Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party’

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.  As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out.”  (Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1, chap 6, sect 4)

These are the words of Hitler in 1924. In 1942 Dietrich Bonhoeffer was writing about the lessons learned after ten years of resisting Hitler. He wrote that it is impossible to deal with stupidity, the willful stupidity of a people who have surrendered to a tyrant who rules by intimidation, hatred . . .and slogans.

We know that the proto-tyrant of 1924 became the real tyrant of 1942, with the year 1933 being the pivotal year. That was the year that Hitler became Chancellor and thus began to have the power to enact the ideas he had written nine years earlier.

A people, such as the millions of trump supporters, who willfully surrender their minds and hearts to a tyrant become stupid. Sometimes that stupidity is dangerous and damaging. In Germany it led to a terrible war and a Holocaust whose immeasurable cruelty we still can’t quite grasp.

The danger right now for America is that, for the sake of his own ego, trump may be unleashing the forces that return us to the unfinished Civil War. Hitler was deliberate. trump, I believe, has simply been made stupid by his own thoughtless self-manipulations. It is as if, feeding solely off the noise of the crowds, he is simply mesmerized. His is not a studied evil, as was Hitler’s, but it is extremely dangerous nonetheless because he is unleashing the dark side of an America he can’t begin to understand.

The obvious problem, of course, is that those forces are now unleashed and will bear some sort of awful fruit whether or not trump wins the election. America is in a lose-lose situation. The Republicans, especially once they were goaded on by the Tea Party, paved the way by their recalcitrant opposition to Obama. Even they are shocked by what they have created.

The problem in the Republican Party goes back at least as far as Reagan. He, like Hitler, lived and worked on the basis of a small handful of slogans and cliches. His “trickle-down” economics, so favored by the economists who bought the thinking of Milton Friedman, turned out just as one should have expected: The rich got richer, the middle class experienced a temporary boom, which the wealthy quickly squeezed and strangled because they were now empowered to gain unlimited wealth.

Even as they preyed upon and nearly destroyed the middle class, the wealthy continued to increase their wealth and did so at an ever-increasing pace. It ought to frighten us that the wealth of the 1% grew even faster during the economic meltdown of 2007-08. If we do not act soon to curb the growing income equality gap, the damage may escalate drastically.

Thanks for favoring greed, you dear Republicans.


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