Nazi Germany: People who weren't there still don't understand why
Below are some excerpts from a review of the latest book about the Nazi disaster. It is written by a historian but he still seems to be puzzled by why it all happened. Postwar lies have blinded him. So let me give very briefly the answer he lacks:
Hitler's ideas -- antisemitism, racism, eugenics, nationalism etc were nothing unusual in his times -- particular among Leftists of his times. And here is why people get confused: Postwar Leftists have fostered the myth that Hitler was a Rightist. Given his vast evils, they need that myth. Yet there was nothing conservative about him. He was a far-Leftist who believed in government control of everything in Germany.
Once you realize that, it all becomes clear. With his socialist "we will look after you" message and his nationalist "we are the greatest" message, Hitler had just about the most powerful political message possible. And he presented it so passionately and emotionally that people believed it. They wanted to believe it. They saw what he said as just and right. He came across as a kindly father figure and many Germans loved him -- and followed him to the bitter end. And many of those who survived still believe his "wonderful" message.
I go into it all in great detail here
A controversial new book encourages young Germans to quiz their grandparents about how much they knew about the horrors of Nazism in World War Two.
In his new work ‘My Grandfather in the War’ historian Moritz Pfeiffer claims that a staggering 20 to 25 million German citizens and 10 million soldiers were aware of the Nazi extermination programme.
The historian interviewed his own maternal grandparents about their role in the war before cross-referencing their recollections against historical documents including army records and archived material.
The result, according to the magazine, ‘is a book that has shed new light on the generation that unquestioningly followed Hitler, failed to own up to its guilt in the immediate aftermath of the war and, more than six decades on, remains unable to express personal remorse for the civilian casualties of Hitler's war of aggression, let alone for the Holocaust.
Mr Pfeiffer says his own blood relatives were morally ‘contaminated,’ like millions of ordinary Germans of that period. He describes his grandmother Edith as a 'committed, almost fanatical Nazi,' adding: ‘No One Can Say What They Would Have Done. But the project wasn't an attempt to pass judgment on them but to understand them.
‘I believe that people will learn a lot if they understand how their respected and loved parents or grandparents behaved in the face of a totalitarian dictatorship and murderous racial ideology.
‘Dealing with one's family history in the Nazi period in an open, factual and self-critical way is an important contribution to accepting democracy and avoiding a repeat of what happened between 1933 and 1945.’
His grandfather, identified only as Hans Hermann K., was a career soldier who, Pfeiffer discovered, gave evasive answers to his enquiries about his wartime service when massacres of civilians were carried out in Poland and Russia.
When asked by his grandson if he thought Nazi racial laws banning Jews from public life and systematically expropriating their property were unfair, he said: ‘No, we didn't regard that as injustice, we had to go with the times and the times were like that. The media didn't have the importance then that they do today.’
Mr Pfeffer said his grandfather's claims of ignorance of massacres in Russia were ‘hardly believable.’
He added: ‘Grandfather wasn't lying outright in his interviews, but merely doing what millions of Germans had done after the war -- engaging in denial, playing down their role to lessen their responsibility.
‘It led to the convenient myth in the immediate aftermath of the war that the entire nation had been duped by a small clique of criminals who bore sole responsibility for the Holocaust -- and that ordinary Germans had themselves been victims.
‘Why did the humanity of my grandparents not rebel against the mass murders and why didn't my grandfather concede guilt or shame or express any sympathy for the victims?'
Britain's Christians are being vilified, warns Lord Carey
Christians are being “persecuted” by courts and “driven underground” in the same way that homosexuals once were, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.
Lord Carey says worshippers are being “vilified” by the state, treated as “bigots” and sacked simply for expressing their beliefs.
The attack is part of a direct appeal to the European Court of Human Rights before a landmark case on religious freedom.
In a written submission seen by The Daily Telegraph, the former leader of more than 70 million Anglicans warns that the outward expression of traditional conservative Christian values has effectively been “banned” in Britain under a new “secular conformity of belief and conduct”.
His comments represent one of the strongest attacks on the impartiality of Britain’s judiciary from a religious leader.
He says Christians will face a “religious bar” to employment if rulings against wearing crosses and expressing their beliefs are not reversed.
Lord Carey argues that in “case after case” British courts have failed to protect Christian values. He urges European judges to correct the balance.
The hearing, due to start in Strasbourg on Sept 4, will deal with the case of two workers forced out of their jobs over the wearing of crosses as a visible manifestation of their faith. It will also take in the cases of Gary McFarlane, a counsellor sacked for saying that he may not be comfortable in giving sex therapy to homosexual couples, and a Christian registrar, who wishes not to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.
Lord Carey, who was archbishop from 1991 to 2002, warns of a “drive to remove Judaeo-Christian values from the public square”. Courts in Britain have “consistently applied equality law to discriminate against Christians”.
They show a “crude” misunderstanding of the faith by treating some believers as “bigots”. He writes: “In a country where Christians can be sacked for manifesting their faith, are vilified by State bodies, are in fear of reprisal or even arrest for expressing their views on sexual ethics, something is very wrong.
“It affects the moral and ethical compass of the United Kingdom. Christians are excluded from many sectors of employment simply because of their beliefs; beliefs which are not contrary to the public good.”
He outlines a string of cases in which he argues that British judges have used a strict reading of equality law to strip the legally established right to freedom of religion of “any substantive effect”.
“It is now Christians who are persecuted; often sought out and framed by homosexual activists,” he says. “Christians are driven underground. There appears to be a clear animus to the Christian faith and to Judaeo-Christian values. Clearly the courts of the United Kingdom require guidance.”
He says the human rights campaign has gone too far and become a political agenda.
Keith Porteous-Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “The idea that there is any kind of suppression of religion in Britain is ridiculous.
“Even in the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to religious freedom is not absolute – it is not a licence to trample on the rights of others. That seems to be what Lord Carey wants to do.”
12 Christians in Iran await verdicts after Easter Sunday apostasy trial
Twelve Christians stood trial Easter Sunday in Iran, where they were called “apostates” in a courtroom and tried on multiple charges, according to sources close to Iran’s Christian community.
The Christians had been acquitted on the same charges, including “crimes against the order,” a year ago in Bandar Anzali, a city on the Caspian Sea. The group was first arrested when authorities found them drinking wine while taking communion, according to sources.
“It ultimately illustrates that being a Christian is illegal in Iran. No matter how clear or how open a pastor and a church may be, Christians are being brought to trial just for being Christian,” said Jason DeMars, director of the Present Truth Ministries advocacy group who is in daily contact with the Evangelical Christian community in Iran.
No verdict has yet been issued in the case.
The attorney for the group, prominent human rights advocate Mohammad Ali Dadkhah -- who also represents Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor charged with apostasy and sentenced to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity -- was not able to attend Sunday’s court appearance, according to sources who said his flight from Tehran was fogged in. The 12 represented themselves to the judge.
"Their defense was that they were performing religious rituals that are protected by law," DeMars said.
Though the Iranian constitution grants protection to religious minorities born into religions, such as Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews, over the last year and a half individuals in these minority communities have reported increased pressure and clashes with government officials and Revolutionary Guards as their influence continues to mount throughout the country.
But converting, or more specifically, the act of turning from Islam, can be punishable by death. To leave the Islamic faith or to attempt to convert others away from the faith warrants capital punishment under Shariah Law.
Among the 12 are community leader the Rev. Matthias Haghnejad and his wife, Anahita Khadeimi. The others are Mahmoud Khosh-Hal and his wife, Hava Saadetmend, Amir Goldoust, Mina Goldoust, Zhaina Bahremand, Fatemah Modir-Nouri, Mehrdad Habibzade, Milad Radef, Behzad Taalipasand and Amin Pishkar.
They stood trial in a court in Rasht, the same province where Nadarkhani was charged and has been held for more than two years.
This latest crackdown comes as a surprise since Iran’s regime had scaled back after coming under international pressure regarding the case of Nadarkhani over the last few months.
Nadarkhani, now 34, converted to Christianity at 19 and came under the regime’s radar a few times as a result of his participation in his church and Christian community. He was arrested once and released and then arrested again in 2009 and found guilty of apostasy.
The court gave Nadarkhani a chance to recant and return to Islam, but he refused. In February, he was sentenced to death, and the news of this verdict brought about heavy international backlash against the regime.
As advocacy groups across the globe continue to petition for his release, Nadarkhani is being held in prison and the execution order still remains.
This most recent probe on Iran’s Christian community and subsequent trial on the Easter holiday come as the Christian community, particularly those converted from Islam, reports a surge in government retaliation coinciding with a growing popularity in conversions to Christianity.
“There are a lot of people who are disgruntled with the government and many for comfort and peace in their lives are turning to Christianity. That’s a threat to the regime,” DeMars said. “The more people who turn from Islam, the fewer people the regime has on its side.”
Presently, there are more than 100,000 Evangelical Christians in Iran, according to conservative estimates. Many believe that number is significantly higher, as there is no accurate way to account for underground churches.
Why liberals and progressives should refuse to get on the gay-marriage bandwagon
Who could possibly oppose gay marriage? These days only cranky men of the cloth come out in hives at the mention of it. Everyone else, liberal to conservative, thinks it is a fabulous idea.
In Britain, Tory prime minister David Cameron has become an active agitator for gay marriage. In Australia, despite Julia Gillard’s opposition to it, the Labor Party embraced gay marriage in a “conscience vote”.
Across the Western world, backing gay marriage has become a way of advertising your moral decency and modernness. As one British columnist put it, only those in the grip of the “sickening plague of bigotry” could oppose it.
Well, at the risk of putting myself on the side of evil in this culture war, I must say I’m concerned about the drive for gay marriage.
Not for religious reasons (I’m an atheist) and certainly not from an anti-gay standpoint, but for classically liberal reasons - because I think the gay-marriage bandwagon is bad for heterosexual married couples, and for homosexual couples too.
It’s bad for those who are already married because it is part of an inexorable drive to throw open the institutions of marriage and the family to state snooping and bureaucratic remodelling.
There are many reasons why political actors, including conservative ones, have become cheerleaders for gay marriage. It’s partly about distancing themselves from what are now seen as stuffy traditions and demonstrating that they are modern. And it’s partly about cultivating a new constituency: being pro-gay marriage wins you a sympathetic ear from the influential opinion-forming classes.
But politicians are also drawn to gay marriage because they recognise, sub-consciously, that it gives them a route into that long-time no-go zone of the family.
It is difficult to overstate the enormity of the changes being brought about on the back of gay marriage. For centuries, going back to Roman times, the family, which was largely founded on the institution of marriage, was seen as its own sovereign entity, free from the meddling of the sovereign who ruled society itself.
From the ferocious patriarchy of the Roman family to the idealised idea of the nuclear family in the 20th century, the institution of marriage and the units it gave rise to were considered deeply private.
They shielded people from the scrutiny of the state; they were “havens in a heartless world”, as Christopher Lasch put it. Where we’re all subject to moral regulations in the public sphere, through marriage, a public expression of commitment that gives rise to a private unit, people could fashion an institution in which they themselves created morality and forged relationships, free from state exertions.
Such was the power of sovereignty within the family that the rulers of society often borrowed from it in order to justify their authority. Kings and prime ministers referred to themselves as “Father of the Nation” in a nod to the ideal of family sovereignty that enjoyed such authority down the centuries.
Of course, politicians often felt an urge to interfere in family and married life, being instinctively suspicious of institutions that provided some cover from state prying. But they were never successful. The drive for gay marriage could change that.
The attraction of gay marriage for politicians is that it fits neatly with their turn from macro issues to micro ones, from finding solutions to big social problems to getting stuck into what the British Labour Party calls “the politics of behaviour”.
Today, politicians who aren’t very good at traditional politics have given up trying to transform society in favour of reshaping the relationships, lifestyles and attitudes of those who inhabit it. Their gay-marriage agitation is a central part of that.
The usefulness of gay marriage as a tool for attitude re-modification can be seen in the way it is being used to redefine relationships and families in bureaucratic terms. So David Cameron’s consultation on gay marriage proposes erasing words like “husband” and “wife” in official documentation and replacing them with “partner” or “spouse”.
This has already happened in Canada, where gay marriage became legal in 2005. There, the words husband and wife, even mother and father, have been airbrushed from official life, superseded by soulless terms like “Parent 1” and “Parent 2”.
Such top-down rewriting of terminology is always about more than linguistic trickery. Rather it speaks to officialdom’s desire to overhaul meaning and reality itself. That such centuries-old identities as husband, wife, mother and father, which have profound meaning for millions, can be swiftly swept aside demonstrates the extent to which gay marriage is facilitating official interference into our lived experiences.
This is social engineering, the renaming of relationships to suit the prejudices of our rulers. It also acts as an invitation to yet more state interference. The reduction of historic identities like husband or mother to bureaucratic categories like partner and parent presupposes that bureaucrats have the right to define our relationships, and by extension to govern them.
After all, if you are no longer a mother, with all the moral meaning and historic protection such a title affords, but rather are “Parent 1”, then what is to stop the bureaucrats who bestowed that new title upon you from deciding that you aren’t doing a great job and that maybe Parent 2 or 3 or 4 should take over?
Allowing the state to redefine ancient, organic relationships is a short step from allowing it to police them.
The political thirst for gay marriage is underpinned by officialdom’s instinct to get a foot in the door of the family. It devalues marriage as it is currently constituted - in real life, not just in law - and, in an historically unprecedented step, it makes the sovereign of society into the sovereign of marriage and the family too.
The gay-marriage bandwagon isn’t only bad for married couples. It’s bad for gay couples too. For while it’s presented as a positive drive for equality, it’s actually motored by a very defensive clamour for state recognition of gay relationships.
A gay relationship is fundamentally one of romantic love, far more so than traditional marriage is (although that can have romance in it too, of course). But ours is an era which feels uncomfortable with romantic love, viewing it as naive, even as the site of abuse and harm. This means many homosexuals feel increasingly uncertain about their unions based on romance, on pure partnership, and feel compelled to wrap them in the legitimating comfort blanket of that respectable institution, marriage.
This ties in with another gay-activist tactic today: the search for evidence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom. Gay-rights spokespeople constantly claim, on the basis of dodgy science, that every creature from penguins to donkeys engages in homosexual behaviour, and therefore it must be natural.
This, too, represents a frenetic search for external legitimation of gay love. Gay activists defensively seek to naturalise their relationships through the use of pseudo-science and to normalise them through state recognition, through the demand for marriage. Both of these activities reveal a profound lack of confidence in the modern gay movement, which once simply declared: “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.”
There would be nothing positive about institutionalising gay marriage on the basis of a new defensiveness amongst gay people about their lives and loves. That would leave unaddressed the moral question of why romantic unions, of which gay ones are amongst the purest, seem lacking in confidence today.
Underlying the gay-marriage debate is a relativistic reluctance to distinguish between different kinds of relationships. Gay love is fundamentally a relationship between two people. Traditional marriage is not. It is a union between a man and a woman which very often, through its creation and nurturing of a new generation, binds that man and woman to a great many others, to a community. It is an institution, not a partnership.
Collapsing together every human relationship under a mushy and meaningless redefinition of “marriage” benefits no one. Except the political elites, who are so desperate to advertise their modernising zeal that they will ride roughshod over people’s identities if they think it will help them.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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