Cheap Seats 2020
Of Austrian Corporals - 02/19
By Rich Trzupek
Can’t remember who came up with it, but there’s a rule of discourse that goes something like this: Whenever someone plays the Hitler card in the course of a discussion they have effectively admitted defeat, or at least admitted to their inability to form addition rational arguments with which to support their position.
There are a few – very few – examples of cases where a despot lives down to the Austrian corporal’s standards. Stalin and Mao are obvious choices. Both murdered millions more than der Fuhrer, albeit their motivations were much more about ideology and control than racial purity. Pol Pot certainly qualifies. Robert Mugabe too. Not too many others me thinks.
It has been famously said that the public’s collective memory extends no longer than the past 72 hours. Sadly, I believe that truism is applicable more often than not. Too many of us, of all political affiliations, have little or no understanding of history.
It saddens me to see roughly half of my generation of boomers incapable or unwilling to dispassionately compare and contrast where we have been with where we are. We were, for example, eye-witnesses to the great civil rights struggles of the ‘60s, yet so many boomers eagerly devalue the tremendous accomplishments of Parks, King and the Selma marchers by pretending that hucksters like Al Sharpton and anarchist groups like Black Lives Matter are fighting the same battle.
Progressives have now reached the bottom of the bottom of the “dump-Trump” barrel: He’s Hitler! Alec Baldwin, Roger Waters, MSNBC, many Dem politicians have taken up the call. It’s a political rule-of-thumb: If you can’t use fantasies of Russian collusion or Ukrainian delusions to overturn results of an election you don’t like, then go all in with Hitler substitutions. Why the hell not?
One strongly suspects that most millennials and beyond don’t have the institutional knowledge of who Hitler actually was and what he actually did - knowledge that me and (maybe half ?) of my fellow boomers still possess and are able to process.
Hitler’s murderous Third Reich was all about absolute state control. They put the “Socialist” in the National Socialist German Workers Party, a group of thugs who pushed the socialist ideal to its logical conclusions, ironically forcing pseudo-intellectual progressives ever since to preach that the Nazis were far-right, when they were in fact as far-left in theory and practice as were their fellow mass-murdering champion regimes under Stalin and Mao.
So, if you’re in your forties or younger and would like to know about what Hitler and the Nazis were actually all about, run (do not walk) to your nearest information provider and purchase a copy of William Shirer’s incomparable “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”
Shirer was both a journalist and a liberal in an era where both terms actually meant something. He personally witnessed Hitler’s rise to power. His thoughtful, incisive record of those events are an invaluable tool to anyone interested in separating history from hyperbole.
Let’s examine some of the actual horrors of Nazi rule. I will leave it to you, dear reader, to consider how closely those abuses mirror the supposed depredations of the current administration.
Suppression of a Free Press: In the Third Reich, opposition points of view were not tolerated. That did not mean the der Fuhrer would tweet out a snarky response to a story he didn’t care for. That meant that the offending media outlet would be shut down and the owners/operators of the outlet would be bundled up and sent to a concentration or extermination camp.
Elimination of Opposition: In the Third Reich it was pretty easy to ensure the election of Nazi party candidates during “free” elections: No other candidates were allowed. The Nazis didn’t use their position of power to win elections, they used it to eradicate any possible value of the electoral process.
Mass Murder – Racial Variety: The Nazis took racial discrimination to a whole new level, at least in terms of what is acceptable in modern times. They didn’t merely prohibit immigration of “undesirable” Jews, Gypsies and Slavs into their precious Third Reich, nor did they simply deport those damn non-Arayans. Instead, they rounded them up and figured out ways to murder them ever more efficiently. (Note: This group includes both my relatives (Slavs) and my step-son’s relatives (Gypsies), so – yeah – it’s kind of personal).
Religious Freedom: Adolf was born a Catholic, but despite the desperate efforts of many a revisionist historian, he never even pretended to behave like a devout Catholic during his reign. National Socialism was the official and only tolerated state religion during der Fuhrer’s years. No portion of Nazi theology could be criticized. For purposes of discussion, we must point out that there is a significant difference between the terms “only tolerated” and “portions of which are criticized” when it comes to how ruling bodies view different religions and diversity. The former is hardly consistent with a free society, while the latter surely is.
We could go on. And on. And on. The Hitler analogy never holds up, much less in 2020 than the ridiculous Karl Marx analogy held up in 2012. My message to those who will likely not vote as I do in the coming election is the same as those who voted as I did in 2012: Grow up. If you can’t find a way to cast your vote without basing your decision on anger and hyperbole, you might want to think about not voting at all.