After the Nazis fell in 1945 the world paused to wonder how the world’s finest scientists, legal and moral philosophers and doctors could have been seduced to the dark side. Turns out it was easy.
Germany boasted the finest scientists in the world, its doctors looked upon as gods. Germany, not Greece, was the home of modern philosophy. Its legal profession was unexcelled. By the mid 19th Century their applied technology and manufacturing sectors were so good Karl Marx created an entirely new ‘ism just to decry it.
When Hitler first started consolidating power in the early 1930s, he began reaching out to these sainted professional classes through surrogates, in quiet drawing rooms and plush coffee houses all over Germany, pushing buttons he knew would resonate, such as ending the chaos that had marked Germany since the Great War, getting even for “that Treaty”, and restoring the unity and intellectual order that had marked Germany before 1914. You see, fascism, unlike communism to the East, promised an engineered social order that preserved the natural order the upper classes felt was their birthright. (Sound familiar?)
They didn’t really care much for that crass Austrian paper-hanger, but they did like some of the ideas he put forward, so they extended a cautious hand. And after Hitler re-militarized the Rhineland, seeing that neither Europe (England and France) nor the League of Nations would lift a finger to intervene, they signed on.
Of course they listened to the radio broadcasts, and heard Hitler proclaim a slightly varied brotherhood of Aryan man than they had in mind, and might have become alarmed, but this was just the politics of “democracy”, still a new thing in Germany. Every politician had to have a special spiel for the masses…with the expected wink and nod to the elites.
And there were stories of uniformed gangs of thugs beating up people, breaking windows and such, but not in their neighborhoods, so those stories could have been hearsay. Who could tell? There were all sorts of rumors of a dark side to this national socialism, but they didn’t see it personally.
Of course, it didn’t work out that way, did it?, and it matters little what they might have said after the war (those who survived) as to what their true feelings were for Hitler and his gang. The proof was in the pudding. Once power had been consolidated, the Nazis had no problem to pull out the fine print in their contract with the aristocrats. “We’re going to round up all the unfits, people of color and Jews and kill them.” (Among other things.)
By then, they had fewer options, so they went along. Why?
It’s easy, really. Just leap forward 70 years and you’ll see what I mean. The term “Progressive” has been around in recent American politics since the Dukakis campaign, when the term “liberal” had become a liability to the Democrat left. The term goes back to the Progressive movements of the late 19th-early 20th Century, and was based loosely on the idea that a more perfect nation could be “engineered” and by the 1920s-1930s was associated with Social Darwinism, eugenicists (who favored infanticide) Fabian socialists, and other groups, all loosely joined, even before the rise of Stalinist-style socialism and middle-class socialism (fascism) in Italy.
But that is not how Progressivism is pitched today, out in the tea and coffee set, which was not unlike the kafe haus of another time. The word itself has a ring to it, forward looking, up-scale, especially among enlistees who already had found a certain glamor in the old L-word, when it still had currency on the street in the 1960s. You could say “progressive” with the right pinkie extended, holding a Belleek tea cup and it really does strike quite the pose.
Sell the image to the coffee klatch and assume most won’t go the extra mile to discover what it really means, and sure enough, once in power, it won’t matter what they did or didn’t know. Once revealed, they will go along, just like they did in 1938.
Why? Because no newly revealed truth will ever break the bonds that cements the approval of your peers.
Cindy Sheehan comes to mind as to providing a reason. Our belief here is that her real anger was never with George W Bush and his war that brought about the death of her son Casey. Her anger was with Casey himself for joining in the first place. Her anger was with him for embarrassing her in front of her friends.
Right after 9/11 I recall an essay by an English professor somewhere in Pennsylvania who wrote about his anguish when his son suddenly joined the Marines. His son told him that these were all the things he’d been raised to believe. “You taught me, Dad”. He mentioned this to his colleagues at the university, and almost in unison, they said “No one in our circle has a son in the military”. So it was they gave this professor a choice, only he chose his son. But most don’t. Most choose their peers. Cindy did.
When recruiting English public school boys in the 1930s the communists learned that a person’s vanity is their greatest weapon, for once he grows older and sees the world in a different light, and realizes his error of judgment as a youth, he scarcely can summon the courage to tell himself this in the mirror, much less stand on a soapbox and announce to the world “I was wrong.” In the end, it is not his undying loyalty the communists have secured, but his never-ending silence.
It was no different in the 1960s when they recruited a similarly vain and narcissistic generation in America. And so it is today.
Depending on the issue, Progressivism teeters between the socialism of Stalin and the fascism of Germany. But on the sanctity of human life the card has already been played. Infanticide, mercy killing, euthanasia, and eventually genetic culling are but easy steps from where they already are now…just so long as the girls around the table, sipping coffee, all agree to stay friends.
Studies in the late 1970s and 80’s, when asking why the best and brightest of the German intellectual community had participated so willingly in the holocaust; medicine, law, civil service, the answer came down to two words, Peer approval.
We are seeing this proved today with the unraveling of the scientific scam called “climategate”, so we know the disease is still alive andwell among our so-called intellectual betters. Among their crowd, nothing has been learned.
I am not suggesting we begin to think the unthinkable, only know the seeds are still as fertile as they ever were in 1935. And, if you are of one of many select groups; Christian, conservative, gun-owner, just watch the signs so as to know when to stop buying green bananas.