Libertarian Republic gets it right:
Taking Bannon at his own word, and in the context of 1930s, it sounds a lot like the rhetoric coming from Germany pre-World War II. His rhetoric matches the anger, scapegoating, and emotional ploys spoken in the early days of Adolf Hitler‘s rise.
While this may seem pejorative, or hyperbolic, let us look at how the Mises Institute, an Austrian Economic think tank, explains 1930 Germany’s economic situation.
In the 1930s, Hitler was widely viewed as just another protectionist central planner who recognized the supposed failure of the free market and the need for nationally guided economic development. Proto-Keynesian socialist economist Joan Robinson wrote that “Hitler found a cure against unemployment before Keynes was finished explaining it.”
What were those economic policies? He suspended the gold standard, embarked on huge public-works programs like autobahns, protected industry from foreign competition, expanded credit, instituted jobs programs, bullied the private sector on prices and production decisions, vastly expanded the military, enforced capital controls, instituted family planning, penalized smoking, brought about national healthcare and unemployment insurance, imposed education standards, and eventually ran huge deficits. The Nazi interventionist program was essential to the regime’s rejection of the market economy and its embrace of socialism in one country.
Now compare that to how Bannon and Trump have described their plans and vision for having won the White House.
- 1 Trillion Dollar Infrastructure matches the huge public works programs
- “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia,” along with Trumps promises to coerce business back into the US, matches protection of industry from foreign competition,
- “With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything,” added to Trumps call to continue borrowing, matches expanding credit and the continuance of large deficits
- “Rebuild everything. Shipyards, iron works, get them all jacked up,” matches the instituted jobs programs
- Trumps possible control of capital through protectionist trade.
- The comment by Bannon about being in power for the next “50 years” sounds awfully similar to the how Nazi’s described the Third Reich. “It is our will that this state shall endure for a thousand years. We are happy to know that the future is ours entirely!” – Triumph of Will (1935)
This not to say that Bannon or Trump should be compared to Nazis or that they have come close to committing the acts against humanity that occurred in that period of history. Rather it is a simple question which compares the rhetoric being used by the two administrations in their rise to power. After all, this perspective is a simple look back at history, so as to learn from it and utilize it to spot potential issues in the future. If we willfully ignore details, even if just as a safety measure, then we leave ourselves at risk of missing what could’ve been right under our nose. Famed philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”