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Eliminationism is the belief that one's political opponents are "a cancer on the body politic that must be excised — either by separation from the public at large, through censorship or by outright extermination — in order to protect the purity of the nation".
The term eliminationism was coined by American political scientist Daniel Goldhagen in his 1996 book Hitler's Willing Executioners in which he posits that ordinary Germans not only knew about, but also supported, the Holocaust because of a unique and virulent "eliminationist antisemitism" in the German identity, which had developed in the preceding centuries.
In his 2009 book Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity, Goldhagen argues that eliminationism is the root cause of every mass murder perpetrated in the 20th and 21st centuries, including:
- War rape in Darfur (2003–2010)
- Suicide attacks by Islamic terrorists
- Rwandan Genocide (1994)
- Ethnic cleansing and genocide during the Yugoslav Wars (1991–1995)
- Cambodian Genocide (1975–1979)
- Operation Condor in Latin America (1973-1985)
- Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945)
- Death marches from the Auschwitz concentration camp (1944–1945)
- British concentration camps for the Mau Mau following their uprising in Kenya (1952–1960), and during the Boer Wars (1880–1881, 1899–1902)
American journalist David Neiwert argues that eliminationist rhetoric is becoming increasingly mainstream within the American right wing, fueled in large part by the extremist discourse found on conservative blogs and talk radio, which may provoke a resurgence of lone wolf terrorism.
American professor of law Phyllis E. Bernard argues that interventions in Rwanda and Nigeria, which adapted American dispute prevention and resolution methods to African media and dispute resolution traditions, may provide a better fit and forum for America to address eliminationist media messages and their impact on society.
- Bernard, Phyllis E. (June 12, 2009). Eliminationist Discourse In A Conflicted Society: Lessons For America From Africa?. Retrieved 2009-12-25. "The phrase " eliminationist " has been used by David Neiwert, a journalist who has long covered right-wing discourse and action in the United States. Joshua Holland, The Terrorist Threat: Right-Wing Radicals and the Eliminationist Mindset, AlterNet (June 12, 2009), http://www.alternet.org/story/140578/. Niewert credits the phrase to DANIEL GOLDHAGEN, HITLER‘S WILLING EXECUTIONERS: ORDINARY GERMANS AND THE HOLOCAUST (1996). Holland, supra. The book explains the rhetorical mechanisms and socio-economic dynamics that led Germany‘s non-radical majority to acquiesce, then accept the race politics of the Nazi regime. See generally GOLDHAGEN, supra. "Eliminationism" claims a moral purpose, holding that political opponents are "a cancer on the body politic that must be excised—either by separation from the public at large, through censorship, or by outright extermination—in order to protect the purity of the nation." Joshua Holland, Dave Neiwert on the Roots of Right-Wing Terror, Daily Kos (June 12, 2009), http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/6/12/741680/-Dave-Neiwert-on-the-Roots-of-Right-Wing-Terror. See generally DAVID NEIWERT, THE ELIMINATIONISTS: HOW HATE TALK RADICALIZED THE AMERICAN RIGHT 11 (2009)."
- Gray, John (4 February 2010). Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- Holland, Joshua (12 June 2009). The Terrorist Threat: Right-Wing Radicals and the Eliminationist Mindset. Retrieved 2009-07-23.