sidenote: my first contribution to booman trib, but I am also going to dupe this at dkos, even though I fully expect it to roll into obscurity despite the belief that these are issues that should be discussed at length – bk

Leave to a fellow Texan to drag me back into the fray of the Hitler/Bush comparisons.  I’ve stayed relatively low profile of late, in part because I’m curious to see what historical connections – if any – others may make with our current state of the union, and also in part because I’m currently plowing through an old copy of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” searching for greater details with which to continue my parallels in the Fascism, American Style series.

So, I can’t say for certain which detail I was more shocked by: That Texas Governor Rick Perry would actually make a statement that gays should leave Texas if they don’t like the way they’re treated here, or that his words bore an echo of familiarity to the myriad of historical anecdotes that have taken up residence in my noggin.

Now, keep in mind that the only meaningful distinction between Rick Perry and Dan Quayle is that Perry has better hair.  The man is, for the uninitiated, a rich white bread idiot whose only interest (and ability) is in getting other people to give him money. So I’m not going to bother with giving him any credit within the GOP machine as anything other than the beggar that he is.

The problem, specifically, is with what he said.  And it’s not just because his words, and the idea(s) brimming behind them, are ethically and morally outrageous to anyone who hasn’t sold his soul, but because someone once observed that “words build bridges into unexplored regions.”

Care to guess who that was?  None other than our little buddy Hitler.
Forget for a minute that Ranger Rick signed a ceremonial anti-faggot edict in a private Christian school with an amen-shouting audience of 600, or that he did it with Rod Parsley (Christian televangelist), Donald Wildmon (American Family Association) and Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) in attendance to bless the event.  Instead, let’s focus on the fact that an elected official of a rather large member state has, through his actions, furthered the enactment of laws designed to create a hostile environment for gays, lesbians, and anybody sympathetic to their cause because, in the state-sanctioned view of things, Texas is anti-fag Christian territory with rulership blessed by God’s elite.

If you don’t like it, then leave.

I think that is it a bit more than coincidental that in 1933, when the Nazis came to power in Germany, Hitler attempted to make life so unpleasant for Jews in Germany that they would emigrate.

It started with boycotts, “Jews not admitted” signs and social pressure orchestrated by the SA.  Two years later, the Nuremberg laws made Jews non-citizens.  Then 1938 begat Kristallnacht, and I think we all know what happened after that.

But honestly, I’m not here to go on about how the Jews were treated, cause hey, as some of you have maligned it cheapens the Jewish experience during that time to make any comparisons with what is happening in our country now; for the same numbers of you, in fact, there is no comparison.

Fair enough.  I am, after all, more interested in the plight of homosexuals right now.  So let’s compare queers with queers, shall we?

I think we’re all pretty much aware of the fact that the U.S. has, in the last 30 years or so, experienced a sexual revolution.  Birth control, women’s rights, gay rights, and so on have become integral in our culture.  It’s one of the great horrors that drove Leo Strauss to Neoconservativism, and Pat Robertson to the little voice in his head, details of which I am so certain we are all well-acquainted with that I won’t bother to cite them ad nauseum.

But how much do we know about German sexuality before Hitler?  Details on the subject are thin, but I managed to find some opinions.

The institutionalized homophobia of the Third Reich must also be seen in terms of the sexual revolution that had taken place in Germany during the preceding decades. The German gay movement had existed for thirty­six years before it (and all other progressive forces) was smashed. The Nazis carried out a “conservative revolution” which restored law and order together with nineteenth-century sexism. A system of ranking women according to the number of their offspring was devised by Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick, who demanded that homosexuals “be hunted down mercilessly, for their vice can only lead to the demise of the German people.”

My, my, my, isn’t that interesting?  A sexual revolution followed by a conservative movement that advocated a return to repressive sexuality for the sake of social stability.  And fundamental to this agenda was the production of German (read: white) babies and the villification of gays, all in the name of protecting the people.  I’m sure the fact that the “convervative revolution” also happened to be Fascist was just coincidental.

In 1933, when Jewish business were being boycotted, Hitler’s government enacted the Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals and Measures for Protection and Recovery, and The Amendment to the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases which “defined homosexuals as ‘asocials’ who were a threat to the Reich and the moral purity of Germany.”

Just for fun, substitute “America” for “Reich” and “sanctity of marriage” for “moral purity of Germany.”  Neat, huh?

The idea that homosexuals were social freaks whose mere existence posed an inherent threat to the stability of German culture was to be a continuing theme for the Nazis.  In fact, in 1936 “the definition of ‘public morality’ was made a police matter” and “Himmler created the Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion…”  According to Himmler:

I would like to develop a couple of ideas for you on the question of homosexuality. There are those homosexuals who take the view: what I do is my business, a purely private matter. However, all things which take place in the sexual sphere are not the private affair of the individual, but signify the life and death of the nation, signify world power…

In other words, the wacky notion of privacy is against the interests of the state; Lo, it could even be said to undermine the most fundamental institution of civilization.

In Germany, the next logical step was “an intricate network of informants was developed. School children were encouraged to inform on teachers they suspected of homosexuality, employers on employees and vice versa. Homosexuals who were arrested were used to create lists of homosexuals or suspected homosexuals. The clear intention was to identify every homosexual in Germany and move them to concentration camps.”

Granted, getting arrested for walking-while-gay hasn’t quite caught on yet, and school children aren’t encouraged to turn in their gay teachers or classmates (yet), however there is quite a bit of “outing” homosexuals happening these days.  So my question becomes how long do we have until this turns into a rounding up of collaborators of the militant homosexual agenda?

You scoff, but that day is coming.  History teaches us that this is how it begins.

Remember that Germany’s first concentration camp, Dauchau, started in 1933 as a prison for political dissidents and homosexuals.  Not many scholars have bothered investigating the fatality rates of those marked by pink triangles between 1933 and 1944, but one source postulates that the death rate for homosexual prisoners (60 percent) was one and a half times as high as for political prisoners (41 percent) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (35 percent).

Instead of shying away from drawing these parallels, we need to jump in and scream about them at each and every opportunity.  I have, and will continue to, make these comparisons because not doing so means we have learned absolutely nothing from the events sixty years ago.  Even Hitler observed that “the man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes.”

Here endeth the lesson.

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