Weimar America?

The battle over the Kavanaugh nomination saw the Left take yet another giant step toward unreason.  Apparently serious people argued that any woman’s accusation against any man must be believed.  Suddenly, three thousand years of history and literature, in which perfidy of women, their lies and plots that brought disaster, loom large are to be tossed aside.  In their place we are to believe that today’s women carry a “truth serum” gene that makes lies impossible.  Even the (desirable) Victorian elevation of women did not go as far as this.  Victorian women, presented with the idea that women cannot lie, would have responded with gales of laughter.

The left’s rejection of facts and reason in favor of romantic faith in “feelings” is yet another sign of our cultural decay.  That decay has gone far enough to raise the question of whether we are following the path of Weimar Germany, Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s.  

To summarize a complex historical period, the collapse of morals and culture in Germany in the 1920s alienated the German middle class from the Weimar Republic.  When the Great Depression hit, that alienation was joined by deep anger at the government’s inability to set the economy right and provide jobs.  Adolf Hitler and his National Socialists rode this mixture of alienation and anger to power (legally, by winning an election).  They then abolished the Weimar constitution, reaffirmed traditional middle-class morality, pulled Germany out of the Depression, and gave jobs to everyone who wanted one (for which the brilliant head of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, deserves much of the credit).

I was in Berlin for ten days in August, where my search for Germany’s history was aided by an excellent guidebook in the Companion Guides series, Berlin by Brian Ladd.  Ladd quotes the interwar novelist Stefan Zweig’s description of Berlin in 1923, during the Weimar Republic’s hyperinflation:

I have a pretty thorough knowledge of history, but never, to my recollection, has it produced such madness in such gigantic proportions.  All values were changed, and not only material ones; the laws of the State were flouted, no tradition, no moral code was respected, Berlin was transformed into the Babylon of the world.  Bars, amusement parks, honky-tonks, sprang up like mushrooms. . . the Germans introduced all their vehemence and methodological organization into the perversion.Along the entire Kurfurstendamm powdered and rouged young men sauntered and they were not all professionals; every high school boy wanted to earn some money and in the dimly lit bars one might see government officials and men of the world of finance tenderly courting drunken sailors without shame.  Even the Rome of Suetonious has never seen such orgies as the pervert balls of Berlin, where hundreds of men costumed as women and hundreds of women as men danced under the benevolent eyes of the police.In the collapse of all values a kind of madness gained hold particularly in bourgeois circles which until then had been unshakable in their probity.Young girls bragged proudly of their perversion, to be sixteen and still under the suspicion of virginity would have been considered a disgrace in any school of Berlin at that time…

Does this sound all too familiar?  America now witnesses such behavior not only in one city, but throughout the land.  And the Establishment media promote it, bless it, and denounce anyone who rejects it as a “hater”.  A large portion of America’s middle class finds it alienating.

So far, the alienation is tempered by the good economy.  But the Big One is coming, a world-wide debt crisis that will bring not just a recession but a depression and a long-lasting one.  Unlike the Great Depression, I expect this one to be inflationary because central banks will respond to it by creating massive liquidity.  At this point, it is all they know how to do.

If you take widespread cultural alienation, economic collapse, massive unemployment, and inflation and wrap them all up together, you get Weimar America.  Someone will take political advantage of the situation.  I expect that as in Germany under the Weimar constitution, you will have a faceoff between a populist, extreme Left–we’ve certainly seen enough Leftist extremism in the Kavanaugh confirmation battle– and a populist Right.  At present, only a small slice of the populist Right is extreme.  Most of it is well represented by President Trump, who is a very long way indeed from Adolf Hitler.  President Trump is anti-Establishment, but his agenda lies well within the historical mainstream of American politics.  After all, for most of its history the Republican party was the party of high tariffs.

As in Weimar Germany, the initial push to the extremes has come from the Left, which seems to imagine it can go as far as it wants without eliciting a reaction from the Right.  In Germany, the SA arose largely to counter violence from the Communists.  Here, the Left thought it could raise racial consciousness among blacks and Hispanics without creating a similar rise in racial consciousness on the part of the whites.  It was wrong.  Now, it is openly advocating violence against Republican Party leaders and other prominent conservatives, harassing them in public places, vandalizing their property, and threatening their families.  This too will bring an equal reaction from the Right, and the Left will find to its sorrow that the Right fights rather better than the Left.  

Conservatives do not want to see our public life move in these directions.  The first conservative principle is order: safety of persons and property.  But as in Weimar Germany, the combination of cultural decadence and economic collapse will drive politics to its extremes.  Conservatives should work with moderates and such liberals as dare defy the extreme Left to preserve order.  But if that fails, then only one thing will matter: winning.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

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