May 24 2017

NORMALIZING AUTHORITARIANISM IN THE U.S.A.

If you do not believe that the U.S.A. has slipped further into an authoritarian state, this ARTICLE will open your eyes to the similarities between Nazi Germany and the status of the U.S. in 2017.

An excerpt: “Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany personify evil. Responsible for the most horrific genocide of human beings in modern times, Hitler and the Nazis serve as the yardstick by which to measure evil (authoritarianism) and good (democracy) in societies. Most American citizens are so conditioned to the United States being portrayed as a democracy – and its president ‘the leader of the free world’ — that any comparison with Nazi Germany would never come to mind. Besides, portraying Hitler and the Nazis as singularly evil incarnate serves a fundamental purpose: it diverts attention from, and allows Americans to remain oblivious to, the authoritarian evils lurking in our own halls of government and houses of worship. The similarities between Nazi Germany and America today reveal that the normalizing of authoritarianism is happening here — before our very eyes. The similarities are instructive – and alarming.

It can’t happen here. People in Germany believed it couldn’t happen there…A warning is provided by Professor Kleg. He writes that racism and anti-Semitism did not end with the defeat of Hitler and the Nazi Party. ‘One would be remiss to forget that in 1922 there were fewer than one hundred members of what was to become the ruling party of Germany within eleven years.’ Whereas, ‘in the United States alone there are over three hundred hate groups that support or embrace the same beliefs that spawned German National Socialism.’

The Southern Poverty Law Center offers an updated warning, reporting that ‘the number of hate groups operating in the country in 2016 remained at nearly historic highs, rising from 892 in 2015 to 917 last year.’ And ‘in the immediate aftermath of Election Day, a wave of hate crimes and lesser hate incidents swept the country.’

Professor Robert Gellately offers another history lesson. He describes the normalization of fascism under Hitler’s rule, writing, ‘They began with small violations of the rights of Jews and other minorities, and then ratcheted up their racism and persecution only when they saw implied consent from the German people.’ Then these instructive words from Gellately: ‘Many Germans disapproved of Hitler’s fascism and brutality at first. But, after the long economic depression following the First World War, the German people allowed the thriving economy and return to law and order under Hitler to mute their criticism.’

Independent researcher Gregory Paul cites historian Klaus Scholder explanation for Germany’s fragile democracy, which has implications for those who take American’s democracy for granted…Paul writes that ‘Christians had the power to protect the lives and well-being of others and the potential to confound Hitler and his minions. Had they wished to, they need only have applied it.’

A capricious Donald Trump tapped into America’s ingrained white supremacy. He exhibited his own brand of racial purity as the leader of the Birther Movement, charging that President Obama was not born in the United States and could well be a Muslim. This preposterous charge proved effective. The racist appeal of the Birther claim and the equally racist appeal of portraying himself as ‘the law and order candidate’ helped propel Trump to the top of America democracy’s white-controlled hierarchy of access to political, economic, legal and religious power.”

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/05/24/normalizing-authoritarianism-in-the-u-s-a

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