THE NAZIS HAVE COME OUT OF THE CLOSET
Strong words? Yes they are. But well deserved. I know that some will think I’m overstating it, or that I’m trivializing the historical Nazis, after all, the Capitol Insurrectionists were just a small group. It’s not like we’re looking at concentration camps and gas chambers.
But then, for much of their history, the Nazis weren’t about concentration camps and gas chambers. That sort of stuff came later, when they were fully in charge, and no one could stop them.
Before it got to that point though, between 1920 and 1933 when they took over, the Nazis spent a long time becoming what they were, and building and bullying their way into power. These are the Nazis I’m talking about.
January 6, 2021, and the days that follow have been traumatic. It’s one thing to worry about the direction things are going. It’s one thing to watch the Republicans get crazier and crazier, going from Global Climate Change is a hoax, to Russian hoax, Coronavirus hoax, to watch them politicise everything, to embrace a culture of lies and spin and perpetual rage. It’s one thing to watch with profound disquiet as a man who campaigned to lock his rival up and openly suggested a ‘second amendment solution’ or assassination for her, systematically tears down democracy.
But it’s still stunning to see full fledged Nazism rear its head.
It wasn’t even the coup attempt, although that was bad. It’s painful to see America turned into a trailer park Odyssey, to see Congress overrun by a collection of privileged millionaires, yahoos, loons, white supremacists, the stupid, the bad and the ugly. It’s shocking to realize how close these people came to murder and hostage taking, and how much worse this could have gone. It’s appalling to see the signs of tacit support for the coup all the way up to the President.
But the Nazism part? That was the reaction on the right to the coup.
Let me explain? In 1995, Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols, ex-soldiers, white supremacists, toxic loons, got all hopped up on crystal meth and on a book called The Turner Diaries, and decided to strike a blow against the Clinton administration. They blew up a federal building in Oklahoma city with a fertilizer bomb, murdering over 400 people, including all the children in a day care in the building. It was the worst act of terrorism on American soil, right up until 911.
But in 1995, when Tim McVeigh bombed a building, murdered 400 and killed everyone in a day care…. the right wing and the Republicans turned their backs. They backed off. They were outraged and horrified. They were human. There was an appreciation of right and wrong.
And this time….
This time in the face of an outright Coup attempt, a bloodthirsty campaign to overthrow American democracy and commit murder… this time, the right didn’t budge an inch.
In fact, polls show that between 18% and 45% of Republicans outright supported the coup attempt. That is they were saying “Yes, these people tried to overthrow the government, or riot and threaten people, but we’re okay with that.”
As common sense kicks in, and the weight falls heavy, that proportion of support will probably drop. Maybe. But in the meantime, and for the forseeable future, a sizable chunk of the right wing supports a failed attempt to overthrow the government.
That naked brutality, that amorality, is utterly chilling. That’s full cold blooded Nazi. That’s amorality, and viciousness, and utter indifference to the values that make America. These people just don’t care. They want power, they deserve power, they’re entitled to it, and anyone in their way just isn’t an American any more.
But there’s more to it. You see, the Nazis of the period 1920-1933, and in act right up to the end, were utterly cynical. They were amoral. They were relentless liars.
Joseph Goebbels was the pioneer of all that. Back in high school, a long time ago, I read his diaries. He struck me then as an appallingly ordinary man, deeply cynical but pedestrian. But between him and Hitler, there was a cold and unyielding contempt for the truth. They pioneered the ‘big lie’ – which is really simple. Just lie, lie without shame, tell the biggest most outrageous lie, and never stop lying.
It was the secret to Nazi success. Even if you got caught red handed, you simply lied. Even if it was an obvious lie, it put people on the defensive, reacting to it. Even with an obvious lie, you’d always find someone gullible enough to believe it, you’d find people fair minded enough to be confused by it. You divided and subverted your enemies that way. You kept on lying, always attacking, always lying, never giving an inch. That way you kept your base loyal and angry, and bit by bit you advanced.
It’s what Nazis do, it’s what makes a Nazi: Lie, lie, lie and never stop. Attack, attack attack. That’s all.
The Nazis went out and attacked jewish merchants, burning them out, smashing windows. They blamed the communists and socialists. They went out and murdered their rivals, and blamed the communists and socialists. They robbed, they raped, they committed crimes, they were caught, and even when they were caught, they just kept on lying. They did all kinds of horrible things and never admitted or acknowledged any responsibility, they just kept lying and attacking.
And low and behold, that’s what we see here. In 1995 Tim McVeigh murdered people, and the right wing turned its back.
This time, instead of turning its back on the coup, they all linked arms and marched in lockstep. The right came out swinging, straight out of the starting gate, immediately claiming it was really Antifa. That was an obvious, idiotic lie. But they went with it.
And listen, it was a deliberate lie. Everyone who was claiming it was Antifa as it was going on, in the hours that followed, there was no way they could have known that, there was no proof, not a shred of evidence. The only evidence was a Trump demonstration that had gone violent. Hell, even Trump was endorsing the insurrection, telling them he loved them. The Antifa was a conscious decision to lie, to shift blame. It was conscious, deliberate and malicious. And that lie is still being peddled by some, despite the nonstop arrests of Trump supporters.
Then they claimed it was no big deal. It wasn’t a coup, it was just a riot. Not a riot, just a demonstration that got out of hand. It’s all harmless. People are over-reacting. That line is still being sold, albeit less and less successfully. No, the more we learn, the more disturbing it gets.
Then they went ‘whatabout.’ Whatabout what Pelosi said. Whatabout Kathy Griffin. Whatabout BLM. And with whatabout, there’s massive dishonesty – two wrongs don’t make a right, so it’s irrelevant.
But worse, no one was celebrating or advocating BLM riots. So in whataboutism, they’ve doubled down on the lying, accusing Democrats and the left of a new multitude of sins.
Whataboutism isn’t just a cheap attempt to change the subject, or evade responsibility, it’s a new tidal wave of lies and progaganda.
This is the thing about defending evil. No one directly defends the rapist, the child molester, the murders. These things are evil, and indefensible. Yet these things are defended, excuses get made. There’s denial, “It didn’t happen!” “It wasn’t so bad!” “Blame someone else!” “Point at someone else.”
What we saw from the Republicans and the right wing, was not a human reaction, not a reaction involving a recognition of right and wrong. It was standard Nazi tactics. Lie, deny, evade, attack. It was defence of evil through denial and evasion.
And at the same time, bizarrely they showed pride, they supported it, they didn’t back off an inch. A lot of the same people, in literally the same breath who blame Antifa, or claim it was no big deal, or go ‘whatabout BLM’ will show a strange pride, that people stood up and showed congress what for. You can’t have it both ways – either it’s one or the other, but oddly, many on the right maintain contradictory viewpoints, both denying and blaming, and adopting and proud.
We’re hearing threats of a new violent campaign being promised. Someone actually said to me ‘this was a first amendment demonstration, next week, it’ll be second amendment’ – by which they mean he wants lots of guns, lots of shooting, and lots of dead people. We’ve been hearing about that all week, as those on the extreme right, excited and encouraged, promise more demonstrations, more occupations of State Capitols, more violence, a cordon around government offices and chambers to weed out Democrats, a bloodbath to start from January 16 right up to Biden’s inauguration on the 20th.
And not a lot of consciousness of the contradictions. They throw up contradictory excuses, they simultaneously deny and boast. In fact, there was a kind of cynical recklessness at work.
Individuals simply threw out the various denials and boasts, one after the other, sometimes simultaneously. For some of them, they were simply lying, and they didn’t care, they just wanted something that worked. Some of them believed it, and lied to themselves about contradictions.
If they acted like humans, that would be one thing.
But the right has gone full Nazi. They came out of the closet. They made it official.
They’ve been going that way for thirty years. But up till now, they showed humanity in extreme circumstances – like Oklahoma. They were prepared to debate, to discuss, there was the steadily eroding veneer of rationality.
But somewhere along the line, they stopped. They stopped being rational, and just pretended. They stopped debating meaningfully – it was just a tactic now to paralyse their enemies.
In August, 2016, Trump publicly mused about assassinating Hillary Clinton. Nobody blinked. He spent 2015 and 2016 repeatedly talking violently. No body blinked. He campaigned on imprisoning his rival. Nobody blinked. Suddenly, all of these things that were obscene and unheard of were just acceptable discourse. It was okay for him to talk this way, and if you complained, you were laughed at and mocked.
I feel that the last four years have been Nazis play acting at being human beings. That we all sat there appalled as they systematically dismantled society, slowly turning it into a twisted reflection.
George Floyd got murdered horribly livestreamed across the country for ten minutes. The last right winger I talked to insisted he died of Natural causes. And that he deserved it. No sense of dissonance or contradiction, just cruelty and arrogance. Some of the same people are now claiming that the murdered policeman on January 6 died of natural causes. There’s a hateful cynicism at work there.
We’ve all been frogs, sitting in pans of water being brought to a boil, cooked alive.
It’s almost a relief that they finally showed their true colours. They came out, inexcusably, undeniably as Nazis.
We know from history what they’ll do next and where they’ll go next. When you’ve gone full Nazi, there’s no room for guilt, or second thought, or sober reflection. There’s no room for morality or ethics. Even when you fail, when you’re caught red handed, you just play the victim, you lie and you keep attacking.
We know from history that Nazis see dialogue is a weapon, compromise as a means to stab in the back. They’ll call for Unity and Healing, but they’ll never admit fault, and they’ll never stop attacking. Unity and Healing just means giving in, letting them get away with it, overlooking their sins while they lash you with accusations. There is no integrity, there is no decency, no humanity.
They will bargain, in order to demand concessions. They’ll always offer compromises and demand concession after concession, they’ll accuse their enemies of bad faith and demand concessions as show of good faith. They’ll demand concessions on any plausible or implausible reason, or just demand. But they won’t give a damned thing, they won’t make any deal that they’re not intent on breaking the minute it suits them. Deals, reconciliation, compromise, unity and healing, all these things are just tools, weapons they use to get what they want, designed to be discarded at the earliest opportunity.
All they want is power. There’s no morality, no decency. Instead, they just swallow their own lies and hatred, tell it to their base, use it to justify their excesses.
And inevitably, in history, when extremists amoral ideologues get power… Be it the Nazis, the Fascists, the Falangists, Robespeare, the Bolsheviks, the Ayatollahs, when these people get what they want, when they get absolute power….
That’s when the real dying starts. That’s when the real cruelty and horror starts, the disappearances, the mass graves, concentration camps, the purges, the tortures, the gulags and secret prisons. All the pieces will have been put in place. The real dying starts, and it doesn’t stop.
They’ve shown their true face. Our backs are against the wall.
This is real. I don’t think that Americans can compromise with the Republicans. They can’t reason with them. All they can do is hold the line, stubbornly, without giving an inch, until the Republican’s own lies and hatred catches up with them, until they