The Curious Case of the Barking Nazis. By David Cole.
Last week, when Joe Rogan hosted social media exile Dr. Robert Malone, the phrase that rightists came away repeating like Pollys wanting crackers was “mass formation psychosis” (MFP). …
Malone invoked MFP to explain public manipulability during the pandemic. MFP, he said, “comes from European intellectual inquiry into what the heck happened in Germany in the ’20s and ’30s” when “a very intelligent, highly educated population went barking mad” because people had “free-floating anxiety and a sense that things don’t make sense” and “their attention was focused by a leader on one small point, just like hypnosis.” Thus “they literally became hypnotized and could be led anywhere,” so they attacked “the other [Jews]” because Hitler told them to.
Hitler laser-focused a hypnotized, anxiety-ridden people on the Jews, and a highly educated population went “barking mad.”
Except that’s just not how it went down. Malone was repeating a bad Facebook meme (“Ever wondered how the Germans blindly followed a madman and killed six million Jews? Now you know! Please like & share”).
By 1930, Germans had plenty of reasons to be “anxious.” Economic collapse (exacerbated by what was seen as oppressive post-WWI penalties), political corruption, rampant unemployment and poverty, Soviet expansion, and a fear of fifth columnists (inconvenient fact: Communists from within — led by Jews — had formed a short-lived dictatorship in Bavaria 1918–1919).
The Nazi platform spoke to those concerns: national self-determination, old-age insurance, equal rights and guaranteed education regardless of income, the abrogation of Versailles, the end of “big-box stores” in favor of local merchants, a prohibition on media ownership by foreigners, an end to political cronyism, and the abolition of four widely despised things — unearned income, war profiteering, child labor, and land speculation.
Parts of the Nazi platform were indeed anti-Jewish. Jews would be denied citizenship, and any foreigners who entered Germany after 1914 would be expelled. But taking that along with the other policies outlined above, a German didn’t have to be “barking mad” to vote for the party. It doesn’t mean the Nazis were good, or that they were sincere about the things they claimed to advocate (especially that “political cronyism” thing). It just means it wasn’t a “barking mad” platform.
And even still, the Nazis won in 1932 with pluralities, not majorities. So it was never a matter of “all Germans” lining up like hypnotized automatons.
On top of that, as historian Ian Kershaw has noted, election-era Hitler significantly downplayed the anti-Jewish angle. By 1930, he “seldom spoke explicitly of Jews.”
As per Professor William Rubinstein’s The Myth of Rescue, over 16,000 Jews who fled Germany in 1933 returned the next year.
Hitler would further relax the anti-Jewish shtick for the 1936 Olympics.
In Political Violence Under the Swastika: 581 Early Nazis, Professor Peter Merkl studied the history of every foundational Nazi. He found that 33.3% of them showed no interest in anti-Semitism, 14.3% expressed “mild verbal clichés” regarding Jews, 19.1% displayed “moderate” disdain for Jewish cultural influence in Germany, while only 12.9% advocated “violent countermeasures” against Jews.
So no, Hitler didn’t bark his way to power with a bunch of mad barkers who hypnotized the masses with barking, turning them into barking mad barkers who barked at Jews. It was a gradual process that began with a platform that contained at least a few things every damned one of you would advocate, remained fairly stable until Kristallnacht in November 1938 (when Jews started thinking, “This shit’s gettin’ out of hand”), but stayed at “Jim Crow Mississippi”-level bad until 1941 when Hitler launched a war of extermination in the East in which “the rules” were declared null and void. And even then, the Nazis farmed out a lot of the Jew-killing to barkier people like Ukrainians and Estonians. The mass murder of Jews did not take place in Germany proper (indeed, in his infamous Posen speech, Himmler slammed the German people for not being barking mad enough to get behind Jew-extermination). …
Why this matters:
When you rely on stale clichés like “Hitler hyp-mo-tized the Germans who went mad and killed the Jews,” you miss out on understanding the actual mechanics of how these things happen. You rob yourself of the ability to comprehend.
Lucidity is all the right has. The right doesn’t have the Ivy League, the teachers’ unions, Big Tech, the newspapers, TV networks, movie studios, A-list actors and musicians, and all the other vessels through which leftists promulgate their nonsensical ideas about race, crime, gender, economics, etc. …
Lucidity: seeing things clearly for what they are. That’s all you got, folks. You lose that, you’re finished. …
Relying on comfortable clichés and memes, be it “Nazi barkers” or “Beverly Hills is leftist Hollywood,” is dangerously harmful. It blinds you to specifics. Specific events, specific causes, specific demographics, specific regions. You need to view things with clarity not just because you want to know the facts, but because you can use what you learn….
Leftists may speak in simplistic clichés publicly, but the clever ones — the ones who have been kicking your ass at the ballot box the past few years — privately learn specifics and make use of that knowledge to their advantage.
Rightists have every reason to embrace lucidity, yet they seem bizarrely hesitant. Last week my friend Ann Coulter went on a wonderful Twitter tear (here and here) about idiot GOPs who don’t grasp the distinction between “Hispanic” communities (i.e., Cubans vs. Guatemalans).
Exactly. You learn the specifics if you want to win. You ignore the specifics if you’re just figuratively jacking off. Like if you have zero concern for your supposed “cause,” and zero respect for your readers.
The Republicans aren’t known as the stupid party for nothing, you know.