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Who Are The Nazis?

I think most of us saw on the news protestors against the healthcare initiative carrying posters with a Hitler moustache on President Obama’s face.  Today calling somebody a Nazi or even comparing them to Hitler is all too common.  In this case I believe the implication was that Obama was trying to ram governmental controls down our throats and that is similar to what Hitler did in Germany.  I do not know if Hitler’s Third Reich offered government controled healthcare, nor do I think the protestors with those signs know.  Their point is more general: they believe Obama equals big government taking away their freedom of choice and they equate that to Hitler.  For the purposes of what I intend to write in this blog, I won’t go into all the differences between Obama and Hitler nor the United States and the German Third Reich.  I don’t want to talk about governments and power.  I want to talk about enablers.  Hitler and other dictators like him would not be able to control governments without the support of the people who are governed.  It has been said, and I believe it to be true, that the most dangerous people are those who stand by and say nothing about the abuse of power.

So, from the above statement, one might assume that the protestors carrying signs with Obama wearing a Hitler moustache are not among those who say nothing.  Yet we need to consider the second part of that statement: what constitutes the abuse of power?  Life today is confusing and ambiguous and it is difficult to know who is abusing power and who is using power justly, or in fact if there is such a thing as absolute justice.  One could make the assertion that justice (as well as guilt and innocence) is relative: one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.  If, for example, we believe that people who protest wars like the war in Vietnam or Iraq are supporting a noble cause, how can we assert that those angrily opposing President Obama’s health plan are not also supporting a noble cause?  Or at least, why can’t we assume that their speaking out is a noble thing to do?

This is a question I have been asking myself for a long time and these protestors have helped me clarify the answer, which I believe has to do with truth.  Some truths might be relative, but others are not.  The sun and the rest of the universe do not rotate around the earth, even if the entire world believes that to be true.  The earth is not flat.  I am sure that most of us believe things that will some day be proven to be untrue.  The fact that we all believe these things, does not make them true.  However, believing in an untruth that has not yet been exposed to be untrue does not make the believers delusional.  For example, if one were to believe in the 12th Century that the sun and universe rotated around the earth, that person could very possibly have had a normal character and an intelligent, inquiring mind.  If one were to believe that today, though, the chances are extremely high that that believer is susceptible to be swayed by patently obvious untruths.   My first question is what kind of people are these?

I think the answer is this: they are people who want to be swayed by untruths.  And what would be some of the reasons that a certain group of people would want to be swayed by untruths?  I think one of the most common reasons is to be different from others and to feel superior to them.  Also people can have a certain set of beliefs they do not want to change.  Racial bigotry is a good example.  No matter what facts are thrown at bigots, they will not listen to or believe those facts.  Then, some lies are quite seductive.  When some people (such as white supremisists) are told they are special and superior, they want to believe it so much they will believe the lies that prove it. 

One of the most most distinguishing characteristics of Hitler’s Third Reich was the control of the dissemination of information.  Lies were told everywhere, in posters, in Nazi meetings and in the government controlled media, and these lies were repeated over and over again.  Oddly enough, I think that a lot of the people angrily opposing the healthcare initiative believe that the government is telling lies and controling the media.  And these people believe that all of the arguments against the fact that government is lying and controling the media are also lies.  They believe that we are living under a Nazi-like government.

So, here we are in two parallel universes.  Where is the truth and who are the Nazis?  The truth is the truth.  Our media is often stupid and vapid, but it is not controlled by any central authority.  Anyone who doesn’t believe this to be true cannot be convinced otherwise, no matter how many facts are held up to prove the point.  So I won’t bother arguing with them.  Some truths are simply too obvious.  For example, anyone with a logical mind can deduce from the few facts we know that there was not a government conspiracy to bring down the Twin Towers.  Nobody has been able to come up with any shred of evidence that there was a governement conspiracy, or worse yet, a Jewish conspiracy.

I have long believed that the Germans who supported Hitler were more or less normal people like ourselves.   Many of them, probably the majority of them, supported Hitler because they were terrorized into doing so.  But there was that core of true believers who initiated the reign of terror.  And those true believers were people who for any number of reasons (some of which I might have covered above) were capable of believing lies.  I sometimes play a game with myself and ask myself who would have been an ardent Nazi if they had lived under Hitler.  The answer is those who will willingly swallow lies.  So, the next time you see people calling Obama a Fascist and Hitler, you might think twice about where the real Nazis are.

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