Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, January 27, 2005

One Nation, My God

The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, is creating and securing the conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life.

The advantages of a personal and political nature that might arise from compromising with atheistic organizations would not outweigh the consequences which would become apparent in the destruction of general moral basic values. The national Government regards the two Christian confessions as the weightiest factors for the maintenance of our nationality. It will respect the agreements concluded between it and the federal States. Their rights are not to be infringed. But the Government hopes and expects that the work on the national and moral regeneration of our nation which it has made its task will, on the other hand, be treated with the same respect....

Great are the tasks of the national Government in the sphere of economic life.

Here all action must be governed by one law: the people does not live for business, and business does not exist for capital; but capital serves business, and business serves the people. In principle, the Government will not protect the economic interests of the American people by the circuitous method of an economic bureaucracy to be organized by the State, but by the utmost furtherance of private initiative and by the recognition of the rights of property....

Whose words are these? Except that I substituted “American” for “German” in the last paragraph these are the words of Adolf Hitler, from a speech given on March 23rd, 1933.

I’ve been considering a question for some time, more seriously from the time of the Newt Gingrich offensive in 1994 but likely from the first time I heard the Nixonion era “Moral Majority” backlash rhetoric. I loathe mirroring the right’s proclivity to ascribe all manner of failure to the “liberal conspiracy” but there is no other choice than to call a spade a spade, if in this post only for the sake of argument.

Are we in danger of yielding to fascism in the United States? There, I’ve asked it! You may now dismiss this entire effort as Chicken Little paranoia and move on.

There are certainly great differences between Germany of 1933 and America today. There is no economic disaster of widespread effect that so marinates the common person that they will complement such an evil stew. Hitler’s “us against the world” rhetoric hit home in an emaciated nation energized by the call to patriotic duty. Our economic struggles are certainly less extensive and, as such, do not contribute greatly to the basest of motivations required to adopt the most radical of means.

Yet this “ours is the one true cause” theme is audible indeed in our nation—the similarity of the Nazi’s despair of the League of Nations to the American right’s disgust for the United Nations is not encouraging.

We in America, however, are galvanized by a need not (patently) economic, but arising from a direct threat to our security. The question remains as to whether this need will be great enough for the checked democracy of America to become unchecked—to what extent the weight of pragmatism will crush our liberties. In much of the current rhetoric, and with great success, elements of this transition are shrugged off as a necessary evil borne of the “hard” reality of “post 911” America. Do the champions of the majority call for actions that would accelerate this process? Constantly.

Once past these comparisons of the motivations and of the degrees of desperation found in the two societies similarities abound. Christian activists should note the concession to religion in the above speech. In 1933 Hitler was at the point of consolidating his power. After establishing himself as the Fuhrer he would carry a different tune, as in this speech in Nuremburg in 1938:

Therefore we have no rooms for worship, but only halls for the people - no open spaces for worship, but spaces for assemblies and parades. We have no religious retreats, but arenas for sports and playing-fields, and the characteristic feature of our places of assembly is not the mystical gloom of a cathedral, but the brightness and light of a room or hall which combines beauty with fitness for its purpose. In these halls no acts of worship are celebrated, they are exclusively devoted to gatherings of the people of the kind which we have come to know in the course of our long struggle; to such gatherings we have become accustomed and we wish to maintain them. We will not allow mystically-minded occult folk with a passion for exploring the secrets of the world beyond to steal into our Movement.

It was only while on the rise that appeals to the god-fearing to oppose the godless were deemed necessary.

Of course, the spirit to bond together for a cause is best nurtured by providing a common target. A more defined enemy than the generally unappreciative world can be found for us in the terrorists/terrorist states and for Hitler’s purposes in the Bolsheviks—familiarly he refers to them as the “growing menace”.

Additionally, a domestic enemy is needed for focus. The Nazis had the Jews, and while conservatives in America spit at all liberal notions a particularly venomous and often encouraged reaction is obvious in both cultures—that the evil inherent in one’s domestic enemies is atheistic disregard for moral values.

Yes, Hitler played these cards; and the reduction of bureaucracy card; and the ownership society card too.

No, we are not yet on the brink of fascism, but all the elements are visible and the divide between the right and left grows more heated minute by minute. Each night across America thousands of voices settle like a virulent fog; divisive, intolerant voices. Rushing back along thousands of phone lines flow the voices of thousands more to voice amen. The grassroots network of hatred in America is immense and omnipresent. I personally can find someone who hates people like me on WLS in Chicago, MTMJ in Milwaukee or several other stations essentially on demand. Occasionally these good soldiers venture onto Wisconsin Public Radio, though they prefer the reinforcement they receive from their lieutenants, the talk show mercenaries of the movement who have learned that the money is in "the right turn".

I suggest that this question has occurred to you as it has to me, “How could the German people have degenerated to a point that would lead to genocide?”

It is easy to say that they were led down this path by a charismatic demagogue—and so perhaps all the more ominous to find his words familiar.


At 5:16 PM, Blogger JD said...

dangerous stuff there dad...

...besides, I'd rather be a facist than a communist. ;)

At 11:05 AM, Blogger sequoit said...

If someone thinks I am comparing Bush to Hitler or the American right to the German fascists in any substantial way they are wrong.

The yellow dogs and their packs would come yelping at the inclusion of both names in the same neighborhood with no regard for context, but it can't be helped and they are not the intended audience.

The indignant fill a field ripe for picking which, rather than to say any movement has of yet surfaced to fully exploit it, is my point


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