I will agree that comparing anyone to Nazi Germany in any situation is usually irresponsible.
Hmm. Thanks for trying to agree, I guess (laugh), but I’m not prepared to go quite that far. It’s another discussion. Here, I’m more concerned with the existence of the comparison (I think that was part of your earlier question). I have been just a little interested (since I think it’s there) to toss around briefly whether parts of the comparison might be historically valid -- but maybe not at great length. Again, probably not in depth for this thread in any case.
I don't see him making any connection between the treatment of Jews and the treatment of the American people.
Well I don’t think he has made a very precise or valid one… I do think he’s carefully structured this talk to try to imply one in ways that people should not miss. I thought 3:00-5:00 had some telling parts, but just mentioning it may not be a great way to make the point. So, here’s more transcription (mine) and thoughts.
Beck from 1:29 “I want to show you a poster… I want you to know that I have a daughter that was born with cerebral palsy, and they said that she would never walk or talk. She went to college. They were wrong. This poster bothers me so much because the hand of the person shown in this poster reminds me of my… daughter’s hand. This is from Nazi Germany. It says in German… It’s going to cost 60,000 marks to keep this man alive… ‘He’s a sweet guy and everything,’ this poster says. ‘But his quality of life. It’s a shame. But your time is up.”
I can’t listen to that without noticing its similarity to Sarah Palin, when she made a campaign poster item of her “special” child. Ditto all the rightist chatter about “death panels.” If you look at the rhetoric of previous claims circulating among people on the farther ends of the health care debate, the language of execution by government decree or “death panels,” also overlaps neatly with rightist claims that government regulation would somehow render American services un-American (think European) or sub-standard (perhaps with more oblique hints of Third World corruption)... In fact, it’s not true that choices about value and quality of life are something fundamentally new. There’s no model provided here as to how any specific national health policy would impact the quality of those choices. It’s a handy way of rallying the right, though, given 1) the history of abortion rhetoric – the far right being more for quantity of births, without regard for quality of lives – and 2) considerable Republican reliance on elderly voters.
Beck @ 2:53 “I want you to clearly understand that I don’t think he wants to kill your grandmother or unplug your grandmother. It would be truly an evil person that would do that. However, what happened in Germany is they couldn’t afford health care for all. They had devalued their mark – our dollar. They had devalued it so much because the government just started to print money. Does that sound familiar?”
I think Beck has a sense of what is popular generally. He goes to the trouble to tug at Nazi references because they draw attention. Yet, he avoids saying “Obama” or “the administration” even while he is obviously speaking as if their policies must have Nazi-esque effects. I imagine that, simultaneously, this allows him to cultivate an energetic audience among among the far right since that way of speaking must be very familiar to some. It could easily function, in less conservative settings or simply among people who are not all equally far
on the right, as a way for the most radical to give each other the nod. Which is to say, it's speaking virulently without announcing in the clear exactly what one means. Beck frequently disclaims things that would make him an explicit hate mongerer in one breath, then turns around and insinuates them vaguely and between the lines in the next moment. He puts a lot of emotion and time into raising fears which clearly target the administration and liberal policy. Every so often, he whisks back from the brink and intones quickly, 'Oh but I don’t mean to say that
evil thing we all know would be totally unacceptable.' -- before going on about his way, implying essentially just that
with more of the same prompting tones of fear (and sometimes hate)-mongering.
I see him pointing out problems with monetizing debt. i.e. "Printing more and more money" not "printing money" which, as the commentator in this clip says, every country does. Monetizing debt as a bad idea is often mentioned on Mr. Beck's program, so for this commentator to think he simply meant printing money at all makes it seem like he doesn't watch Mr. Beck's program at all.
That sounds as if most people are expected to know all about what you mean by monetizing, its aims and history, etc. I haven’t watched him, either. My point here is that many people would
predictably reason: Oh, the Nazis killed the Jews.
I’m skeptical that many of the Tea Party people or even say, a majority of Beck’s viewers have qualifications to evaluate his claims about monetary policy. However, once he insists we’re living in the Weimar Republic…? Whatever was that
most Americans say. Oh, he’s talking about Nazis this whole time. It must have been something essentially the same as Nazi Germany, and totally apart from anything we were ever involved in.
(No one’s talking about the Treaty of Versailles, here.) So, I have to say... Whatever Beck is about on his own program or elsewhere, he’s certainly doing more demonization than explanation here.
Beck at 4:44 “Here’s ‘The Complainer.’ These are four men. Notice how ugly they are. How some of em look rich or fat or whatever. Maybe Jewish! Maybe this one? I don’t know. They’re the complainers. They’re all standing around in a circle and they’re talking about how horrible things are and maybe we shouldn’t do this. The parade back here are the supporters. This is a poster of what you see now every day in the news media making the complainers – the Tea Party goers – look somehow rotten.”
In a sense, Josh, I can see how you might say that all Beck explicitly said in this last part, is that the media
are distorting the Tea Party’s position. Given all of the above plus everything else I’ve heard from him, I simply can’t believe that is the limit of his intent or design. It’s quite consistent with rightist politics to complain that surely the media – typically termed, ‘the liberal media’ – must generally be muddling the waters. This is stirring the fear of anything claimed to be unmanageably ‘big,’ just like ‘big government.’ This is said in a polarized climate, where the Obama administration is shunning Fox itself (a less liberal media). Moreover, it’s a context where there are loud calls on the left for harder responses that might informally shrug off or institutionally reduce (such as through Congressional rule rewriting) the impact of Tea Party and other far right demands. Surely Beck is aware of these things, and I believe he is speaking to them when he talks about Nazis, Jews, and health care policy. As I said earlier, Beck has a broad laundry list. It manifests in efforts to demonize the present administration and its policies. He claims to be addressing various “topics.” As far as I can tell, rather than actually dealing with the topics in much depth, he uses select pieces of them as excuses to keep dropping hints and invective. It’s an effort to keep all his would-be demons clustered together in his audience’s eye.
For this one, he has gone to great lengths to set up opposition to health care/spending (it doesn’t really matter which order we pick for the slash) as victims and by the way, to make wealth or support of the “fat” and wealthy as synonymous with the only compassionate -- as opposed to fascist or murderous -- policy. If he succeeds, then the message the right is happy to have him send is that any Obama policy against the Tea Party or the Republicans (to the extent they have become a party of an extreme base) must be denounced as fascist. Us or them, the story goes. That us or them quality has a certain factual basis for people who accept more right-wing economic ideas. We can’t help the many -- at least not while helping is caused to be expensive -- if the few always keep most of the money (shrug). In Beck’s talk above, this happens to factor into working up claims of fascism in regard to the current administration.