Liberal college students calling Trump Hitler should demand their money back
On Wednesday, the campus of UC Berkeley (in the 1960s a conservative institution) erupted with protests and riots. This reaction by the elite students of this now radical state-supported California institution should raise serious questions about freedom of speech and tolerance. Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, invited by a Republican student group, was unable to deliver his speech as a result of this riot. A new cold wind has descended upon our nation, threatening our body politic.
Yiannopoulos is an interesting character for these fiery antagonists to oppose. He is a conservative British citizen born in Greece. He is Catholic and gay but recognizes Jewish roots through his mother. His parents divorced while he was young, so his grandmother helped raise him. He is hardly the usual conservative 32-year-old. Opponents call him a member of the "alt-right" (reminiscent of Steve Bannon), as some ideas do overlap.
The behavior of these rioting students raises more important questions for our nation. The radical left has called conservative opponents racists, homophobes, misogynists, anti-LGBT, fascists, anti-Semitic, corporation supporters, and un-American. These epithets are used by liberals to marginalize any but the most moderate Republicans. They claim to want multi-culturalism but thwart diversity of ideas. Silencing ideas strikes against freedom of speech. It is borrowed from those fascists they claim to oppose. The most disturbing aspect is the support for these approaches that the governing Democrat elite in Washington and liberal state capitals has provided.
Some have called Trump "Hitlerian," but this demonstrates their lack of historical knowledge. After World War I, Germany and Italy were left without the financial means to feed and provide for their populations. As a result, dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini rose to power and created fascist regimes. These socialist conglomerates with large corporate entities consolidated power by identifying enemies domestic and foreign.
Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels would repeat lies until they were accepted as truth. The techniques of modern politicians are borrowed from this approach. Hitler sought to divide the citizenry by eliminating groups of people as scapegoats, including Jews, gypsies, and the handicapped. This approache worked to generate nationalist fervor. He utilized techniques of indoctrination through the Hitler youth. Our high schools and colleges do this more subtly today. Our children are taught Marxist philosophy (unknowingly) with its partiality to the disadvantaged, minorities, and poor. Few academic economists support laissez-faire capitalism today.
The modern marginalization of opponents is effective with conventional politicians but has little affect upon President Trump. Hitler attacked German citizens (principally Jews), French disputed territories, Czechoslovakia, and then Poland to start World War II. Trump is arguing to change policies to protect American citizens (as opposed to foreigners) and reduce our footprint in the Middle East. This is hardly the dictatorial expansion of power that Mussolini (in Africa) or Hitler pursued. The Nazi party was anti-communist but German socialist – again, hardly the entrepreneurial approach of Trump, with tax cuts and limiting national governmental power.
Many higher educational institutions have failed to give these students adequate understanding of these differences. Would the students feel the need to disrupt a Trump supporter such as Yiannopoulos otherwise?
Major universities such as Rutgers, Penn State, and Ivy League schools have been inhospitable to Republicans and conservatives, including former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Ben Shapiro, and David Horowitz. This intolerance demonstrates that agitators have great latitude. Universities usually require conservative student groups to pay for extra security when their speakers attend. Yet often the events are canceled. President Trump tweeted his concern about federal funding for such institutions. It may be time to consider some changes.
Kristallnacht, or "the night of broken glass," in 1938 may be considered the beginning of the final solution that led to the Jewish Holocaust. The Nazi regime had found its scapegoat to give ordinary people a group to attack. They actively encouraged the destruction of these people's property – hardly anything like the immigration pause from seven Islamic countries. The media and Democratic opposition have used this memory to falsely equate the two situations. Further, they do not distinguish that the "America First" movement of the 1930s was principally anti-war, rather than pro-Nazi, in contrast to Trump's policy.
The radical left anarchistic bullying is aimed at causing enough pressure upon its opposition to force reversal of policies. The leaders of the congressional Democrats have determined to reinforce this approach by absence of condemnation. The attempts to slow the establishment of Trump's cabinet encourages further protests.
The search for political power by the left is disturbing in that the attempt threatens our constitutional process. It uses ignorant youths, some with longstanding grievances against our system. It is anti-democratic and fails to understand our representative republic. More importantly, it fosters a form of intellectual secession. It is underlying the movement within California to leave the Union. This movement is clearly removed from the issues that prompted the Civil War.
It is necessary for leaders on the left to consider the consequences of their animosity toward Trump. They have set forces in motion that could erupt into the riots of the 1960s. Pushing the envelope can lead to backlash beyond the left's imagination. Angela Merkel of Germany aimed to accept Syrian refugees as a way of removing the memory of Nazi Germany. The result has been unhappy and might allow neo-Nazi re-emergence.
Be careful what you wish for! George Santayana warned us to remember the past, lest we repeat it. Will our education system provide adequate history training, or will conservatives have to create new institutions?