New Yorker: “How American Racism Influenced Hitler”

Of course. It won’t stop until every single white person in America is silenced, displaced, or bred out of existence. We must never forget: Every white baby is a potential Hitler.

In The New Yorker, Alex Ross writes on “How American Racism Influenced Hitler”. There are astonishing ad hominems in this piece:

Yet an eerie continuity became visible in the postwar years, as German scientists were imported to America and began working for their former enemies; the resulting technologies of mass destruction exceeded Hitler’s darkest imaginings. The Nazis idolized many aspects of American society: the cult of sport, Hollywood production values, the mythology of the frontier… In 1928, Hitler remarked, approvingly, that white settlers in America had “gunned down the millions of redskins to a few hundred thousand.” When he spoke of Lebensraum, the German drive for “living space” in Eastern Europe, he often had America in mind.

Or this bizarre passage:

The Nazis were not wrong to cite American precedents. Enslavement of African-Americans was written into the U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson spoke of the need to “eliminate” or “extirpate” Native Americans. In 1856, an Oregonian settler wrote, “Extermination, however unchristianlike it may appear, seems to be the only resort left for the protection of life and property.” General Philip Sheridan spoke of “annihilation, obliteration, and complete destruction.”

America’s knack for maintaining an air of robust innocence in the wake of mass death struck Hitler as an example to be emulated. He made frequent mention of the American West in the early months of the Soviet invasion. The Volga would be “our Mississippi,” he said. “Europe—and not America—will be the land of unlimited possibilities.” Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine would be populated by pioneer farmer-soldier families. Autobahns would cut through fields of grain. The present occupants of those lands—tens of millions of them—would be starved to death.

Ross then undercuts the above implications with this:

At the same time, and with no sense of contradiction, the Nazis partook of a long-standing German romanticization of Native Americans. One of Goebbels’s less propitious schemes was to confer honorary Aryan status on Native American tribes, in the hope that they would rise up against their oppressors.

… before immediately moving right back to Point A with a laundry list of ad hominems against America:

Jim Crow laws in the American South served as a precedent in a stricter legal sense. Scholars have long been aware that Hitler’s regime expressed admiration for American race law…

California’s sterilization program directly inspired the Nazi sterilization law of 1934..

In 1924, the first execution by gas chamber took place, in Nevada. In a history of the American gas chamber, Scott Christianson states that the fumigating agent Zyklon-B, which was licensed to American Cyanamid by the German company I. G. Farben, was considered as a lethal agent but found to be impractical. Zyklon-B was, however, used to disinfect immigrants as they crossed the border at El Paso—a practice that did not go unnoticed by Gerhard Peters, the chemist who supplied a modified version of Zyklon-B to Auschwitz. Later, American gas chambers were outfitted with a chute down which poison pellets were dropped. Earl Liston, the inventor of the device, explained, “Pulling a lever to kill a man is hard work. Pouring acid down a tube is easier on the nerves, more like watering flowers.” Much the same method was introduced at Auschwitz, to relieve stress on S.S. guards.

Perhaps the most evil parallel between American history and Nazism is that both at one time had actual policies of immigration restriction:

When Hitler praised American restrictions on naturalization, he had in mind the Immigration Act of 1924, which imposed national quotas and barred most Asian people altogether. For Nazi observers, this was evidence that America was evolving in the right direction, despite its specious rhetoric about equality. The Immigration Act, too, played a facilitating role in the Holocaust, because the quotas prevented thousands of Jews, including Anne Frank and her family, from reaching America. In 1938, President Roosevelt called for an international conference on the plight of European refugees; this was held in Évian-les-Bains, France, but no substantive change resulted. The German Foreign Office, in a sardonic reply, found it “astounding” that other countries would decry Germany’s treatment of Jews and then decline to admit them.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, America is clearly just like Hitler… no, America is literally Hitler.

The distortions of Ross’ mind are perhaps most glaring in the following, rather striking passage, where a single passing sentence reflecting the true reality of America’s role in WWII (the only reference in the entire piece to this quite important dimension) is nonetheless offset with a “Still”:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans died fighting Nazi Germany. Still, bigotry toward Jews persisted, even toward Holocaust survivors.

Let those two last sentences sink in. At this point in reading the essay, I began to worry about Ross’ state of mind.

There is, of course, the obligatory Trump/Hitler association which comes in the form of a very odd passage:

In our current age of unapologetic racism and resurgent authoritarianism, the mechanics of Hitler’s rise are a particularly pressing matter. For dismantlers of democracy, there is no better exemplar…

In 1990, Vanity Fair reported that Donald Trump once kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed. When Trump was asked about it, he said, “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.” Since Trump entered politics, he has repeatedly been compared to Hitler, not least by neo-Nazis. Although some resemblances can be found—at times, Trump appears to be emulating Hitler’s strategy of cultivating rivalries among those under him, and his rallies are cathartic rituals of racism, xenophobia, and self-regard—the differences are obvious and stark. For one thing, Hitler had more discipline. What is worth pondering is how a demagogue of Hitler’s malign skill might more effectively exploit flaws in American democracy.

The ominous closing paragraph of Ross’ piece is a striking example of Jewish paranoia, with the standard literary-pretensions (“It was a dark and stormy night”) of liberal propaganda, hit pieces on the New Right. In this case, we have Baby Hitler depicted as, presumably, an adolescent Alt Right kid meming on 4Chan:

The artist-politician of the future will not bask in the antique aura of Wagner and Nietzsche. He is more likely to take inspiration from the newly minted myths of popular culture. The archetype of the ordinary kid who discovers that he has extraordinary powers is a familiar one from comic books and superhero movies, which play on the adolescent feeling that something is profoundly wrong with the world and that a magic weapon might banish the spell. With one stroke, the inconspicuous outsider assumes a position of supremacy, on a battlefield of pure good against pure evil. For most people, such stories remain fantasy, a means of embellishing everyday life. One day, though, a ruthless dreamer, a loner who has a “vague notion of being reserved for something else,” may attempt to turn metaphor into reality. He might be out there now, cloaked by the blue light of a computer screen, ready, waiting.

The sheer number of books about Hitler that Ross appears to have read, and his apparent need to shoehorn them all into a rambling and nearly incoherent article, perhaps reveals more about Ross’ own fragile state of mind than anything else.

One gets the sense that, among liberal, NYC-based, Jewish writers, the wheels are coming off the rails, the carriages increasingly unhinged.

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