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No, Marjorie, Democrats aren’t Nazis

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“Those who apparently do not know history are doomed to make basic mistakes,” the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler recently wrote of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

Greene had just called the Democrats Nazis. Kessler quoted her: “You know, Nazis were the National Socialist Party. Just like the Democrats are now a national socialist party.”

Of course, Democrats aren’t Nazis. But Greene, on the other hand, is a fan of authoritarianism and dabbles in anti-Semitism. Remember, she circulated the insane claim that a Jewish space laser set those California wildfires.

Greene is the lead loony in the GOP’s ever-expanding crazy caucus. She’s a QAnon kook and a white supremacist. No notion is too nutty, no declaration too absurd, for Greene.

“It seems so simple,” Kessler wrote. “The official name of Adolf Hitler’s political party — the Nazis — had the word ‘socialist’ in it. Ergo, it must have been a socialist party. And that means that Democrats, some of whom call themselves socialists, must be Nazis. Or something like that.”

“Nazi” is short for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” in English.

Explained Kessler: “But it was not a socialist party; it was a right-wing, ultranationalist party dedicated to racial purity, territorial expansion and anti-Semitism — and total political control.”

Hitler hated socialism, ranting that it was weak and Jewish-inspired. He cynically made “socialist” part of his party’s name because socialism was popular among many German workers.

When he took power, Hitler ruthlessly crushed the Social Democratic (democratic socialist) and Communist parties.

Of course, Greene isn’t the first far right-wing wacko to claim the Nazis were socialists. According to a well-traveled ultra-conservative trope, Hitler supposedly proclaimed, “We are Socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalist economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”

He said no such thing.

By the way, Hitler’s biggest boosters weren’t German workers. They were capitalists – rich right-wing industrialists and well-heeled business owners.

When he took power in Germany, Hitler preserved private property. He rewarded the loyalty of German capitalists by destroying the unions, which leaned toward socialism and were staunchly anti-Nazi.

After he conquered most of Europe, Hitler cheerfully supplied German factory, mine, and mill owners with a steady flow of concentration camp inmates, slave laborers, and POWs.

Big business and big industry made billions building Hitler’s war machine and providing poison gas and technology for his extermination camps, whose victims included many of the six million Jews the Nazis murdered.

The Rev. Martin Niemöller, one of the few German clerics who spoke out against Hitler, spent years behind barbed wire in Nazi concentration camps, including Dachau, the first camp Hitler had built.

Kessler quoted Niemöller’s famous recollection, in which he put socialists at the top of Hitler’s hit list:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Greene doesn’t seem to understand that calling yourself something doesn’t mean you really are what you say you are.

“Republic” — by definition a representative democracy based on free and fair elections — has been, and still is, in the official names of counties run by brutal dictators, both capitalist and communist.

“We suggest Greene brush up on her history of the Nazi Party,” Kessler proposed. (Don’t bet the farm she will.) “It was not a ‘socialist’ party and cannot be compared, either in the United States or in Europe, to today’s socialists.”

Kessler awarded her “four Pinocchios” for so outrageously and so falsely linking the Democrats and the Nazis.

Meanwhile, Greene, also an avid anti-vaxxer, never misses a chance to prove her covidiocy. “The QAnon-supporting, conspiracy-mongering lawmaker tweeted an article about a Tennessee market allowing vaccinated workers and customers to go unmasked in the store,” Ron Dicker pointed out in the Huffington Post. “Employees wear a logo on their nametags to signify they’ve been inoculated.”

He quoted Greene’s response: “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a gold star. Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable.”

Greene puts me in mind of the famous 18th-century French philosopher François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, who observed that “the more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.”

That’s the essence of Hitler’s Big Lie theory, which is in Mein Kampf, his rabidly nationalist and anti-Semitic screed:

In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility. … It would never come into [people’s] … heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

Greene, among the most fervid Trumpians, remains ferociously loyal to America’s Big Liar. According to Kessler, Trump, as president, dissembled or distorted the truth 30,573 times.

Like Trump, Greene is a rank demagogue, a serial prevaricator, and a bullying bigot who panders to the worst in the American body politic. She’s well on her way to becoming the Big Liar among members of Congress.

Like Trump, Greene is a rank demagogue, a serial prevaricator, and a bullying bigot who panders to the worst in the American body politic. She's well on her way to becoming the Big Liar among members of Congress.Click To Tweet


Cross-posted from LA Progressive.

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

Arlington, KY