The press – mainstream and otherwise – is going over-the-top on Trump-Hitler comparisons. Some are direct, some more subtle. I offer an examination of this comparison – what is fiction, what is fact?
Let’s look at the history of Hitler prior to becoming German Chancellor, and see how Trump measures up. Admittedly, this isn’t an exhaustive listing (just the highlights), but hopefully it will suffice:
In 1923, he attempted a coup in Munich to seize power.
What was this coup?
The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch, and, in German, as the Hitlerputsch or Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch, was a failed coup attempt by the Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler — along with Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff and other Kampfbund leaders — to seize power in Munich, Bavaria, during 8–9 November 1923. About two thousand men marched to the centre of Munich, where they confronted the police, which resulted in the death of 16 Nazis and four policemen. Hitler himself was wounded.
After two days, Hitler was arrested and charged with treason.
Trump? Any “coups” in his background – the deaths of dozens, charged with treason? Nope.
While in prison, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf:
Hitler wrote "the nationalization of our masses will succeed only when, aside from all the positive struggle for the soul of our people, their international poisoners are exterminated" and in another passage he suggested that "If at the beginning of the war and during the war twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the nation had been subjected to poison gas, such as had to be endured in the field by hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers of all classes and professions, then the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain."
Has Trump called for extermination of anyone – “international poisoners” or otherwise? Nope. Has he called for poison gas for tens-of-thousands? Not to my knowledge.
Well, he has gone back and forth on possible war-mongering ways. But it isn’t for these that the Hitler comparison is made (well, they don’t like the “back,” just the “forth”).
In Mein Kampf Hitler openly stated the future German expansion in the East:
And so we National Socialists consciously draw a line beneath the foreign policy tendency of our pre-War period. We take up where we broke off six hundred years ago. We stop the endless German movement to the south and west, and turn our gaze toward the land in the east. At long last we break of the colonial and commercial policy of the pre-War period and shift to the soil policy of the future.
If we speak of soil in Europe today, we can primarily have in mind only Russia and her vassal border states.
Has Trump talked about invading Canada or Mexico? I don’t think so. Closer to the opposite, actually.
Trump is no Hitler; not even close. Those who suggest it are both ignorant of history and disrespectful of Hitler’s victims – Jew and Gentile alike.
So much for the fiction, what about the fact?
For “fact” I turn to Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn:
Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (born July 31, 1909 in Tobelbad (now Haselsdorf-Tobelbad), Austria-Hungary; died May 26, 1999, in Lans, Austria) was an Austrian Catholic nobleman and socio-political theorist. Describing himself as an "extreme conservative arch-liberal" or "liberal of the extreme right", Kuehnelt-Leddihn often argued that majority rule in democracies is a threat to individual liberties, and declared himself a monarchist and an enemy of all forms of totalitarianism.
Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote for a variety of publications, including Chronicles, Thought, the Rothbard-Rockwell Report, Catholic World, and the Norwegian business magazine Farmand. He also worked with the Acton Institute, which declared him after his death "a great friend and supporter." He was an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Kuehnelt-Leddihn points to the progressivism of the west, the worship of democracy gaining full momentum at the turn of the last century and fully manifest by the time of the Great War. This is where the “fact” can be found regarding this comparison of Trump and Hitler. The fact can be laid right at the feet of the same “progressive” mouthpieces that are making this comparison.
From “The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large,” by Kuehnelt-Leddihn, written in 1943. Referring to Jefferson’s disdain for “democracy,” he offers:
Sometimes Jefferson's vocabulary was rather unfitting for "progressive" ears; this seems apparent when he deals with the possibility of a large urban proletariat in America which by destroying the agricultural character of the country would make even representative government unworkable.
What does Kuehnelt-Leddihn see in the future of “progressivism”?
What we experience in the realm of government control in "progressive" countries is nothing but the first clouds heralding a bigger storm. We have all the prospects of a total aerial war with bacilli, gas, and high-grade explosives and there is a possibility that mankind may unloose dark powers over which they will finally lose control like Goethe's sorcerers' apprentice.
One sign of those “dark powers” emerged two years later over the land of the rising sun. Twice.
In whom has he seen this manifest in his time?
The man to avenge the easy murder of Austria was an Austrian who got hold for this purpose of the most deadly and precise instrument in Europe — the German people. At one time he had turned his eye south of the Alps, as all Germans traditionally do. A superficial glance seemed enough. And then he started to create a superochlocratic, superidentitarian, monotonous, and monolithic state which was a synthesis of all ideas sprung from the French Revolution, a veritable reductio ad absurdum of "progressive" thought, a gorgonic mirror to the West. This man is Adolf Hitler.
National Socialism, as we have pointed out before, is not the result of the Treaty of Versailles. Nor has the movement as such anything to do with St. Germain, Trianon, and Neuilly, which were instrumental in laying the foundations for this war. Yet the present issue is, in the political and ideological sense a clear outcome of the political and ideological efforts of the victorious Allies in 1918-1919, and the result of their so-called order, which was (badly) organized disorder.
Replacing the previous order of monarchy.
The fatal thing which happened twenty-two years ago was the victory of the principles of national, identitarian, ochlocracy and a spurious concept of "democracy" in Central and Eastern Europe. There is only a very short step from national majoritarianism to National Socialism, a step as short as that from mortal disease to death.
As Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn offers, Hitler presented nothing more than an extension of progressive thought – think eugenics, as merely one example common to both the US and Nazi Germany. Think of the acceptability of abortion as another – perfected in the land of the (supposedly) free. Consider “equality” and “liberty” and what these have come to mean in our era.
Think about the government offered as the solution for every problem; consider that many have been brainwashed by progressive government schools to ensure they believe this.
Further: in every way those same mouthpieces have demonized “the other” – whoever was the convenient “other” of the moment. They have conditioned the people to believe that their problems are caused by or their security is threatened by “those guys.”
Finally, they have developed a political system where all power is focused on one individual, and they only complain when that one individual might not do their bidding.
Progressive thought has been the hallmark of US politics (and therefore much of the world, being “made safe for democracy” by that same United States) for over a century. Should we be surprised at the result?
Trump is no Hitler. Nothing in his background comes close to this comparison. Certainly every other candidate running in the two major parties has more in common with Adolf than does Trump – just count dead bodies and wealth destruction. Do you offer more relevant measuring sticks?
In any case, those who seem to be most concerned about this (the political class, the pundits, the newspaper and television mouthpieces) have ensured the preconditions for a “Hitler” to take the stage. They have been working on it for over 100 years.
They have designed and otherwise allowed for a position of almost absolute power. Trump just happens to be the first one to explicitly offer supposed “solutions” that implicitly recognizes this fact. He is saying loudly and clearly: the clothes on this emperor confer omnipotence and I will act accordingly.
They have designed this position for a person who will be compliant to their wishes. Trump seems to be upsetting this design (well, at least for a vocal subset).
They want their own Hitler – an absolute ruler, just as they have designed the office. They also want their Hitler on a string; sooner or later (and for better or for worse), this was going to prove to be impossible.
Our best bet? A combination of technology / communication and the inability of the state to meet their promises will move society toward a more decentralized condition. I believe this to be in our future. Otherwise, the path seems clear – the only question being time.