Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Different Perspective

What was said in the boiling pot? What were the key phrases? Were they plans of specificity, that the mind can critique? Or do they represent the vision, hope, motivation for a bright future? Let us examine two texts, where I have selected the hook phrasing:
"But we are all filled with unbounded confidence for we believe in our people and their imperishable virtues. Every class and every individual must help us to found the new Reich."

"The National Government intends to solve the problem of the reorganization of trade and commerce with two four-year plans:"

"The German farmer must be rescued in order that the nation may be supplied with the necessities of life...."

"A concerted and all-embracing attack must be made on unemployment in order that the German working class may be saved from ruin...."

"Within four years the German peasant must be rescued from the quagmire into which he has fallen."

"Within four years unemployment must be finally overcome. At the same time the conditions necessary for a revival in trade and commerce are provided."

"The securing of the necessities of life will include the performance of social duties to the sick and aged."

"Now, people of Germany, give us four years and then pass judgment upon us."
That from the "BERLIN: PROCLAMATION TO THE GERMAN NATION", Feb 1, 1933. All quotes come from the Hitler Historical Museum, a fine apolitical online reference for such material. The next group of quotes this from "BERLIN, CONGRESS OF THE GERMAN WORK FRONT", May 10, 1933:
"Not with any idea of helping the worker -what is the worker of any country to these apostles of internationalism? Nothing at all! They never see him! They themselves are no workers: they are alien litterateurs, an alien gang! . . ."

"There might have been something which could perhaps have opposed these millions and that something would have been the State, had it not been that this State had sunk so low that it had become the plaything of groups of interested parties."

"Bismarck once declared that liberalism was the pacemaker for social democracy. And I do not need in this place to say that social democracy is the pacemaker for communism. But communism is the pacemaker for death - the death of a people - downfall."

"It is the spirit from which efforts spring that helps to decide the issue. There must be no conquerors and no conquered; our people must be the only conqueror - conqueror over classes and castes, and conqueror over the interests of these single groups in our people!"

"I am an independent man, and I have set before myself no other goal than to serve, to the best of my power and ability, the German people, and above all to serve the millions who, thanks to their simple trust and ignorance and thanks to the baseness of their former leaders, have perhaps suffered more than any other class."

"I have always professed that there is nothing finer than to be the advocate of those who cannot easily defend themselves."

"Because I know this people better than any other, and at the same time know the rest of the people, I am not only ready in this case to undertake the role of an honest broker but I am glad that destiny can cast me for the part. I shall never in my life have any greater reason for pride than when at the end of my days I can say: I have won the German workingman for the German Reich."

My comments here are a bit ethereal. The flavor of these words is perhaps changed in translation, salted with English invective. But it is very evident how he has weaved his personal story into the "common thread", the collective experience of the audience, and used that to direct the perspective. It is brilliant, even without knowing the context of each speech, which I purposely left little of.

The scary thing is the systematic picture of the state as the answer. It is the wresting of control from the population, through gentle persuasion. It is the massaging of class envy, the isolation of the opposition, the direct coercion through emotion that strikes to the core of our consciousness. How is this different than the political populism of today? The techniques are the same, the words are similar. The socialist goals are identical, where is the difference?

I would say it is skill and intent. Hitler is gifted with the ability to elevate his story beyond 'rock star' status to verging on the messianic. And his intent does expose itself beyond the simple acquisition of political power. But, given this, the techniques are the same, and I would claim the results of these techniques will always lead to failure, weather world changing, or relatively benign.

The people are deceived and the bright future is not one of individual excellence. Without focusing on the fulfillment of the individual through personal betterment and effort, the approach is doomed to thrash against those who refuse to be suppressed. It is the inevitable result of socialism. The population may be eased into comfortable domination by the central government for a short time, but that is against the human spirit. By these quotes, and knowing the possible result of the government they represent, we should educate ourselves to those who would utilize the same methods.

No comments: