I stand with Hong Kong
So, There I Am…
by Harding McFadden
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
I was walking into work a few weeks back, minding my own business, when I was shouted at in the parking lot by three total strangers. They called me a racist, asked me what the hell my problem was, and made generally menacing gestures toward me. What was I doing to make them so mad? I was walking in with a copy of William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany under my arm.
As I’m sure many of the folks reading this wonderful magazine already know, the cover of every edition of Shirer’s “little” book that I’ve ever seen is a solid black, with a swastika front and center. It’s perfect in its eye-catching presentation, and leaves no doubt in the mind of the reader that this book is going to be something heavy, not only in sheer weight (1,000 + page books have that) but also in emotional impact. I read it 20 years ago as a teenager, and felt the need to go through it again.
So, there I am, walking through the parking lot of my place of employment, on my way to begin my work day, my lunch break reading tucked under my arm, when these three people start yelling at me. Safely across the parking lot, they call me names and throw angry looks at me. I give them a quick look over—granola munching post-hippy hippy chick, bitch-bun wearing hipster, and socks and sandals, sharp-bearded millennial, each early to mid 20’s, each at first glance completely worthless—and go on my way.
Still, I grit me teeth. They yelled at me. Not because I was doing anything particularly wrong. Not because I was dressed in a offensive way (dad shorts and a t-shirt). Nope, but because they saw me walk into a store, reading something with a swastika on the cover. Knee-jerk hate. Instantly triggered. Fascism loves a lack of historical perspective.
I read a lot of history. American history mostly, and that of other countries insofar as it overlaps with that of the US. As such, I’ve read about 20th century Russia, the Mexican-American War, and Nazi Germany. I’ve devoured the works of David McCullough and Shelby Foote among many others. In researching EVIL people to better write them, I’ve read The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, and the works of Lenin. My local library has sought out many obscure bits of anti-human ramblings to give me a better glimpse into the twisted psyches of mad men and monsters. (Though the board of directors still blatantly refuses to order in or even accept free copies of the writings of SEK3. Too controversial, I suppose.) The Communists and Nazis are perfect examples of just why we fight against those that would destroy us, should they gain too much—or any—power.
I’ve got relatives who have walked into our home and seen Shirer’s book on my shelves and asked me to either turn it around so as to not display the swastika on the spine in their presence or flat out demand that I throw the book out. Personal note: it still has its place on my shelves, regardless of how uncomfortable its being there makes people. They don’t care that it isn’t a Nazi propaganda piece. It’s a bit of history that they refuse to even gawk at. And that’s not just family. There are some friends of family who have looked at it and had the same reaction, but react in no way at all when they see a hammer and sickle on the spines of other volumes. What the huh?
The people of this country are so thoroughly indoctrinated into a society that no longer grimaces at the symbols of the Red Menace, that they don’t even think of the Soviets as an evil empire anymore, but rather as more victims of “American Imperialism.” When asked to name monstrous or racist writers a bare handful will pull out Hitler or his ilk, while the rest will shout out Jefferson or Washington. Out history has been demonized, and not just ours. Any history that feels uncomfortable to people is being either brushed aside, or labeled as destructive, regardless of his instructive and important it is. Another friend, seeing me reading this same book, after remarking that it’s important to know this history, so as not to repeat it, then commented that he hoped we weren’t headed there right now, meaning he equated Trump with Hitler. An otherwise intelligent man, brainwashed by so much propaganda from the Left-owned media elite that he was spouting off sound bites without even realizing it. Yet another friend, in a more realistic mindset, in talking about the next presidential election confided to me, “Doesn’t matter who wins. F*ck ’em: my powder’s dry.”
Know your history, people. Find out why people are doing the things that they are doing; why they’ve been doing them this way for a long time; and why they will continue to do them until the last two of us are hitting each other with stones (dying last makes you the winner, dontchaknow?)
The enemy already thinks you’re racist, sexist, transphobe, Islamaphobe, what-the-hell-ever-phobe. Their opinions are worthless, groundless, and not worth your time or effort to suss out. Live your life as you see fit, and to hell with it offending anyone else, just so long as how you see fit doesn’t stop them from living how they see fit. Don’t go along to get along, but dig in like a tick to your own moral code, and be prepared to die rather than do something dishonorable. In short: be a good guy. At least then you’ll die with a clean heart.
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