I should say first that this is one of those subjects that requires lots of research to come to a fully rounded view. Often I rely on something like good old TIME magazine to set me on my way but instead I rely in this instance mainly on what is tantamount to skewed reports on social media but there is enough to make me realize there may be a connection. A couple of posts on my Facebook page today by concerned friends got me thinking – so here goes …
I should state from the outset that not only am I history buff but my favourite work of non fiction is “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”. I have thought long and hard why something like Nazi ideology should attract many, including good people, and how it could, but for the grace of God and those who bravely resisted, overcome the world and perpetuated darkness and hate for as long as Nazis remained in power and, moreover, it is clear we still don’t learn the lessons of history as we see signs of Nazism re-emerging.
One of my heroes is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian who unlike most of his fellow Christians not only warned against the evils of Nazi ideology but actively resisted, paying the ultimate price. I would like to think, if I were around in the 1930’s and 40’s, I would have done much the same. But the big question that is being asked is “are we seeing a reemergence and how should we react”? I have never heard of Richard Spencer before today, but his remarks, emboldened by a Trump victory, I find appalling, and I do see a connection between this and how Nazism gained support in the 1930’s and some of the events we now taking place elsewhere.
I have gone on record supporting the vote to leave the EU and preferring Donald Trump over his rivals in the US Presidential election and have given my carefully thought through reasons for doing so. While I have many reservations, e.g. the preoccupation of many Brexiters over immigration, and obvious serious character flaws in the case of Trump, with both attracting far right support, I have not yet had reasons to change my views. The growth of far right groups in the USA and Europe, emboldened by the UK and US versions of Brexit, are worrying trends, but so are the reasons that have long made me anti-liberal, elitist, globalist, progressive, secularist etc., a Euroskeptic and a reluctant Trump supporter.
I realise this is not a long and profound treatise, compared with what I have attempted in previous blogs, but it is at least a stake in the ground. I am setting out my stall that as far as I am concerned that we are all equal in the sight of God, meaning there is no room for race or any other ‘ism”, in our deliberations. I am no apologist for Mr. Trump, and feel he could have done more to condemn any racism or hate based action. While he has made noises about wanting to be the President that will serve ALL Americans, I will be expecting him to demonstrate this by his actions, or else I will be joining my friends, who I have surprisingly found to be many, in their condemnation of anything with Nazi connotations or which creates fear and hatred, for perfect love casts out fear.
Afterthought: It occurs to me that the subtle connotations linked to whatever the “spirit of the age” is, is changing all the time, and what we are now witnessing is a reaction against something few of us can clearly articulate and few pundits understand. Some will call it secular humanism, others liberalism and yet others progressiveness, and that it is slowly replacing a once taken for granted Christian world view, traditional values and national identity. My point is not to justify one set of ideas over others (we are all entitled to our views), although readers will no doubt detect my bias toward the latter set. As a community activist who serves the poor, seeks to empower our BME communities, especially sanctuary seekers, and have been befriending Muslims ever since my college days, I have earned the right to speak out, especially when folk who wish to call people such as I “deplorable” or somethingnotniceist, and shut us up, have not done the things I have. While I cannot speak for Mr. Trump or his supporters, and regrettably recognize in some the same racist, xenophobic tendencies as seen in some Brexiters, I do detect in some of them a not too dissimilar set of concerns as those who feel antipathy toward Mr. Trump – their concerns are not being addressed either, which brings me to my recent blog about keeping the conversation going.