24 August 2023

Future DeTrumpification? A role for government?

I've been studying a bit on the decline of the Nazi regime in 1944-45 and I'm struck both by the horrifying similarities to the Cult of Trumpism today and, in all honesty, by the fundamental differences. (I use Cult of Trumpism to refer to the core fanatical followers, whose loyalty to the person of Donald Trump exceeds their patriotism or concern for the USA per se, and in some cases even their religion; there acutally are "Trump Messianics" among the QAnon conspiracists, whose fanaticism invades even their religious beliefs). The Nazi leaders were, unquestionably, gangsters, as are Trump and his minions. Göring, in particular, was especially venial and self-dealing, in a way that puts one in mind of Trump, and the mass deception and use of propaganda techniques with complete disregard for truth or evidence are shockingly similar. But the murderous racial hatred that motivated the Nazis, while not entirely absent in Trumpism, does not in any way rise to the level of sheer depravity and atrocity that was typical of Nazi leaders like Klaus Barbie, Heydrich, Göbbels, Himmler, Bormann and, of course, Hitler himself, to name just a few key figures. Yes, Trumpism is malignant, duplicitous, and mafia-like, but it is not, at least not yet, genocidal. So, when we look at the somewhat checkered history of post-victory denazification of the German populace, we should take some comfort and hope that a carefully crafted information (as opposed to disinformation) campaign on what the key provisions of our Constitution and system of government really mean, and how facts matter, could ultimately be successful in healing the terrible rift that separates our people. Such an official program will have to be carefully crafted to be nonpartisan, non-political even, but, like the best of Cold War propaganda (and not like the worst of it), I believe there is a public information role in a post-Trump-defeat government to bring about renewed understanding and appreciation of basic civics, and how our system is crafted with checks and balances to preserve democratic republicanism and prevent the rise of autocracy and extremist ideology. 

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