Not very many things frighten me, but extremism in every type does.
We listen to a great deal about the extremism of radicalized Islamic factions, such groups are worrisome. Identifying a whole religious faith with more than a billion members as harmful due to the horrendous activities of its most radical minority element is also extremism and needs to be called out as such.
We hear about child traffickers trying to smuggle children across the border, and yes, those people are worrisome. But making sweeping generalizations about migrants from south of the border and putting asylum seekers into the same category as human traffickers is also extremism and needs to be called out as such.
When we don’t recognize extremist thinking in our own ranks, we are headed down a perilous path.
I generally think that comparing anyone to Hitler and/or the Nazis is overstating as well as exaggerative, yet I don’t really feel like this today. Some of the statements I’ve seen regarding Muslims and migrants from media pundits, politicians, and also average Joes resemble anti-Jewish Nazi rhetoric is frightening.
Hermann Goering, who is referred to in this meme and also considered to be just to the right of Hitler, was one of the highest-ranking Nazis who was caught as well as put on trial by the Allies after World War II ended. He was found guilty on charges of “battle criminal offenses,” “crimes versus tranquility,” and “criminal offenses versus mankind” by the Nuremberg tribunal and sentenced to death.
The quote comes from a published account of an exclusive discussion with a renowned psychologist, in which Goering described exactly how “people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.”
We need to remember that Hitler and also the Nazis didn’t begin the Holocaust by gassing millions of Jews.
The Holocaust started with words. Hitler and the Nazis took advantage of existing anti-Semitic sentiment by fomenting fear and prejudice and spreading false and/or misleading information (propaganda) about the Jewish people. They played on Germans’ patriotism, exploiting their fear and sense of righteousness, making them feel like it was the most logical and reasonable thing in the world to officially identify Jews and curtail their rights and freedoms in the name of security. They successfully made the persecution of against Jews and others seem not only acceptable but necessary, as they clearly posed an imminent danger to the German way of life.
It was a lengthy game. Hitler played his anti-semitism up or down for years, depending on his audience. He played on the humanity of his people with years of constant drips of bias and propaganda. He offered it time to sink in, gradually collecting economic, social, and also political problems that he could turn to blame on the Jews.
The Holocaust started with years of propaganda as well as publicity paving the way for discrimination and oppression, mainly in the name of safety and security as well as protection.
After that came the internments.
Then the concentration camp.
And reasonable individuals that would usually be horrified by such points let it happen
That’s what fearmongering and propaganda does. And that’s why most of us have to recognize it when we see it.
If you are getting your info regarding Islam from anti-Islamic sites or resources, or info regarding immigrants or evacuees from anti-immigration web sites or sources, time out for a minute and consider the source. If you are a Christian, would you direct a person to an anti-Christian website to discover what Christianity is actually about? Would you direct someone to an anti-Semitic website to find out about Judaism?
I could easily pull scripture from the Bible, pair it with stories of violence and extremism from Christian terrorist groups (yes, they exist) or individuals, and create a website that would make it look like Christians want to take over the world, kill adulterers, subjugate women, stone disobedient children, and force everyone to accept their beliefs. Would that website be an accurate place to go to learn about Christianity, if all I really knew about the religion was the violence I’d seen in the news from extremist groups and individuals?
Certainly not. That would certainly be the worst sort of propaganda and would certainly paint a totally incorrect image of what the majority of Christians believe. Yet that’s the kind of thing numerous web sites that assert to be enlightening people concerning Islam are doing, and it’s terrifying that so many people don’t recognize it.
We’ve seen this in the past.
We now have all of the information about how one of the most atrocious stories in human history played out. I hope and pray that we are conscientious enough to not even flirt with the opening act.
Portions of this article are credited to Motherhood and More and can be read here