Ordinary Nazis

Americans love World War II. Our modern concept of ourselves is defined by our perceived role in that war. A list of American movies set in the war is so long it can’t be crammed onto a single Wikipedia page.

It was the perfect war. We didn’t chose it. The stakes were absolute. Nothing about our democratic system could have survived our defeat. Our European enemy was a ruthless aggressor, aflame with mindless bigotry, engaged in a campaign of systemized, industrial murder against a series of scapegoated minorities, none more cruelly abused than the Jews. It was an epic battle of light against darkness, in which we found ourselves on the good side.

As a battered world staggered back toward normalcy, an effort emerged to see that that this evil “never again” spread its wings over a civilized nation. Americans embraced this campaign with the Manichean vigor born of our Puritan roots. Hitler became the Satan of our civic religion, and the Nazis its demonic minions. We taught the “lessons of the Holocaust” to schoolchildren. We celebrated our holiest war in art, culture and especially films.

Looking back on our World War II fetish from the perspective of the Trump Era, a horrible miscalculation looms large. In our rush to demonize the Nazis, we missed a vital insight. Most Nazis were ordinary people, pursuing ordinary goals, with little real interest in politics. We created a mythology in which Nazis were so malignant and abhorrent that they could never be relatable. They could never be your smiling neighbor, your admired teacher, your uncle. Why do Americans so deeply cherish our World War II mythology? That mythology turns all us into saints on a jihad, immune to human nature, forever the good guys. We are learning the horrible truth too late.

Recall as many films, books or other media on World War II as your mind can conjure. How many of them explore the experience of being an ordinary German in 1930 or 1935? What inspired ordinary Germans to join or collaborate with the Nazis? Better yet, what were the French, Dutch or Danish collaborators in the 1940’s thinking? To the extent that this question is addressed at all in popular mythology, we attribute their collaboration to personal evil. That characterization isn’t false, but it is dangerously myopic.

Melita Maschmann was a restless teenager when Hitler came to power in 1933. She joined the Hitler Youth as a rebellion against her parents. They belonged to the Conservative Party which had handed power to Hitler with some reluctance. Through the Hitlerjugend (HJ) she found a chance to make a powerful social contribution rather than merely being groomed for polite society. Her best friend, Marianne Schweitzer, was half-Jewish. With a cluelessness typical of many Nazis Melita urged her to join the HJ.

Why did she do it? In her own words:

Whenever I probe the reasons which drew me to join the Hitler Youth, I always come up against this one: I wanted to escape from my childish, narrow life and I wanted to attach myself to something that was great and fundamental.

What we miss about the rise of Fascism in Europe, to our great danger, was its ordinariness, it’s banality. For Maschmann and millions of other young people, the Hitler Youth was a fun, state-sponsored youth group. They went camping. They traveled on community service missions. Sure there were torches and menacing anti-Semitic speeches, but for years after Hitler seized power they never witnessed this ideology expressed in its inevitable violence. Like Donald Trump’s rants, followers dismissed much of Hitler’s bluster.

From Maschmann’s memoir, remarking on a colleague’s dismissal of anti-Semitic rhetoric:

She had also considered the virulent anti-semitism to be simply a passing excess which the party itself would one day disavow.

It may sound astounding that someone with this viewpoint should have been able to remain for many years in the ranks of the top leadership of the National Socialist Youth movement. I am convinced that this was not just one exceptional case. Many of us there were first and foremost in search of a platform for youth work. We were only secondarily interested in politics, and even then only under duress.

Maschmann rose through the ranks of the HJ, becoming a full-time worker on service missions with impoverished farm families in Eastern Germany. When the Germans invaded Poland she moved in behind them, helping to resettle ethnic German families on land cleared of Poles. As the war advanced, she took an active role in the removal of Poles from lands further and further into Poland. It never occurred to her to ask where the Polish families she was herding onto trains were being sent. The SS men simply explained that they were being resettled farther east. Evil grows slow, but strong, and it thrives on ignorance.

Maschmann’s family was killed in the bombings of German cities. Later in the war she was relocated to Berlin. She escaped the brutal retribution of the Red Army by fleeing to Austria, where she was captured by US troops. After years in post-war internment camps she began to reckon with her past, but it would take many more years for her to acknowledge her crimes. She never saw the concentration camps, and continued to deny their existence long after the war.

Maschmann’s Jewish friend would narrowly escape the country after her father was beaten on Kristallnacht. Marianne Schweitzer and her family were among the lucky few who gained entrance to a United States that was actively turning away Jewish refugees.

Maschmann’s story is common among the Nazis lucky enough to survive the war and escape prosecution, but we never hear those stories. We never hear about the nice, polite, ordinary people who decided for one reason or another to support the Nazis.

Ursula Mahlendorf’s father joined the SS in their small town on the Eastern border in 1933. He wasn’t particularly interested in Hitler or the Jews, but the SS had an excellent local club which he hoped would improve his plumbing business. She joined the HJ after his death in 1935, over her mother’s quiet concerns, because the organization gave her a larger family and a sense of purpose.

Most of the German officer corps in place prior to Hitler’s rise were either hostile to Hitler or at least skeptical. It was illegal for soldiers to belong to the Nazi Party prior to 1933. A large percentage of the men who led Hitler’s armies despised the Nazis, yet still collaborated.

Even before Hitler seized power, Nazis were pastors, mayors, school teachers, doctors and scientists. All over Germany, men who served in roles as police or other public servants joined the Nazi Party for largely personal motives. Most Nazis were ordinary people, with dull lives and no remarkable moral traits of any note. These unremarkable people joined together to unleash a Holocaust on the Jews and trigger a European Apocalypse. By depicting individual Nazis as monsters, we make them otherworldly characters, people we couldn’t possibly know, people who could never be us.

Melita Maschmann relates a haunting story in her memoir.

During the trial of Eichmann I frequently talked to the seventeen-year-old daughter of a Hitler Youth comrade of mine who was shot down as a pilot shortly before the end of the war. One day the girl asked me to describe the particular characteristics of her father, whose friend I had been. I gave her an honest picture of a humorous, helpful, somewhat lazy and not exactly tidy but thoroughly decent man who was particularly fond of animals.

“And he was a real Nazi?” asked the girl.

“Yes,” I replied, “he was a convinced National Socialist.”

“But you said that he was helpful and thoroughly decent…”

How do we grapple with the evil carried out by ordinary people? Here in the US, the same construct plagues our efforts to wrestle with our legacy of slavery and the Civil War. Our own refusal to acknowledge that nice people can spawn horrors preserves a dangerous vulnerability in our culture. From Maschmann:

One day it could happen that someone who wants to stir up trouble will come and say to the young people who were only children at the end of the war: “Look at your parents. Do you believe they are villains or fools? No, of course not. But you know that they were National Socialists. Your schools and the so called mass media have been telling you ever since you can remember that National Socialism was the rule of the devil. You yourselves did not experience it, so you cannot check if these statements are true. But you know your parents better than anything else, and you believe they are decent people. Do you believe they would voluntarily have served the rule of the devil? There is something wrong somewhere. In other words it cannot be true that National Socialism was a bad thing. The democrats have been serving you up with that fairy story for long enough….

Sounds a lot like, “Heritage, not Hate.” How can my people, who I know to be good, have committed such a heinous outrage? If we can’t recognize the complexity of ordinary people, the capacity of indifference to spawn horror, then we won’t be prepared to halt its rise.

Generations of books, films and other World War II entertainment aimed at demonizing the Nazis have carried a dangerous glitch. By hallowing ourselves and our people in those stories, we lost the warnings of that age. Out of that gap in our understanding has emerged a regime that threatens to destroy our democratic experiment. Most Nazis were people just like us, people who loved their children, adored their pets, and treated their families and friends with kindness. Evil can grow in the hearts of otherwise unremarkable, fundamentally decent people. And that evil, if left unchallenged, can engulf the world. It can happen here.

A final quote from Maschmann’s memoir places this dangerous oversight in perspective:

The ghastly thing was just the fact that it was not gangsters and roughnecks, but decent, intelligent and moral people who allowed themselves to be induced to acquiesce in something deeply evil and to serve it.

36 Comments

  1. Forgive me for posting off topic here but this is indirectly related to the lack of leadership and the fascist tendencies in our present administration.

    Some of you are aware that I live on the left coast and am active in birding. I am an active volunteer for an organization called COASST and also an alumnus of the University of Washington. The UW magazine published an article entitled “Something’s wrong in the Bering Sea”. The link is below. The Bering Sea is not only extremely important to fisheries on the West Coast but also to the global climate.

    https://magazine.washington.edu/feature/warming-leads-to-massive-loss-of-wildlife-in-bering-sea/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=UWmag-enews&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT1RrMk5EazBOR00yWm1JMyIsInQiOiJqcUtFNlllTTJEQVFNeWViQlNGNDdDWmt3ZzdTa0szN2pPXC9YcHpFZUV2QXd1QmlYa2VUa0JxdlVPbnZWNnpHZWsrc2Nja2dZNVg4M21RQ1VaZGFqYTJ3dldKaCtJaXB2djJ2WnJLYVpxTHF0QlV4K0FPclpSeGFyXC9kaktvVk5JIn0%3D

    This is one major reason we need a new administration and a quantum way we perceive our environment.

  2. So…pull out of northern Syria, which gets hundreds, if not thousands, killed, and allows who knows how many terrorists to escape, let alone make enemies of thousands more hardened combat troops….”The U.S. has secured the oil.” (5 hours ago from the tyrant)

    When questioned about with-holding foreign aid to further personal political fortunes….. “Get over it.”

    Hand many many millions in funds to the personal accounts of the tyrant by giving himself the next G7 summit….”It is being done at cost.”

    And you people think that the U.S., democracy as a whole, and the planet can withstand another 15 months of this……..or more?

    William McRaven stated yesterday when talking about people in the military, “The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within.”

    He oversaw the execution of bin Laden, because he was a threat to the country. This tyrant has not done as much lasting damage to the world order that bin Laden did, but the tyrant is fast approaching that mark. When the admiral who executed people agrees with my threat assessment, the solution is obvious.

  3. I think what you’re saying is that the problem with calling Nazis “evil” is that people then reason that: If being a Nazi implies being evil, I am not evil therefore, I cannot be a Nazi. IOW, if I’m nice to my family, my neighbors, donate to the church, and don’t torture small animals, then I can’t be a Nazi even if I advocate locking up Mexican children in cages at the border.

    You’re right, though, that there’s powerful psychology (spurred on by politicians) in classifying people in black and white, and refusing to see the gradations. You’re saying that we need to understand Nazis as normal people, and realize that some joined the Nazi movement for reasons other than a hatred of Jews or other minorities. But you are a very enlightened person, Chris. Most people don’t care about such complexities. They’re just looking for a team to root for (preferably whichever team will be winning). I don’t see a way to combat this at a national scale.

    We made the same mistake when we went into Iraq. GWB, in his infinite wisdom, decided that anyone who was a member of the Ba’ath party was automatically a supporter of Saddam and should be removed from any position of power. This “de-Ba’athification” removed tons of professionals like doctors, lawyers, teachers, and seasoned administrators, who had no love for Saddam but had to join the party as part of the normal process of career development. This left a void which couldn’t be replaced as we tried to rebuild Iraq.

    The converse, however, is also true. We don’t think of ourselves as Nazis because we’re such “nice” people, but the people in the Middle East disagree. To the average person on the street in Iraq or Afghanistan, no amount of hospitals built, money invested, or roads paved replaces images like the Guantanamo prison or the iconic hooded prisoner standing on a crate with electrical cables hooked to his fingers in Abu Ghraib. That is their equivalent of Auschwitz and images of the emaciated inmates there. And we don’t give Hitler any credit for creating the autobahn, do we? It doesn’t matter that many of us are vociferously against such policies, or that some Americans support the Iraq War for reasons other than the messianic visions of Darth Cheney and his idiot yes-men.

    IMHO, as long as Guantanamo, our use of torture, and other shameful tactics continue to be used, they serve as powerful symbols that essentially negate the trillions of dollars and thousands of lives we’ve spent trying to improve the situation there.

    Here’s the controversial part: this is why I agree with Trump on Syria. We’ve betrayed the Kurds at least 3 times in the past 20 years, and many more times ever since the Brits created the modern state of Iraq by penciling an arbitrary boundary around 3 groups who never tolerated each other. We will never take the Kurds side against Turkey, a NATO ally; and Turkey, battling its own Kurdish independence movement, will never side with the Kurds. Hence, I see no way for America to conduct policy that doesn’t hurt the Kurds.

    But more importantly, even if somehow there’s a genius in Trump’s State Dept. that finds a way to thread that needle, we’ve lost the moral authority to be a force for good in the Middle East. Every soldier who sacrificed his life since Abu Ghraib has been a waste; his death is seen as one more dead Nazi by the average Middle Eastern person, regardless of if he died protecting an Iraqi child from an IED.

    People don’t make such distinctions between good and evil, and thus, there’s no point debating the “right” policy on Syria. The policy will need to come from somewhere else, because no amount of brilliance, or good intentions, or anything else, will overcome our evil in the eyes of the people our policy is aimed at. After all, no one asked the experienced statesmen of Germany for guidance on the “right” policy on Poland after WWII.

    Anyway, I thought your post was interesting from both angles: the angle of us viewing Nazis as purely evil, and as nominal Nazis viewing themselves as normal. But we don’t have to go back to Germany in WWII to find examples of both occurring. Just open today’s newspaper.

    1. Process, Wax. I would trust your reasoning to exit Syria precisely because I know you make decisions intelligently and rationally and would respect the people and protocol involved. Trump may occasionally do the right thing through dumb luck , but the process is abysmal.

  4. So what do you think it takes to not be a Nazi?

    Genuine question.

    awareness?, education?, generosity?, introspection?, courage?, media savvy?, willingness to not let job and family demands prevent you from also being an active citizen? Honestly, I don’t know.

    I don’t know if it was Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou who commented on the moral laziness of southern women regarding race. So maybe a moral framework plays a role?

    Many years ago, a research paper said as men aged, their brains shrink and they lose their sense of humor. Could that be why some aging white men are trumpists?

    Later research indicated that brains are more likely to shrink if they’re not in use, doing something difficult. Who wants to do that?

    Anyhow, I’m finishing up a rather large election project this weekend. I have been working with a R woman to get it done. It’s been interesting.

    @The262F

    1. I would say the realization that it CAN happen here, and you have to keep your guard up, especially when the Nazis are offering to support things you like. Image if Trump had kicked off his campaign promising universal health care and action on climate change- then the onus would have been on the left to recognize and reject the offered Devil’s bargain.

    2. “So what do you think it takes to not be a Nazi?”

      You resist.

      Right now that means speaking out, speaking up, voting, demonstrating, and volunteering / donating to causes against the Nazis. Register your complaints and call everybody, your representatives, your newspapers, and the businesses you boycott. Tell them what you really think.

      It means currently looking for ways to protect immigrants and refugees and help re-connect kids that have been torn from their families. Join local Indivisible groups and start throwing weight behind their causes. Focus on creating a close personal network.

      It may mean, but may not be quite to that point yet, providing shelter to immigrants and publicly refusing to cooperate with ICE agents.

      If you are white and especially if you are male, it means standing between rubber bullets and water canons and non white non male protestors, and it means willing to be arrested as a statement.

      That’s what it currently means. If protests become illegal it means demonstrating anyway. If the Nazis become violent it means keeping yourself safe and bandaging the wounded.

      It goes on from there, in expanding what-ifs of various possible Nazi advances. What if no elections? Shut down infrastructure til their held. What if literal Final Solution concentration camps? Put together a well-regulated militia and break them put. What if full totalitarianism? Look up Sophie Scholl. That’s youridel.

      But, modern fascists are kleptocrats, not totalitarians. So resistance really means always holding onto truth, demanding justice, documenting evidence, and driving any grifters out of town, and then out of the county, then out of the state, until you can dtive them out of the country.

      Start with Indivisible. Build your network yesterday. And from there, make sure you stare at every Nazi with clear eyes, so they know you’re watching them and you know exactly what they’re up to.

      1. So Aaron, do you run a household? Mow the grass? Cook meals? Walk the dogs?

        Can you be an activist of broad stripe if you do run a household?

        From my observation point, it appears the schedules created by jobs and schools pretty much determine the arc of a family’s life. I can’t see how all the requirements you list are feasible for adults with young families.

        Myself, I focus on two ideas: 1) high turnout elections are generally bad for the Rs; 2) what can I do to turn out more voters in my little precinct?

        I can’t be angry all the time. That’s no way to live. Does that mean I’m easing into nazi-hood?

      2. “So Aaron, do you run a household? Mow the grass? Cook meals? Walk the dogs?

        Can you be an activist of broad stripe if you do run a household?”

        Okay so I wrote that response on my phone and I don’t have time to go into details right now, but I guess I owe you a more specific explanation of real actual activist things you can do ranging from anywhere around five minutes of your time to weekend activism hour.

        If you have the time to mow the lawn, you have time to call your representatives. If you have time to go to a movie, you have time to attend an Indivisible meeting or town hall on occasion.

        If you have time to respond to this forum, you have time to respond to the administration’s public commentary periods on environmental and ethical deregulation.

        Think of the lady that stands in front of Planned Parenthood holding the pictures of post-surgical foetises. You think that lady doesn’t have a family, life, and household to attend to? I’m not even suggesting you go in a tenth as deep. But you can absolutely balance civics with work, life, and family.

        And yes, I do have a life and work and family and get tired.

    3. EJ

      What does it take to not be a Nazi?

      In my opinion, three things: global empathy, awareness of privilege, and class consciousness.

      One of the core drivers of fascism is the belief that “we” should look after “us”, and that harm to “them” in this process is not “our” concern. “We” is often defined by state borders, which is why fascism is so often wedded to nationalism, and why so many fascists object so strongly to the idea of multiculturalism. If one empathises with all humans, building no boundaries and recognising no “we” except the universal “we”, then fascism becomes very difficult.

      However, this can undercut efforts of marginalised groups to organise. There is a great deal of bad-faith commentary which deliberately conflates the struggles of the underprivileged with the luxuries of the overprivileged; for example, the famously tedious and oft-rebunked “why can’t we have a straight pride parade?” argument. People need to be taught to see and to acknowledge their privilege. The reason why fascists and ur-fascists object so hard to this idea is precisely because when learned, it makes it very difficult to be a fascist. There’s a reason why women make up such a small proportion of fascist groups, after all.

      Finally, the last great rhetorical trick of fascism is to conceal heirarchy. Trump is a White American man; he is supported by most White American men, because they imagine him to be like themselves. They ignore the vast chasm of real everyday life difference, and ignore the fact that much of his money comes from his exploitation of them and other people like them. This is not unusual: fascism, like monarchism, depends on the identification of a leader with the people based on nothing more than in-group affinity. We can fight against this by helping people to reject identification with those higher in the hierarchy than them, and the best way to do so is to focus on the economic and social differences. The term for this, although I understand that it may taste bad to some people, is class consciousness.

      (If you wanted more factors to add to a list, you could also add structural pacifism, historical analysis and chosen identity; however three factors feels about right. I’m happy to expound on those additional factors if it’s useful.)

      1. “In my opinion, three things: global empathy, awareness of privilege, and class consciousness.”

        Got anything less difficult for the USA?

        We’re all middle class here, when asked.

        Most Americans never leave the country, so truly global anything can be a challenge.

        In China with a friend, we toured what was once traditional urban housing before the boom. The buildings were squat and dark. My friend said it reminded her of where she grew up in Tennessee with her prostitute mother. She was white, and she was middle class until she aged into poverty. I think her take on class and privilege would be complex and difficult to categorize.

        I have no answers.

      2. EJ

        Thanks for that, Bobo.

        To clarify: are you asking me for how I think one might de-Nazify your country, or are you asking me about how one can prevent oneself from falling into Nazism? These are separate questions with separate answers.

        In my opinion, there is only one easy solution: it’s only ever a short-term solution while you work more structural changes, and if those structural changes do not happen or are not done with a whole heart, then worse will happen.

      3. EJ,

        I think I’m asking about how one prevents oneself from falling into some kind of Nazism based on the need for sleep and income.

        And if my friends and neighbors are falling into Nazism, would I be able to see their descent? Or is it an interior thing?

        I am deeply concerned about the US. Simply reading about the Ukraine and Turkey and Russia connections is downright creepy. Coupled with the hatred the current administration has for immigrants, our situation is sickening.

        That’s where I am right now.

    4. Last night, on a PBS show about genealogy, I heard for the first time that during WWI, German-Americans were forced to register as “alien enemies.”

      (I am familiar with the Japanese interment camps, even though I did not learn about those in school. A very long time ago, I dated a guy who had been kept in one as a child. I guess we have history when it comes to caged children.)

      Education about this country is screwed up. We celebrate the wrong things. We omit things that might make us look bad until some scholar digs in and we’re all shocked that such a bad thing occurred; could be fake news.

      Is it easier to be an ordinary Nazi if due to your schooling you just know your country is wonderful as is, no changes required?

  5. WRT to this post by Chris, I wonder how many times nazi’s in the mid through late 30’s created their equivalent of video’s of their tyrant killing and mutilating the regime’s opponents and members of the press.

    And you people think this can be all suppressed with just an election…….sure.

    The rise of tyranny is cyclical. There are far more learned people than I on this site. Throughout history, In past cases of overthrowing tyrants, how many were done by holding hands, singing kumbya, and voting tyranny away, and how many were done using other measures?

      1. The fact that the Dems flipped the House last year matters. Even if you think they aren’t moving fast enough. This Ukraine scandal is still playing out, and the fact that a majority of Americans want an investigation this early on is meaningful. I remind myself that history moves very slowly in real time. There are no guarantees how this will play out, but there is a chance of ousting or mortality wounding Trump politically, a chance that was zero a month ago, a chance that keeps getting greater with each shoe that drops.

        How odd that John Bolton could end up being the hero here, if he talks.

    1. EJ

      “Other measures” is a very broad category here.

      I understand that you’re setting up a rhetorical dilemma where the only things that exist are either collaboration or assassination, but that’s a false dilemma, and it’s neither big nor clever.

      A more sensible question might be, once Trump is gone, what reforms can the American Republic make to ensure this does not happen again? Making laws is not, as we’ve seen, useful: Trump breaks laws every day, but as they are not enforced, they are meaningless and new laws would be equally so. Relying on congress as a counterweight is equally not useful; just ask McConnell. Can plebiscites be used? If so, who controls them? Is there a place for a non-partisan regulatory authority, and if so what happens if that authority becomes partisan? These are hard questions which need hard thought, not quick easy false dilemmas.

      1. Good questions, EJ. Preet Bharara, the US prosecutor who led the NY Southern District of the DOJ, has suggested as a first step, increase the qualifications required for all appointments. This will address cronyism and improve the quality of applicants. His concern is to ensure competence.

        My personal interest is to greatly reduce executive authority in order to maintain equality among the three divisions of government.

        Realistically, neither of these goals are possible without wholesale change in party majority and trump’s defeat.

        I

      2. EJ

        I wasn’t sure if that trailing “I” means you got cut off, Mary. If there was more you meant to say then I’d be interested to hear it, as always.

        I must disagree with Bharara here, for reasons I’ve already mentioned. Rules about qualifications only matter if those rules will be enforced, and as we’ve seen with Jared Kushner’s security clearance and the emoluments clause, rules can’t be trusted to be enforced. Adding more rules won’t help.

        What will help? In my opinion, the problem is cultural and structural. It requires a cultural and structural change, which will be large and painful and might work.

      3. Nothing more, just bad typing on a small phone keypad.

        Enforcement is an understood, implicit part of the value of increased qualifications Bharara advocates for appointees.

        This president respects no rules or historical protocols. He must be defeated, but these job qualifications are needed regardless.

  6. Yeah, I never thought fascism couldn’t happen here. “I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

    1. Teetering on the brink? Sorry, that point is long past. The current situation is the culmination of a long long campaign to dumb down the electorate.

      Call it a conspiracy theory, call it what you will, but the republican party leaders recognized long ago that it was best served by having the general masses ill-informed and suspicious and hostile towards education and “the elite”. That “elite” is of course anyone smarter than the average person AND who demonstrates that intelligence. Lots of smart evil people work within the republican party, but do their best to act like a yokel.

      The republican party has worked tirelessly for decades to achieve the current situation. And counter-intuitively, the Internet, which was supposed to spread knowledge and wisdom, has been perverted for the exact opposite purpose. Never underestimate the power of evil, intelligent, ruthless people.

      What most moral, just people refuse to accept is that adopting some of the more ruthless tactics, and ones even more brutal, are crucial in battling this evil.

  7. As always, history has many lessons for us if we choose to learn from it. These “decent, intelligent , moral people… like those who blindly praise and support trump in the name of religion? Or, those who support him because the economy is so ‘strong’? Or, those who, like Trump, read seldom and shallowly?

    They see themselves as principled, hardworking people. And a rock solid, 43% of them have remained in awe of this monster for three years. Long after trump is gone, I fear these 43% will remain as oblivious and contorted in their thinking as they do presently. They are not evolving. They are incapable of such introspection.

    1. My family is chock full of rapid trump supporters – and they’re not passive. They believe the other are the Nazis and they feel they are fighting the good fight. The cognitive dissonance between their world and mine makes me question my point of view from time to time. They, however, never question theirs.

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