If you have not already read Vox Day’s “SJWs Always Lie: Taking down the Thought Police,” you should click on the preceding link and buy it now. There are Kindle as well as paperback editions. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
One of the underpinnings of that book is the lesson on dialectic vs rhetoric, which Vox borrows from Aristotle’s “Rhetoric.” In short, dialectical persuasion appeals to reason and rhetorical persuasion appeals to emotion. Dialectic is ineffective against rhetoric because reason-based arguments can’t overcome appeals to emotion. You have to fight fire with fire, and fight rhetoric with sharper rhetoric. As Vox put it elsewhere, the effective rhetorical weapon incorporates truth + simplicity + contempt.
Political cartoons, by the necessity of the medium, are rhetorical, rather than dialectical weapons. In a recent example, as reported by the Polish-language Niezależna, the moderate-left German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) ran an editorial attacking east/central European countries for pushing back on the European Union’s (EU) demands to take in refugees. Their immediate target was Poland’s newly-elected conservative government. SZ’s editorial was accompanied by a cartoon showing Poland retreating into a bunker and throwing out the EU flag while panhandling for EU’s money:
There is one problem with the cartoon. It goofed on an important detail. Can you spot it? Answer: it’s unclear how Indonesia (or Monaco) fits into the story. Yes, the cartoonist fucked up and got the Polish flag wrong, and SZ’s editorial staff failed to catch that mistake.
One of the many rhetorical responses to that cartoon includes this one by twitter account holder @karnkowski:
Karnkowski writes in the above tweet: “the German newspaper made an error in coloring the flags, so I corrected both — the Polish and the German one.” A slap in the face is met with a kick in the teeth.
The revised cartoon is pure, 200-proof rhetoric. The implied message is clear: “Here is our flag drawn correctly. Here is YOUR supranational, imperialistic flag drawn correctly. I’m ignoring the panhandling thing because I don’t care.”
Equating the European Union flag — not the three-color German national flag but the EU flag — with Hitler’s swastika hits hard as visual rhetoric. It is a vulnerability particular to the pro-EU German ruling class that smart nationalists exploit.
This isn’t Poland vs Germany. The German people are bearing a major part of the brunt of the EU-driven migrant resettlement. Germans are also actively resisting their government, in underreported acts of arson and mass protests that feature Angela Merkel hanged in effigy. Nationalists across Europe, from Spain to Russia, including German patriots, know that they stand in solidarity with one another against the EU superstate as they declare “Europe belongs to us.”
Rather, the EU = Nazi meme is something Eastern European nationalists push hard, not as puerile Godwin babble but as living memory of Luftwaffe bombs dropping on their cities, along with countless wartime atrocities. Associating Nazi symbolism with the EU works because it hits the central vulnerability of Merkel’s government — its invitation of Syrian (and “Syrian”) migrants being an ostensible act of atonement over Germany’s aggressive actions in World War II. That’s why the burning of EU flags to the chants of “EU Macht Frei” at this year’s Independence Day march in Warsaw made news around the world.
This rhetoric works because it unmasks the predator’s face behind EU’s pacifist mask. It exposes its quest for political control under the guise of economic development. Central to this “Nazi” rhetoric is the accusation that the EU project is promoted as a repudiation of Germany’s attempted conquest of Europe seventy years ago, while in fact being Act Two of the same, this time spearheaded not with Wehrmacht but with military-age Middle Eastern and African male migrants.
At its heart, this conflict is nationalism vs. globalism, the latter represented by the blue flag. And that blue, yellow-starred circle-jerk is getting rhetorically aligned with the Hakenkreuz to expose
the Fourth Reich the European Union as another transnational assault on the nations of Europe, and one that aims to bring ruin, once again, to Germans first and foremost, while taking all of us down.