by Gene Berkman
Q:”Why do Nazis rally around statues of Confederate heros?”
A:”There are no statues of Hitler in Germany for Nazis to rally around.”
Now that civic and business leaders in the south are beginning to deal with the statues of confederate politicians and generals, some are defending the statues as more about nostalgia than about racism. Of course, it is hard to separate nostalgia for the old south from the racist society that it stood for.
At the recent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, another kind of nostalgia was on display. A couple hundred night-time marchers carried tiki torches and chanted “Blood & Soil” and anti-Semitic slogans, in a juvenile parody of a Nuremburg rally. Americans, in the early 21st Century, nostalgic for the Third Reich – National Socialist Germany.
The National Socialist Party held power in Germany for 12 years, from April 30, 1933 to June of 1945. When the National Socialist reign came to an end, German cities had whole neighborhoods turned to rubble. Millions of Germans were homeless – they even created their own party, Bund der Heimatlosen. Factories and shops were damaged, and people were reduced to selling anything they had or could find to occupation soldiers in the hopes of making a little money to make survival possible.
Today, Germany is a major economic power, producing and exporting precision equipment and high quality consumer goods. Each year, Germany exports almost a trillion dollars worth of products. Germans have the highest standard of living and lowest taxes in Europe, except for the Swiss. And millions of foreigners have found in Germany a place to live and be creative.
Germany has achieved its economic success by restoring the market economy that the Nazis had destroyed, by enacting guarantees for civil liberties, and adopting a foreign policy based on avoiding conflict. Modern Germany has made a clean break with the Nazi past, and it has prospered.
Only a fool with a very low IQ, or someone with serious psychological problems, would think that the Third Reich was a better place to live than contemporary Germany. In Germany only a real loser would be nostalgic for a system that destroyed their country. In America, we have losers too, and they were on display in Charlottesville just recently.
The losers in Charlottesville included some who carried confederate flags, and others who carried flags with swastikas, mixing two forms of nostalgia. And who can deny that in the southern states today, life is better for everyone than it was during the 4 years of the slaveholders rebellion? After 4 years of the confederacy, millions in the south were in want, their dreams of a prosperous life dashed in a war caused by the defenders of slavery. How can anyone be nostalgic for that?
I guess nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be.