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Monday, April 2, 2012

Who was that Nazi I saw you with last night?

After a recent post on Nazis, I have received a number of responses from people who offer updates on the revival of Naziism throughout the world.  Anne, who lived in Germany while her father was stationed there in the military and who returned there to study as a college student, keeps me informed about what she hears from her friends in Germany.  She tells of the National Democratic Party (NPD) and a number of murders attributed to it and its neo-Nazi allies.  As a student, Anne did an intensive study of the culture and social psychology that define Nazis.  She finds the defining traits displayed by many social and political factions in current times.

The term Nazi  has been so overused that it has become a cliche that denotes little.  Like the other N-word, nigger, it is used as a pejorative with no attention paid to its denotative origins.  It is uttered to insult, abuse, and hurt.  That is dangerous, because it deprives people of knowing what is actually involved in the Nazi mindset so that they are unaware of when their own thinking and attitudes contain elements of what makes up a Nazi.  

For most, the term Nazi conjures up the Holocaust and its systematic extermination of millions of Jews and other minorities, but its glib use fails to recall the social and intellectual postures and attitudes that made the reign of Naziism possible.  We forget, if we even knew, that the gas ovens of the Holocaust were first used on the German civilians that Hitler called the "useless eaters," the people  with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities who were unable to perform profitable work and required care.  Cost accountants determined that these disabled people contributed nothing to the national economy, but were in fact an expensive liability, so the solution was to euthanize them.  This "final solution" for ridding society of its useless eaters and the liabilities they incurred was adopted by those officials in the Third Reich who were put in charge of ridding Germany of the Jews.  

Anne and the serious students of the formation of Naziism point out that the Holocaust was based upon a more basic premise that people could be divided into classes of who was deemed valuable and who was not, who is superior and who is inferior.  Once people accept that premise, which the German people largely did, it occurs to the superior that their lives could be a lot better if they could eliminate the inferior.  The key to that kind of thought is that anyone you don't like can be designated as inferior and made a candidate for elimination.  The Germans particularly did not like Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and anyone else who pissed them off for some reason.  So, it was okay to kill them.  

The financial problems of the developed countries have resulted in the designation of a new class of useless eaters by some people. An article in The Atlantic contends that the impending demise of Europe and the eventual failure of America are because there are too many old people on pensions, useless eaters, and not enough young people who contribute to productivity.  Advances in medicine have prolonged life expectancy and controlled births, creating the imbalance between old and young.   Moreover, these old people raise up in rebellion and protest when the governments propose reducing or taking away their pensions.  Furthermore, they tend to watch their money and do not spend a hell of a lot to  stimulate the economy. One blog recommended this article as brilliant.  The article and its advocates seem irritated that old people do not seem willing to go gently into poverty, destitution, and beyond when it is proposed for them.  As it is in the Paul Ryan budget. 

Well, at any rate we are now informed about whose lives are valuable and whose are not.  This way to the gas ovens, ladies and gentlemen.

We can now get  on with our lives.  Or without them. 

And so it goes.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States