In 2017, Nazis and racism have somehow made their way to the forefront in America. If we want to combat fascism today, we need to look at what happened in history.
The Nazi movement in 1930s Germany managed to convince people to overlook, tolerate and participate in horrifying crimes against others. How did they pull off their massive scam and persuade the German people that they were standing up for their “heritage”?
Glenn took a historical look at fascism in the hopes of stopping people today from going over the cliff on radio Wednesday. The key issue was how people were trained to believe that their suffering was the fault of the Jews, giving them an excuse to look the other way during Hitler’s atrocities.
“How did the Nazis actually pull this off?” Glenn asked the difficult question. “How did something so evil become something that so many people, and some of the best-educated people in the world [fell for]; how did they fall for that?”
Part of the problem was how society slowly began to devalue human life, while simultaneously turning to science as the answer to all of people’s problems.
“’Science will solve everything,’” Glenn paraphrased the thinking of the time. “’If we can just get rid of the stupid people, if we can just get rid of the handicapped people’ …”
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
GLENN: Hello, America. There’s a couple of stories that are really fascinating. One is in the Washington Post. The road to hate. For six young men, Charlottesville is only the beginning. And it talks about how these guys have fallen in with neo-Nazis. And it’s very, very clear and easy to see what’s happening. But it is a difficult conversation to actually come at this and try to have a real conversation in more than a seven-second sound bite.
And so for the love of our nation. For the love of each other. For the love of decency, common sense, and our very survival, we’re going to try every day to have an actual conversation. I don’t know if that’s even possible anymore.
But we’re going to take another step towards it, beginning right now.
GLENN: How did the Nazis — how did the Nazis actually pull this off? How did something so evil become something that so many people — and some of the best educated people in the world, how did they fall for that?
It is the question that I don’t think that we’ve ever really, truly answered. We have spent — at least me — we have spent our lives watching all these World War II documentaries. And if it’s black and white and it’s got Nazis in it, guys somehow or another are always flocking to those documentaries. We’re fascinated by this.
And we’re fascinated because it is so clearly evil. And it just swept a nation. And almost swept the world.
There’s been a lot of surface answers. But the real answer, to me, is pain and humiliation. The pain and the humiliation that was caused by World War I. And then the indoctrination that — that happened in the — in the universities, beginning at the turn of the century, long before the Nazis. The devaluing of life and the sanctity at this time of life and the — the elevation of science, to get rid of all of our problems. Science will solve everything.
If we can just get rid of the stupid people, if we can just get rid of the handicapped people — excuse the language, but this is the language they used to use, if we can just get rid of all the retarded people, we’re going to be fine.
But we don’t have time. You want to make the world a better place: We’ve got to get rid of those people. And that quickly turns into: If we would just get rid of all of the greedy people. If we just get rid of all of these bankers because, you know, the bankers were involved.
Let me say this to you: Do you believe the Nazis are good?
Okay. I think that’s — I didn’t even need to pause. I think everybody’s like, “Nope.”
Do you think — now, here’s where it’s going to get complicated for some people, “Do you think the Nazis have some good points that they’re making?” Think about that.
Your knee-jerk is no. But how many in the audience are like, “Well, they are standing against the — wait a minute. A door is opening. They are standing against the erasing of our heritage. A door has just opened.
If I said, “Jews, Jews, Jews, they all must die. They’re bad. They’re keeping you down,” I don’t know a soul that’s going to believe that. Not a soul is going to believe that. But then let’s take it to the next chant that they do, the next chant is, “Jews, they run the banks.”
Okay. I don’t know anybody of any intelligence that believes that and is going to say, “You know what, that Nazi is making a good point.”
“Jews, they run the banks, and the banks are getting rich off of your back.”
Now, wait a minute. The door is starting to open a crack because the average person who is suffering will dismiss the Jew part, but begin to see, “Yeah, well, wait a minute, the banks are getting rich.”
And the smart Nazi will say, “The banks are getting rich. They got a bailout. Did you get a bailout? I didn’t get a bailout. They got a bailout, and it’s the — it’s the banks, and it’s the corporations that are doing it.”
Now that door is open to anyone who suffering. And that door is there. And all of a sudden, the guy who didn’t say Jews, didn’t say Jews are running the world, didn’t say Jews are running all the banks, but that’s implied because he’s a Nazi.
Because he has found that one place of connection and he looks like you. Read the story in the Washington Post. The guys who went down there, they never saw themselves as Nazis. But I know this to be true because I’ve joined another very unpopular club. I hate to say this. But I am a big supporter of Alcoholics Anonymous. And I remember the first time I went to an AA meeting, my first thing I said was, “I think I’m an alcoholic.” And the room laughed. And they said, “Well, brother, if you think you’re an alcoholic, I mean, there’s usually a reason for that. You know, people who aren’t, you know, having blackouts don’t generally think they’re an alcoholic. You’ve got some signs. So if you’re thinking that way, you most likely are.”
And I said, “Well, here’s my problem: You guys don’t look like alcoholics.”
And a lady — an old lady with pearls and a sweater set, who looked like a grandma and a really respectable wealthy grandma — not my grandma. A really respected wealthy grandma, just without even turning around said, “Oh, honey, we’re all drunks in here.” All of a sudden, I could accept that I was an alcoholic, because they didn’t look like I thought alcoholics looked.
The Nazis are coming out. And did you hear about the Antifa protester that was beaten up by his own people because he looked like a Nazi? And he was like, “I’m not a Nazi. I’m on your side.” And they beat him within an inch of his life. Because he looked like a white supremacist Nazi.
Well, when you’re coming in — why do you think — do you know who designed the Nazi uniform, the storm trooper, the SS, the black uniform? That was Hugo Boss. Hugo Boss, the designer. He’s the one who designed those uniforms.
Oh, but his suits aren’t oppressing you, right? Or should we burn down all Hugo Boss uniforms, I mean, stores?
Somehow or another, he gets a pass. They get a pass.
Volkswagen gets a pass. Volkswagen, you put the little flower in the little cannister there, the little vase by the steering wheel. Volkswagen is a thing of peace and love. Volkswagen. The people’s car. The people’s wagon. It was a national socialist design and commissioned by Adolf Hitler.
Oh. But they get a pass. We’re not burning Volkswagens down, are we?
Why? Because they’ve changed their image. They no longer have Adolf Hitler going, “This is the people’s car.” They have a little flower by the steering wheel.
We’re being tricked by image. And people are falling into it for a couple of reasons: One, they are actually hurting. People are going to Antifa, and they are excusing — they’re not joining. They’re excusing Antifa, even though there are many people on the left who do not believe what Antifa is doing is right. They do not believe that burning the city of Berkeley down to the ground is a good thing. They don’t believe any of that.
They’re actually afraid of Antifa. But they’re excusing it, because, look at the other side. Look at what they’re doing. We got to stop that, right? The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
No, the enemy of my enemy may be your friend, but he also may be your enemy.
And Antifa is your enemy. Same with Nazis. They are your enemy. You cannot stand with them, no matter how much you want to dismiss the bad parts about them. No matter how much they image themselves just like you. That’s not who you are.
There was something that happened yesterday that is the cliff of insanity. And I refuse to go no further.
And I’m going to ask you to join me on something. But everything in you will say, “I’m not going to do that.” Everything in you.
And, you know what, partially, you will be justified in saying it. Because you’re tired. And you’ve been convinced you don’t make a difference. But I’m going to ask you, “Don’t go over the cliff with the rest of humanity. Take a stand.”