinrich Himmler, that Lori Lightfoot goon in Chicago is Baldur von Schirach (one of the very dumbest Nazis), AOC is Julius Streicher with better tits, and so forth. With no real direction from the top, these goofs do whatever they do in order to advance The Cause; the other goofs all are forced to respond to maintain their own position in the endless Darwinian struggle, and so forth.

What’s going to happen, then, is a massive internal bloodletting as the Party adjusts to the reality of life with a dementia patient as the nominal President. They’ve really screwed themselves, too, in that there’s no possible way they can blame “Republican obstructionism” like they usually do when they fuck up — oh they’ll try, of course, but if we’ve learned anything lo these past few months, it’s that the “Republicans” are as fanatically loyal to the Party as the most partisan Democrat. The idea that they got outfoxed by the likes of Mitch McConnell might’ve flown in 2016, but in 2021 it’s a sick joke. Mitch would happily suck a dick in the middle of the Capitol rotunda if the People’s Liberation Army’s check cleared; the idea that he’s going to obstruct the Party agenda is laughable. When the Night of the Long Knives comes, his name will be about halfway down the list.

Biden’s not long for this earth, obviously (this is just medical reality, FBI goons, not a threat, since elders with advanced dementia don’t live long). But I doubt Kamala is, either, at least metaphorically — they all hate her, and as the Nazis found out, the Social Darwinist habit of going for your enemies’ throats right away gets so much harder to break the more practice you get. In fact, that’s my one hope in these dark days — they’ll be too busy shanking each other for a good long while to get around to us.


*Though it was contested. The Bamberg Conference doesn’t get much play outside of specialist circles, but there was a very real chance that the Nazis would reject the Fuhrerprinzip, turfing out Adolf Hitler and replacing him with Otto or Gregor Strasser. Hitler forced the Party to make a stark choice, and he won — after that, “Nazism is whatever Hitler says it is” was the official Nazi ideology.

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15 thoughts on “AMA Response: Revolutions

  1. Frip

    Sev: ” Addiction IS a disease.”

    That’s stated with such affirmative directness. Can you say why you think that’s so?

    1. Some Guy

      As per Mitch Hedberg: “Addiction is a disease, but it is the only disease you can get yelled at for having”. Which isn’t true, I’m sure people have gotten yelled at for having chlamydia.

      Addiction is a disease like COPD is a disease, you do it to yourself but the damage is real and needs to be addressed. The want/crave pathways get stuck on, even as the reward pathway gets tired which is how you wind up with the phenomenon of people continuing to abuse their substance of choice even though they barely get a high off it anymore. As the sterotypical response goes “At this point I’m just doing it to feel normal”. Not to diminish the personal responsibility. Aside from babies born addicted to whatever their mom was using, no one is forced to use substances. Also there exists large amounts of people who can practice moderation even in the face of extreme temptation shown by the fact that alcohol is cheap and widely available yet we aren’t all stumbling around hammered all the time.

      1. Severian Post author


        “Disease” is a systemic irregularity that requires intervention to restore normal function. My carcass certainly isn’t working as designed thanks to my coffee addiction — you’re damn right I have to drink a few cups “just to get back to normal.” The fact that it’s self-inflicted makes no difference from the medical perspective — the damage is real, as are prognosis and treatment.

        Your second point illustrates the character aspect of it. No one is forced to use substances; you CAN control yourself. One reason I don’t drink much these days is that I have long experience of my response to alcohol. As I’ve written here, I can practice moderation; I just don’t see the point. Being the kind of guy I am — that is, given the addictive personality I have — “social drinking” is pointless, indeed counterproductive. Either don’t drink at all, or get wrecked.

        [It is shockingly easy to not drink at a social function. You quietly tell the bartender “rum and coke, hold the rum.” Or “vodka tonic, hold the vodka.” If the bartender has been bartending for more than 2.6 hours in his career, he’ll understand — just a coke, but stick a slice of lime on it for camouflage. No, really, this is not just possible, but easy! No one is going to go around tasting your drink, or smelling your breath, to make sure there’s really booze in there. Or you can make a big production about how you don’t drink… glances meaningfully around the room, to make sure that cute new secretary from the third floor is listening… anymore. Your choice. But nobody’s gonna pour hootch down your throat, outside of a frat initiation].

        1. Frip

          Nice responses.

          “Disease” is a systemic irregularity that requires intervention to restore normal function.” Well said. Whether that’s hard science or psychology, doesn’t matter. Good stuff

          To me “addictive personality” is too strong a formulation. It’s as if one is completely writing off one’s personality or agency. I prefer “Bro, I get passionate about shit.’

          I get the meaning of the term, and am not so at odds with the concept. It’s just annoying when guy’s get boastful about it. I don’t mind it when it’s said in earnest or with a bit of humility.

          Sev: “Or you can make a big production about how you don’t drink… glances meaningfully around the room.” Funny as hell.

          I was at a well-known sports restaurant a few weeks ago. Guy sits down at bar. Bartender says, “Hi, can I get you something to drink?” Guy declares loudly, “I don’t drink.” Dumbass. It’s a verb too. She didn’t ask about your history with alcohol. It’s just what bartenders say to people. He ordered an O’Douls. I felt like making him chew it since he doesn’t drink.

  2. urbando

    Do you think that Social Darwinism is the current pervading ideology (such as they possess one) in DC and other Western capitals? The Cat Fanciers had a real Highlander attitude, but the oligarchs seem to have much more of an “us and them” attitude. The expected bloodletting; when do you expect it to commence?

  3. Nuke1776

    Thanks for the thorough reply. One of the few, if somewhat perverse, comforts in the present order of things is seeing how the elites hate each other almost (but not quite!) as much as they hate us.

    They’re obviously paranoid, having created their own personal green zone. But their biggest threat has always been inside those halls and now inside the wire. Do you think that someone like AOC has even a dim awareness that Queen Nancy would have her killed in a heartbeat, if she could only arrange the palace intrigue correctly?

  4. Pickle Rick

    Couple other points to buttress Sev-
    The Nazis had a phrase called “working towards the Fuhrer”-meaning specific orders were unnecessary, as long as you were doing what the spirit of National Socialism required. Unless Mustache Guy himself personally forbade it, anything was permissible. The Party could do anything, and then secure approval for their actions retroactively. This is quite clearly how the Biden Regime will operate. Joe will sign anything into “legality” in between his naps and hair sniffing. His coalition of lunatics won’t tear each other apart because they’ll be busy carving out chunks of old America’s corpse.

    The Brown Revolution came in with the active support of the bureaucrats and the officer corps of the army. The majority of the Weimar civil service welcomed the new masters with open arms. The comparison with our alphabet soup agencies happy to see a return of Dementia Joe and business as usual is obvious.

  5. MBlanc46

    Doubtless, what happens at the level of national politics is important. Particularly in the specific nation under consideration. We wonder about the Bidenreich, the Brits about BoJo, the Krauts about Mutti, etc. But it seems to me that the current revolution is a truly international one, and one that transcends politics as we’ve known them. It’s global capital attempting to escape national limitations, and in the process obliterate historic nations and the psychological identities of the peoples who inhabit them. Like any social movement, it requires ideational cover. So we’re bombarded with boilerplate about multiculturalism, anti-racism, equality, and so on. Many of the people who spout that rhetoric do internalize it and really “believe” it. But the rhetoric is driven by the revolution, the revolution is not driven by it. I’m not sure that this revolution has much of a historical counterpart. Despite the claims of Marxist revolutionaries to be international, the printing press, telegraph, and steamship weren’t sufficient to grab power at that level. Jets and digital communications have made it at least appear possible for the elite of the elites to take control of everything, everywhere.

  6. Geo. Orwell

    I should have asked in the AMA thread, but especially in light of MBlanc46’s comment:

    What are the limits of historical comparison? Considering the last 75 years of the West, so much has changed dramatically about the lives of humans, do we have limits on how we compare the past to the present? Can the features of, for example, the late Roman Republic, shed any light on the current conditions? The material conditions we have today seem so vastly different as to almost suggest a difference in category rather than scale. The overnight shift in early 2020 from a purported republic to a harridan’s idea of a police state could not have been possible without propaganda machines in every pocket and 50 inch screens at home blaring daily lectures at us from every media outlet. The public has revealed itself to be as pliant as silly putty, lacking any other moral compass other than the woke one infused by osmosis through omnipresent media. This universal instantaneous communication was lacking throughout history until only a few decades ago.

    Combine this with other issues. The West has seen a decline in IQ probably beginning in the late 19th century, becoming more evident in the last several decades. The demographic character of North America and Western Europe, historically white, has seen them in serious decline, turning these societies into majority-minority populations with all the attendant problems. There is no longer any Darwinian condition that prevents dysgenic segments of the population from becoming more powerful and destructive, with infant mortality being a tiny fraction of its historical norm and contemporary poverty being actual prosperity compared with anytime in the West prior to the early 20th century; public largesse is a given now, and starvation in the West no longer exists as a real issue.

    Can we still draw much from the past, or are we truly in terra incognita? One thing that hasn’t changed is people will continue to maintain tribal loyalties… except, apparently, white people.

  7. Martinian

    The Nazis were an organizational mess, as Sev demonstrates. But my impression is that they were nonetheless at the head of a generally well-organized, competent population. I was reading Browning’s “Ordinary Men”, and the impression I get is the sort of roll-up-your-sleeves, do-what-you-have-to-do mentality of people in wartime. Yes, the leaders ordered atrocities, but it was the general population’s level of competence rather than some specific German psychology that turned bad into worse.

    We don’t have anything near that in the US. The thought experiment I’m proposing is: Imagine the Nazis in WW2, but your rank-and-file is 90% DMV people. Your Blitzkrieg ain’t going anywhere, and the Final Solution will be literally “final” in the sense of “lowest priority”.

    I don’t know anywhere near enough about Latin America revolutions or governments, but I’m wondering whether we’re not headed more in that direction (or already there…) — generally venal/incompetent governments as a social patina over non-governmental power centers (i.e., drug/business cartels) that buy governmental legitimacy/credibility for whatever they want and otherwise act with impunity.

    1. Nuke1776

      I think this is my main point of dissonance with comparing the present events to past. The parallels look very similar but the people driving things today are just so… stupid. They really are the new aristocracy with generations of intellectual inbreeding within the elite circles. When we have installed in the second highest level of health policy authority a fat dude who feels like his penis couldn’t possibly have any bearing on whether or not he is a man, I find it hard to imagine anyone marching to the insane lefty drums could do anything organized, even the lower level, non-centrally directed stuff the Nazis did that Sev mentions.

      Then again, underestimating one’s enemies often proves fatal…

      1. Pickle Rick

        They’ve been handing the Right an uninterrupted series of ass kickings for the last 75 years or so. The very fact that they’ve installed that ugly man in a dress into the ruling regime and are forceing us to pretend it’s normal proves they’re not stupid.
        In fact, they are very, very good at what they do.

        1. Nuke1776

          On their constant strings of victories, I cannot argue. But I think that speaks more to how utterly spineless, weak, and naive the right became in the latter half of the 20th century. To stick with the Cat Fancy parallel, they’ve played the Chamberlain to the left’s Hitler. Negotiating in good faith, really believing that the left would actually stop their relentless advance once they got THIS particular concession, but failing to realize they never intended to abide by any promises or concessions until it was too late. At least Chamberlain realized his mistake.

          It just seems to me that instead of idealist revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries actually driven by real (if misguided) ideas, we have an army of simps marching in the streets as the vanguard of gibbering elites who are too absorbed in thinking up new ways to debauch themselves than to bother to govern, and the opposition is… Mitch McConnell and all that he represents.

          1. Severian Post author

            That’s one of the many reasons the parallel isn’t perfect. We are a stupid, degenerate people, and our leaders are worse than the average man on the street. Imagine the Gleichschaltung run by Mean Girls with Special Needs; this is our life.

  8. The Kaigat Of Wands

    I’m not at all sure you can call any of this a revolution. It’s been a process of at least 60 years and while it started out with an agenda of sorts – the Long March Through The Institutions and all that, now largely completed – I think as others have suggested above, there is no useful historical example to draw upon.

    There might very well be a revolution in our near future, though probably not one our betters will enjoy, but on the whole I tend to fall back on the view that confusion, incompetence and stupidity have more impact on history than organised efforts to effect change, even if those efforts are the impetus for whatever occurs.

    What happened in Russia and Germany was much different from 1789 or 1848 but now society has changed again from what it was. It’ll be interesting to see if that change sticks or if we manage to find a way back to civilisation.

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