They weren’t joking

The US has actually made John Negroponte its Iraq ambassador.

The BBC’s version of Mr Negroponte’s CV is remarkably silent on the whole “death squads” thing. Maybe they’re worried about what their right-wing critics would say. Or maybe they’re worried about being targeted by Mr Negroponte’s death squads.

Side note: since the nomination, I’ve had an awful lot of Google hits for variations on “john negroponte jewish”. It’s moderately amusing to see lunatic conspiracy theorists who’ve read too many Protocols of assorted Elders completely missing the *genuine* scandal…

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Only 999,980 to go

Microsoft has reportedly fixed 20 Windows flaws.

One of my home computers has spontaneously fixed all Windows’ flaws: it’s decided to refuse to boot up into Windows. Since I respect its right to choose, I’m installing Linux instead.

(meanwhile, my work computer committed suicide on the same day. I don’t think I punish them *that* severely…)

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The excellent, if Conservative, Anthony Wells has moved to Typepad, as all good boys and girls should.

It’s also time to celebrate The Poor Man. If (assorted deities forbid) SBBS were to disappear forever, he has an excellent substitute. But funnier. Bastard.

Meanwhile, I’ve published my first post to excellent new-ish group blog Living In Europe, from (some of) the people who brought you Fistful of Euros. It’s about the Channel Tunnel. The post, not the site, otherwise its interestingness would pall somewhat rapidly.

Finally, a reminder on the Jew Google thing.

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Fatuous nonsense

Register hack Andrew Orlowski is famed for talking rubbish and hating Google. In this piece, he combines the two with rare skill.

The highlight is:

This is the classic libertarian argument that shoppers need not use it if they so wish, or as we call it here, “The Shrug”. But this fatalistic line of argument vacates any moral responsibility, throwing it instead onto the “market”, which can be relied on to deliver the best of all possible worlds, as we all know. A more honest answer would be simply to profess not to care about privacy.

Yup, allowing people to exchange their privacy for Free Stuff is very nearly the same as not believing people should have privacy at all… just as allowing people to sell their property is almost the same as communism.

There *are* serious concerns about the unauthorised invasion of privacy (mostly from governments and their corporate contractors, rather than free-market corporations) associated with IT. But to equate these with what is effectively the consensual sale of personal information is as incorrect as equating Ron Jeremy movies with child porn, personal cannabis use with spiking people’s drinks, or prostitution with slavery.

(& I know plenty of stupid people do make those arguments about those topics. I think Mr Orlowski would be offended to be associated with them, however…)

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Nazi meme

I know that there are holocaust deniers… indeed, I know that there are people who’ll deny almost anything that doesn’t fit with their political agenda. However, until recently I had no idea that quite a few people deny that the Nazis were, well, a bit right-wing.

The stupidest holders of this belief tend to argue that Nazis are bad, and being bad means that you’re left-wing… and anyway, they even had “socialist” in their name! The best way to deal with these people is by deporting them to the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.

More sensible people tend to use longer words and say slightly more sensible things, pointing out that early Nazi and social democratic economic policies share significant common traits.

Their main error is in not taking into account that the Nazis were uniquely evil not because of their economic policy, but because of their coercive social policy (this three-word description might be the understatement of the decade). Indeed, these right-libertarians are making the same mistake as their halfwitted co-ideologists: they’re equating “the left” with everything they dislike.

Democratic political parties *actually* tend to fit on a diagonal on the political compass, between economic liberal / social authoritarian and social liberal / economic authoritarian, therefore making these the most sensible definitions of “the left” and “the right”.

On this basis, the Nazis aren’t quite a classic party of the right, but their social authoritarianism is rather more extreme than their economic authoritarianism. Calling them a party of the right is at the very least defensible, and seems to be the more sensible of the two labels to use.

Digressionally, I’ve never quite understood liberal-libertarians who are prepared to support right-wing political parties. Given that being thrown in jail (or otherwise denied non-economic freedoms) is clearly worse than being poor, why would anyone prioritise the economic side of the compass over the social side when choosing a compromise party?

Maybe they’re just venal.

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