By Irene F. Starkehaus -
One late evening in November of 1938, Germany erupted into a violence that was fuel by years of "organized outbursts of popular anger" and in that night of terror against the Jewish people, homes were burned, riots raged, temples were destroyed and tens of thousands of Jewish men were rounded up and corralled into the concentration camps of Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Dachau. The prevalent description assigned to November 9, 1938 is Kristallnacht. (We translate this as "night of broken glass.") It is believed that Joseph Goebbels created the term as a way of dehumanizing the event as a crime against property instead of a crime against mankind, but in post-Nazi Germany where the people are understandably cautious about adopting Nazi euphemisms, the events leading up to Jewish internment are now called the "Reich pogrom night." See Kristallnacht 1938 by Alan E. Steinweis.
Pogrom is a word of Russian origin that portends grassroots anti-Semitic violence that was perhaps not organized by authorities but was most certainly condoned because Jews of that era had an unusually high representation in the commercial classes which have always been vulnerable to accusations of greed – especially in times of misfortune. Pogroms were intended to frustrate and collapse what was termed "Jewish privilege," and they were used in conjunction with Hitler's "anti-Semitism of reason" against Jews through a "systematic legal struggle." Kristallnacht was tacitly endorsed by Hitler as a means of frustrating private property rights in Germany.
That's how fascists work. Through populist anger and through bureaucratic means, the Left creates unrest in order to authorize controls that are said to protect populations from the commerce that purportedly fosters discontent. Popular anger and bureaucratic control invariably combine and use scapegoats as a way of disenfranchising the middle class from its God-given rights thereby creating a permanent underclass that can then propagate the unrest.
You know, there's always a populist justification for mob destruction of human lives. In November of 1938, the tipping point was a Jewish man by the name of Herschel Grynszpan who took the law into his own hands after years of nationalized marginalization and shot German diplomat Ernst vom Rath over the systematic destruction of his family and his people.
Grynszpan's rash behavior was just what the Nazi party was waiting for. German propagandists moved swiftly to characterize the unlawful act of Grynszpan as evidence of a Jewish "anti-German conspiracy" and used the incident to rally support of German "dejewification." Interestingly, in the years following WWII, citizens in Germany were interviewed about events leading up to the Reich pogrom night, and the vast majority of German citizens were horrified by the Kristallnacht, the stripping of citizenship, the mortification of property rights and religious liberty, and the ultimate internment and murder of millions of European Jews.
The problem was that they were too afraid, overwhelmed…confused by the rapid and brutal advancement of Nazism to stand up against the groundswell of tyranny. Rather than unite to denounce intolerable acts against humanity, they echoed disdain over Grynszpan's impetuous and murderous reaction to sustained German oppression with no reciprocal scorn for the mob's disparate reaction to Grynszpan's bad behavior. Grynszpan became the impetus for "dejewification." "Dejewification" became the excuse for the government's seizure of their private property, and this set the precedent for seizing any and all private property so that anyone opposing such seizure was also considered an enemy of the State.
Nazism, fascism, Marxism, communism, socialism, progressivism and any other leftist "ism" that you want to conjure toward the repackaging of despotism…a rose by any other euphemism would still reek of the stench of oppression. And be clear, in Germany, the scapegoats were of Jewish decent. In Russia and France and England, the scapegoats were royals and Jews and Christians. In America, the scapegoats were the so-called robber barons. But the people who always pay most dearly for the sins of populists are invariably members of the middle class who wish to pursue happiness with no classist restrictions.
Jesse Jackson, Barack Obama, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee…have all expressed disgust over the racist comments spoken by Donald Sterling – owner of the LA Clippers. We dutifully nod our heads in agreement because the comments were most certainly befouled but also –equally important to the issue – is that to not publically denounce the racism in scripted tangentials is to risk getting swept away in the witch hunt for nasty things that the products of "white privilege" say.
Objectively speaking, Donald Sterling is described as the "worst owner in professional sports." He has a long list of ethical and legal conundrums that would warrant outrage in and of themselves. There are a lot of reasons to put pressure on this man to retire and sell the team. Further, Sterling contributes to democrats and my initial inclination has been to say nothing on the subject of his apparent racism and to let him stew in the brine of liberal hegemony until his fingers turn puckered and pruney. He's hardly an innocent and any defense of him is nonsensical.
But Magic Johnson…a man who has been celebrated as one of America's most beloved athletes, and I am included in the throng which really upsets me… wants to buy the Clippers…really? He already has backers? The story broke big on Monday, or am I mistaken? Because suddenly I feel the day turning to Kristallnacht. The man at the center of the Sterling controversy is looking to purchase the Clippers and this is per a report by CBS Sports. Talk about your coincidences. Does this qualify as one of those things that make you go, "hmmm?"
Based on the recordings made public by his angry girlfriend, it would appear to those who don't care a fig about the politics of basketball (namely me) that Sterling is an unmitigated dolt. His comments, made in a private conversation, are nasty by the most generous standards. But they are words and robbing a man of his livelihood because his words are offensive is a reaction that lacks proportion when there are any number of ethical concerns the public could have pointed to over the last ten years that have been largely ignored up until this moment in basketball history.
There is now a populist groundswell calling for Sterling to divest of his private property exclusively over his words rather than his actions, and that popular anger demands that he should sell his holdings to Magic Johnson who was the man that Sterling was complaining about to his girlfriend because she attended a basketball game with Johnson. Racist or not, I've never been a big fan of gotchas. This has all the makings of a sting operation from my perspective and that shouldn't sit well with anyone who values liberty – and liberty happens to include the protected right to be a jerk.
Such proposed reparations – embedded in the volatility of racial politics – smack of extremism and will have a chilling effect on free speech and private property rights. The public will perceive that Sterling was finished off by African American leadership over a private conversation and that this caused his property to be transferred to Magic Johnson.
Precedent will be set. Progressive bullies will become emboldened in this reign of terror, and protected free speech and property rights will suffer as a result. If this is the intangible that black leaders truly wish to project their grievances upon when there are so many solid reasons to question Sterling's participation in the NBA, then it would be well that they themselves maintain vigilance in their own private conversations lest they speak ill of others in a moment of anger. I'm quite certain that they have never engaged in such offensive activities but the thought sends a chill up the spine nevertheless.
If history has taught us nothing else, it has illustrated time and again how the persecutors invariably become the persecuted. One wealthy scapegoat begets another in this revolution of the entitled and we well know that the only color that avarice really cares about is green.