Monday, November 22, 2010

Am I on the Crazy Fringe?

An emailer today wrote the following (link added):
Hi, Robert --

I knew Murray [Sabrin] years ago; he actually tutored a small group interested in Austrian economics. I'm also very close friends with one of the "Hidden Children" during the Nazi years.

But I think you do you, & your site a serious disservice, to imply in any manner what-so-ever, that TSA has any similarities to Nazi Germany. It just places you in the crazy fringe, which is not the case.

Dear Sir.,

I can understand your objection to those who point to Nazi Germany and warn that this is what current day America is about. But I disagree with your objection.

The ultimate horrors in Nazi Germany were, indeed, much more terrible than anything close to what has occurred so far in America. But, one should do more than only consider just the ultimate horrors of what went on in Nazi Germany. One must think about the road that was travelled by the Germans to get to that point.

I believe one of the most serious misunderstandings about totalitarianism is that it arrives as a full package that requires no assembly. That it is put on the people, like a winter coat. All at one time, and in full view for all to see.

This is a grave misunderstanding.

I often wondered why more Jews didn't flee Nazi Germany. The answer did not come to me until I saw Roman Polanski's important movie, The Pianist.

In the movie, Polanski demonstrates how many Jews were simply one step behind. When Nazi Germany limited how much money a Jew could have, instead of leaving the country, many Jews debated where they should hide their money. When Jews were required to move to certain parts of the city, many Jews simply focused on how to find the best place to live, instead of leaving the country. And then, of course, eventually it was too late to leave the country.

Would some Jews, perhaps a few, have listened and benefited from early warnings of "fringe" voices about dangers? I think so. Would it have made sense to object to the Nazi limit on how much money a Jew could hold, and thus put at least a speed bump in the way of the Nazis? I think so.

No, they haven't pulled up the trains in America, yet. But, when the trains do pull up, it is too late.

It's clear what totalitarianism looks like and when I see it in America, I am going to object loud and clear. Whether it is groping TSA agents, or spying SEC agents. For it is those first steps where the battle needs to be won. Dehumanization in Germany, as Murray Sabrin points out, came step-by-step.

Dehumanization, whether it is groping. or limiting how much money an ethnic group can hold, is still dehumanization. It's the same road. We all know where that road led to in Nazi Germany. Maybe we can learn from history and stop the US from heading any further down that road.

Do my cries of warning put me on the fringe? Yes, they do. But it is a fringe group that I am proud to stand with.