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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A further note about Hitler the lefty

After writing a comment on the Confluence earlier today, I spent a little time looking up various factoids about dear old Otto von Bismarck. One of the links went here:
...I see his two most important contributions as:

(1. Instituting tax-supported public medical care (1871), and

(2. reforming the bureaucracy with inspired civil service systems, testing, and patterns, which eventually spread all over the world...
A lot of truly idiotic Americans think Germany's medical plan is leftist and began with Hitler. This is a form of insane lie spread by their right wing propaganda diatribes and liars like Glenn Beck. It is false. It [Germany's national health care] was right wing, and began eighteen years before Hitler was born in 1889.

This is from GERMAN IMPERIAL HISTORY (1928) and any of a dozen or more other German histories I have on hand.
The "idiotic Americans" referenced above got their pseudo-history from Glenn Beck, who has been trying to imprint the following equation on the public mind: "Health care reform = Hitler = communism."

That's like saying "Kung Pao Chicken = Mary Pickford = cubism."

The guy I've quoted above made a good faith effort to set the record straight, but he failed on one key point: Beck's insane placement of Hitler on the left must not be allowed to stand. That idea would offend every single historian of the Nazi period -- hell, it even would have offended Hitler. I can't believe that Americans are getting their Third Reich history from a FOX News maniac and not from (say) William Shirer.

This shit has gotta stop.

Debating people like Beck is like debating Holocaust revisionists: It's both irritating and dangerous. Such people simply are not worthy of debate, and even acknowledging their existence offers them an undeserved credibility. Eventually, though, responsible people came to understand that the misleading arguments offered by Holocaust revisionists had to be answered, one by one. The only alternative is to let the poison seep into more minds.

Same with Beck.

Maybe Beck will now try to place Bismarck somewhere on the left. Won't that be fun?

Oh, I should clear up the Second Reich history: Germany's national health care system did start in 1883 (not 1871), under Bismarck, but it was not really right-wing in origin. Bismarck had allowed a certain degree of democracy, mostly because he could depend on the peasantry to vote in a conservative fashion. But Bismarck's Kulturkampf had alienated Catholics in the south, while in the north, the socialists were making strong headway in heavily populated areas. In 1883, Bismarck instituted a health care program, accident insurance and an old age pension program. He did these things in order to recapture the working class and to stave off any further advances by the socialist party. Had he not appeased his opponents, rebellion was likely. In essence, an arch-conservative was forced to take measures that went against his instincts.

A lesson for our time, perhaps.
Comments:
[i]Eventually, though, responsible people came to understand that the misleading arguments offered by Holocaust revisionists had to be answered, one by one. The only alternative is to let the poison seep into more minds.[/i]

Personally, I grew up influenced by John Stuart Mill and the marketplace of ideas, so I think everything can be debated (in principle). So, yes, of course, people ought to engage the revisionist arguments.

However, I'll point out there IS another alternative to the one you limn.

Make discussion or publication of the revisionism illegal, as has been done in Europe to a large extent as I understand it, and Canada as well.

I don't favor that (see above), but it is not only an alternative, but it's one in play across the world on this issue right now.

XI
 
If Hitler were a leftist, then why'd he attack the Soviets?
 
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