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Confusing Historical Parallels - Part 1

by Chauncey Tinker – 9 May 2018

We shared with readers recently an engrossing account from Theodore Dalrymple of an event at which he and Katie Hopkins had been speaking. The fact that masked “anti-fascist” activists (dressed in black) demonstrated at the event and behaved in a very disruptive, threatening, and violent manner came as no surprise to most of us, these types of protests have become practically commonplace by now.

Something that was mentioned almost incidentally though but caught my attention was the fact that the townsfolk had also made a small protest against the speakers (well against Katie Hopkins in particular really I think we can safely assume). Quote:

When I arrived in Lewes, posters in many windows proclaimed that Lewes wanted no hate speech. A town councillor had argued that the invitation to Hopkins should be withdrawn.

I believe that in fact quite a significant percentage of the UK population sympathize with the “antifa” type protests, and feel that those who speak about problems connected with religions, immigration, and race really should be vilified and suppressed, even violently if all else fails. I believe that their thinking is in part shaped by past events, they genuinely do think they can see parallels with the rise of Nazism in particular. Those who express dissenting concerns on these subjects have long been effectively excluded from the mainstream public discourse; this has allowed misconceptions about these historical parallels to persist in the minds of many ordinary people.

Admittedly, some of Katie Hopkins’s past outbursts have rather tended to increase the perceptions of resurgent Nazism rather than dampen them. For example, her comment about a “final solution” that came in the wake of the Manchester Arena atrocity, and her suggestion that Ed Miliband put his wife’s head in the oven and turn on the gas have not exactly helped. She has also been criticized for meeting holocaust deniers apparently. Since so very few people have found the courage to speak publicly in opposition to the migrant influx however, I think it is hardly surprising that Katie Hopkins has found many supporters.

I do also strongly suspect that there is an element of deliberate provocation in some of her comments, a ploy that is perhaps designed to shake up the public discourse and encourage people to speak more freely. She shook the debate about the migrant crisis up considerably by referring to the supposed “refugees” as cockroaches. Of course this was a de-humanizing remark, but when you look at some of the footage I share below, you may find that any sympathy you had for many of those currently trying to batter their way into Europe evaporates. A climate where well-educated people in public life persist in referring to all the migrants as refugees, regardless of where they are coming from, regardless of the fact that so many of them are obviously not refugees, is certainly a climate that urgently needs to be shaken up.

You often hear the phrase “history repeats itself”. The reality is that history never repeats itself exactly, but sometimes there are similarities. Mark Twain is reputed to have put it rather more poetically:

“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.”

Sometimes however these similarities or “rhymes” can be confusing and lead people to jump to the wrong conclusions. I believe this is a major problem in the current situation in the “West” with regard to two related issues – the migrant crisis and growing opposition to the rise of Islamic influence. Here are two of the confusing historical parallels that I’m thinking about:

THE CURRENT MIGRANT INFLUX INTO EUROPE AND THE EXODUS OF JEWS FROM NAZI GERMANY

WHAT WAS THE SAME?

In truth, not so much:

WHAT IS DIFFERENT?

A lot:

“ISLAMOPHOBIA” AND THE RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN EARLY 20TH CENTURY EUROPE

WHAT WAS THE SAME?

In truth, not so much:

WHAT IS DIFFERENT?

A lot:

 

CONCLUSION

We should never forget the past, we can learn many lessons from it, but we should never try to draw too many conclusions from history about how we should react to the present. Every situation we find ourselves in is a new situation, requiring an objective assessment of the facts that now face us. When people seem to be repeating the errors of the past we should allow them to freely express their concerns and then counter their viewpoint with reason and evidence if we can. It needs to be repeated forever that sunlight is the best disinfectant, but besides it may just be that we are the ones who are misguided, and that the problems they are perceiving are all too real.

What do you think? Is Katie literally Hitler? Please leave a comment below.

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