Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A Little Down Today

 No big deal, just a little down.

Stories like this kind of kill me inside a piece at a time. Ezra Klein (New York Times podcaster) is speaking with Anne Applebaum today. They are discussing a book by Hannah Arendt. This is out of the blurb:

Arendt writes of entire populations who “had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.” She describes “the masses’ escape from reality” as “a verdict against the world in which they are forced to live and in which they cannot exist.” She points out that in societies riddled with elite hypocrisy, “it seemed revolutionary to admit cruelty, disregard of human values, and general amorality, because this at least destroyed the duplicity upon which the existing society seemed to rest.”


This is Hannah Arendt's words from1951 in a book called "The Origins of Totalitarianism". 1951!

 She was writing about Germany and Russia, circa 1930s and 1940s. For a moment let me pull back and say, I do not think Republicans circa 2022 are the same as Nazi's circa 1930s.

BUT, the trajectory is very similar. This is from Wikipedia:

...the Nazi Party might never have come to power had it not been for the Great Depression and its effects on Germany. By 1930, the German economy was beset with mass unemployment and widespread business failures. The Social Democrats and Communists were bitterly divided and unable to formulate an effective solution: this gave the Nazis their opportunity and Hitler's message, blaming the crisis on the Jewish financiers and the Bolsheviks, resonated with wide sections of the electorate. At the September 1930 Reichstag elections, the Nazis won 18% of the votes and became the second-largest party in the Reichstag after the Social Democrats.

I see a similar process playing out here. The National Socialists were not a dominate force in Germany politics, until the people were frustrated - even then, no more that 20% of the population supported them when they established a national regime. Again, I am NOT saying Republicans are Nazis, but we must learn from history. When a minority group takes over a government, the only method they have to stay in power is becoming mush less democratic, but still selling it as a democracy.

I think this same dynamic, is being played out similarly in the United States. And, it is worse here because we have ubiquitous media landscape - which was not the case before - of which many are constantly broadcasting scary news about whites being replaced, Democrats being pedophiles and killers, and corporations and schools indoctrinating children. On top of that, layer a Republican party that is less concerned with actual opinions and more concerned with power to force their views on the rest of us.

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