Hitler Was a Vegetarian

Joe Patrice flags this piece of serious thought from Eliana Johnson at the National Review, who’s responding to President Obama’s shrill claim that the Holocaust was “senseless”:

Nazism may have been an ideology to which the United States was — and to which the president is — implacably opposed, but it is hardly “senseless.” By the early 1930s, the Nazi party had hundreds of thousands of devoted members and repeatedly attracted a third of the votes in German elections; its political leaders campaigned on a platform comprising 25 non-senseless points, including the “unification of all Germans,” a demand for “land and territory for the sustenance of our people,” and an assertion that “no Jew can be a member of the race.” Suffice it to say, many sensible Germans were persuaded.

As many Cambodians were persuaded by the Khmer Rouge, many white Americans by the KKK and many Europeans by the Spanish Inquisition. So what? As Joe points out, if you’re going to rail against “moral relativism” you shouldn’t be allowing it on your magazine’s website.

137 replies
  1. 1
    Hawes says:

    I know Hemingway railed against adverbs, but maybe “morally senseless” would have been more accurate to describe Nazis.

    Or the NRO.

    Either one.

    (Did I just Godwin?)

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Nazis: the sensible political party

  3. 3
    Eric U. says:

    they really can’t allow anything Obama does or says to go unopposed. I suppose noting that there was considerable support of the Nazis among Republicans would be impolite.

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    “Say what you want about National Socialism. At least it’s an ethos.”

  5. 5
    Cassidy says:

    Dammit, man. Just come out against drinking drano and saying the deaths from it are senseless already! You’re playing eleventy dimension chess against people who can’t win at Chutes and Ladders.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    Please tell me the National Review is opposed to Hagel for being anti-Jewish.

  7. 7
    Alex says:

    This is so on point — the same arguments were made about the Tea Party — “Look at all the reg’lur ‘mericans participating — you can’t just dismiss them as retrograde, racist troglodytes.” You know what, you can!

  8. 8
    Chyron HR says:

    The Tea Party may have been an ideology to which the Euro-African Union was – and to which the Prime Minister is – implacably opposed, but it is hardly “senseless.” By the early 2010s, the Tea Party had hundreds of thousands of devoted members and repeatedly attracted twenty-seven percent of the vote in American elections; its political leaders campaigned on a platform comprising 25 non-senseless points, including “abolishing taxes on Job Creators,” a demand for the President to “release his secret Kenyan birth certificate,” and an assertion that “The Affordable Care Act constitutes sociaIist death panels.” Suffice it to say, many sensible Americans were persuaded.

  9. 9
    PeakVT says:

    a platform comprising 25 non-senseless points

    If by non-senseless she means completely oblivious to the implications, then, sure, those were non-senseless points.


  10. 10
    syphonblue says:

    Republicans hate Obama so much, they’re actually trying to stick up for and justify Nazis.

    This is beautiful.

  11. 11
    White Trash Liberal says:

    No. No. No. No.

    The holocaust was senseless violence. All the banal rationalization was veneer. Hitler and his moneyed backers cultivated a fanatical charismatic death cult. They made the senseless appear inevitable. They legitimized historical prejudices into mass murder, elevated nationalism to religion, and in all manner made senseless tribal Hate appear not just normal but righteous.

    It is exactly the senseless nature of the reich that needs to be emphasized. The dissonance of a nation enthralled with its Shadow to the point of collective madness and bloodthirst.

    The fact that NRO is continuing to argue for how sensible the reich was, in order to score a political point against a blah president, is disturbing on a level that gives my stomach the jumbles.

  12. 12
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Is NR still considered to be the bastion of conservative intellectualism because trust-fund baby Buckley went to Yale and George Will wore bow ties?

  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    That “unification of all Germans” sounds less innocuous when you realise the reason given for annexing the Sudetenland was that German speakers lived there.

  14. 14
    Petorado says:


    Exactly. In order for Obama to be “history’s greatest monster,” Johnson has to go about remedying the Nazi party’s PR problem … while stabbing irony in the heart with an ice pick.

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    OT..Google Chrome isn’t updating the front page posts. Late night open thread still comes out on top. Firefox is fine though, so I’m not sure what happened but expect a rant from John.

  16. 16
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @MikeJ: the invasion of Poland too, no?

  17. 17
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    and an assertion that “no Jew can be a member of the race.” Suffice it to say, many sensible Germans

    It was sensible to exclude the Joos? In what way was this sensible?

  18. 18
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    OT: as a result of sequestration, I have just received my layoff notice.

    Thank you, budget hawks of both parties. I’ll be sure to keep in mind all you’ve done for me while stocking up on cat food for the wife and I.

  19. 19
    MikeJ says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Lied der Deutschen says
    From the Meuse to the Memel,
    From the Adige to the Belt

  20. 20
    Cassidy says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Sorry, man. I keep waiting to see if I’m going to get one.

  21. 21
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:


    Wait wait wait.

    We cannot denounce the Holocaust as “senseless violence”, but we can oppose Hagel for SecDef because he is insufficiently pro-Israel?

    Fuck me, these people really are Nihilists.

  22. 22
    White Trash Liberal says:

    I am seriously having trouble unpacking this Stupid. The NRO is run by juveniles. This is the kind of argument the teenager who just discovered Ayn Rand makes in history class. Didn’t schooling at some point disabuse them or at least convince them to hide this specious line of reasoning?

    They aren’t even pretending to be sophisticated. Just total pants-dropping poo-flinging monkeyshines.

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Don’t be stupid, be a smartie!

    Come and join the Nazi party!

  24. 24
    StarStorm says:

    The one thing you need to remember is that the Republicans are always right.

    Nazis were bad, but YAY NAZIS! But Nazis were terrible but YAY NAZIS THEY’RE NOT BLACK!

  25. 25
    feebog says:

    Senseless lady makes senseless argument about the word senseless.

  26. 26
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @JPL: It’s fine for me in Chrome. Have you cleared your browser’s cache?

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Von der Maas bis an die Memel

    Von der Etsch bis an den Belt!

  28. 28
    handsmile says:


    Thanks for posting that. I’ve been having all kinds of problems with this site this morning (slow access, no updates, comments etherized). Being very stupid about these things, I’ll wait patiently for the Intertubes janitorial staff.

  29. 29
    Alex S. says:

    Obama, you can’t give us hope! Try to catch hope from the air and keep it in your hand! It will always vanish back into the air!

  30. 30
    different-church-lady says:

    …campaigned on a platform comprising 25 non-senseless points, including… (snip) …an assertion that “no Jew can be a member of the race.”

    Please tell me I didn’t just read that in the 21st century.

  31. 31
    Cassidy says:

    It’s 11 EST and no one has yet told us how this is Obama’s fault. I’m surprised. Maybe someone really did go jump into a fire.

  32. 32
    Ash Can says:

    @JPL: Let’s all e-mail him and bitch about it. :)

  33. 33
    Butch says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: You beat me to it. Words fail sometimes.

  34. 34
    Cassidy says:

    @different-church-lady: Black man made black man words so we must oppose; that’s been NRO’s MO this whole time. Conservatives don’t surprise me anymore, but I’m still astounded at how much disgust I can feel and how deep that goes.

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    We can only hope.

  36. 36
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Hey, hundreds of thousands of twisted racist thugs can’t be wrong!

  37. 37
    Chris says:


    When fascism comes to America, it will be carried by retrograde, racist troglodytes, exactly like the old country.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Obama said the Holocaust was senseless violence, and this person responds that Nazism wasn’t nonsensical as a whole? That isn’t even a refutation of Obama’s statement. And, more importantly, what the fuck is wrong with this person?

  39. 39
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I am truly sorry to hear that. I can’t do anything but wish you all the luck I can.

    I’ve been laid off several times (twice in 2011), but I work in an industry and an area where it’s more of an inconvenience than a real crisis, so I can’t even say I know what you’re going through.

  40. 40
    Cermet says:

    The author of the book “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” stated that Hitler was not a vegetarian. He did avoid many meats dishes simply because he never had eaten meat very often. But Hitler most certainly did eat a number of German based meat dishes. Of course, facts mean little to the party that all KKK members proudly support – the repug-a-thug party, stupid, racist and wholly owned by and for the 0.01%.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    ericblair says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Obama said the Holocaust was senseless violence, and this person responds that Nazism wasn’t nonsensical as a whole?

    “Please proceed, columnist.”

  43. 43
    Ash Can says:

    Saw this last week and was wondering if it’d get FP’ed here. Like I said then, there really is no limit to the ODS of the right. When you find yourself defending Nazis in the course of criticizing your target, you need to reassess your situation (which, however, these wackos never will).

    This subject was discussed at LGF at great length, and the comment thread was amusing. One of the pet Republicans over there tried to defend the author of the article by claiming that the word “senseless” technically was not quite as accurate to apply to Nazi policy as, say, “evil,” “heinous,” etc., so technically the author was in the clear, etc. etc. Hilarity ensued.

  44. 44
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    And, more importantly, what the fuck is wrong with this person?

    If the amount of time it would take to answer that was in billable hours, we could both retire exceedingly wealthy.

  45. 45
    Woodrowfan says:

    she forgot Poland

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: I guess. Right wing fascism enthusiasts used to at least have the grace to say “except for that Holocaust thing” or be deniers.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Roger Moore says:

    Actually, the Nazis did have some very reasonable policies, like going off the gold standard and massive, deficit funded public works programs to reduce unemployment. Too bad those aren’t the ones the teabaggers are thinking of.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The Friends of fascism really do have a serious problem; the German version fucked up the brand but good with that Holocaust thingy.

  50. 50
    Citizen_X says:

    Walter Sobchak is spinning in his, uh, bowling shirt.

  51. 51
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Has anyone read the comments there yet. I refuse to go there at work, but they last time NR tried this, the comments were brutal.

  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The would hae been so much happier if they could have stayed with Franco’s version as their poster child.

  53. 53
    catclub says:

    “if you’re going to rail against “moral relativism” you shouldn’t be allowing it on your magazine’s website.”

    How about: “if you’re going to rail against “moral relativism”, you should know when you’re soaking in it.”

    Madge and Flo, our heroines.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Heck, they’d go with the original Italian version. People used to say that while Ross Perot wasn’t a Nazi, you could imagine him having long conversations over brandy with Mussolini about getting the trains to run on time.

  55. 55
    eemom says:

    As someone mentioned above, this site seems to be experiencing some kind of Groundhog Day….when you click on the address Cole’s Open Thread from last night is on top, and the recent comments are, like, frozen in time.

    Anyone else seeing this?

  56. 56
    catclub says:

    @Roger Moore: Can I just point out that the German resorted to the Nazis when unemployment was 47% — and Greece has 27% and rising. But recovered fairly well from their hyperinflation, with Wiemar Republic managing (barely) to survive it. If only the 1929 crash had not come along.

    The inflation hawks learned the wrong lessons from Germany.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I went with the Spanish for the fun mixture of fascist politics and repressive religiosity.

  58. 58
    different-church-lady says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Very glad you asked, because it prompted me to take a look and stumble across this little day-maker:

    “Those who perished as a result of Nazi terror, millions of individual men and women and children whose lives were taken so senselessly, must never be forgotten.”
    — Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a White House Meeting With Jewish Leaders, February 2, 1983

  59. 59
    catclub says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: xkcd says that spices are energy rich. Mussolini made the trains run on thyme.

  60. 60

    Wow, Johnson is basically saying, ‘The Nazi party was popular, therefore it must have had some appeal and that appeal had to be sensible, otherwise how could so many people have joined the movement”. Baby Jeebus on a cracker!

    I think at the height of the Nazi movement, there were about 8 million members (1945) of the Nazi party in a population of over 78 million (1938)–so that’s about 10%. Now of those, only a few thousand were really elites and really had any grasp of the evil intentions and plans of the party leaders. So on the numbers alone, Johnson is completely full of crap.

    Now what he’s missing historically and sociologically is how the Nazi’s came to power and what they promised people. They promised them recovery from 1) a very difficult economic period of high unemployment and hyperinflation and 2) the humiliation of losing WWI. So a country desperate for jobs and food and longing to feel good about themselves again listened to easy answers given to them by the Nazi’s (which was, we will fix the economy and it’s somebody else’s fault). Nothing about that scenario lends any credence to the moral or even sensible nature of their appeal. It does show that 2/3 of the population was probably too scared, apathetic or powerless to oppose the Nazi party. It doesn’t take ALL of a people to perpetrate evil, just enough of them and in Nazi Germany they obviously reached that critical mass. But again, none of the historical facts support Johnson’s most basic premise of “popularity”.

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Oh, I see your point there. Yeah, Franco was really into that, and the Catholic Church, being as reactionary as all getout, cheered him on.

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The would hae been so much happier if they could have stayed with Franco’s version as their poster child.

    In all seriousness; yeah, they really would have.

    Franco is what those “traditional conservatives” who backed fascism wanted to get. A dude who smashed democracy and socialism, instituted a dictatorship, used it to return all their powers to the old elites, and then… sort of settled down and just chilled for the next forty years. He never attacked France, Britain or their allies, so his supporters in the West were happy. He never led the country into a ruinous attempt to conquer the world which ultimately brought the whole system crashing down, so his supporters back at home were happy.

    If Hitler and Mussolini had been able to “behave themselves” like Franco and Salazar instead of going totally berserk, the history of fascism would’ve been written very differently. And as others here have said, I don’t think our conservatives would be nearly as embarrassed about their attachment to them.

  63. 63
    handsmile says:


    That’s what I was enduring earlier this morning, but cursing and foot-stamping (and shutting down the whole damned Apple crate) seems to have cleared things up as of 11:32am. I imagine the problems must have something to do with SUPERBLIZZARD Nemo.

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    It takes about 27%. Recall that the National Socia1ists were never a majority party…they formed a coalition in 1933 and used that as a springboard to taking total control and then outlawing all opposition.

  65. 65
    MikeJake says:

    Hitler’s first attempt at seizing power was of the violent coup type. It failed and he got to sent to prison.

    After he was released, he tried a new tack – courting the Very Serious People in Germany (industrialists, aristocrats, military leaders, center-right parties, etc.) in order to ensure sufficient funding for campaigns and to pay the large number of personnel the Nazi party employed. Once he wormed his way into control, he was able to isolate the individual power blocs that had backed him and neutered any resistance they might give.

    Somebody needs to send the National Review a copy of William Shirer’s book so they’ll stop posing their fanciful interpretations of Hitler and the Nazis, which always seem to overlook the essential right-wing character of the party and the dirty tricks they employed in order to persuade the “many sensible Germans.”

  66. 66
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Wow, Johnson is basically saying, ‘The Nazi party was popular, therefore it must have had some appeal and that appeal had to be sensible, otherwise how could so many people have joined the movement”.

    If Johnson doesn’t believe that, then how does the Republican party’s continual shitting on the American people make sense?

  67. 67
    MikeJ says:

    @different-church-lady: Was that before or after Bonzo went to Bitburg?

  68. 68
    Chris says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Clearly, the point is that the people can not be trusted with this shit we call “governance.” Only The Right People must be allowed to participate in the process.

  69. 69
    McJulie says:

    I really want to encourage the Republicans in their new tactic of being Nazi apologists, after being rape apologists worked out so well for them in the last election cycle.

  70. 70
    Hungry Joe says:

    “Not many people know it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer.” — Franz Liebkind

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chris: I wasn’t snarking. The elites of the Republican party would be perfectly happy in an American version of Iberian fascism and the foot soldiers would do as they are told as long they get to fuck with the pansies, commies, and other scum.

  72. 72
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Wow, Johnson is basically saying, ‘The Nazi party was popular, therefore it must have had some appeal and that appeal had to be sensible, otherwise how could so many people have joined the movement”. Baby Jeebus on a cracker!

    Lets see if we can extend that argument some. “The CPSU was popular, therefore it must have had some appeal and that appeal had to be sensible, otherwise how could so many people have joined the CPSU”. I guess Stalin must have been alright, too. “The Baath Party was popular, therefore it must have had some appeal, and that appeal had to be sensible, otherwise how could so many people have joined it”. I guess Saddam was OK, too.

  73. 73
    Chris says:


    Yeah, the fact that the rise of fascism was aided and abetted by traditional conservative elements every step of the way is one of the things we really don’t want to remember these days.

  74. 74
    Hawes says:


    Heh heh.


  75. 75
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Well at least the Nazis didn’t use drones – amirite?

    The Republicans aren’t going to get rid of the Tea Party, they’re going to assimilate it.

  76. 76
    JPL says:

    @eemom: yes.. At first I Had problems with Chrome so switched to firefox. Now even on firefox, it’s acting up.

  77. 77
    El Cid says:

    Actually, the real German Nazi party had quite a strong following in the United States at the time.

    The German American Bund, an organization of ethnic Germans living in the United States, was marked by a pro-Nazi stance.

    Aside from its admiration for Adolf Hitler and the achievements of Nazi Germany, the German American Bund program included antisemitism, strong anti-Communist sentiments, and the demand that the United States remain neutral in the approaching European conflict.

    Public opinion surveys of 1939 show that Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the German American Bund, was seen by the US public as the leading antisemite in the country.

    Actual membership figures for the German American Bund are not known with certainty, but reliable estimates place membership at 25,000 dues-paying members, including some 8,000 uniformed Sturmabteilungen (SA), more commonly known as Storm Troopers.

    The German American Bund carried out active propaganda for its causes, published magazines and brochures, organized demonstrations, and maintained a number of youth camps run like Hitler Youth camps.

    German American Bund activities often led to clashes—even street battles—with other groups, most notably with Jewish veterans of World War I.

    A February 1939 rally was held on George Washington’s birthday to proclaim the rights of white gentiles, the “true patriots.” This Madison Square Garden rally drew a crowd of 20,000 who consistently booed President Franklin D. Roosevelt and chanted the Nazi salutation “Heil Hitler.”

    The German American Bund closely cooperated with the “Christian Front” organized by the antisemitic priest Father Charles Coughlin. The activities of the German American Bund led both Jewish and non-Jewish congressional representatives to demand that it be investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee chaired by Martin Dies. The Committee hearings, held in 1939, showed clear evidence of German American Bund ties to the Nazi government.

    Shortly thereafter, Kuhn was convicted of embezzling funds from the organization and was sentenced to prison. In the following years, a number of other German American Bund leaders were interned as dangerous aliens, and others were jailed for various offenses. By 1941 the membership of the organization had waned. After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the US government outlawed the German American Bund.

    Good thing the odds often have it that the right wing yields to the temptation of the grift.

  78. 78
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    A bit less Catholicism or at least less exclusivism in the Catholicism, but otherwise fuck yes they would.

    @Roger Moore:

    Funny you should say that; you occasionally hear the dissenting voice on the far right (of the “Bush was a liberal!” variety) saying that Saddam was the lesser of two evils because at least he kept the islamists under control.

    You don’t hear that as much, though, because it contradicts the “Iraq War was totally justified and a good thing!” shibboleth they cling to. A more popular one is Milosevic, who you not infrequently hear them claim was totally just trying to defend himself from a Savage Muslim Horde. (Cue the “Clinton was an Islamofascist!” squeals).

  79. 79
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @Eric U.: This times infinity.

    The Right Wing hate for Obama is so inflexible and unyielding they will hate on Ayn Rand if he suddenly started applying her philosophy and talking it up.
    Those guys have some serious issues.

    One question. What will they do when Obama is gone?

  80. 80
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    One question. What will they do when Obama is gone?

    Exactly what they’re doing now. They’ll just cut-and-paste new names into their screeds.

  81. 81
    handsmile says:

    It would seem that defending Fascism has suddenly become quite fashionable among the Reich-wing. Two weeks ago, former Italian prime minister and “bunga-bunga” enthusiast Silvio Berlusconi praised Mussolini at a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Milan. Among his considered remarks:

    “The government of that time, fearing that German power might lead to an outright victory, preferred to ally itself with Hitler’s Germany rather than opposing it,” he said. “Within this alliance, there were impositions, including combating and exterminating Jews. The racial laws were the worst thing that Mussolini did as a leader, but he did many good things.”


    Who among us doesn’t appreciate prompt train service, amirite?

  82. 82
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @handsmile: They are coming out of the closet.

  83. 83
    dmsilev says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Well at least the Nazis didn’t use drones – amirite?

    I dunno, V1 buzzbombs probably count.

  84. 84
    Chris says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:


    Don’t they need to have been different entities at some point before one can “assimilate” the other? :D

  85. 85
    Roger Moore says:


    One question. What will they do when Obama is gone?

    Hate on the next Democratic president.

  86. 86
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Eric U.:

    they really can’t allow anything Obama does or says to go unopposed. I suppose noting that there was considerable support of the Nazis among Republicans would be impolite.

    “Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a lie.”
    -Newt Gingrich

  87. 87
    WereBear says:

    So now they are sticking up for the Nazis?

    While Hagel is not “pro Israel” enough?

    Proof, if more was needed, that cognitive dissonance is not fatal.

  88. 88
    Chris says:

    @El Cid:

    Actually, the real German Nazi party had quite a strong following in the United States at the time.

    Yeah, and from what I understand, while the Bund and German-American institutions in general had to go through some shit during the war, non-German supporters of the Nazis – like the Ku Klux Klan, Charles Coughlin, Gerald L. K. Smith and all kinds of prominent business magnates – never got into any trouble like that. I have that right?

  89. 89
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    The Tea Party will largely cease to exist as a quasi-independent arm of the GOP. The price of that will be the permanent incorporation of many of their ideas into the party’s rhetoric, platforms, and legislative goals.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    What will they do when Obama is gone?

    There are always new monsters to hate.

  91. 91
    Schlemizel says:

    They say “around 30%” but I bet if they had good polling they would find it was actually 27%.

    We could be very close to bad outcomes here in the US. I have felt for 20+ years that all it would take was some populist sounding dirtball to run. Boy Blunder is an excellent example but just take it to the next level. Sure, it might take a ‘Reichstag fire’ but we could do that.

  92. 92
    Amir Khalid says:

    I’m not having that problem, but FYWP is now refusing to keep my name and email addy filled in above the comment box.

  93. 93
    Schlemizel says:


    look at Henry Ford or Chuck Lindbergh. Both were strong supporters until it hit the fan. I doubt they changed their minds but the shut up & fell in line. That probably saved them.

  94. 94
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    William Shirer was an American journalist (back when we actually had such things) who observed the rise of the Nazi party first hand, and reported on it in real time.

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is, at least in my mind, the definitive work on the Nazi movement. It’s the gold standard by which all other histories of that period should be measured.

    So, naturally, the National Socia1ist Review Online will not pay the slightest attention to it because, as everyone by now knows, facts have a liberal bias.

  95. 95
    Chris says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Yeah, but which of their ideas weren’t already part of the party’s rhetoric, platforms and legislative goals? Reducing or eliminating all government services other than the military? Stopping universal health care? Opposing gun control legislation? Cutting taxes? Deregulating the economy? Trusting rich people to let the wealth trickle down instead of hoarding it? Being a “Christian nation founded on Christian values?” Hating “welfare queens,” “union thugs” and “fat government bureaucrats?” Prison without trial for all terrorism suspects who aren’t white right wingers?

  96. 96
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    Can I point out that Obama didn’t say that Nazism was senseless, he said that the Holocaust was senseless?

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Sure, it might take a ‘Reichstag fire’ but we could do that.

    While I don’t think Bush and Co. were responsible for the WTC, I do think they tried to take advantage of it in moving forward every right wing agenda item that they had. Personally, I think we made it through, damaged and stained, but with the ability to move past it.

  98. 98
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    “An Anatomy of Fascism” by Paxton is pretty good for fascism in general (as opposed to just Nazism in Germany).

  99. 99
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    I agree, all they are lacking is a truly charismatic leader. They’d need some electoral help given the nature of our two party system…the Nazis were dealing with a Westminster style parliamentary system, which alters the dynamics significantly.

  100. 100
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    What made the Holocaust truly senseless was that the resources used in prosecuting it, and they were not insignificant, might have been used in support of the entire, um, war thingy going on at the same time.

  101. 101
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    And as soon as I mention it, it stops happening.

  102. 102
    handsmile says:

    Some here might be interested in a new book, Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power by Andrew Nagorski, former foreign bureau chief for Newsweek. Nagorski examines news reports, diaries, letters, and other personal testimony from American journalists and authors, diplomats, and prominent citizens such as Jesse Owens and Charles Lindbergh, who visited or lived in Berlin during the late 1920s and 1930s. (I’ve checked out the book from the library, but have only just opened it.)

    And of course, in the context of this thread, Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here should always be mentioned as a disturbingly cautious, perhaps even prescient, tale.

  103. 103
    Joel says:

    Mister Charlie Lindbergh, he flew to old Berlin
    Got him an Iron Cross and he flew right back again…

  104. 104
  105. 105
    handsmile says:


    I’d second that recommendation, but would be even more emphatic than “pretty good.” For non-specialist readers, The Anatomy of Fascism (2004) is regarded as authoritative and quite accessible.

  106. 106
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I think this is less true than you realize. The Nazis did their best to separate the potentially productive Jews from the very young, old, feeble, etc. The fit, productive ones were worked and starved to death in forced labor camps producing goods for the military. The unfit, unproductive ones were killed outright so they wouldn’t be a drain on national resources. So the resources used in the Holocaust weren’t much different from those used by the Nazis’ other slave labor programs.

  107. 107
    RSA says:

    Nazism may have been an ideology to which the United States was — and to which the president is — implacably opposed…

    It tells you something about the readership of an publication when an author needs to say explicitly, “The U.S. was against Nazism,” and “Obama is also against Nazism.” And that something is that their readers are possibly insane.

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RSA: Let me take issue with that point. I think we can tell that the writer is insane; the readers might just be dumb and/or ignorant.

  109. 109
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    All that rail stock tied up in “resettling” all those people, that could have been used to move men and material to the front.

    All because they were obsessed with the Jews, Roma, etc. Remember, they actually were concerned with ammunition expenditures of the special SS murder units that operated behind the lines on the Eastern front, and so were searching for more efficient ways to get rid of the undesirables. The Wansee Conference was called in part in response to the lessons learned on the Eastern front.

  110. 110
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Dibs on the band name Sensible Holocaust.

  111. 111
    ericblair says:


    Can I point out that Obama didn’t say that Nazism was senseless, he said that the Holocaust was senseless?

    Does it matter? Once your opponents paint themselves into enough of a corner to start saying in public that you’re being too hard on the Nazis, it’s time for them to pack it in.

  112. 112
    Redshirt says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: More so, plenty of Jews fought for Germany in World War and no doubt would have been glad to do so again in WW2, if not for, you know, the frickin Holocaust.

    They also suffered an immense brain drain that further hurt their cause.

  113. 113
    My Truth Hurts says:

    If Obama is against it, they are for it. Even Nazism and the Holocaust. Conservatives are disgusting pigs.

  114. 114
    Paul in KY says:

    @syphonblue: Just when I think they can’t get any wackier…Well, I get confirmation that my imagination is too narrow when it comes to Repub/Conservative whackadoolery.

  115. 115
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: ‘Cool looking uniforms for me, Yellow star & death camp for thee’

    Your avarage German just couldn’t resist such sloganeering.

  116. 116
    Paul in KY says:

    @Roger Moore: They also put them to work in ‘baby carriage’ factories & the like.

    If you ripped off a piece a week from your carriage factory, you ended up with a nice machine gun.

  117. 117
    Paul in KY says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: Due to massive censorship in WW I, many civilians erroneously thought Imperial Germany was winning the war. It was a huge shock to them when they surrendered.

    That censorship helped Hitler with his big lie about how the Jews stabbed Germany in the back.

  118. 118
    El Cid says:

    Most people use a term like “senseless” when discussing Nazism or the Holocaust to express a notion of “not being a good thing which truly makes sense to do,” not that it is “without any detectable internal logic” or “there are marks on this wall which could be writing but which are of no known script”.

  119. 119
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @El Cid: You seem to be making the fundamental error that I did when I first read this. You are trying to apply logic here. It doesn’t help.

  120. 120
    chopper says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    the problem NR is having here is they’re confusing ‘organized and purposeful’ with ‘sensibility’.

    just because the holocaust was organized and had goals does not mean that it makes any sense at all, at least to a person today. in spite of the former, we still look at the history and wonder just what the fuck these people were thinking.

    no, the holocaust was senseless. it literally makes no fucking sense at all.

    if my dog tells me to dress up like a clown and methodically murder every left-handed dentist i can, doing so in a purposeful and organized manner does not mean that my actions make any bloody sense at all.

  121. 121
    E. says:

    I figured there had to be something wrong here, a misquote, a missing context, a terribly parsed definition of “senseless.” So I went to NRO and I read the piece. Nope.


  122. 122
    Paul in KY says:

    @chopper: Like your analogy!

  123. 123
    Chris says:


    And of course, in the context of this thread, Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here should always be mentioned as a disturbingly cautious, perhaps even prescient, tale.

    I haven’t read that one yet, but I found it odd that Lewis chose to model his “American fascist” on Huey Long of all people. Yes, Long as a demagogue and a firebagger, we get it. But a fascist? Seriously? The guy who directed work relief at black people as well as white people and in so doing got the KKK to run campaign ads portraying him with his arms around black people promising them free rides? The guy who broke the power of the machine run by Standard Oil and the local elites and eliminated the poll tax? A fascist? I suppose if you take the racism, the hatred for the left, the support of economic elites and the antidemocratic politics out of fascism, Huey Long could qualify, but it’s kind of hard to call if fascism then.

  124. 124
    Bob2 says:


    She doubled down too. I’ve been following this one lol.

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob2: Good fucking dog.

  126. 126
    different-church-lady says:

    @chopper: first off, the word our dear lunatic is searching for is not “sensible” or “organized” or “thoughtful.” The word she wants is “methodical”. They executed their madness with machine-like efficiency and dedication. It’s a little like a mortician admiring how neatly a serial killer dismembered a body — yeah, there’s skills here, but it’s still doesn’t make any sense that it was done in the first place.

    But the even finer point is that Obama not only didn’t call the Nazis senseless, he didn’t even call the Holocaust senseless: he called the deaths themselves senseless. Not the damn process. These people died for insane reasons. There was conscious methodology to the attempted extermination, but that doesn’t mean it made sense.

  127. 127
    Chris says:


    I love the guy snarking in the comments with what he clearly thinks is a zinger “ooo, but if we say the Nazis are wrong, that means we’re making a value judgment! That means morals aren’t relative! OOO!”

    Serious and sincere question, because I actually am curious: has anyone here ever had any kind of gospel of moral relativism preached at them by a liberal? I mean, whether it’s the Holocaust or 9/11 or Stalin’s gulags or female mutilation in Saudi Arabia or gang violence in our inner cities – has anyone, anyone at all, ever had a fellow liberal try to tell them “hey, just because you think it’s wrong doesn’t mean it’s objectively wrong, if it’s okay from their point of view you should respect that?”

    Matoko Granger Atreides here is pretty much the only person I’ve ever heard try to make that argument, and I wouldn’t exactly rank her “liberal,” more along the lines of whatever the Muslim version of the Christian Right is. (Of course, I suppose there’s no difference if you write for the NRO).

    I mean, wingnuts are adorable when they try to “empathize” with what they think other people believe and even cuter when they try to score points based on it, but it’s really getting hard to keep up.

  128. 128
    dSmith says:

    I agree with everything written above but I take exception to the idea of senseless slaughter. Is there a sensible slaughter? To the perpetrator it makes sense otherwise he wouldn’t bother. It seems a device to protect ourselves from contemplating the full horror.

  129. 129
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    On the contrary — there is an absolute set of moral principles. That explains why there is only one religion.

  130. 130
    Emdee says:

    I don’t think you can dismiss this logic/persuasion thing, and here’s why: I think that people with mild xenophobia or mildly racist tendencies can be “persuaded” by bad logic that those tendencies should matter more to them than they do. If you’re a white kid in a nearly all-white area, people of other races are “different” and may cause anxiety at first (but let’s face it, you’re a kid, people shouting “BOO!” causes anxiety). If it’s never really addressed because you can avoid it, and the kid harbors this anxiety when he or she becomes an adult and faces a real, diverse world, then I think they can be “persuaded” to let these fears run amok. (It would explain Andrew Sullivan’s fascination with “The Bell Curve.”)

    This is bad logic, and it’s a thin veneer of hatred, but it’s not enough just to say “that’s racist.” This kind of shit has to be defeated on every front, including exposing why the alleged “logic” is no such thing. It’s not really different than ripping apart the “man on dog” fantasies about marriage equality, or “support all our wars or you want the terrorists to win.”

    Leave them no foothold, allow no escape. Defeat them on all fronts.

  131. 131
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Chris: Chiming in late but I absolutely agree. I don’t think there is any such thing as a “moral relativist”. There are differences between people about which things are wrong, but of there’s ever been a human being born who doesn’t have a list of things that are always and everywhere wrong I’ll eat my hat.

  132. 132
    JasonF says:

    The frustrating aspect of being a commenter on a blog as busy and popular as Balloon Juice: not only did my comment of a week ago where I pointed people to this very NRO article obviously get lost in the shuffle, but this comment where I point out that this blog scooped itself a week ago will also almost certainly get lost in the shuffle.

  133. 133
    xian says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: deep-cover liberal?

    the comment thread was amusing when I first read it.

  134. 134
    xian says:

    @JasonF: no, I remember discussing it at the time…

  135. 135
    xian says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): also, didn’t the purge the left-wing blackshirts at some point?

  136. 136
    xian says:

    @Chris: the moral relativism of the ’60s / if it feels good do it / multiculturalism, etc. = stale old right-wing boogeymen.

  137. 137
    DavidTC says:

    I love how the Nazis and the Holocaust have been conflated by the National Review. Like there’s no difference between a Nazi soldier fighting a war for his country, and another Nazi soldier gassing prisoners to death. It’s not like we held one of those soldiers as POWs and released them after the war, and tracked down the other soldier and put him to death for crimes against humanity. Oh, we did exactly that? Nevermind.

    Obama did not say that Nazism was senseless. He did not even say the _violence_ of Nazism was senseless. Hell, he didn’t even say the Holocaust was senseless.

    He said the ‘the horrors of the cattle cars, ghettos, and concentration camps have witnessed humanity at its very worst and know too well the pain of losing loved ones to senseless violence.’

    In other words, he said the _violence of the Holocaust_ was senseless.

    This is pretty much objectively true, even with ABSOLUTELY NO MORAL CONSIDERATIONS. The entire Holocaust process sapped an incredibly amount of Germany resources, and was completely and utterly _useless_ to the war effort. An amazing amount of Germany soldiers were required to keep the camps operating.

    What’s more, it was often carried out in absurdly nonsensical ways, like building entire camps to slowly starve people to death only to kill the survivors months later. People were often subject to bizarre and pointless experiments. They would build methodical ways of keeping track of people, only to not bother with them. They would deliberately injure people, then treat them, or not treat them, whatever they felt like that day.

    The entire Holocaust process _literally_ makes no sense, from top to bottom. The violence of it was _exceptionally_ pointless. It is an exercise in wasted resources and sadism and was possibly the stupidest way imaginable of accomplishing an evil goal. (The obvious way to accomplish that goal would have been to just _shoot_ them, or just gas the train cars.)

    _Nazism_ had a goal. It was not a very good goal, but it was not ‘pointless’.

    But the _Holocaust_ in general, and in particular the _violence_ of the Holocaust, was so completely and utterly _pointless_ that it actually breaks our mind…we can, somehow, understand how people can do great evil in pursuit of some reasonable goal, or even some stupid goal, but nothing about the Holocaust actually accomplished anything at all. It is evil _without any explanation at all_.

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