I know. You are not allowed to say that word and make a comparison to any events outside 1945. Because you might offend someone.
This is a pernicious modern philosophy routinely promulgated across mainstream media and politicians who should all know better.
Readers of my blog and other writings know that this is the time of year, Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom, that causes me to reflect upon the Nazi killing of my grandmother, infant aunt, and another little girl huddling in their London house during the Blitz. It was October 13, 1940 and the bomb that killed them and eighteen Belgian war refugees sheltering in the subway below somehow missed my mother. That is how close I came to non-existence.
Mom was the only survivor in the rubble where she spent a night and morning with the corpses of her family.
Mom’s house morning after bombing.
I want that picture seared into everyone’s political conscience through repetition. It was the consequence of great evil. It was the consequence of polite politicians and media types saying “You can’t say that about Hitler, Mussolini, and Fascism. You might offend them, while we your enlightened leaders make peace.”
Ruth Marcus wrote a typical story for the Washington Post recently. Ms. Marcus is an excellent writer, but here she is doing the work of Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, and Stanley Baldwin (the three British politicians most responsible for appeasing Hitler). She writes from the perspective of modern Germany and its memorials to the Holocaust and the horror of 1945 fully revealed.
But that is not how the Nazis came to power in 1933. They won an election in the non-majority way that many European countries are run to this day. Once in power they gradually used the power of the German state against targeted groups – political opponents, the LGBT community, Jews, and others. It was five more years until the tightening screw of persecution culminated in the unrestrained violence of 1938’s Kristallnacht.
And still the polite smart people in Britain said, “you can’t say that about Hitler, because we have peace in our time.”
That is not the perspective of 1945. The six million dead Jews, the ten million dead Russians, the millions more dead all across Europe, Africa, and Asia were in the future. General Eisenhower had the concentration camps of 1945 filmed not just to document the horror of the end game, but a reminder of the banal beginnings of Nazism.
Nazi rule began with an election not a concentration camp full of corpses.
So the question is not, is the IRS the Gestapo? More properly it is, did the IRS use the type of government intimidation against conservatives that the Nazis used through the German government to quash dissent in 1933 and 1934? Is there any doubt Senator McCarthy was doing exactly that in the 1950s?
If these questions spark a genuine debate that includes an education for voters on Hitler’s rise to power through the gradual perversion of democracy, how is that a bad thing?
We have a modern political discourse that pushes everything to the extremes. And on the left increasingly the answer to unpleasant speech is not more speech, but “sush, you can’t say that.”
So, Mr. Carson please keep bringing up Nazis. And if others have a different view of the import of Nazi Germany on modern events in the Middle East, Europe, or even here in the United States, then make your point on historical fact not law review articles. We need a continued robust debate on the Fascism of yesterday and today.
Because, I have never met a victim of Nazi Germany whose answer to any question was “sush, you can’t say that about Nazis”.
At the gravesite in the mid-1990s.