Helmut and Erika are a young couple who live in a small German town in 1936. There is a rally on Saturday afternoon being staged by members of the local Nazi party. Helmut and Erika take their son and daughter to wave the swastika flags the children had made at school. There is a carnival atmosphere and the family enjoy a picnic. Helmut treats himself to a few beers. Erika doesn’t understand why her friend Sarah didn’t bring her family too. Erika later finds out that Sarah’s elderly parents were beaten up by some thugs wearing swastika armbands in the town later that night. She is furious. “Those people are not real Nazis,” she says. “Real Nazis just want a fair deal for the German people. Right?”
Helmut and Erika don’t hate their Jewish neighbours. Helmut and Erika have never hurt anyone and they have no desire to hurt anyone. “One of my best friends is Jewish,” Helmut assures anyone who asks. Helmut and Erika are decent hard-working people. To them the Nazis are empowering Germany. It’s just about a fair deal for Germans, isn’t it? Nazism is not about hate.
OK so some of the leading Nazis make fiery speeches glorifying violence and threatening Jews and other minorities, but that’s just showmanship right? That is not what Nazism is all about. OK so Helmut and Erika know that there are new laws which give non-Jews special advantages over Jews, but that’s just to even up the balance right? Just to make things fair. Helmut and Erika know that Jews are consistently belittled and vilified in the schools and in the media, but a little of that is only to be expected , right? After all the Jews have been privileged for thousands of years right? Anyway that will all be fixed once things settle down. Helmut and Erika believe in “moderate fascism”. They are not extremists. After all Nazism is just about a fair deal for the German people right?……….
Wrong. ….Helmut and Erika must share some of the blame for the beating of Sarah’s parents, just as they will share some of the blame for the holocaust to come. They are deliberately lying to themselves and in doing so they are lending support to a toxic hateful poison which will in the end destroy not only everything that is good and decent about their country but also themselves.
If you identify with any ideology then you must identify with the leading proponents and the core principles of that ideology. If you claim to be a feminist, then you are tacitly empowering the feminist movement in all it’s forms. If you say you are a feminist but do not condone hate, then you are lying to yourself and everybody around you.