Heil to the Chief: Trump’s Nazi problem

By Robert Mann

As anyone who has seen the 1981 film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” understands, you need not be a historian to know Nazis are bad people. It’s right there in one of the movie’s early scenes, when Harrison Ford’s character, Indiana Jones, leans out from his perch and sees the strutting German soldiers below. “Nazis,” he mutters. “I hate these guys.”

Anyone familiar with actual history will recall that much of the civilized world fought a world war to rid the planet of Nazis and their homicidal racism.

That seems to elude President-elect Donald Trump and those around him, one of whom, Steve Bannon, was executive chair of Breitbart News, the leading purveyor of “white ethno-nationalism.” Bannon, soon to be Trump’s chief strategist and on par with the chief of staff, once described his publication as “the platform for the alt-right.”  

“Alt-right” is an anodyne phrase that sounds like the first step in unfreezing your computer. It’s meant to obscure the disgusting beliefs of its adherents. Let’s call these creeps the names that fit them best: racists and neo-Nazis.

If you’ve been reading the news, you have noticed that neo-Nazis are thrilled with Trump’s election. One of their ideological cousins, the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan, says it plans a parade to celebrate Trump’s victory. Spray-painted swastikas and “Heil, Trump” have appeared across the country on homes and churches. There have been many reported acts of violence or harassment aimed at minorities by self-proclaimed Trump supporters.

David Duke, the prominent Louisiana neo-Nazi, is so delighted about Trump’s election he can barely contain his glee. “Make no mistake about it,” Duke wrote, “our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!”

Then there was a triumphant conclave of neo-Nazis in Washington a few days ago. As reported in The New York Times, an alt-right conference convened in a federal building a few blocks from the White House to exult in Trump’s win. Led by Richard B. Spencer, a leading neo-Nazi, the conference featured 11 hours of speeches and panel discussions about the ascendant neo-Nazi movement under a Trump administration.

The Times reporter observed that Spencer “began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the ‘children of the sun,’ a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were ‘awakening to their own identity.’ 

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23 Responses to Heil to the Chief: Trump’s Nazi problem

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    Trump Supporters: You wanted it. You got it. Unfortunately, so did the rest of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. martybankson says:

    The denial among the disaffected who bought his schtick during his campaign is just vocal and indignant now as it was then. “Yeah, but look at the alternative! Yeah, but look at commies! Look at the riots!” Yeah but…yeah but.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eileen Baca says:

    We’ve been waking up this nightmare every morning since November 9th. Will it ever end?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eileen Baca says:

    Sorry. …waking up TO this nightmare…”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jechoisir says:

    I want to ask a straightforward question, and I’d like you to think of it as dispassionately as possible. Does anyone really believe he or the American people need to fear a neo-Nazi uprising in the U.S. today? Do the scattered, anachronistic handsful of David Dukers really present a clear and present danger to Constitutional government in the U.S?

    I never saw the Indiana Jones movies (fear of serpents), but I do know actual history, so let me call your attention to historical precedent. The term “NAZI” is the abbreviation for the first term in the “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” that arose in Germany after WWI in the wake of the treaty that ended that war and the coincided roughly with world-wide economic Depression that hit German worse than it hit the U.S. or other European nations.

    Translated into English, that party is named “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” Detect any terms that remind you of the Left? “Socialist”? “Workers”?

    Of course, Germany was in physical and spiritual disarray after the war because the treaty made in Versailles ending the war required it to give up its great armament plants and even its technological secrets that gave it a critical edge in world markets. It was a vindictive, mean treaty that took away the basic livelihoods of the nation. Always the world’s great dyemaker, for instance, the nation was forced even to share its secrets for the anihiline dyes that produced the pastel colors in fabrics that France, England, and the U.S. had long sought and that had cost them mightily in the textile trade.

    The Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei was, as its name makes clear, a socialist movement, not altogether different from the socialism of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and the Berkeley-to-Seattle set today. Or of the socialism Barack Obama sought to impose via Executive Edicts.

    Like all long-lasting and strong socialistic regimes, the German Workers Party evolved into a tyranny.

    So when he reads those headlines saying the skinhead Nazi numbers have increased by 600 percent, a reasonable person automatically what the original number was. Five? Ten? Certainly a small group, smaller than any weird game-players group. They are folks who have no home in any other organized group—Scouts, church, Kiwanis, political party.

    On the other hand, the screaming mobs seen on television news burning city businesses in the East and in Oakland, Portland, and places in between are bona fide Socialists insulted they did not get their way after 8 years of ascendancy. The babies in the universities of the nation who demand “safe places” are not people fleeing for their lives, like the European Jews of the thirties, but people seeking places where only the ideas to which they they have hitched themselves are tolerated. So offended are they by new and/or different ideas, they run to rooms filled with coloring books, crayons, and motherly figures who issue playdough to the good children. They cannot tolerate any ideas but the ones implanted by chance, environment, or a disconnected university community. Hitler never had it so good as today’s socialist organizers! An infantalized youth group demanding that government provide them tuition, medical care, food, and Newspeak and repressive of all who differ from them.

    I know it doesn’t fit the threadbare chants of The-Nazis-Are-Coming, The-Nazis-Are-Coming, but these and the brain-dead academics who support them are the Nazis of our time. They are anti-intellectual, ideological, averse to reason, and ignorant of history or political thought. Their comrades are members of the press who never question them, who seem unaware that through the centuries state socialism has always started out with repression and ended with repression and dictatorships. Whether they wear jackboots or bergenstocks, whether they meet in bierhalls or Safe Places, they are the ones a federal government ought to worry about. They are the stuff of serious people’s nightmares.

    It strikes me as irresponsible journalism to spend an entire column on the decoys the real Nazi lookalikes throw to the unthinking.

    Come on. THIMPK.

    Like

    • Fredster says:

      The Nazi Party’s precursor, the Pan-German nationalist and anti-Semitic German Workers’ Party, was founded on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s, Adolf Hitler assumed control of the organisation and renamed it the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP) to broaden its appeal. The National Socialist Program, adopted in 1920, called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to Jews or those of Jewish descent, while also supporting land reform and the nationalisation of some industries. In Mein Kampf, written in 1924, Hitler outlined the antisemitism and anti-communism at the heart of his political philosophy, as well as his disdain for parliamentary democracy and his belief in Germany’s right to territorial expansion

      The majority of scholars identify Nazism in practice as a form of far-right politics

      Like

      • jechoisir says:

        Fredster, I’m afraid a rose by any other name is still a rose. A party that “[supports] land reform and the nationalization of some [?] industries” is certainly headed into socialism if it is not already socialist. I read German, and I’ve read “Mein Kampf,” and even in 1923-4, Hitler was preaching confiscation of lands for state use and the state control of the major economic means of the Germany that would be enlarged by what he called “true” German territories and the lands of groups like the Jews and Czechs. His opposition to communism was driven by his ethnic grievances more than by any real philosophic differences. Hitler was smoking the Nietze and Wagner pipes is all. If you will read even a smattering of German news reporting of the late twenties and thirties, you will see the creation of a socialistic economic and political system. Those steel barons served at the pleasure of the state. Confiscation of economic means of production, including land, is a key step in the development of socialism. His Jews were Stalin’s Georgians (In fact, I believe Stalin killed more Georgians than Hit killed Jews). So I feel comfortable taking “Nationalsozialistische” as a factual description of the government proposed.

        To dismiss those “snowflakes” is, I submit, a serious error. Why do you think they came out in droves for Bernie Sanders, who temporarily gave up his socialist card for that of Democrat, the better to pull the party to the Left, my dear? What created them does not matter. What shaped them was Barack Obama’s 8 years of Orwellian Newspeak, identity politics, and hostility to the traditions of American government and cultural values that underpin the U.S. Constitution. Look at their language. Listen to their chants. Their vast ignorance and self-infantilization provide the critical mass Hitler found in German workers.

        I don’t care who calls Hitler or Stalin a member of “the Right.” If we assume modern conservatism, which starts with Burke and includes part of 19th-century Liberalism, is the opposite to socialism, we will be accurate.

        Like

    • Stephen Winham says:

      I agree with Fredster. It is intellectually dishonest to even imply that Hitler was a true socialist or that socialism is at the root of all repressive regimes.

      The people you describe as what I call “snowflakes” are a product of larger societal changes over the past several decades as more and more middle class children in the U. S. are shielded by their parents from the harsh realities of life and lack the ability to cope with them. It doesn’t help that these protected children often grow up to be low paid workers who could not afford to be self-sufficient even if they tried because they lack the ability and/or ambition to be financially self-sufficient. That is hardly socialism by anybody’s definition, but it is dependency.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fredster says:

        Stephen I also meant to add the link to what I put in my reply. It was from the wiki article on National Socialism. I was in a hurry and forgot to add the link.

        Like

      • jechoisir says:

        Mr. Winham, I can only suggest you study history closely. The two great political movements of the 20th century were German socialism (Nazi) and Communism. Both began as socialist propositions and were argued and put forward as socialist movements. Both were based on the grand abstractions that people must be made to share the resources and products of the nation equally. Read Mein Kampf and Das Kapital, the writings of the Trotskyites and all the theorists who supported Nationalsozialistische. They are all abstractionists, which makes them pretty useless and eve more boring. But they are clear about their purposes. I’ve read all this stuff, translated more, and while I won’t pretend to know what Hitler’s “real purpose” was (you and Wikipedia seem to know that), I can tell you what he and those who surrounded him wrote and said. These two grand experiments were the ruin of Europe and Eurasia. They accounted for barbarism that we see even today as Russia bombs children’s orphanages and hospitals in Turkey. I’ll tell you who sounds a lot like Hitler—Huey Long in his book “Every Man a King.” But until you have good evidence, don’t tell me I am intellectually dishonest, sir.

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    • martybankson says:

      Examine how easy it was for you, M. jechoisir, to brand everything from welfare state capitalism to executive orders to post-election riots as socialism; and everyone from El Warren to Hitler to Sanders and Obama as socialists (though none of them are). You might then better appreciate how easy it would be to call “Nazi” the foundation of a uniquely American neo-fascism that seems to have many of its elements now in place buttressed by a population all a-gaga with an authoritarian who claims to be the sole solution to everything. I think you are on record here as recognizing Trump as a poor choice, as well as Clinton.
      Have you had a change of heart, or just believe he will work out if given a chance, because he really isn’t that person we all thought he was?

      Like

      • jechoisir says:

        No, Mr. Bankston, no change of heart, through almost cautiously optimistic when I see appointments like K.T. McFarland, Betsy DeVoss, and Jeff Sessions. But what I think about Mr Trump or Mrs. Clinton has no bearing on the spectre Mr. Mann raised of a serious white-supremacist, neo-Nazi uprising in the nation. That he had to look past the fires in Oakland, Philly, Chicago, and Portland and the identity of people who are actually rioting, destroying building and autos, and threatening police and laws of the land suggests an agenda to me. And one that is by now so hackneyed, the editorial would write itself.

        Please understand I was not name-calling when I called Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, President Obama, and Hitler socialists. Two are self-declared, and Elizabeth Warren has repeatedly declared socialism better than what she calls “the system we currently have.” Look at what they say they believe and what they support, not at the name they give their movement. And if they knew the word, I feel certain those college students in crying rooms and safe places, would self-identify as socialists, given their own demands for free education and all that goes with that and their specific complains. Barney has left the party, but many in the party have not left him.

        And I do worry about them and their organizers and the professors who encourage their ignorance and self-infantilization I worry at their repressiveness. As I said, jack boots or bergenstocks, it’s the behaviors that matter.

        Today I received an email from a friend in Berkeley who is a Democrat who does not beat around the bush about her belief in European socialism. She is Jewish and lesbian and has told me in the past that she is actually afraid when she finds herself in places like Nebraska or Kansas or Indiana. She means it. So little does she know anyone outside that hermetically sealed LGBT+++ crowd in Berkley that she imagines people in Lincoln, Nebraska, or Bloomington, Indiana, might harm her. Now, mind you, no one in the heartland has even spoken rudely to her (she attributes this to the code of manners impressed upon the rubes), let alone pushed threatening notes under her hotel room doors or shouted her down when she addresses a group.

        I had written her, wishing her well in a business division-of-assets situation. I had also said I knew the election had been a cause of concern to her, but so far things looked better than anticipated. I reminded her I had given Obama a year, despite my knowing his every tendency ran counter to mine. I was not exactly Mary Poppins, closer to Eeyore dressed up like Mary Poppins, but I sought to encourage her. In reply, she reminded me that even the mention of the “political situation” caused her blood pressure to rise and made her physically ill. I must understand that mere mention of the situation was unbearable fto her.

        I’m sure she was the same person, only increased by degree, when she left University of Michigan and moved to San Franciso. She does let herself think of the peons in the flyover zone. She refuses to contemplate any idea other than one that has come out of the LBGT-Berkley click. Barringer, these safe kids will become ideologues like her, people who are so limited that they are prey to the revolutionaries. They exist in masses. They are the ones who will key your car or burn your business down. They are the ones who will not let your children use regular English in school, who will fall prey to anyone who comes along. These are the folks who deserve our concern, for their numbers, their ignorance, and their repression makes them dangerous. imho

        Like

      • Stephen Winham says:

        With reference to an entirely different group of people, I can only mirror jechoisir’s final words, slightly modified, as follows:

        “the ones..who will fall prey to anyone who comes along. These are the folks who deserve our concern, for their numbers, their ignorance, and their repression makes them dangerous. imho”

        Like

      • jechoisir says:

        Errata:sentence 2, last paragraph should read “she does not let herself think….”

        Like

  6. martybankson says:

    Much better: eliminating the nonsensical phrase “who will not let your children use normal [sic] English in school” was an improvement by itself, never mind the correct identification of the object.

    Like

  7. jechoisir says:

    Mr. Winham, thank you for calling my attention to this writer, and I’m delighted to know he is in North Louisiana and teaching.

    Second, it is not a given, but an opinion that the column is characterized by “general lack of professionalism and credibility.” That is your opinion, and you must support it to make it worthy of consideration.

    “For decades, fact and logic have discredited liberalism as an ideology that validly understands the way the world works. This leaves its adherents only raw emotion on which to justify their beliefs. To stay in power, Democrats have exploited this in describing their opponents’ agenda with a number of visceral tropes that bear no resemblance to reality: a “war on women,” the return of Jim Crow, pogroms against homosexuals, exploitation of the masses, etc. Scare tactics, not reasoned discourse, became their main strategy to mobilize support.” —–I agree with the premise stated in this paragraph, and like the writer, can support the genralizations. Do you really need evidence?

    It is superior to this column if only in that it expresses serious thought and ideas developed in a reasonable way. Why don’t you reread it? And then look around you. Even Democrats are discussing how they have been led astray.

    BUT do you know that Mr. Mann’s column re the danger of the kluxers, et al looks very much like one a Democratic Party Foundation recently sent to all wire services and particularly to Democrats and Liberals in the press? This group is now collecting funds to instruct liberal journalists in topics to cover. Tthe first topic is—hold your breath—-the danger of the right-wing neo-Nazis, Kluxers, and similar groups that cannot get a quorum to their meetings!!! Canned thought. Imagine that. Instructing journalists, providing topics and cheat sheets, right down to phrases that will be useful in “enlightening” the unenlightened. Only today a major news agency interviewed its head, and she saw nothing wrong with her mission—-to tighten the bond and better guide the liberal media on ways to oppose Donald Trump.

    Incidentally, I don’t owe you an answer to any question outside the context of this article.

    Like

    • Stephen Winham says:

      Articulate as always, however, I once again find little with which to agree.

      I gave up lobbying The ADVOCATE to eliminate Professor Sadow’s column some time ago. I believe the clear bias and cherry picking of “facts” he employs are beyond the pale of honest journalism and more fitting in venues overtly promoting an agenda, for example: http://thehayride.com/ – a site you may follow and/or enjoy.

      Bill Maher recently said there are 2 positives about the elections – Our country will likely become less politically correct and we will take a more serious and vigorous approach to fighting terrorism. It would be hard to find a harsher critic of Donald Trump, but he and one of his opposite numbers, Glenn Beck, recently apologized for engaging in needlessly hot rhetoric that further divided our country.

      There are so many conspiracy theories like the one you cite out there, we have to each judge their merits based on our personal philosophies and experiences. I don’t buy into the one you have presented. I have seen similarly flavored theories about conspiracies in which Republicans/conservatives are engaged – some seem to make sense, others not so much. I do see merit in a shocking theory recently published in the L. A. Times and supported by evidence I considered credible that Lee Harvey Oswald’s target was actually John Connally and that he actually admired JFK. So many theories, so little time…

      I don’t quite understand your last sentence, but that’s okay.

      Like

      • jechoisir says:

        Mr. Winham, that guy in Columbus, Ohio—the Somali fellow—-reckon he was connected with a white supremacist cell? I bet so!

        I “theorize” that because one of the numerous terrorist attacks on U.S. or European soil in the past three years was made by a white supremacist, though of course, he was a loner. Wonder what the odds are that I am correct about the OSU fellow?

        Please try to understand this: the names and political framework of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterparte and the Soviet Socialist Republic are not theoretical. I did not submit a “theory.” I submitted a fact. Period.

        Now, you may reason about that fact as you please. But the two major repressive political dictatorships of the 20th century grew out of socialistic theorizing and were put forward and were set up on paper as socialistic governments.

        Like

  8. Stephen Winham says:

    “Imagine that. Instructing journalists, providing topics and cheat sheets, right down to phrases that will be useful in “enlightening” the unenlightened. Only today a major news agency interviewed its head, and she saw nothing wrong with her mission—-to tighten the bond and better guide the liberal media on ways to oppose Donald Trump.”

    That is the conspiracy to which my last comment was directed, not that it matters.

    Like

    • martybankson says:

      “Instructing journalists…” I would love to see some credible evidence for this. Is it something like this claim?http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/27/politics/donald-trump-voter-fraud-popular-vote/

      Mr. Mann, were you “instructed” to write this piece?

      I would also posit that Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei was as close to socialism as the DDR was to democracy. Hitler may have toyed with this idea because it was popular at the time and bought him some political capital, but any resemblance to the spirit of socialism went off the rails quickly after assuming power. Marxists, Trotskyists and other socialists know that socialism is not a national, but an international movement. Hitler jailed socialists and communists. Hitler did not nationalize capitalist industries. Socialism emphasized (economic) class divisions; nazism emphasized racial division.

      Like

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