On January 6th, 2021, the Republcian Party attempted a violent coup d’etat. The attack resembled previous attacks on state governments, most notably in Michigan, but was carried out on a much larger scale. Security agencies in Washington D.C. were internally hampered as part of the Coup, but managed eventually to put it down anyway. Immediately after the failed attempt to overthrow the government, a second date, for a new attack, was announced by the insurrectionists.
Much of my political life is governed by the regular tic-toc of monthly board meetings in one or another organization. One of those monthly meetings occurred after the January 6th coup attempt but before the announced Republican coup 2.0 date. At that meeting, one of our members talked about verbal attacks and physical threats, including trespassing, damage to property, and invasion in to her home, made against her and her family by one of her Republican neighbors. Others had less frightening stories to tell, but serious concerns nonetheless. Everyone became worried. We went so far as to consider setting up a phone tree and a network of safe houses to which one might flee in the event of a local attack, in particular against people of color, since that seemed to be the trend among the White Supremacists that make up most of the Republican Party.
In short, we were terrorized. Mostly “spiritual terror” with a touch of “physical terror.”
The coup 2.0 date came and went, and by now, coup 3.0 has come and gone as well. It has become apparent that the mass movement the Republican coup relies on is impotent. The propaganda this movement puts forth has also recently weakened, as major news media finally stopped uniformly and insidiously applying blind bothsiderism to all political stories. That shift by journalists is probably a response to direct attacks on them, some with threats of physical violence and a touch of actual violence, rather than out of a sense of duty or responsibility to civilization. Had the Republicans coddled all the media, instead of just their own propaganda wing (Fox), that would almost certainly not have happened.
And all this was fueled and energized by the Big Lie, which from the Republican perspective, centers on the failure of Vice President Pence to overturn the election, thus stabbing Trump and the White Supremacists in the back, allowing Joe Biden to win, and causing Donald Trump to lose.
Have you read Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf? Do you know the German term “Dolchstosslegende”?
Adolf Hitler wrote in that book about his realization, prior to actually attempting to take over the world and exterminate or enslave all the non-Germans (starting with the Jewish people), that three things would underlie any successful revolution. One was developing a mass movement. Hitler did this by creating a “Big Lie” aka “Dolchstosslegende.” The Dolchstosslegende the falsehood that the established state and their allies stabbed the German people in the back by capitulating at the end of World War I, by surrendering unnecessarily. The Germans were winning the war, and would have won, had civilians at home not conspired to end the war through armistice. Those civilians, of course, were mostly Jews.
That was a brilliant strategy, because it created the mass movement that Hitler needed.
Hitler did not invent antisemitism, it was already well developed in Central Europe. This allowed his propaganda about his own version of the Big Lie to propagate and take effect. The two main ingredients for domination were astonishingly easy and accepted by the masses he would control: The stab-in-the back myth linked to the Jews of Germany and Austria, and the spread of that idea which would foment hate, thus leading to a mass movement.
Trump’s Republican Coup maps so perfectly onto Hitler’s application of his own theory that it is impossible to avoid imagining a Steve Bannon or Stephen Miller converting Mein Kampf into a series of memos guiding Trump’s plan.
Where does the spiritual and physical terror fit in?
Hitler recognized that world view was more important than party politics, labor organization, or any other mundane societal organizing force. He recognized that fear would wear people down, and cause them to either run away from the fight, or more commonly, simply stop being interested in being involved, to reduce the emotional costs. He called that spiritual terror. Physical terror does the same thing for an overlapping and similar audience. In speaking of one of his organized enemies, the social democrats, he “… recognized the infamy of that technique whereby the movement carried on a campaign of mental terrorism against the bourgeoisie, who are neither morally nor spiritually equipped to withstand such attacks. The tactics of Social Democracy consisted in opening, at a given signal, a veritable drum-fire of lies and calumnies against the man whom they believed to be the most redoubtable of their adversaries, until the nerves of the latter gave way and they sacrificed the man who was attacked, simply in the hope of being allowed to live in peace. But the hope proved always to be a foolish one, for they were never left in peace.*”
Birherism. “Lock her up.” Attacks on the press. Frequent attacks by Republican Thugs on government facilities. More recently, attacks on election officials. This is Hiter’s, er, I mean, Trump and his White Supremacist Republican spiritual and physical terror.
The importance of these links came to me suddenly while doing some historical reading, and it occurred to me that I should tell people about it! Then, I googled it and discovered that much as been written recently on the strategic overlap between Hitler and modern day Republicans, led by Trump. Here are a couple of examples:
Trump Contrives His Stab-in-the-Back Myth by Bret Stephens.
So, I assume you all knew about this already, but have you seen it memed? Here you go: