Comparison too severe?
The other night I watched a documentary about Hitler's Germany involving Valkyries. It had to do with the "resistance" movement and the attempt to assassinate Hitler to stop his madness. Those involved were elite officers in the military, and there were many and they were often prominent, Barons, Counts, etc. The assassination failed and the conspirators were rounded up by the SS and gestapo. These were incarcerated and then either faced the firing squad (if you were lucky) or hanged with a slim cord causing a slow and painful death. Those who suffered this fate, weren't the only ones to suffer. Even after the surrender to the Allies, their families had to endure the label of traitor and were mistreated. It wasn't until much later that the new government expressed it's gratitude for those men for their motives. They wanted the world to know that not all Germans were inhumane beasts. The German people had been suffering the stigma that the country and it's citizens were responsible for what Hitler and the Nazi party foisted on them through a clever, albeit diabolical propaganda program.
It made me think of how propaganda can be abused. Because all advertising is virtually propaganda, much of it is innocuous. But in the skilled hands of those bent on mind control, it will even cause the nicest of society to contribute to the ruin of others. Anything come to your mind? Is the comparison too severe?
There was the regular German army (the Wehrmacht) who weren't all Nazi's and then there was the Waffen SS. They weren't always in agreement.
One interesting thing to note is that while Operation Valkyrie itself "failed" in that it didn't outright kill Hitler and seize power, it did contribute to Hitlers eventual demise and the fall of nazism: it shook him and he didn't trust his commanders and tried to take direct control of many things himself and made severe tactical blunders that helped lead to their defeat.
Overall though I think comparisons with Nazism are best avoided because it can often comes across as hyperbole. There is no comparison although there may be similarities in some of the psychology.
Simon, I agree that a comparison using nazi Germany would likely be a conversation stopper. I doubt that I would ever use that in conversing with a JW, as they would blister at the thought. The documentary struck me at the time, that the technics are so similar. Many here on this forum have had to endure the type of propaganda that labels them (us) as undesirables, traitors, bitter lying apostates, lacking humility, and rushing ahead of Jah, etc. Most of us are just trying to figure out how we could have been so bamboozled. The technics that were used under Hitler's regime were remarkably similar. Humans doing despicable things to other humans in the name of loyalty. I suppose it would be best to present the technics and not use the term Nazi Germany, but eventually the name nazi will be recognized in infamy for that technic. The world has been fighting against it ever since, but exists in more than one more or less obscure group. I know that the persecution I've received from friends, family ( brothers) is worse than the previous worldly attempts I had to endure growing up as a JW. And...yes I do think the comparison is too severe.
After killing the men, directly involved the same day, including Count Stauffenberg, the hunt for those who might have knowledge or had sympathy never stopped. The next 8 months, until the end of the regime, some 4.000 people were convicted and hanged. There was also hypocrasy. General Field Marshall Rommel, who had no direct involvment, was given the choice to take a poisin pill, which he did, rather than put up to trial. Then there was a state funeral for him, reporting to the German people, he had fallen in battle.
I agree to not use the comparison of Nazis, however many groups today use propaganda that is just as effective.
Another interesting fact that was kind of covered over at the time ...
Only a handful of higher-ups faced the justice of the Nuremberg trials for their war-crimes. Most of the Nazis and people who supported them were needed to help rebuild Germany after the war ended - you can't execute or imprison an entire populace after all.
So there was a massive effort to "deprogram" them which has many striking parallels to people leaving a cult. Like the Japanese, the failure of their "emperor" leadership and regime was already the lighting bolt that helped to shatter their belief system.
It would appear that cults have a stronger hold on their members than the Nazi regime. I couldn't imagine a coup in the Wt organization, and a subsequent deprogramming of it's present leadership. But then....one could only hope. Wow!!!would that be amazing.
I think there is a similar comparison between Nazism and the WTS. by these two structured ideologies and how each used self supporting propaganda to allure and cultivate support toward a centralizing power of the top leader(s) over a specific population..
That propaganda entails how these top leader(s) would and could make that population a better one if all the that population was obedient and in subjective servitude to these leader(s) .
It is my opinion that if the GB of the WTS were somehow annihilated that there would be many men that would quickly fill their places, such as CO's / Branch heads etc. in the perceived knowing of the power, privilege as well perks that would be availed to them.
Although the degrees of evil being practiced are vastly more extreme on the Nazi-side of things, I'd think there's a direct relationship in the way the brains are functioning in Nazi officers involved in genocidal activity, ideological extremists involved in mass murder, and yes, Jehovah's Witnesses involved in shunning. It's the way the mind rationalizes doing something despicable in the name of loyalty - or whatever it is that's propelling them.
Obviously shunning or any other destructive practices JW's engage in aren't nearly as evil as participating in the holocaust, but the brain still has to reconcile what it's doing and how it's thinking. Despite doing something evil, it is somehow good. I believe whenever a JW has to shun - and I've been face-to-face shunned hardcore by people I love and who 'love' me (I'm not even d'fd) - although being uncomfortable by behaving so inhumanely and being forced to rectify the cognitive dissonance to behave so unlovingly to a loved one, there's definitely a degree of satisfaction they feel for having 'done the right thing.' Obedience is the ultimate quality. It's gross.
I'm not a neuroscientist or psychologist, but I've read some interesting conversation on the matter and I think behaving in an evil manner uses similar mental faculties and processes regardless of the type or degree of evil being performed.
That being said there are many factors at play and I don't want to over-simplify what's involved or lessen the persecution of Hitler's victims. But it would appear mind control can work in many degrees.
The differences between ideologies notwithstanding...
...if the WTS were given control of a small country tomorrow, I guarantee you that within a decade, free speech and freedom of religion would be nonexistent, any alternative form of sexual expression would be outlawed, creationism would be mandated in schools, disfellowshipped people would be imprisoned or deported, and "apostates" would be sentenced to death without possibility of appeal or reprieve.*
It may not be "Nazi", but it sure would be fascist.
* IMO, anyone who denies this is either naïve or lying to themselves.