August 13, 2013
As I pointed out yesterday, most of the Open Borders logos that have survived the mass deportations look like underdone or surreptitious swastikas, with their Rotating Juggernaut of Doom common denominator. Some combination of the Cross and the Swastika seems to be a common motif in Open Borders logo, which is, well, interesting, to say the least: perhaps the Open Borders ideology is something of a cross between Christian universalism and Nazi let's-blow-up-the-world radicalism? Or maybe swastika-like imagery just looks awesome to the kind of adolescent male intellects who make up the truest true believers in Open Borders?
As a commenter points out, the above image is a modernized version of the Arrow Cross of the Hungarian party of national socialism, which ruled that unfortunate land in 1944-45.
It's worth noting that this rotating swastika-like look has appealed to the Indo-European mind for thousands of years. So the Open Borders boys are just part of a long skein, vastly predating Hitler, of guys who thought it looks cool.
Before 1871, this image was known in Europe by its Greek name gammadion. But, with the advance in scholarship into the roots of the Indo-European family of languages that had been kicked off by the great philologist Sir William Jones in a 1786 address in Calcutta, the ancient Sanskrit word svastika became more popular in the West.
By the way, Jones was the first to propose an ancient Aryan invasion of India, an idea that remains controversial. Yet, Jones' notion of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European-speaking steppe warriors conquering India and Europe elegantly accounts for much about the linguistic and cultural history of the western two-thirds of Eurasia. (In 2010, Cochran and Harpending updated Jones' concept by suggesting that a genetic mutation offering lactose tolerance may have given the Proto-Indo-European people their competitive edge in warfare. And here's Razib Khan's post explaining the very latest genetic study of the Aryan invasion of India. The invaders of India seem to have the most in common ancestrally with "Georgians and other Caucasians," such as, say, Chechens.)
This Aryan Invasion theory was particularly admired in the first half of the 20th Century, leading Persia to change its name to Iran, and helping inspire Hitler's dreams of conquering much of the world: thus, his choice of the svastika as the symbol of his ambitions. (By the way, is the ancient svastika a reference to the rotating spokes of the wheels of the horse-drawn carts that gave the Aryan invaders such a huge military advantage in mobility? Sounds plausible, but most obvious-sounding etymologies turn out to be completely wrong.)
As we all know, however, Hitlerism was caused by Sir Francis Galton and other Darwinists / eugenicists / evolutionary theorists / statisticians. (Of course, St. Charles of Darwin was wholly untainted by his cousin's ideas).
But, why isn't linguistics and archaeology also tarred by Nazism? Clearly, Hitler's artistic side was immensely influenced by the study of languages that led to Jones' theory of Aryan conquest. So why aren't linguists today constantly denounced for their role in causing the Holocaust in the same way that, say, IQ researchers are denounced?
Granted, Jones was a giant of British empiricism, but then so was Galton. Today's molders of the conventional wisdom about who was responsible for Hitler seem to find Galton's central place in the British tradition to be more of a feature than a bug.
So, Jones' time on the pyre may come, too. A future Stephen Jay Gould may be even now working on his prose style, with the goal of demonizing the study of languages. After all, Sir William Jones recognized patterns, and what's more evil than pattern recognition?