Thursday, August 24, 2017

Holman Jenkins Dismisses U.S. Nazis As "Mere Losers" - Why He's Not Credible

Image may contain: 1 person

According to the WSJ's Holman Jenkins Jr., real Nazis who subscribe to Nazi ideals and memes don't exist in the U. S. of A. They are all simply run of the mill "losers".  As he writes in a piece from yesterday ('The Great Nazi Scare of 2017', p. A13), referring to the thousands of protesters in Boston last weekend who came out to oppose neo-Nazis, white supremacists:

":Leftists imagined themselves to be modern day versions of the Czech resistance or the Warsaw uprising, but it turns out they were the majoritarian mob shouting down a handful of losers who've been an execrable but small part of the American pageant for as long as most of us can remember."

Actually, little Holman suffers evidently from some memory lapses, or maybe just convenient omissions. First, the pro-Nazi side wasn't always merely a "small" or non-influential sector, but the German-American Bund and its nefarious networks probably came before Jenkins'  time.  So we give him a minor pass there. As for the "leftists" in Boston, he commits the fallacy of composition - attributing to the whole an attribute peculiar only to a minority. In fact, the majority of his "majoritarian mob" were simply ordinary citizens out to voice their protests against a noisome group. They were not card carrying members (like I am) of the Democratic Socialists Of America.

These people expressing their outrage did not fancy themselves part of any "Czech Resistance" (Google "Prague Spring of 1968") but rather American citizens out to voice their first amendment rights -which Holman seems to believe must only be exercised in the event of a monster scale rally on the other side. Maybe 100,000? I am not sure, but Jenkins' dismissive tone suggests he wants no protests unless the side protested against is an immense, immediate dire threat.  As he put it:

"The meeting ended early, the speakers were all drowned out. Nazis and white supremacists, if any were present,  were shown to be vastly outnumbered by Americans who reject such doctrines;"

Well at least here he properly cited "Americans" and not "leftists". But, of course, he's still a foolish twit. Waiting to protest until the vermin side metastasizes  to thousands is the error most Germans made in the early 1930s.  They laughed and hurled jibes about the "fools" marching in the streets causing trouble with Hitler, and never imagined that ten years later they'd hold power. OR, that these same riff raff would - in that power- use the very laws of Nuremberg democracy to destroy that democracy, via the Enabling Act.

And lest too many forget or were never aware, Hitler's National Socialist rabble began with only about twenty or so in a Munich Beer Hall.  This according to Konrad Heiden in 'The Fuhrer'.   As my late friend (and former Hitler Youth - by coercion)  Kurt Braun used to say: "Never, EVER, get complacent about a few Nazis!"   That was in 1978, in Frankfurt - while visiting Kurt and his wife, Ute. We were also shown archival films of how the Nazis and Adolf Hitler came to power. But to dolts like the WSJ's Jenkins we are "over reacting to Nazis" if thousands protest "against just a few"  - like in Boston last weekend.

This shtick is not new. If the Right can't win the narrative, say to come out directly against their more extremist sidekicks, they dismiss the threat of those extremists - to try and make it appear as though any opposition is foolish, over reacting and bordering on hysteria.   This is the sort of screwball premise Jenkins used in his piece to actually end up concluding it was the "minority" Nazis and white supremacists who needed protection against the "Majoritarian Mob".  But as Kurt would have said, if he was still alive observing events, "Would that such a majoritarian mob had shouted down the Nazis while still in their infancy in Germany!"

Well, yes, but we already know how that German history turned out when too many stood by, merely laughed at the jokesters wearing swastikas and did nothing. Even by the time the German capitalists like Krupp had tossed their lot behind Hitler, they still believed in their heart of hearts they could control him - after he became Chancellor. They had no remote conception that he'd use their own parliamentarian rules to destroy German democracy leading to a one party state.

"Oh, but that can't happen here! It's different!"

Those like Jenkins'-  and other pundits who seek to minimize the Nazi -white supremacist threat- would love for most people to buy into this codswallop. But the lessons of Germany in the 1930s disclose we'd be better off adhering to the maxim that "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance". Also, Jenkins and his allies appear to forget our present day, home grown Nazis already have a leg up on their German forbears. That is, they already have a friendly force occupying the peak of power, even controlling the nuclear codes.

We've also since learned how the neo-Nazis and other racist scum networked using the web (WSJ, Aug, 17, p. A1)  to mobilize the disaffected angry young whites (mainly males) including "white nationalists, neo-Nazis and defenders of Southern heritage"  to "maximize their opportunity to get their point of view across".   The Nazis cited in the piece also made it clear they no longer aspire merely to more marches and rallies but policy changes.  These could include everything from limiting immigration, especially of Mexicans and Muslims, to building a border wall using taxpayer money, to fielding a new "security" arm similar to the Nazi Gestapo.  Bottom line, as long as even ten thousand Nazis aspire to policy governance we can't relax. Hell, so long as ten aspire to such governance it is folly to let our guard down.

I'd go so far as to argue a version of Dick Cheney's "one percent doctrine" is applicable to the home grown Nazi terrorists. Recall that doctrine asserted if there is even a one percent chance of Pakistan helping Al Qaeda get a nuclear weapon the U.S. had to go all out to stop them. In the new incarnation, if there is even a one percent chance the U.S. Nazis and white supremacists can enlist Trump to help advance their agenda we citizens must go all out to stop it. That means assembling for a massive protest even if only ten neo-Nazis are speaking in a park. Nothing less will do, certainly so long as their enabler fouls the White House. (See the article link at very end.)

Jenkins wrote (ibid.):

"Majoritarian violence is the predominant risk even when its targets are people otherwise impossible to sympathize with".

He then proceeded to use mealy-mouthed lingo to try to paint events in Charlottesville in a less defined form, i.e. "first reports are unreliable", "manipulating news-related symbols in way that pleasure their target audiences" etc. - in other words seeking to support Trump's narrative that violence was equal and occurred on "many sides".   In Jenkins' later words:

"For the record, Donald Trump's press conference is available in its entirety online and takes 23 minutes to watch. He did not fail to denounce Nazis and racists"

Yeah, but he diluted the impact by including "on many sides".  Also, he earned the cheers of the same Alt-Right bunch who dismissed his words being aimed seriously at them.  See e.g. Richard Spencer's reaction here:

Make no mistake these riff raff already have a pal in the WH and they know it. This is why we can't go lightly or ignore the home grown Nazis so long as Trump occupies the Oval Office.

See also:


"The slide towards bleak historical periods can be difficult to recognize in the moment — often it only seems obvious in retrospect. But it’s hard to miss in the U.S. in this early part of the 21st century.

Dangerous signs are everywhere. In the New Yorker, Robin Wright writes of a coming Civil War. Holocaust survivors are issuing warnings about the similarities of this period to the rise of the Nazi era.

While no two events are the same, there are lessons and events in history that can be used to shine a light on the present. Those lights, if we choose to follow them, can guide us to avoid the tragic errors of the past"

No comments: