After the Nazis were defeated in World War II, Germany adopted a policy called “streitbare Demokratie,” or “defensive democracy.” The idea was that protecting German democracy required stripping Nazis of their rights and effectively erasing the Nazi era from history, given the obvious dangers of Nazism. Part of this effort was called denazification. Presently, newspapers cannot print Nazi propaganda. Citizens have no freedom to speak in favor of the movement. Nazis don’t find work in Germany.
Now, nobody is going to find Americans defending any Nazis—and rightfully so. But there should be precisely zero support for defensive democracy in the United States. From the American founding, the answer to people who use their rights for ill is for more people, articulate and courageous, to use their rights for good. The Nazi ideology didn’t win out here because it’s fundamentally un-American and evil. We didn’t have to ban it. We defeated it openly, abroad and at home.
But the idea of defensive democracy is now becoming mainstream in the country. And that’s dangerous, particularly given the liberties taken by leftists with the definitions of “Nazi” and “threat to democracy.”
By lying since June 2015 that Donald Trump was a fascist threat to American democracy, the press convinced a considerable number of Americans that Trump is an unprecedented evil in the United States. They reported that Trump’s demonization of opponents was unparalleled, even though Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had denigrated their opponents as “bitter clingers” and “deplorables” who hold fast to religious bigotry, firearms and racism. They said that Trump dangerously welcomed foreign election interference, even though Obama infamously promised the Russians “flexibility” if they backed off until he was re-elected. They accused Trump of threatening democracy by violating norms—ignoring the leftists’ unprecedented “borking” of Republican judicial nominees, nuking the Senate filibuster and mainstream Democratic support for eliminating the Electoral College and packing the U.S. Supreme Court.
If Trump is a demagogue, then he’s no more of a demagogue than Joe McCarthy or Barack Obama. If his personal behavior is an abuse of power, then it’s no more despotic than the Obama administration launching an unauthorized war in Libya, droning civilians, refusing to enforce immigration law, wiretapping journalists, running guns to Mexican drug cartels, and discriminating against conservative non-profits.
It’s the leftist control of major American institutions that spawned the hysteria over the Trump administration. Now the cultural leftists are going to use their institutional capture to crack down on their opponents. They’re pushing de-Trumpification.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has called for lists of Trump staffers and supporters to be written up so that they can be blackballed. The major social media companies – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube – have colluded to remove President Trump and particular conservatives from their “platforms.” Then Amazon, Google and Apple colluded to effectively eliminate free-speech competitor Parler because it refused to kowtow to their censorship of conservatives. This week, Forbes threatened to destroy the credibility of any company that hires a former Trump staffer. Congressional Democrats are looking to oust Trump from office on a charge of criminal incitement for speech that doesn’t meet the actual legal standard. They’re pushing for Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz to be placed on the no-fly list.
The crackdown begins at the top and works downward until each Trump supporter has had his very own cultural Nuremburg trial.
What we’re seeing is an attempt by ideologues with unified control of the national government and unchallenged control of our cultural institutions to wipe the Trump administration from history and burry those associated with it.
The Capitol siege – carried out by a fringe group of rightwing extremists – was the catalyst the leftists needed for the successful conflation of the fringes with the mainstream. Trump didn’t incite the violence and mainstream conservatives and Republicans condemned it—but that doesn’t matter.
The country has tough days ahead. The recently-elected pedal unity while simultaneously lying that what we’re seeing isn’t the conclusion of a presidential administration but the overthrow of a fascist regime. A country predicated upon a culture of rights cannot agree that protecting democracy means defending rights, not revoking them.
Leftists are increasingly buying into defensive democracy. The solution is not violence. It is the rights which leftists are targeting. How to use those rights to defend against a defensive democracy is growing increasingly unclear.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Heroes Media Group