Thursday, March 3, 2016

"They Thought They Were Free"


Even in today's poisoned political climate one might wonder how America could embrace a demagogue like Donald Trump.  The guy is blustery, so inarticulate that he repeats himself over and over, he speaks in generalities, never giving specifics on how he'll resurrect the America at our former greatness.

And yet he is roping in the masses.   When anyone chooses to give even a semblance of thought about Trump's success it's not hard to see how he's succeeding.  America suffers from a rapidly declining manufacturing base with jobs being exported to foreign countries in rapid numbers.  Our currency, no longer backed by Ft. Knox gold, is only as good as the Federal Reserve keeps printing money and telling us everything's fine.  Nearly half of America pay no taxes and live off the hard work of others...collecting a green check and/or many other government freebies.  We have a President who exerts strength only when circumventing the Commander in Chief he's been AWOL for nearly eight years and a crumbling world order shows it.  And we have a porous southern border making us vulnerable to both terrorists and some 30 million Mexicans who come here for overly generous municipal, state and federal be enjoyed simply by dropping an anchor baby on American soil.

In addition to the many real and concrete problems, there exists a massive citizen ignorance.  They do not take the time to study our problems with any degree of scholarship, thus tend to believe that the answers are easy.  As an instance, millions of conservatives believed that the Republican victories which gave them control of the House and Senate in 2014 that things would change.  They fail to understand the intricacies of the three branches of government, especially Obama's ability to issue Executive Orders and veto any conservative legislation that is passed to him.  So, because of citizen ignorance, their anger becomes increasingly greater with "the establishment".  They don't understand that, to affect real change, they have to change Presidents.

Amidst this poisoned atmosphere, amidst this massive citizen anger, a demagogue like Donald Trump emerges, one who speaks only in generalities, offers no specific solutions, just says he's gonna make America "great again".

A study of history illustrates a similar parallel.  One need only look at the rise of Adolph Hitler.  For more than half a century, after the dust of war had settled, we've wondered how a Hitler could ever be elected.  Milton Mayer, in his seminal book "They Thought They Were Free" explains the birth of a Hitler.  After World War I both Britain and France imposed the harshest reparations on Germany than any seen in history, despite dire warnings from our own President Woodrow Wilson that nothing good could come from it.  

Wilson's warnings proved prophetic.  As Britain and France kept their collective boots on the neck of Germany, as they sucked annual war reparations from the German economy, Germany sunk into a miasma of declining industrial production and runaway inflation.  Under Germany's Wermacht regime inflation was so bad that a German would have to push a wheelbarrow of German Marks to the store to purchase a loaf of bread.   National pride was at it's lowest and Germany was desperate for a savior.

Sadly, along came a madman to satisfy those cravings.  Adolph Hitler promised to restore German glory, blamed all their problems on the Jews (one may substitute Mexicans today), and set about his aims to re-arm and conquer.  And when it was all over twelve years later, Germany was in ruins and Hitler blew his brains out in his bunker.

Fortunately the Marshall Plan saved Germany from half a century of misery and economic ruin.  Sadly, if we elect our own monster, there are no saviors for America.

We can learn from history...but only if we stop to think...if we pause and listen, to see if our current demagogues are really providing any answers to our national woes.  Sadly, there are too few historians...and far too many who fail to study history, and work hard not repeat past mistakes.  It would seem we are now bound to learn the hard way.

Sad.  Damned Sad.


Anonymous said...

Well maybe you'll get your wish and Hillary will be our next president. I was stunned that Romney lost the last election. I concluded that no Republican would ever win again with how easily those liberal states go to the dems and amount to huge electoral votes. We should assume that after a Clinton presidency 30 million illegals will be given voting rights. There will also be a much larger percentage of the population on welfare and voting democrat. I don't believe that would happen with Trump and in 4 years a real republican would have a good shot. Somehow you think 4 or 8 more years of liberals in office will result in a shift back to some conservative movement but it will be past the point of return. Yes we're desperate, you're right, but I would rather roll the dice on Trump than have Clinton take us past the point of return. Sorry, but I think you're being overly paranoid about Trump and very irrational to suggest we'd be in better shape after a Clinton run.

Frank Krzesowiak said...

Umm. Scribe. You're comparing Germany of the 1920's with America today. Complete apples and oranges. The two Countries aren't even close to being similar. If I didn't know better, I'd think your were turning "Liberal" on us. I think your hatred of Trump is trumping your good judgement and clear thinking. No soup for you. Next!!

A Modest Scribler said...

Anon, Frank...always appreciate your insight...even if I don't agree. No soup? Damn!

Jerry Carlin said...

Sad to see anger winning out:( As I said yesterday, over half your readers will vote for Trump
The era of a nice reasonable intellectual discussion has been lost. No, you have not "become a Liberal", you are just showing rational thought and fear. Pretty reasonably!
Not like Germany in the '20's? When we deport 12 million Jews, sorry, slip of the tongue, I mean Mexicans, we will be! the list of similarities is pretty scary!
I will be curious what Romney says (in an hour!) and will anyone listen? I really wish there were No Republicans, No Democrats, just People running for office. Anger got us Trump, will Reason get us out of this situation? It is the penalty of becoming a Nation of non readers, and ironically, proud of it.

A Modest Scribler said...

Jerry, do you have ESP? You predicted this blog in your comments yesterday. Read the one for tomorrow about the "non-reader".

Jerry Carlin said...

no ESP, just logical conclusions to how we got to where we are!

A Modest Scribler said...

Jerry, I just listened to Romney's speech. God, what a breath of fresh air...someone with an intellect and real character (backed up with a lifetime of achievement). I will readily admit that Romney was not combative enough in 2012. But Trump has taken combativeness to a vulgarity....and without half the charm and intelligence of Mitt.

Jerry Carlin said...

Mitt could still be drafted! Maybe the timing is right this time. Yes, breath of fresh air! and Not a single tone of Hatred in his speech! Reasonable and articulate, nice if we could all be that way!

Old Gray Mule said...

What is wrong with the logic of all Trump's followers? The Dems are on their knees praying Trump gets the nomination because all the polls show he is the least likely of all the Republican candidates to beat Hillary. They party every time he wins a state. Does Trump REALLY love America? Think about it....Everyone knows if he doesn't win the nomination he will run on a third party ticket, guaranteeing a Hillary win. No, Trump will not win this election but after the Dems double our national debt, we'll be so angry we may very well elect Hitler to make our country great again.

A Modest Scribler said...

Old Gray, you are right on, especially about Trump running 3rd party if he doesn't get the nomination...his ego his huge and he cares not a whit about conservatives...only his massive ego.

Frank Krzesowiak said...

You guys crack me up. Still trying to compare apples to oranges. That don;t work. Comparing "gassing of millions of Hew" to send millions of people back home where they belong is Lunacy at best. It's not just the 12 million "Mexicans". There's millions from all over the world here that are collecting good hard earned American dollars why? Because they snuck into our Country? Are you freaking kidding me. Where, my friends, does it stop. How many do you let come in and collect welfare and section 8 housing? Should we take in all 7 billion people on this planet? Tell me where you draw the line. Our Countries future is at stake. My Grandparents came from Italy and Poland and WORKED". Government gave them NOTHING. Tell me how much the deficit has to climb to for you to think"maybe this wasn't such a good idea?". Come on guys. Where do you draw the line?

A Modest Scribler said...

Frank, cool the "you guys" stuff. I think you've read enough of my blogs to see how I feel about illegal immigration.