who goes islamist in a crunch? a new parlor game at a party…
I would update this to today’s fascist realities and ask, who goes islamist? and sadly I would say you could put together a rogues gallery of leftists who would, and many who actually allready have. can you name any?
The Anchoress had a recent post based on a Harper’s piece from August of 1941, written by Dorothy Thompson, “Who Goes Nazi?” It’s a parlor game where you look at the people around you and decide who would join the Nazis in a crunch. Of course when Thompson wrote this, it wasn’t merely a game – she had seen it played out several times in real life. And in today’s version it doesn’t have to be actual Nazis – it could be any ideological cause that’s willing to use violence to gain power.
It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times–in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis.
And then she begins to go person by person at an imaginary cocktail party and analyze whether they’d go Nazi or not and why:
The gentleman standing beside the fireplace with an almost untouched glass of whiskey beside him on the mantelpiece is Mr. A, a descendant of one of the great American families. There has never been an American Blue Book without several persons of his surname in it. He is poor and earns his living as an editor. He has had a classical education, has a sound and cultivated taste in literature, painting, and music; has not a touch of snobbery in him; is full of humor, courtesy, and wit. He was a lieutenant in the World War, is a Republican in politics, but voted twice for Roosevelt, last time for Willkie. He is modest, not particularly brilliant, a staunch friend, and a man who greatly enjoys the company of pretty and witty women. His wife, whom he adored, is dead, and he will never remarry.He has never attracted any attention because of outstanding bravery. But I will put my hand in the fire that nothing on earth could ever make him a Nazi. He would greatly dislike fighting them, but they could never convert him…. Why not?
Beside him stands Mr. B, a man of his own class, graduate of the same preparatory school and university, rich, a sportsman, owner of a famous racing stable, vice-president of a bank, married to a well-known society belle. He is a good fellow and extremely popular. But if America were going Nazi he would certainly join up, and early. Why?… Why the one and not the other?
It’s a long but worthwhile article and just more proof that the people’s basic nature hasn’t really changed much at all over time. Read til the end to find out her conclusions on the type of person who would and wouldn’t go Nazi.
If I were to play the game today, I’d be willing to wager that a good many of the current political class in Washington would go Nazi (some actively and some passively) and sadly that includes some GOP-types. And no doubt Spencer Ackerman and many on Journolist would jump on the bandwagon – although based on some the emails it seems they’re not even waiting for actual Nazis to show up before they start bashing in skulls, rhetorically speaking of course.
I would also be willing to bet that anyone with real religious faith would have a much easier time ignoring the siren call of the Nazi cause.