“A nationalist will say that “it can’t happen here,” which is the first step toward disaster. A patriot says that it could happen here, but that we will stop it.”
― Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Victor Klemperer was a German Romances language scholar who became much better known for the diaries he kept detailing his life under the German Empire, the Wiemar Republic, Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic. His diaries for the period of the Third Reich under the Dictatorship of Adolf Hitler have become standard sources and definitive accounts of the rise of Nazism in Germany and the descent of a modern society into totalitarianism in almost real-time.
In his observations Klemperer noticed that the truth under the Nazi regime became eradicated by four modes of denial. The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality. The second is shamanistic incantation. The third is magical thinking and the eager embrace of a position that is suffused with contradiction. The last and by no means least is misplaced faith by the followers of the Leader. All of these have been for the last 4 years, part of President Trump’s blatant abandonment of the truth, which finally culminated and reached its nadir, in the attempt by Trump, to undermine the very lifeblood of democracy, by calling the 2020 Presidential Election: ‘‘a fraud perpetrated by members of the Democratic Party’’.
This is of course the ‘‘Big Lie’’ and such a concept is (incorrectly) attributed to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister for Propaganda but was actually first coined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 book, ‘Mein Kampf’ (My Struggle) written whilst serving his sentence for the Munich putsch. Hitler had been sentenced to five years after his part in a failed coup d’etat in 1923 and on 20 December 1924, having served only nine months, Hitler was released. Once released, Hitler redirected his focus towards obtaining power through legal means rather than by revolution or force, and accordingly changed his tactics, further developing Nazi propaganda and the assault on truth as delineated by Victor Klemperer.
Of course Trump unlike Hitler was already in power. His ‘Big Lie’ was required to facilitate him holding on to power having lost the 2020 Presidential Election. It is…