Last week, Lord Christopher Monckton accused a group of young climate activists who invaded an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) event where he was speaking of being “Hitler Youth” three times – twice caught on video (see these two posts from last week) and then at least twice on the Science and Public Policy Institute blog here and here (and he denied making the claim at an Associated Press event over the weekend). Clearly Monckton believes that the activists are behaving as the Nazis would.
Monckton is wrong. Temporarily taking over a meeting, chanting, and disturbing the organizers and invited speaker (Monckton) is not what the Nazis would have done. As someone who studied the history of Nazism and fascism in college, allow me to describe what would have happened during the meeting had it been invaded by the Nazis. Just a warning – I’m not going to go into gory detail, but I’m not going to sugar coat this either, so some of what I describe below is unpleasant.
After talking to one of the activist organizers of the protest, only a few of the approximately 50 activists would have been in the Hitler Youth – most were adults (over 18), so they would have been in the Sturmabteilung (SA, aka brownshirts), the Nazi party militia, or the Schutzstaffel (SS) state security organization instead of the Hitler Youth. Furthermore, about a third were non-white, about half were non-Christian, and about half were women. The SA was composed entirely of men, all white (the few non-whites living in Germany at the time were outcasts and wouldn’t have been granted membership in the SA), and Christian. The SS would have been even more restrictive.
But perhaps for the purposes of this example, we can assume that all 50 activists would have been SA or SS members.
The SA wouldn’t have come in wearing their day clothes – they would have been wearing brown shirts as part of a standard militia uniform that made them more terrifying. They also would have had someone watching the event and not entered until after Monckton had started speaking, assuming that he was their target. And when they entered, they would have been carrying weapons.
After they entered the meeting, the SA would probably have waited for someone to panic and try to run. When that happened, the SA would have attacked everyone and everything in the room, using knives, truncheons, pipes, and fists.
Let’s start with Monckton. He probably would have been attacked with knives and/or truncheons and either stabbed and beaten to death outright or injured so severely that it would have taken a miracle for him to survive long enough to reach a hospital.
The AFP organizer probably would have been hauled out, thrown to the ground, and kicked and stomped literally senseless. He might have died from his injuries, but not intentionally killed unless he’d been a serious thorn to the SA in the past. If he had been a bother to the SA in the past, then he’d probably have had his skull crushed.
The other AFP members would have been beaten and driven out of the hotel bloodied and broken. All would have needed medical attention, some might have died from their beatings or having been stabbed. Those that recovered would have been injured badly enough that they might not have been able to walk again, or have lost the use of an arm, or have sustained brain damage, or have lost an eye, or been permanently deafened.
The attendees might have had a chance to escape, but even the ones that escaped would have been bloodied and might have broken limbs and serious cuts that would need medical attention. Given that there appears to have been only five actual attendees, they all probably would have been as injured as the other AFP members mentioned above.
The SA wouldn’t have stopped there, however. If they had today’s technology available to them, the probably would have grabbed one of the cameras and filmed the entire thing themselves. They also would have destroyed as much of the equipment they could get their hands on, throwing down lights, smashing cameras, and so on. In the process, the would have turned the lights and cameras and microphone cords into impromptu weapons, bludgeoning AFP members, hotel staff, and attendees with the cameras, possibly choking others with cords, and smashing lights down on their targets’ heads.
The SA wouldn’t have stopped there either. They would have dragged the hotel manager and assistant managers out into the street and beat them senseless as well. The probably would have been left alive, however, as a lesson to everyone who watched the beating.
In later years, when the SS was strong, this might have gone one step farther. The SS might have shown up at the hotel owner’s home after bed time, broken in, and efficiently killed everyone inside, leaving the bodies on the front lawn to be discovered by a family member, neighbor, or the regular police.
Now, you tell me – does what I just described sound at all like what happened at the AFP event? Monckton was allowed to continue talking. The AFP organizer was permitted to continue talking. The activists brought a sign (that was torn away by an AFP member), not truncheons or knives. The activists were of many ethnicities, religions, and wore regular clothing, not white Christians in uniforms. There was no violence at all, in fact – no one was beaten, stabbed, choked, or bludgeoned.
Calling what the activists did “fascist” or “Hitlerite” or Nazis shows a marked ignorance of just how terrible the Nazis and fascists really were, both on the part of Lord Monckton and his defenders.