Historical Observations On How Country’s Are Overtaken By Extremists

Well, I said I would make an inspired post today but the more I read and listen the more complex my theories become and the more context is necessary to understand so here is something inspired but simple. I may often state the obvious but I am putting some of what I’ve learned recently into words.

I will focus mainly on Hitler and Lenin as examples as I know most about them and they were both political extremists (I don’t want to make a moral equivalency here, I believe as an individual Hitler was by far an eviler {less moral} individual but both of them had similar {if opposing} effects on the politics of their countries)

  1. They line up their rhetoric (often because their personal beliefs are the same) with the beliefs of the broader population they are trying to recruit.
  2. Revolutionary leaders tend to join then take and eventually achieve leadership of preexisting movements.
  3. They take an existing hated group and scapegoat them into the primary enemy which must be overthrown. (Hitler truly believed his anti-semitic rhetoric and Lenin may have had a deep grudge against the Russian bourgeoisie despite being born as one of them because of how they ostracized his family after his brother’s execution)
  4. They believe there own rhetoric but are not rarely the origin of said rhetoric .
  5. After taking over they spend much of their time and effort getting rid of other opposing, and often quite similar or close, revolutionary ideas and groups establishing themselves as the only way.
  6. They exist in a broader framework of ideas.
  7. Their promises border on utopia. (Hitler promised a return to a great fictional past while Marx’s communism was a path to eventual utopia)
  8. The systems they suggest aren’t entirely foreign to the people. (A large fraction of pre-nazi Germany were monarchists and wasn’t “ready” for democracy and Russia had a history of collective ownership, though not on a nationwide scale, as before being freed by Tzar Alexander the Second the serfs lived and worked small shared lots of land)

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