We need to protect the environment, clamp down on big business, protect the working man, take care of the poor and bring people together. These are all great causes, right? That’s what the German people of the 1920’s & 1930’s thought, too.
Jonah Goldberg, author of New York Times best seller “Liberal Fascism”, explains in a recent newsletter, how fascism gets a foothold in democratic societies by disguising itself as something good and noble. As he stated in the newsletter: Fascism succeeds in democratic countries because it convinces people that it's the wave of the future, it's progressive, it's young, it's vital, it's exciting. Fascist promise to fix what's broken in our democracy, to heal our wounds, to deliver us to promised lands.
The letter continues: Fascism appealed to youth activists. Indeed, the Nazis and Fascists were in major respects youth movements. In 1931, 60 percent of all German undergraduates supported the Nazi Student Organization. "Their goal," the historian John Toland wrote of the young idealists who fed the Nazi rise to power, "was to establish a youth culture for fighting the bourgeois trinity of school, home and church.
The Nazi party successfully attracted adult Germans from the lower and middle classes as well. They were drawn by the promise to unite all workers and end the class struggle.
The appeal extended to big business and the professional classes too: Nazism's appeal to the professional classes was just as strong. Raymond Dominick, a historian specializing in the history of German environmentalism, found that by 1939, 59 percent of conservationist leaders had joined the Nazi party, while only 10 percent of adult males had. Forty five percent of medical doctors had joined and roughly one quarter of teachers and lawyers had. The two groups of professionals with the highest rates of participation in the Nazi Party? Veterinarians were first and foresters were a close second. Dominick found a "unique nexus between National Socialism and nature conservation."
The Nazis and Italian Fascists won-over big business, cultural elites, the youth and the lower-classes because they portrayed themselves as heroically on the side of progress, protecting the environment and the poor. Fascists preached unity, togetherness and an end to division.
He concludes with the following admonishments:
…if you're concerned about spotting fascism on the horizon you can't just look at people you don't like. That's like only looking for your lost car keys where the light is good.
…wherever fascism may come from, it never arrives save in a form that the best and the brightest are willing to accept with open arms.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Ask yourself where you have heard these same causes being championed lately?
Think about it.
Please view the video clip for more discussion of this topic.