Human atrocity doesn’t start with violence, It starts with prejudice and propaganda
Not very many things scare me, but extremism in every form does.
We hear a lot about the extremism of radicalized Islamic groups, and yes, such groups are worrisome. But labeling an entire religious group with more than a billion followers as dangerous because of the heinous actions 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 and exaggerative, but I don’t feel that way today. Some of the statements I’ve seen about Muslims and migrants from media pundits, political leaders, and average Joes echo anti-Jewish Nazi rhetoric in frightening ways.
Hermann Goering, who is quoted in this meme and pictured to the right of Hitler, was one of the highest-ranking Nazis who was captured and put on trial by the Allies after World War II ended. He was found guilty on charges of “war crimes,” “crimes against peace,” and “crimes against humanity” by the Nuremberg tribunal and sentenced to death.
The quote comes from a published account of a private conversation with a renowned psychologist, in which Goering explained how “people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.”
We need to remember that Hitler and the Nazis didn’t start 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.