Wednesday, December 21, 2016



I have been struck by the similarity between the methods used by Hitler in his rise to power in Germany and those employed today by both of our major parties, and their media sycophants. Since I believe that history has a great deal to offer when dealing with current problems, I want to bring this to your attention. This is not a detailed history lesson. The full story is far more complex than that presented here.

Hitler astutely took advantage of circumstances not of his making and added on as he gained power. Here’s a selection:

Germany, under Kaiser Wilhelm, financed WW1 with debt, thinking to pay back the loans with the spoils of war, which Germany expected to win.

Coming out of WW1, Europe was in a state of great economic and political turmoil. Germany faced harsh war reparations agreed by the Allies at the Treaty of Versailles. Germans felt humiliated and were resentful. The Weimar Republic, Germany’s first attempt at democracy, was founded in late 1919. It failed badly, largely due to reparation payments, and The Great Depression. The Weimar Republic collapsed in 1933 with horrendous inflation.

The revolution in Russia, starting in 1917, was violent and threatening to spread Communism into Germany.

Mussolini came to power (1925) in Italy presenting the world with what appeared to be a successful solution to economic and political problems. Hitler noticed and became an acolyte, initially only tolerated by Mussolini.
Hitler portrayed himself as a strong leader, disciplined, focused, organized, a man to bring order out of chaos. He understood the power of propaganda and, aided by Goebbels, used it relentlessly to bring himself and Germany to world power. From the start, he provided scapegoats, people to blame for Germany’s sorry condition.

He rearmed Germany in defiance of the Allies who had humiliated Germany. They, having their own problems, did nothing. And Hitler, being a diehard anti-Semite, targeted the Jews and their wealth.

With every move, propaganda reinforced his plan. He controlled movies, newspapers, and especially radio, making inexpensive, limited-range radios available to the masses and then broadcasting entertaining propaganda.

The specifics of America’s circumstances are different as is the technology available to propagandists. In addition, we do not need an external enemy, or an ethnic, or racial group; our antagonists are conveniently available—the OTHER PARTY!   

As in Germany, Americans are seduced by propaganda—can’t get enough of it. It creates the illusion of participating in a noble cause aimed at solving problems, removing barriers to improvement—a better life for all. Sadly, our nation seems to continue losing ground—more inequality, and, except for a few, diminishing prospects.

Imagine what might have happened if Germans had realized what was actually happening before Hitler became too powerful to stop. All that energy and ingenuity aimed at rebuilding Germany.

What can you do?

Start by recognizing propaganda and its effect on you. The next time you hear, or see, something negative about the other party, and feel any reaction, it’s propaganda. “But, it’s true. So true,” you’ll say. It doesn’t matter; you’ve been bitten. The propagandist has succeeded. You’re focused on the other party.

Think instead about our country’s serious problems, those that predate the recent campaign and election. Here’s a few for starters—or pick your own.

Our debt (federal and state/municipal unfunded liabilities) is out of control and threatening to undermine existing programs  and invalidate any new ones.

Our K-12 school system is turning out too many graduates who are unqualified for existing jobs.

Multi-generational welfare.

Infrastructure is out of date and in disrepair. Our ability to move goods and people with speed and efficiency is not competitive, resulting in fewer non-taxpayer funded jobs.

Inequality is growing in personal income and social class. And, in the business world, 29 companies now garner 50% of all profits. Their political clout, thanks to crony-capitalism, is scary. 

Congress has abandoned its constitutional role. Members spend their time fund raising and take little interest in governing.

Ask yourself what your party is doing about these, or other problems you might name. Is anyone, unequivocally, dedicated to fixing anything? Surely, you can influence your party more than the other party.  

Joe Bakewell.

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