Patriot Games


Call me lazy, but I’m a firm believer in learning from the mistakes of others rather than making them myself. Via The Anchoress (h/t Ace), an essay from 1941 that’s as fascinating now as it surely was 72 years ago: Who Goes Nazi?

The answers may surprise you. Or not:

It’s fun—a macabre sort of fun—this parlor game of “Who Goes Nazi?” And it simplifies things—asking the question in regard to specific personalities.

Kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi. They may be the gentle philosopher whose name is in the Blue Book, or Bill from City College to whom democracy gave a chance to design airplanes—you’ll never make Nazis out of them. But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success—they would all go Nazi in a crisis.

Wow. Any of it sound familiar? Know anybody like that?

Nope, no Nazis here. Move along…

The longer I live, the more interesting history becomes thanks to a perspective which can only be gained by living a full life. The sweep of time became blindingly obvious to me when too many of our citizens so easily forgot the economic and cultural lessons of the 70’s and 80’s. Keynesian economics never works, and Socialism is just Communism with better manners.

Though we like to pretend otherwise, we’ve absolutely forgotten the brutal lessons of the 30’s and 40’s, namely that appeasing tyrants works out exactly the way Churchill described: like feeding an alligator in the hopes that he ignores the really tasty meal…you. Doesn’t work. Never did. Never will.

No Nazis here either. Oh, wait…

And by the way, Keynesianism didn’t fare any better back then either. While a lot of people have come around to the realization that the New Deal actually prolonged and worsened the Great Depression, it wasn’t entirely ended by WWII either. It would only end when FDR passed from this Mortal Coil, taking his “bold, persistent experimentation” to the grave with him.

Never mind that such a construct implies that we citizens are the lab rats…all for our own good, of course, which is how this stuff always begins. Tyranny is sneaky like that.

So the question is, which era are we about to repeat? I suspect the answer is “a little of both,” which raises another question: which side will we be on this time? Which side do you choose?