Trump's Kampf, Part 1: Hitler or not, here He Comes

Trump's Kampf, Part 1: Hitler or not, here He Comes

Press Release ( - PALO ALTO, Calif. - Jun 13, 2017 -

Trump’s Kampf, Part 1.

As if anticipating the deepest fears of his many detractors, Donald Trump recently asked: “are we living in Nazi Germany?” To give this great question its scholarly due, we need to do something fewer and fewer people are willing to do. We need to seriously read Hitler. Then, fascinating similarities emerge, bizarre Trumpisms become clearer, and our sense of the danger lying ahead is accentuated,  our concerns in some cases mitigated, in other exacerbated . Below are some of my insights upon reading Mein Kampf, likely the most important book never read.

“The Brutal Daily Press”

The most striking similarity between the two is their loathing of the press. Like Trump, Hitler’s loathing centers on the question of integrity and bias:

“…The brutal daily press shuns no villainy, lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams…”
One can hear echoes of Trump’s calls for changing libel laws and restricting the “lying liberal media” here. But Hitler rarely singles out particular journals for his contempt, whereas Trump often does. On the contrary, Adolphe’s anti-semitic theory that Jews control the world’s media precludes much distinction among individual organs of the press. Again and again, when you compare the two “great” men – two men who love the word “great,” that is – Hitler is the more general thinker, Trump a man more drawn to individuals. Just as Trump loves the idea of “slander” because of its personal connotations, so Hitler prefers more ideological attacks on Marxism, the Bourgeoisie, and sadly the phantom that permeates both for him – Judaism. Trump focuses his attacks solely on coverage of himself. Hitler, on the other hand, is not at all concerned with his personal coverage, but is instead obsessed with the ideological “corruption” of the press. I can see Trump attempting to destroy a particular news organization, as he gestured towards by revoking the Post’s press credentials. But the kind of ideological venom and energy that you need to dismantle the entire world of journalism like Hitler  – this seems beyond Trump’s abilities.

“Artful Dodgers” or “Well-Meaning Incompetents”

It is hard to tell which group of people Hitler hates more, journalists or politicians. Normally, he will take up this or that party and vent his disgust with it: “the common bourgeois politician now felt better in the slime of republican corruption…,” “I intensely loathed the whole gang of party politicians who had betrayed the people.” “Did our ‘national’ politicians believe, after all, that the development of the army could be anything other than national? This belief… could be explained by the fact that during the war they were not soldiers but mere talkers.” But Hitler’s thoughts on Politicians as an abstract group are not much fonder:

“Fifty percent of our politicians consists of artful dodgers who have no character and are quite hostile to the sympathies of our people, while the other fifty percent is made up of well-meaning, harmless and complaisant incompetents.”

Much of Trump’s view of politicians is  the same. He knows their corruption first hand, he likes to remind us, because he benefited from it as a businessman. His convention speech, one of the few coherent moments of his candidacy, includes quotes that would very much have resonated with the author of Mein Kampf : “…war and destruction will continue to last so long as we rely on the politicians who created them… As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America first, then we can be assured other nations will not treat America with respect.” Like Hitler’s, Trump’s words often convey a sense of a feeble and harmful internationalism in current political affairs, as well as contempt for the inherent selfishness of the profession:

“I have embraced crying mothers who have lost their children because our politicians put their personal agendas before the public good.” Like Hitler, Trump seizes on the inefficiency of government: “The politicians have talked about it. I am going to do it.”

“I Alone can Fix It”

But as strange as this may sound, Hitler has none of Trump’s “I.”  The rare remarks in Mein Kampf that might strike one as boastful could hardly be compared with Trump’s “I alone can fix it, ” nor with the president’s patented formula of superiority to all humanity: “no one is more X, or does Y better than me” . Contrast this with Hitler’s “boasting”:

“And I could boast of some success: in the course of my lectures I led many hundreds, indeed thousands, of comrades back to their people and fatherland.”

“This event proved what I had felt all along: I could speak. At the end of the thirty minutes, the people in the little room were electrified.”

On the contrary, Hitler’s autobiography is ridden with humbling experiences. His very ideology is built on a surprising story arch of error to enlightenment, whereas you would be hard-pressed to find a quote of Trump suggesting a mistake in his actions or reasoning. Shockingly, Hitler begins his book by claiming anti-semitism initially seemed foolish and unfounded to him, the Vienesse Press a source of information. He often partially concedes objections, and anticipates others. Hitler even goes so far as to claim entertaining objections is a crucial practice of speechmaking: “in every speech it was important to realize clearly in advance the presumable content and form of the objections to be expected in the discussion, and to pull them apart in the speech itself.”  Trump could not be further from this view. Grammatically, there are some 50 instances of complex conjunctives like “although” and “despite” in Mein Kampf, words used to acknowledge the nuances and contradictions of political realities. Trump is much more of an “and” president.

Source : Musings on Music

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