Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Nazi Dogs

with 9 comments

A man in Germany has been jailed for teaching his dog the Nazi salute. Helpfully illustrated above, by  a previously contentious German dog. The dog above was trained for some sort of movie thing, some people were upset but no one was jailed. In the current case, the fellow had made a point of displaying Nazi regalia, he could be called a Nazi activist. So his going to jail is more or less voluntary on his part, it’s not like some schmuck trained his dog as a joke and got jailed. Yes, in Germany, displaying Nazi symbols is illegal. Holocaust denial can get one jail time as well I believe.

At first pass, I thought this was crazy. I wrote a blog about it even. Upon sober reflection, literal as well as figurative, I decided that wouldn’t be politic. It’s not my place to criticize German law, or more accurately, question the German’s sanity because of this law. I too have the American disease, I think I know what’s best for everyone sometimes. Since this anti-Nazi law violates my “principles” of free speech, I was outraged. That’s ideology, and ideology will betray one every time. It makes one a slave to an idea … and a slave to those who would use that idea to promote their own agenda.

Which is what Hitler did.  It was a really bad thing, one of the more terrible things in history in fact. And now there’s laws against even displaying Hitler’s symbols in much of Europe. Moving right along, if one doesn’t use ideology, one can at least use common sense. And in this case, I can’t think of any possible harm this particular law is causing. (I don’t want to hear any slippery slope arguments, those are almost always silly.) The guy was deliberately violating the social contract, law or no law; if this is how the Germans deal with it, so be it. Five months in jail is not exactly cruel and unusual punishment, he’ll survive.

Speaking of Nazi saluting dogs, apparently the real Nazis got concerned about one in 1941. A Finnish businessman reportedly had a dog named Hitler that raised its paw in the Nazi salute on command. The businessman was interrogated and claimed his wife had named the dog as a joke after its habit of barking with one paw in the air. The Nazi’s didn’t believe him, and investigated ways to charge him with insulting Hitler, as well as trying to sabotage his business. They couldn’t just shoot him though, Finland was a German ally, not a puppet state, and ultimately the good businessman lived and prospered long after the war. History does not record the fate of the dog.

No, I’m not making this up. One would think Nazi counter-intelligence would have better things to do in the months before the invasion of Russia, but government agencies investigating all sorts of weird things is by no means limited to the Nazis.  It’s kind of the nature of bureaucracy to find stuff to do, and when dealing with someone like Hitler, would anyone want to be the one to explain to Adolf why this open insult to the Third Reich wasn’t investigated?

In summation, I am capable of changing my mind. Ideology is bad, I’ll be blogging on that soon enough. Cultural imperialism is bad as well, and insidiously a part of the western mind set, and must be guarded against.  Yes, there will be a test. Lots of them. If you’re still here after one, you pass. They’re all pass/fail tests actually.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Clearly it’s an historically important image, and even more clearly, in no conceivable way does its use here interfere with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Credit and copyright: RTL. If the gentle reader hasn’t see “The Limey,” do so.)

Written by unitedcats

March 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm

9 Responses

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  1. Well, your comments on this have helped open a part of my mind that I confess is filled with idealogies. This will take some considerable attention on my part to sort out how and how much my ideology affects my ability to view situations in a fair and arbitrary way. I have always ‘thought’ of myself as being impartial but that is not entirely true.

    Lee A Whittaker

    March 20, 2012 at 8:44 am

  2. Only problem with outlawing an idea is the idea becomes inherently more powerful, no matter how stupid. Its a guy training his dog… Please. A dog. Is the dog’s name Blondie? Can’t anyone else see that this guy isn’t going to be attempting any ” Beer Hall Putch” b.s. Anytime soon? (Petco Putch, maybe…). You just know this fool is going to get out of jail and tell all his 3 friends that he served 1/5 the time Hitler spend in prison (sans book, probably).
    Our founding fathers deliberately gave the people unlimited freedom of speech to prevent unintentional empowerment of ideas, but also to allow the idiots among us to speak unhindered, so we know who they are…
    That being said, the Germans have the right to outlaw any symbols they choose, and leave the rest of us wondering if their 2010 World Cup Uniforms were a coincidence or a throwback to the ’36 Olympics…

    And BTW the Germans were investigating The Finns prior to Operation Barbarossa trying to learn how the Finns did such an awesome job of kicking Soviet ass!!! Read about the Winter War sometime, and how it influenced some knucklehead named Hitler to actually invade the USSR…

    Steve

    March 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

  3. There are some things wrong with this posting. It happened in 2004 and:

    a, He wasn’t jailed. He got 13 month probation
    b, this wasn’t because he trained his dog, the court dropped that part
    c, the ruling was because he insulted a policeman and yelled “Sieg Heil” and had previous convictions for doing the same
    d, he had mental problems

    As a German, I think he’s a harmless nut-case and the judge did the right thing with a probation sentence.
    Sadly, that can’t be said about the real Nazi activists. The recent surfacing of several acts of terrorism committed by sympathizers of Nazi ideology is proof that we have to do out best to keep Nazi influence minimal.
    Banning their symbols is just a symbol in itself. A symbol that we don’t tolerate intolerance.

    source (in german) http://www.rp-online.de/panorama/deutschland/adolf-mach-den-gruss-besitzer-von-nazi-hund-verurteilt-1.2070953

    jm

    March 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

  4. Please forgive the length of comment. This really hit home for me.

    I am an American expat living in Germany. One idea I can bring to this conversation is the notion of “de facto” versus “de juro” free speech. The United States has “de juro” free speech, of course… The first amendment makes it so. What is more important, in this particular case, is whether free speech is actually practiced, and, if it is, what is said.

    I am a professional dancer, and, therefore, a working artist. I am politically concerned, and I simply left the United States. There are many others like me. Although I did not leave for political reasons, strictly speaking, I did worry about my occluded perception of political realities within my own country.

    For the moment, the speech I have to offer is lawful in the United States, but I choose to practice elsewhere. The American law puts no limit on what I say. But where can I say it? Will it have any media power behind it? What will be the size of the venue? The audience? These are tough questions…

    The American state does not have to resort to methods as crude as law to control the flow, volume, and content of information. Deregulate the market. Subsidize corporations. Who needs to put tape over anybody’s mouth? (and we do that too, as a matter of fact, but that’s a different problem). The U.S. is an environment where important questions sleep, and under the heaviest anesthesia. The uncomfortable, reasoned dialogue which keeps a democracy healthy is not part of the mainstream culture.

    Here is an example of “de facto” free speech…

    A year ago I participated in a piece of political theater entitled “Ulrike Meinhof”. It was created by the German choreographer Johann Kresnik. Kresnik is critical of police-state methods of control and of the social and political conservatism (which exists anywhere; look around) in the German capitalist democracy (in part because he sees it as a copy of what is happening in the U.S.). There were some worries about the piece’s content. It included the banned verse of the German national anthem, as well as images which depict cruel, sweeping use of police power within the prison system. In the final scene of this piece, Meinhof, dressed in prison clothes, holds her severed tongue, blood and all, out to the audience, while the German national anthem blares through the theater. In theory, this piece could have been stopped. It was not.

    This was also professional theater in a major venue.

    It was an emotionally uncomfortable piece which challenged people’s moral complicity as citizens of a well-policed, Western, capitalist democracy.

    This is “de facto” free speech. There is a law against it (or certain details of it), but in spite of the law, free speech is being practiced in strident criticism of some of the dangerous particulars of Western capitalist democracy.

    In contrast… according to the oft-quoted Noam Chomsky, American media is “obedient” to the interests of the state in a way that would be admired by any totalitarian dictator.

    …I would venture here that a state which can create an environment where the important questions are never asked is a state in control of its people.

    Free speech, of course is a perfect example. Passionate debate about national ideals (first amendment rights, for example) is an excellent way to distract many intelligent people. It is also a manifestation of nationalism, which, in turn, is an effective technique of public control.

    Peter de Grasse

    March 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

  5. […] that were extemporaneous and not particularly profound, or at least I didn’t think so. My last post was a good example of same. Just a random post on a Nazi saluting dog, but it got some thoughtful […]

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  8. Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and
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