March 18, 2009

Little Nazis

Fascism is always descending on the United States, but somehow it keeps landing in Europe.” – Tom Wolfe

I can’t imagine that Nazism could ever become mainstream in Germany again, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter, but this isn’t encouraging.

Roughly one in 20 15-year-old German males is a member of a neo-Nazi group, a higher proportion than are involved in mainstream politics, according to a study released on Tuesday.
Many politicians fear a resurgence of right-wing extremism as unemployment creeps higher in Germany, which is facing its deepest recession since World War II. Government figures have shown anti-Semitic crimes rose at the end of last year. "It is shocking that right-wing groups have more success recruiting male youths than the established political parties," said Christian Pfeiffer, author of the report issued by Lower Saxony's criminal research institute.

Pfeiffer said fewer than 2% of young men were active in mainstream politics, compared to the 5% involved in far-right groups.

The study, conducted in 2007 and 2008, also revealed that neo Nazi-symbols – in either rock music, stickers or special clothing - were used by one in 10 of the youths surveyed. The swastika and other Nazi symbols are banned in Germany.

The highest proportion of neo-Nazis was in former communist eastern Germany, where almost one in eight youths were in such groups. More than 14% of those questioned were described as racist, and anti-Semitism was rife.

What would our European friends think if something like this were happening in America? What would Americans think?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 18, 2009 1:14 AM
Comments

I hear/see more comments amongst friends that they see our country moving towards Socialism as desired by our current "Politburo".

Key political leaders who are not, at least in any meaningful way, going to be removed from power by the normal process. Jobs for Life and the politicians and their familys continue to increase their own wealth. Courtesy of the taxpayer. Me.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 1:29 AM

My guess on what is happening in Germany: Political correctness has been enforced in such a way that too many vital topics can no longer be discussed in a legitmate way. Therefore extreme groups opposing the status quo can present themselves as giving people back their voices.

Posted by: Ruth Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 2:08 AM

It's the same in the Netherlands.

The Freedom Party of Geert Wilders has 9 seats in parliament, but the latest opion poll said he could get 27 seats.

For the past 35 years and still today the ruling political parties have said that multi-culturalism is good and they have therefore imported over 1 million muslims to the Netherlands (population 18 million). One or two years ago even 35.000 on a single day.

Yet average Joe notices that 70% of the crime and 70% of the prisoners are muslims. And that a street jihad is waged by maroccan immigrants against the natives.

If you complain about the government aboout this, you are called a racist, a Nazi and compared to Hitler.So suddenly ha ve a lot of "little Nazis" who are actually concerned about crime and are abonded by the State.

Posted by: Onslo Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 5:58 AM

I think that appeals to racial and ethnic identity will always be stronger in a multiethnic, multiracial society. Europe's naive quest for diversity shall inevitably lead to the rise of more extremist parties. We are seeing in the USA a similar breakdown into regional/ethnic blocs. Republicans are the party of Southern and rural whites, Dems the party of educated whites and minorities.

Posted by: markus Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 7:55 AM

Well, more than 5% of young Americans belong to the GOP, and that's a far right fringe group so Europeans see the same thing happening in America.

OK, now that I've fed the trolls, more seriously I don't think this is such a big deal. A resurgent Nazi party in Germany would be a farce anyway and most of it is posturing by angry bored young men. This development is not that surprising - for 60 years Germans have been told they can't be proud of their country. Repressing the pride in your own country is not natural and of course the hyper politically correct anti-nationalism is spawning an ugly counterreaction. And Germans should be proud of their country - they have artistic, musical, scientific, engineering and literary achievements that are the envy of the world. The Holocaust is a very ugly chapter of that history, but in the bigger picture not really so much uglier than what most nations have in their past - the English, the Russians, the Spanish, the French, the Chinese, the Turks - they all have chapters of brutal ethnic cleansing and genocides they don't like to talk about. At this point the Germans are a threat only to themselves, not their neighbors.

Posted by: Dyadya Vanya Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 8:46 AM

Nazi parties have won elections in Austria. Alliance For The Future (BZO) – gained 29 per cent of the vote, the same share as Austria’s main party, the Social Democrats.

A Daily Mail reporter who spent some time in Austria interviewing Nazis said:

The relationship between the FPO and the BNP becomes more worrying as I learn of the strong links between Austria’s political party and hard-line Nazis. Former Waffen SS officer and unrepentant Nazi Herbert Schweiger makes no attempt to hide his Nazi views. At his home in the Austrian mountains, the former SS officer gazes out of a window to a view of a misty alpine valley. Described to me as the ‘Puppet Master’ of the far right, Schweiger, 85, is a legendary figure for neo-Nazis across the world. ‘Our time is coming again and soon we will have another leader like Hitler,’ he says...

...The ideas and racial hatred that I have heard over my two weeks in Austria are just as threatening and just as sickening as any I have ever heard. And they are a lot more sinister because they are spoken with the veneer of respectability. The open defiance of these men honouring their Nazi ‘war hero’, and the support they are gaining in these troubled economic times, should be setting off alarm bells in Europe and the rest of the world.

The Israelis are concerned about the shift to radical far-right politics in Austria, mostly because the mainstream parties seem to be willing to work with these groups, for the same reason they work with the Muslim Brotherhood - because they think that working with these increasingly large voter blocs will help their political careers.

A lot of people don't like the Nazis, but they figure that these brownshirts will promote the national (or cultural) interest and they'll take care of the "Muslim problem" - so they don't complain. The enemy of their enemy is their friend.

But so few people have even tried facing Islamist aggression through reasonable measures, like having large counterprotests supporting Western culture or by criticizing their government's alliances with Islamist countries and groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Remember how, in history classes, we tried to figure out why so many people supported fascist groups in WWII? Now we’re seeing, in real time, how this psychotic and obviously self-destructive ideology can get support from millions of apparently rational people.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 1:15 PM

"What would Americans think?"

about Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam describing Judaism as a gutter religion, and Jeremiah Wright's views on white America, his greatest hits, so to speak, on sale in his church's lobby. Many of us see it for the ignorant hate it is. But enough of us? Worse, a decreasing percentage, with little appreciation for history's lessons in the Age of "New"?

When I went back to college at age 39 I talked with dozens of young Americans for whom history had no lessons; it was irrelevant. Quite a few couldn't place World War Two in the correct century, let alone identify the Axis powers. Graduates of American high schools all.

Is any place immune? The response, by enough, is the critical factor. To paraphrase Leni Reifenstahl, will triumphs.

Whose?

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 3:54 PM

"The Holocaust is a very ugly chapter of that history, but in the bigger picture not really so much uglier than what most nations have in their past - the English, the Russians, the Spanish, the French, the Chinese, the Turks - they all have chapters of brutal ethnic cleansing and genocides they don't like to talk about."

Oh, I don't know about that. The Holocaust was the first time any modern nation mobilized a significant part of its infrastructure with the sole aim of comprehensively and scientifically eradicating an entire people from the face of the earth. There's nothing in the histories of those countries you mention that compares to the industrial-scale murder, meticulous record-keeping, and methodical corpse-looting that the Germans carried out. Don't get me wrong: the Turks were complete bastards to the Armenians, the Chinese were incompetent enough to starve tens of millions, and so forth, but what Germany did in the forties really has no parallel.

Also: England? Really? I'm genuinely curious; what did they do that ranks with the Holocaust? I don't deny that their colonial heyday saw a good deal of blood spilled, but I can't think of anything that compares to Auschwitz or Buchenwald.

Posted by: AndrewR Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 4:09 PM

I would be very careful with such statistics coming from Germany.

In Germany sociologists happily count anyone who speaks up against Islamic terrorism and for German patriotism as a right-wing extremist. If he supports Israel, he easily becomes a Nazi. I am not kidding.

What is considered healthy patriotism in the US and most other countries is considered dangerous nationalism by academics in Germany. This is a good thing because it keeps people on their toes; but it is now being abused as a weapon against critics of Islamism (and Islam).

Don't forget that George Bush is considered a right-wing extremist (by the majority) and Nazi (by many) in Germany. And in American politics he pretty much represented about half the population, just like John Kerry, Al Gore, and Barack Obama represent the other half. German academics have different standards. Heck, the entire (American) Republican party is considered pretty much a Nazi party by many in Germany, especially among academics.

I have read about those statistics on German news sites, and apparently the math doesn't even work. I can look it up again and translate if anyone is interested.

"England? Really? I'm genuinely curious; what did they do that ranks with the Holocaust?"

I live in Ireland and from what I hear the English did lots of bad things in Ireland. But ALL of them sound like experiencing them would have been a dream come true for the victims of Nazi Germany! I am not kidding, unfortunately.

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 5:34 PM

Don't make the mistake of believing that studies done by some sociologists actually represent Germany. Very very few people in Germany support neo-Nazi parties, the vast majority votes for Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. The communists are much more powerful than the Nazis at the moment.

Public opinion in Germany is nowhere near as anti-Semitic as those studies claim and most Germans don't even appreciate the flag of Germany except in combination with football matches; there is no radical nationalism there, in fact there is almost no nationalism at all.

The sociologists are looking for anti-Semitism on the right, but it can easily be found on the left. Most right-wingers I know in Germany have very high opinions of Jews and Israel and what xenophobia they have is usually directed at Islamism and, unfortunately, Islam. Israel and Jews are understood by those as allies on the Judeao-Christian side they see themselves on.

Here is a "right-wing" German blog site (English version):

http://www.pi-news.org/

While I disagree with them and especially with their opinion on Islam, they are the sort of group that are counted as neo-Nazi and/or right-wing extremist by those studies and they are pretty much everything you can imagine but not anti-Semitic.

I hope this clarifies things a bit.

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 5:41 PM

I wish those in other countries with stereotypically negative views of American conservatives (the term many of us prefer as more accurate than Republican) would read conservative thinkers with open-minded critical thinking. However, living in San Francisco for (too) many years, I see critical thought as a vanishing skill, with current and future generations paying the price.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 5:49 PM

"Republicans are the party of Southern and rural whites, Dems the party of educated whites and minorities."

And of cause educated whites a necessary to lead stupid minorities to better Future. And to force them drink it too.

Is it my imagination or above is an example of arrogant stupidity and perhaps even bigotry?

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at March 18, 2009 9:30 PM

Leo,

I share what sounds like your frustration. Resorting to stereotypes is a reflection of a shallow, lazy thought process, often coupled with a lack of knowledge and/or experience; quick and easy judgments that provide immediate emotional satisfaction and don't strain the brain. In a much more benign context, a fourteen year-old who, with the presumed sophistication of someone in the no-longer-a-child phase of adolescence, has become the World's Foremost Authority, tests my patience regularly.

However, most of life exists in a gray zone of complexity between simple black and white. Clear thinking can be damned hard work approached seriously. Unfortunately, too many are content simply to reach for the remote and change the channel.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at March 19, 2009 2:11 AM

Being from Czechia, a country which borders Germany (and has intensive mutual contacts with Germany), I believe I can comment on this relevantly.

The previous posters mentioned that the Western political Left engages in labeling all critics of Islam or immigration as Nazis, or, at best, "extreme right-wing". That is very much true, and most West German "extreme right-wingers" truly aren't Nazis, but just people unhappy with the third-worldism packaged as "multiculturalism", stuffed into their throats without asking.

However, the East Germany is a different story. Saxony, a federal state which borders Czechia, is quite seriously infested with the Skinhead, Blood-and-Honour type of Nazism, which is partly organized as the NDP party, and partly as loose skinhead organizations. Their demonstrations usually manage to attract a few thousand people - a remarkable feat for Germany, which is an introvert nation without tendency to loud public disorder (unlike France or Italy or Greece).

As Saxony does not have sizeable non-white minorities, the local skinheads have another favorite target - Polish or Russian-speaking people. Oddly enough, the same people often travel to Czech skinhead meetings and demonstrations to "support them". It somehow does not bother them that Czechs are the same "schmutzige Slawen" as the Polish.

Last, but not least, thanks to the continuous efforts of the German government to suppress the NDP, it gets flavor of "forbidden fruit" in the eyes of many teenagers.

Posted by: MarianCZ Author Profile Page at March 19, 2009 4:54 AM

Why are you surprised Marian? Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenians and Croats (not coincidentally the Slavs from the old Austrian Empire) were considered good Slavs by the Nazis, basically German Slavs. Except for the Czechs, these groups mostly supported the Germans in WWII as well. To Nazis they were not the same as Poles, Ukrainians and Russians. And from the Russian perspective Czechs are clearly Germans who happen to speak a Slavic dialect, they don't act much like Slavs.

Posted by: Dyadya Vanya Author Profile Page at March 19, 2009 5:12 AM

Dadushka,

you are both right and wrong...

"Right" in the sense that Czechs, Slovenians and Croats are culturally close to the Germans. (Slovaks - not so much - they rather belong to the Hungarian civilizational region, albeit they would hate to hear that). And "Right" in the sense that the Nazis expected to Germanize and assimilate a significant part of the Czech population - 25 to 40%, by theories of Reinhard Heydrich - deemed as racially acceptable.

But any idea of Czech ethnic identity was anathema to the Nazis and Czech patriots and significant intellectuals were executed in droves, especially after assassination of Heydrich in 1942.

Posted by: MarianCZ Author Profile Page at March 19, 2009 5:24 AM

The poster from Czechia is abolutely right.

East-Germany does indeed have a neo-Nazi problem and is also the region within Germany that doesn't actually host any foreigners or immigrants (or Muslims).

The comments about the attitudes towards Slavs are also true.

Posted by: Leauki Author Profile Page at March 19, 2009 5:48 AM

"for 60 years Germans have been told they can't be proud of their country. Repressing the pride in your own country is not natural and of course the hyper politically correct anti-nationalism is spawning an ugly counterreaction."

It's one thing to be proud of your country. It's quite another to impose that sentiment on the rest of the world, or even upon everyone inside your borders.

OR

It's one thing to be proud of your country. But it doesn't automatically follow that all the others suck.

Posted by: gus3 Author Profile Page at March 19, 2009 6:22 AM

To many 'anti-war' types, being proud of your country, if it is fighting, means you are a far-right neo-nazi or nearly so.

And there is some truth to the idea of needing to be proud of your country in order to die for it or to kill for it -- few anti-war folk would do either.

Most anti-capitalists also harbor this type of anti-war view.

For non-Jews, living under Hitler and the National Socialist Nazis was far better than living under Stalin and the international socialist Communists.

Similarly, living under Catholic priest Slovak leader Tiso 1939-1945 was better for most Slovak Slovaks (not Slovak Jews) than was living under post-war CSFR communism. But to speak this truth is to be called a Nazi.

Clay Shirky recently wrote about the death of newspapers, including the fact that those in the industry who were predicting the internet caused demise were mostly ignored and denied. The newspaper managers were denying reality:
"When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness..."

Political Correctness is sick.
Whether it is the reality that Germans have many reasons to be proud to be German, or that by any reasonable liberal measure (Judeo-)Christian civilization is far more humane and human rights respecting than other civilization, or that African Americans score lower on IQ (or SAT) tests, or that far more men than women are math geniuses ... or any of a number of true things that are NOT Politically Correct -- attempting to enforce PC is sick and is creating a sick reaction.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Author Profile Page at March 19, 2009 4:29 PM

Tom,

in current Slovakia, Tiso is being a bit whitewashed by the nationalist Slovaks. After all, his victims are not alive to complain.

My grandparents lived in his Slovakia as young adults, so I have some immediate personal accounts.

First big problem: Tiso was virulently anti-semitic. Not just for opportunism, but ideologically. His compliance with Nazi extermination machine was 100 per cent voluntary and effective, to the degree that he was paraded as an example to Mussolini or the Hungarian authorities, which were more reluctant to send their subjects to ovens.

Unfortunately, from the tales that I have heard from my grands, quite a lot of Slovaks were happy to see the Jews gone, for a mixture of reasons: cancellation of debts (a lot of rural Slovaks were indebted to the local Jew), envy or simply because of antisemitic ideological brainwashing, which was frequent in the media (and even from the pulpits). On the other hand, some Slovaks would risk their lives hiding Jewish children. This would mean the death penalty (and, at least until 1944, this penalty would come from Slovak authorities, not from the Nazi army!) Slovakia is a complicated country; you would easily find both types of people in a single small village. As the Slovaks say: in our extended families, we have a sample of everything: a lawyer, a doctor, a fascist, a Bolshevik, a freedom-lover ... and in case of need, we find the right one and ask him for help.

It is definitely true that the economy of Slovakia was better in 1942 than in 1952 or 1962, because the Tiso government never attempted to nationalize private property (even the Jewish confiscations were given to "Aryans", but not to the state). But the ideology and reality of the regime was evil, even though that evil did not personally reach most Slovaks.

The uprising in 1944 was basically a civil war. The Tiso government used the Nazi forces openly against the insurgents, who were widely supported by the population of the mountain valleys (this needs some comments: the uprising never got traction in the lowlands, but the mountains are high in Slovakia, and the populations there were quite isolated until the advent of the car. As such, they learnt to depend on themselves, and would not be very loyal to the state in distant Prague or Wien or Bratislava too much. The mountains were always the last resort of fugitives, and tacit support of those fugitives against the law enforcement was the norm).

The Nazi forces were extremely heavy-handed in their repression of the insurgency, killing suspect people in villages with no trial (one my grand-uncle was killed like that, aged 17), and, at times, exterminating whole villages. Their behavior in insurgent areas was not much better anywhere in Europe, so Slovakia was not a special case ... but the last nail to the coffin of legitimacy of the Tiso regime was the fact that it gave the Nazis a blank check to do so. It can be argued that they had no force to stop Nazi army, but at least they could resign. That did not happen; and this turned a lot of rural Slovaks against Tiso in 1944 and 1945.

Of course, they did not know that communism was coming on them 3 years in the future. Sometimes ignorance is blessing: keeps you from despair.

Posted by: MarianCZ Author Profile Page at March 20, 2009 2:29 AM
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