Goebbels Rallies the People

by Harry Browne

September 7, 2004        

Almost 65 years ago, the Nazis' rule in Germany was threatened by the Social Democratic party, which opposed Adolf Hitler's foreign policy and even began to oppose Hitler himself. To counter this, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels addressed a crowd of Germans. With 25 Nazi swastika flags flying behind him, he told an excited, appreciative crowd:

I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect us? [applause]

The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight.

There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust our future and that man's name is Adolf Hitler. [cheering]

There are some crazy men who would kill us if they could. So Adolf Hitler has told us, "All private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger." [cheers]

But where is the national unity in this country when we need it most? [cheering]

Now, while young Germans are dying in the mud in Czechoslovakia and the mountains of Poland, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Social Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our Führer. [cheering]

What has happened to the nation I've spent my life working in?

I can remember when Social Democrats believed that it was the duty of Germany to fight for freedom over tyranny. 

Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Germans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today. [applause]

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Social Democratic leaders see Germany as an occupier, not a liberator.

And nothing makes me madder than someone calling German troops occupiers rather than liberators. [cheering]

Tell that to the Czechs, Poles, Frenchmen, and Belgians who have been freed because Adolf Hitler led an army of liberators, not occupiers. [great cheering] 

Tell that to the millions of men, women and children who are free today from the Baltics to the Crimea, from Poland to the Balkans, because Adolf Hitler built a military of liberators, not occupiers. [cheering]

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the German soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home. [cheering]

Right now the world just cannot afford an indecisive Germany. Fainthearted, self-indulgence will put at risk all we care about in this world.

In this hour of danger our Führer has had the courage to stand up. And I am proud to stand up with him.

God Bless this great country and God bless Adolf Hitler.

[wild cheering]

As we read those words, we can't help but wonder what had gone wrong in the minds of the German people. Didn't they realize that there was no freedom when they gave their lives to a single individual idolizing him, letting him make all the important decisions, letting him take away their liberties, watching him conquer and oppress foreign countries in the name of advancing freedom?

We should be very thankful that this sort of thing can't happen here. Americans would never allow one-man rule, never allow the American military to invade foreign countries.

Can It Happen Here?

Wait a minute.

It is happening here.

Americans have already lost many liberties at home as the President has decided he can cancel the right to a trial, the right to counsel, the right to confront one's accusers, the right to privacy in one's email, phone conversations, and bank accounts. And Americans have watched as the American military has invaded foreign countries Afghanistan and Iraq.

And all to the accompaniment of cheering crowds.

In fact, the speech I quoted above didn't come from Joseph Goebbels. It was delivered by an American Senator Zell Miller at the Republican convention last week. I had to change only a few words in order to disguise the source. Republicans cheered Miller enthusiastically even as he quoted Franklin Roosevelt saying, "All private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger."

The news media focused on Miller’s attacks on John Kerry. They should have been focusing on Miller’s attacks on America America the land of the free, the land of the Bill of Rights, the land that is sinking away from us.

(Incidentally, in 1940 the Social Democrats weren’t speaking out against Adolf Hitler. By then, thanks to the Zell Millers of Nazi Germany, public opposition to Hitler was no longer safe.)

Losing One's Mind

Political parties are a dangerous phenomenon. They remove the power to think for oneself. Individuals who become Republicans or Democrats no longer evaluate issues according to fixed principles. They care only about parties. Their worst fear is that the opposition party will win the next election.

Would those Republicans have cheered so wildly if it had been Bill Clinton who'd had the "courage" to invade Afghanistan and Iraq? Would any Democrats be opposing the Iraqi war if John Kerry had started it?

Obviously, the answer to both questions is no.

As the Admiral says in Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore:

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!