Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 27 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/28/21

We're at the Threshold of a Fascist Authoritarian Takeover & January 6th Was Our Kristallnacht

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   18 comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 1486
Message Thom Hartmann
Become a Fan
  (137 fans)

View of the old synagogue in Aachen after its destruction during Kristallnacht 07.
View of the old synagogue in Aachen after its destruction during Kristallnacht 07.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Unknown authorUnknown author)
  Details   Source   DMCA

Today is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and is also the day after 45 Republicans in the Senate voted that Trump's attempt to turn America into a fascist state was just fine with them.

How does this kind of horror happen in otherwise civilized, advanced countries?

Back in the 1980s, my family and I lived in Germany doing international relief work. I knew and worked with several Germans, then in their 60s, who'd been soldiers in Hitler's army.

A close friend and colleague of mine, Armin Lehman n, was the 16-year-old courier who brought Hitler the news that the war was lost, and stood outside his door while Hitler committed suicide; we traveled the world together and I encouraged him to get his autobiography into print.

My mentor Gottfried Mueller, about whom I wrote a book, had been such a true believer that he parachuted into the Kurdish area of Iraq to help the Kurds seize the oil fields for Hitler (and designed the flag still used by the Kurdish resistance); he spent the rest of the war in a British prison cage in the desert waiting to be executed, and when he escaped at the war's end became a vegetarian and committed his life to peace, as had Armin.

People wonder how the Nazis took over that country so rapidly, just like they wonder how Republicans in the US Senate could justify Donald Trump whipping up a crowd to go kill five people and try to overthrow the US government.

Turns out, in both cases, it's the seductive lure of authoritarianism.

All of us have, to a greater or lesser extent, a deep-seated, childhood-rooted need to be taken care of. To have somebody else make sure that we are safe. For some it's a faint whisper; for others, it's the force that drives their lives.

It apparently comes out of the developmental stage of childhood when we're completely dependent upon our parents; some of us didn't feel completely safe through childhood, and when such people grow up they spend their adulthood looking for parent-like figures who promise to protect them and guarantee them safety.

Such people are called "authoritarian followers," and they just want the world to be safe, predictable, and orderly. No ambiguity or complexity; these people want simple answers, a strong leader, the reassurance of weaponry and macho symbology, and swift and harsh "justice" for those who frighten them or they don't understand. Thus, they're open and vulnerable to authoritarian leaders.

And it's not just limited to "average people" or even those suffering poverty or oppression; even billionaires are vulnerable to authoritarianism.

This doesn't just explain why Germans would follow Hitler; it also explains why Americans would follow Charles Manson and Jim Jones. And Donald Trump.

We're all capable of following characters who play the role of parent figures who'll take care of all the crises, solve the problems, and make everything better, whether for good or for ill, whether George Washington ("The Father of Our Country") or Donald Trump.

This is not a novel idea. Entire books have been written about it, like Robert Altmeyers The Authoritaria ns, Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitariani sm, and John Dean 's Conservatives Without Conscie nce.

Authoritarianism, the impulse at the core of fascism, is simple, and that very simplicity is what makes it so seductive.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

 

Well Said 1   Supported 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Thom Hartmann Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

S&P Blames Republicans, Mainstream Media Fails to Report It

Globalization Is Killing The Globe: Return to Local Economies

The Great Tax Con Job

The Uncanny, Frightening Ways That Trump's America Mirrors Hitler's Germany

The Truth about the Trust Fund-- Destroying Social Security to Destroy the Two Party System

The Deciding Moment: The Theft of Human Right

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: