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The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

LET US LEARN FROM HISTORY

Out of curiosity, I went looking for information about how the news media reported on Hitler following his rise to power.  I found this extraordinarily chilling essay, written, I believe, just a year ago by a scholar whose speciality is Holocaust Studies.  Coincidentally, this morning I caught a few minutes of Morning Joe [a show I used to watch regularly and can no longer stand] during which Scarborough and Brzezinski mocked those who call Trump a fascist  [they were, I am happy to say, quite clearly extremely defensive, indicating that the criticism they have been getting is hitting home.]

One troubling point.  The author of the essay, Dr. Rafael Medoff, spends somew time detailing the shameful actions, or inactions, of one of my childhood heroes, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It is well worth the few minutes it will take to read this essay.

6 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

Probably latest Chomsky interview about Trump's victory, with Al Jazeera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB54XxbgI0E&feature=youtu.be

Chris said...

I've been reading a very large and recent Hitler biography that just came out. And I can say this much with some degree of certainty (N.B. I of course do NOT support anything Hitler-esque): Hitler strikes me as smarter than Trump, ideologically more consistent than Trump, culturally more erudite than Trump, and better at keeping an inner circle of toadies than Trump. Hitler of 1920 seemed basically to think and argue the same things Hitler of 33 argued. Trump at 9 AM seems intellectually and ideologically different than Trump at 9:15 AM. So at least on that ground I wouldn't say Trump is a fascist in any ideologically consistent sense. Nor does he seem to have Hitler's myopic but consist sense of political sight and goals.

However, the economic and state-apparatus structural similarities, and the scapegoating and nationalism of his supporters, do seem fascist-esque. Obama's legalized kill list, drone program, NSA program, detention without due process, etc., seem like Hitler's wet dream, and thus in the hands of someone like Trump with a fascistic base, who knows.

howard said...

Two further differences, to join your fine observations, Chris:

first, no actual crisis to crescendo to outright seizure of the state
second, via the internet, a stealth mob- as if Hitler had hoarded air time for a cable infomercial

Chris said...

Regarding the first I can easily see a scenario though in which they do, given the repressive elements Bush and Obama have left behind.

One Mexican or Muslim commits an egregious act of violence, and suddenly we have a new 'war' and a reason for Trump to aggrandize power and not let go.

howie said...

Chris, my point is that Hitler's ascension to election was highly ritualized and flowed musically in a way- Trump made noise- but not in a ritualized and composed way- the mob was the internet and it was as buried and submerged as an internet or TV cable- of course, he might smash any semblance of democracy with an iron rod and smash us like a mischievous God

Calgacus said...

Medoff is not a good source, imho. He is one of a number of ax-grinding historians associated with Revisionist Zionism (which developed into Israel's Likud party) that present a grossly distorted account of FDR and the (liberal) mainstream of American Jewish institutions and leaders then - while portraying their right wing opponents as heroes. These historians ignore many things that FDR, the leader in opposition to Hitler did in opposition to him. Essentially, they blame FDR for not looking into the future with a crystal ball, and once that worst future happened, not using magical powers to instantly end it.