A Warrior For Tepid Centrism: Julia Ebner

Julia Ebner's rise to moderate notoriety started when she went undercover to investigate “extremism”.

 

“Extremism” is an interesting word. It means that all political positions across all topics are two-dimensional. There is a right and a left position. And in the middle, if you have somewhat not the left or the right position, maybe a mix of them or you are unsure, whatever, when you are in the middle you are a good person, a centrist. The further you go away from that uncleanly defined centre, the more evil you become. And on the tips there is this extremism area.

 

Conservatives know that you drop immediately out of this cushy centrist area when you want less immigration. Than your smart mix of left and right-wing positions does not matter anymore and you become an extremist.

 

This commonly held two-dimensional worldview is a result of shrewd propaganda. Whatever group is most influential at a given time claims to be the middle of all things. Those who disagree too much become the extremes. Although the model has only two ways to deviate from the only responsible centre, other denounced views like Islamism or Scientology make it also into the “extremism” corner. Pressed hard, people will toss those odd “extremes” to the far end of the side which the speaker does not belong to. Because this happens in rare speaking situations, the two-dimensional worldview and the “whatever I don’t like is extreme” position simply coexist in people’s head and no second is spent in an effort to sort this out. Strategists can use this to claim that actually all positions that are dissenting from the own are supposedly similar.

 

And this is where Julia Ebner steps in. She claims to have mingled with Islamists and right-wing radicals.

 

I also have mingled with Islamists. And this is her trick. She did not exactly rub shoulders with ISIS on the battle ground. She was just smoking shisha with some dudes who say that democracy is just man-made and will lose the battle against the divine. Her right-wing radicals are the hipsters of the Generation Identity. Their “radicalism” is that they distribute bumper stickers that criticise immigration.

 

Anyway, after her undercover project she wrote a book trying to smear the right with ludicrous associations with Islamists. She has since found employment at Maajid Nawaz’ Quilliam Foundation and a number of other, often Soros-sponsored enterprises. As an aside: I really used to like Nawaz and have no idea what in the world he is doing right now. Claiming to be the “center” and to fight extremism is ultimately just fighting for the interest of your current elites. There is nothing wrong with it if you believe the elites are ethical. But “centrism” in itself is not a marker for a moral high ground.

 

Anyway, the following text is a review of an article of newspaper taz that gives some insight into Ebner’s dubious activity.

 


In an article for the Guardian written by Ebner Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defense League, saw himself wrongly called a “white supremacist” and he paid her a visit. Since then, death threats and the threat of sexual violence belong to Ebner’s life. She got used to it.

Julia Ebner got used to these “threats” because she knows that they are not real. She would not get used to real death threats. But who does get death threats these days and is actually repeatedly beaten and even imprisoned under false pretexts? It’s Tommy Robinson and not her. And why is he harassed like this? Because Ebner and others classify him wrongly as a racists and constantly so publicly.

“In the 2017 general election, we observed how right-wing trolls co-ordinated disinformation and intimidation campaigns online, distorting public discourse in favor of right-wing themes and narratives,” recalls Ebner.

Trolls do not spread information or disinformation. God, does she know what “trolls” are? She denounces dissenters as trolls. And she can see during every election campaign that people want to discuss. We call that phenomenon democracy.

… In their current project, the researchers want to investigate on behalf of the Open Society Foundation – a foundation of the US billionaire Georg Soros – whether similar effects can be observed before the Bavarian state election on 14 October. … Right-wing trolls use their campaigns to target something that scientists call strategic polarization – a tactic that seeks to bring about societal change, and that applies both right-wing extremists and Islamist extremists. The weaponization of the media and the exploitation of the new [social] media vulnerabilities are central to a larger-scale strategy, says extremism researcher Julia Ebner.

She does not explain the term “strategic polarization“, but it is evil. ISIS does it, so it must be terrible. Does it have something to do with couscous?

It is about gradually erasing the gray areas in the discourse and gradually shifting the so-called Overton window, that is, the limits of what is in the realm of the professed and socially acceptable – until right-wing themes and narratives have arrived in the mainstream and people who want to join the discourse have to decide which side to stand on, because non-positioning is no longer possible.

That’s the definition of “wanting to have democracy”. Leftists also chase their topics into the mainstream. Normal citizens are now bothered with whether transsexual children should take hormones. In fact, it is the right, and not the left, that can except when people are not familiar with a topic and have no proclivity for one thing or another. But I wonder if being uninformed is that centrism that makes one a good person. In any event, being uninformed does not make people evil, but it also does not make them saints.

The result: The result is the – artificially created – impression of loss of control and disunity in the country. Journalists and politicians will pick up on the topics and stories that have been launched, possibly leading to political decisions and electoral outcomes that favor the right-wing milieu – and in a final step threatening minorities directly.

The rhetorical pressure and emotional manipulation here could hardly be worse if they claimed “the conservative issues are killing women and children”.

“Either someone from Germany wants to include the international New Right and the US alt-right movement in the state election campaign, or the international New Right has an interest in influencing the AFD in the state elections.” It is hard to tell which of the two scenarios is the case because the authors act anonymously and easily disguise locations.

The idea that citizens represent their own interests is not even on the screen.

In addition to the instructions, there are also links to meme collections: freely available picture galleries with motifs that treat right-wing content partly satirically. They are sometimes fostering fears and that can be spread well online. “Memetic warfare” is the name of this propaganda technique, which already classified NATO as a relevant form of psychological warfare in connection with “IS”.

Well, if the IS uses funny pictures, they have to be the devil. The moral of the left often consist of branding something as bad simply because it has already been done by already discredited people. A discussion what follows from what is never entertained.

The full version of the software also lets you search for individual hashtags or phrases and their distribution. “At ‘Chemnitz’ we found out that 50 percent of the term was used by German or international groups that belong to the right-wing spectrum,” says Project Manager Colliver. “That’s hardly surprising, but considering that AfD voters actually make up a much smaller proportion of the population, it shows that the right dominates the social media discourse on this issue disproportionately.”

Internationally, at least across the Western world, the right-wing spectrum accounts for about 50%. What is their logic? Do they think that it would be normal if everyone was on the left?

Finally, with the analysis tool graphika the researchers want to create network maps to determine which new-right accounts, groups and media are the most influential in online discourse before the state election. Thus, one can see where and how, for example, German and English-speaking right-wing filter bubbles and those of Russia- and/or Putin-affine groups overlap, where and how narratives and disinformation campaigns are created and how far they spread. … “This will certainly include blogs like journalistenwatch.com and philosophia-perennis.com,” says Colliver, “but also bild.de, Epochtimes.de and possibly also Sputnik Germany and RT.”

She does not only have David Berger and Jouwatch in mind, but also the exile-Chinese newspaper Epoch Times and BILD! The tabloid BILD is the largest paper in Germany!

The magnitude of the effect of such echo chambers on election decisions and mainstream discussion is difficult to quantify, despite the tools used in the analysis.

BILD would be a pretty big “echo chamber”.

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation speaks of “toxic narratives” that are highly accessible. “Not everybody who believes such a toxic narrative does necessarily believe in all the narratives associated with it. However, there is a high likelihood that this will happen sooner or later,” says a statement in the Foundation’s report.

The left, like all totalitarians, uses fear. Of course, everyone is able to separate meaning and nonsense. One gravitates only so far away from the left because the left lies too much. The mentioned foundation is run by a woman who was a stasi spy and has admitted that fact publicly.

What the results of the researchers in London suggest is that the New Right is becoming increasingly internationalized and networked across borders – and especially with regard to the election campaign in social networks. Propaganda and strategies are shared and narratives woven together to form a global narrative that follows a blind good-versus-evil scheme. This is also likely to be harnessed by former Trump consultant and Breitbart news publisher Steve Bannon, who has announced his intention to launch a right-wing revolt in Europe with a right-wing populist foundation called The Movement.

And even this end of the article is silly. Bannon does not even have a website at this point. To my dismay he is very ineffective at the moment.

Comments

Lindsay Wheeler Added Nov 11, 2018 - 2:25pm
"Democracy" is not the center! Democracy is far in the way of the political center.
 
It goes:
 
Monarchy, Aristocracy, Politiea (republic), Democracy, Tyranny. 
 
[quote] "Plato argued that "Persia and Athens show the fundamental elements of all political life exaggerated as far as possible in one direction and the other (the one monarchical, the  other democratic)...the merit of Sparta is that she has been trying to blend them, and has therefore maintained herself for a long time." 30 A republic is really the Golden Mean between the extremes of democracy and Asian monarchical despotism. Consequently,
a republic is basically formed around the middle class in cooperation with the upper classes." [end quote]
 
The Golden Mean is where the center is. And it is what a Republic is, not democracy. Democracy is radicalism by its very nature. Democracy is extremist by its nature. It is unlimited. Democracy has no limits, Vox Populi, Vox Dei
 
No one can be for "democracy" and be a centrist. Democracy by its very nature is revolution, revolutionary therefore radical and violent. 
Johnny Fever Added Nov 11, 2018 - 2:25pm
In my opinion there are no such thing as centrists.  For starters, nobody is in the middle, we all fall someplace off the exact center.  Even after we divide the populace by party of preference, we all fall somewhere off the middle of our respective party’s position. If you were to engage any individual in debate, you’d eventually find some views that can only be described as far right or far left. 
 
Extremist is essentially an ad hominem attack.  It’s the suggestion that a view(s) a person holds are dangerous and unpopular with the vast majority of the population.  It’s the type of view associated with terrorists and other religious fundamentalists.  All of us should be very cautious when labeling someone else an extremist as it usually leads to an unhealthy dialogue.
 
For whatever it’s worth, I couldn’t follow what you were trying to say about Julia Ebner.  Should I even know who she is?
James Travil Added Nov 11, 2018 - 11:10pm
Since I, a moderate independent centrist, exist, that in and of itself proves that Johnny Feverish's post is pure horseshit. Moving on...
"Than your smart mix of left and right-wing positions does not matter anymore and you become an extremist."
No, wrong. Being a centrist is about having a smart mix of right-left positions. It's a matter of maintaining balance in all areas of life. Extremism in either direction is tyranny and self-deception. 
Mark Hunter Added Nov 12, 2018 - 3:57am
I'm with James. I've always felt the big problem is that people feel they have to identify themselves completely with one side--left, or right. I take each individual issue separately, educate myself as much as possible, and take a stand based on that one issue--not on whether it meshes with some party platform or far wing worldview.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 12, 2018 - 1:41pm
Wheeler: Interesting that you embrace a republic now. Thumbs up!
Fever: Ebner is not relevant as a person and she is not exactly famous (I called it moderate notoriety). I use her as a structural example. If people claim the center, they get away with the most obscene behavior. How is it okay to map the idea traffic over the internet and try to figure out who the idea makers are? It is obvious that this is the first step to look for a punishment of these people for their ideas. Another flavor of it is that we have an obscene expertism cult in Europe. You know this from Opher. Instead of saying this is info A and info B and from X follows Z, the "arguments" in Europe are, look the elites role out an expert so believe it. America only knows this from the climate change discussion. It is universal in European debate. This gal ain't an expert of anything, but the media introduces her as such. I agree 100% with what you say and I tend to avoid these words.
Travil: Did you even understand the sentence that you quoted?
Hunter: But mixing positions doesn't change anything. I'm pro gay marriage, pro abortion, pro welfare, pro mosques - although I have a nuanced position on all of these positions...Yet it is easy for people to call me radical because I want less immigration. So no matter how nuanced your positions actually are, the perception of others is what ultimately counts in your social affairs. I am also no following any flock. Maybe that is what you mean. People should not blindly follow other people with regards to anything. But that has little to do with mixing one's positions.
Lindsay Wheeler Added Nov 12, 2018 - 6:42pm
My Republic comes with a King. Sparta was a true Republic as was Tudor England. The definition of a true republic is mixed government. 
 
All the ancient republics were started under kings, the Cretan republic, Sparta, and Rome. 
MEFOBILLS Added Nov 12, 2018 - 9:54pm
Hungary's constitutional Kingdom lasted from the time of King Stephen (1000 AD) to Treaty of Trianon 1920, during the Governor phase (the governor was still elected and for all intents and purposes ran what was still the "kings" system).  Trianon was imposed externally, ergo Hungary was the longest lasting constitutional system in history, where the polity was responsible to its people.  It did not fall from internal contradictions.
Hungary during this almost 1000 years exhausted itself fighting off Muslim incursions as well as Jewish internal perfidy.  The West owes Hungary a debt of gratitude.
The vote was NOT universal suffrage, another weakness of democracies that Hungary avoided.
 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 13, 2018 - 4:04pm
Wheeler: I thought the very definition of a republic is that it does not have a king. The word comes from res publica which is Latin for the common thing and described public affairs after Rome had chased their king out of the city.
 
Mefo: Can you provide me with a source that describes how the voting in Hungary worked at the time?
Stone-Eater Added Nov 14, 2018 - 1:12pm
Mark
 
I take each individual issue separately, educate myself as much as possible, and take a stand based on that one issue--not on whether it meshes with some party platform or far wing worldview.
 
Thanks for that. There ARE people using brains yet :-)
Stone-Eater Added Nov 14, 2018 - 1:16pm
People who say that democracy is "mob rule" only show that they themselves aren't capable to live with such a system. Because either they don't know shit, or they don't care or they're not interested in what happens around them anyway.
 
THESE people are surely not suitable for democracy. Because they ARE the "mob" they describe. Problem is they don't realize that.
Stone-Eater Added Nov 14, 2018 - 1:24pm
MEFO
 
Oesterreich-Ungarn. So what ? Hungary is a small country based in Eastern Central Europe which doesn't play a significant role on the world scene - just as Switzerland does. However, I personally like Orbàn. He is being portrayed as a Nazi in Western press, which is unfortunate. I understand and support his agenda to hold Ungarn (Hungary) together and avoid internal chaos by importing illiterate refugees by the thousands.
 
Stability in Europe may be a thing some wish to disturb.....but the solution is to solve problems where they are caused. Which means in the countries where people flee from or leave. And the addressee is not Hungary but the US and in part the EU as such.
Dino Manalis Added Nov 14, 2018 - 1:47pm
 Centrism doesn't have to be tepid, but extremes should be avoided to lessen emotions.
Stone-Eater Added Nov 14, 2018 - 2:04pm
Dino
 
Centrism is against human nature. Believe it or not :-)
Bob Added Nov 14, 2018 - 2:26pm
"THESE people are surely not suitable for democracy. Because they ARE the "mob" they describe. Problem is they don't realize that."
 
Spot on. 
Jim Stoner Added Nov 15, 2018 - 2:33pm
Riley,  What you are actually talking about is a one-dimensional spectrum (not two).  Somewhere recently on one of these threads I argued that there should be at least three dimensions:  the economic, the sociopolitical, and views toward international issues.  
I am centrist on economics (optimized redistribution--yes, there is such a thing) , moderately liberal on sociopolitical (maximize freedom without anarchy), and a radical transnationalist on foreign affairs. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 15, 2018 - 2:55pm
Jim, thx. Don't know what I thought when I wrote two instead of one. I'm actually Ben, but I'm honored to be confused with Riley.
MEFOBILLS Added Nov 15, 2018 - 10:00pm
SE,
Oesterreich-Ungarn. So what ? Hungary is a small country based in Eastern Central Europe which doesn't play a significant role on the world scene - just as Switzerland does.
 
The small country was beset from without by power rivals, yet survived for almost 1000 years.  Hungary made a wrong choice in WW1 and hence Treaty of Trianon was equally bad (or worse) than Treaty of Versailles.  
 
So, the "smallness" of Hungary only makes them more impressive, especially in a historical context, and as to what kind of government would be lasting and which works for their people, not Oligarchy or external international "capital."
 
 
MEFOBILLS Added Nov 15, 2018 - 10:05pm
Benjamin
 
The form of government of Hungary is a representative democracy. The real ruler of that country is the Parliament which is composed of two Houses, the House of Representatives and the Upper House, resembling the United States Senate. The members of the House of Representatives are elected directly by the people; while the members of the Upper House are appointed by the Governor from among the best and most desirable representatives of the various trades and professions extant in the country. Thus the farmers, for example, have a real farmer of their own kind, the factory workers, the various tradesmen, industrial and commercial groups, the religious groups, and the various professions, each group has its own representative in the Upper House. The government proper is the Ministry, headed by the Prime Minister. The Ministers, whose functions and duties correspond with those of the members of the Cabinet of the President of the United States of America, are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Parliament and from the membership of the Parliament. No person is appointed and can hold office as a Minister, unless Parliament sustains him by a majority of votes. If, at any time, the majority of the members of Parliament vote "lack of confidence" in the Ministry, the Ministers must resign and the Governor must appoint new Ministers, in whom the majority of the members of Parliament have confidence. If the majority of the members of Parliament are unable to agree upon the personnel of the Ministry, Parliament is dissolved and a new election held. It would be impossible in Hungary that a government would rule, which does not enjoy the confidence of the majority of the voters of the country. Under this system, the government of the country stands close to the people and it is bound to carry out the wishes and desires of the majority of the voters. birinyi - treaty of trianon

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