Washington, DC (TFC) – It’s common practice to speak of Hitler in terms of some supernatural force of evil bent on destroying the world. The name “Hitler” summons up images of police roundups of innocents, concentration camps, torture, and genocide. But should it?
Hitler didn’t personally force minorities into the back of a truck. He didn’t run the gas chambers or crematoriums. He wasn’t even in the room when innocents were tortured. Personifying all of the evil that was conducted by the Nazi regime in Hitler is probably more dangerous than Hitler ever was because it makes it more likely that atrocities will happen again. Hitler was just a man. When a person realizes that simple fact, the atrocities carried out by his regime are much more terrifying than if they were carried out by the devil himself.
He was just a man that blended the right propaganda into the right political atmosphere combined with the correct economic climate. He told the German people that they were exceptional. He told them that there was an enemy hiding among them and he made them fear some Middle Eastern religion. He said he needed new power to fight this unseen threat, and the people agreed. He wasn’t the devil. He was your average run of the mill politician.
The true culprits of all of the evil that occurred were the people that silently consented as their neighbors were labeled as “enemies” by the government, those that said nothing when goons entered homes without cause, those that said nothing while camps were built to torture and dehumanize the victims of the regime. No Hitler wasn’t a monster; he was a creator of monsters.
It’s easier to believe that Hitler was a supernatural force of evil than it is to believe the truth: average people did unspeakable things because they were just following orders and didn’t want to be seen as unpatriotic. People seem to think that we are past the point in history where another regime like that could arise, and they are wrong. We aren’t beyond that.
If anything, we’re closer to it happening again than we’ve ever been since the Nuremberg trials.
If you’ve ever said “this wouldn’t have happened if he had just followed the law” in response to police brutality, you might have been a Nazi.
Everything the Nazi government did was legal. The government created a legal framework to imprison and murder millions. If you gain your sense of morality from the law, you will always be on the wrong side of history.
If you believe troops occupying another country are fighting for your freedom, you might have been a Nazi.
A force that invades another nation without provocation and stays to install a puppet government is not fighting for your freedom. It is fighting for the interests of the ruling class. Short of a full scale invasion, the only entity that can ever threaten your freedom is your own government.
If you believe your country only has room for one religion, you might have been a Nazi.
Exclusionary practices that allow one religion to control the policies of a nation lead to the marginalization of entire segments of society. There has been one time when religion ruled the world. It’s called the Dark Ages.
If you believe that people of a specific race or ethnicity are somehow less of a human being than you are, you might have been a Nazi.
Dehumanizing an entire people based on the actions of a few was a critical element in Hitler’s propaganda. Once a people are no longer seen as human, anything can be done to them without much outcry.
If you believe your country has to strip rights from people in order to win a war, you might have been a Nazi.
“In the interests of national security” is the first cry of a tyrant. No free nation ever ceased to be because it lacked a secret police force that trampled the rights of its citizens.
If you believe a specific foreign group of people are responsible for the woes in your life, you might have been a Nazi.
The same exclusionary principal that applies to religion applies here. No foreign people are out to destroy you. However, by denigrating an entire ethnicity, you are out to destroy them.
If you believe your country is the greatest place on Earth, you might have been a Nazi.
Nazi Germany’s belief in exceptionalism doesn’t differ much from the current belief in the United States. Take a look at statistics related to the US rankings in various societal issues around the world. We aren’t number 1, we’re rarely even in the top ten.
If you believe all of these things, you would have been in the SS and you would have been working in a death camp.
Congratulations, you’re a true believer in the government of the United States. This isn’t patriotism, this is blind obedience.
When you think about a world at war and millions being systematically slaughtered, don’t think about Hitler. Any idiot can scare people into doing what he wants. Take a look at the leaders the US has had over the last decade and a half for proof of that. If you want to know who will be responsible for the next tyrannical government to wreak havoc all over the world, all you have to do is look at your last selfie. Now is the time to decide whether you will waive your rights while you wave your flag. Are you going to comply with demands to establish the new police state or are you going to resist?
Those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it. Those that do understand history are doomed to drink Jack Daniels while watching the rest of the world repeat it.