Friday, January 21, 2011

Joseph Goebbels Is VERY MUCH AVAILABLE For Analogies

Congressman Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, deserves the applause of anyone who believes our political conversation should speak the TRUTH. The kerfuffle generated in Right wing media and its client, CNN, by Mr. Cohen’s statement is, in parts comical and alarming. Reaction in sectors of the so-called “liberal media” (which is still very much corporatist) has been more restrained. This is what Rep. Cohen said on the floor of the House:

Mr. Cohen’s statement that Republicans use a propaganda technique called the “Big Lie” introduced by master Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels is factual. He should have stopped short of mentioning the Holocaust, and for this he has apologized. But he did not, nor should he, retract his essential statement:
“They say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That's the same kind of thing.”
Absolutely true. Goebbels used the Big Lie technique to propel the minority Nazi Party to power during the years of economic turmoil and depression of 1930s German Weimar Republic, and then as Hitler’s Propaganda Minister. This is what Joseph Goebbels said:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Mr. Cohen explains why he has not backed down from saying the Republicans employ the propaganda technique described and applied by Goebbels:

Use of the Big Lie propaganda technique by Republicans isn’t some arcane abstraction cooked up by university scholars. It was put into effect. Rep. Cohen cited the Pulitzer Prize winning PolitiFact’s naming “GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTHCARE” the BIGGEST LIE of 2010. Considering it’s the most important law enacted by Congress since passage of Medicare in 1965, affecting one-sixth of the U.S. economy, it’s BIG. Really BIG.

And when the Republican Party follows Goebbels to the letter —

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Why not call a spade a spade? Ooh, is it too impolite, Rachel? In fact, it’s a perfect example of the BIG LIE as Goebbels defined it:

Apparently, there is an unwritten rule cooked up in a rarefied corporate boardroom somewhere that “responsible” media cannot use certain words and terms — e.g. Nazi, fascist, ruling class, corporate elites, socialist (when did “socialist” programs like Medicare and Social Security become bad words?) — although they happen to be true, accurate and relevant to the discussion. How does it advance our open conversation about politics and society when entire historical eras and definitional terms are unilaterally quarantined by a timorous, politically correct cable channel, the only one to stand in semi-opposition to Fox? Why does progressive media preemptively tie its hands and then behave defensively about it? When, I repeat, is calling a spade a spade, i.e. to tell the truth about something, even if it is not polite or pleasant, become a bad thing?


The adverse effect of progressive media’s self-imposed artificial censorship is to have ceded this territory to the other side. Much as we mock Glenn Beck for his absurd delusional conspiracies, he has in fact co-opted political history dating back to our constitutional beginnings and the rise of Communism, Fascism and Nazism. Beck has built a loyal Tea Party following and effective political movement upon a mountain of LIES — an alternate historical narrative of hate, paranoia and violence. Shoot “them” in the head, he says. That swastika just off his left shoulder looks oh, so appropriate:

There is no effective source on the Left to counter the LIES of the Right. Media Matters has done yeoman work, as has the Pulitzer Prize winning PolitiFact cited by Rep. Cohen. But it takes time, research and sourcing, to debunk all the cascading LIES of the Right. Chris, Ed, Keith and Rachel do their best within even stricter time constraints. By the time one set of Beck LIES is debunked he is already two or three shows into his next sets of LIES. Glenn Beck is like the fugitive criminal always one step ahead of the law. And he is only one of many in the controlling Right wing media propaganda machine from Fox to Limbaugh, spreading LIES and misinformation in close coordination with the Republican Party.

Having apparently gotten her marching orders from Jon Stewart, Anti-Goebbels Oracle of the Neutered Left, and looking every bit like a corporate talking head announcer, Rachel Maddow jumped aboard the Stewart Peace Train to summarily declare any references to Nazis “off limits.”

Wonderful. Let’s just scrub from historical consideration 12 years of the most terroristic fascist regime in human history, also the Weimar Republic that preceded it, because … because … Rachel? Noam Chomsky, one of America’s preeminent thinkers on the Left (or any side of the political spectrum, for that matter), whose prospective appearance on TRMS would likely have to be cleared at the highest levels of the corporation, has a different view:

“They’re not hearing anything else. And the memory that comes to my mind ... again I don’t want to press the analogy too hard — but I think it’s worth thinking about — is late Weimar Germany. There were people with real grievances. The Nazis gave them an answer …” ~ Noam Chomsky, 10/6/2009

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