However, the difference between the Greens and the Khmer Rouge is not as plain and obvious as that. Both apply the same philosophical principles, both have some similar political goals and indeed both use the same fundamental methodology, the difference is one of degree.
It is one that sadly the Greens can’t see in themselves, for to admit that would be truly horrifying.
Frogblog stated “every political and religious creed that has allowed any form of violence to be part of its agenda or methodology has at times created the sort of madness that Pol Pot let loose”
Indeed, although I doubt the Greens acknowledge that they themselves have violence at the centre of their methodology. I have said this before many times, but the fundamental means the Greens use to their ends is state violence. The rhetoric of “peace” is wrapped in the fist of the state, the state that the Greens want to ban products they don’t approve of, because of what they are, what they contain, who made them or where they are from. The same state the Greens want to compel, prohibit and regulate, all with the threat of force against those who disobey. The same state the Greens want to force people to pay more, again with the threat of confiscation of property and imprisonment if you refuse. The Greens want to increase the role of the state, which has as its sole difference from every other institution the monopoly right to initiate force against others. In short, the Greens want more violence, yet cannot see that they are on a continuum of political parties advocating more violence – the Khmer Rouge are different by a matter of degree.
Then Frogblog stated “The real underlying human attribute that set the Killing Fields, and the Holocaust, and Inquisition, and 9-11 and Abu Ghraib et al in action, is certainty, certainty on a scale that will impose its will through violence.” Note the selection of targets. Two mass murders by politicians, a torture/murder spree by religious fanatics, an act of terrorism by religious fanatics, and then… a prison run by the US government that saw some working there commit abuses of… humiliation and torture, on a tiny scale in comparison. Again, had to find something the US did, not Stalin, Mao, Hussein, Ceausescu etc.
However, Frog is curious about talking of certainty. For the environmental movement is full of the same philosophy. Certainty that man made climate change is happening, means Armageddon if CO2 emissions are not drastically cut back, and that can only happen by curtailing fossil fuel based industries and transport, and not using nuclear power, and primarily in developed countries. Organic food good, GE food bad. Natural good, manmade bad. Train good, car bad. Recycling good, mining bad. Local good, foreign bad. State owned good, private and commercial bad. You can go on and on. Attacking these points of view can easily get slander and abuse, as if you are attacking a fundamentalist religion. Criticising climate change science means you are called a denier, terminology used to describe those who deny the historical fact of the Holocaust. Of course, the Greens will happily impose their will through violence. It has supporters who happily use violence to break into property and destroy it, or use it to threaten people at protests, and naturally it still believes in state violence to achieve its goals.
However, there is a more fundamental point. The Khmer Rouge expounded a number of political goals that are not that different from what the Greens espouse.
Yes the Greens do not want to engage in mass murder of any group. Yes the Greens approve of education, admittedly state monopoly education. Yes, the Greens wouldn’t abolish liberal democracy, but how many of them believe money is the root of all evil? How many would think doing away with money isn’t a bad thing?
The Khmer Rouge rejected foreign culture, technology and influences, the Greens rabidly back protection from imports, local content quotas and subsidies on media and rage vehemently against foreign investment or foreign ownership of “our” land and assets. The Greens are xenophobic or rather just nationalistic, the difference is the Khmer Rouge were fanatically so. The difference, is a matter of degree.
The Khmer Rouge embraced subsistence, basic agriculture, labour and self sufficiency. All very environmentally friendly, all for one and one for all. Everyone worked in the fields, everyone got fed, everyone was housed. It was organic, it was healthy, it wasn’t commercialized, and notwithstanding the slave labour conditions and insufficient rations to keep people alive – the principle was everyone had a job, everyone had subsistence, everyone ate healthily and nobody got rich. The difference, is a matter of degree.
Certainly, the carbon footprint would have been tiny. The Greens welcome old fashioned agriculture, self sufficiency and reject commercialization of just about everything. Cars had been banned, indeed aviation had virtually be shut down (though so had the railways so, hmmm a bit mixed). No fossil fuel burning power stations, little use of imported oil, so nobody who went through that period could have been accused of “harming the planet”. The Greens would regard any new power station, car or plane to have been a step backwards then. The difference, is a matter of degree.
The Khmer Rouge abolished money, the Greens are against free trade and extremely suspicious of capitalism. They seek to nationalize, regulate and prohibit various business activities. The difference is a matter of degree.
The Khmer Rouge took children from their parents, placed them in state schools so they would learn the official dogma, and to spy on adults. The Greens welcomed Cindy Kiro’s proposal to monitor children from cradle to grave, to prosecute parents who apply a mild smack to their children, the Greens oppose competition in education, oppose alternative ideas being taught from their dogma on the environment, and happily call on children to get parents to recycle. The difference is a matter of degree.
Philosophically, the only core differences between the Khmer Rouge and the Greens are the willingness of the Khmer Rouge to use violence to dispatch opponents, and the degree to which the Greens would go in using force to implement a future of less capitalism, less industry, more egalitarianism and more nationalism.
You see the Greens don’t believe that your body is yours, the Greens don’t believe parents should be responsible to pay for their children (or decide their education, diet, healthcare or media) , the Greens don’t believe businesses and consumers should trade freely, the Greens don’t believe that all adult interaction should be voluntary, the Greens classify people into groups (Maori, women, GLBT, foreign investors, businesspeople, students, disabled, elderly, the “rich”, the “poor”) and regard collective action to be more valuable than individual achievement.
The Khmer Rouge didn’t believe your body was yours, they didn’t believe parents were responsible for their children, they didn’t believe in business, they didn’t believe in voluntary adult interaction and classified people into groups, and regarded individuals as a means to an end.
Be very clear. I believe that most Green party members are light years away from having the intent or desire to do anything on the scale of bloodshed of the Khmer Rouge. However, philosophically, the differences are only one of degree – not principle. The Khmer Rouge believed in a pure Cambodian society without any foreign influences and no individualism. The Greens believe in a pre-industrial NZ society with all that is foreign being carefully selected, and individualism being under the watchful eye of an ever maternal state that directs collective and democratic decision making about much of your life.
Is it any wonder Keith Locke once looked upon the “liberation” of Phnom Penh fondly?