Friday, February 25, 2022

Or Would They?


Obviously, or so we think, most Republicans would not take violent actions to secure permanent control over America. But maybe they would not need to. All they would have to do is sigh, look the other way, and let the extremists within their Party take violent actions.

After all, it is unlikely that most Germans actually shared Hitler’s passion for eradicating the Jews. But especially after Hitler became dictator in 1933, nobody would openly say so. Since there were so many domestic spies, they would not say so privately either. Most, but not all, youth were Hitler Youth. There were 22 assassination attempts on Hitler, not counting the “several” in early World War II. This culture of terror continued in East Germany, as part of the Soviet bloc. A Soviet bloc which, in the last couple of days, it seems that Vladimir Putin wants to re-establish.

During the War, many Germans wished they could get away from Hitler’s command, but by then they were trapped. I read Paul Brickhill’s The Great Escape, which was made into a fantastic movie in the 1960s. The Allied prisoners were constantly digging escape tunnels, and the Nazis were constantly searching for them. But I got the impression that the Nazi commanders weren’t searching very hard. They wanted to look to their superiors as if they were working hard to catch escapees. They tried to crush tunnels, they inserted rods, they implanted microphones, they hired spies to slip into the rafters or under the huts. If they did catch an escapee, this would make them look good to their superiors. But that is all they really wanted. When they did catch an escape tunnel, they just shut it down. The only punishment they gave to the would-be escapee was to put him in the “cooler” for a couple of weeks. One of the Nazi commanders actually told Brickhill, in prison, to not blame them for what the Gestapo did. Brickhill clearly communicated the idea that the Nazi commanders of prison camps didn’t want to do this job.

My uncle was in the European theatre of World War II and told us all a war story which, in retrospect, seems a little embellished. But not completely. He was guarding a group of prisoners at the end of the war. Most of the German soldiers seemed relieved that they had been captured. All except the SS officers. They were absolutely crazy. My uncle could tell that there was one SS officer among the prisoners. He was the one who attacked and tried to kill my uncle in what sounded to me like a kabuki drama. My uncle shot him eight times. When asked to explain to his superior why he had done this, he said, “Seven wasn’t quite enough, and I didn’t have nine bullets.” Anyway, the point was clear: only the crazy SS troops really believed in the Third Reich.

Most Republicans can, when the dictatorship is established, say that we should not blame them for what the extremists have done. And if there is a Judgment at Nuremberg style inquiry after the fall of the Republican dictatorship, only the leaders will be convicted.

Most Republicans do not worship Trump, at least anymore. But would they go along with those who do?

Natural selection favors the fitness of genes in their environments. In humans, natural selection also occurs on the level of ideas within society. Fitness is not an intrinsic value, with either genes or ideas, but have value relative to their environments. This explains some of the literally crazy ideas that people have had under social conditions that legitimized them. Examples include mass acts of violence during religious wars, such as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. So far, right-wing acts of extreme violence in America have been small and sporadic, like the cashier being shot for asking a customer to wear a mask in Georgia earlier this year.

I believe that Republicans, as a whole, would not take up arms against fellow Americans. But they would not stand up against their powerful Party leaders.

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