Food for thought

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by burmafrd, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    When I was a little kid, I asked my dad about an image I had seen of really huge
    numbers of prisoners being marched to their execution in a forest clearing,
    guarded by perhaps five or ten men with rifles. I wanted to know why they didn't
    just rush the guards. I mean, it's one thing if they were heading to another
    miserable day at work camp, but these people were being led off to be killed,
    and they knew it. I mean, for God's sake, what did they have to lose?
    I was six. My dad looked at me. He had served in the latter days of WW2 in
    Europe as a U.S. Army intelligence officer. No parachuting onto the decks of
    enemy U-Boats at night to steal Enigma machines -- just newly-minted, 2nd
    Lieutenant grunt work. He'd been to the camps though, seen some horrible things.
    When I asked him why they didn't fight back or run for the woods, he said,
    without any arrogance or contempt or jingoism, "I don't know Billy, I can't
    figure that one out myself." Then there was a long moment. "But I can't imagine
    Americans just walking off like that, either."
    Now when he said he couldn't imagine Americans marching off to their deaths, he
    meant, obviously, Americans like the ones he knew. Kids who grew up hunting,
    kids who got a BB gun for their fifth birthday -- tough, adventurous, American
    kids whose mom's never gave a second thought to them shooting their eye out with
    a Red Ryder air rifle.
    Now before we go any further, I want to be crystal clear about something: I
    don’t believe for an instant in any genetic nonsense about slave races or
    nations of pure-bred heroes. That’s a deadly trap, and the end result of such
    thinking is a place on the watchtower machine-gunning starving prisoners. But
    humans are the most successful species this planet has seen, not for being
    ferocious or fast or strong or even intelligent, but for their malleability.
    Humans can, and do, adapt to anything. It is their culture that determines what
    is in their hearts.
    Consider the case of Jews in Germany, during the 1930s. Here was a people who
    had been so tormented and prosecuted and psychologically beaten down that they
    had come to believe the outrageous slander that they were guests in their own
    country. Behind their shuttered doors at night, they created cocoons of
    astonishing culture and beauty, a symphony of violins and cellos and poetry and
    literature. They were far over-represented in occupations we rightly esteem as
    among the most noble of our species: surgeons, musicians, teachers and
    By any measure of human decency, these were the people that should have been
    helping to lead a ravaged Germany back to respect and prosperity. Yet they were
    massacred in their millions by brutes and sadists who sent millions to their
    deaths while listening to symphonies.
    If it is possible to write a clearer lesson on human nature, then I cannot
    imagine it, nor can I imagine the amount of blood it will take to convince
    people unwilling to look reality in the face; that reality being that
    compassion, culture, law and philosophy are precious, rare and acquired habits
    that must be defended with force against people who understand nothing but
    force. The great failure and staggering tragedy of European Jews is that they
    could not accept that some of their neighbors were not as decent, humane and
    educated as they were. A culture that learned to survive by turning inward
    simply never was willing to face the reality of what they were up against;
    namely, that hoping for compassion and humanity from the likes of the Nazis was
    akin to reading poetry to a hurricane. This denial -- and that is the only word
    for it -- is, in the final horrible analysis, a form of arrogance, almost: the
    refusal to see things for what they are. A people of astonishing internal beauty
    simply could not look into the face of such ugliness without turning away. And
    now they are dead.
    And there are many intelligent, enlightened, gentle and good-hearted people
    today who believe exactly the same thing. If we let this moral blindness
    continue to gain ground, then they will get us all killed, too. And then who
    will put their boot on humanity’s neck for the next thousand years?
  2. ologan

    ologan Well-Known Member

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