All around the Web, in print, and on radio comes the claim that America has entered its “Weimar” phase. Economic collapse, political paralysis, rampant homosexuality, a desperate, disoriented populace open to the ravings of a demagogue – that is the portrait we get of Germany between the end of World War I in 1918 and the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. That is where America is supposedly situated in 2016.
Thank you, Mr. Weitz for explaining the specific groups that work against the rule of law, decency, Democracy, and the inherent diversity of society.
It would be hoped that individuals who traffic in a one-size-fits-all “we” frame perhaps learn something from your analysis.
Recently, evidence of numbers emerged which show that Donald Trump has the support of approximately 18% of the population. That hardly boasts any majority that’s resonant with his racist, jingoistic, misogynistic views.
Too much of history has been the result of the most armed and dangerous apes taking command of the others, and then organizing societies to suit THEIR metrics. In other words: the dominant baboons get to direct history and then interpret it narrowly… in that “winner takes all” control of the narrative that leaves out what probably always is the other 82%.
And amid that 82% are those who abhor war, don’t find violence to present any genuine solutions to societies’ long-term ills, don’t wish to handle guns, and typically identify with values of sharing, concern for the greater good, and a wish to preserve the commons (or precious resources necessary for the sustainability of sentient life).
I don’t think anyone could argue that the direction of humanity’s development would have been FAR different had gunpowder (and then its further “developments”) never been invented.
Survival of the Fittest has been abducted by the Mars Rules ethos (and its advocates) so that the most well-armed typically win control. However, this group does not represent The People or humanity’s far more potentially evolved expressions and understanding.
To a very real extent, that 82% has been held hostage by the warriors and their merchant-king collaborators for centuries.
A lot of people now understand this (according to their own prism), and in almost every nation, The Natives are rising up against the Corporate Conquistadors and their private armies, that 18% that loves its weapons and divides humanity into cartoon versions of “good guys” and “bad guys.”
Spiritual Maturation Happens!
“In America today, the major threats do not come from abroad.”
“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” --Pogo
The MSM has given Trump some where between 2 and 4 billion $ in free air time. The major corporations own the airwaves and Trump has boosted their ratings and bottom lines. And to quote Eric Weitz: " that has made Trump acceptable in polite company"!
I would take Weitz’ thesis one step beyond Trump’s “GOP enablers who are now against him” (allegedly, anyway).
When the Clintons and others formed the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in 1985, narrowing the Party’s mission to GET MORE CORPORATE CASH THAN THE GOP, the Democratic Party suddenly leaped so far rightward that the GOP needed to move rightward faster than the Democrats in order to differentiate themselves. As more and more corporate cash flooded the Democrats’ campaign war chests through Bill Clinton’s two terms, the Party had to keep moving rightward, pushing the GOP to the extreme right and landing Obama way to the right of Richard Nixon, who most Democrats of the 60s and 70s loathed.
Trump is simply applying marketing techniques to differentiate himself from a field of extreme right wing GOP candidates, a rightwinger wearing a blue shirt/pink lapel pin, and a 60s moderate who is being labeled as a borderline commie.
Not to mention that Trump has figured out how to turn bad publicity into energy better than a photovoltaic cell turns sunlight into energy.
The collapse of American democracy occurred in 1947 when Harry S. Truman was cajoled into signing the National Security Act.
From that day forward America has been controlled by the same group of American industrialists and financiers who structured the Treaties of Versailles to ensure Germany would collapse. While the original individuals have passed away, they made sure to pass on the “torch” to those who have followed in their place. I believe that’s the reason why an increasing number of people who do not see things from that perspective find it easier and easier to draw the parallels between Germany during the inter-war years and contemporary American history - those in charge are still using the same play book.
As events have allowed, American domestic, foreign, and political policy has been edging the nation toward the abyss at a patiently gradual rate direction without pause. Like it or not, we’re being engineered into a future where Flint, Michigan is the norm, not the exception. There’s still time to stop it, but as days pass the likelihood that that will happen grows smaller and smaller.
Trump for all his faults, is a master at playing the MSM like a fiddle. And Trump makes O’ Reilly look like a school boy when it comes to the no spin zone!
More than once in the past I have used the analysis that you open your comment with–that of our nation never having fulfilled its aspiration to operate as a truly Democratic nation where power to the people existed as an established fact–and see that you have just done likewise. However, the difference is that you use this opening thesis to lay the blame on the electorate… in other words, invert what the premise itself indicates.
This premise works like blaming the natives for being conquered by the European invaders, or blaming slaves for slavery, the kid beaten up for the cop’s aggression, or the young woman for the acts of her rapist.
Power equations that are not based on a level playing field do not readily translate to the neutral frame of “one side versus the other.”
If you understood how power that answers to no one operates–without respect for the rule of law, the Constitution, the planned checks and balances between 3 operational government organs, or The People–you would not frame your observation in this manner.
Our nation for all intents and purposes has undergone a COUP. And that coup came to fruition due to events set into motion after W.W. II with the “growing military industrial complex” in need of an enemy (in order to perpetuate itself), and the warriors newly minted ready to mint the Soviets/Communism that enemy. It was the secret govt. of which the CIA is a major facet.
This “govt.” has assassinated world leaders. It has propped up dictators. It has even killed U.S. sitting leaders like JFK.
Its budget is all black-ops and never audited.
Its seasoned employees have ZERO conscience and feel justified in gunning down whomever they please. With their cousins in the FBI, they also specialize in killing U.S. Leftist leaders, and since 911, have not had to deal with such countermeasures as the Church Committee’s protocols. It can just spy on anyone and everyone with too many U.S. courts willing to look away from the serious breaches to the Constitution and Bill of Rights so long as what these insidious agencies do is placed under the aegis of the “War on Terrorism.”
When people don’t share proportionate power, legal influence, financial muscle, or have access to the levers of government, they are in NO position to influence what’s going on.
The nation has a history of various groups organizing and protesting and thereby gaining some benefits. However, currently, EVERY ONE of those benefits (with the exclusion of lots of new liberties liberated to Gay citizens) is being rescinded.
Blacks who lost their lives for voting rights see slick lawyers financed by right wing billionaires inverting the SPIRIT of the law to instead serve its “letter.” And so under the guise of protecting against voter fraud, millions of Black voters will lose their capacity to vote.
And so many women marched and fought for decent rights including the biological control over their own bodies. After all, it’s not like rape isn’t rampant and that many women need to protect against unwanted conception!
And those rights are being redrawn by all these pseudo-religious clowns (closet fundamentalist Authoritarians) who want to POSSESS, control, and direct women and their life options.
How many environmentalists showed up at how many meetings? How many protests? Wrote how many articles and donated how many seminars… to see the billionaires’ club writing rules (TPP and TIPP) that effectively render ALL of those efforts null and void?
This is a TIRING meme because it pretends that people have been part of policy making, that leaders listen to their constituents, and that what is done by elites with powerful politicians on their puppet strings somehow represents what’s done for ALL of us, that great uniform swarth of America. “We.”
It seems to be that the more studies validate my points–such as the Page and Gilens Study PROVING that the public’s wishes don’t even factor into the policies set as much as 1% of the time!–that a certain collection of posters DAILY insists on putting the problem onto citizens’ shoulders.
The only place where citizens have true agency and some influence over their governments are places like Iceland and Europe’s social democracies. That status is YET to come to America or much of the world. Usually, there’s a converse relationship between a nation’s quality of life (for all) and its investments in the military.
The U.S. became THE BEAST that Eisenhower warned against. Since this status crept up by stealth over the course of decades, gradual accommodations were made. But these were crystalized into an alternative legal matrix (since 1980) that exonerated politicians acting in bad faith, military leaders who lied the nation into THE supreme Crime Against Humanity (as per The Geneva Conventions)–War of Aggression, and corporate polluters whose profits were determined by rendering increasing numbers of residential zones into “Necessary Sacrifice Sectors.”
The problem is that of asymmetric Power. When 200 families own half the world’s wealth and command economies greater than nations, what passes for Democracy or the “will of the governed” largely is managed by the professional illusionists: Those who control the major mass media, and through it, manage perceptions.
Rarely if ever mentioned is that the ‘torch’ is based on powers already exhibiting the hubris of distortions arising in leadership powers taken when the early western societies became settled agrarians. Even today hunter-gatherer societies are subjected to precisely those distortions now on steroids. A leader had to demonstrate the knowledge that would result in well being, something that still exists as an ethic when it is not poisoned by those distortions.
Salonfähig references the courtly class of the ‘salon’, a European royalty social institution expanded over the centuries. It retained/retains the strict hierarchy of the court/courtly for presentation and controlled discussion of society’s arts etc. So, it would seem that to be made salonfáhig is also to assimilate whatever is introduced into the ‘intelligencia’ status quo so that it can benefit from whatever the activity and/or thinking is.
Here is another take on the Wimar allusion from a modern day ‘salon’ dated 2012.
Not mentioned is one of the greatest of the German poets, Rainer Maria Rilke. Here is brief poem that seems particularly resonant today. A panther caged in a zoo.
His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.
And he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance arond a center
in which a mighty will is paralyzed.
Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly -. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.
I posted before reading your comment and see that we both responded to the “new poster,” Thelmafollett with a similar counter-narrative.
Anyone who bothers to read “The Devil’s Chessboard” (particularly if this book is read in alignment with “Dark Money,” by Jane Mayer), will take in just how controlled are our nation’s economic, domestic, and foreign policies… along with precisely who controls these determinations.
One could say that PR firms following in Edward Bernays’ footsteps developed opinion polls to give the public the illusion that it plays a role in decisions of national significance.
" American democracy was overtaken years ago with the consent of the press."
That has been going on for at least the last 100 years. The press has sold out the public because it has been a cheerleader and has been complicit in condoning everything from the false flag of the Maine; the so-called sneak attack on Pearl Harbor; the illegal war in Korea, where many American soldiers died, euphemistically called a police action in order to circumvent congress; the assassinations of JFK,MLK, and RFK; the egregious lie of the Gulf of Tonkin which murdered some 55,000 American soldiers; and the press will not even discuss alternative 9/11 theories that murdered some 3,000 American citizens.
Free press? Free to lie and get away with it for far too long!
How far would Hitler have gotten in militarizing Germany without an effective propaganda press, limbic-exciting mantras and buzz words, and Hollywood style films glorifying militarism and its uniformed actors?
As the U.S. has been morphed into essentially Darth Vader’s death star, one critical requirement to meet this status was an equally militarized mass media with Hollywood films endlessly glorifying war, generals, soldiers, guns, and acts of aggression.
“without the consent of the press” is a dubiously nebulous term.
Who or what constitutes that press?
If the answer was the handful of print and broadcast corporations that now own radio, TV, and print media… then you’d be onto something.
If you’re talking the consent of reporters, that’s like asking what company salespersons wish to do… as if their marching/work orders didn’t first have to conform to High Management.
The increasing takeover of our nation by Big Business interests means that much is made to work like a business. In business, it’s the boss who tells everyone what to do; and since HE (it’s usually a he) has the power, if workers don’t wish to comply they will either be punished, fired, or see their pay reduced.
The press is run like any big business. Reporters are its sales personnel and they must answer to those in authority.
If you define the press as “the 4th estate” and a necessary bulwark against Power in working as a watchdog against malfeasance in high places, then it would be prudent to mention that once this press became totally corporatized, it no longer answered to the Public. It answered to its bosses and CEOS.
When health care is privatized, 90% of the time profits will come before human needs.
The City of Flint with the quality of its water, in particular, taken as Exhibit A: it’s obvious what happens when a city manager puts profits before public health.
Well, it could be argued that the corporate control of media has placed the nation’s collective mental health under virtual anesthesia (a perfect metaphor to express just how many TV ads focus on drugs that are mostly designed to hide symptoms without ever fixing the CAUSE of the problem. Most drugs work to essentially anesthetize the body–organ system by organ system–to its true status). Truth is cordoned off and messages tightly controlled (as lies told often). This feat accomplished through the deregulation of media and its current content control via 5 major for-profit corporations.
Essentially, this idea that American democracy has been taken over with “the consent of the press” seems like code meant to indicate the consent of the people.
As I have pointed out for years, that subliminal message is daily repeated in these threads. And since at its core, it insists on human agency that does not exist within the existing system, it’s relaying disinformation.
Either this disinformation’s goal is to constantly blame Joe and Jane Smith for what Exxon does, Monsanto does, the MIC does, big banks do, and sold-out politicians…
Or its projecting the subtext calling for VIOLENT revolution.
Because it’s almost always the “blame citizens/posters” commentators who discredit all of the persons working so hard to create change. And the list extends from Amy Goodman to Bill McKibben to Kumi Naidoo, etc.
They mock reform. They mock those taking action. They mock organizations for not being clear about their message. They mock leaders of environmental groups, women’s rights groups, major media… and always make the damning issues of the day into the FAULT of the average person/consumer/voter.
This is sophisticated disinformation. And it fits a protocol that I recognize. Others should, too. It is a meme that protects power and the status quo.
Why don’t you write the article? This article is about the lessons we can draw-or not draw-from the Weimar Republic.
Yes indeed. We are propagandized, we know we are propagandized (many of us), and yet, for the moment, choose not to go below the surface. In this camp I can place innumerable friends and acquaintances. Do we bear no responsibility for that refusal?
There are now many of us, more every day, searching to go deeper. What accounts for the difference? The desperation of the current situation? We blame others who are trying to learn the truth if they are coming to different conclusions from our own while exonerating those successfully propagandized, a slightly patronizing form of beneficence.
Societal self-awareness is absolutely necessary of how deeply embedded the domination brain washing has been driven.
Orcas violently captured and imprisoned “for entertainment” for people of this society to ‘vacate’ everyday life.
Yet for years now Republicans have been bowing before the idol of radical conservatism.
And for years now Mainstream Democrats have been compromising core party values in the hope of achieving working solutions to pressing issues. “Welfare as we know it” was one such move that gave away the core value of having a safety net in place for people who had fallen on hard times. We as a society got all judgemental about the situation and the Clinton administration echoed the previous biased sentiments about ‘deserving poor.’
There was a hidden, not so well but still insidious, message delivered. Guess who decides who the deserving poor are? People in Congress who are unfairly positioned to judge and then destroy the economic well being of 500,000 people the year after the law passed. Additional clear biases went along with the ‘welfare as we know it.’ The topic is so laden with biases that it’s almost impossible to sort them out. Mostly the discussion about ‘deserving poor’ was a racist, bigoted (you’re trash who don’t deserve help) meme that has never successfully been shut down and still operates around me today.
Yet it was the destructive economic policies, it was the very Congress that created the unholy alliance with austerity and niggardliness, it was that unthinking and uncaring body who pursued ideology driven by extremists and then who wrote laws for a decade that caused the problem of so many ‘deserving poor’ being on welfare in the first place. Fiscal spending, during times of an economic downturn, can successfully used to effect countercyclical moves in the economy. Jobs can be created and an anti-recessionary culture can be created. What was done during the Clinton years (I’m focused on him as one of many who betrayed the Democratic party values to the Republicans) was to build an economy on private debt while cutting fiscal moves of funds to the private sector. In turn, corporate investment in jobs slowed and the capitalist shills cried all the way to the bank as corporate profits were tended with sweet and loving care.
We can see some economic similarities with Weimar Germany and our current situation, not just here but around the world. People are very fearful for their livelihood as they see available jobs disappearing year in and out. Paychecks are stretched thinner and thinner with each passing year. The prosperity of the 1960’s has vanished into austerity as folks who misunderstand our money system are placed in charge of so called budget cuts (not the military) that force the economy into further strides of slow movement and now complete stagnation. Many people are fearful that they will not have the means to put bread and butter on the table and instead are given free YouTube videos. People are deeply troubled about education and we’re given charter schools that are really money making propositions for investors not an opportunity for youngsters to learn the culture around them. It’s about safety in our streets and we’re given racist policies instituted by Wall Street (reverse redlining -google it) that ratchet up the fear level and increase homelessness and joblessness. We all want to go about building our nation’s infrastructure along 21st Century practices and we have a choice between a Presidential candidate who can’t talk a straight line to save his live and another who “evolves” around every topic under the sun as long as the evolution includes a $250,000 paycheck associated with it.
Excellent article, thank you. So here is the proof that the Republicans have become something besides an American political party. If we don’t stop them and start calling them what they are (a hate group) we will see this tragedy happen over and over. I know the majority of Americans are not like Trump but we have given Republicans credibility by acting like they are just the opposing party, they are not. They are dangerous to our Democracy ans so are the bought and sold Democrats. We all have to get involved and get them out.
We’re trying to have a civilization here.
I think on the one hand there are too many people who believe the traditional myths of American exceptionalism while on the other hand there are too many people who believe in conspiracy theories. Obama referred to the latter as a problem. It would be a mistake to ignore the conspiracy theorists and only focus on the those who accept the most superficial view.