politics in germany somehow survived banning nazism outright, free speech be damned

I appreciate that the Washington Post published this:

An American tourist in Germany was beaten up by a passer-by after he began giving the Nazi salute outside a cafe in Dresden, police said Sunday.

The incident occurred about 8:15 a.m. Saturday as the man left a cafe called Europe in the Neustadt district of Dresden, police said in a statement. The district is known to be a liberal part of the town and a popular meeting spot for students.

The tourist was identified only as a 41-year-old American man who was “severely drunk,” according to police. He suffered minor injuries, while the stranger who assailed him fled the scene, police said.

Police said the U.S. national is under investigation for violating German laws prohibiting Nazi symbols and that they are still seeking the passer-by for causing personal injury, according to the Associated Press.

The Nazi salute — the right arm straight and angled slightly up, palm down — was used as a greeting and a way of expressing devotion to Adolf Hitler under the Third Reich. Germany outlawed the salute after World War II, along with Holocaust denial and other symbols and signals associated with the Nazis. A conviction can carry a prison sentence of up to three years, although courts often impose fines instead.

The Dresden incident occurred just a week after two Chinese tourists were detained for giving Nazi salutes outside Berlin’s Reichstag, once home to the Imperial Diet. The two tourists were fined nearly $600 each but were permitted to leave the country with their tour group, police said. Similarly, a 30-year-old Canadian tourist was detained in 2011 after being photographed giving the Nazi salute outside the Reichstag. He, too, got off with a fine.

Germany is not the only European country to ban the salute. Earlier this month, Switzerland’s Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man who appeared in 2013 photos making the Nazi salute outside a Geneva synagogue.

In Dresden, memories of World War II and Nazi practices have provoked clashes and divisions for decades.

Every year, hundreds of right-wing protesters from across Europe march in the eastern German city on February 13 to commemorate its bombardment by allied forces toward the end of World War II. Dresden had no strategic military significance and its destruction remains a dark chapter for the allied forces, which has been used by the far-right to stoke anti-American tensions.

In recent decades, the February 13 commemorations have repeatedly escalated into large-scale violent clashes between Nazis and participants of counter-protests, who fear that the far-right could hijack the city’s destruction during World War II for its political purposes.

Members of the region’s far-right movements have also made no secret out of their fascination with Hitler. The leader of a Dresden-based anti-migration group, Pegida, was once photographed with a Hitler mustache, for example. And last year, a group of Nazis on a train near Dresden forced a 32-year old Indian to perform a Hitler salute, raising fears of anti-immigrant attacks in the region.

Germany has socialists and stuff in addition to Nazis, so their freedom of political expression is higher than ours, in practice.  The range of views under consideration is broader.  This is despite all civilized members of the country finding Nazism completely unacceptable.  “The First Amendment was written by slave traders” cannot be repeated enough.  It’s grotesque that the far-right is allowed to make itself the pretend champion of any kind of freedom.  In America, they can get away with saying that it’s a slippery slope to totalitarianism if we agree that trying to kill the Jews just isn’t allowed, ever.  You can’t try to make it happen by talking about it.  Just don’t be a Nazi.

Note that America couldn’t find it within itself to condemn Nazism at the United Nations, either, and that was under Obama.  Trump is only different for openly supporting them here instead of only in the Ukraine where Americans won’t notice or care.

The cops over there punish Nazis instead of protecting them, and the citizens still beat Nazis up when they try that shit.  Further, the Germans actively try to prevent the Nazis from twisting things around to make themselves look like victims, even when they have a point.

The first task of the Nazi revival is making itself seem mundane and normal so people don’t think about it too much.  That’s a precondition for later operations.  It’s not like the Nazis were in power and the Holocaust started the next day, although it’s probably like that in the imagination of American people.  Eugenics is too implicitly popular here to people to consciously dwell on how the Nazis started with disabled people, not Jews.

From Robert Jay Lifton’s The Nazi Doctors, a succint summary:

Prior to Auschwitz and the other death camps, the Nazis established a policy of direct medical killing: that is, killing arranged within medical channels, by means of medical decisions, and carried out by doctors and their assistants.  The Nazis called this program “euthanasia.”  Since, for them, this term camouflaged mass murder, I have throughout this book enclosed it within quotation marks when referring to that program.

The Nazis based their justification for direct medical killing on the simple concept of “life unworthy of life” (lebensunwertes Leben).  While the Nazis did not originate this concept, they carried it to its ultimate biological, racial, and “therapeutic” extreme.

Of the five identifiable steps by which the Nazis carried out the principle of “life unworthy of life,” coercive sterilization was the first.  There followed the killing of “impaired” children in hospitals; and then the killing of “impaired” adults, mostly collected from mental hospitals, in centers especially equipped with carbon monoxide gas.  This project was extended (in the same killing centers) to “impaired” inmates of concentration and extermination camps and, finally, to mass killings, mostly of Jews, in the extermination camps themselves.

We have a problematic relationship with Nazism because we helped inspire it:

Only in Nazi Germany was sterilization a forerunner of mass murder.  Programs of coercive sterilization were not peculiar to Nazi Germany.  They have existed in much of the Western world, including the United States, which has a history of coercive and sometimes illegal sterilizations applied mostly to the underclass of our society.  It was in the United States that a relatively simple form of vasectomy was developed at a penal institution around the turn of the century.  This procedure, together with a rising interest in eugenics, led, by 1920, to the enactment of laws in twenty-five states providing for compulsory sterilization of the criminally insane and other people considered genetically inferior.

No wonder that Fritz Lenz, a German physician-geneticist advocate of sterilization (later a leading ideologue in the Nazi program of “racial hygiene”), could, in 1923, berate his countrymen for their backwardness in the domain of sterilization as compared with the United States.  Lenz complained that provisions in the Weimar Constitution (prohibiting the infliction of bodily alterations on human beings) prevented widespread use of vasectomy techniques; that Germany had nothing to match the eugenics research institutions in England and the United States (for instance, that at Cold Spring Harbor, New York, led by Charles B. Davenport and funded by the Carnegie Institution in Washington and by Mary Harriman); and that Germany had no equivalent to the American laws prohibiting marriage both for people suffering from such conditions as epilepsy or mental retardation, and between people of different races.  Lenz criticized America only for focusing too generally on preserving on preserving the “white race” instead of specifically on the “Nordic race”–yet was convinced that “the next round in the thousand year fight for the life of the Nordic race will probably be fought in America.”  That single reservation suggests the early German focus on a specific racial entity, the “Nordic” or “Aryan race,” however unsupported by existing knowledge.

There had been plenty of racial-eugenic passion in the United States, impulses to sterilize large numbers of criminals and mental patients out of fear of “national degeneration” and of threat to the health of “the civilized races,” who were seen to be “biologically plunging downward.”

The truth is that Americans are Nazis in large numbers, and politicians are responsive to their concerns.  When Donald Trump issues a non-condemnation condemnation, it’s worse than “not going far enough.”  It actually makes his base continue to feel that “leftists” have so much power that the President of the United States of America, Leader of the Free World has to fake cry for niggers.  They control politics so much that simple knowledge of history is “radical extremism” while they represent “unity on the right.”

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