I haven't cut the cord yet because I still want to watch live sports, but I recently signed up for Netflix. I found a few movies I hadn't seen, bing-watched some series that interested me, then started exploring the catalogue. They sure have a lot of documentary series on the Nazis. It reminds me of the old days when the History Channel was nicknamed the Nazi Channel because WWII made up a large part of its programming. This was before the History Channel morphed into the Swamp People and Ancient Aliens Channel.
There are so many documentaries on the Nazis because (a) a lot of them are made by Brits, and there's nothing of more importance to the Brits than the recent near-destruction of their country, and (b) while there are lots of examples of evil regimes throughout history, the scale of the crimes perpetrated by Hitler and his henchmen is unmatched.
What I find most interesting about these documentaries isn't Hitler, but those henchmen. In particular, I've pondered the motivations of three: Minister of Propoganda Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Party leader Martin Bormann, and Armaments Minister Albert Speer. Each did evil things but for different reasons. To describe each in a word, Goebbels was a zealot, Bormann was an opportunist, and Speer was a patriot. Goebbels was the only major Nazi to stay in the bunker with Hitler until the end. He and his wife murdered their five children before taking their own lives because they couldn't imagine life without National Socialism.
The documentaries indicate Bormann was interested only in increasing his own power. He fled the bunker and disappeared, apparently hoping to escape to South America. Although it was rumored that he did so, DNA testing in 1998 confirmed that he died while still in Berlin shortly after fleeing the bunker. He killed himself, not out of fanatic devotion to the cause, but because he was surrounded by Soviet troops and didn't want to be captured and tortured. Bormann wasn't just a war criminal, he also was an ordinary criminal who somehow spent less than a year in prison as an accomplice to a murder in 1923. Both Goebbels and Bormann surely would have been executed for their crimes if they had been captured alive.
Which brings us to Speer. He was captured alive and was not executed. He spent 20 years in prison then had 15 years as a free man. He apologized for his role in the Third Reich, wrote several books which sold very well, and supposedly made large anonymous donations to Jewish causes. I believe under different circumstances, Speer would have led a rather ordinary life, perhaps reaching old age as a respected member of some community. But he had the misfortune to be born in Germany just before the wars, the bad judgment to become pals with Hitler, and more bad judgment in accepting the role of Armaments Minister in 1942. His claim that he didn't know about the Holocaust is probably not true. At the very least, he had to know that slave labor was used to produce the armaments for which he was responsible, and those slaves suffered an extremely high mortality rate. But because he was a patriot, however misguided that seems now, he took the job and did it as well as he could.
So where am I going with this? I'm going to equate present-day politicians with these notorious Nazis. If you think that's outrageous, remember that the Nazis gained power after winning the most votes and Reichstag seats in the 1933 German election. To a great extent, whether Nazi or modern, politicians can be divided into the three categories of zealots, opportunists and patriots. Current-day American zealots include the neo-fascist Progressives on the left (Bernie) and the Bible thumpers on the right (Ted Cruz). Zealots only care about those who agree with them and everyone else is considered stupid. They are annoying, but at least you usually know where they stand. Opportunists such as the Clintons and The Donald are devious and in the grand scheme are probably more dangerous to liberty than zealots because they will do anything to advance their own power. If you can't help them satisfy their lust for power, they will squish you like a bug with no regrets.
Patriots who truly care about the nation and all its citizens are hard to find. Unfortunately it is impossible to get anything done in Washington because everything is colored by partisan politics. A patriot isn't going to accumulate enough power to get anything done because he or she can't make headway in a party primarily comprised of zealots and opportunists. House Speaker Paul Ryan might have been inclined to be a patriot, but he was lukewarm about it. Partisan Washington chewed him up and spat him out.
I'm a Libertarian because I don't think it makes sense to be anything else. But I also don't have any illusions that the political situation will swing toward liberty and free enterprise any time soon. Some of Trump's enactments lean in that direction, but the huge budget imbalance shows a serious lack of will by both major parties to recognize and address the central problem. At least the war criminal Speer had the decency to apologize for what he did. We will never hear apologies from the Clintons or The Donald for their counter-productive, unpatriotic behaviour.