Dinner with a Nazi
The attempted commandeering of the cause of liberty should be rejected at every turn, says Austin Petersen
A young, attractive couple joined my group of dedicated liberty activists for cocktails and dinner one night in downtown New York City in the late summer of 2011.
The man, we’ll call him “Sven”, a handsome blonde of Germanic descent, and his similarly beautiful corn silk-haired girlfriend had been invited to join my friends and I in discussion and debate for the evening. We were all classical liberals, fighting for freedom from oppressive government, for civil rights, liberty and free markets for all.
But that’s not what one young man at the party believed.
As the presidential political season approached and the re-election of Barack Obama signaled that there would be no hope for change in leadership, the modern American libertarian movement found itself in a difficult position.
The campaign of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul had inspired hordes of free market youth activists, including this author, to his banner. The movement was composed of people from all ages and backgrounds and there was really only one thing that united all of them together, the belief in individual rights and personal liberty.
This was the second effort for many of these young men and women who had cut their teeth on the 2008 version of the Texas congressman’s campaign for the White House. Noted organizations such as the Campaign for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty, and the now International Students for Liberty took root and have seen rapid growth across the nation. The total result of this movement has been to create a mini-industry centered on the ideas of limited government and personal freedom. We have our heroes and villains, our clowns and our workhorses. It’s really quite remarkable.
One self-proclaimed hero (that is up for debate in the community) is a man by the name of Alex Jones, whose conspiracy theory rants are broadcast into millions of homes on a daily basis. Jones is a radio broadcaster whose shows feature stories on how the US government is building camps, presumably to intern Americans in event of national disaster, and that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were an orchestrated attack carried out by elements within our own government.
Jones was recently made known to the world through an appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan show where his maniacal rants and ad hominems painted the British host a perfect stereotype of the gun-toting lunatic American. Although Jones has taken steps to personally distance himself from the worse of anti-Semitism; it’s an open secret that his online forums cultivate and harbor the worst kind of backwards thinkers and rage filled racists in the world of political discourse.
During those Tea Party takeover years of 2007 to 2010, American libertarians rose up and either established or blatantly took over major institutions (including my own). There has always been a small element of this conspiracy fringe that has occupied a portion of the debate at events and online suggesting that the president was not born in America, or that he is secretly a Muslim.
Many of these people are simply what you might consider garden-variety conspiracy theorists and are relatively benign. However there are some who are much more and they are dangerous. This is how I met Sven.
I broke the ice with Sven and his girlfriend while another of our crowd ordered us drinks at the bar. It didn’t take long for the conversation to switch to politics. The history of foreign policy came to the forefront. We talked about our belief in free markets, limited government and a non-interventionist foreign policy. It was then that I learned something interesting about our new friend. Sven revealed that he believed the world would have been a better place if Hitler had won World War 2.
I blinked and laughed assuming he must have been joking, but he just stared at me with those steely blue eyes and didn’t laugh back.
I leaned forward and asked in hushed tones… “Are you a Nazi?”
He smiled… and nodded.
Sven confessed that his heart ached for what happened to Germany after the war. “We were a great people once until the Communists took over. We were on our way to becoming the greatest empire the world had ever seen. And you Austin, you are of Germanic descent. Your nation took the side of the Soviets against us and look what it brought you.”
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