Aug 20, 2016

Crisis: Scheer & Hedges, On Deindustrialization, NSA Leak Is Real
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In a World of Careerists, What Good Is a Life of Virtue?
2. The Half-Life of Deindustrialization: Why Donald Trump
     Is Just A Symptom

3. The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, August 20, 2016.

There are 3 items with 3 dotted links today: Item 1 is an excellent article by Robert Scheer about Chris Hedges, who gets interviewed: I pay a considerable amount of attent- ion to this; item 2 is about deindustrialization, which is an interesting concept, but one I discard for another one, viz. neofascism; while item 3 is about the NSA leak I've mention- ed before, and that now indeed has been found real (and the NSA had nothing to say, at least till now).

Also, while there are just three subjects, this file is quite long (over 50 Kb), mostly because I really liked the first item, and dealt fairly thoroughly with it. This also entails that the present Nederlog is uploaded later than is usual.

1. In a World of Careerists, What Good Is a Life of Virtue?

The first item today is - I think - by
Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges, for Scheer made a long and good interview with Hedges:
  • In a World of Careerists, What Good Is a Life of Virtue?
This starts as follows:

In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence” on KCRW, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer speaks with Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges about the rewards of Hedges’ unorthodox career as a minister and journalist covering the disintegration of societies on multiple continents, his working habits, and the consequences of elite neglect of the forces that turn civilized populations barbarian.

The two spoke in Philadelphia in late July as Democrats pilloried Republicans and their presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

“The Nazis before 1933 were buffoonish figures, as were Radovan Karadžic and Slobodan Miloševic in Yugoslavia,” Hedges remarked. “And as Trump is. But when these buffoonish figures take power, they become extremely frightening.”

“They are frightening,” Scheer replied.
Yes indeed. And before going on with this interview, I want to say something about the enormous confusions between the modern "left", that was created by the major milllionaires Bill Clinton and Tony Blair (see: "Third Way"), and the classical Left that my parents and grandparents believed in, and which does not have anything to do with the sick, propagandistic lies that make up the "left":

The "left" these days - intellectually and morally speaking - mostly consists of three kinds of theses and their associates:

(1) everybody is equal (or equivalent): You, and Hitler and Einstein are all of the same equal (equivalent) value, as is anybody else; (2) identity-politics: People are no longer individuals but are identified by group-characteristics, which again are subject to (1); and (3) political correctness: No one is supposed to say anything harmful about anybody, for that would be violence.

My parents and grandparents (communists or anarchists, who also had the great - and quite uncommon - courage to resist the Nazis when they occupied Holland) did not believe any of the above and neither do I: It is all utterly false bullshit and baloney: Nobody is equal or equivalent to anyone; no individual is a group nor should be identified with a
group; and almost everything that can be said, may be said, also if it is supposed to harm others, and especially if what is being said is (probably) true.

I summarized a lot here, and also left out a lot, but I first wanted to get this out of the way: If this is what it takes to define a modern "leftist" I am certainly not a "leftist" and never was one, nor were my parents and grandparents (and yes, I had a whole lot to do with those who did insist on their "leftishness" in the university, but no, I never mistook this for being Leftist: If my parents were real Leftists, and they were, the politically committed students I met in the UvA all were fakes - as indeed they were).

Next, I go on with the interview (that I like a lot):

“There you go,” said Hedges. “That’s how fascism—and voting for Hillary Clinton’s not going to make it better. We may get rid of Trump; we’re not getting rid of the phenomenon. Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to the phenomenon. Unless we radically change that phenomenon, we’re finished.”

What is the phenomenon? Neoliberalism, a regime of economic policies supported and embodied by the Clintons that destroy the supply of jobs and good wages that ensures social order by satisfying a public’s basic needs.

Yes, I agree and I also insist neofascism is (probably) the best term for "the phenomenon". In case you want to know part of my reasons, check this out below.
(There is more to follow on the theme, but not today, except my reason to avoid "neoliberalism": First, this is a propaganda term. And second, it certainly is not
all that makes up neofascism, for this is in fact made up from parts of the old
plus parts of corporatism plus parts of neoliberalism.)

We have arrived at the place the real interview begins, for the parts quoted so far were from the introduction:

Robert Scheer: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” where the intelligence comes from my guests. And I certainly have an intelligent one now, and it’s part of a series I call “American originals”—people that have somehow come out of our crazy-quilt of a culture and actually have integrity, have an interesting point of view. And Chris Hedges is certainly such a person. We’re going to talk about events of—we’re doing this in Philadelphia at the time of the Democratic convention. Chris has been leading demonstrations, as well as writing about it. I’ve been covering this for Truthdig. And we’re going to get to that. But I’d like to pick up on the theme of the American original, and basically address one question, [which] is: Why didn’t you sell out?

Yes indeed: Scheer is quite right, both in stressing that Chris Hedges is a genuine American original, and also in asking him the crucial question "Why didn’t you sell out?"

And first as to selling out: Chris Hedges is clearly gifted, and he also had a good education - which means that he has satisfied the two criterions that in fact makes
nearly all (though not: all) academics sell out, usually already in their late twenties or
early thirties: They can earn considerably more than less intelligent or less well educated people, and because they like to live a life of ease, did not get any good example of real individuals, or are naturally greedy and egoistic, the vast majority
of the academically educated grow corrupt real soon.

Of course, almost none of them (if not very drunk) calls it so, and few agree that they have been fundamentally corrupted by the pay and the relative freedoms they have as academics, but that - "Follow The Money!", again - is the real reason for most to give up the social and moral ideals they may have had in their early twenties.

So why did this not happen to Chris Hedges? Because of his father - as indeed was the case for me, as I will explain (and there is considerably more in Hedges' answer that here were replaced by ellipses):

CH: Well, I think it is kind of reduced to, in many ways, to that relationship. Because my father was a veteran from World War II; he’d been a sergeant in North Africa, was very involved in the antiwar movement. He was involved in the civil rights movement.
So I grew up with an example—and it was a great gift—of what it means to take a moral stance, and I was never naive about the cost. I didn’t believe that people were rewarded for virtue; I saw that they were not.
And so I was freed from that careerism, which is rampant and has a kind of sickness at The New York Times. And eventually, of course, led to my split [with] the Times. But I think a lot of it has to do with the example that my father set.

In fact, I think it is fair to say that my father was more uncommon than Chris Hedges' father, for my father came from a well-to-do middle class Protestant family, while his father owned a painting firm that was completely destroyed in the early Thirties due to the crisis, which made first my father give up Protestantism and turn to communism in 1934/5, after which the same happened to his father.

And then, being members of the Dutch Communist Party, both became members of the resistance against the Nazis right after Holland was occupied in 1940, while both were betrayed in June of 1941, and were arrested and soon convicted to the concentration camp as "political terrorists", which my grandfather did not survive.

My father survived (just: he had been at one point 37 kiloos from his original 85) and remained a communist ever since. He died in 1980, but was briefly before that knighted
("Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau") by Queen Juliana, which also seems to have made him the only Dutch communist who was ever knighted while the Dutch CP existed,
because normally communists simply were not knighted, even though some 3000 Dutch communists lost their lives in the resistance during WW II. [1]

He was knighted for designing and making the exhibition about WW II, the resistance, the murder of the Jews (more than 100.000 - that is: more than 1 in a 100 of Dutchmen - Jews were murdered during WW II), the German concentration camps, and the continuing dangers of fascism, that was first known as the exhibition of the Sachsenhausen committee, which was the last concentration camp my father survived, and later as the National Exhibition on WW II and fascism (I think: I am not sure about the precise name anymore), and indeed this also was a good exhibition. [2]

So I think I am justified in maintaining that my father was more uncommon than Chris Hedges' father (who was a lot richer and better educated as well), and indeed my father never was a careerist, always was a revolutionary, and also taught me a lot about morals, for which I indeed thanked him very briefly before he died. [3]

Again, and like Chris Hedges, I think that was a great gift; I think very few receive it from their father or mother; I think that is an important reason for the extremely widespread careerism I've seen, and especially among academics; and indeed I never believed a moral stance like my father took would be rewarded. In fact, I believed the opposite: With so many insincere conformists, it will be a miracle if you are not made to pay for your deviance from the average. [4]

Finally, while I do insist that my father's "career" was more uncommon and more radical than was the career of Chris Hedges' father, I do not want to suggest that my father was
a better man: Hedges' father well might have done the same, but he simply never was placed in the circumstances my father found himself in.

Here is some more on Chris Hedges' character:

RS: (...) And you know, sometimes when I talk to people they say, you know, Chris Hedges, he’s so negative and he’s so down, and everything, and what kind of guy is he like, and everything? But actually, you’re not really like that, right? You have an incredibly strong life force, right?
CH: Yeah, that’s the public perception. But you know, I’m, the older I get the more reclusive I become; I don’t really don’t socialize at all. I don’t have a Twitter account, I don’t have a Facebook page, I don’t—so I’m kind of cut off on purpose. But I think you’re right, that is the perception.
CH: Right, we don’t have a TV.

In fact I never thought Hedges is "negative" or "down". I don't always agree with him, but not for those reasons. And indeed I also do not have a TV (not since 1970) and don't want one; I don't have a Twitter account and don't want one; and I don't have a Facebook account and don't want one. (And I am ill since I am 28, so indeed I probably do not have "an incredibly strong life force".)

Then there is this, which is mainly about Chris Hedges and religion:

RS: So let me ask you, as a minister, about our place in the world. And here we’re at a convention, not so bad as the Republican convention, but this constant invocation of a notion of God to endorse, you know, sometimes reasonable positions, often godless positions; certainly not very sensitive to human life, when we talk about war and peace. And what is it about religion that you still hold on to?

CH: Well, I should preface that by saying that I have no love for institutional religion, which the theologian Paul Tillich correctly called “inherently demonic.” He said, “All institutions are inherently demonic, including the Church.” And that’s correct.
But the religious impulse—and I should be clear that I don’t, there’s no evidence that Jesus ever existed as a historical figure, or God as a human concept; I don’t believe in heaven and hell, I don’t think good people are blessed.
But I think that religion, like art, struggles with the transcendent forces in human life—these non-reality elements: beauty, truth, justice, a search for meaning, the struggle with our own mortality—and that we can’t be complete human beings unless all of that search and discovery into issues like beauty or truth, or a life of meaning, are examined constantly.
And I think that also, religion at its best—and one doesn’t have to come out of a religious tradition to have this sentiment; I mean, Albert Camus had it—grasps that happiness is not achieved through the acquisition of things, or the amassing of power or wealth.
I say. This is not what I expected, although I like it. Here are some remarks. To start with, the reader should understand that both of my parents were completely irreligious (my mother's family indeed since the 1850ies), and so am I: I absolutely never found any convincing reason for me to be religious or believe in a God, and never did. [5]

And this is quite different for Chris Hedges, simply because his father was a minister. Then again, while I do not only disbelieve in any God, I also do not believe in any devil, and so I must reject Tillich's literal statements, though I like his dislike for the church (any of them).

I also like Hedges' lack of belief in a historical Jesus; his lack of belief in an adequate concept of God that can be understood by human beings; his disbelief in both heaven and hell, and his disbelief in the idea that "good people are blessed".

It does amaze me some, but I do like it. And I do agree with both Hedges and Camus that "
happiness is not achieved through the acquisition of things, or the amassing of power or wealth", and indeed never thought otherwise.

Here is something about neofascism, although this is applied to Poland, in which Hedges may be quite correct:

RS: And you raised the question—not you, really, more people in Poland who are worried about the rise of neofascism and what has happened to the Polish movement—

CH: Solidarity.

RS: Solidarity, after Communism was defeated. I found that an incredibly depressing and alarming article. And I don’t know if you meant it that way, but I would recommend that everyone read it, because you raise the most fundamental question about barbarism in the modern era. Which is that the major barbarism did not come from people of so-called primitive culture.

I probably agree on Poland, and I certainly agree on "barbarism": It did not come from "primitive cultures" but in fact is "human-all-too-human". Then again, I would like to add that the barbarism of the rich tends to be caused by greed, egoism and wilfull blindness, while the barbarism of the poor tends to be caused by stupidity and ignorance, and/or by being deceived by the rich or by their politicians.

Here is some more about fascism (and Stalinism):

CH: Spectacle—fascists do spectacle very well. Stalin did spectacle very well. And that creates a kind of cultural milieu where people lose the capacity to think critically and self-reflect, which is what authentic culture is about; that capacity to get you to look within yourself, look within your society. And it’s replaced with this collective narcissism, which has been on display at this convention. And that’s very dangerous. And we’ve seen Trump ride that collective narcissism, and exploit it through right-wing populism, and do what proto-fascist movements always do, which is direct a legitimate rage and a cultural narcissism towards the vulnerable. Undocumented workers, Muslims, homosexuals, you know, on and on and on.

Actually, while I agree Donald Trump is mad in good part because he is a grandiose narcissist, I don't think narcissism is very important to most people who are not Donald Trump: What is important is totalitarianism, and both the Democrats and the Republicans are quite totalitarian, as indeed were both the fascists and the Stalinists, and as indeed also corresponds well with quite a few characteristics of human groups and groupthinking.

Indeed, this theme gets taken up by Robert Scheer, although he doesn't name it:

RS: As the Democratic convention is going on, a Democratic president is randomly killing people with drones and what have you. And you even had Madeleine Albright get up there to a standing ovation—I was stunned—and she’s a woman who at one point defended the bombing, starvation, actually, in Iraq, and you know, this is the price you pay. And I was thinking about that; essential to this whole narrative is that idea that Reagan pushed—he wasn’t the first, but the Germans had it too—that you are the city on the hill. You are the place that God is watching.
More precisely, Madeleine Albright insisted that killing 500.000 Iraqi children (which she brought about mostly by taking care these could get no medicines whatsoever), was a good thing when you saw the freedoms of the Iraqi since Saddam Hussein was killed - at least, that seems to have been her argument (in the Nineties).

And all of that, including the idea "
that God is watching" because He loves you more than anyone else, is totalitarian.

Next, there is this - and as I said above, I would have replaced "
collective narcissism" by "collective totalitarianism":
CH: Right. Well, that’s what the collective narcissism is about. And with collective narcissism, means you externalize evil. So every moralist—I mean, having covered war, I know how thin that line is between victim and victimizer. I know how easily people can be seduced into carrying out atrocity; I’ve seen it in every war I’ve covered. And I think the best break against that is understanding those dark forces within all of us, and the capacity we all have for evil.

I agree with Chris Hedges on "how easily people can be seduced into carrying out atrocity" and that this depends on "those dark forces within all of us, and the capacity we all have for evil", though I also agree with him that most people do not see this, indeed in good part because they don't want to see this, which again is in part explained by their (specific) totalitarianism.

And there is this on neofascism by Robert Scheer:

RS: OK. And you raised a very fundamental question about the rise of neofascism in Poland, but by inference, in the rest of the world. And not everybody agrees with me; I’ve called Trump a neofascist precisely because of the scapegoating of the victims of undocumented and Muslims, to avoid paying attention to the damage that people like Trump, and Goldman Sachs, have done to our society. So I think there’s a certain logic to using, an accuracy to using that word.

I agree again: I think Trump is mad, but I also think that most of the ideology he indulges in is best called neofascism (and see here) - and indeed I would considerably extend the usage of that term.

There is this on Trump being a farce:

RS: You know, maybe Trump is farce, but he’s also dangerous.

CH: Well, but the Nazis before 1933 were buffoonish figures, as were Radovan Karadžic and Slobodan Milosevich in Yugoslavia. And as Trump is. But when these buffoonish figures take power, they become extremely frightening.

I agree, in part at least, although I should add that part of the buffoonery these people engage in is acting as-if: A good part of the reasons for buffoonery is that this is popular among the lower classes, the stupid and the ignorant.

There this on the Democratic convention (that I didn't watch) and what Chris Hedges calls "political infantilism":

RS: And you know, sitting at the Democratic convention last night, I got enormously depressed. Because first of all, it was a parade of people who have been hurt by the society, and somehow out of that hurt, support Hillary Clinton. I don’t know why, why she—but somehow they found a whole collection of people who have real problems, health problems and so forth. And somehow, it’s almost like she has the—she can put hands on and heal. You almost had that feeling that the Democratic Party can heal you; just come in your wheelchair and we’ll heal and you’ll walk again. It almost had that feeling of a revival church. And no sense at all of responsibility. Because once [Bernie] Sanders went over, as you point out, once he embraced Hillary Clinton, people then became, you use the expression of useful idiots.
CH: Well, it’s political infantilism. I mean, you ignore the structures of power, which is just what they want you to do. Both campaigns are just fear-based campaigns. Trump plays on fear; the Democrats play on fear. And until we develop some political maturity and understand how what Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” or the corporate state, works, we’re spun and manipulated by it. Which is what this convention is doing.

I think that a considerable part of the wild adoration for Party Leaders (and their ilk, as also shown by - e.g. - Tony Blair) is again due to the combination of the considerable stupidity of the adoring ones and the totalitarianism of all - but it certainly is not unique to the Democrats or the USA: it is worldwide and exists since a long time.

As to "political infantilism" and "political maturity": I think this is probably a mistake, for the simple reasons that (i) most people are not very intelligent, and never have been, and (ii) you simply cannot wait until everyone or half of everyone has reasonable, mature, factually correct, rational ideas: That way you will never get anywhere.

Finally, here is Chris Hedges on how he sees the present - political - situation:

CH: We have to walk into the political wilderness and try and build an alternative movement. That’s our only hope. I mean, you know, the climate is disintegrating at such a rapid rate, we don’t have any time left. But that’s it; that’s our only hope. And mass acts of civil disobedience, the capacity to say no, the capacity to refuse to cooperate; you know, very effective campaign that brought down the apartheid regime in South Africa. That’s where we have to go.

Yes and no.

Yes, I agree there is little to be expected from either the Democrats or the Republicans, but no, I disagree that Clinton is as bad as is Trump. (Even if they both, in the end, are proponents of neofascism, Clinton is not mad, and Trump is.)

And while I agree with the needs for "
an alternative movement" I also think it makes sense to keep in mind that the present system probably will somehow explode: There are too many people; too many debts; and too few whose real interests are properly represented, which makes me think that the system will collapse, and quite soon, because of environmental reasons; economical reasons or political reasons.

But I do not know when, and indeed while a collapsed system offers the opportunities to undo very many major mistakes, it also is an extremely risky situation in which a few may grab all power.

Meanwhile, this was an excellent article which is much recommended.

2. The Half-Life of Deindustrialization: Why Donald Trump Is Just A Symptom

The second item is by Sherry Linkon on Moyers & Company:
  • The Half-Life of Deindustrialization: Why Donald Trump Is Just A Symptom
This is from near the beginning:
As a number of commentators have noted, the roots of this year’s populism lie in deindustrialization, though some seem baffled that white working-class people are still troubled by either NAFTA, which went into effect in 1994, or the loss of industrial jobs, which peaked in the early 1980s. In a recent New York Times column, David Brooks suggested that working-class people should not be so strongly affected by the economic hardship of deindustrialization. After all, he suggested, it’s not as if life in a coal town was ever easy. What he and others don’t realize is that deindustrialization was never only about economics. Its economic, social and psychological effects continue for decades after plants closed and across generations, affecting the worldviews of younger people who never worked in steel mills or auto plants. Like radioactive waste, deindustrialization has a half-life.
I like the term and the idea of deindustrialization, of which more below, but first a note on David Brooks:

I am a psychologist, and I identified Mr. Brooks as "a sadist" on September 24, 2013, because he lied, and lied, and lied about Snowden's character and Snowden's motives, of which he did not really know anything whatsoever, and I want to repeat that the last three years of news only have strengthened my original judgement, while the present article adds yet more reasons: A rich guy looking down on poor guys and telling them, in effect, not to worry because they have not yet been brought so low as the poor were in the 1880ies. O Lord!! I'm sorry, but I cannot take this guy seriously: he's sick.

Next, about deindustrialization. It does seem to represent a good part of what has been happening in the USA, and indeed I recall the recession of the early 1980ies quite well.

Then again, I doubt whether "
deindustrialization" (which has eight syllables, for one thing) is the right term, and I doubt this because in fact a lot more happened when the rich stopped their industries from working in the USA, and transplanted them to the third world because the wages are so much lower there, which means their own profits are so much higher there: It wasn't just industries that were closed, it was the end of a whole civilization that had been built up over the past 100 years, when American industries were industries that worked in the USA and were manned by people from the USA.

This civilization was ended basically because the few rich did not get the profits they desired [6], and effectively gave up everybody who was not rich, and could do so thanks to deregulations started by Reagan: "You American poor are loosers; you
American poor are fired; you American poor can die for all we rich care - for we can get much more profits out of poor Indians and poor Chinese. (So fuck you!)"

In fact, that whole argument dates back to 1994 (at the latest also), when it was articulated by Sir James Goldsmith. Here are two references to Nederlogs from 2014: Nov 16, and especially August 20, 2014, when I discovered him (at long last, indeed) on the internet. Indeed, here is a link to the interview with Goldsmith by Charlie Rose in 1994: Link to youtube. (It still works and is very well worth seeing.)

So while I agree this started with the closing of industries in the USA, I think that is what it came down to: Doing that was destroying the economical basis of society, and this is what has happened in the USA.

Indeed here are some consequences:
The half-life of deindustrialization plays out socially too. The social networks that developed around industrial work have fragmented. Some people moved away in search of work, while those who stayed lost the daily interaction with co-workers. Once-solid neighborhoods became marked with empty lots and abandoned houses, and local businesses closed up or kept changing, undermining the sense of stability and connection that makes communities strong. People lost faith in institutions as corporations, unions, government and even churches all proved unable to respond adequately to an economic and political shift that was much larger and more significant than anyone realized.
There is more in the article, which is recommended.

Here I want to extend my analysis a little tp the question of what is or would be a more correct term than are "deindustrialization" or "uncivilization". I have used the following schema before, and one of its merits is that it comprises fascism, corporatism and neoliberalism:

I say: The more correct name for "deindustrialization" and "uncivilization" is neofascism, and you can read off the reasons why from the above diagram.

More on this later: There is no time to treat this here and now, but I certainly will return to this quite soon.

3. The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm

The third and last item today is by Sam Biddle on The Intercept:
  • The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm

This starts as follows and continues a review I wrote on August 18:

On Monday, a hacking group calling itself the “ShadowBrokers” announced an auction for what it claimed were “cyber weapons” made by the NSA. Based on never-before- published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide.

The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.

The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public.
This means that by now it is certain that - at least - some NSA-server was cracked. The certainty is explained in this article (the malware contains a code that identifies it for the NSA), and while it is somewhat interesting I will leave it to your interests and will not review it.

What is not certain at all is who "the ShadowBrokers" are, nor whether they may have more. As far as the NSA is concerned (that were once know as "No Such Agency"), there is no news whatever:
The NSA did not respond to questions concerning ShadowBrokers, the Snowden documents, or its malware.
Finally, here is Snowden again:
Snowden, who worked for NSA contractors Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton, has offered some context and a relatively mundane possible explanation for the leak: that the NSA headquarters was not hacked, but rather one of the computers the agency uses to plan and execute attacks was compromised.

That sounds plausible to me. Snowden also wrote:

6) What's new? NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new. A rival publicly demonstrating they have done so is.

Yes, but if the rival actually is Russia or China (and it may well be, although we don't know) this does introduce a new step in cyberwar, that amounts (it seems to me) to: "You can steal a lot, but we can steal from you: See! So...".

But what the "So..." may include I don't know. We may find out.


[1] Actually, personally I don't care for the knighthood, and neither did my father (who was a real revolutionary communist from 23 till 68, when he died), but he couldn't refuse because 40 people had signed a request to the Queen, and because he already was dying from cancer when he got it.

The two reasons I stress it nevertheless are that (1) more than 3000 communists had been murdered during WW II, and none of the communists ever were knighted, except 1, who led the resistance in North-Holland, but (2) not even he was knighted: He got a military order for courage, which indeed he had a lot of. (And he was the only one, which was quite unfair to many other courageous communists, though that was not his fault.)

And see the next note.

[2] As I pointed out, I don't care for my father's knighthood, and indeed I have a reason why it may have been given to him and to no one else as long as the Dutch Communist Party existed (there were a few assigned after that ceased to be, to be sure):

My father did absolutely nothing to get a knighthood. This was done by a man who admired him and who was a friend of Prins Bernhard (the husband of the then Queen)
, and the forty signatures that were necessary for that seem to have been all gathered from people who had met my father in the context of the exhibition, and not in the context of the Communist Party.

It may therefore very well be - I have no idea and must guess: it all happened 36 years ago - that his membership of the Communist Party simply was never mentioned.

[3] I did and am quite glad I did, indeed in part because I had left the Communist Party when I was 20 (before reaching legal adulthood, at that time), simply because I though Marx was mistaken about economy; the leaders of the Dutch CP were stupid; and the party just was much too totalitarian.

My father did not like that at all, but indeed we also never quarreled about it. And one reason for that was that he knew I was quite serious, and had read a great amount of Marx, Engels and Lenin since I was 15, and indeed understood it.

[4] And indeed both my father and myself were severely punished in Holland for being other than most: My father was continuously discriminated because he was a communist, and did not even get a decent resistance pension; and I was continuously discriminated in the University of Amsterdam, and was removed briefly before taking the M.A. in philosophy, because I had told my teachers the truth. No one else was removed from any Dutch university for stating his opinions (as questions, moreover!) since WW II, but I was, indeed in spite of the fact that I was ill and in spite of the fact that I was brilliant (according to many, and indeed I had very good marks).

(And in case you think that's all you're much mistaken.)

[5] Incidentally - and I say this because I have spoken with quite a few who believed, or indeed believed halfly, usually - it seems to me that many believers keep (somehow, if often not fully) believing in some religion, because they much like the idea that they will be there after they've died, and indeed eternally.

I never had that idea, and indeed wholly reject it.

[6] Yes, indeed, and although I don't know (for certain) that the present civilization will be soon dead, I do know that the main reasons were the greed and the egoism of the rich: They could have had most that they presently have, and left their industries in the USA, and thus could have maintained a considerable middle class, but they chose not to.

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