Yes, the description of one's political opponents or their tactics as reminiscent of Hitler is tiresome and almost always extreme. Hitler's rise to power in a nation that had centuries of issues relating to who its people were and what they stood for, that had somehow become the defeated power after a war that ended more as a stalemate, but with Europe in political turmoil, do not translate well to the American experience. Moreover, the cry that one's opponent is a fascist often is made by someone who does not understand what that means or confuses national socialism with democratic socialism.
what is meant by the expression "we want our country back"? Virulent racism, itself a sign of nazism, explains some of the anger and has been with us so long that it has lost its power to scare us. But is that all it is? Does that fully explain why They refuse to believe the President was born in this country, why a Congresswoman would describe the people who control the executive and legislative branches as "gangsters", another Congressman would explain that however lamentable it was that people died when someone flew a plane into a government office
It’s sad ... but by the same token, it’s an agency that is unnecessary and when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the IRS, it’s going to be a happy day for America
or when another Congressman, asked about the rise in threats of violence during the debate over national issues and of calls for more of the same using language used by the man who blew up a federal building in Oklahoma Cityfifteen years ago tomorrow, says
Well, I'm, I'm troubled anytime when we, we stop having confidence in, in our government. But we've earned it....[T]he tone is based on fear of loss of control of their own government. What, what is the genesis behind people going to such extreme statements? What is it? We, we have lost the confidence, to a certain degree... We have, we have raised the question of whether or not we're legitimately thinking about the American people and their long-term best interests.
These are not outsiders talking. These are elected members of Congress.
And, yes, what they are saying has echoes in a terrible past:
the whole internal structure of our state is not Germanic, but rather Semitic, that all our actions, even our thinking, are today no longer German but Jewish.
The movement may bewail a hundred times that our people are being destroyed by the poison of a mammonism that is so alien to its inner feeling; it may discern that class struggle and party disputes will rob us of the last remnant of resistance; it may foresee with prophetic spirit that we too shall sink into the blood-swamp of Bolshevism, and may prove a thousand times that the ultimate cause of all this misery, that the ultimate germ of this disease of the race is the Jew – the German-National movement may recognize this, but it will not be able to help and cannot do so, until it leaves the field of theoretical knowledge and replaces it with the decision to transform understanding into political power: to replace long-suffering scholarly study with the willingness to apply the organization of power...And yet this is the real cause of the disintegration of our people. This cursed splitting of the nation into two classes that today oppose each other as enemies to the death is our worst misfortune, and it alone is the reason why there is no hope for a better future for our nation.
For this reason only that movement which removes Germany’s greatest national misfortune will be able to call itself National.
The movement which will no longer be proletarian and may no longer be bourgeois, but will be simply German.
In them lies the eternal fountain of the strength of our people. In them lies the future of our race. Whoever divides them strikes at Germany. Whoever unites them is National.
Here are just a few of the "demands" Hitler expressed before the raucus crowd in Munich
- Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.
- Those who are not citizens must live in Germany as foreigners and must be subject to the law of aliens.
- The right to choose the government and determine the laws of the State shall belong only to citizens. We therefore demand that no public office, of whatever nature, whether in the central government, the province, or the municipality, shall be held by anyone who is not a citizen.
- We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from the Reich.
- All citizens must possess equal rights and duties.
- The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.
Therefore we demand:
- That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.
As Versailles was a rallying point for those who supported Hitler, the New Deal approach to government as an essential force for the protection of the citizenry against the power of private interests is catnip for the enraged among us.
Government, they tell us,
is not the answer to our problem; it is the problem.
We know what that means and it was the subject of a long rant here a few weeks ago. That is not the point of this essay.
A week or so miners were killed because the agencies of government which were supposed to protect them failed, after eight years where they were weakened by the forces who hate government. During their tenure a great American city was almost washed into the Gulf of Mexico, and our country attacked by zealots who hate us while the President read a book to schoolchildren.
Those forces who are screaming in the street today, being celebrated and defended by politicians who wither know better or should, were silent or quietly applauding while our government was unable or unwilling to protect against the worst among us. They could not bring themselves even to condemn murder if the victim was someone who did things, legal though they were, which they did not like. And they are outraged when our government, restored, does what President Roosevelt set it to do.
There is, it needs to be recognized, pure evil out there. They are a small minority, but their size is not as important if good people do not speak out against them.
There is nothing similar on the left, at least nowadays. And when there was even a tiny version of what we see today, nobody defended blowing up townhouses, or the murder of police officers during bank robberies intended to fund political activities.
Monday, Rachel Maddow will let us listen to one voice of evil. Listen carefully, though. That messenger is gone, but his message resonates today.