THE LITTLE HITLER IN EVERYONE
BY DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
From the Man in the Street to the President in the Oval Office
The individual would persist forever and without opposition to its persistence. Nonetheless, the anarchistic individual could not exist as an individual or even move without governing resistance. Without physical resistance to the will, there simply would not be an individual or entity divided into megalomaniacal subject and resisting object. Differences are maintained by conflicting forces. Life is indeed a struggle. The irrational root of violence, the will to freedom, is essential to individuality, the individual factor of the personal equation; the “person” is the socially conditioned free-willing individual,
Indeed, infants are natural-born revolutionaries. They feel omnipotent at first, and tend to revolt against restraints until they learn that total resistance is futile if not downright dangerous. Yet the omnipotent feeling persists throughout the social development of the little one. To one extent or another, the resulting person lives under a certain delusion of grandeur, secretly believing that the world is at his beck and call, that he is at least in part its savior. The all-important person’s delusion is one of persecution when he feels that the whole world is against him. Thus we have both sides of paranoia.
As we know only too well from history, an insane or unwholesome delusion of grandeur may in certain heroic cases take on a sane or wholesome appearance and become a popular illusion. A hero, a sort of mirage of a social oasis, appears to thirsty or power-hungry travelers. Insecure people project their suppressed native feeling of omnipotence onto the daredevil hence re-cognizing him as a “great man” or “hero,” the very man who can quench their thirst for power. Enamored by the illusion of absolute freedom, they eagerly forsake what remains of their own freedom; their idol absorbs every last drop yet they feel free, liberated from their weakness when standing apart as individuals.
Adolf Hitler, a popular example of this phenomenon, was sincerely perceived by the great majority of Germans as their Teutonic messiah. His ascent to power seemed quite easy for he had been organizing a shadowy state of disgruntled neoconservatives or right-wing authoritarians within the purportedly democratic state all along.
Almost every school child knows about the Beer Hall Putsch, how Hitler got off easy with a short prison sentence, which provided him with the opportunity to write about his personal revolutionary struggle. And almost everyone knows about the Red Scare the Nazis provoked with the February 27, 1933, Reichstag Fire. Of course the threat of Bolshevist terrorism among other emergencies called for the March 23, 1933, Enabling Act – the “Law for Removing the Distress of People and Reich” – which gave legislative power to the Reich cabinet and legalized, in advance, decrees that “might deviate from the Constitution.”
We remember well the July 14, 1933, decree making the Nazi party the only lawful party in the Fatherland: “The National Socialist German Worker’s Part constitutes the only political party in Germany. Whoever undertakes to maintain the organizational structure of another political party or to form a new political party will be punished with penal servitude up to three years or with imprisonment of from six months to three years, if the deed is no subject to a greater penalty according to other regulations.”
Many of Hitler’s storm troopers were disaffected workers who expected him to fulfill his promise of a social revolution and to militarize the SA. No, thank you: there would be no social revolution or any other revolution for that matter, not after Hitler’s political revolution. Before all, Hitler needed industrialists and big businessmen. Unions had to be dissolved and workers virtually indentured to realize their true virtue. Workers were glad to have jobs and cheap recreation to boot. Hitler clearly stated on July 6, 1933, that revolution would not become a permanent state of affairs. He said “good businessmen” were quite welcome under his regime even if they were not Nazis. Business actually prospered despite the enormous bureaucracy set up to rationalize his political economy and to collect bribes.
After President Hindenburg died on August 2, 1934, Hitler combined the offices of president and chancellor in himself, becoming the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor. On August 19, 1934, 95 percent of registered voters approved of Hitler’s seizure of absolute power. Absolute resignation of individual freedom was sealed by an oath:
“I swear by God this sacred oath, that I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Fuehrer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and will be ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath.”
A survivor of Hitler’s egomaniacal reign of terror claimed that a little hitler exists in every body. Another wrote a little book declaring, “We were free.”
Kansas City, Missouri Tuesday, May 11, 2004