Posted: December 03, 2008
1:00 am Eastern
Critics who denounce and slander their colleagues for comparing Barack Obama's meteoric rise to power with that of Hitler's are out of ideas or have too much time on their hands. They cite Godwin's Law, "As an Internet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one," or equate their colleagues' comments with the left's ad hominem attacks against the right. However, Godwin's rule applies only to the overuse of invalid comparisons, not to appropriate ones; and the critics' comparison to the left's ad hominem attacks is baseless.
Leftist claims that Hitler and the Nazis were capitalist reactionaries and that capitalism and Nazism were ideologically aligned are preposterous. In "Liberal Fascism," Jonah Goldberg explains how Stalinist propaganda advanced the doctrine of "social fascism" to discredit and delegitimize those who opposed Stalinism for being in league with the fascist far right.
Hitler and the members of the National Socialist Worker's Party, or Nazi Party, were socialists; albeit, national socialists, but socialists nonetheless. Hitler opposed the communists for power's sake. The Nazi/communist conflict was a left-versus-left battle to determine which totalitarian system would rule; the Nazis won and controlled the German left. When it comes to advancing the unlimited power of the state over the individual and the society's means of production, Nazis and communists are soul mates.
Totalitarian governments are antithetical to liberal democracies that promote individual liberties, private property rights and free-enterprise systems. Totalitarian governments are outgrowths of fascism, Nazism and communism, the hideous progeny of socialism. For this reason, the label fascist or Nazi applies only to statist and collectivist ideologues; the label does not apply to ideologues on the right who promote individual liberty and limited government.
Mainstream media propagandists have gushed over Obama, comparing him to Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and even to Jesus Christ. Conversely, Bush has been synthesized into the most diabolical, devious, dastardly, idiotic, incompetent, illiterate figure to ever walk the earth.
The title of the following stream of progressive consciousness marks Bush the most hated man in the history of the world. "I wonder how Hitler's supporters felt when he was the most hated man. Did they realize they were supporting a monster? … George is not the first ugly, planetary monster to be created. … [W]e should be studying … the lies … that enabled Bush and his malignant predecessors to attain power." It's time the critics dismount their high horses and examine the rhetoric they have condemned as "bad taste" and "hysterics on the right."
The cult of personality and hysteria for a charismatic orator are frightening parallels between Obama and Hitler. Like Hitler, Obama too is a phenomenal political figure, extraordinary in American politics. No American politician has made such an impression on Americans. He receives excessive admiration and adoration from his admirers reminiscent of hero worship but with a messianic twist.
In addressing a group of young people, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said that Obama's ability to interest them in politics was a sign of messianic proportions. "You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn't care anything about. That's a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking."
Farrakhan is not alone in proclaiming Obama's messianic eloquence. Ezra Klein writes, "Obama's finest speeches … elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment. … He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. … Obama is … able to call us … to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal. …"
Hitler's oratory both inspired and elevated the masses. He was not a politician; he was a demigod who would save Germany. The Nazis staged party rallies to create a religious atmosphere, with Hitler's entrance befitting a god. Through propaganda, he projected himself as the messiah of Germany. An American who had visited Germany at the time of Hitler's ascendance to power observed, "They think Hitler is God. … [A] German woman sat next to me at the Passion Play, and when they hoisted Jesus on the Cross, she said, 'There he is. That is our Fuehrer, our Hitler.'"
Hitler believed that he was the "Chosen One," destined to lead Germany to glory and institute a new social order for the world. As Howard K. Smith wrote, "I was convinced that of all the millions on whom the Hitler Myth had fastened itself, the most carried away was Adolf Hitler, himself."
Although Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were outstanding orators and possessed charismatic personalities, they were never messiahs who made audience members swoon. Obama seems to exude the confidence of an anointed one and the certainty of a true believer regarding his own greatness. When asked by an interviewer if he ever had doubts about his foreign policy experience, Obama replied, "Never."
In a speech at UCLA, Michelle Obama told students that she is married to "one of the most brilliant men you will meet in our lifetime," and the only presidential candidate "who has a chance at healing this nation," for he understands the need to fix broken souls. Michelle envisions her husband a revolutionary ready to save both America and the planet. "We have a chance, not just to make history, but we can change the world," she said.
Commentators do not say Obama is Hitler, but they do suggest that a dictator can rise in America and bring about a totalitarian state. For that reason, when the leader of the free world possesses a charismatic personality, comes from a socialist background, holds to a progressive worldview, rises to prominence through grandiose speeches, is hailed as the nation's savior by the masses, is admired by leaders throughout the world, and is elevated to the role of messiah by worshipful followers, it is both reasonable and necessary to wave red flags and sound alarms.
Jerry A. Kane works as a technical writer and editor. He has spent almost two decades as an adjunct English professor and over a decade as a journalist. His commentaries have appeared in the American Thinker and in daily and weekly newspapers in western Pennsylvania.
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Jerry A. Kane