Nazism Communism Islam 9

August 23 of every year is Black Ribbon Day. It is the anniversary of the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, whereby Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin conspired to divide large parts of eastern Europe between their twin tyrannies.

It is a day when the victims of Russian Communism and German Nazism are commemorated together.

Beyond a certain point, it becomes difficult to distinguish degrees of tyranny and cruelty. National Socialism and International Socialism are equally evil totalitarian systems. Both have  destroyed hundreds of millions of lives, wrecked them, wasted them, killed them. If the Nazi concentration camps weigh heavier than the Soviet gulags in the scales of judgment, the balance of evil is restored by the fact that the Soviet oppression lasted much longer then the Nazi persecutions: 70 years as against 12 years.

Rex Murphy writes (in part) at the National Post:

We have various darkling lodestars of modern inhumanity, the grimmest manifestation of the ferocity of evil … being the Hitlerian inferno. There is only a single qualification to be placed on that eruption: that it was unique, that it so completely fulfilled the concept of what is utterly and irredeemably detestable that … [it] is universally repellant. …

So can nothing be compared to Hitler’s Germany?

Yes. Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

Anything that is happening now?

We can, alas, compare North Korea. Does its starvations and repressions not elicit recall of China’s gruesome Maoist Cultural Revolution? Or the drear miseries and state sadism of Stalin — the king of famine and the gulags? Who cannot still weep for Cambodia’s days under Pol Pot’s communist Khmer Rouge — an interlude of torture, death and determined savagery that earns a place in the same theatre of depravity as North Korea.

There are more. The communist islets of Eastern Europe during the Cold War. East Germany itself with its Stasi, a whole country spying on itself. That fragment of a bankrupt ideology we know as Cuba under the Castros. Che Guevara, a sapling in the same huge dark wood.

Yet throughout the Western world, Communism gets a pass!

The salient difference between all of these and the Hitlerian nightmare is that the latter was a plague that choked on itself: while communism — all its horrors confirmed with every repetition or variant of the model — is epidemical.

Communism has powers of replication that defy its own history. Despite the world of tears that follow its every instalment, it inexplicably does not excite in parts of the world — that must know better — a repulsion equivalent to that which greets Nazism.

That is a shameful state of affairs. And there is another ideology comparable to both Nazism and Communism, which, like Communism, enjoys a good press in the free world: Islam.

Nazism, Communism, Islam. All three would rule the world. All three are doctrinally murderous. All three, when in power, torture people of all ages. All three designate certain classes of people as worthy only of being enslaved and killed.

All three are equally foul.

 

(Hat-tip to Cogito for the Rex Murphy article which gives a heart-rending picture of North Korea. Read it all here.)

Posted under communism, Islam, nazism by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 26, 2018

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Trivializing the Holocaust 3

It seems that many vocal Democrats have no idea what the Nazis did.

To say that President Trump, who is as far from being an anti-Semite, or racist of any sort, as anyone could be, is “like Hitler”, is slander. And that is nasty. But what is far worse is that such a comparison normalizes and exonerates Adolf Hitler, one of the most evil men who ever had the power to destroy millions – and did.    

Dennis Prager writes at the Daily Signal:

The fools who compare Trump to Hitler and the Nazis have utterly trivialized the Holocaust. As everyone who isn’t on the left knows, there is nothing morally analogous between the way the last three presidential administrations dealt with some children of immigrants who are in the country illegally and what the Nazis did to Jewish children.

American children are routinely separated from their parent when that parent is arrested, and if the arrestee is a single parent, the child is taken into government custody until other arrangements can be made. With regard to immigrants who are in the country illegally, the only way to avoid separation is to place the children in detention along with their arrested parent(s).

But this was expressly forbidden by the most left-wing court in America — the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — if detention lasts longer than 20 days, as it nearly always does when either a not-guilty plea or an asylum claim is made.

Moreover, as awful as separation from a parent is, these children were not treated like animals in cages but transferred to the care of relatives or foster homes, or housed with other detained children where they were provided with room, board, education, sports facilities, etc.

By contrast, Jewish children separated from their parents by Nazi guards were sent to gas chambers to die a gruesome, painful death by their lungs being filled with poisonous gas. And their parents almost always eventually suffered the same fate unless they were worked, starved, or tortured to death.

Comparing the two is not only a trivialization of the Holocaust; it is actually a form of Holocaust denial.

If Jewish children were treated by the Nazis the same way Central American children have been by America, then everything we know about the Holocaust is false. …

For its devotees, Leftist politics takes precedence over everything else: over conscience, knowledge, patriotism, family, history, fact, truth.

The Anti-Defamation League, which once defended Jewish interests, is becoming just another leftist interest group. …

In discussing the condition of children dragged illegally into the US by their parents, or by smugglers and traffickers to whom their parents have sold them, Lefists have blamed the Trump administration – and the president personally – for their being held in detention and separated from their mothers.

[The Anti-Defamation League] made a direct comparison to the Holocaust. …

Leftism has poisoned much of American Jewish life. That is the primary reason, as reported in the just released American Jewish Committee poll, American and Israeli Jews are so divided on so many issues.

There were rabbis who announced they fasted when Trump was elected. Non-Orthodox synagogues around America sat shiva (the religious mourning period for a deceased immediate family member) when Trump won. And the Hebrew Union College, the Reform Jewish movement’s rabbinical seminary, had an Israel-hating writer as this year’s graduation speaker. …

To their credit, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Zionist Organization of America, and a few other organizations did condemn those who equate America under Trump with Nazi Germany. But most Jewish organizations kept quiet, offered tepid caution, or actually echoed the sentiment. …

But here is real comfort: If the Left keeps on smearing nearly half its fellow Americans as Nazis, it will assure more Republican victories this coming November.

A famous socialist advocates “humane” mass murder 59

In this video, the Socialist George Bernard Shaw advocates the gassing of people he regards as useless to society.

Shaw, an amusing and much acclaimed playwright, was highly sympathetic to the National Socialist Adolf Hitler, the Fascist Socialist Benito Mussolini, and the Dictators of the Union of Socialist Republics Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin.

Where does the idea that you need to justify your existence come from?

And with it the idea that the justification must only be according to what and how much you do for others? 

As a general moral theory, it was given birth to by Christianity. It is the very essence of Christian moral doctrine. It drives the Christian conscience towards self-sacrifice and martyrdom.

It was inherited by Socialism/Communism/Marxism/Progressivism. The Left. (Not by Hitler’s  National Socialism. Shaw was inconsistent there.)

We live in an age when the Left is so ungrateful for what the Enlightenment and capitalism have done for humankind, its minions so bent on destroying the great achievements of liberty and prosperity, that they deserve to lose the inventors, the doers and makers, the sustainers of our civilization – the Atlases who carry our world on their shoulders. Beware! Atlas can become exasperated. As he does in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. 

Ayn Rand has the characters who speak for her say:

We are on strike against martyrdom — and against the moral code that demands it. We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another. We are on strike against the morality of cannibals, be it practiced in body or in spirit. We will not deal with men on any terms but ours — and our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others.

And:

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Like Adam Smith, she and all capitalists know (whether they express the notion or not), that the best way of earning a living is to provide other people with something – goods or services – that they will pay you for. The benefit is mutual.

We cannot live without others. We cannot help having an effect on them or stop them having an effect on us, and we are happy when the effect is beneficial. But we do not need to live for them.  

It’s surely hard enough sustaining your own life and the lives of your natural dependents. To think up a single formula for sustaining and ordering the lives of millions, as the Left does, is to be absurd or insane; and the implementation of it is tyranny and mass murder. No two lives are so exactly matched that the same conditions will affect them equally. Let them be free, each to choose his own path. He may be self-centered, he may be avaricious; he may be self-denying, he may be altruistic. He pursues his own happiness.

Because of her insistence that we do not live for the sake of others, Ayn Rand has been likened to Friedrich Nietzsche. (By, for instance, Steven Pinker in his book Enlightenment Now. See our post, Enlightenment, atheism, reason, and the humanist Left, April 12, 2018.)

Nietzsche was a weak, unhealthy, mentally deranged German philosopher who invented and adulated an imaginary super-strong Super-Man. The Super-Man would be above conventional morality. His existence would be far more important than the lives of the superfluous multitudes who are fit only to be trampled down. (A belief of his that was shared by Hitler.)

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is nothing like Nietzsche’s. Rather, it is close to that of the Epicureans. They were atheists (though to save themselves from contumely and attack they would wave the subject away by saying yes, yes, okay, there are gods, but they live very far from us human beings and have nothing whatever to do with us). They accepted that to live is to suffer, so the best way an individual can live his life is by finding ways to enjoy it as much as he can. To pursue his own happiness. As a school of thought they were not sybarites; they did not advocate living luxuriously, though they had nothing against anyone doing so if he chose. Their chief pleasure lay in intellectual exploration. They were not Atlases; they did not carry the world on their shoulders. But they saw no sense in creeds of self-sacrifice, whether to men or to gods.

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the link to the video)

 

What is Left and what is Right? 8

One of the villainous deceptions that the Left has gotten away with is its labelling of Nazism as “right-wing”.

In fact the Nazis were what they said they were: National Socialists.

For a year and ten months (August 23, 1939 t0 June 22, 1941), the period during which Stalin’s Russia worked with Hitler’s Germany to carve up Poland between them, the International Socialists refrained from criticizing the Nazis. For that period, Communism was not the “opposite” of Nazism – as the Left had claimed before the iniquitous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed, and has claimed ever since it was broken by Germany’s suddenly attacking the Russians’ stolen piece of Poland before invading the Soviet Union itself.

The real political Right in the Western world is conservative. It is essentially individualist and forever profoundly, immovably against collectivism. That is why real conservatism is the real opposite of both Communism and Nazism.

But as we said, the Left has brought off its lie. Nazism is commonly regarded as being a “far-right” ideology. The mass media in general, all over the Western world, habitually label politicians who oppose the Islamization of the West “right-wing”. (See for example here and here and here.) They seldom say that a politician on the Left is “left-wing”. Whenever they say “right-wing” they know, and surely intend, the connotation of “Nazi” to hover round the label.

And when they say “far-right” they certainly mean “Nazi”.

This aura, this spell, put upon the Right has worked wonders for the Left everywhere, and especially now for the left-wing governments of western Europe. (All the governments of Europe, and the Dictatorship of the European Union, are actually left-wing, even though some ruling parties call themselves “conservative”.) Any organized opposition to their nihilistic policy of handing over their countries and the continent to the ruthless Mohammedan invaders who are slowly and steadily seizing power, has only to be called “right-wing” or “far-right” for millions of their voters to reject that party, that movement, that campaign, that leader. Because Nazism.

Yet the Mohammedan invaders – invited in, richly rewarded, protected by the state and the law courts from any penalty for crimes and even from criticism –  are in fact like the NazisIslam preaches and practices the same authoritarianism, the same intolerance, the same genocidal intention against the Jews, the same ambition to conquer and subjugate the rest of the world.

Islam enslaves women; punishes the victims of rape and acts of private consensual sexual freedom with death; kills gays (while many Islamic leaders and imams habitually practice homosexuality); treats Blacks – even Muslim Blacks – as inferiors; routinely tortures prisoners; denies evolution; imposes theocracy; hates liberty and dreads free speech.

Yet the international Left passionately supports it, promotes it, helps its accelerating advance.

And lies about it even to itself.

Even such atrocities as the bombing of spectators at a concert in Manchester, England, on May 22, 2027 –  which killed 22 and maimed at least 59, mostly young girls – do not move the hearts of the European, and at least nominally Christian, leaders.

Here’s one who is actually a devout Christian, talking through his hat. We quote German Finance Minister Responds to Manchester Attack: Christians Can Learn from Muslim Migrants,  by Virginia Hale, at (British) Breitbart:

The growing number of Muslims in Germany represents not a threat but a learning opportunity, said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, discussing Islam in the wake of the Manchester attack.

 “It is fanaticism, not only in Islam, that leads to terrible crimes,” he said, speaking on German public radio station Deutschlandfunk … when asked about the Islamist attack in which 22 mostly young people, including an eight-year-old girl, lost their lives.

“It is certainly a misunderstanding of religion when belief slips into fanaticism or, at worst, violence. The world’s great religions all preach the message that one must look upon others as their sisters and brothers, and that one must live with the other because man cannot live alone,” Schäuble told presenter Christiane Florin.

Wrong! Islam does not “preach the message that one must look upon others as their sisters and brothers”. It preaches that the infidel must be forced to convert to Islam, or else be killed, or – if spared – pay tribute to Muslim overlords. Schäuble had simply not troubled to inform himself about Islam at all. Deliberate ignorance of what Islam preaches is common to the members of the ruling class of western Europe.

On top of choosing ignorance, Herr Schäuble has the cheek to assert this:

“‘Islam is part of Germany’ is a sober, factual statement,” the minister remarked, commenting on sentiments voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion – which are not shared by the majority of Germans. “Anyone who denies this denies reality and is therefore not suited to being a politician, because politics begins with the confrontation of reality,” he added.

The country’s rapidly growing Muslim demographic presents an “opportunity” for “Christians, and all who live in Germany”, Schäuble stated, adding: “We can learn from them. Many human values are very strongly realised in Islam. Think of hospitality, and other things like, what is there … And also tolerance, I believe, for example.”

He hesitated. He didn’t know what “human values are very strongly realised in Islam”. He had heard of the stereotyped Arab’s hospitality, but he was hard put to think of anything else. He opted for “tolerance”. Sucked it out of his thumb. In fact, no ideology could be more intolerant than Islam.

Discussing his recently published book, Protestantism and Politics, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) minister said the church has no monopoly on truth and criticised voices within who “argue too much in secular matters from a point of religious conviction”.

So why does he believe what he purports to believe if he doesn’t believe it is the truth? Well, other “truths”, he implies, are no less true, even though they contradict the Christian Protestant “truths” that he believes in – sort of.

And here is comment on Schäuble’s bilge, from Jihad Watch, by Christine Douglass-Williams:

The German Finance Minister’s outrageous statements may be an attempt to absolve himself and his party of any responsibility for what Muslim migrants are bringing to his country. Germany spent more than $21,000,000,000 on refugees in 2016, as its Muslim migrant crisis outstripped state budgets. In addition, the number of migrant criminal suspects soared by more than 50% in 2016.

Germany has been brutalized by Muslim migrants, with an epidemic of sex assaults, attacks on churches, and a massive crime surge. 

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s shameless propaganda in the face of this chaos is the all too common pose of leftist politicians as they continue to burden taxpayers, betray their own citizenry and tradition of democratic rule. They are astoundingly insensitive to victims of Muslim migrants.

In its insane passion for protecting the invited Mohammedan conquerors from the least criticism, the present government of Germany is acting like the Nazi and Communist regimes that ruled Germany in whole or in part in the last century.

An article by Chris Tomlinson at Breitbart illustrates this:

A computer scientist in Germany has been fined over 3,000 euros after he complained in 2015 that criminal asylum seekers were being let go by police after robbing supermarkets.

The 52-year-old German made his comments on August 22nd of 2015 at the height of the migrant crisis, Wochenblatt reports. He noted that asylum seekers were going into German supermarkets and helping themselves to items and instead of being arrested they were let go with warnings.

He wrote on Facebook: “I am in favour of the setting up of civil defences and the punishment of flogging, then they might feel at home when they get their skull smashed with a truncheon. Violence is probably the only thing that they understand, and we should try to make them understand us.”

After his post, the 52-year-old was arrested by police and taken to jail. He was then put on trial and accused of attacking asylum seekers’ human dignity, slandering them, and insulting them. He was eventually convicted and forced to pay a fine of 3,150 euros. …

The case is another in a series of convictions in Germany for either speaking out about the migrant crisis or against migrant crime. Last year German police raided 60 homes in an operation against “xenophobic” speech online.  Federal Criminal Police (BKA) president Holger Münch said the raids were to prevent “verbal radicalisation” online.

A couple in the German town of Vierkirchen were also sentenced for “hate speech” after they formed an anti-asylum seeker group on Facebook.

Peter M., one of the defendants, said after the conviction: “One can not even express a critical opinion of refugees without getting labelled as a Nazi. I wanted to create a discussion forum where you can speak your mind about refugees.”

More recently the German government has set its sights on the social media companies themselves. Last month the German government was slammed by social media giants after passing a law that would introduce heavy fines for sites who do not remove hate speech posts in a timely manner.

Why cannot the electorates of western Europe see that in trying to avoid a return to Nazism, they are inviting it to come back and rule them again?

This time for keeps.

Ignominy without umbrellas 5

Two admirable journalists write about the agreement reached last Saturday by the Great Powers (“P5+1”) with the evil Iranian regime, both comparing it to the agreement Neville Chamberlain thought he had secured with Adolf Hitler in 1938.

Bret Stephens writes at the Wall Street Journal:

To adapt Churchill : Never in the field of global diplomacy has so much been given away by so many for so little.

Britain and France’s capitulation to Nazi Germany at Munich has long been a byword for ignominy, moral and diplomatic. Yet neither Neville Chamberlain nor Édouard Daladier had the public support or military wherewithal to stand up to Hitler in September 1938. Britain had just 384,000 men in its regular army; the first Spitfire aircraft only entered RAF service that summer. “Peace for our time” it was not, but at least appeasement bought the West a year to rearm.

The signing of the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973 was a betrayal of an embattled U.S. ally and the abandonment of an effort for which 58,000 American troops gave their lives. Yet it did end America’s participation in a peripheral war, which neither Congress nor the public could indefinitely support. “Peace with honor” it was not, as the victims of Cambodia’s Killing Fields or Vietnam’s re-education camps can attest. But, for American purposes at least, it was peace.

By contrast, the interim nuclear agreement signed in Geneva on Sunday by Iran and the six big powers has many of the flaws of Munich and Paris. But it has none of their redeeming or exculpating aspects.

Consider: Britain and France came to Munich as military weaklings. The U.S. and its allies face Iran from a position of overwhelming strength. Britain and France won time to rearm. The U.S. and its allies have given Iran more time to stockpile uranium and develop its nuclear infrastructure. Britain and France had overwhelming domestic constituencies in favor of any deal that would avoid war. The Obama administration is defying broad bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress for the sake of a deal.

As for the Vietnam parallels, the U.S. showed military resolve in the run-up to the Paris Accords with a massive bombing and mining campaign of the North that demonstrated presidential resolve and forced Hanoi to sign the deal. The administration comes to Geneva fresh from worming its way out of its own threat to use force to punish Syria’s Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons against his own people.

The Nixon administration also exited Vietnam in the context of a durable opening to Beijing that helped tilt the global balance of power against Moscow. Now the U.S. is attempting a fleeting opening with Tehran at the expense of a durable alliance of values with Israel and interests with Saudi Arabia. …

That’s where the differences end between Geneva and the previous accords. What they have in common is that each deal was a betrayal of small countries — Czechoslovakia, South Vietnam, Israel — that had relied on Western security guarantees. Each was a victory for the dictatorships: “No matter the world wants it or not,” Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said Sunday, “this path will, God willing, continue to the peak that has been considered by the martyred nuclear scientists.” Each deal increased the contempt of the dictatorships for the democracies: “If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella,” Hitler is reported to have said of Chamberlain after Munich, “I’ll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach.”

And each deal was a prelude to worse. After Munich came the conquest of Czechoslovakia, the Nazi-Soviet pact and World War II. After Paris came the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh and the humiliating exit from the embassy rooftop. After Geneva there will come a new, chaotic Mideast reality in which the United States will lose leverage over enemies and friends alike.

What will that look like? Iran will gradually shake free of sanctions and glide into a zone of nuclear ambiguity that will keep its adversaries guessing until it opts to make its capabilities known. Saudi Arabia will move swiftly to acquire a nuclear deterrent from its clients in Islamabad; Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal made that clear to the Journal last week when he indiscreetly discussed “the arrangement with Pakistan.” Egypt is beginning to ponder a nuclear option of its own while drawing closer to a security alliance with Russia.

As for Israel, it cannot afford to live in a neighborhood where Iran becomes nuclear, Assad remains in power, and Hezbollah — Israel’s most immediate military threat — gains strength, clout and battlefield experience. The chances that Israel will hazard a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites greatly increased since Geneva. More so the chances of another war with Hezbollah.

After World War II the U.S. created a global system of security alliances to prevent the kind of foreign policy freelancing that is again becoming rampant in the Middle East. It worked until President Obama decided in his wisdom to throw it away. If you hear echoes of the 1930s in the capitulation at Geneva, it’s because the West is being led by the same sort of men, minus the umbrellas.

The article is valuable as an erudite and accurate assessment of the Geneva sell-out. But Stephens’s visualization of what the “after Geneva” Middle East will look like, bad though it is, is too mild. We predict that Iran will become armed with nuclear weapons and will use them.

Douglas Murray writes at the Spectator (UK):

America and Europe’s overwhelming desire to declare a deal meant that there had to be a deal to declare. The P5+1 countries, with the ludicrous Catherine Ashton speaking for Europe, have indeed made a historic and terrible mistake.

The mullahs did not come to Geneva because they wished to give up their capability. And they did not come to the table because after 34 years of revolutionary Islamic governance they have seen the error of their ways. They came because international sanctions were beginning to hurt. Those sanctions – which took years to put in place – have now fallen apart thanks to a few days of incompetent negotiating on the part of the P5+1 plus some simple common sense from Tehran. People tend to say at this stage that the Iranians are ‘master negotiators’. They aren’t especially. They are simply fortunate to be playing against Catherine Ashton and a generation of other weak and short-sighted American and British politicians.

The result is that the Iranian regime has managed to walk away with a deal to relieve the pressure of sanctions at the very moment that the pressure was working and the very moment that it should have been kept up and ultimately used to break them. They now have the breathing hole they need to reinforce their power at home and continue their search for nuclear weaponry.

At the root of this debacle is the fact that the Iranians went into the sanctions knowing exactly what they wanted: time and the bomb. The P5+1 countries, by contrast, were riddled by doubt and muddled thinking.

There should only ever have been two aims with regard to the Iranian regime.

The first is to ensure that it never ever gains the capability to develop nuclear weapons: not only to ensure that the world’s most destabilising regime never possesses the world’s most dangerous weaponry, but to ensure that it cannot precipitate a nuclear arms race across the Middle East.

The second aim, and one which appears to have slipped even further down any international agenda, is to see the end of the brutal rule of the mullahs. Sadly this does not even appear to be on the table any more. Ever since President Obama failed to come out in support of the brave Iranian protestors who rose up in 2009, the basic human rights of the Iranian people have been ignored utterly. So what that the regime promotes terror around the world? So what that it oppresses, rapes, tortures and executes its opponents at home? By negotiating with this regime and allowing it off the hook at this moment America, Britain and our allies have not only given a stay of execution to the mullahs, we have further undermined the hopes of any opponents of the regime inside Iran.

I was watching and listening to [British foreign secretary] William Hague earlier today and I must say that it was a pathetic experience: a diminished figure trying to persuade a sceptical nation to support a demeaning deal. All he lacked was a winged collar, a piece of paper and the slogan: ‘nuclear peace in our time.’

And the umbrella.

The cultivation of evil, the sickness of Europe 12

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) is widely known as the inventor of the phrase ‘the banality of evil’. Apparently the idea was intended to be the main point of her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, as its subtitle is A Report on the Banality of Evil.

Adolf Eichmann was tried and sentenced to death in Jerusalem forty-eight years ago. He was the arch administrator during the Second World War of Hitler’s ‘final solution of the Jewish problem’ by systematic murder. When Hitler’s Reich was defeated in 1945, Eichmann sought refuge from justice under another name in South America. In 1948 part of Palestine became the Jewish state of Israel, and some twelve years later the Israeli secret service traced Eichmann, captured him, smuggled him out of Argentina, and delivered him to Israel. There he was humanely imprisoned, politely interrogated, brought before a legally constituted tribunal, judged, and condemned. The proceedings were conducted with scrupulous regard to law and all the safeguards it provides: due process, evidence, cross examination of witnesses, argument for the defense. He was found guilty of multiple crimes against the Jewish people and against humanity; of persecution, plunder, and war crimes (and was acquitted on certain parts of the indictment where proof was considered inadequate). He was sentenced to death, permitted to appeal, and had his sentence confirmed. The appeal judges declared: ‘In deciding to confirm both the verdict and the sentence passed on Adolf Eichmann, we know only too well how utterly inadequate is the death sentence when we consider the millions of deaths for which he was responsible. Even as there is no word in human speech to describe his deeds, so there is no punishment in human law to match his guilt.’ He was hanged on 31 May 1962.

Hannah Arendt considered the proceedings to be flawed. She questioned whether the Israeli court had jurisdiction to try the crimes of which Eichmann stood accused. She argued that the Nazi policy of discrimination against the Jews was a ‘national issue’, so persons accused of implementing it should be tried in a German court. Deportations, however, (she said) affect other countries, so those accused of organizing them should be brought before an international court; and so should those accused of genocide, because it is ‘a crime against humanity’. The particular human genus marked down for extermination in this case was the Jewish people, but it was nevertheless, in her view, a crime against all humankind: therefore, she argued, the world, not the Jewish state, should call its perpetrators to account. The fact that the world had shown little interest in tracking down Nazi fugitives was no discouragement to her optimism that it would see justice done.

She was not alone in having doubts on the question of jurisdiction. Legal opinion had been divided over the legitimacy of the court which had tried Nazi leaders at Nuremberg. Argument over type of tribunal, applicable law, and definition of the crimes was necessary, and the Jerusalem court itself examined such questions and gave reasoned answers to them.

But Arendt’s criticism was not limited to those debated issues. She also objected to the terms of the judgment. She accepted that the ‘guilty’ verdict was just, and even agreed that Eichmann deserved the death sentence (unlike some other liberal critics, such as the British publisher Victor Gollancz, who recommended that he be acquitted with the words, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ (1)) What she cavilled at was the judges’ reasons for their verdict. They should, she thought, have ‘dared to address their defendant’ in these terms:

Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that it was nothing more than misfortune [Eichmann’s defence being chiefly that he too was a victim of the Nazi regime, forced to obey immoral orders] that made you a willing instrument in the organization of mass murder; there still remains the fact that you have carried out, and therefore actively supported, a policy of mass murder. For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same. And just as you supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations – as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world – we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.

In other words, what Arendt thought Eichmann most guilty of, what she identified as his chief and most appalling offense, what she thought his judges should be hardest on, what alone would justify his being put to death, was – hubris.

This peculiar, not to say eccentric view is, however, not the point to which she most urgently directs her readers’ attention. Her most important conclusion she encapsulated in the famous generalization on the nature of evil. She leads up to it in the last two paragraphs (before the Epilogue and a Postscript), and to keep it in context I shall quote them almost in full:

Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows with great dignity. He had asked for a bottle of red wine and had drunk half of it. He refused the help of the Protestant minister — who offered to read the Bible with him — He walked the fifty yards from his cell to the execution chamber calm and erect, with his hands bound behind him. When the guards tied his ankles and knees, he asked them to loosen the bonds so that he could stand straight. “I don’t need that,” he said when the black hood was offered him. He was in complete command of himself, nay, he was more: he was completely himself. Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottgläubiger [believer in God], to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death. [Yet] he then proceeded: “After a short while, gentlemen, we shall all meet again. Such is the fate of all men. Long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria. I shall not forget them.” In the face of death, he had found the cliché used in funeral oratory. Under the gallows, his memory played him the last trick; he was “elated” and he forgot that this was his own funeral. It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us – the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil. [Her italics]

So in Arendt’s opinion, the story required a fascinating demon, not a bespectacled clerk. Even when he stood under the noose, when history needed him to speak pathetic or terrifying words of pride or remorse, the best he could come out with were embarrassingly trivial ‘funeral clichés’. He was simply not big enough for the evil he had committed. He was a dull man; not exactly stupid, she says, but thoughtless.

Having the mind of a philosopher, she did not leave it at that. She considered further the idea of thoughtlessness as a root of evil. It is close to a proposition by Socrates that men do evil out of ignorance of the good. She went on to write and deliver a series of lectures on how philosophers from ancient Greece to modern Germany have dealt with the subjects of thinking, willing, and the nature of evil. They were collected and published after her death in two volumes under the title The Life of the Mind. In an introduction, she refers to what she has said about Eichmann and his crimes, and makes it clear at last that the evil-doer was banal, not the evil he had done. ‘I was struck by a manifest shallowness [in him] — The deeds were monstrous, but the doer — was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither demonic nor monstrous.

So it was the man, not his evil, which was banal, and when she had spoken of ‘the banality of evil’ she had not said quite what she had meant. She offers a kind of excuse: ‘Behind that phrase [‘the banality of evil’], I held no thesis or doctrine —- although I was dimly aware of the fact that it went counter to our tradition of thought – literary, theological, or philosophic – about the phenomenon of evil.

Dimly aware’? Was she being forgetful or disingenuous? Neither, I think – just using the wrong adverb. She was perfectly aware that ‘it went counter to our tradition of thought’. German-born, of Jewish descent, she had studied philosophy at Marburg under Martin Heidegger – with whom she had a love-affair – and at Heidelberg under Karl Jaspers. In 1933, when Hitler came to power, she had left Germany for France, and in 1941 escaped to America. Living in New York, she had worked hard at learning English, and in 1944 started writing for The Partisan Review which was then a Trotskyite organ. In the following years she wrote a number of books, one on totalitarianism in which she equated Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia under Stalin – showing a readiness to allow facts to overrule ideology to a degree unusual in Marxists, even a critical Marxist, which she increasingly became.

That she knew well the European tradition of regarding evil as a sublime power, she goes on to show in her introduction to The Life of the Mind: ‘Evil, we have learned, is something demonic; its incarnation is — the fallen angel —that superbia of which only the best are capable.’ And only in that context could her revelation that evil was ‘banal’ have any meaning. Yet that is as far as she went in dealing with the aggrandisement of evil in ‘our tradition of thought’. She does not touch on it again in the chapters that follow, though some of the philosophers she writes about notably contributed to it, such as Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger(2). Her turning away from the issue is to be regretted. She had come so close to a salutary diagnosis. Evil as an intoxicating passion; evil as a means of transcending the quotidian; evil as a high destiny; evil as power; evil as surpassing beauty; evil as a higher good – these notions have been corrupting the European mind for centuries, at least since the start of the Romantic Movement(3). Europe is sick with a dark passion, ‘a passion for the night’, as Karl Jaspers called it. It is a morbid sickness for which the shortest sufficient name is perhaps Richard Wagner’s: ‘Der Liebestod’ [‘the love-death’].

Richard Wagner, who so inspired Hitler, was one of the most infected, as Thomas Mann illustrates in a story called Tristan. Here is a slide of it: In a Swiss alpine clinic for the treatment of tuberculosis – which Thomas Mann often used as a symbol of the disease of the spirit – two patients, a pretty married woman and a young man of refined aesthetic sensibility, are singing together at the piano:

Their voices rose in mystic unison, rapt in the wordless hope of that death-in-love, of endless oneness in the wonder-kingdom of the night. Sweet night! Eternal night of love! An all-encompassing land of rapture! Once envisioned or divined, what eye could bear to open again on desolate dawn? Forfend such fears, most gentle death! Release these lovers quite from need of waking. Oh, tumultuous storm of rhythms! Oh, glad chromatic upward surge of metaphysical perception! How find, how bind this bliss so far remote from parting’s torturing pangs? Ah, gentle glow of longing, soothing and kind, ah, yielding sweet- sublime, ah, raptured sinking into the twilight of eternity! Thou Isolde, Tristan I, yet no more Tristan, no more Isolde — (4)

Their duet is Der Liebestod. Thomas Mann’s story is about sickness versus health, death versus life, healthy love versus sick love, healthy art versus sick art. These are constant themes of his. No other writer has diagnosed the European – in his view the particularly, if not peculiarly, German – sickness as surely, investigated it as thoroughly, or described it as exactly as he has done. He offers various terms and phrases for it, among them ‘sympathy with death’, ‘the fascination of decay’, the temptation of the abyss’. It inclines those infected with it to negate the value of life and whatever is life-sustaining; to turn away from light towards darkness. He shows us what results from that choice, to those who make it and through them to their world, their age, their nation, their civilization. In general, those who have the sickness revel in it, holding it to be a treasure of incomparable worth, a distinction, a glory. Not only would they not choose to be cured of it, they pity and despise the uninfected. It is understood to bring with it a superior capacity to feel and understand. It makes artists of them even if they make no art; martyrs even though they serve no cause but their own discontent. And in fact these associations are so widely accepted in Europe, so little questioned, so deeply revered, that to their own intense gratification some of the sickest – of whom I name a few in this essay – are adored by millions (if not necessarily the same millions), to whom they are heroes and saints: heroes of darkness, that is to say, or ‘demonic saints’. Dead, they are revered as ‘tragic’ figures. There are many of them, but a few examples will do.

Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt’s lover, is one . He declared emphatically that he was not concerned with ethics, and taught that ‘sin is living inauthentically’. What he was greatly concerned with was the German nation, which must, he said, ‘preserve at the deepest level those forces that are rooted in the earth and its own blood.’ It was embodied in Adolf Hitler. ‘The Führer himself and he alone is the German reality, present and future, and its law.’ Hitler, he believed, would ‘heal’ the nation.(5) Only when, contrary to this prediction, the Führer led Germany to defeat and shame, Heidegger at last discerned in its ruins something he could bring himself to call an evil. He wrote, two years after the ending of the Second World War: ‘Perhaps the distinguishing feature of the present age lies in the fact that wholeness as a dimension of experience is closed to us. Perhaps this is the only evil.’ (6) His recondite and perverse teachings continue in the twenty-first century to direct European trends in philosophy, literary criticism, historical research and even legal theory.

Very much concerned with ethics was George Lukács. The notion that the evil-doer is himself the tragic victim of his own evil deed, since in choosing to commit it he makes the ultimate spiritual self-sacrifice ‘of his purity, his morals, his very soul’, excited Lukács to the point of rapture. He was a literary critic and aesthete who became Minister of Culture in the short-lived Communist government of Hungary after the 1919 revolutionary uprising. He considered himself, as Marxists generally do, a great humanitarian. And like many of his intellectual comrades – Lenin, Trotsky, for instance (7) – he could hardly conceive of a more elevated moral deed than an act of terrorism: ‘Only he who acknowledges unflinchingly and without any reservations that murder is under no circumstances to be sanctioned can commit the murderous deed that is truly – and tragically – moral.’ (8) Such a one is the terrorist. He is a heroic martyr because when he murders ‘his brethren’ he does so with awesome courage, knowing full well that he himself must thereby suffer intense agony. So the man who kills in the full knowledge that it is ‘an absolute and unpardonable sin’ is thus sacrificing himself. There is no greater love than to lay down the life of a fellow man.

The French writer Georges Bataille, also a Marxist revolutionary, wrote that he desired human beings, as a species, to move towards ‘an ever more shameless awareness of the erotic bond that links them to death, to cadavers, and to horrible physical pain. — One of a man’s attributes is the derivation of pleasure from the suffering of others, and that erotic pleasure is not only the negation of an agony that takes place at the same instant, but also a lubricious participation in that agony.’ And: ‘The movement,’ he held, ‘that pushes a man — to give himself (in other words, to destroy himself) — completely, so that a bloody death ensues, can only be compared, in its irresistible and hideous nature, to the blinding flashes of lightning that transform the most withering storm into transports of joy.’ He looked forward to a ‘post-revolutionary phase [of human history] when an antireligious and asocial organization [has] as its goal orgiastic participation in different forms of destruction’. He acknowledged that ‘such an organization, can have no other conception of morality than the one scandalously affirmed for the first time by the Marquis de Sade’. (9) The Marquis de Sade (from whose name the word ‘sadism’ is derived) had notoriously defended and advocated the committing of incest, rape, pedophilia, torture, infanticide, necrophilia, and committed whichever of them he could whenever he could. He wrote of murder that it was ‘often necessary and never criminal’. (10)

Michel Foucault, another comrade and ‘tragic hero’ of the European political left, vastly admired Bataille’s vision and lauded his aims. He endorsed Bataille’s ‘erotic transgression’, rhapsodised over ‘the joy of torture’, and longed to carry out, with his hero, a ‘human sacrifice’; murder performed as a holy act, a spiritual thrill and a work of art. The two of them dreamt of establishing ‘a theatre of cruelty’. But even that would not be enough. Foucault went much further. Cruelty should not be only an occasional act performed for the catharsis of one’s own soul, but a constant part of everyday life; a custom for all to follow. ‘We can and must,’ he wrote, ‘make of man a negative experience, lived in the form of hate and aggression.’ (11) And he did his personal best to make life short and miserable. He contracted AIDS in the bathhouses of San Francisco, and when he knew he had it, returned to infect other men. Experiences of pain, madness, fatal illness were what he called ‘edge situations’, much to be desired because they redeemed existence from its unbearable banality. Evil, in other words, far from being banal itself, was to him a means of redemption from banality.

Jean-Paul Sartre, perhaps the most adulated of all the twentieth-century philosophers in the French pandemonium, followed Heidegger in the belief that the supreme and most necessary task for a human being was to ‘live authentically’. He tells us what we should do to avoid ‘the sin of living inauthentically’: do what is forbidden because it is forbidden; transgress, for transgression is a way to ‘transcendence’. In other words, do evil to achieve the higher good. All Sartre’s heroes were on the side of the demonic. He proclaimed that the poet Charles Baudelaire’s soul was ‘an exquisite blossom’ because he ‘desired Evil for Evil’s sake’; and because he ‘saw in Satan the perfect type of suffering beauty. Satan, who was vanquished, fallen, guilty — crushed beneath the memory of an unforgivable sin, devoured by insatiable ambition, transfixed by the eye of God — nevertheless prevailed against God, his master and conqueror, by his suffering, by that flame of non-satisfaction which — shone like an unquenchable reproach.’ (12)

One of Baudelaire’s poems in Flowers of Evil lyrically celebrates the ravishment of a putrefying corpse. (An image highly suitable as a logo for the Europe of the ‘love-death’.) Elsewhere he declared: ‘In politics, the true saint is the man who uses his whip and kills the people for their own good.

This rottenness was what Thomas Mann showed Europe in the mirrors he held up, among them the long novel The Magic Mountain, set like Tristan in a Swiss clinic for the treatment of tuberculosis. One of its chief characters, Naphta, a religious voluptuary with a passion for terrorism, is partly modelled on Georg Lukács. There is also his novel Dr Faustus in which the Faust figure is a spiritually corrupt genius, a composer who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius. In mundane terms he intentionally contracts syphilis – as did Baudelaire – and again the physical sickness symbolizes the spiritual one. (Incidentally, syphilis was the disease that killed Hannah Arendt’s father.)

Is Europe redeemable? Goethe’s Faust, who personifies European Romanticism with his longing ‘to explore the heights and the depths’, is redeemed; snatched back from the brink of eternal doom when he has a last minute change of heart and renounces evil (though this of course makes nonsense of the myth, as decisively as Oedipus would make nonsense of his if he failed to kill his father and marry his mother). But Europe – no: Auschwitz doomed Europe beyond any hope of recovery.

NOTES

1. Victor Gollancz, the British publisher, in his own book on the trial.

2. For Hegel’s’ ‘ethics of domination and submission’, and what the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called his ‘brilliant spirit of putridity’ and ‘infamous splendour of corruption’ see Karl Popper The Open Society and its Enemies Volume 1 Hegel & Marx esp. pp 275, 276. For Marx on terrorism, see ref. in note 6 below, and for Marx’s and Engels’s view that certain nations – Poles, Czechs, Slavs – were fit only to be used as canon-fodder or enslaved, see Leopold Schwarzschild The Red Prussian, Pickwick Books, London 1986 p 81, and Nathaniel Weyl Karl Marx, Racist, Arlington House 1980. Nietzsche famously praised evil and the infliction of pain, and recommended the annihilation of millions of ‘botched’ human beings in order to expedite the spiritual strengthening of the emerging Superman. For Heidegger see later in the text and notes 4 & 5 below.

3. The inversion of moral values, orgiastic ritual sinning, and defiance of the law as means to a higher good, characterized Gnostic religious cults in the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages.

4. Trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter

5. Hugo Ott Martin Heidegger: A Political Life trans. Allan Blunden, HarperCollins, 1993 p 167, quoting Heidegger’s rectorial address at the University of Freiburg, May 27, 1933.

6. Letter on Humanism by Martin Heidegger, 1946.

7. For a succinct account of the views of Marx, Trotsky and Lenin on the virtue of terrorism, see Roberta Goren The Soviet Union and Terrorism, ed. Jillian Becker, George Allen & Unwin, London and Boston, 1984.

8. Georg Lukács Tactics and Ethics. He wrote this as an approving summary of an idea expressed by Boris V. Savinkov (who wrote under the name of Ropshin) in his novel The Pale Horse. Lukács admired this novelist for his ‘new manifestation of an old conflict’ between ‘duties towards social structure’ and ‘imperatives of the soul’ – the conflict with which Bataille, de Sade, Foucault, Heidegger, and Sartre were also centrally concerned.

9. Georges Bataille Visions of Excess: Selected Writing 1927-1934 ed. & trans. Allan Stoeckl, Manchester University Press, 1985 p 69

10. The Marquis de Sade Philosophy in the Boudoir.

11. James Miller The Passion of Michel Foucault, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993 pp 204, 206.

12. Jean-Paul Sartre Baudelaire Trans. Martin Turnell

Jillian Becker July 20, 2010

Brought to book 0

Documents from the secret archives of the Vatican have been published in a book by a Belgian publisher, VdH Books.

Some are of great interest.

From the Telegraph:

The book documents the Roman Catholic Church’s often hostile dealings with the world of science and the arts, including documents from the heresy trial against Galileo and correspondence exchanged with Erasmus, Voltaire and Mozart. …

Voltaire? Whatever did he say and to what pope?

One document shows the Mongols pursuing world conquest in the manner of Islam, to which they were soon afterwards to convert –

In a letter dated 1246 from Grand Khan Guyuk to Pope Innocent IV, Genghis Khan’s grandson demands that the pontiff travel to central Asia in person – with all of his “kings” in tow – to “pay service and homage to us” as an act of “submission”, threatening that otherwise “you shall be our enemy”.

Of course popes had their fingers in many a foreign pie –

Another formal letter in the archive highlights the papacy’s political role. In 1863 Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, wrote to Pope Pius IX claiming that the civil war raging across America was entirely due to “Northern aggression. We desire no evil to our enemies, nor do we covet any of their possessions; but are only struggling to the end that they shall cease to devastate our land and inflict useless and cruel slaughter upon our people.”

They were not punctilious about paying their debts –

Other letters in the archive are more personal. In a 1550 note, Michelangelo demands payment from the papacy which was three months late, and complains that a papal conclave had interrupted his work on the dome of St Peter’s Basilica.

Some of the paper evidence is hard to square with what actually happened –

A yellowed parchment covered in neat black script reveals details of the 14th century trials of the Knights Templar on suspicion of heresy, after which members of the warrior-monk order were pardoned by Pope Clement V.

Pardoned by a pope they may have been, but the last of their Grand Masters was burnt to death in Paris by King Philip the Fair in 1314 in a not unusual display of Christian love and forgiveness.

Some of the documents are already well-known, including a parchment letter written by English peers to Pope Clement VII in 1530, calling for Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon to be annulled. An entreaty written to Rome by another British monarch, but in very different circumstances, is also reproduced in exquisite detail. In 1586 Mary, Queen of Scots, wrote from Fotheringay in Northants to Pope Sixtus V, a few months before she was beheaded for plotting against her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, pledging her eternal allegiance to Rome.

Some need to be read in full –

The documents include letters written to Hitler by Pope Pius XI in 1934 and one received by his controversial successor, Pius XII, from Japan’s Emperor Hirohito.

What, we wonder, has persuaded the Vatican to reveal some of its secrets? And what is it still hiding that would illuminate its own history? Are there documents that would shame it even more than it has openly shamed itself? Hardly seems possible!

Nobody’s all bad 2

At least in the eyes of global warmists, Osama bin Laden has his good points: his life-style is very ‘low carbon-footprint’.

PETA, however, wouldn’t approve of him at all – he gassed kittens. But they would see a good side to Adolf Hitler, a vegetarian.

What feminists on the left think of Osama we don’t know: when it comes to the treatment of Muslim women, they prefer to remain non-judgmental. Still, the left in general can give both Osama and Adolf full marks for being anti-Jewish.

Phyllis Chesler writes:

Osama bin Laden’s first wife and one of their sons, Omar, have written a Memoir, Growing Up Bin Laden. … For a son to go public, exposing his father, and for him to stand by his mother, is unheard of, wondrous, heroic, and quite dangerous. Growing Up Bin Laden shows us how cruel, weird, misogynist, and tyrannical Osama is both as a husband and a father. …

Osama did not allow modern medicine for his children; refrigerators were forbidden, as were air conditioners, phones, toys, and televisions. Osama expected his sons to also become suicide killers and he subjected his young children to dangerous and frightening military maneouvers. According to Omar and Najwa, Osama also murdered his children’s pets in chilling ways

Once, Osama killed a pet monkey. He had one of his lackeys run it over with a car. Osama said “The monkey was not a monkey but was a Jewish person turned into a monkey by the hand of God.” He gassed a new litter of puppies … to see how long it would take them to die.

But what was it that sent Osama totally over the edge? What compelled him to plan the mass murders of civilians on every continent? Omar tells us. When Osama saw American female troops on Middle Eastern Arab soil, he cried out. “ Women! Defending Saudi men!”

Read  more here.