In history there is often the controversy between the Great Man, or the tide of events and circumstance, as the causative factor in certain historical dramas. This debate seems to be raging above.
For my part, I find the notion of resuscitating the person of Adolf Hitler distasteful, but I base it not only upon my reading of history, as some sort of old book, but also my reading of today, which is as current as today's newspapers.
I follow TheLady's approach in comparing not only him, but the circumstances in which he lived, to those of today. When I think of TheLady's categories, the war, the economy, and propaganda, I see many similarities with today.
The last first: Racial stereotypes abound in our media; I would not be the first to point that out. Although many would claim this is the consequence of political correctness, I doubt any could question the climate is such that certain objectionable images are not uncommon—I'm sure there were those who objected to the use of certain images in Hitler's time as well; the arguments then used to drown them out were, of course, different from today.
I am more concerned with the imagery used in political debate, in the areas of public policy, which we so often exercise here on E2—I myself have, upon occasion, entered into such discussion. I know the ease with which critiques of technology, gun control, health insurance—shall I go on—are dismissed with the wave of luddite, socialist, even Canadian—if not unamerican.
We talk about the prosperity of our economies, but there are homeless in the streets. We talk of our concern for children, yet they are either killing themselves on the streets, or in their schools, or selling their bodies at ages of 10 and less. And all some seen to be able to offer as public policy is prayer?
We seem powerless to offer anything concrete, and abandon the last vestiges of a belief, not uncommon not so long ago, in the efficacy of cooperative, communal effort to solve problems, yes, mediated by governments, unions, and the like.
Behind this veil, corporations build up the most powerful empires in the history. We saw this before in the growth of I.G. Farben, the evil corporation, especially in the manufacture of Zyklon B. Now we have what has since been termed the military-industrial complex, and the revolving door between these partners, and the government itself.
The essence of public policy now seems nothing more than, How fast can we give up the whole shop to companies, so they will, maybe, give us some minimum wage jobs! Any question of accountability has long since been abandoned, unless it assessed upon those poor unfortunates who were unlucky enough not to be born wealthy, have the right name, the right education...
In the American budget deliberations, the two salient points, at least to this concerned observer, appear to be: 1)how much to give to the rich, and 2), how much to give to the military.
The first I have touched upon, more or less, already, as for the latter, I am curious where the war is?
I know all the arguments regarding national security. I know all the arguments regarding a two front war capability. I am aware of the arguments regarding the National Missile Defense. But I thought that the new president was in favor of relinquishing most of the global policing role that the previous one espoused?
I ask again, where is the war?
The history of the cold war is one fraught with the many of the things we deplore in the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. The propaganda, the economic prosperity—for some—the war, that never was a hot one. A war allows so much of what I have, in the past, confronted in these very nodes.
Hitler was revered in his time, whether as figurehead or as architect will always be doubted. But the judgment of him as a great man depends upon your acceptance of the elements of his regime. Don't think of them as some old book, think of them as close as your streets, your television, your president.