In Germany during the 1920s and early ‘30s Hitler and his Nazis pursued a clever strategy on their road to power. Relying principally on their Storm Troopers (the “Brownshirts”), they promoted violence and disorder in society, especially by attacking Communists and Socialists, who often retaliated, thus expanding the disorder. Then the Nazis deplored this social disorder, the disorder they themselves had largely created, and they promised that they would put an end to it once they came to power. And they kept their promise – by banning the Communist and Socialist parties and by incarcerating members of those parties in concentration camps.
Essentially the same strategy has been followed in the United States by cultural liberals (or “progressives”). They promote social disorder, and then they promise to restore order if they are given sufficient political power.
Before proceeding along this line of thought, allow me to pause for a moment to make a couple of observations.
(1) It is something like an article of faith with today’s liberals that it is unspeakably dirty pool to draw an analogy between liberal behavior and Nazi behavior; and if you draw an analogy of that kind (for instance, when you compare abortion to the Holocaust) you are in effect confessing that your argument has no value.
Well, I intend to stick with my analogy, but let me emphatically assert that in making the analogy I am not suggesting that liberals are Nazis. Not in the least.
Nazis were mostly of lower-middle class status; liberals are mostly of upper-middle class status (either currently of that status or, if young, realistically aspiring to that status).
Nazis were crude; liberals are refined.
Nazis were bullies; liberals are snobs.
Nazis were racists; liberals, so far from being racists, believe racism to be the worst of all possible sins – a sin that all white Americans but themselves commit on a daily basis.
Nazis hated Jews; liberals have contempt for Catholics (except for Catholics like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden) and old-fashioned Protestants.
Nazis engaged in the mass murder of millions of adults; liberals facilitate the mass murder of millions of unborn babies.
(2) The Nazis were not just evil; they were in love with evil. They did evil, not merely for the sake of the advantages it would bring them, but for the sake of evil itself. They were saying to the world, “Look at us. We are bad. We hate goodness. And we hate God, the author of all goodness.” Nazism was a demonic force in the world.
Liberals are non-demonic. They do tremendous evil in the world, but they are quite definitely not in love with evil – at least not at the level of their conscious minds, though I grant it is possible that they love evil at the subconscious level of their minds.
Cultural liberals, as I say, have caused disorder. How have they done this? Not by street brawls, to be sure. Liberals are not brawlers; they deplore violence (except of course for the violence of abortion). No, liberals have caused disorder in society by undermining and attempting to destroy the two social institutions which, more than any other except the voluntary exchange of goods and services, promote and support social order. I mean religion and family.
The liberal mind tends toward atheism. That is, it is either frankly atheistic, or it is agnostic (agnosticism being a virtual atheism), or it is liberal or “modern” in its Christianity or Judaism (liberal religion being semi-agnosticism). Over the last half-century or so this tendency toward atheism has become a dominant cultural viewpoint in the United States, and vast numbers of Americans, especially young Americans, have become convinced that religion is either meaningless or useless or downright pernicious. Churches, except for very conservative denominations (Southern Baptist, Mormons, etc.) have grown emptier and emptier.
If churches are in bad shape, the married two-parent family is in horrible shape, especially among people of the lower classes. How did cultural liberals bring this about? By their exaggerated emphasis on permissiveness and personal liberty, especially sexual liberty.
Among lower-class blacks, the married two-parent family has largely ceased to exist; and among lower-class whites things are drifting in the same direction. This means, among many other things, that vast numbers of boys and girls are growing up without fathers. Disastrous consequences have followed – poverty, criminal gangs, drug addiction, crowded prisons, poor schools, sky-high rates of out-of-wedlock births, etc. In short, tremendous social disorder – and (marvelous to relate!) all this social disorder without benefit of Storm Troopers.
Our liberal friends – don’t they see these things? Are they blind to all this disorder? Not at all. Do they plan, then, to encourage people to go back to church? Are they working to restore the married two-parent family? No, for empty churches are a good sign from the liberal point of view; it shows that people are gradually recovering from the age-old insanity of religious superstition.
Besides, old church buildings can be turned into museums and restaurants. And broken families, regrettable though they may be in many ways, are a sign that that truly wonderful thing, sexual freedom, has sunk deep roots into our culture.
No, liberals wish to put a stop to social disorder, but not by becoming anti-progressive, not by turning the clock backwards. How then? By expanding the duties and the reach of government, above all the federal government.
Having undermined the most important intermediate institutions between individuals and government, cultural liberalism turns in a totalitarian direction. Washington D.C. will see to it that Americans get an education in decency; that they attend good schools; that they are properly trained for good jobs; that they actually find such jobs; that they live in good neighborhoods; that they are provided with free and effective contraception; that they have easy access to free-of-charge abortion; that the FDA will assure that their recreational drugs are of high quality; and that euthanasia will be available when they get bored with life.
*Image: Magdeburger Ehrenmal (Magdeburg Memorial) by Ernst Barlach [Cathedral of Saints Maurice and Catherine, Magdeburg, Germany]. Designed as a WWI memorial sculpture for the Cathedral, Barlach’s work was considered decadent by the Nazis, who vowed to destroy it. Friends of Barlach were able to hide the sculpture until after the war, when it was returned to the Magdeburg Cathedral.
You may also enjoy:
Anthony Esolen’s Our Fear of the Real
Robert Royal’s Another Sort of Reset