The stories that David de Jong first reported for Bloomberg News and now recounts in his book Nazi Billionaires document the sordid embrace of the Nazi regime by Germany’s wealthiest industrial dynasties and those dynasties’ continued prosperity today.
Thirty years ago, as the Soviet Union was coming apart and its hold on Eastern Europe was loosening, democracy appeared ascendant not just in Europe but worldwide. For advocates of democratic government, the 20th century concluded on a triumphant note. Today that note is a distant, barely audible signal from a bygone era.
Throughout the Trump presidency, the summer of Black Lives Matter protests and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when asked about the alarming degree of polarization and anger in politics, I would always offer by way of comparison a time when I thought things had been worse: 1968.
Almost a half-century before Donald Trump signed on to the fraudulent notion that President Barack Obama’s American citizenship and constitutional legitimacy were suspect, Robert Welch (1899-1985) reached an equally alarming conclusion about the president of his day, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower.
For liberal supporters of Israel, the unresolved status of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza presents a dilemma: a choice between a single state with so many Arab citizens as to inevitably dilute the Jewish character of the country, or the insistence of control over but denial of equal rights to millions of Palestinians, diluting if not destroying Israel’s democratic character.
In this time of corrective unnamings—to remove traces of admiration or gratitude for the morally reevaluated—the names of unrepentant slaveholders, Confederate generals, contemporary sexual predators and other assorted wrongdoers have been erased or proposed for erasure from college dorms, military bases, city streets and more.