For some time now, we have seen comparisons between various groups, various individuals and the Nazis. The comparisons are almost always totally imperfect. First of all, Nazis were murderers. There are no murderers among contemporary politicians unless you consider it an act of murder to start a war on false premises, a war that kills approximately 250,000 individuals, including 4,000 Americans.
Furthermore, some of those calling others Nazis, also refer to the same people as Communists. Of course the two are not only incompatible but are, in fact, polar opposites. It should be pretty clear by now that anyone given the appellation “Nazi” today would be a Nazi only metaphorically. Except for those who call themselves “Nazis,” wear armbands and hold demonstrations against African-Americans and Jews. In their case, “Nazi” is simply a codification of their identity as bigots. But there are good reasons to compare Nazis to some who would currently try to establish totalitarianism in our country. That is the remnant of the Nazi philosophy that remains today. The strategy for attempting to take over government completely.
There are interesting comparisons between 1930s Nazis and the term “Nazi” as it is used, for example, by the tea party demonstrators.. For example, the very first comparison would be the comparisons themselves. The Nazis rose to power very slowly. Although they began in the early 1920s, by 1930 they still had only about 10% of the popular vote in Germany. By that time, they had already adopted the policy of having a group of angry thugs, the brown shirts, basically a private militia, who used physical violence to break up other rallies, to create havoc among their opponents and in general cause a major disturbance. Initially, they were so anti-government that Hitler himself was jailed in 1924 for illegal revolutionary acts.
But they grew rapidly after the world-wide recession, and by 1933, they had nothing like a majority but they had become the most popular political party in Germany. They found their niche through a combination of false appeals and scare tactics. The made the Jews and Catholics and foreign countries into dangerous enemies of the German people. After the Reichstag Fire, set by Nazis but blamed on Communists, using the propaganda network, Von Hindenburg bowed to popular pressure and Hitler was named Chancellor, and soon after became virtual dictator. The Nazis had nowhere near the 54% of the popular vote that the Democratic candidate won in 2008. Hitler declared and emergency, took over total control of government and ruled as dictator almost immediately. So the hidden agendas and racist, socialist agendas attributed to President Obama by the tea party protesters are not only preposterous, they aren’t even accurate as to the original Nazis. But they may be on to something about Neocons.
The Nazis planned from the beginning to take over German society in a series of steps, devious at first, then more and more open, as the Nazis assumed more power. They were not the first party in Germany to try to rule by fiat. But the Nazi goal was total control of government, totalitarian government. After they succeeded, many innocent German citizens very quickly suffered physical beatings, humiliations, loss of property and imprisonment and death. Nothing like that has or is likely to happen here.
That is, so long as we understand that Nazism means totalitarianism and recognize how it takes control.
On the other hand, it is now clear, after the health care debate, that we the People have already lost control of our country. Although many thought that Barack Obama’s election was evidence that we still have broad support for a reform candidate, the results of the health care debate should make us shudder for our future. Well over 70% of the people of the United States said in poll after poll that they wanted health care reform. After a year of trying to obtain it, we have basically failed.
The major difference between the Nazis of the late 1920s and early 1930s and the reality of Nazi policy is that they maintained that they were for the people. And they were against socialism, maintaining that personal property and private ownership of property and businesses was their preference.. What they didn’t say was that the government would then direct corporations, like Junker aircraft to do what they told them. If they didn’t, like Junker they would take over the company. The government had a loose alliance with industry but controlled industry as it controlled everything.
In 1933, the Nazi party took power with a plurality. They gained so many seats in the Reichstag that they were able to head a coalition government. They used that little sliver of power to declare complete and total control, make Hitler absolute ruler in less than two years. The result was a sequence of events that led to a war in which 50,000,000 people died, including millions of those Germans who voted for Hitler. Many of those who survived wished that they had not.
When the Russian people overthrew the Romanoffs in 1917, the Communists set up a state-run society in which all property was theoretically owned by the State. Eventually run by a group of ruthless criminals, the Communists lied and killed their way to power. Within ten years, millions of the very people who had supported the overthrow, even many of the leading Communists themselves, were imprisoned or murdered. The state ruled with an iron hand.
Now let’s move to current American society. Is there a valid comparison? Not directly…not in the degree of violence, usurpation of freedoms nor in the degree of drastic human suffering. But here is a comparison. A Neoconservative candidate campaigns in 2000 that he will be a “compassionate conservative.” What does that mean? It was believed to mean that he will be fiscally conservative, more efficient and socially conscious.
What was the result of the Administration of this “compassionate conservative” George W. Bush? It was the opposite. Just like Hitler, Bush did exactly the opposite of what he promised…i.e., he lied….although with no comparison whatsoever in the deadliness of results. (Although Bush did lie about the reasons for war and his actions did result in the deaths of about 250,000 up to maybe 750,000, and another 3,000 if you included his playing golf instead of taking a serious look at intelligence reports.)
But, no, there are no concentration camps (certainly no “death panels” florid and idiotic (and false) rhetoric of the tea baggers would suggest. So is it a valid comparison? Not in the outcome. We were spared a completely totalitarian regime. We were spared a totally Republican-controlled society because, in this country we still have very broad policies now for openness and many levels of checks and balances for our personal freedoms. We also still have the remnants of a free press. Plus we have active methods of disseminating information like the Internet.
There is another perhaps more important comparison that must be made. George W. Bush, even for all those that hate him, even though he made foolish mistakes, insensitive mistakes, and was weak, not strong, in following the “Party-line” and even though Iraqis may consider him a war criminal, he tried to re-invent the law and those who run it, rather than simply declaring himself a dictator. He did try to put Neconservatives in all levels of power in his administration. They did many things to dismantle government.
But there the comparison ends. The large political forces, such as major pharmaceutical companies, big industrial companies, like Halliburton and Bechtel, big pharmaceutical companies, and as we now know…Wall Street investment companies….control government rather a totalitarian government like the Nazis controlling them. Today it is all about financial power. These organization control the financial levers of power.
While the Neoconservatives, the Neocons, make no bones about supporting big industries with their votes, they are able to accomplish it without political penalty for two reasons. There is a subsection of this country that still lives in the 20th or perhaps even in the late 19th Century. They are undereducated, heavily racist and highly superstitious. They believe, many of them, that the end of the world is near, that Jesus will “return on a cloud” and save us from death. They have very defined moral positions that support their social lives and carefully crafted codes of honor that allow for violence as an act of self-protection…because they are under siege. It was this attitude that “everyone is out to get us” that enabled the Nazis to recruit many more nearly-normal individuals who later regretted their choice.
One of the key axioms of the Nazis was to tell the “big lie.” The idea is to tell the masses of your country that the Jews or the Blacks or the French or the Homosexuals or the Gypsies or the Arabs are out to get them. Eternal vigilance, combined with a massive military buildup…which is how the Third Reich recovered so well from the Depression…no different from us. Only we waited until France and Belgium and Denmark and Norway and almost Great Britain were gone before we got heavily into armaments.
The Big Lie is alive and well today. The big lie now even comes from our legislators, like Senators Ensign, McConnell, McCain, Leiberman, Hatch, Sessions, Barrasso, and many others who call our progressive government Communist or Socialist or some other term that they find ways to make derogatory. They have all voted against a health care bill and supported lobbying efforts to insure that Americans must continue being looted and abused by the health insurance industry. They, plus a handful of Democratic Senators, also part of the conspiracy to leave health care in place as it is, have formed that ideological wall against progressive legislation. These are the remnants of the Bush Administration, ready and willing to do the bidding of the big corporations.
Even though the Bush Administration did not run the big corporations, they did not have to. They are already in collaboration with them on war, social policy, American wages, and…as we have seen from the remaining Neocons in Congress, 100% against healthcare for the people. They say that they are for it and produce a bill that simply takes care of pharmaceutical companies and protects doctors against any monetary loss for killing or maiming your parents, children, spouse…or you.
The policy of complete government control is the same, however. Get all your political friends…not just in your Party, but those within the Party who believe as you do…into powerful and subordinate positions. This is about controlling a country, not about concentration camps and wars. Although, we never did find out how far the Neocons would have gone. If you want to know how far they almost went, look up Presidential rule # 51 set up by George W. Bush in 2008. It created a dictatorship under certain conditions.
Once they had complete control of the Presidency, the Senate and the House, we do know some of the things they did. They did start a war on their own, convict a Democratic governor on trumped-up charges, indicted by a Bush U.S. Attorney and convicted by Bush nominated judges, in Alabama. They had a special CIA section that spied on Americans, and used their newly written Patriot act to check on your video store rentals and library records and librarians were not allowed to tell anyone under pain of federal imprisonment. They picked up American citizens off American streets and sent them abroad to Arab interrogation centers where they were tortured. That is easy to find. There were lawsuits against the government about it. It is public record. Does that sound like the Gestapo, a Nazi organization? .
Both the Neocons and Nazis controlled the media. The Nazis controlled radio stations and newspapers. Their mobs broke into newspapers and ransacked them, beat up editors and destroyed their presses. They took over radio and Dr. Goebbels made regular broadcasts accusing the opposition of treasonous activities, and attacking the Jews and Catholics. And there were no rebuttals.
Today, the former head of the Republican Party heads up a Right Wing Fox News Channel that attacks the President relentlessly every day. Rush Limbaugh from his Right Wing-backed commentaries on more than a thousand stations, syndicated by his bosses, Right Wing propaganda specialists like Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Michael Reagan, Laura Ingraham and Bill O’Reilly, and hundreds more are paid by huge corporations to spew endless lies and distortions so that even flights of angels could never have the time or ability to counter all of them.
90%…90%…or more…of talk radio is exclusively Right Wing propaganda. The Nazis controlled radio by simply killing or jailing anyone who disagreed. The Neocons are doing it by buying off or threatening people who object within the media…with a very small few exceptions. There are well-funded Right Wing organizations like Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute that make no pretense to being impartial. They work for big corporations to put out propaganda that supports privatization of Social Security or reductions in Medicare or more wars or anti-union messages.
That is their job. But who is to say that they wouldn’t do it with guns and dogs and police if they could. They work against the people buy sending out false information on health care on global warming on the economy and on our security. A radio commentator paid for in the tens of millions a year tells the most outlandish lies about virtually every progressive politician, and who is there to debate him…even though some of what he says must be obviously false to even the dumbest, least educated listener. Why is someone like Rush Limbaugh worth $400 million when he is not the first or even the second most popular host on radio in many markets? Who is paying the bill? And why?
The Nazis used mobs to get their points across in an emotional, non rational way. They would send mobs of ex-military goons, the S. A., to meetings to break them up and beat up the participants. In 2000, it is now known that the Neocons sent large numbers of people to Miami with the objective of disrupting the re-count of the popular vote.
This gave cover to the Supreme Court, who cut off the vote counting and with Justice Scalia making the deciding vote, appointed George. W. Bush as President. Later, too late to affect the outcome, the final vote count showed Gore to have been the winner. Hitler brokered his Chancellorship in much the same way, having a fire set that burned down the Capitol building to make his point.
As a matter of objectivity, it should be pointed out that Scalia’s son worked for the 2000 Republican campaign and that Scalia is a duck-hunting buddy of Dick Cheney whom his vote elected to the Vice Presidency.
The Nazis were book burners and had Nazi youth movements. The Neocons work to prohibit the teaching of science, Darwinian principles of anthropology, because it conflicts with Fundamentalist Christian “theology.” All those who are vehemently against global warming just happen to be from the oil producing states and are big recipients of oil industry money.
The Nazis favored and ultimately practiced sterilization of those it did not want to continue in society. The Neocons withheld foreign aid funds to any country using birth control measures that might help control population growth of over-populated, starving countries. The Neocons contolled the FDA. The FDA would not authorize the sale of the “Plan B” contraceptive, a pill that a woman could take within forty-eight hours of sexual activity and not become pregnant. It is not about eugenics. It is about appeasing the Right Wing Fundamentalist Ecumenical Christian fanatics who vote so heavily and contribute so much to the Party.
The Nazis packed the courts with Nazi Party members. This resulted in “legally” sending men and women to concentration camps for one of any number of generally trumped-up offenses broadly designated as “treasonous.” The Neocons had members of the Right Wing Federalist Society attorneys review the Neocon credentials of Justice Department lawyers and U.S. Attorney appointees. Over 150 law school graduates of one Right Wing religious college and another that was not even totally accredited were hired by the Neocons because of their belief in the Party. During the 2004 political campaign Karl Rove tried to have U.S. Attorneys appointed by the Bush Administration investigate some Democratic political candidates in public to discredit them. When nine refused, they were fired.
This could go on for thousands of more words. The fact is that the Right Wing of the Conservative Party has so many totalitarian similarities to the Nazis, that it is both dismaying and alarming. We may have barely escaped with our freedoms intact. We should never let these liars and fanatics come to power again. Republicans, yes, have a great tradition in this country, but these are not Republicans. These are Neocons, the new more moderate form of Nazi ideology. The comparison is simple. They, like the Nazis, want complete and total political control to benefit the big corporations and their religious and racist members.