Tag Archives: Adolf Hitler

A roundup of reviews: ‘Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers’ and ‘The Path to Tyranny’

In the past two weeks, my books have received a number of positive reviews. Here’s a roundup:

Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers

Very Educational and Entertaining read

I picked up Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers as I had read Michael Newton’s previous book The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny and really enjoyed it. His new book lives up to the same quality as the previous one and I would highly recommend both to anybody.

The book covers the social side of the American revolution and covered aspects of the whole thing that I was largely unaware of. The American revolution is often compared to the French revolution, with the American revolution being seen as the thinking mans revolution and the French revolution as the revolution of the mob. It was fascinating to see how close the grand American experiment came to becoming just another “also ran” mob based revolution and how the genius of the founding fathers prevented it descending into one.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough as a behind the scenes look at a time in history that came perilously close to going off the rails.

Superb Analysis, Enlightening!

This book provides excellent analysis of the founding of our nation. There is enough history to keep the story flowing, but the span of years involved could not possibly be covered in depth as pure history…the genius of this book is the political and economic and governmental/legal analysis. The author describes the angry mobs of our American Revolution, the leadership of the Founding Fathers, the course of the Revolutionary War (with a number of surprising facts accompanying the analysis), the weakness of the Articles of Confederation, the forming of our Constitution (and the author ducks no thorny subjects, for example there is extensive analysis of slavery), and the early years of the fledgling Republic. Many of the financial issues (central Bank, taxation, size and scope of government) are a “distant mirror” (to borrow Barbara Tuchman’s phrase) of our times. The analysis is crisp, thorough, and based on the evidence. The bottom line comes from Hamilton: “Liberty without government leads to anarchy while government without liberty leads to tyranny.”

Michael E. Newton has done it again.

Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution is chock full of interesting facts, startling patterns, and answers to questions that were never raised in my social studies classes. Who knew that all of the colonists weren’t English? How could I have studied the revolution and never heard the name Apollos Rivoire? Of course western expansion needed the railroads to be developed first. Why didn’t anybody ever tell me that before?

If today’s Tea Party, by virtue of its very name, is a throwback to the angry mobs of yesteryear, who are the people who will step up to be our new founding fathers?

The angry mobs brought us a revolution. The founding fathers developed the miracle of our Constitution, to prevent that revolution from descending into chaos, anarchy and tyranny.

Michael E. Newton presents the American revolution and the twists and turns of the first decades of our country in a book that is readable and enjoyable, one that I wish I could have read years ago.

The Path to Tyranny

Past Futures by Ana the Imp

The Path to Tyranny is a lucid and compelling treatment of an important subject, one that should be of interest to all who value liberty… An important book that really does speak to the times, a book that holds up a Janus-like mirror to the present, showing past futures.

Read the whole lengthy review…

Counter Argument

This book was disturbingly amazing in its review of historical events. It is well cited and developed and even though the author writes from his own political perspective not even the most hardened leftist could argue the historical data presented in this book. That by itself is the most disturbing aspect of it. I can only hope that more and more Americans read this book and discover the path we are truly teetering on.

Be Very Afraid

Michael E. Newton’s THE PATH TO TYRANNY is a compressed and incredibly well-written and researched book. Let me warn you: it is more frightening than a Stephen King novel. Mr. Newton analyzes ancient and recent societies, explaining how they came about, how they prospered, and how they descended into totalitarianism and disappeared. Newton’s account of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire alone is worth the price of admission. The amount of facts and history he crams into the chapter is impressive. Same goes for Russia’s wild ride from absolute monarchs through revolution then communism, and Germany’s path from defeat in WWI through hyperinflation and the hapless Weimar Republic to Adolf Hitler.

By far the scariest, though, is Chapter 8: The United States of America. The parallels Newton draws from previous civilizations descending into oppressive autocracies to the path of the present day U.S. is frightening. Before they cratered, all the societies followed the same pattern: villification of the successful and redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation; expansion of government and bureaucracy; the rise of an exalted political class; promotion of pure democracy over the principles of a republic; the emergence of one person, a dictator or tyrant who crushes freedom and liberty with the promise to return the crumbling society to its former glory. Mr. Newton’s succinct final chapter about the U.S. includes a sub-chapter about the complexity of federal laws, which now include over 4,000 crimes defined and buried deep in the federal register, unknown to anyone until nabbed by a federal toady who cries “gotcha.” The sub-chapter is entitled “We Are All Criminals Now.” Bravo Michael E. Newton. Please tell us more.

Usurping the Constitution to avoid default?

A number of political pundits, legal experts, and even government officials argue that President Barack Obama should use the 14th Amendment to circumvent the debt ceiling and avoid default. The New York Times reports:

A few days ago, former President Bill Clinton identified a constitutional escape hatch should President Obama and Congress fail to come to terms on a deficit reduction plan before the government hits its borrowing ceiling.

He pointed to an obscure provision in the 14th Amendment, saying he would unilaterally invoke it “without hesitation” to raise the debt ceiling, “and force the courts to stop me.”

On Friday, Mr. Obama rejected the idea, though not in categorical terms.

“I have talked to my lawyers,” Mr. Obama said. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”

Despite President Obama’s resistance to this idea, some House Democrats are pushing it. Politico reports:

Rep. James Clyburn and a group of House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress can’t come up with a satisfactory plan before the Tuesday deadline.

Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said Wednesday that if the president is delivered a bill to raise the debt ceiling for only a short period of time, he should instead veto it and turn to the phrase in the Constitution that says the validity of the U.S. government’s debt “shall not be questioned.”

According to the New York Times article, “Jack M. Balkin, a law professor at Yale” argues:

“This is largely a political question,” he said. “It is unlikely courts would decide these questions.”

“At the point at which the economy is melting down, who cares what the Supreme Court is going to say?” Professor Balkin said. “It’s the president’s duty to save the Republic.”

Similarly, Eugene Robinson writes at the Washington Post:

It seems to me that definitive action — unilateral, if necessary — to prevent the nation from suffering obvious, imminent, grievous harm is one of the duties any president must perform. Perhaps the most important duty.

This seems all too familiar because it comes straight out of history. In ancient Rome, Sulla was given dictatorial power to restore the republic. By violating Rome’s constitution, Sulla and the Senators that gave him power established a precedent that enabled Julius Caesar to become dictator for life and destroy the republic. Similarly, men like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler also rose to power and expanded their control under the guise of saving the nation.

The Founding Fathers, being students of history, knew that extra-constitutional actions would only undermine the republic in the name of restoring it. As George Washington explained in his farewell address:

If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.

— Michael E. Newton is the author of the highly acclaimed The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny. His newest book, Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution, was released by Eleftheria Publishing in July and is now available in stores.

The socialist promises of the Nazis

A “friend” of mine just wrote “Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a conservative favorite” in a comment to a facebook post of mine. As a conservative and a Jew, I am upset and angered by this comment. Furthermore, as somebody who has studied conservatism and Nazism, I am perplexed by people’s ignorance and/or stupidity.

In a first, I am going to post an entire section from my book, The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny. (The bracketed numbers are the citations which are not included here.) Of course, it helps to read the previous sections showing how Germany got to where it was in the late 1920s and also the previous chapters which explain some of the terminology, including what is meant by socialism and fascism.

Nazi Promises

Throughout the 1920s, the Nazis were a non-entity in German politics. In the May 1928 federal election, the National Socialist German Workers Party received just 2.6 percent of the vote.[766] Within four years, the Nazis would become Germany’s largest political party. After another year, Adolf Hitler would become dictator of Germany and all other political parties would be banned. This remarkable rise to power came about through the skilled use of populist rhetoric, including promises of wealth, equality, and national rebirth. The German people, disillusioned with the failures of the center-left coalitions of the 1920s, were swayed by this new party that promised the benefits of both left-wing socialism and right-wing authoritarianism and nationalism.

As the name implies, the National Socialist German Workers Party was founded primarily to promote socialism in Germany. National Socialism originally stood for partial collectivism aimed primarily at large industrial corporations, leading financial institutions, and wealthy landowners, as detailed in the party’s Twenty-Five Points of 1920.[767] The Twenty-Five Points included the following socialist demands:[768]

  • “Every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood.”
  • “All unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.”
  • “Total confiscation of all war profits.”
  • “Nationalization of all trusts.”
  • “Profit-sharing in large industries.”
  • “Increase in old-age pensions.”
  • “Communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople.”
  • “A law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose.”
  • “The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.”
  • “Usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.”
  • “The State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people.”
  • “Specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.”

Many today believe that the Nazis were capitalists, despite the evidence of Nazism’s socialist roots and agenda. Jacques Ellul, a leader of the French Resistance in World War II, philosopher, and law professor, writes, “The dogmatic and elementary interpretation of Nazism as having been conceived by capitalists to counter communism, and a bourgeois tool in the class struggle, has gained incredibly broad acceptance as a self-evident fact, despite its contradiction of fact. Even after his alliance with certain capitalists, Hitler controlled them as much as they did him.”[769] In 1927, Hitler said, “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”[770]

The Nazis failed to draw left-wing support away from the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party, so they toned down their socialist economic propaganda beginning in 1927, though they continued to believe in government control of the economy.[771] The Nazis adopted the “third way” style of the Italian Fascists by supporting partial socialism with some government ownership of business and heavy regulation of large businesses, but limited regulation of small businesses and individuals.[772] In 1931, Hitler said, “I want everyone to keep the property he has acquired for himself according to the principle: common good takes precedence over self-interest. But the state must retain control and each property owner should consider himself an agent of the state… The Third Reich will always retain its right to control the owners of property.”[773] Hitler claimed that property could be privately owned but, in reality, the individual would not retain control over it. By controlling “the owners of property,” the state obviously controls the property as well. As Stanley Payne, the eminent authority on fascism writes, Hitler “boasted that there was no need to nationalize the economy since he had nationalized the entire population.”[774] As late as 1941, Hitler declared, “basically National Socialism and Marxism are the same.”[775]

Though Hitler and the Nazis remained committed to socialism throughout, in theory and in practice, their new toned-down “third way” socialism found support among the middle class,[776] who feared the radical left but were still enchanted by the utopian promises of socialism. The new Nazi economic platform also found support among the land-owning farmers. Whereas the Twenty-Five Points vowed to take land away from its owners without compensation “for the common purpose,”[777] by 1930 the Nazis had dropped that proposal[778] and were offering aid to the land owning peasant farmers and praising the peasants as the defenders of German morality and tradition.[779] The Nazis also promised high prices and ready markets for the farmer’s agricultural products and extolled the virtues of “blood and soil” and the “agricultural estate.”[780]

Considering the working class was already aligned with the Marxist parties, Hitler and the Nazis focused their campaign on the middle class, who were also suffering under the weak economy.[781] The new strategy resulted in gains in state elections and increased campaign donations.[782] The Nazis also sought the support of the industrialists, a natural ally when they started presenting themselves as the alternative to the communists and other radical left-wing socialists. Many industrialists were wary of the new, unstable, violent, and radical Nazis, yet some industrialists still gave the Nazis much needed financial support in the 1920s, though they also supported the much larger and less radical conservative German National People’s Party.[783] As the Nazis attracted larger shares of the vote in elections and especially after Hitler became Chancellor, the industrialists gave much more money to the Nazis,[784] partly to help the Nazis defeat the communists, but also to win their favor after their inevitable political victory.

The Nazi agenda went well beyond promises of economic prosperity. The Nazis also promoted German nationalism and Aryan superiority, which helped lift the spirits of many native Germans after the humiliating defeat in World War I, the disastrous hyperinflation of the early 1920s, and the economic depression that began in 1929. Point four of the Twenty-Five Points detailed the Nazis’ German exclusivity: “Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.”[785] Although this anti-Semitism became a centerpiece of the Nazi agenda once in power, it was not instrumental in the Nazis’ rise to power because they toned down their anti-Semitic propaganda during their election campaigns.[786] Thus, the rising fortune of the Nazis had little to do with any anti-Semitic rhetoric, though everybody voting for the Nazis understood their hatred of the Jews, given that it was part of the Twenty-Five Points and was a centerpiece of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Nevertheless, by promoting Aryan superiority and blaming the Jews, capitalists, republicans, and other liberals for Germany’s problems, German nationalism became the centerpiece of the Nazi agenda and enabled the Nazis to attract members from all economic and social classes.[787]

Like their fascist cousins in Italy, the Nazis also took a pro-military position. After World War I, the Weimar republic did not support the military, even refusing to build a monument to the war dead or issue a commemorative medal.[788] Of course, this upset many veterans and families of the war dead, and the Nazis pursued these disaffected Germans by favoring a strong military, reoccupation of territory lost in the war, and expansion of Germany to include all German-speaking people. The Nazis claimed “National Socialism means peace,” arguing that only a strong Germany can defend against an invasion by France or the Soviet Union.[789] Like the Fascists in Italy, the Nazis were always seen in their military uniform. When Hitler met Mussolini for the first time in 1934, Hitler wore civilian clothing at the insistence of his advisors, whereas Mussolini was dressed in his military uniform. Hitler appeared weak next to Mussolini and he vowed never to make that mistake again. From then on, Hitler was always in uniform when making public appearances.[790]

The Nazis managed to exceed the Italian Fascists in their development of a myth culture, with their ever-present swastika and promotion of the old German folk traditions and rituals. The Nazis also exalted Hitler, well beyond what the Italians did with Mussolini. Many Nazis saw Hitler as a Christ or a Messiah[791] who will save Germany from Jews, foreigners, capitalists, and communists. For example, in 1941, the Nazi newspaper Volkischer Beobachter announced, “The Fuhrer is the highest synthesis of his race… He embodies the universalism of Goethe, the depth of Kant, the dynamism of Hegel, the patriotism of Fichte, the genius of Frederick II, the realism of Bismarck as well as the tumultuous inspiration of Wagner, the perspicacity of Spengler.”[792] Thus, their youth organization was not called the German Youth or even the Nazi Youth, but the Hitler Youth. Hitler became the infallible god of the Nazis and of Germany.

By adapting their agenda to meet the desires of the people and courting unaffiliated groups, the Nazis drew support from various geographic areas and several economic and social classes.[793] Their focus on nationalism, a strong military, authoritarian leadership, and “third way” socialism, with promises of economic prosperity and equality, enabled the Nazis to win over industrialists on the right, peasants on the left, and many in the center, especially World War I veterans. By organizing this coalition of disparate interests, the National Socialists quickly grew from a political non-entity into Germany’s dominant political party.

* This was an excerpt from The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny.