On April 28, Brandeis University will hold a one-day conference entitled "New Right-Wing Radicalism: A Transatlantic Perspective." The website promoting the conference includes a Nazi swastika. Among the speakers will be University of Pittsburgh professor Kathleen Blee who will address the question, "Which Comes First: Thinking Like a Racist or Acting Like a Racist?" Chip Berlet, longtime senior analyst for the left-wing Political Research Associates, will speak on "From Tea Parties to Armed Militias."
The obvious insinuation being made here is that Americans who identify with the tea-party movement are in some way racist or anti-Semitic. This is a total lie and a vicious smear. The conference website indicates that the tactic to be employed as a means of proof for this false insinuation will be to lift up a rock, discover a real live racist, and then trot this person out as a specimen of the tea party. The conference website includes a link to an article ironically entitled: "A Report: Toxic to Democracy Conspiracy Theories, Demonization & Scapegoating."
But the deeper and inadvertently legitimate question raised by the conference is whether or not American conservatives, libertarians and the many liberals who admire the principles that underlie the tea-party movement have anything in common with Nazism. Obviously, they do not. Like Bolshevism, its socialist counterpart and ally, Nazism stood for the all-powerful and centralized state. The key tenet of the tea partiers, on the other hand, is support for the concept of limited government and of individual rights. Like Bolshevism, Nazism was anti-Judeo-Christian and militantly secular, while most tea partiers respect religious freedom and in many cases consider themselves to be religious.
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But the question goes even deeper than that. The Nazi movement, like its socialist Bolshevik contemporary counterpart in Russia, believed that government could be used as an instrument to forcibly change human society and even to change human nature for the good of all mankind. This is what the Nazis and the Bolsheviks referred to when they made reference to human progress. This idea justified in their minds the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews of Europe, the Communist Soviet purges and forced starvations, and the tens of millions murdered by other Communist regimes. Americans, as represented today by the tea partiers, believe that rights either come from the Creator or from nature, but not from the state, and that governments should serve as a means of protecting those natural rights. Americans have generally not looked to the government to change human nature, but rather we have sought to change ourselves and our communities for the better through private and voluntary means.
As the author of "The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism," recently published by WND Books, I have studied undemocratic and utopian movements and their destructive influence on the Middle East and the Israel-Arab conflict. I have also studied the phenomena of well-meaning but naive Westerners and their support for these undemocratic movements. I also write about a moderate and progressive movement in the Arab and Islamic world, progressive in the real meaning of the term, and how this freedom-loving movement was often undermined by the radicals. The tea party constitutes that movement in America today, the canary in the mine shaft, as the tea partiers blow the whistle on the so-called progressives and their authoritarian tendencies. Those of us who care about a future of freedom would be wise to listen to what the tea partiers have to say and not let them be denounced by those who have perhaps another agenda in mind.
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Chuck Morse is the author of "The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin Al-Husseini."