A partisan is a person who puts allegiance to a political faction above principle, prudence, and perception. It is a form of tribalism, but translated to the activist realm.

Parties are inevitable in a “democracy,” and so is partisanship. But the ugliness of it proves itself irresistable when folks take it to the extreme of “double standards everywhere,” when they forgive (or, worse yet, do not even notice) the sins of their own faction but go into panic and protest about the flipside sins of the other.

And that is where we are in America, now.

It is a commonplace to comment on how inexplicable, how crazy, current politics is. I am almost dumbfounded by this puzzlement, for this is precisely where America has been heading all my life. It is the result of the wild dialectic of action/reaction/overreaction in the context of being trapped by the internal contradictions (thanks, Proudhon!) of Late Stage Churning State Capitalism, where those who have any leverage on power (members of factions) find themselves stuck, unable to even speak the truth about their situation for fear of losing power.

Clinton+Gore (and the Supremes) gave us GWB; GWB+McCain gave us Obama: Obama+Hillary gave us Trump: each desperation move is an insult to the opposite side, which then ups the ante of idiocy.

The funny part is how neither side sees its own choices as reactions to the insults of the other, and how both sides tend to conform ever-more to negative stereotypes.

H. L. Mencken would have loved this age.

One of my more interesting friends on Facebook thinks he has figured it out:

What created Nazism was nihilism
There is at present no sign of this in America imho, nor do we have the other aggravating factors, but it is a post liberal development.

He is one of those conservatives who thinks that every problem is caused by “liberalism.” But he has an intellectual rather than partisan argument here. My responses to this theory have been negative, for the most part:

Deep-seated grievances turned to defiance of external enemies. A particularist ethic with a strong separation of ethics of amity/ethics of enmity, combined (naturally enough) with a warrior mindset. Yes, a revival of an old martial ethos married to a hatred of weakness and (interpreted and created) tribal antagonisms. A celebration of force. A deep commitment to constructing a utopia through central planning. A rejection of sexual selection by individualistic methods, preferring state breeding where natural attraction fails — part and parcel of the eugenic mindset and racial tribalism. Parallel to that, a rejection of market choice and distributed responsibility, with a harrowing commitment to dirigisme and wealth redistribution (establishing the most egalitarian welfare state so far). A contempt for liberalism and the “old” liberal order. A hatred of freedom and a love of power. A strong sense of hierarchy, with an obsessive reverence for the charismatic leader. A love of the mythic and a deep scorn for unfettered reason. (So, where is the nihilism?)

My argument being that we do not need a theory of “nihilism” to explain the ideological phenomena associated with the rise and murder spree of Nazism. My friend sent me some Leo Strauss essays to enlighten me. I promised to read them, but revealed my prejudice:

. . . my basic take on this subject as it played in 20th century philosophy is that there was altogether too much imputation of nihilism onto people, cultures, trends. It’s a fun word. A fun concept. It is “daring.” But it is often much ado about, literally, nothing.

Later I backpedalled a bit, referring to but not name-dropping Ivan Turgenev’s Yevgeny Bazarov:

Nihilism, according to Jordan Peterson, is an option after one abandons religion. It is worth remembering who invented the term, though, and what use he made of it?

But later yet I tried to expand the subject just to make sense of the main thesis:

Truth is, though, that there are several different forms of nihilism, and people often get confused.

Political nihilism comes in at least two forms: the kind that rejects all authority and seeks to destroy present institutions, and the kind that rejects the necessity for any kind of institutions. The first has some plausibility, at least in its original, Russian context; the latter is ridiculous.

Existential nihilism merely suggests that life has no meaning. I look at this differently: life presents us with a surfeit of meaning. What would that doctrine be called? Overwhelmingism?

Moral nihilism is often described as a disbelief in objective moral facts. So any non-cognitivist would qualify. Some might call me a nihilist in this sense, since I believe the TRUTH of the matter is that morality is a tool/toolkit that is primarily a matter of usefulness, secondarily a matter of “objective reality” — and that matters of value (as morals are built upon) are not matters of existents. Values’ facticity is not the same as other objects of our consciousness and our social constructions.

There are other kinds of nihilism too, but I’ve lost track of them in my forgetful brain.

So which type of nihilism led to Nazism?

Nazism is not any form of political nihilism.

Nazism is not existential nihilism, for its myths and values are clearly and dogmatically asserted.

So are we talking about moral nihilism?

I don’t think so.

Are you talking about anomie?

Probably not. This is a subject that will no doubt continue to be debated on my Facebook page.

re: Facebook “data breach” hysteria

What part of public information is hard to understand? If your phone number and address is in the phone book, those numbers aren’t private. I assume that the information on Facebook that I post publicly, and do not limit to just my “friends,” is freely nabbed by anyone from Apple, Russia, the local dogcatcher candidate, or the NSA.

And the latter I assume nabs EVERYTHING I place online, even “private” stuff in “the Cloud.”

The tizzy over possible Trump campaign benefits from Facebook data is of course sheer nincompoopery: the partisans now in panic mode were falling all over themselves in orgasmic hero-worshio when Obama did it.

I dislike the company and the platform for other reasons. I prefer Minds and Gab, and am coming to enjoy BitChute over YouTube. I joined Steemit but have done nothing there yet. If Minds looked better on my iPad, I would have abandoned Facebook almost completely by now.