Friday, May 20, 2005

Nazis Are Bad

So I’ve been chastised in the past by my comparisons of the Bush administration’s tactics to those of Hitler prior to the holocaust. I recognize that evoking Hitler and/or Nazis is inherently inflammatory and a loaded reference, and this automatically undermines my intended meaning.

With the current Senate impasse, I'm now able to better articulate what I was thinking of by way of the idiotic Senator Santorum (who compared Democrats to Hitler in a bizarre reference to bombing Paris) and Senator Byrd (who spoke of the Nazis as totalitarians and compared their actions to those of the Republicans). This is where my comparison lies, not in the actors but in the state they sought, a totalitarian regime. Thanks to Hullabaloo for the link and helping me to put this in perspective. The following is a quote by Sen. Byrd:

But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that “Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact.” And he succeeded.

Hitler’s originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.

People want to see Hitler as pure evil and beyond the pale so they are inherently reluctant to equate anyone with his reputation as they feel it exaggerates the person being attacked and minimizes the evil of Hitler. This is a fair point. In fact, people who are active in online forums mention how any Internet debates inevitably degenerate into name calling with the argument being lost by the first to resort to calling their opponents Nazis.

So perhaps we should call Nazis totalitarians and point out how they created a totalitarian state.

I could go on and on about the similarities, but the bottom line here is that Totalitarians consolidate power by appearing to act within the rule of law while subverting the rule of law. Saying that the Senate should break the rules in order to enforce the rules shows just the sort of capriciousness that has typified the current Right Wing. The only important rules are the ones that support their worldview.

So what’s the point, don’t believe the rhetoric – these people will not stop until they get their way. The centrists in the Senate are seeking to strike a bargain – whereby 5 of the 7 contested judges would get to serve as long as the Republicans removed the nuclear option from the table. And what do the Young Turks on the Right do? They claim that the fact that we’ll compromise shows that our motivation is solely political and shows the Dems hypocrisy. There are a responsible group of centrists (on both sides) looking for a solution and everyone knows in a compromise both sides sacrifice. But the mainstream on the Right sees weakness in compromise, and try to take advantage of it.

These people want nothing less than control of everything in government, yet they’re savvy enough to know they must use a pretense of legality in order to keep the public pacified. We must deny them the right to use that pretense.


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