Their eyes turn into balls of fire, and they’re deeply disgusted by the fact that you would show up to CVS without covering your dirty, dirty face and protecting people against your dirty, dirty germs.
We’re living in strange times when people are suddenly afraid of complete strangers and the disease they potentially carry. But as strange as these times seem, things have been stranger — and if we’re not careful, history has a funny way of repeating itself.
Hitler’s Public Health Initiatives Led to Purging Germany of the Jews
If we take a step back in history and revisit what led to Adolf Hitler’s tyrannical, terrifyingly violent reign, you might notice a few frightening familiarities.
In a book called Hitler’s Table Talk, virtually all of Hitler’s dinner table conversations between 1941 and 1944 were recorded and transcribed. Of course, there’s no surprise that he consistently spoke of the Aryan race, which he considered a pure body that was assaulted by parasites (or foreigners). What’s interesting, though, is that Hitler refers to Jews, gypsies, etc. with language of disgust, not fear.
If you’re disgusted by something, you try to burn it, kill it, expel it.
Hitler spoke extensively about how disgusted he was by the Jews and their uncleanliness. Dr. Jordan Peterson insists that it’s “useful to get these motives right” in order to better understand and therefore prevent another tyrannical dictator like him from gaining power. All of Hitler’s language and attitude towards the Jews, gypsies, and minorities was pure disgust. If you’re scared of something, you run away from it or freeze, but if you’re disgusted by something, you try to burn it, kill it, expel it.
So when Hitler first came to power in Nazi Germany, he kicked off a series of public health schemes. He started by setting up health screenings all over the country, sending vans around to every neighborhood to conduct tuberculosis testing, etc. Next up was factory cleanliness — he launched a robust campaign encouraging factories to completely revamp their space, thoroughly clean every corner, and beautify them so they looked shiny. After the factories, the next mission was cleaning up the asylums.
When Hitler first came to power in Nazi Germany, he kicked off a series of public health schemes.
These public health initiatives were so successful in Hitler’s eyes that he continued to implement some of them during the Holocaust. The very gas that was used to sterilize and clean the factories was a variation of the gas Hitler’s men eventually used to torture and exterminate Jews. Hitler insisted that the cleanliness of factories was just as important as the cleanliness of the human race. What started as seemingly innocent or well-meaning public health campaigns quickly spiraled into an extermination of races and groups of people who were considered dirty or disgusting.
In short, the beginning of Hitler’s reign was a constant expansion of who was contaminated and who was impure.
We’re Beginning To Look at Others with Fear and Disgust during the COVID Era
Considering the rhetoric we see today about the “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” it’s not hard to see the same tones of disgust from the mainstream media and most politicians. Even more than that, we’re living in the COVID era, which has changed society in ways that we’ve never seen with any other disease, whether it’s the flu, SARs, or H1N1. We’re seeing an obsession with covering our faces all the time so we don’t spread disease or deadly germs; most public places we walk into won’t even allow us to enter without slathering our hands in hand sanitizer; and people act terrified of someone who isn’t wearing a mask.
Nobody can say with a straight face that this is normal behavior. We’ve never seen anything like this before with any other disease or illness. We’re now at a point where flight attendants act so afraid of a 2-year-old baby not wearing a mask that they kick off the entire family from the flight without any explanation at all. Since when do we see 2-year-olds as dangerous disease monsters rather than innocent toddlers?
The beginning of Hitler’s reign was a constant expansion of who was contaminated and who was impure.
We’re even seeing people advocate for some kind of tracking device to show that a person is vaccinated or “clean” enough to enter a venue. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang just said publicly that he wants to require that people prove they’ve been vaccinated by showing a bar code before they go to a bar or restaurant or any other public place.
If this feels like a dystopian novel to you, that’s because it’s starting to feel like one. Let’s hope we can all learn the lessons from the past and we don’t witness history repeat itself.