Introspective: I’ve been having a harder time writing since March. I’m not sure if this is because of my involvement with Hercules, or the many other points of drama that have surfaced recently. Looking back (rent board issues, phone issues, Christmas, et. al.) I’m not sure if this is a greater amount of drama. I’m not sure, when having to choose between ranting (vitriol and anger and not much insight) or not writing at all which is the better option.
🐶 Hercules is gone from his backyard today. He didn’t make his neutering appointment yesterday, so everything is ambiguous as to what is exactly going on. News will trickle in, I assume.
Godwin’s Law is an indication of Hitler and Nazis turning into icons of evil rather than historical figures. We humans like icons of evil, as it makes it easier to contrast others to ourselves in a way that they seem evil and we don’t. That way, we don’t have to empathize with the other guys.
Separating us from them actually is a very Nazi thing to do. By imagining Jews as greedy and insular, the Schutzstaffel were able to dehumanize them in their own minds to assuage any guilt when they sent them to the work-camps and certain death (by starvation and exhaustion. The showers and the ovens come later). Dehumanizing the Jews was so effective the SS and the Geheime Staatspolizei were able to gun them down for the most benign infractions to leave them bleeding in the streets. (They were fond of upper thigh wounds so that the victim would bleed to death all day.)*
Iconizing Hitler and the Nazis helps us to dehumanize them as well. The notion that real live people could do such gruesome things on such a large scale is a rather terrible truth to behold. And every people needed to justify how they were different from the Germans. We really want to believe it can’t happen here. So we imagine that Germany was an awful place full of awful people. They are far removed from nice ordinary people such as ourselves.
When researching how ordinary people do bad things, I came across the phrase Little Eichmanns describing those of us who are content to serve in larger engines that serve evil ends. It’s not comfortable to work for a larger purpose that does things we don’t like. When our lives and welfare depend on it, we learn to divorce ourselves from the darker behaviors of the company we serve or the nation we live in. To be fair, it’s a lot easier to fuel the engines when we’re not the ones directly engaged in these questionable acts.** Your tax dollars run the drone strike programs so you don’t have to.
Wikipedia notes that some historians (Michael Burleigh, was specifically cited) observed that Adolph Eichmann was not as oblivious a bureaucrat as the rest of us would like to believe. Eichmann was, like many Nazis an ideological extremist and rather anti-Semitic. Of course, at the time so was very much of the rest of the world. Anti-Semitism was very popular, and it was the uncovering of the Nazi death camps that turned that around, not so much because people stopped hating Jews (they didn’t and there’s still a lot of Jew hate to go around). Most just realized they didn’t hate Jews enough to actually try to annihilate them, and vocal anti-Semitism became associated with agreeing with the massacre.
So, saying Eichmann’s ideology or anti-Semitism drove his eager administration of the death camps is something like saying his fondness of paychecks did. We don’t care very much about the welfare of prisoners here in the US (despite our world-record numbers of inmates-per-capita) so when they start dying off due to insufficient care, or abuse by the guards, or efficiency measures by the for-profit prisons…meh.
And then there’s Trump.
Hitler ran, much like Donald Trump, as the mad as Hell and not going to take this anymore candidate. Like Trump, Hitler spoke to zealotry and bellicism. Like trump, Hitler appealed to demagogy and bigotry. Like Trump, Hitler allowed his followers to violently engage dissenters and protestors. Unlike Trump, Hitler was aware he wasn’t the center of the universe, until he made it into power. And then, well, he pretty much was as center-of-the-universe as a human being can get.
Donald trump’s political campaign has a lot of hallmarks of Adolph Hitler’s political campaign. And this scares the fuck out of me.
Thanks to Hitler now being a generic icon of evil, thanks to Godwin’s Law, and our awareness of the ease by which Nazi comparisons come up, it’s probably bad form to say that Trump is like Hitler.
But Holy Cow, does Donald Trump seem a lot like Hitler.
* A behavior that is repeated by common police here in the United States usually targeting racial minorities. Also here in the US penal system, the showers are literal, where inmates are locked in scalding showers for two hours for a minor infraction. This punishment not only kills the inmate, but braises him like meat so that his corpse falls apart and leaves a nasty mess for the coroner.
** In the 2010s, workers are desperate to find any job that pays a living wage and doesn’t have an oppressive work environment, so paycheck and bosses who don’t harass you are often higher priorities than what product the company makes, or how much crap it pours into the sea, or what anti-communal political agendas it funds. When the choice is between a weapons manufacturer that builds weapons for small African paramilitaries, and a hobby store that pays less, requires I keep a Facebook page that they monitor, judges me for my private life and objects to my medical coverage, guess which job I’m going to take. (Sorry, Africa.)