George Soros has been very quiet lately which is a trend we have noticed. Besides for refuting (at least once) charges that he was funding protestors against Donald Trump (and blaming the rumors of his involvement on the “Alt-Right”) he has not been publicly active in the past couple of months. Now Soros is comparing current times to those in the 1930s. Soros knows his stuff so we assume he has basic knowledge of that period unlike many pundits spewing garbage on social media and the news – but we still find the comparison silly and offensive to say the least.
Ian Kershaw who is considered THE number one expert on Adolf Hitler recently came out with a book which studies the rise of authoritarianism in Europe after WWI. Kershaw boils down the case in Germany which lead to the most extreme form of “fascism” in Germany to four factors.
- Class conflict
- Territorial Disputes
- The rise of extreme nationalism
- Crisis of Capitalism
While those four factors are possibly current in Europe they are not in the USA. America has no border disputes with Mexico or Canada – that is not the case in Europe where there are disputes (which have largely been papered over to join NATO and for various other reasons). Indeed, it is hard to see how WWII would have begun without land disputes between Germany and Poland over Danzig, areas with large ethnic German populations, and the Coridor (as well as many other countries in the region). Also, it is unlikely Germany would have been so genocidal if the war with Poland had not occurred as Timothy Snyder points out in Bloodlands Hitler did the vast majority of his killing during the war not before. So one key factor is missing in the USA which would ignite a global conflict although China has man border disputes maybe the US could be dragged in there…. But it is hard to see the United States starting a war to incorporate “ethnic Americans” or going on a genocidal rampage in a foreign country – although nuclear weapons make that last part much easier…
Indeed, Kershaw confirmed most of this in a recent interview with Wharton stating:
“There are risks that Europe might blunder into another war, but European society strikes me as more mature and less flammable than it was then.”
Yes, there are risks that Europe might blunder into another war, but European society strikes me as more mature and less flammable than it was then. What was the Germany of the Holocaust is now the most welcoming of Jews. And the most hostile opponents of radical jihadism in Europe and the Middle East are not Trump and company, but Muslims. I think the lessons of history have been learned. It’s easy to feel despair by selectively citing supposed historical parallels.
However, Soros is going there Godwin’s law style. See an excerpt followed by the full article below.
Authored by George Soros, originally posted at Project Syndicate,
Well before Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I sent a holiday greeting to my friends that read: “These times are not business as usual. Wishing you the best in a troubled world.” Now I feel the need to share this message with the rest of the world. But before I do, I must tell you who I am and what I stand for.
I am an 86-year-old Hungarian Jew who became a US citizen after the end of World War II. I learned at an early age how important it is what kind of political regime prevails. The formative experience of my life was the occupation of Hungary by Hitler’s Germany in 1944. I probably would have perished had my father not understood the gravity of the situation. He arranged false identities for his family and for many other Jews; with his help, most survived.
In 1947, I escaped from Hungary, by then under Communist rule, to England. As a student at the London School of Economics, I came under the influence of the philosopher Karl Popper, and I developed my own philosophy, built on the twin pillars of fallibility and reflexivity. I distinguished between two kinds of political regimes: those in which people elected their leaders, who were then supposed to look after the interests of the electorate, and others where the rulers sought to manipulate their subjects to serve the rulers’ interests. Under Popper’s influence, I called the first kind of society open, the second, closed.
The classification is too simplistic. There are many degrees and variations throughout history, from well-functioning models to failed states, and many different levels of government in any particular situation. Even so, I find the distinction between the two regime types useful. I became an active promoter of the former and opponent of the latter.
I find the current moment in history very painful. Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of closed societies – from fascist dictatorships to mafia states – are on the rise. How could this happen? The only explanation I can find is that elected leaders failed to meet voters’ legitimate expectations and aspirations and that this failure led electorates to become disenchanted with the prevailing versions of democracy and capitalism. Quite simply, many people felt that the elites had stolen their democracy.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the sole remaining superpower, equally committed to the principles of democracy and free markets. The major development since then has been the globalization of financial markets, spearheaded by advocates who argued that globalization increases total wealth. After all, if the winners compensated the losers, they would still have something left over.
The argument was misleading, because it ignored the fact that the winners seldom, if ever, compensate the losers. But the potential winners spent enough money promoting the argument that it prevailed. It was a victory for believers in untrammeled free enterprise, or “market fundamentalists,” as I call them. Because financial capital is an indispensable ingredient of economic development, and few countries in the developing world could generate enough capital on their own, globalization spread like wildfire. Financial capital could move around freely and avoid taxation and regulation.
George Soros via Zerohedge, read the full article here.