With Star Wars Episode VII out on DVD, accusations that one or another of the candidates is “like Hitler,” and politicians like Kaisch throwing out accusations of a “path of darkness” (see article), it is interesting to see if we can draw any comparisons – either historical or literary.
Fear mongering, which Kaisch is engaging in, is in fact a strategy of the Dark Side. Caryl Rivers analyzes the comparisons of Trump to Hitler and finds them lacking. Even if we take the out of context quotes the press gives, which are different than the impression gets listening to whole Trump speeches, the comparison is at best similar to ineffectual mongers such as George Wallace. In the 2003 lead up to the Iraq war, there were articles accusing the Bush administration of fear mongering, and comparing Bush to Hitler. Let’s be fair. The Iraq war was a terrible mistake, at least in the way it was carried out, and did lead eventually to ISIS which is certifiably Nazi-like in its genocidal zeal, but no one thinks Bush actually had genocide in mind. Revenge, perhaps, but that is a common enough flaw.
Fear mongering is not new or even particularly resurgent in American politics. You can watch 10 of the most famous historical fear monger attack ads here, including Hillary’s famous “Who do you want to get the 3am call?” ad from 2008. Hillary is of course not re-running that ad because she got the 3am call as Secretary of State regarding Benghazi, and was unprepared to deal with it. (In spite of that, Hillary is my 2nd choice, as potentially less economically damaging than Sanders or Cruz, see comments about Cruz and the Fed.)
But what is more dangerous than the occasional politician trying a little fear mongering to get ahead in the polls? Think about this. It is obvious, if you step back . . .
A group of politicians saying it, acting unfairly on it, and a large group of the citizenry believing and endorsing the fear mongering, is what is more dangerous, and is in fact more like the Nazi phenomenon. If no one had believed or acted on Hitler’s fear mongering, it would just have been talk. Now we have the press labeling Kaisch and Mitt Romney as respectable and safe, and apparently a fair number of citizens following their fear mongering about the leading Republican candidate.
It doesn’t matter whether that candidate is Trump or Cruz. There is plenty of ammunition to use against both, and while they are very different from each other (Cruz, an ex prosecutor, is highly ideological, whereas Trump is a negotiator who often says things as negotiating bluster, not ideological principle), the “establishment” likes neither. They haven’t rallied behind Cruz to block Trump, and are in fact considering drafting Paul Ryan (there was a fund raising meeting this week) if Kaisch doesn’t make it.
As to the fairness of their actions, well, if no one shows up with a majority at the convention, then that’s tough for Trump and Cruz. They will probably both get dumped. But if either of them shows up with a majority, and does NOT become the nominee, then whoever the nominee is, he or she is not fair and doesn’t believe in democracy, and I would instead vote for the Democrat candidate, no matter how much I might disagree on specific policy.
Preserve democracy first. Then you still have some chance to adjust the policy.
I agree that the establishment/press propaganda fear-mongering is unacceptable. Interesting analysis.
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