Goebbels in America

They failed in the game which they invented, maintained, and defended at all cost, and now, they want another shot at it, but with altered rules, ones that would guarantee their advantage. This is the core of the microsolidarity and fractal belonging of the current identity politics. It is also fascism at its purest. — Read more from NOTES FROM DISGRACELAND and follow on Twitter

19. IX 2021

Three quarters of a century after his death, Goebbels is back in vogue. After the 2020 shipwreck, Republicans are fighting for their lives. Desperate and angry, they are coming out as a full-blown Nazi party, taking Goebbels’ playbook as a gospel, pure and undiluted, as if no other books have ever been written. There are no more pretenses — anti-Semitism, racism, and misogyny are alive and well in America today with open support for white supremacy in all its modes and hasty legislation of outdated segregationist policies. MAGA-pride events, the culturally adjusted burlesque versions of Nazi conventions, have replaced county fairs and have become magnets for angry, aggressive, and comically stupid folks. New blood is being mobilized to carry out Brown-shirt activities and misguided attempts to model their own martyrs (Ashli Babbitt as a modern day Horst Wessel) on Nazi folk heroes.

Without a program or agenda, and armed with strategy of fully randomized focus targeting, everything is in the mix (hoping that something will stick): The Constitution, first (and second) amendment, race (critical and uncritical), education, prayer in schools, American history (and anti-history), slavery, 1619, white replacement, immigration, misogyny, abortion, climate change, wealth distribution, student loans, taxes, recounts, voter suppression, insurrection, swastikas, sedition, civil war, Republican math, Florida man, flat earth, space travel, Taliban, Hunter Biden, media, influencers, Moonies, masks, vaccines, Fauci, Ivermectine, Jews with (and without) lasers, cousins in Trinidad, and, of course, Jesus.

By its design, the new, 21st century gumbo of neo-Nazi propaganda has become the key identifier of growing masses of excluded, grotesquely ignorant folks whose anger and self-pity, caused by their precarity, trumps rationality, logic, science, and their own economic interests, safety and well-being. The high marketability of the Nazi-style response to populist rage is the new frontier for the transparently dishonest media outlets who, in search of attention, publicity, and ratings are willing to cross the boundaries of century-old social and political taboos and get on the other side in order to get ahead of the competition or just stay in the game.

A logical question emerges at this point: Why do we have to go back to these issues again? After all, these are outdated ideologies with a well-documented chronology of their inadequacy and chronic failure (social, economic, political, moral). Is fascism turning out to be the strange attractor of modernity and is its periodic recurrence unavoidable?

Despite its extreme nature and excesses, what happened in Germany in the 1930s was a logical inevitability of the Western civilization and its intellectual tradition. Evil is an intellectual need of the mind, which meditates about good. Intellectuals made evil logically necessary upon funding the idea about a better world. It is, therefore, no wonder that the origins of WWII reside in one of the most developed countries with the strongest cultural tradition in the Western world of that time.

After WWII was over, while the victors indulged in the narcissistic righteousness of its aftermath, Germany emerged richer with insights, which had remained unregistered by the allies. Through an unprecedented defeat, they [Germans] have been brought to the unwanted but valid insight that national identities and ethnic missions are in principle nothing more than violent and violence-producing collective autohypnosis. Consequently, they have developed a relationship to the missions of history that resembles that of a sober alcoholic to their former drug [1].

And while modern Germany has retreated from the manic historicity and forever abandoned the idea of being a chosen nation, the victors saw, and continue to see, WWII as just another round in a tournament for international supremacy in which one competitor (Germany) had been eliminated. They (the victors) never abandoned the dreams of their own supremacy — their individual or collective visions of the future have been nothing but projections and fantasies of their domination extending to their logical extremes [2].

America seems to have gone the furthest in that direction. Economically prosperous, but, at the same time, neck-deep in excrement, largely due to its own self-neglect and gross mismanagement of its fortunes, it remains narcissistically in love with itself — for all the wrong reasons.

Paradoxically, this is especially true for those segments of the American population that have been the victims of said neglect. In the last years, these folks have been in a state of a post-coital narcissistic orgy and have become a petri dish for the same collective auto-hypnotic identity politics and self-discovery that Germany went through a century ago.

By the end of the first decade of the new century, the gap that separates every disgruntled member of the excluded white sub-proletariat in America from the clutches of white supremacist rage has shrunk so much that it takes only a moment of inattention for any member of that community to falsely interpret their personal misery, deserved defeat, and bitterness as the sad faith of America, which, if we are to be honest, with such whining, pitiful and comically ignorant constituents, never really deserved anything better.

They failed in the game which they invented, maintained, and defended at all cost, and now, they want another shot at it, but with altered rules, ones that would guarantee their advantage. This is the core of the microsolidarity and fractal belonging of the current identity politics. It is also fascism at its purest.

And as the saying goes: All comedies of history happen twice; the first time they are bloody, and the second time ridiculous.

When the final receipts were written, the 1900s turned out to be a bad century for Germany. It was also a turning point for America as the leading cultural and economic global force. Now that baton has been passed, it is America’s turn.

So, here we are.

[1] Peter Sloterdijk, Infinite Mobilization, Polity Press (2020)

[2] ibid.


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10 thoughts on “Goebbels in America

  1. The problem with this social toxicity at this point in time, is the wonderful magic of the internet highway, which allows any moron to use technology to amplify and supercharge stupidity, into a louder resonating voice that can travel across a vast network, where like-minded people listen to pied pipers. The amplification process is currently easier (for everyone) to see now because of trumpism and covid-19. The internet is efficiently helping connect toxic people to magnetic nectar-like ideology that harmonizes their mental distortions and deficiencies — allowing simpleton insects to forge themselves into dangerous mindless swarms — able to attack national capitols, or burn down foundations of social structure, e.g., Reichstag Fire.

    One doesn’t need to look much further than terrorist organizations to see that our world and country are at risk, as long as there are media megaphones like fox, crime families like the trumps and the means to spread crap all along the Info Highway … but how doers it work, to keep them off?

    It’s too bad that states closing highways for winter snow storms, doesn’t act as an example for vaccine and media storms.

  2. Very insightful comment ! Amazing to read this from an American author ! It corresponds completely to my European view on the US nowadays…

  3. The failure of American leadership is the failure of America (and Americans) itself. Over the past 100 years the American identity has been tied to wildly ambitious objectives that led to a feeling of moral superiority. Defeating the Keiser, defeating the Nazis, getting a man on the moon, and defeating communism. All of these goals required a national unity we can no longer achieve anymore because there is no one objective big enough to unite the masses. The war on terror was the last of these and an abject failure in its lie to the people. The war on terror was the war for more government oversight and bigger oil and military industrial complex profits. That’s obvious to everyone now, even those on the far right who claim ignorance. Biden is attempting to unite the clans, so to speak, over rebuilding the country. Rebuilding the country is not exciting, it’s not dreamy, and it is not working. At the end of the day, it seems that Osama Bin Laden was far more brilliant than we give him credit for. In one single day he broke the back of America. Ever since his unprecedented attack, the United States has never been the same, may well never be the same. Since 9/11 we have seen significant government overreach, corruption, and failures at all levels. Trust in the systems of government have never recovered from that day. Every lie told after 9/11 only further harmed the public trust in its government. The GFC further expanded upon the line Reagan used by demonstrating that we don’t punish the financial perpetrators of our undoing, we reward them and blame you, the tax payer.

  4. Knocking down the WTC was a horrible thing but I’m more concerned about our own internal terror groups. The OKC bombing was not funded by ISIS but it sure killed a bunch of people. We don’t remember those folks who died every year on the day because it’s too painful to admit that an American did this. Terrorist activities are nothing new here in America. First we killed millions of indigenous people (and their food) who stood in the way of Westward expansion and stole their land. At the same time we brought many hundreds of thousands of African people to the US to work for free to enrich ourselves. When they acted up or tried to escape we killed them, terrorized them, whipped them and chased them down with dogs. After the Civil war we just ignored the freedom these people were supposed to have been given, lynched them, chased them out of our towns covered with tar and feathers (and third-degree burns), made them use separate facilities (something that still goes on in some places). I was in high school when the first black player took the field in an NFL game. Racial profiling and redlining still haunt our minority populations. If you’ve never had a cross burned on your lawn, seen a friend swing from a tree, or been refused service in a public place then you don’t know the full extent of what terrorism is in this country. Then, of course, there was Jan 6, when even the Vice-President of our country had to lock himself and his family in a safe space in the Capitol until those taking over that hallowed institution were driven out and it was once again safe to conduct our country’s business in the Senate. I am truly sorry for the thousands who died on 9/11 but I am much sorrier for the millions we have collectively objectified, marginalized, and terrorized and killed right here in the home of Purple Mountains Majesties (anyone know who we took those mountains away from?) And of course when we finally stumbled on to Bin Laden in his lair one of us, following his Christian principles, walked right up Osama and shot him in the face at close range.

    1. Having done a root cause analysis of all the evil and sorrows listed above, I find the ancient wisdom of Timothy to be true. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” And our good Senator Manchin is currently the best case study of this destructive human characteristic.

    2. Thanks a lot for your comments. I’m right there with you, Mr. Lucky, particularly in regard to the treatment by the United States of enslaved peoples and the slaughter of indigenous peoples and destruction of their cultures.

      I do not forget the OKC bombing. As you point out, it may be harder for some Americans to recognize the date because the bombers, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were red-blooded Americans, not a lot different from the mindless rabble who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.

      Trivia FYI – The federal prosecutor who tried Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols is now the US Attorney General, who’s office will try all defendants charged by the FBI in the ongoing Jan. 6 investigation.

      1. I enjoyed your thoughtful comments very much. Thanks for posting. I have long agreed with the assertion of one of our illustrious House Speakers that, “All politics is local.” Never has that been more true than in the last 18 months.

    3. As a born and raised native of Oklahoma City, I do not forget the day those $@)@&$)@#$ blew up my town. We remember and even have a marathon on that day. The desire to go down there and help was very strong. And McVeigh had no remorse, zero, none. I was approximately 20 miles away and could feel the explosion shake the ground slightly. He killed children in the nursery which he knew and yes he would be a proud boy or oath keeper today. One party has embraced the strategy since Nixon in 1971 or so and it has only escalated since then.

  5. So here we are, indeed.

    I take the words of Bjarne Knausgard as I take the history of the world, from which we all, hopefully, learn in preparation for conversation about our own politics. It is delusion to imagine the United States is in any sense immune to prejudice, fascism, brutality, and the whimsical decisions of maniacal dictators, whether at home or abroad, to murder masses of our people.

    Our politics work more slowly than my imagination, so I can become rather upset about whatever happens today. I personally have always found that the complexity of our politics generally and the limits of my own humanity and imagination make politics not just hard to understand, but a daunting and frightening mess. And I sympathize with anyone who tries to understand our politics through the lens of daily experience. But over the years I have learned that US politics is about much more than what happens today.

    Today I read a story on AP about Putin guaranteeing a super-majority in the Russian parliamentary election by removing competing candidates from the ballot. We kid ourselves if we fail to realize the possibility of our own version of a similar despotic subversion. Today, red states overtly pass laws to achieve a biased outcome, by either suppressing the vote or by directly controlling the vote counting process. Now the Congress, as a result, must pass a measure at the federal level that overrides these subversive state initiatives. Thankfully, that initiative has been introduced in the Senate.

    In our country we have tools to shape our politics, coming importantly through exercise of free speech in our votes. That’s all we have. It may not be a complete comfort from day to day. But we hold a much greater right than the abundance of the world’s people. And though everyday chaos may challenge us daily, let’s not be discouraged, but instead understand the power of our voices.

  6. Heisenberg, I hope you’re right about this time being a comedy. I’m thinking The Producers or To Be or Not to Be. Or comedians like Bill Hicks and Lewis Black.

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