Friday, June 16, 2017

Enough Of Us

     If you’ve been reading my drivel for any length of time, you’ve surely noticed that I don’t like to write about what other Internet Commentarial members are currently addressing. I prefer to let such things simmer a bit longer, that I might bring them a broader perspective and a deeper penetration when I finally do get around to them...always assuming, of course, that I don’t manage to forget about them in the interests of the sanity of my readership (and myself).

     Not today, Gentle Reader. Oh, most definitely not today.

     I’ve been doing this crap for too long. I’m losing an ability I’ve long cherished: the ability to summon the degree of detachment required to perform a sober, dispassionate analysis of whatever events are currently uppermost in Americans’ minds. In other words – and we badly need some other words if the qualifiers and subordinate clauses aren’t to proliferate like some grammatical version of The Blob – these days I get too mad to think, far too often, before I set my fingers to the keys.

     One of the techniques valuable for summoning said detachment is the deliberate retreat into history. Sometimes history provides monitory notes relevant to our era. Sometimes it provides important comparisons or contrasts. And on rare but precious occasions, history calms us, reassures us that despite the bleakness of our current outlook, nevertheless all will be well. You can go back to sleep, Fran; this latest tempest won’t burst its teapot.

     Not this time. This time Godwin, whoever the hell he was, can shove it up his ass.

     Recently another Web writer – sorry, I’ve misplaced the link – argued that “We didn’t get Hitler because of Hitler; we got Hitler because of Weimar.” It’s an interesting contention, albeit not entirely correct. Yes, the corrupting effects of the Weimar Republic were inadequately understood, including by the many Germans who wallowed happily in its decadence. Yes, the inflation of the early Twenties should have been taken more seriously as a harbinger of what Germans would subsequently demand – and receive. Yes, the political class of that time and place should have taken decisive action against the Sturmabteilung before the NSDAP became too powerful to defeat. Yes, yes, yes.

     But these weren’t evocations of Nazism. They didn’t create Hitler. They were opportunities gifted to Hitler and the Nazis; Hitler was canny enough to note and capitalize on them. In other words, if Hitler and his allegiants hadn’t been there and waiting, the Third Reich would not have occurred.

     We got Hitler because of:

  • The Franco-Prussian War of 1870;
  • The German seizure of Alsace and Lorraine;
  • Otto von Bismarck and his social-welfare programs;
  • General Alfred von Schlieffen and his worship of Hannibal;
  • Helmuth von Moltke, his timorous nature, and France’s success at the Marne;
  • The butcher’s bills presented to Europe by World War I,. and the influenza plague of 1918-19;
  • The Treaty of Versailles and its crafters’ attempt to remake Europe;
  • French encouragement of the secession of the Rhineland as a separate republic;
  • The reluctance of England and France to enforce the Versailles disarmament provisions upon Germany;

     ...and only after all that the Weimar Republic crap that followed.

     But my list above is also a set of resultants. We got those conditions, and therefore Hitler, because of post-Waterloo, post-Congress-of-Vienna Europe. We got Hitler because of European historical militarism – German and French. We got Hitler because of the sum of all European history from the Treaties of Westphalia forward, if not from the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire.

     We got Hitler because of Mankind.

     Anyone ever heard of Albert Fish? His “career” was contemporaneous with the rise of the Nazis. You should read at least a little about him. The totality of his record might prove to be more than you can stand.

     Albert Fish was eventually tried, convicted, and executed for multiple murders. He died in the electric chair. It’s quite possible that he enjoyed the experience.

     I feel it’s safe to say that very nearly no one actually seeks out pain, self-damage, or self-degradation. Albert Fish loved all three. He was unique in his time; the population of the United States was just barely large enough to include one such as he. Back then, there were barely a hundred million of us. Today there are three times as many: enough that there are probably several Albert Fishes awaiting discovery and capture. We may have already seen their forerunners. Consider as candidates Albert deSalvo, Ted Bundy, and Ed Gein.

     Human characteristics are distributed according to laws whose outlines we can barely discern. Fortunately, certain of them are exceedingly rare. There must be “enough of us” for those traits to make a recognized appearance.

     One Albert Fish is “enough.”

     Mitteleuropa in the Twenties, badly depopulated by the Great War, the influenza epidemic, and the contemporaneous loss of moral, ethical, and civilizational confidence, produced only one Adolf Hitler. One was enough. Today the Old World, like the New, is at least three times as populous. There are probably several would-be murderers of millions roaming the place.

     Americans are generally of a different weave and cut from the peoples of other lands. Among other things, we haven’t been nearly as enamored of government power or government intrusions as our European cousins. Until fairly recently, you could legitimately say that nearly all of us were “liberals” in the original sense of the word.

     American statist “liberalism,” which has drained all of the word’s original meaning, is only about fifty years old. Fifty years is a fairly short time in political terms. (Consider that it took eighty years, give or take a couple, for the Soviet Union to collapse.) Yet our greatly expanded numbers compared to the Twenties, when several varieties of Communism – yes, including Nazism – were straining to establish beachheads here, has provided a substantial base of “recruits” to that ideology. Even among a people predisposed to prefer freedom and resent encroachments upon it, a sufficient population will provide such recruits.

     In contrast with persons who prefer freedom and respect its requirements, persons predisposed to collectivist totalitarianism of any variety will be willing to use violence to get their way. In a nation with our numbers, there will be some at the very least who are willing to don a brown – or a black – shirt and go into the streets to savage their opponents. There will be a larger number, ideologically allied to the thugs, who’ll strain to rationalize and justify violence committed by their fellow travelers.

     That population will also provide for political assassins: usually, more than one.

     So far we’ve had only one James Hodgkinson. However, the Leftist calls and rationalizations for violence, up to and including murder, that have emanated from Hodgkinson’s fellow thinkers will continue to exert a pull on the huge American population. If there are more like Hodgkinson – that is, more leftists willing to kill and die for their noxious ideology – they will emerge in response to that pull...probably far sooner than one might expect.

     No matter how good conservative officeholder Smith’s situational awareness, there will be times when he’s inattentive, undefended, or both. Should Smith come under the crosshairs of another Hodgkinson at such a time, his life will be in peril. Perhaps so will those of his loved ones. It won’t matter to Smith or his loved ones whether Hodgkinson survives the event.

     At this time, all the political violence, along with all the rhetoric that encourages and rationalizes it, emanates from the Left. However, as Tom Kratman has noted, that won’t remain the case for long. It cannot. Indeed, it must not.

     Tom has said it. I have said it. And Mark Steyn has said it. Others of proven judgment, such as Jonah Goldberg, have foreseen it and thrown up their hands.

     What will you do, Gentle Reader?


sykes.1 said...

You are not counting correctly. At least since WW II, every Presidential assassination and assassination attempt has been committed by a leftist. Hodgkinson is only the latest in a long line. In fact, every instance of political violence, with the exception of the Oklahoma City bombing, was committed by a leftist.

On the other hand, leftist violence does come is waves, the 60's being the last wave. It looks like we are entering another, as predicted by Peter Turchin.

Linda Fox said...

I fear we have reached the point where we are not even talking the same language. For example, when trying to point out my disgust with the anti-fa violence, my daughter (a gentle-minded, sweet Progressive) immediately reacted, acting as though I was advocating violence, and expressing her concern that I was tarring ALL Progressives with the actions of a few.

They aren't a 'few'. More importantly, they are NOT being condemned by the Progressive follow-alongs.