Important insights come from reading “The German Dictatorship” by Karl Dietrich Bracher, who was a German professor of politics and history at the University of Bonn:
The German dictatorship did not mean ‘law and order.’ The Third Reich lived in a state of permanent improvisation: the ‘movement’ once in power was robbed of its targets and instead extended its dynamic into the chaos of rival governmental authorities.
Nazi Germany was a state of permanent improvisation.
Today this method of unaccountable governance is seen in headlines such as “[White House occupant] and Woody Johnson act as if the rules don’t apply to them”.
Bracher goes on to say in his 1969 book that foundations of prosperity are to be found in democracy — regulation and governance that provoke meaningful innovations — because it offered a level of stability to developers (true order based on justice).
The Atlantic wrote in 1932 that Hitler was effectively a regressive tribal leader, in his addiction to acceleration coupled with rejection of any and all regulation.
Not seeing that civilization is a structure slowly built up by orderly procedure and respect for law, he is all for immediate action. He wants to apply his ideas at once by violation of law, if need be. The right of private judgment (that is, his right) is to be unlimited, beyond law. Thus, in thought, Hitler is still in the tribal stage.
Perhaps the next time someone says they love the techbro “fail faster” culture of Tesla or Facebook, ask them if they also see it as a modern take on the state of permanent improvisation favored by Hitler.
Facebook’s staff now claim to be in opposition to their own failure culture “Hurting People at Scale“:
“We are failing,” [a seven-year Facebook engineer] said, criticizing Facebook’s leaders for catering to political concerns at the expense of real-world harm. “And what’s worse, we have enshrined that failure in our policies.”
The failures and real-world harm are intentional and orchestrated by Facebook officers who somehow manage to escape responsibility:
…growing sense among some Facebook employees that a small inner circle of senior executives — including Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs and communications, and Joel Kaplan, vice president of global public policy — are making decisions that run counter to the recommendations of subject matter experts and researchers below them, particularly around hate speech, violence and racial bias…
It begs the question again, can the Security Officer of Facebook be held liable for atrocity crimes and human rights failures he facilitated?
After reading Bracher’s wisdom on Nazi platform design, and seeing how it relates to the state of Facebook, now consider General Grant’s insights of 1865 at the end of the Civil War when Lee’s treasonous Army of Northern Virginia surrendered:
I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.
It should be no surprise then that it was Grant who created the Department of Justice.
We won’t rejoice at the downfall of Facebook or Tesla, despite them being the worst companies for which a people ever worked, and for which there was the least excuses.
The unregulated state of permanent improvisation — a fast-fail culture used to avoid accountability for real-world harms for profit at scale — needs to end.
Tesla is a killing machine.
Facebook is a digital plantation (slavery).
Their “fail faster” turns out to be just “fail” without accountability, which turns out to just be privilege to do known wrongs to people and get rich.
Grant wasn’t opposed to change or failure, of course given how he radically changed himself, he just put it all in terms of values/morals and being on the right side of history, which he forever will be (PDF, UCL PhD Thesis) and unlike Tesla and Facebook executives who should be sent to jail:
My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent.
The 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, frames Grant’s memoirs for us like this:
Our intentions matter. They reflect our motivations, our beliefs, our character. If we start with good intentions, and hold ourselves accountable to them, we start in the right place.
Intentions are hard or impossible to prove, yet I see the point. Harms are much easier to orient around, regardless of intent, as noted since 2016 with Tesla’s inhumane and unacceptable response to predictable ADAS deaths.
Facebook management perhaps can be proven to have first conceived as a platform for men to amass power and do wrongs (a failed attempt to invite crowds into physically shaming women who refused to go on a date with the founder).
…opened on October 28, 2003—and closed a few days later, after it was shut down by Harvard execs [due to complaints by women of color]. In the aftermath, Zuckerberg faced serious charges of breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy. Though he faced expulsion from Harvard for his actions, all charges against him were eventually dropped [and Harvard execs instead invested in his private company].
Bad intentions? Some still might say bullies are just having fun. But again in terms of predictable and avoidable failure, it spells out no justice for victims.
Watch now for the people intending (or even not) to get away with harms, and then create labels to demonize anyone who might threaten them with accountability. Elon Musk should be expected any minute to blame the Jews for everything, just like his family always has done.
Woke? That’s accountability.
Hate woke? That’s Enron-level hatred for accountants.
Fast forward to today, and officers of Tesla and Facebook (unlike Enron) haven’t truly been held accountable. They definitely did not start in the right place and they continue to wrong people around the world. Their state of immoral and permanent improvisation has been a human rights disaster and needs to be stopped and sanctioned.