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Nazis Then, Nazis Now-- Brutal, Violent, Steeped In Bigotry And Ignorance

Trump’s latest indictment, reported the NY Times over the weekend, “unleashed a wave of calls by his supporters for violence and an uprising to defend him, disturbing observers and raising concerns of a dangerous atmosphere ahead of his court appearance in Miami on Tuesday. In social media posts and public remarks, close allies of Trump— including a member[s] of Congress— have portrayed the indictment as an act of war, called for retribution and highlighted the fact that much of his base carries weapons. The allies have painted Trump as a victim of a weaponized Justice Department controlled by President Biden, his potential opponent in the 2024 election. The calls to action and threats have been amplified on right-wing media sites and have been met by supportive responses from social media users and cheers from crowds, who have become conditioned over several years by Trump and his allies to see any efforts to hold him accountable as assaults against him.”

Experts on political violence warn that attacks against people or institutions become more likely when elected officials or prominent media figures are able to issue threats or calls for violence with impunity. The pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was drawn to Washington in part by a post on Twitter from Trump weeks earlier, promising that it would be “wild.”
… Political violence experts say that even if aggressive language by high-profile individuals does not directly end in physical harm, it creates a dangerous atmosphere in which the idea of violence becomes more accepted, especially if such rhetoric is left unchecked.
“So far, the politicians who have used this rhetoric to inspire people to violence have not been held accountable,” said Mary McCord, a former senior Justice Department official who has studied the ties between extremist rhetoric and violence. “Until that happens, there’s little deterrent to using this type of language.”
The language used by some right-wing media figures was more stark… “Rhetoric like this has consequences,” said Timothy Heaphy, the lead investigator for the select House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and Trump’s efforts to remain in the White House after his presidency. “People who we interviewed for the Jan. 6 investigation said they came to the Capitol because politicians and the president told them to be there. Politicians think that when they say things it’s just rhetoric, but people listen to it and take it seriously. In this climate politicians need to realize this and be more responsible.”

The threats have been pervasive, including from public figures.

• Arizona neo-Nazi Congressman Andy Biggs: “Eye for an eye.”

• Louisiana neo-Nazi Congressman Clay Higgins tweeted instructions to fellow Oath Keepers and 3 Percenters

• Unhinged coke fiend and Trump family hooker Kimberly Guilfoyle: “Retribution is coming.”

• Arizona MAGA gubernatorial loser Kari Lake (directly threatening Joe Biden by name): “If you want to get to President Trump, you are going to have go through me, and you are going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me. And I’m going to tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA.”

• Hate talk radio host Pete Santilli said if he were the commandant of the Marine Corps, he would order “every single Marine” to grab President Biden, “throw him in freakin’ zip ties in the back of a freakin’ pickup truck,” and “get him out of the White House.” One of his guests then advocated shooting Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol, the notion that a civil war was drawing near was prevalent in right-wing circles. Extremist leaders like Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers militia, and Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of the Proud Boys, often rallied their groups with incendiary references to the cleansing violence of the American Revolution. Both men have been convicted of sedition in connection with the Capitol attack.
More broadly, on far-right websites, people shared tactics and techniques for attacking the building and discussed building gallows and trapping lawmakers in tunnels there.
…“This. Means. War,” the Gateway Pundit, a pro-Trump outlet wrote at the time, setting the tone for others. Hours later, Joe Kent, a Trump-endorsed House candidate in Washington State, went on a podcast run by Stephen Bannon, Trump’s onetime political adviser, and declared, “This just shows everyone what many of us have been saying for a very long time. We’re at war.”
Indeed, within days of the heated language that followed the search of Mar-a-Lago, an Ohio man armed with a semiautomatic rifle tried to breach the FBI field office near Cincinnati and wound up killed in a shootout with the local police.”

And, once again, Nazi politician Joe Kent is running for the Republican congressional nomination in southwest Washington. And he may win this time, since the unknown Democrat who narrowly beat him in 2022, has proven to be a nearly insupportable politician herself— and the district is overwhelmingly red— with an R+11 partisan lean. Over the weekend, Foreign Affairs republished a piece from April 1940, The Problem Child of Europe, by Dorothy Thompson, the first American journalist to be expelled from Germany on Adolf Hitler’s order (1934). “I was in Germany when the 1933 Nazi revolution occurred. I remember standing with a fellow-journalist on the Grosse Stern in Berlin in April of 1933, watching a regiment of Storm Troopers march by,” she wrote. “One thought, ‘Where, in heaven’s name, did these people come from?’”

In introducing the article, the editor wrote this week, no doubt with Trump and his MAGAts in mind, that when it was originally published, the Germans were just weeks away from invading Western Europe and that “the Nazis were reaching the peak of their powers, but Thompson recalled they hadn’t always appeared so formidable. As parts of German society were radicalized by Hitler, she remembered feeling a sense of pity. ‘A madman is a sad spectacle,’ she wrote. She didn’t take Hitler very seriously, either. ‘One dismissed him, still clinging to the concept of normal, not wondering what might happen if such a man, surrounded by others with a capacity for organization, should come to the surface in a society which shared his own symptoms, a society which was also frustrated and sick.’… The Nazi regime, she warned, had emerged from ‘a kind of psychological vacuum from which all values had been obliterated,’ a ‘belief in nothing’ that posed the greatest danger the West had ever faced.’”

When you read what Thompson had to say, imagine you’re reading about Trump and Bannon, Joe Kent, Kari Lake, Andy Biggs, Pete Santilli, Andy Biggs, Clay Higgins, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Enrique Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes.


When a drastic revolution occurs in a society the change in atmosphere and behavior is so overwhelming that one cannot believe one’s eyes and ears. This is not the society with which one was familiar, the place where one felt so much at home. The old society had a face which one knew and trusted. Suddenly it is gone. Another face is there— a strange, foreign face. One thinks, “This is a nightmare.” One closes one’s eyes and pinches oneself, naively expecting that with another look the distorted vision will have passed, and the old familiar face will be there again. The first impression which a revolution gives anyone not a part of it is that it will certainly pass, and almost immediately. One says to oneself, comfortingly, “These people are not like that! I have known them for years!
This attitude greatly contributes to the success and expansion of the revolution. For even the classes and groups hostile to it lend it collaboration, in the optimistic certainty that it is not really representative. This is inevitable, because all groups and individuals who have long enjoyed social power consider themselves, and themselves alone, as representative. They have a complacent conviction they can “handle” the situation. They need merely enter the revolutionary ranks, and in a short time the features of the revolution will conform to their own features. For our face, they argue, is the “true” face of this society.
The powers about to be dispossessed feel also that they enjoy an advantage in occupying a defensive position. They are fighting on home soil, against invaders. And actually, a drastic revolution does resemble a foreign invasion. I was in Germany when the 1933 Nazi revolution occurred. I remember standing with a fellow-journalist on the Grosse Stern in Berlin in April of 1933, watching a regiment of Storm Troopers march by. Their feet beat the ground rhythmically, their faces were grim, and in short, sharp barks they were repeating with a horrible monotony, “Judah Verrecke! Judah Verrecke!”— left, right— “Judah Verrecke!”— the cry giving the tact to their march. The sight of several thousand grown-up Germans marching in broad daylight to the words “Perish the Jews” seemed almost funny. One had, of course, seen these Storm Troopers marching before, but not in this manner of complete confidence. They had been mavericks, no more representative than the Christian Front in this country— merely more numerous. “Crazy people,” was the usual comment, “when times are hard some people get like that.”
Of course, what had happened was that a numerous but hitherto invisible class had risen to the surface. One thought, “Where, in heaven’s name, did these people come from? “Yet possibly that man there had waited on you in the restaurant the night before; perhaps that one was the concierge who had unlocked the door to usher you to the elevator in a friend’s house; that boy may have delivered the groceries in the morning. Hitherto they had been anonymous, the anonymous and indistinguishable mass. Suddenly they were very visible indeed. But still, one thought— or more accurately, felt— they are not representative. “They can’t last.”
By and by one begins to discern in the strange new mass-face of a revolutionized society certain familiar features. But they are distorted almost beyond recognition. One then has a feeling that society has gone insane. This realization is accompanied by a feeling of pity. A madman is a sad spectacle. Pity also assists the “madman.” One must not treat the revolution too roughly. A revolution is like an hysterical woman. The best thing is to give her her way until she snaps back into normalcy. Normalcy, of course, is the previous society, the society to which one belongs oneself. One still feels sovereign and superior.
The Nazi revolution was assisted by this attitude, and the person of Adolf Hitler helped to cultivate it. The psychopathy of Hitler is obvious, and the Nazi revolution was made in his image. To the candid eye he is immediately inferior. Above all, of inferior race and breeding. His fulminations about the great superior Germanic, Nordic or Aryan race brought a smile to the humorous lips of any handsome, virile Jew. “Is this the face to launch a thousand ships in a race war?” one bantered.
It would have been more pertinent to inquire why this person had acquired such power over the masses. Clearly, he was a frustrated and even sick individual. Even a layman’s eye diagnosed some pituitary disturbance, some masculine deficiency. The Leader of Men is not at all a masculine type. Then, all his talk about the masses being like a Woman; his treatment of audiences—brutalizing and seductive, and culminating in orgiastic outbursts that were distinctly uncomfortable and embarrassing to the detached spectator. What frustrations must be in this man, one thought— so sensitive, so cruel, so weak, and so aggressive! And those fantastic characters around him— perverts and adventurers, frustrated intellectuals who could not hold a job on any good newspaper or get their plays produced or their books published. And his own background— “Lumpen-proletariat”— not even a casualty of the economic depression; one of the permanent class of unemployables, caught up briefly into the common adventure of war, taking refuge the rest of the time in a dream-world; a man whom nobody “understood,” full of envy, furtive hatred, frustrated creative power.
One dismissed him, still clinging to the concept of “normal,” not wondering what might happen if such a man, surrounded by others with a capacity for organization, should come to the surface in a society which shared his own symptoms, a society which was also frustrated and sick. “Can the blind lead the blind?” is an open question. Do not societies make gods in their own images? The tendency of history to employ disreputable characters is lost sight of in “normal” times.
A psychopath is a person unable to exercise conscious discipline over his unconscious urges. A drunkard achieves release from inhibitions by means of a stimulant. But all psychopaths and all drunkards do not behave in the same way. Nothing comes out of the released unconscious that is not there. Some men are aggressive when they are drunk, and some are amorous; some are garrulous, and some morose. Many go crazy, but not everybody goes crazy in the same way.
Release from the inhibitions and disciplines imposed by habit, tradition, reason, and fear comes also in dreams. Freud says, “Tell me what you dream and I will tell you what you are.” It would seem that not only individuals but whole societies have an unconscious life, a dream life, which differs from the unconscious and dream life of other societies. A revolution releases the unconscious; it destroys inhibitions. The result is a caricature of the society, as an individual in a psychopathic state is an aberration of himself and no one else: as a drunk is a caricature of himself sober.
And so, gradually, one comes to observe in the distorted Nazi face of Germany certain familiar German features. The face is more representative than we thought in the first shock of surprise. The patient will be quieter one of these days; this is certainly not his permanent condition; he will recover. But meanwhile he has revealed more of himself than he ever would have shown us, sober. It is worth watching this society released from its inhibitions. For we hope to live on good terms with it when it is well again, if we are well ourselves. And we shall understand it better hereafter.
But we have also had an opportunity to watch revolutionary developments in an urbanized middle-class society in the twentieth century. In the distorted features of this case we can discern more than German features. The behavior is not German only; it is, in many ways, twentieth century. Let us try to separate two sets of symptoms: symptoms peculiar to Homo Germanicus, and symptoms somewhat characteristic of all decaying middle-class society. We may learn something from both.

By all means, read Thompson’s entire 1940 essay here. And keep in mind there’s a good reason we keep asking you to help elect people like Lucas Kunce to replace people like Josh Hawley. Thompson warned then that “One cannot avoid recognizing that the West confronts the greatest danger in her whole history.” In 1940 she was talking about Hitler and his movement. Today she would be writing about Trump and DeSantis and theirs.


Jun 12, 2023



Jun 12, 2023

"Experts on political violence warn that attacks against people or institutions become more likely when elected officials or prominent media figures are able to issue threats or calls for violence with impunity."

They become inevitable when they've happened before, several times, and nobody ever did "merrick garland" about it.

Your implication that electing more democraps will be a remedy has been proved to be inane by history. you had the 2009 supermajorities and "president", but they *did* nothing. you had slick willie's admin, but they only served to further the nazis' socioeconomic revolution. you have the biden/democrap debacle now who have also *done* "merrick garland" for over 2 years AND managed to lose any temporary/illusory control of both chambers. W…

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