Daily Wire co-founder and author Ben Shapiro discussed how centralized power and other factors are real threats to liberal democracies, citing historical collapses during a long-ranging podcast with host Lex Fridman, released on Monday.
Shapiro emphasized the threat when Fridman asked about lessons we could learn from Adolf Hitler taking power in the 20th century.
“The first thing I think people ought to recognize about Hitler taking power is that the power had been centralized in the government before Hitler took it,” the “Right Side of History” author outlined.
“So if you actually look at the history of Nazi Germany, the Weimar Republic effectively collapsed, the power had been centralized in the chancellory, and really under Hindenburg for a couple of years before that,” Shapiro, 38, explained. “So it was only a matter of time until someone who was bad grabbed the power.”
“The struggle between the Reds and the Browns in pre-Nazi Germany led to this kind of up-spiraling of radical sentiment that allowed Hitler in through the front door, not through the back door. He was elected,” the podcast host said.
Shapiro added that “there’s no question” the Communists could have taken power at the time, noting that such a takeover could have led to a different sort of atrocity. “Obviously the Communists in Soviet Russia at exactly this time were committing the Holodomor,” he said.
“There were very few good guys in terms of good parties — the moderate parties were being dragged by the radicals into alliance with them to prevent the worst case scenario from the other guy,” the conservative explained.
“It really does speak to how does a democracy break down,” Shapiro asserted. “I mean the 20s Weimar Republic, which was a very liberal democracy, how does a liberal democracy break down into complete Fascism and then into genocide?”
Franz von Papen, the second-to-last Chancellor of the Republic before Hitler, was “stumping for Hitler” even though he opposed him, Shapiro explained. “Papen thought that Hitler was a radical and a nut job, but he also thought that Hitler, being a buffoon as he saw it, was going to essentially be usable by the right forces in order to … prevent the Communists from taking power.”
“It’s easy to kind of fall into the rock’em sock’em robots that eventually could, theoretically, allow you to support somebody who’s truly frightening and hideous in order to stop somebody who you think is more frightening and hideous,” he asserted.
“You see this kind of language, by the way, now predominating almost all over the Western world: ‘My political enemy is an enemy of democracy, my political enemy is going to end the Republic, my political enemy is going to be the person who destroys the country we live in, and so that person has to be stopped by any means necessary. And that’s dangerous stuff,” the author warned.
.@benshapiro: "The best protection against evil is recognizing that it lies in every human…The polarization of politics…makes it very easy to…theoretically…support someone who is truly frightening and hideous in order to stop someone who is more frightening and hideous." pic.twitter.com/1l7inRhVmJ
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) November 7, 2022