If the facts cannot be squeezed into a meme the level of attention those facts receive is reduced. Attention to detail is overlooked for what will best attract a view, a like, a follow or a share. Information is seen purely as a commodity.
The problem is that when information is seen purely as a commodity, truth is easily compromised.
We don’t need to look any further than the internet. It’s now common place to log on and find someone accusing someone else of being a Nazi or a racist. This may have reached the status of cliché, and as such is easily dismissed, nevertheless real concern should be given to it. Especially, when we’re bombarded with accusations from celebrities, and articles written by professionals, equating their opponents with the National Socialists of the 1930’s, without qualification.
For example: in August 2016, a lecturer from Sydney University, compared fair-minded conservative opposition to same-sex marriage, with the Nazi treatment of homosexuals. In addition, a student was reported to have been disallowed from presenting a case, linking examples of how anti-Israel sentiment, is linked to antisemitism. [source]
Historical comparisons made between present and past, should be measured for accuracy. Responsible self-criticism leads us to ask ourselves whether or not our opponent has a point. However, measuring the accuracy of our opponents claim shouldn’t stop with us. For it to be completely fair, the enquiry must also include the consideration of whether or not our opponents, are themselves guilty of doing the very things they’re accusing others of doing.
One good practice, when being likened to the Nazis, is reading material from those who’ve studied the historical context; the history of and the history associated with Nazism. Those who’ve engaged with the primary sources, and who understand not just what the Nazis did, but how, and why, they did it.
It’s here that books like Thomas Doherty’s insightful and well researched 2013 book, ‘Hollywood & Hitler‘ shines:
Page 9, citing a PCA[i] report on the prohibition of the movie ‘All Quiet on The Western Front‘, Dec, 18, 1930:
“There is no doubt that this wave of intense national prejudice, which is for now going on, will continue and that any pictures, particularly foreign pictures, which offend the sensibilities of the National Socialists will be a signal for riots and demonstrations.’ [i]
Page 21: ‘Even before Goebbels laid down the law, the Nazi rhetoric on race was being implemented by pumped-up S.A. thugs and zealous party bureaucrats. From Berlin radiating outward, the iron grip tightened over all aspects of film-related culture – artists and technicians, film content and style, trade periodicals and reviewer bylines, theatre ownership and ticket buyers.’ [ii]
Page 97: ‘The Nazis, said Prince Hubertus Lowenstein [an early critic of Nazism], had annihilated all that was good in German culture.”Everything that had made for the glory of Germany has been destroyed in the past three years. The best actors and artists have been expelled. Approximately 1100 scholars and scientists have had to leave, only because they believed in freedom of art, of thought, and of religion.” Jews were forbidden to buy milk for their children, and Catholics were jailed for keeping the faith. The jackboot crushing Jews and Catholics, he predicted, was but a preview of oppressions to come. All those speaking that night urged a united front against Hitler. “We must organise to fight the Nazi invasion before Americans lose their constitutional liberties”‘[iii]
Doherty’s descriptions of Nazis behaviour and policy helps to shine a light on where Nazism or fascists are active today. When matched against current events descriptions such as, “intense prejudice, the iron grip, that which offends the sensibilities is a signal for riots and demonstrations; rhetoric on race by pumped-up thugs and zealous party bureaucrats”, all show that those pointing their finger and crying wolf about Nazism and fascism, reflect it the most.
We have to ask: is there any real difference between what we know as the radical Left and what we know as the extreme Right?
The radical Left is already suspect, when the adherents use its political platforms to denounce all opposition as Nazism, without any real qualification. It’s already suspect when those same adherents ignore questions, make false claims and turn all fair criticism into “hate speech”. It’s already suspect when this very same ideology backs policies that undermine the humanity of the unborn, democratic debate, diversity of thought, reasoned opinion, expression and faith.
It’s already suspect when some of its most fervent adherents remain silent about the current events in Turkey, or Islamism in general, and yet continue to promote the BDS academic boycott movement against Israel. [source] The radical Left is more than worthy of our suspicions when we only hear the sound of crickets chirping to the tune of double standards, hypocrisy, selective outrage, suppression of faith and reason, political evasion, and propaganda.
As Theodore Kupfer asked, ‘Where are the Academic Boycotts of Turkey?”. It’s tragically ironic that anti-Israel protesters are loud and proud, yet they remain silent about Turkey:
“The response of Western academia has thus far been limited to expressions of grave concern for the fate of individual academics who have been subject to the purge [in Turkey].
No organized boycott effort has surfaced on any level. Mere proclamations of solidarity are supposed to suffice in the case of Turkey, while the same organizations agitate for nothing short of a blanket institutional boycott in the case of Israel.
Mind you, academic conditions in Israel are far superior to those in Turkey. Even attempts to portray Israel as hostile to academic freedom are evidence for this.” [iv]
The irony feeds suspicion of the radical Left. All that’s missing from the trajectory of this ideological radicalism is a figure-head with the power to influence enough people to fanatically fall in line behind them. With the upcoming election in the United States, such considerations should be weighed carefully.
Whether we like it or not, we’re being forced into categories by those who want to define us, determine what we think, and turn our freedoms into a carrot on a stick. The agenda isn’t about equality, it’s about dominance. The agenda isn’t about rights, it’s about power. The agenda isn’t about progress, it’s about pride.
It’s ironic that a people’s court stands ready to condemn those who don’t align, agree or pledge allegiance to the Left. Victims who are, as a result branded as Nazis, without trial or just cause.
I’m not big on the Right/Left political metaphors in politics because throughout history, they’ve shifted. The metaphor is inadequate. We cannot rely on it entirely. I’m even more suspicious of this metaphor when its applied to theology.
Theology, if it is to remain authentic theology, as Timothy Gorringe states, ‘stands as a critique of ideology.’ [v] To confess that Jesus Christ is Lord necessarily means to admit that Jesus Christ is no human pawn. Christian theology is and always will stand as a critique of all human centred strongholds that claim godlikeness; a challenge to all towers of Babylon. Whether they be, modern, futuristic, ancient, primitive, progressive, conservative, material or spiritual.
‘Christianity is the protest against all the high places which human beings build for themselves’ (Karl Barth C.D IV/II p.524).
Just as bandwagon support for hashtag movements or one’s Facebook activity isn’t the ultimate determiner of the legitimacy of one’s Christianity. Allegiance to an ideology cannot justify or earn a place before the throne of God’s grace.
While it may be too early to say for certain that history is being repeated. Given the growing list of facts, it’s not an overstatement to suggest that history is being repeated, but not according to the story we’re being sold. In this case, those in the West who claim to be victims of fascism, who are chasing “Nazis”, and pushing for safe spaces, have more in common with the Nazis, than they do the victims of Nazism.
May we be free, and well informed enough to differentiate between the real and the wrongly labelled.
[i] Doherty,T. 2013 Hollywood & Hitler: 1933-1939 Columbia University Press
[ii] ibid, 2013
[iii] ibid, 2013
[iv] Kupfer, T. 2016 Where Are the Academic Boycotts of Turkey? sourced 24th August 2016 from nationalreview.com
[v] Gorringe, T.J 1999 Karl Barth: Against Hegemony Christian theology in context Oxford University Press New York
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