Are Obama and the American people capable of mimicking a Hitler/Nazi-like experience?

I posted yesterday about the usefulness of comparing Obama directly to Hitler (not useful at all), a comparison I believe is triggered by the vast distrust the American people are developing towards Obama as they realize they were duped.  Tiresias left an eye-opening comment about Hitler’s skills versus Obama’s skills, and about the nature of the American people versus the nature of the German people.  You can find his long, well-analyzed comment here.  My down-and-dirty summary is as follows:

Hitler, while a monster, was an effective leader. In terms of his demagoguery, it was based strongly on flattery: “You Germans are the most wonderful people in the world, and I will restore you to your rightful place.”

The opposite is true for Obama. Obama has proven, to date, to be an ineffective leader. And in terms of his demagoguery, such as it is, it’s based strongly on self-flattery: “You Americans are the debased product of a capitalist slave culture. I am the most wonderful person in the world and you will restore me to my rightful place.”

Of course, there is a group of Americans — the same ones that gave intellectual birth to Obama — who masochistically crave the insults he offers.  They want self-abasement.  They need the flagellating tongue of a great leader to purge them of their legacy of capitalist, slave-holding sins.  They propped him up before the election and they will keep on propping him up, come Hell or high water.

I think, though, or maybe I just hope, that the masochists in American society represent a very small minority, albeit a vocal one with a hand on the media and on education.  Ordinary people, even the ones who hated Bush or who don’t care much about politics, feel that they live in a good place and that they are good people.  They want to become better people, but they are not aroused to action by the increasingly shrill voice of the Scolder in Chief.  His “Hope” and “Change” and “Yes, We Can” have too quickly morphed into an “I am wonderful and you are awful” mode that is anything but inspiring — and we’ve got the numbers to prove that.

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  • David Foster

    “the masochists in American society represent a very small minority”…these people (with a few exceptions) are *not* masochists and they do not feel guilty…rather, they have a strong sense of superiority and believe that the *rest* of us should feel guilty.

    More than 60 years ago, C S Lewis astutely analyzed a similar phenomenon–the “national repentence movement”–in Britain.

  • kali

    In the novel _Three Men on the Bummel_ (written in 1900 about a trip to Germany) the narrator J makes a comment about the German love of authority and makes a rather prescient comment about what a deadly enemy they could make because of this.

    Here, we have a long tradition of resistors, protestors, agitators for conscience, and out-and-out lone wackos. Our country was founded by splinter groups, its borders pushed outward by loners and cranks, and this tradition is nourished even today by people who looked at the way their own country works and said “no, thanks.”

    In fact, even among my progressive friends, I know my own dislike of do-gooders and government meddlers is the norm. (What differentiates us is that I think do-gooders and meddlers should leave other people alone as well)

    The leftists will find out what Yamamoto did. The sleeping giant will wake.

  • eric-odessit

    The problem is that whenever the term “Nazi” is invoked, the people think of the Holocaust. But that is not all the National-Socialism was. As Johna Goldberg points out in his “Liberal Fascism”, Hitler genocidal Antisemitism was not at all common to all of such movements. In fact, Mussolini considered it stupid. But a careful examination of Obama’s political philosophy and his economic policies would reveal similarities between those and the “third way” (neither Communist nor Capitalist) political movements like Fascism and National-Socialism. So, if you look past the Holocaust, the comparison is useful. But unfortunately people can’t do that. I suspect that even those who call themselves “Nazi” don’t know what they are talking about and can’t look beyond the racial hatred.

  • Zhombre

    Whatever happens in America, good or bad, I believe will be uniquely American. The European Isms be it National Socialism or Fascism do not translate across the Atlantic. This nation was founded on people escaping all that, and that notion is intensely personal for me; as grandchild of immigrants, who heard Slovak and Polish spoken by my grandparents, very early in life the idea of giving up Old Country ways was inculcated in my consciousness. The Old Country meant poverty, limited opportunities, class stratification, and immigrating to America meant leaving all that dry rot behind and becoming an American. It is the intellectual classes, as Tom Wolfe has pointed out, who remain compliant colonials, eager to please and emulate their European betters, and deny any form of American exceptionalism while they lecture us on American vulgarity. But I digress. To answer your question, no, Americans won’t mimic that European experience. However vehement or bloody our internecine struggles become, it will have an American improv to it.

  • David Foster

    It is very dangerous to assume that national characteristics are immutable. Many people refused to believe that Naziism was as bad as it in fact was because “Germany is such a civilized nation.”

    I read about Jews in a remote village somewhere in Russia who looked forward eagerly to the arrival of German troops during WWII. They remembered the Germans from the earlier war, who had behaved much better than the anti-Semitic and thuggish Russian admninistrators they usually dealt with.

  • Mike Devx

    I am deathly tired of the word “Hitler” being used by anyone to vilify their opponents. It really doesn’t work anymore. Been done to death.

    We should focus on issues such as the shocking unemployment rate, which is now officially at 9.7% and unofficially much, much higher. That we’re still shedding jobs while many other countries are gaining jobs.

    Other countries have leaders that know that cap and trade is a crazy joke, and that everything over there is lip service to the Green Movement. Here, our President is a crazy joke who takes Cap And Trade very seriously, and therefore our markets and our jobs climate suffer. Because they must take into account that this serious idealogue fully intends every iota of vicious harm to the country that his programs offer.

  • Ymarsakar

    Been done to death.

    By the Left. If terrorists use bombs, that does not make us terrorists if we use better bombs. If the Left uses Hitler as part of their propaganda, it doesn’t make us the Left to use the true form of Hitler in a better way.

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  • Mike Devx

    I don’t think it’s useful any longer to compare anyone to Hitler. I tune them all out, left and right.

    Having said that, I do find it useful to comment to my liberal friends *about* the comparisons, because it gives me the “in” to comment about how Hitler was a leftist, and that the Nazis were the National Socialist Party of Germany. And that most fascist movements in history have been leftist. And then sit back and see what they have to say. That part – that manner of using Hitler in conversations – remains useful.

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