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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Liberal Logic - Reagan & Hitler: Both Great Leaders?
A young liberal named Travis on one of the Facebook discussion threads this morning, tried to make the case that Ronald Reagan was a great leader in the same way that Hitler was a great leader. He argued that skill at leadership does not make a leader good for the country and that Reagan did as much evil as Hitler.
Well, I think Travis probably has a somewhat different definition of “great leader” than I do.
To me there is a world of difference between a “great” leader and one who is merely skillful. Hitler was an evil genius and a skillful manipulator of the masses, but not at all what I would call a great leader. A great leader leads you where you want to go and helps you accomplish what you want him to help you accomplish. I don’t suppose the German people really wanted to be "led" to become a byword for mass murder and the perpetual villains in practically every war movie ever made for the last 50 years. Hitler was skilled at what he did, no doubt about it. He understood how to manipulate the fears of his people and how to convince them that the solution to their problems was to blame it on the rich Jews and bankers who were “controlling everything” and taking all the goodies and leaving the German people to starve in the streets. Hatred of those who were better off than most Germans was easy to generate during the Wiemar Republic, when the government was printing money so fast, that paper money soon became almost worthless. At one point, it took wheelbarrows full of the stuff to buy a loaf of bread.
Hatred toward the successful is not hard to breed and if you get the people busy fighting a war against people who look different, speak differently, worship differently, then it’s pretty easy to grab power during the confusion. Hitler’s Nazi socialists did just that. While Hitler was busy telling everyone that everything would be alright if they’d just swear allegiance to him, his party was busy putting together a fearsome secret police to enforce it's will. Cult leaders do the same thing. You wouldn’t call Jim Jones or David Koresh a “great” leader either, despite their ability to lead large groups of people to submit to mass suicide. Both men, by the way, were practicing socialists. Recognize the technique, though? It’s right there in the socialist handbook. Chairman Mao wrote about it. Lenin wrote about it. Marx and Hitler wrote about it. Alinsky wrote about it. They were all pretty open about how they planned to manipulate “the people”. Proud of it, in fact. It goes something like this.
Step 1: Create fear and panic in the populace
Step 2: Blame the people you need to get rid of or whose money you need to steal for whatever everyone is now afraid of.
Step 3: Bring forth a charismatic messiah figure to lead the people to the new socialist utopia!
Step 4: Destroy those who disagree
Step 5: Take control of everything in the confusion and hold tight to power.
In comparing Reagan to Hitler, I fail to see where you could make the case that he did any such thing. The Reagan phenomenon went like this.
Step 1: Recognize that the government is the problem and not the solution
Step 2: Find a good man, someone who at his core is decent, kind and brave - a leader who actually believes in liberty, life and the American Dream - and convince him to become our leader.
Step 3: Have him use the bully pulpit of the presidency to encourage the American people to do what they do best - create, innovate, work hard, reward achievement.
Step 4: Ignore your enemies and critics - they soon become irrelevant if you do that.
Step 5: End a brutal recession and double digit inflation. Create the longest sustained period of prosperity in the history of the United States. Bring down Communism and dismantle a huge and deadly nuclear arsenal that has been on hair trigger alert and pointed at us for more than 3 decades. Leave gracefully when your term of office is over.
Perhaps God will raise up another Reagan after the disastrous Obama administration as he did after the disastrous Carter administration.
That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoe-making and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. -Mark Twain