The egalitarian compulsion to level humanity, so evident today, is no isolated phenomenon peculiar to American "Liberals" at the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. Theirs is but one of the more extreme facets of a broader and wider phenomenon; a phenomenon which has led to the abuse of authority before, in varying degrees, at other times and other places.
In this broader form, it might be described as a rage for uniformity; a passion to eliminate the problems which flow from the differences between identifiable groups by eliminating the differences. A relatively mild example would be the fallacious hypothesis of the late Norman Cousins (Editor of the Saturday Review), that you could abolish war by emphasizing the similarities rather than the differences between peoples. (Of course, peace was always possible by ignoring those differences for which men were willing to fight. Such was but a subtle argument for surrender. Had Jefferson wrote not of such differences which compelled a separation, but of those common ties that argued for continued adherence, we might still be British subjects; and the entire world would be a vastly different place.)
When this passion for uniformity becomes frenetic, it sometimes takes on the form of fanaticism, an inability to accept an unpleasant truth; the flaw which once led an ancient tyrant to kill a messenger who brought sad tidings. A full blown compulsion soon follows. And those in the throes of a compulsion, are seldom bothered by reason or reality.
The genius of silent film D.W. Griffith directed a film called "Intolerance," during the time of World War I, which captured the essence of those who cannot tolerate diversity in the human condition. The movie continuously flashed back and forth between four stories: A contemporary one in which meddlesome socialites, bent upon doing good, tried to take a baby away from a loving young mother in the slums; and three compelling visual accounts of the ugliest forms of religious persecution. Of these latter, the most recent was the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of the Huguenots in 1572, when a Parisian mob rose up against an affluent minority.
It was after this act of barbarism, that the wise and good King Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598. Under it, France's Huguenots lived in peace and prosperity with both their Catholic and their non-religious neighbors until 1685, when a compulsion for religious uniformity induced those close to Louis XIV to pressure him into revoking the Edict and driving the Huguenots from France. This proved far more than just another example of "mans inhumanity to man"; more than just another illustration of the evil inherent in "majority rule," in rule by numbers or by "counting noses."
The Huguenots represented a vastly disproportionate share of the skilled artisans and industrialists of France--the class that in England would in two generations produce an "Industrial Revolution," resulting in an Anglo-Saxon/Celtic influence out of all proportion to their numbers in the evolving cultures of the world. And the Huguenots displayed very similar aptitudes.
The Huguenots fled to many lands. They played a significant role in the emerging cultures of Virginia and the Carolinas, in the Afrikaner culture of South Africa; and in individual cases, contributed to technological breakthroughs throughout the English, Dutch and German speaking worlds.
Prior to the expulsion of the Huguenots, France had fought England on roughly equal terms--they had been doing so for centuries. After the expulsion of the Huguenots, the French managed to lose every major war--even, finally, the Napoleonic, where for a time they appeared almost able to create an empire which would have rivaled that of the Caesars. (Of course, had France retained her industrial class, the Bourbon Monarchy would never have collapsed into an economic abyss; and Napoleon would have been only the Supreme Commander of King Louis' army.)
In 1917, the Communists seized power in Russia; and although they adopted the pseudo-science of the original Communists of the French Revolution, which held that characteristics acquired through environmental manipulation were inheritable--a very convenient mythology for totalitarians--they did not completely accept their own propaganda. [American "Liberals" of today may really be the only people in History, who have ever actually believed that you can make men equal by recreating their social environment.] And the Communists set out to eliminate anyone not seen as being sufficiently malleable, as well as anyone seen as a convenient scapegoat for the past problems of the masses. Thus they proceeded to kill or run off those who had the greatest talent for agriculture, commerce and innovation.
For individual incentive, individual initiative, and individual responsibility, "evils" surely not compatible with an egalitarian State; the Collective established, instead, "Five Year Plans"--a planned Society. Bolshevism is basically dead today, because in their intolerance towards ideological and class diversity, they eliminated those who could have made their State work and prosper. It is dynamic individuals who make States prosper, never the other way around.
In 1933, the Left seized Germany--again with all the rhetoric of totalitarian uniformity; the marching mobs, the slogans of a classless society. It was 1572, 1791, and 1917, all over again. While the Nazis--the right wing of the Left-wing world--tried to appeal to traditional German patriots by subliminal techniques (such as staging splendid "patriotic" pageants that suggested pride in heritage), as well as to the street mobs, which had earlier been so useful in seizing France and Russia; they absolutely destroyed any thought of a renaissance of the underlying Conservatism of the German people. (Indeed, within months of seizing power, Hitler terminated the prerogatives of the traditional German States--trashing at least five hundred years of history--and ending any possibility of Germany actually returning to the Right, or to the heritage of her peoples.)
Germany under the Hohenzollerns, the traditional Kings of Prussia, had been a land of religious toleration. Sick from the carnage of the Thirty Years War, the Monarchy adopted the policy that all that mattered was how good a German one was. And Protestants, Catholics, Jews and others, lived in peace & harmony. Prior to Hitler's Socialist Revolution, the German Jews were very prominent in finance and science.
But Socialists always need a scape goat; and while the Marxist Communists in Russia could use the "bourgeois"--the middle class--for a scapegoat; the German middle class were far too large a part of the population for any similar attack. Hitler, although much of his rhetoric was directed to the "workers," needed the bulk of the middle class. In this environment, he followed the personal example of Karl Marx, three generations earlier, to single out the Jews, who (like the Huguenots) were an affluent and identifiable minority, to blame all the woes of the nation on their presence.
Thus, almost exactly a quarter of a millennium after the French had shot themselves in the foot by fanatically running off a minority with indispensable aptitudes; the National Socialists of Germany did the same thing. And the result of their quest for uniformity--for a world where no one could be different--was that some of the leading German physicists--and some from countries allied to Germany--fled Europe for America.
When one considers that by the end of World War II, Germany was far ahead of the West in jet technology and rocket science, and only slightly behind in the race for Atomic weapons; one realizes how totally destructive that quest for uniformity had proven. Without the German and other European emigre`s, we would never have gotten the Atomic bomb as early as we did; and might have fallen behind in other forms of technology, directly related to the war effort. In the same time frame, a Conservative Germany under the Kaisers would have had just the added edge, they would have needed, to have achieved the Atomic age earlier; with consequences, which could have absolutely changed the course of history.
The point is obvious. We in America have benefited because, in our belief in the individual, in our resistance (until recently) to the urge to make men equal, to make all men similar--to centrally plan & centrally control the lives of others--we have maximized our creative forces; while our would-be enemies have decimated theirs.
Can we not learn, either from our own positive experience, or from the self-destructive experience of those around us, to eschew present trends? What destroyed the upward momentum in France, Russia and Germany, was a compulsive need to deny human differences; a need to destroy the achievers in a demagogic appeal to the embittered and the failures.
Everywhere, today, we see similar attacks on the creative element in America--demagogues blaming the wealthy for the failure of the poor; the lie that the white man has held back the black*; even vilification of those proud, bold men, who achieved our independence, and established our political institutions, for not embracing the sort of majority rule, egalitarian values, those socialists called "Liberals" now advocate.
Could St. Bartholomew's Day or Crystal Night happen in America? Just change the names of the target, and listen to what passes for public debate! Or consider the riots that have already taken place, with different players, in Los Angeles & other American cities. Or join us in looking more closely at the Obama phenomenon.
A typical contemporary of the Third Crusade probably saw the conflict as a battle between the ultimate extremes in the human experience; between truth and darkness, good and evil. And yet both sides were in that minority of the world's peoples who worshipped the God of Noah, and agreed upon such controversial theological points as the Abrahmic Covenant and the Virgin Birth of Jesus. The typical German contemporary of the Thirties Year War--unless of that small elite, whose interest was more in political advantage than moral rectitude--probably saw that conflict in much the same way. People immersed in their present seldom have historic perspective. And thus in our time, the myth has persisted that Communism and National Socialism were the opposite extremes of the political spectrum--with modern American "Liberalism," a moderate, reasonable alternative.
For over sixty years, the bulk of the American educational establishment has accepted this illusion. The mainstream press has accepted this illusion. So have the Democratic and Republican parties. Even many of the victims of these movements have "bought" the premise. Yet all three movements subscribe to the radical revolutionary concept that a Federal Government has the right to remake the social order of its constituent states; to reengineer the cultures of their constituent peoples: To utilize collectivized power to rebuild a social order from the top down. All three movements were as far as one could go towards the Left of the political spectrum; far indeed from the concepts of the Founding Fathers, from the political ethos of the American Union.
The illusion has persisted because of a degeneration in political discourse from the reasoned expositions on primary issues, that characterized debate in early America (ie. on the extent, limitations and uses of political power), to the politics of slogan and sound bite we see today. People no longer ask whether the Federal Government has a role in health, education or employment; but rather how it should exercise any role it claims. We are cloud and windborne in our thinking, without roots or understanding of basic issues. And in this confusion between primary and secondary issues, we have fallen ever deeper into the airy logic of semantic distinctions without a substantive difference.
Thus few have even noticed that the great movements of the Left have all used much the same formulae in their pursuit of power. Each played upon the resentments and envy of society's failures and malcontents, their would be supporters; each demonized relatively more successful, but definable elements, particularly those which had maintained a sense of heritage and tradition not compatible to the vision of the movement; and each sought to abolish any institution or mechanism, which could provide a means or rationale for resistance.
To be sure, the Nazis and "Liberals" (and for those familiar with the historic meaning of "Liberal" as generous or a champion of greater freedom, we place the term in quotation marks, to iterate a belief that the Modern "Liberal" most definitely is not); Nazis and "Liberals" have each allowed continued private ownership of the means of production. Yet both in America today, as in Hitler's Germany, big Government has sought more and more to dictate whom a business hires; the terms of that employment; the conditions of employment; the types of product made; the conditions for marketing the same; even the ultimate consumer, and the ultimate use.
And in every other major area of concern, the similarities are just as eerie.
The Communists made no bones about the international character of their movement; their non-concern for State borders. But the Nazis and "Liberals" at least gave lip service to older values. Yet one of the first major actions, which Hitler took, was to abolish the rights of the constituent German States--States with proud histories and very different cultures--to any meaningful control over their own societies. That was, of course, the precise issue in America, at the Federal level, for the past two generations. Under such banners as "Civil Rights," the "New Frontier," "Great Society," "War on Poverty," "Voting Rights," "Equal Rights," and "Gender Equity" (a semantic absurdity), the rights of once sovereign American States to differ meaningfully in any way, socially or culturally, have all been stripped away.
Nazis & "Liberals" have both tried to disarm their subject populations: To deny their citizens the right to keep firearms. In the case of the Nazis, the reason would seem obvious. As George Washington declared, "A free people ought to be armed. When firearms go, all goes."
But why would American "Liberals" want to take away what Thomas Jefferson well described as "the people's last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government?" Why, indeed, if they are not what we suggest!
Nazis & "Liberals" have both tried to use public schools to subvert parental authority; to undermine family values in favor of new social norms under the radical theory that children somehow belong to the collective, and that collectivist manipulation of the social environment will somehow upgrade their potential.
Nazis & "Liberals" have both given lip service to the creativity of individuals. But each has advocated the efficacy of a collectively planned economy; the absurd concept that a bureaucracy can somehow manage the dynamic and creative energies of a productive person better than that person can manage himself. [To truly understand the foolishness of this notion, you need pause only long enough to consider the subject of motivation. There is no way a planned economy can duplicate the dynamic involvement of the productive human element in a market economy; an economy, which puts every competing man or woman, in his or her own interest, on their mettle to find that which each can do with the greatest utility.]
In this folly, both saw in Government, a cure for the Great Depression. And many of the programs, launched in the '30s, were remarkably similar.
Each advocated a "New World Order;" neither showing much empathy for the proud, honored traditions of other lands and other peoples. [Tell General Cedras--a cultured West Point graduate, whom the Clinton Administration deposed in Haiti because he was blocking mob rule--or some of his now dead followers, that he was dealing with a more tolerant regime than the Nazis who deposed Admiral Horthy, the Hungarian Regent, so that an earlier mobocracy could slaughter Hungarian Jews. Tell the Ibo tribesman in Nigeria, or the people of Katanga, a generation back, that the American "Liberalism," which supported their suppression, was markedly different than the National Socialism, which suppressed the people of Czechoslovakia, and built efficient death camps. Tell the Rhodesians, many of whom performed heroic service fighting the Nazis in World War II, and who paraphrased our Declaration of Independence in their own, how different they found American "Liberals" from Nazis. Or ask the opinion of any Serb.]
The illusion that Communism, National Socialism & modern American "Liberalism," are radically different movements, has been very useful to all three. Demonizing different groups, each has been able to use populations demonized by others and those in sympathy with those populations, for recruiting purposes. And as the intellectually weaker, more susceptible, in each demonized population turn for protection to one of the other forms of socialism, we soon have new "evidence" for the demonizing propagandists of the first to support their hypothesis, ie. the original demonization. Thus the conservative majority become fragmented, many intimidated into silence lest they up the level of that demonization; others radicalized themselves beyond any hope for credibility.
Consider some examples:
The original Marxist attack on civilization singled out the Jews. Some early Marxists were Jewish rebels. Like any revolutionary movement, their initial hatred was directed towards their own heritage. But as they began to see their movement as a possible source for power, they joined with the other Communists to focus on Capitalism in general. And while Capitalism had and has been an enormous boon to an expanding population, there have been some Capitalists--surely a minority--who have put greed before country; self before morality. So some demonized Capitalists became nervous, concerned lest they be tarred by association with their worst element. Modern "Liberalism" and National Socialism were each sold to alarmed Capitalists, as a way to save Capitalism! All of which, in turn, proved further grist for the Communist mill.
Meanwhile, the Nazis picked up where Marx had left off, to demonize Jews; suggesting that those Jewish rebels, who had repudiated their religious heritage, somehow represented the whole of a people; that Jews were behind Communism, even behind a corruption of the Arts! (There were probably 50 to 100 cultured mainstream German Jews playing Beethoven, Handel and Wagner in German symphonic orchestras for every lone cultural rebel; but truth has never been a major consideration for the Social Engineers.)
In reaction to this attack, many Jews became nervous and looked to modern "Liberalism," some even to Communism, rather than their own tradition, to protect them from the Nazis. In addition, many former liberals--ie. believers in personal freedom and religious toleration--became alarmed, and turned to the phony socialist variety, to deal with the blatant Nazi threat. And as this trend developed, the Nazis claimed confirmation for the original lie, driving still others into the camps of rival Engineers.
This latter phenomenon--without any reference to any other issue--is sufficient to explain why Hollywood, which before World War II had made movies tending towards cultural respect and reconciliation between traditional American cultures, North and South--up through and including "Gone With The Wind" at the outbreak of War--suddenly began making movies picturing traditional Southern society as sick and bigoted; such as they have offered ever since. (There were exceptions, such as Disney's "Song of the South," made a few years after the War. But when did they last re-release "Song of the South?!" ) Why this obvious change in direction?
Because modern American "Liberals" happily recruited those the Nazis had frightened; and (reviving the hatred that a small group of fall away Puritan fanatics had first directed against the Old South before the 1861 War between the North and South, and again during Reconstruction) set out to demonize the traditional South, as their own rallying point.
When, in reaction, some of the less educated Southern Whites joined fringe groups, groups that in some cases sounded neo-Nazi; the "Liberals" had their "confirmation," and thus recruited still more of the susceptible to this revived demonology. And yet for every act of real bigotry--such as the grotesque 1999 killing in Jasper, Texas--there were probably 100 or more unrecorded examples of true good will, motivated only by traditional kind feelings, between the races. The truly sad thing, considering some of those spreading the big lie, was that the Old South had been the first region in America to fully accept Jews into the conservative mainstream.
There is tragedy in this: There were scholars in Germany willing to refute the Nazi lies. There were scholars in America willing to refute the "Liberal" lies. But in each case, the cultural bullies took over and shouted down the voices of truth and understanding. Any German after 1930 who dared to speak out for the Jews, was turned into a pariah--if Hitler's homosexual street fighters didn't beat him to death first. In America, the conservative who dares to stand up for the Southern heritage of Jefferson, Madison and Robert E. Lee, or to calmly address the question of racial difference, is not treated quite so roughly; but every effort is made to suppress the debate, or to drown the debater in the rhetoric of hatred; and the situation grows worse by the hour. Here, as in Germany, Academic Freedom has died on many a campus in the shouts of self-righteous fanatics. The real crime in each case has been the same:
It was not that a small minority of Jews had committed themselves to an evil & revolutionary cause. It was not that a small minority of White Southerners had sometimes done indefensibly mean spirited and cruel things to their Negro neighbors. (As had a, probably larger, number of Northerners.) Those evils could and should have been dealt with. If individuals wage war upon their society, or against their innocent neighbors, they must be dealt with accordingly.
The real crime, in each instance, was that Social Engineers had selected a scapegoat--a red herring to rally the Lemmings to their doom. And in each case, they chose a scapegoat from a recognizable ethnic group, which by reason of an old and proud tradition, were not likely candidates to support a reengineering of their society or culture. But enough! In each case, the demonization of the scapegoat was closely followed by greater Governmental intrusion into what had previously been matters of private choice.
Government is a function of power. If Government allows you freedom only so long as you exercise that freedom consistent with politically decreed values of the moment; you have no freedom! A puppet is never free.
A Government that has the power to tell any recognizable group that their children must have a particular social attitude towards people from a different background, whether racial, cultural, class, community--whether of region or faith--has the power to tell that group that they must have the opposite attitude towards the subject group. Put another way, if Government has the power to guarantee that someone must be hired because of their ethnic origin or sex; it has the power to guarantee that someone may not be hired because of their ethnic origin or sex. When the question is whether or not an individual may even consider ethnic origin or sex, the issue remains the same--whether the individual, operating in the market, has the freedom to apply the standard that his or her conscience dictates, or must apply the current standard of the Government.
Racial quotas & politically or judicially decreed Affirmative Action in America, today, and Nazis forcing Jews to go around with yellow badges of exclusion, represent the same abuse of the Governmental function.