WWHD: What Would Hitler Do?

Trump Hitler

For a long time, my old friend Hans has been looking at the face of Trump, seeing the face of Hitler, and sending emails on the subject. He is right, of course, and I thank him for his messages.

The New Yorker has two powerful and persuasive articles along the same lines:

Andrew Marantz, Studying Fascist Propaganda by Day, Watching Trump’s Coronavirus Updates by Night

Masha Gessen, We Won’t Know the Exact Moment When Democracy Dies

I do take the point, and, yes, it’s extraordinarily depressing. Pretty much all of Trump’s words, and many of his deeds, fit the Fascist template, the Nazi playbook.

At the same time, I want to pose some questions:

What Would Hitler Do About the Coronavirus?

Would Hitler hesitate for a moment to take command of the relevant sectors of the economy, most notably the supply chain of medical protective equipment and medicines and machines to treat the epidemic?

That’s actually not a rhetorical question, for I am no expert on the Nazis and the Fascists.

But I do remember that Mussolini made the trains run on time. That’s as distinguished from letting the railroads keep on with random runs, while shouting every night that he had made the trains run on time.

How Would Hitler Message the Coronavirus?

If you let your fingers do the walking, over to whitehouse.gov, you will see that great gobs of the home page are devoted to science-based (albeit somewhat imprecise) guidelines on reopening the economy.

But if you go to Orange Man’s twitter feed, you will see him encouraging cultists in Minnesota and Michigan to rebel against those science-based guidelines that adorn his internet home page.

Would Hitler or Mussolini have tried to ride two horses, traveling in opposite directions, at the same time? Or would they have picked only one horse to ride on? Enquiring minds want to know.

And What About the American Public?

As I said, Hans, Andrew, and Masha lay out an utterly persuasive case that all of Trump’s words and many of his actions fit the Platonic Idea of Nazism. But is the American public today comparable in key respects to the German public in the 1930s? Again, that’s not a rhetorical question, and again, I don’t know the answer. But my next post will lay out some relevant data.

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It’s a little after 1 P.M, where I live. Greetings to today’s readers in the Aland Islands, Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. I must confess that I had not previously heard of the Aland Islands. You can visit Wikipedia to learn all about them. And be sure to leave a small donation.