Another short post today, but an important one. Well, important in my opinion that is, and I can only hope you agree ;-) I'd like to shortly address a common misconception I regularly come across in modern political discourse, a misconception that has been cultivated over many decades, a misconception that could explain a lot of why in so many democracies so many people vote against their own interests...
It is the irrational fear for anything to do with socialism or communism that I want to address today. Every time the "S"-word is mentioned, scores of people immediately think about Stalin, Hitler and the likes. Jordan Peterson is famous for this, as is the "cool kid's philosopher", Ben Shapiro, Sargon of Akkad and almost all other right wing pundits I know of, and many on the left too, it has to be said. Funny detail: Jordan Peterson declined a debate with socialist professor of economics Richard Wolff. Peterson, like too many others, points to Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia in his popular defense of the capitalist status quo. Socialism, wherever and whenever it showed its ugly face, has failed miserably, he argues. And Peterson is wrong, like too many others.
I don't know what mental gymnastics are necessary to be able to believe that Hitler was a socialist, only that I'm not capable of such gymnastics. Or maybe that's not fair to say because, like I implied at the start, people who do believe that, are being fed that ludicrous idea by decades of relentless propaganda, propaganda that started with Hitler himself. In the 1920s and 1930s, when the German's Workers' Party grew and finally got renamed under Hitler to the National Socialist German Workers' Party, socialism was still a thing and popular among workers who only recently saw workers' rights and wages taken seriously. One other thing to really understand is that Hitler was well aware of the power of language, and that he used that power very well by raising the bar on propaganda significantly.
What Hitler did, was to capitalize on socialism's popularity, and replace the Marxist ideology with his own fascist ideology. He's famously quoted as saying "I'm going to take back Socialism from the Socialists!" Hitler's misappropriation of the term "socialism" as well as Stalin's and Mao's and Pol Pot's, has consequently been used by capitalist propaganda to scare people away from anything even slightly related to Marxist theory. When it comes to Stalin, they make it sound as if he genuinely tried to implement Marx' ideas of real workers' ownership of the means of production, but that the scale of his economy demanded authoritarian and central planning of the economy. Which is nonsense of course; Stalin was as big a fascist as Hitler was.
Hitler allied himself with leaders of German conservative and nationalist movements, and in January 1933 German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed him chancellor. Hitler's Third Reich had been born, and it was entirely fascist in character. Within two months Hitler achieved full dictatorial power through the Enabling Act. In April 1933 communists, socialists, democrats, and Jews were purged from the German civil service, and trade unions were outlawed the following month. That July Hitler banned all political parties other than his own, and prominent members of the German Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps. Lest there be any remaining questions about the political character of the Nazi revolution, Hitler ordered the murder of Gregor Strasser, an act that was carried out on June 30, 1934, during the Night of the Long Knives. Any remaining traces of socialist thought in the Nazi Party had been extinguished.
source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
I don't believe it's easy to find a greater adversary of all Marx's ideas than Adolf Hitler in all of human history. To say or believe that Hitler was a socialist, that Nazi Germany was even remotely aligned to socialist principles, is ludicrous. Jordan Peterson is either ignorant, lying or misleading on this topic, as are all others who maintain this propaganda. There's a real danger that Americans will again vote against their own best interests in 2020, because their best candidate is Bernie Sanders in my opinion. But he labels himself a Social Democrat, which is kind of misleading in itself as his proposed policies are Democratic Socialist in nature, much like the essentially capitalist Nordic countries... But regardless, there's that "S"-word, which in my opinion could scare away many voters who won't even look at his proposals after seeing that word...
One of the best ways to understand what fascism really is, comes from Mussolini. He said something like: "fascism is when the power of industry becomes the power of the state," implying that fascism is the same as a plutocracy, when the power of large corporations becomes indistinguishable from political power, not much unlike what we experience now all over the western hemisphere. In other words, if the parallels aren't enough to convince you yet; when countries become managed instead of governed, when they're treated as a business instead of a democracy, when the governing is done in an authoritarian, top-down manner, like in a business... Especially when the rhetoric starts including strong nationalist sentiments, true fascism is but a few steps away. And this is ultimately the "why" behind today's short post; when a large section of the population simply doesn't understand what fascism is, or what socialism is, or what capitalism is for that matter, they won't recognize (encroaching) fascism when it knocks on the door. I hate to have to do this, but I'll give a quote by Trump, from a recent interview he had with Breitbart News Network:
"So here's the thing-it's so terrible what's happening. You know, the left plays a tougher game, it's very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump - I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough - until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."
source: USA Today
That sounds like: "Watch it buddy! I'm bigger and stronger than you are, and you're lucky I've been able to constrain myself so far. But don't push it!" Words matter, and the words from the POTUS matter even more. Of course, he said nothing wrong here, his defenders would say; he's just saying that if leftist protesters, like Antifa for example, commit violent crimes, the police and military will simply do their jobs. Or something irrelevant like that. What matters here is not that the police will do their jobs no matter who compels them to do so, that should be obvious to anyone. It's the implication that the police are on HIS side specifically, that should make the hairs in your neck stand up. It's the silent message to protesters on the right, often violent when on the far right, that he has their back. It's that this reeks of the appropriation of the state's right to use violence by a political ideology. That it reeks of fascism.
I hope no one takes this personally; I'm not saying that if you voted for Trump that you are therefore a fascist. I am however of the opinion that you voted against your own best interests if you're not in the same social class as Trump, and against the best interests of America and against the best interests of the rest of the world. What complicates this even further, is that a vote for Clinton would have been equally... unwanted shall we say. I truly hope that there will be a better choice in your next election cycle, like a Bernie Sanders, or even Elizabeth Warren (but really Bernie Sanders). If Biden gets the Democratic nomination, you will once again have no real choice...
Also if you voted for Geert Wilders in The Netherlands or Boris Johnson in England, the same applies in my opinion. But the propaganda has been relentless; I've even seen and heard a commentator during a baseball game pause from the sports, to dedicate a couple of minutes to pointing out how socialism has failed Venezuela the moment a Venezuelan player stepped up to bat. And Venezuela has a big government, yes, but is a far cry from a socialist country. And it's during a baseball game for Pete's sake... Watch the linked video for yet another example of how socialism is routinely demonized and shamelessly misconstrued for propaganda purposes, and how propaganda works, in the words of Hitler himself.
Hmmm... Not as short as I aimed for... Sorry for the misleading introduction, dear reader, and for ranting on longer than promised...
Rep. Mo Brooks Quotes Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' To Slam Democrats, Media | NBC News
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