Was Hitler Partially Inspired by Jim Crow Laws in the US?

Race laws in the U.S. were a “blueprint” inspiring the Nazi regime’s racial oppression, according to author and Yale Law School professor James Q. Whitman.

He joined the show today to talk about his book “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law” and analyze the parts of U.S. law that were appealing to radical Nazi leaders at the time.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: So Stu brought in a book that he was reading. And said, you're going to love this. Hitler's American model.

It has Hitler in it. It's got the Nazis. Of course, I'm going to love this. The United States and the making of Nazi race law.

This is a really important book for -- for several reasons. None of which, because of the person who authored it, a professor at Yale law, James Whitman, it is a very thoughtful book, a scholarly book, and one that I think -- he's probably not overcautious. I'm just too reckless. He makes the point over and over and over again, this does not mean the Americans were Nazis or anything else.

It just is documenting how much the Nazis loved our racist laws from the Jim Crow does and the Progressive Era. Not good.

James Whitman is with us now, author of Hitler's American Model.

How are you holding up, James?

JAMES: Hello. Thank you for having me on the show.

GLENN: Yes. You bet.

How are you holding up?

JAMES: Oh, pretty well. You know, the book is keeping me busy, I got to say.

GLENN: Yeah, I bet it is.

I would imagine that there is many people on the right that are saying, this is nothing, but an American bashing book. And those on the left that maybe are in denial that they don't want to see you expose, you know, FDR for, you know, his -- you know, the outdated thinking of that era.

JAMES: Well, it's certainly true that the book has created some discomfort on the left. There's no doubt about that.

Although, there are people on the far left who have been quite excited about what I have to say in the book. It's true enough though, that when the Nazis were looking at the US, in the early 1930s -- my book is only about the early 1930s, it was in an era of substantial Nazi interest in the New Deal administration and occasional admiration for Franklin Roosevelt. That's absolutely true. And a little bit hard to swallow, obviously, for a lot of Americans now.

GLENN: Stu, read -- this is just on page six. Read the thing that you brought in today on page six.

STU: You're talking, we have now long known the strange fact that the Nazis frequently praised Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal government in the early 1930s.

FDR received distinctly favorable treatment in the Nazi press, until at least 1936 or '37. Lauded as a man who had seized dictatorial powers and embarked on bold experiments in the spirit of the furor. Similar things were said more broadly about what was sometimes labeled in the 1930s, the fascist new deal. The glossy Berlin illustrated magazine, seized from a Jewish publisher and converted to a kind of Nazi life magazine ran heroic photo spreads on Roosevelt, while Nazi rags like Will & Power, the newsletter of the Hitler Youth, described him as a revolutionary, who might fail only because he lacked a disciplined party army like our furor. Wow.

GLENN: So to defend Roosevelt in some regard, this was the new kind of thought that had come from Germany in the 1800s to America. This idea of a strong state and fascism was -- had not been discredited yet, if you will, like it was under Hitler.

So nobody wants to really recognize that though, James. Do they?

JAMES: Well, you know, I can't speak for anybody else. But the fact that there -- it's important to say that the Nazis were wrong about whether FDR was a fascist. They were wrong about a lot of other things.

GLENN: Correct.

JAMES: You know, they -- and it's also important to say that Germany, like the US, was facing the Great Depression. And in some ways, it's not surprising that they came up with similar programs, programs that, you know, are now regarded as not very effective. But at the time, were the best people could come up with. So, you know, it's not -- this is not a story of deep brotherhood between --

GLENN: No, no, no.

JAMES: -- Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt or anything like that.

The other thing you have to emphasize in all of this is that Roosevelt, especially in the early '30s again, depended entirely on the support of the segregation of the Southern Democratic Party.

GLENN: So here's the thing -- and you do a really good job. I mean, for me, I'm a little more reckless. That's why you're a Yale professor.

But you make -- you do a good job of all the way through saying, this does not mean -- we're not comparing the two, et cetera, et cetera. It's a very thoughtful book.

But when you get into the Nuremberg Laws. I have, you know, studied the progressive movement and it's entanglement in eugenics for a long, long time. I was not aware of all of the things that you exposed in the Nuremberg Laws. I mean, they really looked at our laws to round up Jews.

JAMES: Yeah, they sure did. I mean, there were -- it's important to emphasize that in the early '30s -- the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, the idea of mass extermination of the Holocaust was not in anybody's head yet. The Nazis were simply trying to -- simply -- the Nazis were trying to introduce forms of persecution short of death camps. You really have to remember that. And what the Nuremberg Laws were involved in particular was the creation of a new form of second class citizenship for Jews, and bans on sex and marriage between Jews and, you know, Aryans as the Nazis defined them. And in those respects, there were all kinds of interesting things to look at in American law, and they did.

GLENN: You know, I want to take issue with one thing that you said. Or maybe you can clarify that nobody was thinking about gas chambers yet.

In some ways, they were. I mean, George Bernard Shah is shockingly deeply into this. And talks about an actual gas chamber or some way of humanly putting people down that were no longer worth -- or worthy of -- of the support of the mass of people. And that was in England, right after the turn of the century.

I mean, there was this idea of, let's get rid of people, you know -- let me -- let me -- Theodore Roosevelt -- so let me take on a Republican, wrote, at some point, we're going to be looked at like a crazy cattle rancher who would just let his best stock breed with the worst stock. You don't allow that to happen. Why would we now? And others took it further to extermination.

JAMES: Those are appalling quotes. Yeah, it's not that the Nazis and Hitler, in particular, might not in principle have gone along with that sort of thing, but in the early '30s, it wasn't a practical possibility for them.

GLENN: Right.

JAMES: You know, exactly why they eventually turned to -- to the death camps, under cover of war, really, in World War II, is a subject of great debate among historians. I don't address that problem in the book. But in the early '30s, this just couldn't possibly have been a program they could have gotten through in Germany. And they didn't talk about it.

STU: It was really one of those things, this was what they believed they could get away with at the time, the leadership. And what was -- is so disturbing about that is one of the reasons they thought they could get away with this part of it, the Nuremberg Laws was because, hey, here's this other country. They're advanced. They're a first world country and they're doing these things. It was something they could bring with justification of the United States in their policy. As a backing to -- these were sensible laws. People were doing this all over the world.

JAMES: You bet. And not only in other First World countries, but the most powerful country in the world. Of course, when the Nazis tried to understand how the US had risen to whatever measure of world domination they had at the time, they figured it's obviously American racism that's made the country so successful. What else would Nazis conclude?

GLENN: So there's also a story that you write about that I had no idea. They -- they actually used a judge in New York who was an activist judge, who very rightly stood up and talked about the Nazis when a ship came in.

However, you know, he kind of overreached his position. But that's kind of what set the Nuremberg laws, really, in place. Is it not?

JAMES: That sure is. It's a heck of a story, really. This is a Jewish judge. A really minor figure in American law. He was actually a magistrate in the tombs, the detention center in Manhattan.

GLENN: He was like a night court judge, right?

JAMES: Night court judge.

GLENN: Right.

JAMES: What happened was there had been a riot in which the rioters tore the swastika flag off a Nazi German ocean liner and threw it into the Hudson River. The rioters had been arrested. They came before him, and he released them. And issued a statement denouncing Naziism, which he had no business doing whatsoever.

GLENN: Right.

JAMES: Not what a night court judge is supposed to be doing.

GLENN: Right.

JAMES: But the Nazis seized on this as an insult, as justification for making the swastika flag at last the sole flag of Germany and as the reason for promulgating these Nuremberg Laws. So the Nuremberg Laws were indeed the Nazi response to this, you know, in many ways admirable, but completely legally unjustified opinion delivered by a night court judge in Manhattan.

GLENN: So, James, did that play into -- by the way, we're talking to Yale law professor James Whitman, author of the book Hitler's American Model. Did that incident play in at all with the -- the idea that the Jewish community should just remain quiet? Don't cause trouble here in America.

Did people see that at the time in the Jewish community at all of, oh, crap, you did the wrong thing, but you said the right thing. And look at the trouble. It's made things worse now in Germany.

JAMES: Not that I know of. In fact, he became something of a hero. Not just in the US, but in France. He sailed off to France and was celebrated as a champion of the values of humanity against the threat of Naziism. I don't think people were yet thinking that it was important to keep quiet at that stage in 1935.

GLENN: What was the thing that -- as you were doing your research, you shake your head and you say, I can't believe how wrong we have history, or I can't believe this happened and nobody really knows?

JAMES: Yeah, well, that was my reaction, I have to say. I didn't expect to find the stuff that I found. But, boy, did it turn out that there was a lot of it. In particular -- I mean, I started just by -- out of curiosity, looking at Mein Kampf, in which one finds the phrase, "There is one country that has made progress toward the creation of a healthy race order, and that country was the United States."

So Hitler was praising the US already in Mein Kampf. And when you start to track down the legal records in the early '30s, it's all over the place. Including in the -- we have a stenographic transcript of a planning meeting for the Nuremberg Laws. The meeting begins when the minister of justice presents a memorandum on American law, and they discuss what lessons they can learn from the US there.

GLENN: So, James, this is going to make people uncomfortable.

I like books and thinking that makes me uncomfortable. It makes me grow. It makes me think. And it makes me question.

Why is this important that we learn this?

JAMES: First of all, it's just a big part of American and world history. You know, no insignificant thing.

GLENN: Yeah.

JAMES: And it does help us to -- it doesn't help us explain why Hitler happened or anything like that. I mean, I think Hitler would have happened regardless.

GLENN: Yeah.

JAMES: But it does help us understand the course of development. And come back to something you said earlier, it shows that the extent to which in the early 1930s, creating a race order of that kind was quasi-respectable.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah. It was.

JAMES: I mean, which is easy for us to forget.

It tells us things about the US too. About the history of American racism. So the Nazis weren't just interested in Jim Crow's segregation.

It turns out that there was racist law of all kinds. In immigration law, for example. Not all of it directed against blacks. It was a vast national body of law, not just limited to the South. And that's something we've forgotten too.

And that's important to see that. You know, I think it also tells us things about where the dangers lie in -- in American values and American traditions. The things the Nazis liked so much in the '30s are still with us in some ways, even though segregation is gone. There's no more Jim Crow.

GLENN: James, thank you very much. It's a great read. And something that I think everybody should have in their home library, and not something that necessarily you're going to drill down in, anyplace else. And I hope this furthers the conversation about who we have been and the mistakes that we've made and how others have capitalized on that.

JAMES: Well, thanks so much. I really appreciate the kind words.

GLENN: You got it. Buh-bye.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?