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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

The opinions you read below are those of the individual writers, not necessarily views that will become formal positions of The Seattle Times. Respond to STop
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May 20, 2005

On Orderly Fascism

A reader replies to my column on World War II and American culture:

After reading numerous books and articles about the Nazi experience (including, most lately, They Thought They Were Free), it's become clearer to me that the demonization of Hitler in the post-WW II era is one of the great disservices to the American people perpetrated by the propagandists who shape thought. Not that Hitler was not an evil man, because, if there is such a thing, he surely was evil. On the other hand, he was not the cartoon figure of Satan in flesh that most people picture. Throughout the 1930s, his anti-Bolshevism and orderly fascism had the support of many, particularly within corporate structures, in the United States and Great Britain. And, of course, among many, if not most, Germans. The disservice about the exaggerated view of hindsight that we now get of Hitler makes us susceptible to the idea that we will know evil when we see it because it is too obvious not to be seen. Actually, though, evil is led by steps into a society by leaders who are irrational and who peddle fear, preach security and religious solutions, who bid people to turn away from using their intellects and embrace the "truths" they find in their animal emotions and in their "common sense." Fascism, to steal from Emily Dickinson, comes on little cat's feet before there is any hint of the sound of jackboots hitting pavement.

Respond to this reader.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at May 20, 2005 11:12 AM



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