Saturday, November 14, 2009

The wrong conclusions: American liberals are not Nazis (and I am amazed I have to say this)

As much as I like Jeff, who blogs at Alphecca, he's way off the deep in with this obvious comparison of the Obama administration's initiatives and Hitler's Nazis in Austria and Germany, as presented by Kitty Werthmann in North Dakota.

Werthmann, who lived in Austria during the Nazi regime, delivered a blistering comparison between what happened under the Nazis and what is supposedly happening today under the current administration.

Here are a few excerpts:

Once the Nazis took control, the people no longer voted for government positions anymore; all positions down to the local level were filled by appointment.

In the interest of a supposedly more efficient government, the Nazis decided to centralize all government between Germany and Austria.

Hitler nationalized (socialized) the banks, health care, automobile production, education, and more....

Werthmann said Hitler expanded “equal rights” for women, which resulted in far more women going out into the work force. The government created state-run child care and began molding the minds of children at a very young age.

Austria had private health care prior to the Nazis, and the quality was good. But the government took over the health care system, and when health care became “free” the doctors quickly became overloaded by frivolous use of the system. Surgeries of a more important nature, however, had waiting lists of about 18 months because of all the “hypochondriacs” abusing the system.

Werthmann said that if a doctor prescribed a medicine not on the government-approved list, the government would take the cost of the medicine out of the doctor’s salary.

Welfare became a “huge apparatus,” said Werthmann. Everyone had access to subsidized housing, food stamps, heating subsidies and many other benefits until everyone–regardless of salary–reached the prescribed standard of living.

“That’s called socialism,” she said. Werthmann cited the exchange between Joe the Plumber and Presidential Candidate Obama about “spreading the wealth” as a sign that it’s already begun here.

Werthmann, however, papers over quite a few significant differences. Let's start with why the Austrians voted in the Nazis:

Austrians were looking to Germany where they saw prosperity and law and order, while they had near anarchy in their own country. With only a border between them, speaking the same language and having a similar culture, they believed the promise of prosperity from Adolf Hitler. Politically in their country, on one side was the National Socialist Party (Nazi) and the other was the Communist Party.

The communists were growing stronger as a party because of their promises, as well. When the country had to decide between Nazis and Communists, most of the people came to the realization they were a country with a Christian background and could not bring themselves to vote for the atheistic communists. Austria voted the Nazi Party in to power.

Notice the absence in this formulation of (a) the liberal and/or Christian Democrats, who actually held parliamentary majorities in both countries before the Nazis; (b) the omission of the particularly rabid anti-Semitism in Austria that made the Nazi message appealing; (c) the territorial revisionism and desire to have a redo of World War One; (d) the overtly racist appeal of the Nazi program of ethnic superiority to all slavs and untermenchen; and (e) the fact that the Nazis came to power in Germany not through free elections unmarred by violence any more than the Nazis came to power that way in Austria.

In other words: what was wrong with Hitler was socialism, not militarism, racism, or genocidal fervor.

Ms. Werthmann, presented as a survivor of socialism in a macabre effort to create and equivalent to a holocaust survivor, is baldy equating American liberals to genocidal Nazis.

I neither like nor support many of the Obama administration's policies, but I will not be silent while somebody makes the self-serving argument that compares them to the policies of one of the leading mass murderers of the previous century.

Jeff, you should have done a little more thinking before you gave this nutcase a forum.


Miko said...

While I agree that this person is nuts, it's somewhat problematic to note that someone making a similar statement early in Hitler's reign probably would have been denounced as nuts also.

For the sake of sanity, we can't believe this about our leaders. But since it is a remote possibility, we should nonetheless block all power grabs, no matter how minor, by all leaders, no matter how popular. If necessary, we can fall back on ACLU-speak ("No, I don't think you're going to abuse this power, but someone someday might, so we'd better not give it to you anyway").

redwaterlily said...

As a native German these comparison's to Nazi's drive me absolutely nuts.

We do not put our children into something such as the Hitler Youth to indoctrinate them, we do not assign jobs to people but they look for jobs themselves, we do not kill 6 million people just because they happen to be Jewish.

I don't see Obama and our current Administration in ANY way move that way - and quite frankly, they couldn't get away with it even if they tried.

The concept of the Nazis was "National Sozialisten" - or National Socialism with a world view that was rooted in a racial struggle and a fight for purity of the races.

Does this sound like our Administration?

- absolutely oppose capitalism
- absolutely oppose democratic socialism
- oppose liberalism
- a world view where everything is rooted in a racial struggle
- concerned with the purity of the races

Anonymous said...

To be compared to Hitler, does a person have to actually be a genocidal maniac?

What level of totalitarianism would there have to be in America for there to be a valid comparison with Nazism?

Chris Slavens said...

Adolf Hitler was much more intelligent than Obama or his cronies. Would I prefer a brilliant nationalist to be in charge of my nation, or a deluded idealist? To be honest, I'm not certain which regime is worse, looking only at the early stages. We saw the results of Hitler's policies, but we have yet to discover where Obama's will take us.

Anonymous said...

What level of totalitarianism would there have to be in America for there to be a valid comparison with Nazism?

Let's see...

- Unprovoked invasion and occupation of other countries
- Imprisonment without representation or trial
- Torture including torturing people to death
- Massive spying on citizens and suppression of free speech
- Using fear and nationalism to justify suspending civil liberties and rule of law
- Using the criminal justice system to prosecute political enemies and reward cronies
- Stopping vote counts to assume power
- Allowing police to torture citizens at will with impunity

OK, are we there yet?