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Once you've read this informed review, you will remain crazy (20 May 2009)

RE: “The claim that Japanese-Canadian fishermen posed a security threat provided a perfect cover for their elimination from the fishery, a long-time objective of their enemies in the industry and elected office. Yet as early as 1944, Canadian authorities acknowledged there had never been a single instance or even allegation of treachery by Japanese Canadians before or after Pearl Harbour” (Geoff Meggs, “The Resilient Japanese Canadian,” The Tyee, May 20, 2009)

The assumption in this article is that revealing that the Japanese in Canada posed no threat does some kind of good. It may not, you know. For when people in psychological panic are in the mood to set some poor lot of people up for mistreatment, sacrifice, these people are probably doomed. Why? Because the discriminators are going crazy, experiencing an overwhelming need to project all their unwanted characteristics onto someone else, so that they themselves can feel absent of internal conflict, all nice and pure (think how useful "bad" countries are in making many Americans [not me] feel like they live in the land of the free and the brave). It might do something to push reality in front of their face as often as can be managed, but their ability to push away any inconvenient fact, twist it into some other form, make it nevertheless serve their interest, cannot be underestimated. Stop setting them up as selfish, or obstinate, or some such -- which is an awful lot about making the informed feel good about themselves. What they are, is damaged -- the driven unfortunate who will see evil in others, because they must, lest they themselves go even crazier.

(Often, in fact, as was the case with Jews in Germany, the picked on group is actually overall psychologically more advanced, more truly virtuous, than the psychologically regressing mass.)

But no Tyee reader is going to count amongst those who think the Japanese in Canada were up to something sneaky in WW2. I don't mean to disparage your article, but if you want to challenge the Tyee reader in what I believe to be a way more useful way, why not tackle the implications of the tendency amongst many Tyee contributers to set up the Greens this election period, as the nefarious, sneaky group (ring any WW2 bells?), that need to be kept under watch, for the good of one and all?

Make Tyee readers see, what is hard for them to see.

Link: “The Resilient Japanese Canadian”

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Interesting challenge, G West. What happened was that the middle class started experiencing huge anxieties, terrors, *owing to* their sudden prosperity, their real growth, "advancement," as you say -- they started feeling like they would be punished for all the good things they were coming to enjoy. So they set up the Jews as the *really* greedy, sneaky, folk; and in playing a large part in wiping them out, they got to feel all pure again.

No one from a warm family would participate in anything this awful, though. No one -- doesn't matter what books/pamphlets people pass on to you, others' aims, schemes, to manipulate: you're way beyond their reach -- can't be anyone else's tool (Manipulators don't use the "susceptible," though--what actually happens is that those we prefer to imagine as susceptible make aggressive use of manipulators' "deceptions" to legitimize, engage, and exercise their own need to hurt those they've projected their own "badness" onto--that's what actually happens in Milgram's study, btw). Germans historically have had amongst the worst childhoods in all Europe, though. You might be sick of the deMause stuff, but his exploration of German authoritarian childrearing and the beginning of WW2, agrees with how you present German preWW2, and is one to read. (If you take a look, scroll down about half way to you reach "Causes of WW2 and the Holocaust.")


Also, I agree that kids, women, the unemployed, the poor, the "foreign," will be set up as "the problem." But for most Tyee readers, this will not be something to be pointed out -- most of us will recognize and abhore when this is done. In the Tyee' forums -- that is, amongst those in B.C. who most readily can "be reached" -- during the election, the Greens were the ones most vilified. I just moved here, and I need to get a better sense of who the Greens are in this province, but it is possible to me right now that the Greens could be set up -- by some middle class NDPers, even--akin to the way the educated German middle class set up literate, artistic, Jews for target, before and during WW2.

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Forgot to mention, G West, that the part that's hard to shake off about deMause's articulation of the causes of the Holocaust, is where he points out how all the various things that were said to and acted upon by the Nazis upon the Jews (and homeless, weak, etc.), were things the Nazis and their supporters had to endure when they were children. DeMause goes into the details, about what exactly German children had to endure, and how they exactly replicated what they experienced in their abuse of the Jews (but this time with them as perpetrators rather than victims). It's really powerful, and I wish you'd take a look at it.

Regarding your complaint against the use of the term "concentration camp," in regards to what happened to the Japanese in Canada during WW2: if the motives were the same--that is to stigmatize, humiliate, punish--and I think they were, then even if the sadism was less, if the abuse, less harsh--which it evidently was--than what happened to the Jews, I don't think I'm too off-put by the use of the term. Born of the same source, it's hyperbole, but not misdirection. Using the term is a tactic used to make it more difficult for those who really would want to "manage" that part of our history, so that our own arising desire to prejudice others feels more buttressed, substantiated -- less guilt arousing. Of course, there's another reason -- a really regrettable one, and I'll get to it.

I don't think it's just that "they weren't treated fairly," which, you'll admit, sounds sort of near inconsequent. My sense is that it was about setting up a group of people as proper subjects of suspicion, hatred, and abuse -- something vastly more horrifying than being inadequately attended to by whatever Cdn adminstration.

That the Japanese were up to something more awful in Japan, is something I would readily be prepared to believe (though, again, not out of evilness, villainy, or blameworthy anything, but of what happens to a populace that is going crazy sadistic, owing to the fact that the particular nature of their own childhoods has made it so that they cannot handle it when good things--like ANY kind of personal growth--happen in their lives). And it is extremely annoying that current criticism of widescale abuse seems way too largely motivated to set up conservatives as misanthropes, something that be better effected by making sure that all victims are best understood as saints (a practice we've seen in a number of book reviews here at the Tyee), by making sure that all abuse once or still supported by "everyday," six-pack, Cdns, is set up to seem as close to Holocaust scale as possible. This is self-inflating (for the left-leaning writer/thinker) and mean spirited (of the same source? You know, though the left is always better, it actually is.)

Please remember this discussion about Paul Krugman. I would like to bring it up again, a year or two from now.


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