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The deliciousness of snakes that bite their tails, &c

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — continuing my miscellaneous collections, with metaphor, paradox &c a specialty ]
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Two recent headers caught my eye:

and:

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You can see why I like those two — there’s something very attractive about the way those headlines double back on themselves.Writers know this self-referential form — the serpent biting it’s tail, or ouroboros — I’ve been suggesting for some time that it’s also a useful heuristic marker of matter of special interest, worth particular attention by intel, natsec and geopolitical analysts.

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Okay, another item — a double number his time — for the collections series:

This is from about a week ago, I think, and belongs in my war as metaphor category.

Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote, or perhaps said, “The world is so full of a number of things, I ‘m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” I’m that happy, I have to admit, though I’ve no idea whether kings themselves are — hey, given that Shakespeare himself wrote “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown…”

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Gov. Northam‘s predicament is one I won’t comment on, but Rev Al Sharpton had a few comments I found worth noting:

  • This (KKK outfit) is a terrorist uniform .. a terrorist, racist outfit ..
  • You’ve got to be consistent if you’re going to take a moral stand ..
  • Clan robe is a terr– Clan represents lynchings, murder, bloodshed; there’s no way to act like you didn’t understand ..
  • When Sharpton didn’t feel the Northam had sufficiently plumbed the depths of black dismay at the confluence of KKK and blackface on his page, the Rev — at least to my ear — put considerable emphasis on the concept of terrorism — the KKK as home-grown, native-born, internal, domestic, normal, pretty much, right-wing terrorists.

    And they’re still around:

    Georgia, 2016

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    Anyway, I’ll continue dropping visuals in here, and relegate most of my text collections to this and other comments sections.

    Reciprocal: a term for form, symmetry, balance — and beyond

    Monday, August 13th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — weaving a web of mirrors, echos, neurons and mimetics ]
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    Magic: the Gathering — the game designers know this pattern well!

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    The Far Right And Reciprocal Radicalisation

    Could fragmentation within the Far-Right contribute to increasingly extreme responses to Islamist terrorism? There is increasing evidence of instrumental responses from some of the most extreme groups, which seek to encourage the strategic use of violence.

    Reciprocal radicalisation, or cumulative extremism, is a concept that suggests extremist groups become more extreme in response to each other’s activity. This means a group may frame violence as justified or necessary because they perceive an opposing group as extreme. Identifying how to respond to such a dynamic has become increasingly important, as terrorist threats from both Far-Right and Islamist groups increase, alongside increased hate crime and group membership.

    The nature of siloing would encourage a focus on ISIS violence alone, a terrorism subset of natsec foreign policy, or on alt-right violence alone, a terrorism subset of natsec interior policy, thus remaining blind to the possibility that the two comprise a whole system, with systemic interactions between the two. The UK Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats report whose header and intro paragraph I’m quoting here is dealing with a pattern in that system, huzzah.

    Such patterns — true reciprocity, which is a form of mirroring, and the kind of escalating reciprocity described here, which is more like an echo chamber with built-in feedback loop, are significant both because they cross-pollinate silos, in a system-friendly way, but also because they offer hints of a pattern language of forms that can be watched for and cataloged.

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    Wilder speculation:

    Speaking of mirroring — other readings of mine recently have brought to my attention the intersection of two “hot” fields of study — mirror neurons as a biological substrate for much in human behavior, including our propensity of violence, and Rene Girard’s mimetics as a psychological substrate for much in human nature, including our propensity of violence..

    The conjunction of the two, which I intuited, is explored in Vittorio Gallese, The Two Sides of Mimesis: Girards Mimetic Theory, Embodied Simulation and Social Identification.

    Again, we have a creative leap, again we have silo-crossing, and again mirroring is the form that lies behind the analogical possibility that creates the possibility of the leap.

    One more comparative, this one from John Schindler

    Friday, September 1st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Schindler is one of my regular reads, civil war is still avoidable ]
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    Notice the neat reversal in John’s “notwithstanding” comment. Very nicely done.

    The far-left has faced less public scrutiny than their sparring partners after Charlottesville. Part of this is the habitual double standard about genocidal totalitarianisms in our country: Carrying a Nazi flag is considered unthinkably offensive, while brandishing a Soviet one is viewed as much less awful — and possibly only quirky — notwithstanding that Stalin murdered more people than Hitler did.

    Indeed, in recent weeks quite a few mainstream liberals have gushed about the “anti-fascists” on the left who engage in violent street theater with the far-right.

    murder hitler : murder stalin :: flag stalin : flag hitler — does that cover it?

    Stalinists, Nazis, alt-left, alt-right — what a miniscule battlefield threatening to draw in so .many more from left, right, who are otherwise moderate.

    Look, consider — calls for Trump to be impeached — according to USA Today, Americans split 42%-42% on impeaching Trump — wow — and Jim Bakker, reverend, declares Christians will start a civil war ifTrump is impeached

    Y’all going to fetch pitchforks and tiki torches? I’ve never seen so many donkey and elephant sheep nearing a ravine, hungry for chaos.

    Stay cool, folks.

    Orwell, Fascism, &c – we need our own red lines, but where?

    Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — how far gone are we — from a sorta leftist-centrist-don’t-really-fit-labels POV? ]
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    I’m not sure what exactly JM was responding to here, there have been too many pointers..

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    I for one don’t think Charlottesville stacks up against Kristallnacht, and am wary of the words Fascism and Nazi. I wholeheartedly agree with JM Berger in his piece today, Calling them Nazis:

    There’s an increasingly common argument online against referring to the alt-right by its chosen name. “Call them Nazis” is the refrain. If you haven’t said it yourself, you’ve probably seen other people saying it.

    While this approach may be understandable and may suit certain rhetorical purposes, it’s a grave mistake for journalists and experts who substantively study and cover the movement to embrace this approach.

    JM continues:

    The alt-right category is extremely important to understanding what’s happening in this movement. Nazis are only part of this movement, or more correctly neo-Nazis, since most of them aren’t German nationalists. If neo-Nazis were America’s only problem, it would be a much smaller problem.

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    My concern here is with a somewhat different angle, and not specifically with the Charlottesville clashes. I’m noting the widespread tendency to suggest we’re already in Brownshirt territory, if not deeper in than that, and I think it may be a bit premature.

    IMO, we need to be cautious in where we draw the lines that say, beyond here is Fascism, or Nazism, it seems to me: exaggeration only serves to discredit those who indulge.

    There are real problems, both with overt swastika-wavers and with those who support or merely tolerate them. Which way the wind will blow over the coming few years, however, is yet to be seen.

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    However, getting back to Orwell

    — it does seem to me that scooping up more than a million IP addresses of epople who may have an interest in protesting Trump gies way beyond some kind of Orwell Limit.

    Orwell kept his resistance movement cellular and basically unnowable: datamining the web blows an enormous hole in that strategy.

    I’d have to say that with today’s news about DOJ vs DisruptJ20, one of my personal Orwell Red Lines has been crossed.

    Well, it’s a DoubleQuote, and well, it’s by Julian Assange

    Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — & details suggest IS/AQ and the alt-right are at least somewhat comparable ]
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    Jihadists and hard right, comparables?

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    Arie Perliger‘s 2012 report for West Point’s Countering Terrorism Center, Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right runs a hefty 148 pages, but it opens with two epigraphs, each of which similarly compares jihad with the ambitions of far right violent extremists:

    This operation took some long-term planning and, throughout the entire time, these soldiers were aware that their lives would be sacrificed for their cause. If an Aryan wants an example of ‘Victory or Valhalla’, look no further (Thomas Metzger, Leader of the White Aryan Resistance, in response to 9/11 attacks)

    … We should be blowing up NYC and DC, not waiting for a bunch of camel Jockeys to do it for us (Victor Gerhard, Vanguard News Network)

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    The thing is, the mode of terror in Charlottesville, ramming pedestrians with a car or truck, itself “rhymes” with all too many earlier attacks, in a series including the 2006 attempted murder by SUV at the University of North Carolina, the 2013 incident which ended with the murder of Lee Rigby in London, incidents in Dijon, Nice, Stockholm and Westminster — not to mention one incident in Tiananmen Square, and a slew of vehicular ramming attacks across the years in Jerusalem.

    The second issue (2010) of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula‘s magazine Inspire recommended the tactic:

    — and while the majority of incidents listed in Wikipedia’s article on the topic were perpetrated by jihadists, the tactic has also been used against Muslims — by no means necessarily jihadists or even sympathizers themselves — in the Finsbury Park Mosque attack earlier this year.

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    This brings such great repute on jihadists, islamophobes, alt-right, whomever.


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