I Wanna See Some History

I’ve seen a few people posting references to the 1933 Enabling Act that gave Adolf Hitler (actually the “Hitler Cabinet”, although that quickly became irrelevant) complete dictatorial power in Germany, trying to link it to the Senate’s vote on allowing the Dems to call witnesses.

Nope. Not a good parallel, for a bunch of reasons (historical, structural) – and a good one, but not for the reason those using it think.

Mostly, it’s being used as a way to logroll the uninformed – which, these days, in a culture that thinks Jon Stewart was “news”, is an awful lot of people.

For starters, the German Constitution after WWI gave the executive branch almost royal powers. That’s because in around 1919 they clipped out references to the Kaiser (“Caesar”, in German) and replaced them with an elected “President”. And not much else; there was little or no ability, for example, for the legislative branch to “impeach” the President – at all.

Germany had an incredibly strong executive branch, and a very weak parliament…

that was further weakened by the German people’s fatigue with politics. After fifteen years where Politics very frequently devolved into street violence (between, literally, real “brownshirts” and “Anti”-fa – who were literally the direct action arm of the Communist party, and descended into same “Anti”-fa we have prancing about playing street soldier today). By the way – the Communists supported the idea of the Hitler cabinet, at least behind the scenes; they figured the violence that’d ensue would give them an opening to get back into power. They miscalculated badly, of course – worse than Adam Schiff, even. By this point in history, Germans were perfectly fine giving all the power to someone who would just make it all stop, and let them get back to trying to rebuild their economy and self-esteem

And the actual vote on the act was taken as the non-Nazi members of the “Reichstag” (parliament) were being literally threatened by brownshirts (again – literally, the same thing as “Anti”-Fa with different accessories) and the nucleus of what became the “SS”. The threats weren’t social media bluster, either; the “cancel culture” of the day was boots against head against pavement.

Future elections were abolished, the Party co-opted the Army with promises of rebuilding after its humiliation after World War 1, and that was pretty much that.

So – it’s a terrible parallel: the Senate impeachment vote was precisely the one predicted when the Democrats first started talking about impeachment three years ago, reinforced when the GOP extended their majority in the Senate in 2018; precisely the vote the Constitution called for, with the deliberative Senate checking and balancing the popular House.

It will (!) be followed by elections in nine months, where the people will sort it out, for better or worse, electing another government that, via the inefficiency that is Federalism’s most glorious feature, stymie and frustrate any electoral majority.

If we’re lucky.

Just as the Germans learned. After 1945, their new Federal (!) Constitution distributes power between the executive and parliament, and between the Federal and State parliaments, with the sorts of checks and balances they’d learned they needed, the hard way.

But there is a warning here, for Americans. Germany learned the need for checks and balances…

…and America’s “progressive” “elites” are doing their damnedest to get rid of them. There are serious efforts to make the Senate majoritarian (or abolish it completely), to make the legislative branch more closely mirror popular passions; to abolish the Electoral College to give the control of the Executive branch (which is waaaaaay too powerful, thanks to Wilson, FDR and LBJ) over to the will of the simple majority…

…and thus let that majority wield the full dead-eyed power of government over the minority without check or balance, or need for the niceties of legislation and debate.

To make the trains run on tim…er, I mean, move America “forward”. In your “best interests”.

There’s your “warning”.

2 thoughts on “I Wanna See Some History

  1. You could impeach the prez for jaywalking if you had popular support for it. If public opinion was running 60-40 in favor of impeachment, the senators would vote to convict. “Senator” is nearly a lifetime gig these days. All the senators, D&R alike, want to be in office long after Trump’s two terms have ended.
    What the Dems have done is forced impeachment with no actual crime as its basis on a narrowly divided public. It is a recipe for failure, and if Pelosi was as sharp as the media tells us that she is, she would have put the brakes on Schiff after the Mueller investigation fiasco.

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