05 Mar Those Who Fail to Learn from the Past . . .
Are Doomed to Repeat It.
On Facebook recently, I’ve made a few comments about the parallels I see in the campaign of a certain Presidential candidate and the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1930’s Germany. Some years ago I read a book titled The Nazi Conscience that chronicled how the Nazi party and Hitler rose to power. I read it after having visited the site of the Buchenwald Concentration camp. Something happened during that visit that profoundly moved me so I began investigating and pondering how the Nazis managed to take over Germany and how that might be replayed in the end times, in light of what the Bible tells us about the atrocities that will take places during the Tribulation. When I voiced my concerns about one of the candidate’s popularity, I expected push back because admittedly, it seems ludicrous that what happened in the Holocaust could happen again in modern American. But the Bible says something worse IS going to happen. If this is the lead to the End Times, as many of us think, we ought to be able to see the same seeds that framed the thinking of the German people in the 30’s and can expect leaders to come on the scene advocating similar things.
It’s with great interested I heard Al Mohler’s Daily Briefing today. It ended with this . . . [Begin Mohlers’ Transcript]
Finally, last night I was struck by something cited by Jon Ostrower of the Wall Street Journal as he wrote, “Out of curiosity, I found the first New York Times reference to Adolf Hitler. Nov. 21, 1922.”
In thinking about the realities of politics, American Christians would do well to consider how Hitler was misread and, in this case, how that misreading is cited within the pages of the New York Times. Again, this is the very first time that the name Adolf Hitler has appeared in the New York Times, November 21, 1922. The Times said that, “Several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch messes of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.
“A sophisticated politician,” says the New York Times, “credited Hitler with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and overemphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: ‘You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”
So what should we note here? We should note that when the New York Times first mentions Adolf Hitler, it notes his horrifying anti-Semitism, but then tries to explain it away by saying it probably isn’t real; he’s probably merely using this anti-Semitism in order to build popular appeal. But of course history records that not only did Adolf Hitler mean what he said and say what he meant, he eventually did gain power in Germany, and that led to the extermination in the Holocaust of millions of people, most of them Jews. At the very least, this should remind us that it could be a horrifying mistake not to believe that someone means exactly what they say. [End Mohler’s transcript]
The candidates for president in the 2016 election have made clear their intentions if they are elected President. Listen to them and decide if they represent the virtues that once framed our democratic republic, or if what they promise and the way they conduct their campaign now, points to a dystopian future.