Our president-elect tweeted that the absurd “journalism” from Buzzfeed was like Nazi Germany on Wednesday. Within hours, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) demanded an apology.
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
— ADL (@ADL_National) January 11, 2017
Why does an organization believe it has the right to police certain words? Who does the ADL think it is to believe they represent the Jewish perspective and the world perspective to such a degree they decide who can and can’t use words associated with World War II and the Holocaust?
Does anyone think that Trump was actually saying this is Nazi Germany? Does anyone think his use of an analogy to imply a fascistic/propagandist hatchet job was an actual comparison to Nazi Germany?
This is what Nazi Germany did and one should not be asked to fall in line and be silent because it may be uncomfortable to point out.
I am tired of the word police and the thought police. Frankly, I am offended that a single group believes they own and represent the global opinion on a topic. We have bigger problems in this world than people having a problem with words. There is no denying that the words “Nazi,” “Hitler” and “Holocaust” are powerful and imply a visceral message, and using those words as a pejorative or as a slur or in a demeaning way is not acceptable.
I am currently reading a book written in the 1930s by Sebastian Haffner called Defying Hitler: A Memoir. At one point, Nazi Germany wasn’t even Nazi Germany. The question is this: How did it become a name we must never forget but seemingly never reference? Of the circumstances that gave rise to Nazi Germany, Haffner writes:
With sheepish submissiveness the German people accepted that, as a result of the fire, each one of them lost what little personal freedom and dignity was guaranteed by the constitution; as though it followed as a necessary consequence…. more than one [of my colleagues] hinted that they had doubts about the official version; but none of them saw anything out of the ordinary in the fact that, from now on, one’s telephone would be tapped, one’s letters opened, and one’s desk might be broken into.
Remember, this was before Nazi Germany became the horror we now know it was.
If we are to never forget, we must always first remember the seeds of hatred, statism, egotism, cult of personality, anti-Semitism and state-sponsored misinformation spread by the media and filmmakers of Berlin — but we cannot view it in a vacuum. We must remember it in its proper context so that we can better understand the environment that allowed these seeds to take root and create a Germany that was inhuman.
No leader today is Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot or even Che. But are the seeds being sown domestically and abroad? Is the environment such that these seeds might actually take root? Are state actors today using misinformation to discredit their adversaries, domestic and abroad? Are the media complicit in this deception, covering the abuse of these state actors?
Trump knows America is not Nazi Germany just as he knows President Obama is not now a Hitler-like figure nor will he ever be. But he is right that what just happened to him — the release of this dossier of obvious lies and half-truths — looks a lot like the type of thing that was happening in Germany during the 1930’s. It is my hope that we can all band together and look for constitutional solutions that will ensure America never becomes intolerant of those who think, act, worship or speak differently than those who happen to be in power.
May political correctness be pulled up by its roots whenever those from left or right ever try to use it to sow seeds of totalitarianism in thought or action.
Image: Public Domain