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Trump supporters dump reality for mythology — just like the Nazis did: historian

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Historian Eric Kurlander spoke to Slate.com’s Rebecca Onion about his book, Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich, and how German Nazis’ belief in the paranormal is echoed in President Donald Trump’s fervently devoted followers of 2017.

The Nazis under Hitler embraced what Kurlander calls “border science,” which operates on the fringes of real science, but under a “faith-based epistemology” that believes magic and miracles underlie scientific facts. It differs from pseudoscience in that pseudoscience tries to operate within the strictures of established science — and usually fails.

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An example of border scientific thinking is what is known as “World Ice Theory,” which maintains that all of the cosmos was created by the collision of two stars, which threw off icy moons and planets.

As Onion noted, the theory “happened to align with ideas from Nordic mythology, so it got a lot of support from the Nazis.”

Kurlander said that in the wake of World War I, border thinking “was wildly popular among völkisch and esoterically inclined thinkers, like engineers, who didn’t quite understand modern physics but understood enough technical jargon to kind of glom onto the ideas and argue that they were valid as an alternative to ‘Jewish physics.’”

German Nazis embraced these myths and falsehoods about themselves because they were pleasing to their idea of Germany and Germanic culture as inspired and especially adored by God. They also embraced the idea of “root races” and superior classes of human beings. The Aryan races was purportedly bless by God and handed the responsibility of dominating and eliminating their inferiors.

Trump followers’ American exceptionalism and the belief that the United States were blessed by God to rule over the world doesn’t differ terribly from this Nazi ideology — extreme nationalism unchecked by facts or science.

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Trump has requisitioned millions of dollars in federal funds to prove things that aren’t true, like his formulation of a “vote fraud” commission to investigate the 3 million or so “illegal” voters that Trump believes cost him the popular vote.

Kurlander said, “In the 1930s Hitler and [Heinrich] Himmler gave an honorary doctoral title to the living co-progenitor of World Ice Theory, or ‘Glacial Cosmogony’ as they called it, Philip Fauth. They put him and Hans Robert Scultetus, who was trained as a meteorologist, in charge of a World Ice Division in ’35 or ’36 within the Ahnenerbe, Himmler’s giant Institute for Ancestral Research. The sole purpose of the division was to coordinate and propagate World Ice Theory as official Nazi doctrine.”

Furthermore, the entire “master race” myth, explained Kurlander, “was founded at least as much on ideas drawn from Indo-Aryan religion, Nordic mythology and occult or border-scientific doctrines as it was on modern biology or eugenics.”

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All of it, he said, is “wrapped up with ariosophy, theosophy, anthroposophy—these major occult doctrines that were prominent in Austria and Germany.”

Onion asked, “One of the things that makes liberals, lefties, centrists feel so frustrated in encountering an administration that is anti-reality, is the feeling that nothing you will say can make a difference.”

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Kurlander said that in reaching out to people who have rejected reason in favor of their feelings and accepted them as fact as to be careful not to fully demonize them and dismiss everything they believe as nonsense.

You will gain credibility with those people, he said, through “not exaggerating or demonizing certain things that are really legitimate points of view, even if you disagree with them, and then being careful to explain your terms when you want to identify fascist, or racist, or supernaturalist thinking.”


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2020 Election

We are witnessing the birth of a movement — and the downfall of a president

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They almost always begin to right wrongs: illegitimate wars; decades of discrimination on the grounds of gender or racial or sexual identity; killings of innocents by police or gun-toting lunatics; oppression by governments wielding unequal laws; the deeply embedded legacy of centuries of racism.

This article first appeared in Salon.

They are imperfect. Arising out of rage, they can be unfocused, inchoate, contradictory. Protesting violence, they often involve violence. Protesting oppression, they sometimes oppress by destroying public spaces, small businesses, even entire neighborhoods.

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Susan Collins skipped Trump’s visit to Maine after president threatened colleague Lisa Murkowski

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Protesters were expected to meet President Donald Trump on his Friday afternoon visit to Maine, but Senator Susan Collins, caught in the middle of a hotly contested re-election race this fall, did not.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Instead, the embattled Republican senator will be in Washington, where she has "several federal and non-federal events on her schedule," a Collins spokeswoman told NBC News.

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2020 Election

HBO’s Maher taunts Trump fans over president hiding in a bunker from protesters: ‘Is America great enough for you yet?’

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In his opening monologue on Friday night, HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher both ridiculed Donald Trump and taunted his fans over reports the president was whisked away to an underground bunker to protect him from anti-police brutality protesters.

According to the HBO comedian, "As soon as some shit started outside the White House he went straight to the bunker, five floors below ground. He says he wasn't hiding, he said, I love this, it was more of an inspection -- and he didn't piss himself, he was watering his shoes."

"I tell you, deranged authoritarians and bunkers, always a winning combination," he added.

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