Monday, February 13, 2012

Philosophy, Humility and the Holocaust 2

Another good read is
Christopher B. Kebs, A Most Dangerous Book.  The author follows the path of  Tacitus' Germania from origin to foundational importance in the Third Reich.
           A few quotes:
  • "It is the greatest honor, the greatest power to be at all times surrounded by a huge band of chosen young men"  motto for  a 1935 Hitler Youth manual, taken from Germania.  (p.29) 
  • "The tribes in Germanien, not tainted by intermarriage with any other nations, exist as a distinct unadulterated people that resembles only itself.  Consequently, all of them even share the same physical appearance...fierce blue eyes, tawny hair, huge bodies."
So much evil has come from these two quotes from Tacitus.  The glory of numbers, Hitler Youth, the Nuremberg Rallies.  All these young men bonding together, honor bound to support their nation, Germany.  And yet, when Tacitus wrote, Germany did not exist as a nation, but only as scattered barbarian tribes, wearing little but skins, but fierce in battle.

The second quote, formed the seed of opinion about "the other."  Not only Jews, but Poles and Slavs were the other. Only the Aryan look was Germanic in the end.  Only the way of the soldier, or mother, or productive worker was necessary to the nation.  So the invalid, the insane, the crippled in body or mind, the homosexual, all religions were dangerous to the Reich.  These "others" were responsible for the first world war defeat.  To rule the world, as was their right, these others needed to be destroyed.  And so they were.

The word Holocaust is often misused today.  It has as a first meaning, "destruction by fire."  And the evidence of the destruction of the other was destroyed by fire. Genocide is the word that should be used in the many cases today of one group's effort at eliminating "the other" from their homeland.  And there are so many genocides in process today.  I'm especially thinking of Africa now, and another book I've finished, Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. 
     Little Bee is the name a young Nigerian girl gives herself when she is able to escape to England.  But, she is an illegal immigrant, and it doesn't matter that she will die if returned to her home country.  So much bloodshed fills this world, though it is more difficult to hide what life could be with different rulers and freedom.  To change a system is difficult, and not without more bloodshed, and perhaps, not without outside help.  We couldn't have won our own revolution without the arrival of French Ships.  We were lucky, our people were educated, we had leaders who could see the way the future lay, in countries without a strong religious base or an educated populace, the way to the future is less clear.
     I blame some of this on Empire Building.  Like a Rajah, or a King, or another strong ruler, we empire builders kept all but a few of the people uneducated, untrained, and unschooled in government.  So to set a people free can doom them to the current lives of tribal and ethnic warfare.  Often I think good decisions are made for the wrong reasons, and chaos follows.
     I promise to move on from these thoughts that fill my mind and my reading.  Thanks for listening.

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