Bryan Caplan  

From the Holocaust Museum's "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda"

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Various Sentences to Ponder... George Stigler's Tenure Call...
Here's the most fascinating exhibit from the Holocaust Museum's "State of Deception" exhibit:

smallnazi.jpg
(full-size version)

The top and bottom read: "Hate and annihilation to our enemies.  Freedom, justice, and bread to our people."  But it's the four heads of the dragon that are remarkable: Jewry, Bolshevism, Plutocracy, and Capitalism.  Consider: Most observers are eager to insist that the Nazis' hostility to plutocracy and capitalism were merely rhetorical.  But it's Bolshevism that enjoyed almost two years of Nazi friendship before their great bloodbath began.  Go figure.


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COMMENTS (8 to date)
Mark Brady writes:

But what exactly are your readers supposed to figure?

Ted Levy writes:

It's said--repeatedly, like a mantra--that "it can't happen here." People can judge for themselves how similar this Nazi poster's themes are to current American values. We all support "freedom and justice" of course, especially in the abstract, and most Americans today support food stamps to make sure the government supplies those in need with bread. Metaphorically, "bread" refers to government transfers, and most Americans support a transfer economy, especially when it comes to the largest transfer, Social Security.

Meanwhile, GOP candidates other than Ron Paul are convinced that to win votes from their constituents they must promise annihilation of our enemies while fomenting hatred of those who are different.

As regards the dragon heads, most Americans would make different choices as to names, though it wouldn't be too difficult to find some who would still choose "Jewry" and of course the Occupy movement would choose "Plutocracy" and "Capitalism," which they view as indistinguishable.

But the concern, even more than the ominous parallels easily drawn here, are the names that would NOT be chosen for the dragon heads. Would 1 in 100 Americans choose "Nationalism?" How many would choose "Government Power?"

MG writes:

I believe that this piece of propaganda was "peace time" propaganda and its enemies, domestic. Government was seen as the "tool" of last resort with which to "shape" society -- in essence, to cut down to size those envied or those whose politics were politically incorrect. At this point in time, and for the foresseable future, and as a citizen of this country, I am far more concerned with the political rhetoric that incites resentment of those we envy or those who hold views that are no longer considered politically correct. This will affect my family's life a lot more than whatever less Nationalism would protect us from in foreign affairs.

Chris Koresko writes:

Bryan Caplan: Most observers are eager to insist that the Nazis' hostility to plutocracy and capitalism were merely rhetorical. But it's Bolshevism that enjoyed almost two years of Nazi friendship before their great bloodbath began.

I wonder what you think of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. In it, he argues that the Nazis were very clearly a left-wing party in all important respects, including the intent to overthrow capitalism. This intent was made plain in their party platform, and it was stated as the goal in the talk that drew Hitler to the Nazis.

Ted Levy: But the concern, even more than the ominous parallels easily drawn here, are the names that would NOT be chosen for the dragon heads. Would 1 in 100 Americans choose "Nationalism?" How many would choose "Government Power?"

Fear of Government power is pretty widespread in the U.S. today, according to a poll I saw about a week ago. People are much more concerned about the Government than about business or unions.

Ted Levy: Meanwhile, GOP candidates other than Ron Paul are convinced that to win votes from their constituents they must promise annihilation of our enemies while fomenting hatred of those who are different.

I don't know where you get this. As far as I know (and I admit I haven't watched all the debates) none of the Republican candidates (or Obama) has promised annihilation of our enemies or attempted to foment hatred of those who are different. And frankly it's pretty hard to imagine them doing so.

Ken B writes:

Bryan (and all), you might like Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics by Spotts.

Glen S. McGhee writes:

"But it's Bolshevism that enjoyed almost two years of Nazi friendship before their great bloodbath began. Go figure."

Excellent question, given the racial apocalyptic views of Old Guard Nazis (as in the poster).
Early views of Bolshevism stem from Eckart:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Eckart
But the article makes no mention of the connection. Too bad!

I suspect it was merely political expedience. Addressing Versailles took priority, and the fulfillment of colonial-ist fantasies in the east came later. It simply was not practical during the early years.

Charles R. Williams writes:

Is there a date for this poster? Looks to me like it might be early thirties. That would explain the choice of enemies.

Torsten Munkov writes:

The Russians and Chinese have tried but failed to adopt the American Massacre Technique. It must always be fully a Democide and never an outright killing of a race or belief system. Great care must be taken as the millions of the demonized demographic die to stay on task prosecuting a political war only. The losing side is must always remain free to renounce their identity and live.

We are not murderers but life terminators of publicly announced propaganda composites.

The U.S. Authoritarian state will not suffer the following to live:
Those who merely speak of violence against rulers, drug users, babies declared not financially viable, communists, fascists, slave owners, polygamists, and primitive tribalists.

One of the things most admired America is her ruthless fortitude in quickly dispatching 50 million native Americans to make possible its centrally-planned vision of prosperity and unity. The hundreds of millions subsequently killed during America's roughly 700 wars is well documented on Wikipedia.
There is no need to live in a state of deception, rather let us live in open acknowledgement of the character of our freedom and strive to be less maleficent in the future.

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