As a Data Scientist it is my Obligation to support #nobagida, #nopegida and any other #no[a-z]{2}gida today :)

Political Opinion on a Scale from 0 to 2π


Just came back with my girlfriend from the demonstration at Sendlinger Tor. Noticed quite a few Palestinian flags being waved around – fair enough – but I thought to myself that I would actually like to see one or two Israeli flags as well. Later we went over the street to have a look at the pegida guys when I noticed no less than two Isareali flags there. That’s was kind of weird … but of course for pegida a lot of their presentation revolves around emphasizing how not-Nazi they are – which is slightly odd given the occasional pegida-israel-flagNeonazi hanging around with them. Also given their focus on how bad muslims are, to those little educated people it might seem plausible to show off how prosemitic they are b/c Jews supposedly share some of their views.

Nonetheless it also reminded of a little theory of mine about political opinions – how an appropriate measure would haveinterval-vs-circle to be defined on a circle or a loop rather than on an interval. First time this thought struck me when I read in Baader-Meinhof-Komplex how left-wing terrorists separated Jewish from non-Jewish passengers during the Landshut airplane hijacking. I guess the link here is:

Left-wing-Extremist ⇒ Anti-Zionism ⇒ Anti-Semitism ⇒ Racism⇒ Nazi

transformed-plane… uups … just a few “logical” steps and suddenly what seemed distant behaves asymptotic. Having said that maybe something like a Möbius strip is the more appropriate construction to visualize how political opinions might have to be measured. With those two extreme positions at the same point but on different sides – not visible to each other, seemingly very distant, while actually very close.

Possibly this text is a tad confusing – I guess what I actually want to say is that mostly it comes down to whether a person chooses violence, hate, aggression and discrimination to resolve issues or empathy and creativity. The former will then lead to those extremes which happen to cluster.

(original article published on

8 thoughts on “As a Data Scientist it is my Obligation to support #nobagida, #nopegida and any other #no[a-z]{2}gida today :)

  1. hello!

    Some really interesting stuff here! I have to say that I am delighted to see the concept of a political circle. it is quite a refreshing view and it kinda’ looks like something I have been thinking about for some a while now.

    I myself have seen “politics” – or whatever else pertains to that word – as something that could be described a bit more accurately in terms of a surface area. There would be two perpendicular lines. One would represent the economic spectrum – as in heavy state intervention in a socialist-like society at one end, and pure unregulated, free market capitalism at the other. The other line would represent social sentiment ranging from the extreme conservatorism to a purely liberal u(dys?)topia.

    In that sense, present day far-right and far-left groups would actually be represented as diagonally opposed quadrants. This would also allow for the more nuanced description of such groups, since in real life far-left/right extremism is actually quite diverse, depending on lots of factors – as you noted yourself, it is somewhat paradoxical that israeli flags are carried by pegida protesters, but once one looks a bit deeper at the situation, all sorts of unique aspects come into focus.

    I do have one question though: Why do you think it is the duty a data scientist support anti-extremist views? Isn’t it something that anyone/everyone should do? The past weeks have been intense in the EU, and I think it is everyone’s duty to keep a clear head and a constructive attitude towards arguments of all sorts, but most of all, to not feed the fires of rage and absurdity.

    • Salut Alex!

      Your suggested political personality map serves as a great source for food for thought.


      Couldn’t find anything for heavy state intervention meets liberal utopia :)

      To clarify how transformation of the space we measure in (or on) I added a picture showcasing two simple transformations. Of course applying this idea to that map might locate Bush close to the Nazis – and I am *NOT* ironic when I say that this would be ridiculous. But that’s the point about this interval-to-circle idea – it’s more of a metaphor to remind myself of that every time we simplify a space down to our comfortable 1, 2 or 3 dimensions there is information going lost – and this even more so when we consider that the appropriate space might not even be Euclidian in the first place.

      Why do you think it is the duty a data scientist support anti-extremist views?

      That statement just served as a natural catchline – I don’t even really like the term “data scientist” very much, actually. This web-site is about data related stuff, so I tried to look at it from that angle.

  2. This is something I’ve seen before, but this is the first I’ve seen it from a mathematical context, and I think it’s quite good personally.

    I always found it funny how the extremes of politics often end up saying the same things for opposite reasons (e.g. in Australia the Left was originally the most anti-immigration because it threatened Union jobs, now the Right are anti-immigration because they want the White Australia back in play).

    In this case, the laughter is bittersweet, because I had hoped that Europe had learned enough to not get itself into a religious war.

    What doesn’t change is that the ones most keen to go to war are also those too old to be in the army. Once again old men arm young men and tell them to go kill each other to ‘protect the women and children’.

    Blessed are the peacemakers.

    • I don’t think that it is old(er) people who are keen on war, I think they are just the most annoyed with what they perceive the current situation to be. I really don’t know hwhat kind of population attends pegida rallies, but as far as old age goes, I think the story might be a bit like this.

      Many people might remember how life was in the 30-40 years after WW2 and certainly the children of those people have been brought up with certain sets of values and expectations from society. Western Europe progressed a lot and very fast in the 40-50 years after the end of ww2 so that means that (almost) two generations of europeans came to take certain things for granted – like increasing wages, social stability and so forth. But in the current conditions, many of the older people might find that what they have been used to in their youth isn’t there anymore. And what has changed at the street level? Well, there are many more people with different skin collour, the are mosques, there are eastern european immigrants. It is easy to assume that the problems are caused by these kinds of obvious changes.

      I don’t think (or rather I don’t want to think!) that older people are keen on conflict, but there are large frustrations that have gathered in the past years and the barrel had to burst somehow.

      Finally, I don’t wish to sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, but I think we should also be carefull in regards to people who are all to happy to feed these frustrations and see the european edifice consume itself from within instead of focusing on not having an economy built solely on klepto-oligarchs and natural gas.

      • Well, there are many more people with different skin collour, …

        It is a “funny” observation that in Germany you are going to find the most hostility towards foreigners where there are virtually none.

        Finally, I don’t wish to sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, but I think we should also be carefull in regards to people who are all to happy to feed these frustrations …

        That’s certainly not a conspiracy theory – rather the good old “divide and conquer” strategy to solidify or gain power.

  3. Quite a stupid post painting everyone with your imagined politically correct views that are clearly just confused.

    Reading your post it confirms the view – that Germans are political idiots and never get it right.  They haven’t got it right for over a 100 years.

    And it looks like – as your trite opinions shows – they still have not got it right.  (Indeed my teenage children have more sophisticated nuanced views.)

    Stick to data analysis where you will be less embarrassing.

  4. Apparently there are more clones across Germany e.g. Bärgida in Berlin. You should extend your regex to #no[a-zA-Zäöü]{2,3}gida just to be safe.

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