Madlands

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November 21, 2016 by AK

Via Arts and Letters Daily, here’s Timothy Snyder’s little pamphlet in Slate, a brief synopsis of Hitler’s progress hinting at Trump’s possible trajectory.

A parallel here, an analogy there, et voilà, here’s a case for Bush Trump as Hitler.

Yes, I’m aware most of it is literally about Hitler in 1932-45. “[H]is affection for a foreign tyrant” is a reference to Mussolini. “The left received 1 million more votes than his party” means the SPD and KPD won 1.5 million more votes than the NSDAP in the November 1932 election, the last before the Nazi era. “His administration was at first a coalition of the old right and his new right” – the Nazis, the DNVP and several independent politicians with aristocratic last names. “The terrorist attack” is the Reichstag fire. The rest is pretty obvious – the Night of the Long Knives, the Gleiwitz incident, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pacts and so on.

Yet Snyder’s first sentence points away from Hitler: “His election that November came as a surprise.” Further below: “[His followers] had come out to vote, in higher numbers than expected, especially working-class men and women.” This is neon-pure Trump. Hitler’s November 1932 result was actually disappointing. Having surprised in July 1932 with 37% of the vote, the NSDAP lost two million votes in November – more than the vote difference between the two leftist parties and itself.

So T equals H after all. No escape. Donald the marble snatcher strikes again.

With the benefit of eagle-eyed hindsight, I can now discern earlier signs of the disease. This past September, the New York Times ran a piece by Prof. Snyder called How a Russian Fascist Is Meddling in America’s Election. The fascist in question is neither Putin nor his broad-faced barbudo, Alexander Dugin, but the Russian philosopher and ideologue Ivan Ilyin, who died in 1954. But he’s immortal enough to have meddled in an American election 62 years later. It must be the preservative air of Zollikon, “one of Switzerland’s most exclusive districts” according to Wikipedia.

In his NYT article, Prof. Snyder simplifies Ilyin’s views beyond the point of distortion and makes claims that cannot be backed up by the scarce public information on the Kremlin’s key figures:

Since then [2011 or 2012], Mr. Putin has relied on Ilyin’s authority at every turning point in Russian politics…

Not saying he hasn’t – but how do we know? How do we know it was the dead thinker rather than a living lieutenant or an inner voice? How can we tell if it was Ilyin and not, say, Machiavelli, de Maistre, or Clausewitz?

One thing I’m ready to admit: it’s far more likely that Putin drew inspiration from Ilyin than that Trump is en route to sending leftists to concentration camps.


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