My roundup of what I thought is right wing extremism in Europe brought several reactions from my readers saying that I've got it completely wrong. Neo-Nazism is actually an expression of Left wing radicalism and has nothing to do with the conservative Right.
I am interested in what my readers think about this issue and have therefore put up a poll. The poll appears at the top of the right hand sidebar.
The issue of Left vs. Right, reality vs. what seems right, is not new. The Hebrew Bible discusses how the leaders of the community should judge and lead the people: " And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment .. and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left." [Deuteronomy 17, 9-11, Mechon Mamre ]
The 11th century French biblical scholar Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (Rashi) explained these verses according to the Sifrei, a classical exegesis work: "Even if he tells you about the right that its left and about the left that its right." But even if apparently had trouble with this and so added: "and all the more so if he tells you about the right that its right and about the left that its left."
Rashi's words were used against Jews in the medieval era, to show that Judaism was completely wrong. But Rashi's words are also rejected by the Jerusalem Talmud: "Could it be that if they will tell you about the right that its left and about the left that its right that you'll listen to them? it says 'to the right hand, nor to the left', that they will tell you about the right that its right and about the left that its left." [Jerusalem Talmud, Horayot, 1, 1].
I tend to think that, as Douglas Adams wrote, you can prove anything if you play with logic long enough, but playing around with reality is very dangerous: "Oh that was easy" says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing. [The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy]