Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brownshirts Bulldoze Health Care Reform

These days, a lot of people seem to forget that Adolf Hitler was democratically elected.

Not entirely voluntarily democratically elected - but voted into office by a majority of his peers nevertheless.

With the support of his thuggish supporters, the Sturmabteilung - better known to us as 'brownshirts' - he managed to bully and bulldoze his way into office through the use of propaganda, lies, political machinations and old-fashioned violence.

"All opposition must be stamped into the ground," was the Sturmabteilung's official motto - and they lived by it.

How exactly did the brownshirts forward Hitler's campaign? Well, let's examine some of their methods:
  • Misinformation (distributing lies and false information to discredit opponents)
  • Disruption (disorderly or violent interruption of the political process.)
  • Intimidation (using the threat of violence to pressure politicians to capitulate.)
The climax of the 'brownshirts' campaign was the Enabling Act of 1933, Ermächtigungsgesetz, which saw the German parliament, the Reichstag, vote to give Adolf Hitler dictatorial rule over Germany.

Why would the politicians of Germany grant Hitler such extraordinary and unprecedented power? Because they were too terrified not to.

On the morning of the vote, hundreds of heavily armed Sturmabteilung swarmed the Reichstag, sending a very clear and intimidating message to Hitler's opponents that the penalty for resisting his rise to power would be very serious.

Enabling Act of 1933: Democracy at the point of a gun...

In the end, all but one political party voted to grant Hitler control of Germany - and the 26 dissenters from the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands party were promptly arrested for failing to capitulate.

Thus, through intimidation and the threat of violence, tyranny was born.

The truly scary thing?

We're witnessing those very same tactics being employed in America's health care debate - and they're working.

Modern-day brownshirts.

I identified the three main tactics of Hitler's Sturmabteilung earlier - misinformation, disruption and intimidation.

Pictures of misguided protesters taken from Looking at the Left

They're very effective tactics - as we can see demonstrated today.
Misinformation: From Sarah Palin creating the fantasy of 'death panels' to House Republican Leader John Boehner warning about 'government encouraged euthanasia,' it seems the only commodity that's off limits in the conservative assault on 'Obamacare' is the truth.

Yet, watching protesters wave placards reading 'Obamacare is Arsenic for Seniors' and 'Obamacare is a Death Sentence' prove that this campaign of lies and misinformation is working.

Disruption: All it takes is a few angry voices to turn a Town Hall style political event into a madhouse, but like the Sturmabteilung before them, Conservatives are actively organising campaigns to maximise the disruption.

Leading health-care industry lobbyists - like disgraced hospital owner Rick Scott - have teamed up with grassroots conservative movements to coordinate disruptions specifically intended to stifle debate and 'rattle' Democratic politicians.

Whether it's forty people chanting anti-Obama slogans (and drowning out all other voices) or single showboaters holding up Obama posters defaced with a Hitler moustache, the effect is the same.

[Tom posted a link suggesting that the Obama/Hitler posters were staged by the Democrats - Editorial Bear]

Rational debate is slaughtered, politicians are silenced and the Conservative movement hobbles democracy still further.

Intimidation: But perhaps the most terrifying demonstration of Nazi tactics is the increasingly common sight of heavily armed Conservatives at health care debates. Carrying assault rifles, or pistols strapped to their hips, these right-wing activists are sending the same message that the Sturmabteilung did when they set up machine-gun posts outside the Reichstag. 'Defy us, and pay the penalty.'

There are 'gun rights' and then there's open intimidation of their political opponents - and increasingly, the intentions of the gun-carrying protestors are becoming very clear: If democracy doesn't provide them with the results they seek, they have other methods at their disposal.
Although comparisons between modern politics and the Nazi movement are generally discredited by Godwin's Law and the principle of Reductio ad Hitlerum - perhaps they shouldn't be in this case.

[Is the 'Hitler' comparison overused by both liberals and conservatives? - Editorial Bear]

Conservatives want to paint an image of themselves as 'tea partiers' embodying the rebellious spirit which founded America - but have they crossed the line from 'rebellious spirit' into fascist thugdom? If not - how long will it take until they do?

One thing's for sure - if we don't do something about it, American health care reform will be decided by liars, angry mobs and gun-toting thugs - and that will benefit nobody.


Tom said...

Wow, this is so far from reality that it makes me wonder if you've actually been paying attention to this debate, or if you're simply looking to create drama.

Your comparison of people opposing Obamacare to Nazis is not only behind the pale, it's also so far from the truth as to be deliberate distortion.


The house version of the bill contained incentives for doctors to pressure patients into forgoing end of life care. Now, that's not an end of life "panel", since it's probably going to be a single person doing it... but it is end of life care. So "death talks" are probably more appropriate than "death panels", but we're still talking about something that's basically right.

If there's someone spreading misinformation about Obama's plan, it's Obama himself, as this Forbes article makes clear.


People shouting "Shame" when a politician lies? That reminds me a lot of watching "Prime Minister's Question Time" on C-SPAN. I _think_ Parliament is known for rational debate, but I'm not the expert on that.

The dude holding up an Obama-as-hitler sign: a plant, as three seconds of google searching will let you know.

Of course, nobody seemed to complain when people spent 8 years comparing Bush to Hitler.


In states where open carry is legal, open carry shouldn't be seen as intimidating.

Now, beating a black man up for stating his opinion, that's intimidating. Of course, that's what happened to Kenneth Gladney, a man selling "Don't tread on me flags" to protesters.

The people doing the beating: Pro-Obama union thugs.

Honestly, what we have here is the most real protest movement in a damn long time. These aren't people being hired by the unions to picket, these are people with real jobs who take time off because they don't want to see a fundamental change in the way America takes care of its sick.

To compare them to Nazis, or to call them evil on such flimsy and fabricated evidence, just because they disagree with you in a political debate, is abhorrent, and it shows which side has abandoned debate in favor of name-calling.


Roland Hulme said...

This is a deliberately provocative post, I'll admit - but The Nazi name-calling was something the conservatives started!

Like that Pigler woman who yelled 'heil Hitler' at a Jewish man who was expressing his support of the Isreali health care system.

Or that woman holding up the Obama=Hitler sign.

Or the other protesters saying that Obamacare was 'fascist' and straight out of the Nazi handbook.

There are quite a few examples I could give. Fox News' Tom Sullivan compared Obama to Hitler, this blog below calls him 'the black hitler.'

It's all very well being squeamish about making the comparison, but the reason the right wing is being SO successful right now is that they're NOT squeamish about making inflammatory statements.

Liberals tend to cave as soon as anybody suggests what they say might be 'offensive' or politically incorrect. Conservatives just laugh and say 'bring it on!'

Besides, generally (and this post is probably no exception) as soon as you bring Hitler into the argument, you've lost the argument.

But some of my accusations are valid. No, these grassroots disruptors aren't paid by the unions - they're organized by health industry insiders instead, like Rick Scott.

And carrying guns to events might be legal - but is it appropriate? What does the right to carry a gun in public (which isn't even being challenged) have to do with health care reform? NOTHING! And as far as I'm concerned, it IS open intimidation to go baring arms to a supposedly peaceful protest.

The Nazi accusation might be an inflammatory stretch, but it's fair to point out that this anti reform movement is highly organized, with clearly orchestrated plans to deliberately disrupt town hall meetings. It's also increasingly obvious that it's being backed by groups linked the health care industry - who are just USING grassroots protesters to further their own ends.

Imagine if Obama DOES drop the 'public option' but keeps the fines if you don't have coverage. Cha-ching - suddenly the Insurance companies have thousands of new customers who are required by law to buy their policies.

So I guess you're right. It's not the grassroots protesters themselves who are like the brownshirts - it's the fact that their protests are being orchestrated as part of a larger plan that makes them appear so.

That itself turns them from 'rebels' into 'pawns.'

Roland Hulme said...

Oooh! More goodies.

The Swastika on the congressman David Scott's door.

Somebody got arrested today for waving a sign saying "Death To Obama, Death To Michelle And Her Two Stupid Kids."

C'mon! That's intimidation!

ck said...

Sometimes your ignorance makes me question my liking of you as a person.

Stop watching MSNBC and the Huffington Post and at least go to a slightly more moderate station like CNN... then occasionally

To say that we started the Hitler stuff is ludicrous and tells me you are spouting off democrat talking points and not actually doing research (as your previous post about us right wingers showed). Bush spent six years being compared to Hitler.

Your recent rhetoric disappoints me.

Susanne said...

I'm glad to finally see Americans standing up to MORE government control. I'd rather them be out there fighting for their rights than basking in ignorance and apathy and letting the gov't take over their lives. Ugh!