While Rachel Maddow is not my favorite politainment show host, her exchange with Chris Hayes of The Nation is illuminating in how Republicans now use Brownshirt tactics in shutting down the democratic process:
All too often in modern American political discourse, opposing parties resort to declaring their opponents to be Nazis. Ususally, it is the out-of-power crowd that decries the in-power crowd as using the tactics of Adolf Hitler and Germany's Third Reich merely for doing what in-power crowds do; advance their agendas. "I didn't get my way, therefore, YOU'RE a Nazi!"
In the grand scheme of things, it is usually a rather dangerous tack to take. When one declares one's opponents to be Nazis, one simultaneously devalues the weight of declaring another a Nazi (unless that other is engaged in genuine Nazi-like activities, which is rarely the case) while risking looking like an out-of-touch paranoid lunatic.
- Which brings me to the comparison of Hitler's Brownshirts to modern radical Republicans. "Brownshirts" is a term that has been bandied about lately almost as a substitute for "Nazi." In reality, the Brownshirts were a band of thugs and other supporters of Hitler whose aims were to disrupt (often voilently) meetings held by Hitler's political opponents with the goal of either drowning out the voices of Hitler's opponents or simply shutting down political discourse altogether. The Brownshirts' aim was to shut down the marketplace of political ideas once and for all. Modern American Republican operatives have done their homework and, in an effort to replicate the successes of the Brownshirts in Third-Reich Germany, they have mobilized operatives all over America to put an end to the very kinds of discourse between elected officials and citizens that makes democracy a worthwhile endeavour (specifically of late, Town Hall meetings).