Sunday, 20 March 2016

Trump vs. Hitler: some dangerous similarities

“Entire libraries have been filled with books attempting to explain how a once-homeless failed artist could have launched a war machine that eventually resulted in 60 million dead, and a death machine that killed 6 million in the Holocaust's gas chambers. More are certainly to come. The rise of the Nazis defies any simple narrative, coming as it did out of a myriad of interlacing events, ideologies and historical accidents”. “

The quote above is true, not only in relation to the policies expounded by the two men, but, more dangerously, by the social and political conditions that permitted Hitler’s rise to power.

In other posts (see: here and here) I have already explained the similarity between the economic conditions in the 1930s and today. I will just add that today they are not as dire, but can turn so if the next financial crises exceeds that of 2008 and reaches the level of 1932.

Turning now to the political conditions, I recall that today’s dissatisfaction is two-fold – a generalized disillusion with the centrist political establishment in Western countries and a rise in nationalist illusions among former communist states who failed to thrive under capitalism. Unfortunately, both disillusions may converge into a dangerous spiral of nationalism in a 1930s fashion.

What worries me is the reaction of moderates in the left and the right who seem to start taking an appeasement approach to Trump, like the one that cleared the road to Hitler.

Its worrisome, to see how many moderate Republicans are trying to embellish the Trump discourse or to believe the wishful thinking that he will moderate his views when in power.

Moreover, the same stance is being taken by some radical classical liberals’ followers of Hayek, whose dislike of Hilary Clinton blinds them enough to endorse a candidate like Trump whose policies are extremely nationalistic and protectionist (see my exchange with Don Boudreaux here).

So, we live in dangerous times. And, whether we like it or not, we have to rely on the hope that Hilary Clinton is elected and brings some sense to the political arena. She is not the candidate of the Republicans, but, if they fail to stop Trump and do not support her, they may end up playing Hindenburg’s role 83 years ago.

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