Just Like Nazi Germany

your name will also go on ze list

This is for those on the left of politics and others who shout that things are “just like Nazi Germany!” Are the Nazis really coming? The short answer is no. Then why is everything being compared to Hitler, the Nazis, Nazi Germany and the Italian Fascists? Simple, to provoke a response. Calling people Nazis produces a huge emotional charge. Many people had family members killed in the war, some who died in the Holocaust. School kids today are taught the dangers of Nazism and fascism, the terrors that they brought. Images of trains, camps, gas chambers, torture and execution spring to mind. For most people, the Nazis are the most horrific and evil people they can imagine.

Saying things are “like Nazi Germany” also elicits ideas of authoritarian governments, one party states, men in military uniforms taking names (don’t tell him, Pike!), ghettos, property stolen and shops smashed. Invoking the Nazis comes with huge connotations and implications. Make no mistake, those who are doing it know exactly what they are about. It is specifically targeted against people, groups or ideas that they disagree with, seek to smear and delegitimise. It is a social weapon, designed to use emotional triggering and peer pressure to force people to abandon their views or turn against those targeted. “The Nazis were terrible. You’re not one of those terrible Nazis, are you?” This has only become worse with the proliferation of the internet and social media. In 1990 Mike Godwin gave rise to Godwin’s Law, that the longer an online discussion goes on the more likely it is to mention Hitler and the Nazis. Godwin meant it as an ironic jibe, to show that those calling others Nazis were very often being intellectually lazy and how ridiculous the comparisons were. Many people clearly didn’t listen.

Recently you may have seen internet personalities Sargon, Count Dankula and Paul Joseph Watson being called alt-right or far right after they joined UKIP. They have also been described as “free speech extremists,” whatever that means. Is it that they want speech to be extremely free? Anyway, let’s look at how UKIP compare to the Nazis. For this we need UKIP’s most recent 2018 manifesto, and the 25 points of National Socialism. There are no directly comparable policies. The closest it gets is where UKIP says that immigration is too high and needs to be lowered to take pressure off local services. The Nazis say in point 8 that all immigration must stop, along with all immigrants since the Great War being forced to leave the Reich. These are two very different ideals, with UKIP wanting an Australian style points system. Point 25 demands a strong central government to deliver the Nazi program. UKIP say they want binding local referendums to give power back to the people. This is a stark contrast to an authoritarian state under the Fuhrer.

Next we have a story where Lord Kerslake said that Theresa May’s hostile environment policy when she was Home Secretary was “almost like Nazi Germany.” Theresa had sent around vans telling illegal immigrants to go home. It also required landlords and others to check the identity of their tenants and clients. Measures included sending home homeless EU citizens. This policy is also thought to have impacted the Windrush migrants. David Lammy certainly thought so.

Once again this doesn’t compare to the Nazis. Whether you agree with the policy or not, it isn’t the same. To repeat, point 8 of the Nazi program states that all migrants sine August 1914 would be sent home, regardless if they were legal or not. This is in contrast to telling illegal migrants to go home and deporting them. Producing identification for services is also nothing new. You have to do it to pass your driving test, open a bank account, prove you are over 18, board an internal flight, etc, etc the list goes on. The Windrush migrants were deported by accident, not design. It turns out the decision to destroy the Windrush landing cards was made under a Labour government in 2009. Lammy was Minister of State in 2008 and on the Privy Council. He was Minister for Education in 2009. But why worry over these minor details. Some tried to say that the deportation of Windrush migrants on commercial airliners was like the Nazis deporting Jews. Again there is no comparison. As said previously they were deported due to a mistake, then sent safely back to the country of origin. The Nazis were forcing Jews who were citizens of Germany to first of all move to ghettos. Later they deported them on trains to death camps such as Auschwitz. This is a far cry from deporting people in error, apologising and then promising to pay compensation. Hitler did things deliberately, didn’t stop and certainly didn’t apologise.

Recently we have heard of the evil Nazi, President Donald Trump, keeping small children in cages. Many an emotive image was seen. People were trotted out to say it was like Nazi Germany, and that “it reminded them of the Holocaust.” This was the policy of separating children from their parents when they tried to illegally cross the border. So is it like the Nazis? No. Whether you agree with it or think it is cruel, it doesn’t bear comparison to the holocaust. Once again this is dealing with illegal migrants. No one forced them to cross the border, or bring their kids. They were not being made to do slave labour, or under any threat of death. It emerged that some of the pictures were from 2014, as similar policy was being used under the Obama regime. It also turns out that one of the viral images used to publicise the story by the likes of Time Magazine was not of a child who had been separated at the border. I wonder why President Trump calls them fake news? The smears over Russia and antisemitism haven’t worked. There is no evidence of collusion and President Trump sided with Israel, the Jewish nation, on moving the US embassy and ending the Iraq nuclear deal. Therefore they needed a new way to portray him as Literally Hitler. Once again they failed. It is to be noted that President Trump ended this policy by executive order. In both this case and in the UK, a nation has every right to decide who it lets in through its borders.

The public at large will switch off if all they see are groups, politicians and personalities screeching at each other about Hitler and constantly comparing each other to Nazis. You can overuse words. The shock value will wear off. It becomes like the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The first time you shout “Nazis” then people listen. They rush to the cause. Got to fight those Nazis, right? The second time people respond, but a few less than last time. This goes on and on, with less people responding to each call. Eventually some real Nazis show up. “It’s the Nazis!” you cry, “For real this time!” No one responds, because you always shout that it’s the Nazis. It’s already happening. Many people, myself included, have been incorrectly called racist, far right and Nazi so many times that we no longer care. The words have lost their power. They have lost their meaning. They have lost their value.

Saying everything is like the Nazis does nothing for the standard of debate in our country or any other. People are metaphorically blinded by words such as Hitler, holocaust and Nazis. The actual issues are lost in the maelstrom of emotions and constant denials that this is “not like Nazi Germany.” Some very real and pressing issues such as border security and immigration and their consequences are swept under the carpet, so to speak. Nothing then gets done or people are afraid to voice their opinions. Which of course is the point. It’s all highly deliberate and an attempt, quite successful at times, to shut down free speech.

Groups such as Antifa, Labour, the left wing media and others on the left of politics like to define themselves in opposition to the alleged Nazis or Fascists. The trouble is there aren’t any, or there are very few. You can’t fight Nazis if there are no Nazis to fight. There is no reason for being for your organisation, and therefore no vehicle to push your neo-communist agenda. So what to do? I know, why not invent some Nazis? Then you have someone to fight, someone to define as other to hate on and you can justify your existence while pushing your left wing views. It doesn’t matter that they are not Nazis, you can just say they are. Then you have to expand the definition of Nazi to include an ever greater number of people, so that you keep having Nazis to fight. People won’t listen to them ordinarily, but if they present themselves as guardians and and protectors fulfilling a useful role they can gain support. By saying everyone they disagree with are Nazis they seek to shut down opposing views, critical voices and end free speech.

Many of these people and groups are not elected or publicly accountable. They are self appointment guardians and gate keepers of what is the correct view, what is and is not allowed to be said. They decide on arbitrary definitions of fascism, Nazism and “far right.” There is no recourse if they target you. They decide who is and isn’t a Nazi. They then proceed to try and shut down these opposing views with sustained campaigns. One group is trying to remove advertisers from mainstream and well established newspapers. Another is trying to ban bookshops from selling books they deem “fascist.” Guess who censored the press and banned books? You guessed it, Literally Hitler and the Nazis.

There was a list of banned books and authors. In 1933 the Nazis enacted a law to dismiss any editors and journalists they wished, on grounds of “racial purity,” and remaining journalists had to take a Nazi loyalty test. All media came under the control of the Ministry for Propaganda. Many modern leftists constantly complained about Paul Dacre, and many have campaigned to remove Katie Hopkins from various jobs. They are acting more like the Nazis than any of the people they are complaining about, Antifa in particular. Imagine dressing in black, covering your faces and joining together in large military style groups to attack people whose views you don’t like, then calling yourselves Anti-Fascists. Irony is clearly not a thing on the left. Take a look at the supposed far left “heroes.”

Fighting the police, setting fire to cars, smashing and looting shops. That’s definitely fighting fascism, right?

If you ban speech by one group it has consequences. First, if their speech isn’t free then neither is yours or mine. Next, it automatically allows them to play the victim card at will. Straightaway they will say it isn’t fair and they are being singled out. This could well illicit sympathy for people that you really don’t want to gain it. There is also a certain kudos in being banned. Being able to say that you are so bad, dangerous, radical or whatever that you have been banned has an allure. Maybe not to everyone, but there are those that will be drawn to it. Perhaps the very people at the edge of the mainstream or outside it will take notice. The Streisand effect is well known. This where trying to censor an idea inadvertently leads to even more people seeing it or looking for it.

You can try it out on people. You can say, “Whatever you do, don’t look at this. It’s really, really bad. Don’t look. It’s horrendous, for the love of God whatever you do don’t look!” Rest assured the first thing many people will want to do is look. They may not look while you or others are there due to social pressure. But when they are on their own you can be pretty certain they will look. Maybe not everyone, but a significant amount of people. Contrast this with saying, “Look if you want. It’s pretty dull and inane. I got bored within seconds. Was a waste of time. Real low intellect nonsense. Look if you want, I’m certainly not going to bother with it again.” This time it’s likely they won’t bother. They may look while you are there and confirm they also think it’s rubbish. It’s unlikely most people will go back a second time, even if they looked first time.

By trying to shut down groups you don’t like, you may be enabling them and doing their recruitment for them. By seeking ever harsher measures against those whose views you loathe, you risk acting like the very people you say you are fighting against. Look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself, “Why would anyone want to ban free speech that we fought for over hundreds of years? Why would anyone want to end the freedom of the press?” Think carefully about this. Would you really want to live in a country where you cannot voice an opinion for fear of being called a Nazi? You may rejoice when you see someone you don’t like or agree with silenced or jailed. What happens when it’s your turn to have the unpopular opinion? What happens when you say something you believe to be true, but those around you turn upon you?

© Jonathon Davies 2018

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