No one can point to any statement from President Trump calling upon his supporters to storm the Capitol, much less to stage a coup against the U.S. government, but it doesn’t matter anymore. The establishment media and the social media giants are insisting that he incited the attack on the Capitol and was trying to install himself as a dictator by means of a guy with a buffalo horn hat and some other dopes and wingnuts, and if you don’t believe it, you’re a racist, bigoted, MAGA-hat-wearing fascist who deserves to be silenced along with the president, and soon will be. But it’s clear who the real fascists are, and they are exploiting their Reichstag Fire moment to the fullest.
On February 27, 1933, four weeks after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, the Reichstag, the German parliament building in Berlin, caught fire. The culprit was a Dutch Communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, who apparently had acted alone. Hitler, however, insisted that the Communist Party, which was a considerable force within the Reichstag, had set the fire, and pressed German President Paul von Hindenburg to approve of an emergency law suspending civil liberties. Communist leaders, including the Communist members of the Reichstag, were hunted down and arrested.
Without their presence in the Reichstag, the National Socialists and their coalition partners had a majority. That enabled the Nazis to pass a further law, the Enabling Act, on March 23, 1933, giving Hitler dictatorial powers and removing any obstacle to his absolute supremacy.
While some people have always maintained that the whole thing was a false flag, most historians believe than van der Lubbe really did set the fire. Nonetheless, the advantages it gave to the Nazis were clear, and so it was no surprise when, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II ended, German General Franz Halder declared that he had heard one of the most prominent and influential Nazis, Hermann Göring, boast that he himself had set the fire. When confronted with Halder’s statement, Göring denied having had anything to do with the fire, but there is no doubt that its chief beneficiary was Germany’s new National Socialist regime. The Reichstag fire enabled the National Socialists to declare their political opponents enemies of the state and accordingly silence them and outlaw their activity, and opened the door to World War II and the Holocaust.
The parallels to what is happening today are obvious. In the wake of the January 6 riot at the Capitol, the Democrats are trying to criminalize opposition to their program, painting all support of President Trump and his America-First program as incitement to violence and tantamount to sedition. He has been shut out of the major social media networks that exercise near-total control over the means of communication today. And as Trump himself has pointed out repeatedly, for all the demonic frenzy of their desire to destroy him utterly, he is really not the target. We are.
The National Socialists used the Reichstag fire to destroy all political opposition in Germany and assert total control over the lives of every German citizen. They used it to give themselves official, pseudo-legal permission to break every moral law and ethical code ever known to mankind, and ultimately to murder tens of millions of people, including six million Jews (the particular target of their hatred), and lay waste to the entire European continent.
The American Left of today has followed the Nazis’ Reichstag Fire playbook to a T thus far. What is to prevent them from attempting to implement the whole thing? The one thing saving us from woke totalitarianism at this point may be the fact that the sinister authoritarians of the Democratic Party, the social media corporations, and the establishment media may already have overreached. America in 2020, even after fifty years of woke indoctrination in our schools, is not like Germany of 1933. We have a strong tradition of freedom, notably the freedom of speech. In attempting to impose their totalitarian woke straitjacket upon the American people, the Left is going to encounter considerably more opposition than the Nazis did in Germany, where the Weimar Republic was the nation’s first attempt at representative government and never enjoyed great support among the people.
These are indeed, however, as Tom Paine said so long ago, the times that try men’s souls. The way forward is unclear. The avenues that are even available to us to continue to dissent from the Left are being systematically closed down – witness the fact that after banning Trump, the social media giants began to make war on their much smaller competitor, Parler. The Left is reveling in its Reichstag Fire moment. This is their hour and the power of darkness. But the light of freedom still burns in so many American’s hearts that it is safe to say: this isn’t over.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.