May 08 2012
It is a well established fact of history that broad economic hardship leads to chaos and strife, which leads to mass/mob anger and panic – which can easily lead to brutal dictatorships and then mass graves. Hard economic times do not have to follow this progression, but brutal regimes do arise from chaos and strife.
This is how Hitler was able to rise to power leveraging the economic pain imposed after World War I:
Adolf Hitler’s rise to power began in Germany (at least formally) in September 1919  when Hitler joined the political party that was known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (abbreviated as DAP, and later commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). This political party was formed and developed during the post-World War I era. It was anti-Marxist and was opposed to the democratic post-war government of the Weimar Republic and the Treaty of Versailles; and it advocated extreme nationalism and Pan-Germanism as well as virulent anti-Semitism.
For all those who do not know this period well, the antisemitism was wrapped in a blanket of hate towards bankers, financiers and those with money:
Adolf Hitler’s National Socialism party rose to power in Germany during a time of economic depression. Hitler blamed Jews for Germany’s economic woes. Hitler’s book Mein Kampf (German, My Struggle) included the following passage which was representative of much of the antisemitism in Germany and Europe: “The Jewish train of thought in all this is clear. The Bolshevization of Germany – that is, the extermination of the national folkish Jewish intelligentsia to make possible the sweating of the German working class under the yoke of Jewish world finance – is conceived only as a preliminary to the further extension of this Jewish tendency of world conquest…. If our people and our state become the victim of these blood-thirsty and avaricious Jewish tyrants of nations, the whole earth will sink into the snares of this octopus.“
Communism is based on the same general premise – the rich are bad and only the loving (death) embrace of the government can save the masses:
A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism, typically with socialism as an intermediate stage. The idea that a proletarian revolution is needed is a cornerstone of Marxism; Marxists believe that the workers of the world must unite and free themselves from capitalist oppression to create a world run by and for the working class. Thus, in the Marxist view, proletarian revolutions need to happen in countries all over the world.
Communist Russia and Nazi Germany together represent the deaths of tens of millions of innocent civilians, and also tens of millions of military personnel who had to sacrifice themselves to free the world of this evil cancer. As the World War II generation begins to fade into history, we apparently have forgotten how such evil came to take control of so much of the world.
It was not all that hard for this evil to grow – once broad economic hardship became rampant in Europe.
Fast forward to modern Europe, and the parallels are very disturbing.
In France and Greece, voters have rejected “austerity”–the idea that European governments should live within their means. In Italy, too, anti-austerity candidates are currently leading in the polls. French Socialist François Hollande vows to continue running huge deficits so that he can hire more public sector workers; in a burst of stupidity, he announced that “My real enemy is the world of Finance.” I suppose there could be a surer way to impoverish your country than to declare war on the flow of capital, but I can’t think of one offhand.
One might think it obvious that no country can live beyond its means forever by borrowing money which it can’t possibly pay back. But voters in countries like Greece and France apparently think: it has worked so far, why not keep it up? Realistically, it will work until creditors–Germany, mostly–decide to pull the plug. Then there will be default, some form of bankruptcy, some degree of chaos.
Some degree of chaos?
When I hit that line I realized we may not be taking this as seriously as we should. Are the leftist measure truly meant to end economic hardship? Is it stupidity that drives the new French leader to drive faster over the economic cliff? Or is it a need for more chaos and strife?
Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday laid out the radical agenda he hopes to pursue if he becomes prime minister, including the cancellation of international loan agreements to Greece that forced the country into sharp budget cuts.
He also called for state control of the banks as he started efforts to form a governing coalition in the wake of parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Ahh. Those evil bankers again. And will this help or hurt Greece? The obvious answer is ‘hurt’. So obvious one wonders what it takes to pretend otherwise.
The Occupy Idiocy movement here in the US is an impotent echo of the leftist European as they too keep pointing to the 1% with all the money. Sadly, you can take away all the money from that 1% and it will not have any significant impact on the financial status of the other 99%. The top 1% already pay most of the taxes, therefore footing the bill for endless big government screw ups. There is just nothing better than growing the economy and shrinking government. Nothing.
This has become crystal clear in the US after the Democrats’ socialist deficit spending and failed government stimulus spending. Those shovel ready jobs were a myth in 2009, and remain a myth today.
The world is hurting from bureaucratic failure, not successful people.
But if you look at the rhetoric of the left it has changed very little since the days of the Communists and Nazis that plagued the globe in the early 20th century. Today we don’t have the evil capitalist tagged to the Jews in Europe (which I am sure the Jews are grateful for), but Jews are still the bane of the Mideast and Muslim enclaves. Today the enemy is just bankers, not Jewish bankers.
The Jews in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia were just a convenient vehicle for the core message – hate democracy, hate capitalism, hate individual success, let a strong-arm bureaucracy determine fairness. The fact these same failed ideologies are being trotted out again on the world stage in Europe just goes to show Europeans have not yet rid themselves of the cancer that plagued them almost 100 years ago. They apparently want one more shot at totalitarian corruption.
Therefore, there is going to be another round of Capitalism (the individuals and companies) vs Government (Fascist, Socialist, Communist – does not matter really). And as many now realize, it will come with more than a degree of chaos. Europe appears to be in for a very rough ride.
But one truth is immutable, and that is the individual spirit will win out over the bureaucracy over time. Hopefully this round we keep the destruction and pain to a minimum, and simply use economic competition to win this round. But in the end, the lazy collective will once again lose to the spirited free market.