Thursday, August 09, 2018

It's Not the Same But It Sure Does Rhyme.

Donald Trump is not Adolf Hitler. He does, however, walk with a remarkably similar gait.  E.J. Dionne reviews Benjamin Hett's "The Death of Democracy: Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfaqll of the Weimar Republic."

The parallel Hett focuses on isn't a comparison of Trump to Hitler so much as the eerie similarities between German conservatives in the 1930s and the Republican establishment in the era of Trump.

It is both eerie and enlightening how much of Hett's account rings true in our time. Consider this declaration from Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's chief propagandist: "Certainly we want to build a wall, a protective wall." There is this dolorous observation from the socialist Ernst Toller: "The people are tired of reason, tired of thought and reflection. They ask, what has reason done for us in the last few years, what good have insights and knowledge done us."  
...And conservatives everywhere should ponder the choices made by the German establishment, including big business, the military, culturally traditional Protestants and big land owners. They all helped bring Hitler to power because they hated the left — including the moderate Social Democrats, the backbone of the Weimar Republic — more than they loved republican government and political freedom.
Hett writes that members of "the conservative establishment ... could have stopped Hitler in his tracks. Instead, they chose to use him, although the Nazi-conservative alliance was always an awkward one." He notes at another point: "Democracy was not working for them precisely because their interests could not attract the support of a majority, even a large plurality, of voters." 
The politicians and power brokers who helped Hitler become Chancellor believed they could deploy him to destroy the left but also keep him under control. They achieved the first but not the second. The consequences were catastrophic, to those slaughtered in Hitler's genocide and to Germany as a whole. German conservatives had no desire to see their country pulverized by war and shrunken in size afterward. But their choices in the 1930s brought about exactly this outcome. 
There is a reluctance to draw lessons from the Nazi experience because personal comparisons between contemporary politicians and Hitler are always a mistake. Hitler's crimes are in a category of horror all their own. 
But this should not stop us from heeding the warnings of a political era that led to the collapse of freedom in Germany. Seeing it "as the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality ... strips away the exotic and foreign look of swastika banners and goose-stepping Stormtroopers." 
Hett adds: "Suddenly, the whole thing looks close and familiar."
It does, and our task is to prevent this "whole thing" from ever happening again.
If you think this is all bluster and hand-wringing, consider this. A survey of Republican voters find that 43 per cent believe Trump should be able to shut down news outlets.

A new Ipsos poll has found that nearly half (48 per cent) of self-identified Republicans agree "the news media is the enemy of the American people". Meanwhile, some believe Mr Trump should be allowed to take action against certain publications, with 43 per cent of Republicans saying "the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behaviour". 
...Mr Trump repeatedly undermines the press due to its coverage of the federal government’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as its reporting on scandals impacting his White House administration.

"Just stick with us, don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news," Mr Trump said during a convention for military veterans in July. "It’s all working out. And just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening."
Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer.


Toby said...

It is often said that history is written by the victors. The Nuremberg Trials did just that. The finger of responsibilities pointed at Hitler, the Nazis and, to a lesser extent, the German people. What was left out was the enormous support for Hitler and the Nazis from American and British financiers and industrialists.

Gyor said...

There are many of the left as well who like to silence those they don't agree with, look at Infowars, can't stand that guy, but I'm disappointed so many progressive backed censorship of the guy, ignoring the horrifying fact that the big tech companies caliberated to censor him. If they can work together to silence someone so completely, anyone, that should scare everyone right across the political spectrum, not elist cheers because the target was a doofus, because the next one might not be.

The Mound of Sound said...

Gyor, don't sob to me about Jones. He wasn't just a "doofus" as you claim. He was utterly malevolent.

Jay Farquharson said...

Русские тролль-сообщения

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InfoWar's Comment Policy,

LMFAO at how dumb Russian Trolls are.

Karl Kolchak said...

I've never voted Rethuglican in my life, but I absolutely agree that America's corporate owned "news" media is a huge threat to the country. The Jeff Bozos owned Washington ComPost injects CIA, Pentagon and Wall Street propaganda into the news cycle on a daily basis, and it plus the utterly worthless New York Times ganged up to help destroy Bernie Sanders's candidacy.

On a personal note, someone I know is a pool reporter at the Pentagon--and I've never heard anyone spew more obvious propaganda (such as "America is in Afghanistan AT THE REQUEST of the Afghan government," that we installed, of course. The circular logic is enough to make your head hurt. And this person has the gall to call themselves a "journalist."

Dr Purva Pius said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jay Farquharson said...


Such a nice mix of Insane Clown POStus illegible rants, memes, mixed with SovCit "whatabboutism" for a Russian Troll.

A Real 'Murkin would be rushing off to join the Space Farce, or stockpiling asbestos, or busy working in a coal mine,....

LMFAO at the low grade Russian Troll.

Jay Farquharson said...

Sane troll, trolling for people Dunning Kruger enough.

Really, Mound?

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Mound, history doesn't have much currency these days.

Anonymous said...

You shall not use bad English. "pulverized by war and shrunken in size afterward....pulverized by war and shrunk in size.