It's ok to be angry about capitalism

Silvanus

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You cannot equate any policy with conservatism, the accepted meaning of conservative isn't any particular set of policies, it is relative to the time and place you are describing.
a
: disposition in politics to preserve what is established
b
: a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change

Preserving established institutions and preferring gradual development, is that not what I was describing in the SPD?
Yes-- and those phrases are so nebulous and vague as to be ascribable to almost every mainstream political party on the globe.

You're right that the meaning fits (to some degree) to the time and place we're describing. And in the Weimar period, the SPD were categorically not understood as conservative by the population of the country. German conservatives viscerally opposed them, to the point of willingly bunging money to street gangs and fascist militias in order to have them brutalised.

What is established changes in every place and every time. You can't call someone in 19th-20th century Germany conservative based on how their positions aligned to 21st century politics in the US or UK, that's not how that word works.
Uh-huh, but I'm not doing that. They weren't understood as 'conservative' at the time, either.

Your own personal definition of conservative is not only utterly at odds with its modern understood usage, but also its historical usage throughout Europe, and even the very formative thought behind the movement. To insist with a straight face that we must all adopt it and start running with it, ignoring the widely understood definitions in use by every conservative party both in modern times and historically in the country and period we're discussing, is patently absurd.
 
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tstorm823

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Yes-- and those phrases are so nebulous and vague as to be ascribable to almost every mainstream political party on the globe.
Yes, there are conservative aspects and even factions of almost every mainstream party on the globe.
German conservatives viscerally opposed them, to the point of willingly bunging money to street gangs and fascist militias in order to have them brutalised.
When you say "conservatives", who are you referring to? Cause if it's people who wanted to overthrow the established order, you are once again missing the point.
 

Terminal Blue

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No, there isn't. Unrealized wealth is infinite, it is a measure of people's desires, and since people's desires are not finite, wealth is not finite.
Unrealized wealth is an estimation of what that wealth would be worth if it were realized, if it were sold for money. Something cannot be worth a quadrillion dollars even if everyone really, really desires it, because that amount of wealth does not exist. In order for something to have unrealized value, someone hypothetically needs to be able to buy it.

It doesn't matter how much you want something, it matters what you would be capable of spending on it. People's desires are finite because money is finite, the amount of realized wealth that could hypothetically exist is finite, and some people's desires are vastly, vastly more finite than others.

I see your logic, I'm not going to say this is illogical, but I don't think it's grounded in real observation. Like, some people are born into wealth, and the overwhelming majority of them have blown their wealth within a few generations.
Again, this is a question of what you consider to be wealth.

If your conception of wealth is measured in a few million dollars, then yes. It's absolutely possible to lose that over a few generations. However, it is still a lot harder than you might think. It is far, far easier for the children of (relatively) wealthy parents to get themselves into a position where they can remain at that level of wealth indefinitely. That's how you end up with an established class system.

However, compared to the richest people in society, someone with a million dollars doesn't even register on the scale. The richest people in society are hundreds of thousands of times richer than that, and that wealth will accumulate pretty much no matter what they do. Donald Trump, who is far from the richest person in the world, is a bad businessman who has failed at almost everything he has attempted, but it doesn't matter. He doesn't have or need a real job, he has an expensive hobby where he pretends to be a businessman.

Also, bear in mind that I'm intentionally focusing on the concentration of wealth in the hands of individuals because that's easier to relate to our own lives, but that's not even how it works any more. The fact that Disney owns a growing proportion of the world's media isn't divorced from the mechanisms of capitalism. One day Jeff Bezos will die and leave behind a festering dynasty who, over many generations, may eventually squander his wealth, but Amazon will keep going until it is eaten by something even bigger and more exploitative, and the people behind those ever-larger corporations will continue to become richer and richer relative to everyone else as the corporations they control gain more and more of a monopoly over all economic activity and human life.

Is the inverse not true? Setting aside democracy for a moment and considering just the idea of state power vs economic power, is it not equally true that power concentrated in the state works to dominate and subvert the economy?
Where exactly is state power concentrated?

Is it concentrated in the head of state? The head of state who is elected by popular vote? Is it concentrated in the legislature.. who are also elected by popular vote.

This is actually a really good example of how the ideology of capitalism is so destructive to democracy. In a democracy, there is not supposed to be any concentration of power. Everyone has a vote. Everyone gets to participate in the democratic system, which is where the legitimacy of that system is derived. Even within the mechanisms of government itself, power is always constrained by limitations and rules. There is an agreed upon procedure to the way power is exercised, because state power must always be accountable to the democratic process and, ultimately, to the people themselves.

The democractic state is supposed to rule, and indeed exist, by popular consent. Why have you begun to think otherwise?

The farmer gets credit for that, but so does the person who made his tractor, the person who drove the truck to transport it, the person who built that truck, the people maintaining the roads, the person who orchestrated the purchase of the food for their restaurant, the people who constructed that restaurant, the cook in the kitchen, the plumber and electrician that made the kitchen work, the waiter who took the order, the person who printed the menu from which to order... there just aren't that many jobs that can't be tied to food, medicine, clothing, or housing, and without which would leave people hungry, sick, naked, or out in the cold.
People are still hungry, sick, unable to afford clothes and/or out in the cold. It's not because people just aren't working hard enough to provide for them, it's because they don't have enough money. You seem to believe we live in a communist society where the purpose of labor is to improve collective human well-being, but that's not the case. The vast majority of people work because they need to work in order to not be hungry or cold. The jobs they work exist to enrich the companies who employ them. None of it has anything to do some compassionate mission to make sure everyone has what they need, it has to do with finding ways to take money from people.

The point I was making is that we live in a society which can afford to have people working in restaurants and doing other jobs that are ultimately superfluous and didn't exist in historical societies where resources were actually scarce. Again, we are not locked in some species-wide struggle for survival. We live in a world that can afford to waste its population on trivial shit like letting you order food on your phone. The idea that forcing as much work as possible out of people is necessary for human survival is ludicrous, especially when the people who actually lived in eras where resource shortages were a constant existential threat actually worked much less.
 

Terminal Blue

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Preserving established institutions and preferring gradual development, is that not what I was describing in the SPD?
No.

It's really ironic that you tell people to study history and then come out with stuff like this.

Conservatism is a political theory that arose in Europe in the wake of the French revolution in opposition to liberalism and particularly the radical liberalism (often called radicalism) that became very popular during the French revolutionary period. The central pillar of conservatism was the preservation of a stratified society based on aristocratic rule. Conservatives were paternalistic, they sought gradual reform because they saw this as a way of staving off more radical reform. They didn't mindlessly want to preserve stuff because reasons, they wanted to preserve the things they saw as integral to a stable and functioning society, mostly monarchy and aristocratic rule.

Germany was an extremely aristocratic society. It was a direct continuation of the Kingdom of Prussia, and had inherited a very powerful aristocratic class who largely dominated the government and military of the German Empire. The German Empire was extremely conservative. It was a paternalistic state with weak democratic institutions, an executive driven government and an extensive system of aristocratic privileges. The SPD were banned for several decades in the German Empire, along with any socialist party. They were openly anti-monarchical and anti-aristocratic.

At the end of the first world war, the SPD actively led the revolution against the conservative government. They abolished the monarchy and created a new Republican government. They were not an anti-revolutionary party at all. They did their revolution, and it succeeded. They were relatively moderate socialists and, in practice, not particularly Marxist but they were still socialists. The conservatives, the actual conservatives, did not like them. The result was a government that was bitterly divided and struggled to achieve anything.

Furthermore, the SPD had a bit of a thing for murdering their political opponents. I don't know why people like to get all up in Ernst Thälmann's shit about his dislike of the SPD when the SPD had been murdering other leftists for decades and had its own paramilitary arm. But hey, what reasonable conservative doesn't like to torture and execute people from time to time?

For what it's worth though, they all ended up in concentration camps. You know who didn't end up in concentration camps because they were too busy voting for the enabling act? Conservatives.
 
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Silvanus

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Yes, there are conservative aspects and even factions of almost every mainstream party on the globe.
...including countless parties that cannot meaningfully be described as "conservative", merely because they want to preserve the democratic order.

When you say "conservatives", who are you referring to? Cause if it's people who wanted to overthrow the established order, you are once again missing the point.
They didn't want to overthrow the established order. They believed they could finance these fascist militias and street gangs to target social-democrats, unionists and communists, but that the fascist parties themselves would be easy enough to control or contain. They were mistaken.

But the point is that German conservatives were so viscerally opposed to the SPD that they had them violently targeted, and were willing to side with the Nazis against them.

Wanting to preserve democratic order =/= "conservative". That's inane.
 

ralfy

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I wish we had capitalism. What we have is cronyism. I wish more people knew what to actually be angry at. That's always what unregulated monopolistic corporations with tentacles all over the government will turn any sytem into, whether it starts out as capitalistic or communistic.
Capitalism refers to manufacturing using modes of production. That said, we have capitalism.

If the modes are owned by private individuals, then it's bourgeois capitalism.

If it's owned by the state, then it's state capitalism.

If it's owned by workers, then it's a cooperative.

Most economies have all three, which make them mixed economies. Very few, like Cuba and North Korea, have only state capitalism. Others, like Vietnam, allow for only state corporations and cooperatives, but other than that markets are deregulated. Some European countries do the opposite.

Cronyism is inevitable in any system.
 

ralfy

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Not if whatever you're angry at doesn't deserve that anger, or worse, the reasons you're angry at that thing are factually false. Not trying to say Capitalism doesn't deserve it but I'm pointing out that there are reasons why it can not be okay to be angry at something.



Exactly. If something exists, from a grain of sand to whole economic systems to entire countries, human beings will find a way to exploit it to their own benefit and if that happens to screw over everyone else? Well, they deserve it for not coming up with the way to exploit X first. Or so the mentality of such people goes.

Humans are inherently a very selfish self centered species. The vast majority of us care about ourselves first, our families second, and our communities third if at all, and we give less and less of a damn the more wide it becomes. Some people switch the orders of those things around, but they're a minority. The purpose of the government is to curtail this by using laws and regulations to keep the exploitation down to a minimum, but the government itself is just as vulnerable to being exploited as anything else.

Nearly all the flaws in capitalism could be very easily solved by simply putting up very obvious laws and regulations designed to patch the holes in it. However, since people who are in power are the rich corporate fatcats and people who are being bribed and otherwise controlled by the rich corporate fatcats, there's no way in hell those laws and regulations could pass. In fact, the only reason that the Capitalism we have now has any laws and regulations at all is because the rich corporate fatcats are just as interested in screwing each other over and creating as high a barrier of entry to small businesses out as they are in screwing over the common man. Ultimately what really keeps exploitation down is the endless battle for supremacy among the rich and powerful and that trickles down to protections for the common man.

Things now are really not that much different from the days of kingdoms and serfs where royalty had all the power and rights while the peasants only got whatever scraps the rich bothered to give them to keep them working. It's just cloaked in a bunch of nonsense designed to make the common man think they have the power to change their destinies, which keeps them from rising up and in this day and age they couldn't rise up even if they wanted to.
According to Marx, they cannot be patched because the government eventually works for capitalists.
 

ralfy

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Again. "Darwin got it wrong, it's not survival of the fittest, it's survival of the good enough." Systems change when they are no longer good enough to deal with whatever problem is presented to them, where it then either changes or "dies" and is replaced. The constant throughout history is that for every problem a government solves, two more take it's place.
Also, Darwin was referring to natural selection, e.g., given changes in the environment, members of species which have particular traits will survive will those who don't will perish. It's not the same with human economies where multiple factors are involved leading to success or failure.
 

ralfy

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And yet...

That's employment. You work to gain wealth, if you don't work you are deprived of that wealth. You're just describing employment in negative buzzwords

Elaborate on how one enacts leadership without de facto authority.

Private ownership existed for thousands of years (to a degree) before communists invented the word "capitalism", yes. I'm not sure what your point is, since acknowledging the existence of everything we call capitalism further back into history really undermines the idea that it's all an engineered system to effectively enslave the masses.

You think order is bloody and violent. Think on that.

I mean, if you're saying capitalism isn't democracy, sure. That is true. But that's not "incompatible". Democratic systems are exactly the method of counteracting the power of those otherwise at the top that you're asking for. When CEOs get arrested for violating laws imposed by democratic governance, is that not precisely what you're describing? These are not incompatible systems, they are complimentary, which is why they've gone hand-in-hand. Without representative governance, capitalism becomes effectively feudalism. Without any private means of power, governments become the dictatorship. They are often oppositional systems, but that's not incompatibility, that's balance of power.

You are above in that hierarchy. They aren't the boss, they are the customer, you can turn them away.
Private ownership in this case refers to legal ownership of the means of production. That started with enclosures during the late Middle Ages.
 

tstorm823

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Unrealized wealth is an estimation of what that wealth would be worth if it were realized, if it were sold for money. Something cannot be worth a quadrillion dollars even if everyone really, really desires it, because that amount of wealth does not exist. In order for something to have unrealized value, someone hypothetically needs to be able to buy it.

It doesn't matter how much you want something, it matters what you would be capable of spending on it. People's desires are finite because money is finite, the amount of realized wealth that could hypothetically exist is finite, and some people's desires are vastly, vastly more finite than others.
Things are definitely evaluated at amounts people would be incapable of buying, but even accepting that premise, you're conceptualizing one thing in one transaction. A copy of Sol Ring may be worth like a dollar, that's what people are willing to pay for them, but there are millions of them. Your $1 worth of desire is supporting millions in unrealized gains. And how many things in the world would be worth $1 to you? Is there a finite number of things worth $1? Magic cards are cardboard, they are made from a renewable resource, you'd have to run the world out of sun and CO2 to run out of them, and many of them are worth much more than a dollar.
Donald Trump, who is far from the richest person in the world, is a bad businessman who has failed at almost everything he has attempted, but it doesn't matter. He doesn't have or need a real job, he has an expensive hobby where he pretends to be a businessman.
If this is your example of durable intergenerational wealth and a fixed class system, you may want to rethink things.
Amazon will keep going until it is eaten by something even bigger and more exploitative,
Just like Sears before it, right? There's no way that a company like Sears could devolve into a shell of its former self within a few decades, declare bankruptcy, and get sold of for it's remaining physical assets. Netflix is giant, it could never get Blockbustered.

No, businesses die too.
Where exactly is state power concentrated?
You've flipped the concept. It's not where in the state power is concentrated, it's how much societal power is given to the state. Aside from the idea that everyone gets a vote and is therefore equal, there's also the question of what things are up for a vote. In a society where the democratic vote has absolute power, a majority can do whatever they want. A majority of one race could unite and subjugate the other races, it would still be democratic if they had the most votes. Constitutions exist to limit and define the authority of a state so that you can't strip people of their freedoms by majority vote, but there are also checks to state power outside the state. If the minorities in this case have a bunch of guns and money, the democratic vote against them isn't likely to work if it gets voted through in the first place. It's a question of what authority people are giving to the democratic vote. Many people aren't keen to move into a homeowner's association that dictates what colors houses are allowed to be painted, even if they'd get an equal vote in the list of colors.

You seem to believe we live in a communist society where the purpose of labor is to improve collective human well-being, but that's not the case.
People's labor improves the collective human well-being, that isn't a communist concept.
The point I was making is that we live in a society which can afford to have people working in restaurants...
You are aware, I hope, that people who start and operate restaurants do so often because they like the joy they bring to people with their food. I worked making and serving people fried chicken in college, I enjoyed it profusely, I got to make people happy. I hope to get back to that someday. Joy is not superfluous to human flourishing.
They didn't want to overthrow the established order. They believed they could finance these fascist militias and street gangs to target social-democrats, unionists and communists, but that the fascist parties themselves would be easy enough to control or contain. They were mistaken.
Who? Who did that? You're gonna say "the conservatives", but why are the people who did that the conservatives?
They didn't mindlessly want to preserve stuff because reasons, they wanted to preserve the things they saw as integral to a stable and functioning society, mostly monarchy and aristocratic rule.
I will credit you as the only person responding to me to at least somewhat understand the concept of conservatism/
Germany was an extremely aristocratic society. It was a direct continuation of the Kingdom of Prussia, and had inherited a very powerful aristocratic class who largely dominated the government and military of the German Empire. The German Empire was extremely conservative. It was a paternalistic state with weak democratic institutions, an executive driven government and an extensive system of aristocratic privileges. The SPD were banned for several decades in the German Empire, along with any socialist party. They were openly anti-monarchical and anti-aristocratic.
I would argue the aristocracy of Germany was openly anti-monarchial and anti-aristocratic. You've got to remember, Germany wasn't a direct continuation of the kingdom of Prussia, it was a collection of states each with their own aristocracy that had been recently collected, some more willingly than others, into a single nation headed by former Prussia, with a rather loose national identity.
 

Silvanus

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Who? Who did that? You're gonna say "the conservatives", but why are the people who did that the conservatives?
Most notably Hugenberg and the DNVP, and Von Papen with Zentrum.

These parties are not seriously disputed to be conservative. They sold themselves as such to the electorate, and stood for entrenching traditional hierarchies and protecting vested financial interests. Their support overwhelmingly originated among defensive industrialists and aristocratic elements society anxious to protect their position from the perceived threats of socialism, unionism, and communism.

None of this is seriously disputed historically.
 
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Ag3ma

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I will credit you as the only person responding to me to at least somewhat understand the concept of conservatism/
Everyone here has a reasonably similar concept of conservatism. Your application of it, however, is bizarre.

Conservatism does exist within a context of the times. Conservatism, in Weimar Germany, largely reflects the traditional attitudes of pre-1919 Germany, because that is the culture that conservatives grew up with, lived for decades, and believed to be the stable, working system that needed to be protected. It's not like the new German constitution (heavily influenced by the SPD) arrived, and next day it was therefore the status quo so that the SPD instantly became the conservatives. Not least because the new constitution changed how Germany was governed, but not huge amounts of how its society was.

German conservatism reflected a number of beliefs attitudes (not always consistent with each other) based around protecting the established social order, social attitudes and social hierarchies. Many opposed the anti-1919 constitution and democracy itself. Middle class conservatives wanted their social status and wealth protected, both from socialism increasing the power of the working classes, and from being outcompeted by big industrialists. Conservative industrialists viewed socialism as a threat for obvious reasons, because in the old order they had been free to make lots of money. The aristocracy obviously wanted their traditional privileges conserved. The rural conservatives were upset at their lives being turned upside down by economic and social change. Then all sorts of traditional social attitudes, as many opposed the freedoms established by the new constitution.

That's what conservatism in Weimar Germany was, and ultimately the Nazis exploited a lot of these attitudes very effectively.
 

tstorm823

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It's not like the new German constitution (heavily influenced by the SPD) arrived, and next day it was therefore the status quo so that the SPD instantly became the conservatives.
It wasn't that sudden, the SPD is effectively older than the German monarchy.
Most notably Hugenberg and the DNVP, and Von Papen with Zentrum.

These parties are not seriously disputed to be conservative.
Ok, lets not dispute Zentrum as conservative. We can both agree that the party that formed coalitions with SPD and kicked out Von Papen was a conservative party. Does not affect my original point about SPD being conservative.

And actually, to extend this all the way back to the roots of this, my point to Absent is that the KPD called the SPD fascists in the same way Absent is suggesting I'm a Nazi. As much as I enjoy the argument, if you'd like to insist the SPD wasn't conservative, it's kind of immaterial to the statement I was making.
 

Terminal Blue

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Magic cards are cardboard, they are made from a renewable resource, you'd have to run the world out of sun and CO2 to run out of them, and many of them are worth much more than a dollar.
Or, you could skip the bullshit and just print money.

That's how this works, right. If a card is worth a dollar, and we print a billion of them, that's a billion dollars right there! Economics is so easy..

To put it bluntly, unrealized wealth isn't real. In the end someone, somewhere has to cash out in order for that value to be real, and the ammount they cash out for is less than the unrealized wealth that was promised, that person is fucked. When the percevied value of an object becomes divorced from the actual material indicators of its value, that's not infinite wealth being generated, it's a bubble, and sooner or later bubbles tend to burst.

In trying to defend capitalism, you've ended up describing another of its problems.

No, businesses die too.
Wealth concentration assumes that, over time, most of the population (be it businesses or individuals) will lose money. Corporations aren't people, they don't die. They get bought.

You are aware, I hope, that people who start and operate restaurants do so often because they like the joy they bring to people with their food.
I have a lot of friends in hospitality. I can tell you that most of those people fail. In practice, most of them are people with money who have been lead to believe they have abilities and talents they don't actually have, or who assume hospitality is easy and doesn't require any particular skills or knowledge.

The restaurant business is extremely, extremely competitive, and it's not a business anyone should invest in unless they're willing to treat it as a business. I don't mean to be harsh, but I feel obliged to say this out of genuine concern. Do not try to open a restaurant unless you have many, many years experience of working in one. If that is your dream, then either kill that dream or start taking it incredibly seriously, or else the only joy you're going to be bringing to anyone is to your creditors.

I would argue the aristocracy of Germany was openly anti-monarchial and anti-aristocratic.
Well, that's certainly a take.

Ok, lets not dispute Zentrum as conservative. We can both agree that the party that formed coalitions with SPD and kicked out Von Papen was a conservative party. Does not affect my original point about SPD being conservative.
See, the problem is that you talk about needing to pay attention to history, but then treat conservatism as if it is an entirely a nominal concept which has no history. That isn't true. Conservatism means something specific. Conservatism and socialism are, outside of a handful of fringe exceptions, not ideologically compatible, certainly not in the time or place you are talking about. They can be compatible in terms of policies (the German Empire arguably had one of the world's first modern welfare states largely thanks to paternalistic policies under Bismark) but the interests they represent and their basic view of society is fundamentally opposed.

You talk about how the Nazis weren't conservatives, and you're not entirely wrong, but the only logic by which that claim works should make it transparently obvious that the SPD were not conservatives.
 
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TheMysteriousGX

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They thought "bags" of nickel were worth $1.3m?

A ton of nickel is only worth around $22,500... so $1.3m worth is over 57 tons. That would have been a lot of bags... and no one thought to check even one of them?
I'm just wondering if it was an inventory fuck up that led them to selling 54 tons of rocks or if some enterprising heavy metals thief somehow made off with them
 

Thaluikhain

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I'm just wondering if it was an inventory fuck up that led them to selling 54 tons of rocks or if some enterprising heavy metals thief somehow made off with them
That's an impressive amount of stuff to steal, for comparatively little return. But yeah, one wonders.
 

RhombusHatesYou

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I'm just wondering if it was an inventory fuck up that led them to selling 54 tons of rocks or if some enterprising heavy metals thief somehow made off with them
The 'inventory or ordering' fucking scenario would make a tiny bit of sense if the stones turn out to be a form of nickel ore... otherwise it makes no fucking sense.
 

Silvanus

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It wasn't that sudden, the SPD is effectively older than the German monarchy.

Ok, lets not dispute Zentrum as conservative. We can both agree that the party that formed coalitions with SPD and kicked out Von Papen was a conservative party. Does not affect my original point about SPD being conservative.
Certainly does affect the point about German conservatives enabling the Nazis' rise, of course, which was what you seemed to be objecting to in the last post.

And actually, to extend this all the way back to the roots of this, my point to Absent is that the KPD called the SPD fascists in the same way Absent is suggesting I'm a Nazi. As much as I enjoy the argument, if you'd like to insist the SPD wasn't conservative, it's kind of immaterial to the statement I was making.
A: "Which conservatives helped the Nazis? I bet you don't have any specifics".

B: "Here are specifics".

A: "Yeah well this doesn't affect [unrelated argument] anyway".