I recently found a discussion in which someone had mentioned the American Nazi party and was asking for opinions about what the consequences would be if the Nazis came to power in America. The scenario struck me as being a very typical product of the mind-set of the American mainstream and so I decided to respond directly but with emphasis on what I think is a much wider misconception that people have about power struggles in general, which unfortunatley makes them suceptable to the same traps that the German people fell into during Hitler’s rise to power.
First of all, people need to understand that today’s Nazis, just like todays Communists are holding onto dead relics that will never be anything more than an amusement. The reason why Nazis rose to power in Germany was because it was new – as a new entity it had the power of promise and illusion. It wasn’t tainted by historical blemishes like it is now.
The political forces to watch out for today are the neo-conservatives, for the same reason… It’s a new entity, not yet proven, not yet failed and still able to promise and misinform.
I’m not saying the political or economic theories of neo-cons and Nazis are anything alike but people place way too much emphasis on these theories. Theories are the stuff of academics and idealists. They never get past the papers and discussions until they get picked up by a power struggle and the power struggles are always the same. I think Stalin for instance, picked up communism because it was convenient – if capitalism was the new revolutionary idea at the time, I’m sure he would have used that – it wouldn’t have mattered to him as long as he attained the power he was looking for.
Hilter was one of the few dictators that actually created a theory (well, he wrote a book) but his ideas were essentially modifications of pre-exisiting ideas. He took advantage of the discontent of the German people to attain power by presenting a theoretical alternative. If the discontent wasn’t strong enough to initiate political movement, he used propaganda to amplify it until it was.
The neo-cons today are doing the same thing – amplifying our perceptions of failed social liberalism because it’s social liberalism from which they are taking power away and adopting the theories of market liberalism as the new meaning of freedom and democracy. But when you notice how the Bush administration breaks the rules of their own theories by protecting certain industries such as pharmaceuticals from free trade, you start to realize that it really isn’t the theories that matter as much as it is the power that they seek. After all, a power struggle is a power struggle. Like the thousands of times before the motives hidden behind the labels always the same.
…and like the thousands of times before, the people in general, fall for the illusions of a new and unfamiliar power grab as they concentrate their efforts on guarding themselves from the power grabs that have already expired.