"But what about the Nazis?"

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kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 02:03 pm
@Baal,
Baal;78541 wrote:
As a serial lurker, I see many posts (particularly in respect to Ethics) which ultimately bring about the Nazi case. The general format is "What would you have done during the times of the Nazis" or "Isn't that what the Nazis did?" etc.

The case of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the like were very specific sociocultural events which immense background. To have this brought into an ethical debate without actually going into the political, social, and psychological era of the times, e.g dominant ideologies in the US, Germany, the Ghetto and the like, is a rather cheap treatment of the event itself, in which it becomes diluted as a mundane, perhaps even mythical reference to anything evil; in other words, it abstracts from the actual events and places them in a timeframe far earlier than its actual occurrence - e.g. Mythical Time; thus leading it to be a self fulfilling folktale rather than a historical event; and something which is relevant and understandable to the whole of humanity rather than a (very broad) group of people.

The Nazi case is thus the new Myth of the modern era; it is a myth not in the sense of it not having taken place (for it did), but is mythical because it is used almost impulsively as some kind of fairy-tale scenario of good vs. evil. Other players who were not as good as the myth portrays them to be (The "Allied" powers) are the prince charming of this magical tale. The actual atrocities have been entirely forgotten and merely abstracted as a "Blow of evil", of "being possessed" etc. and thus has lost its actual history.


Sound soothingly good, and very fair-minded. Until one remembers what the Nazis did. The death camps; the gratuitous torture; the mass murder. And then, what do you know. It doesn't sound so fair-minded anymore. It sound callous, and typically immature. (By the way, weren't the Allied Powers the Allied Powers, just as the Axis Powers were the Axis Powers? If so, why the quotes around the term, the Allied Powers?)
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 02:45 pm
@Baal,
Baal;79358 wrote:
Actually the Holocaust the events, and the ideologies that surrounded it, while on the surface were heterogeneous, they were in essence all part of the same ideology and theme -- which existed almost universally, which is partially an explanation of why it was able to go on as long as it did.. and perhaps if not for the military aspect of WWII, would have continued much longer than it did.
If not for the military aspect of WWII, the Holocaust would have probably never happened, because systematic ghettoization and violence was never a policy in pre-war Nazi Germany. They were content to make life so undignified and so hazardous for the Jews that they would all leave, which is exactly what transpired throughout the 1930s. A diverse collection of ideas and practices happened in wartime Europe, including the conflict between the goals of 1) extermination and 2) forced labor, and this is why it took a long time for them to ultimately arrive at Auschwitz, where both 1) and 2) happened most efficiently. Sure, they killed people easily en masse by mass shootings, and they wiped out twice as many people in the Operation Reinhard camps as they ever did in Auschwitz-Birkenau; but it was only in the latter case that they finally merged their labor needs with their extermination policy -- and that's also the reason why Auschwitz is the only death camp that more than a trickle of people survived.

---------- Post added 08-10-2009 at 04:49 PM ----------

Philosopher Jay;82361 wrote:
It seems the term "Nazi" signifies many things: the real historical group that seized power in Germany in the 1930's and caused World War II and the holocaust, pure evil, the evil of extreme xenophobic nationalism, the evil of extreme antisemitism, the evil of extreme state control, the evil of extreme anti-communism/socialism, to name a few.
Well, you can use the term "Nazi" to mean all sorts of things if you so choose. But just bear in mind that the Nazis are no work of literature, I mean many of them are still alive, and any general, idiomatic appropriation of the term is going to depart from the historical reality -- perhaps in ways that do a great disservice to the Nazis' actual victims.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 02:58 pm
@Philosopher Jay,
Philosopher Jay;82361 wrote:
It seems the term "Nazi" signifies many things: the real historical group that seized power in Germany in the 1930's and caused World War II and the holocaust, pure evil, the evil of extreme xenophobic nationalism, the evil of extreme antisemitism, the evil of extreme state control, the evil of extreme anti-communism/socialism, to name a few.


I think much of the problem here is not as much historical as it is generational. Words/Epithets/Sterotypes etc... change meaning intergenerationally. Those not directly affected by the events of WW2 cannot have the same respect for a term like Nazi. Nazi has become a byword for petty fascism, and I mean small scale petty. If it were not a parody of itself, things like "the soup Nazi" would have never been funny. People closer to the affected groups and generations, however, often find the parody a little disrespectful.

My mother still cringes when I use the word "sucks". In her generation and local it was a direct reference to oral sex. To me its just a term for things that, for the lack of a more appropriate term, SUCK. It is the way of socio-linguistic intergenerational semantics.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 03:53 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;82373 wrote:
I think much of the problem here is not as much historical as it is generational. Words/Epithets/Sterotypes etc... change meaning intergenerationally. Those not directly affected by the events of WW2 cannot have the same respect for a term like Nazi. Nazi has become a byword for petty fascism, and I mean small scale petty. If it were not a parody of itself, things like "the soup Nazi" would have never been funny. People closer to the affected groups and generations, however, often find the parody a little disrespectful.

My mother still cringes when I use the word "sucks". In her generation and local it was a direct reference to oral sex. To me its just a term for things that, for the lack of a more appropriate term, SUCK. It is the way of socio-linguistic intergenerational semantics.


The Nazis did things that no one believed were humanly possible. A systematic slaughter of a people, and only for the reason that those people were the people they were. And they did it with glee, and with a song in their hearts. I agree that no one could possibly talk the way Baal talks without being either woefully ignorant, or horribly malevolent. Maybe both. He might try going to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D. C. and, perhaps, learn something. But it may be a lost cause. I also wonder about those who thanked Baal for his post. Very young and foolish-I hope.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 04:19 pm
@kennethamy,
Ken:
What Baal was originally trying to say is that it offends him that the term is used in the "Soup Nazi" manner. He doesn't like every little biggotry being likened to the mass organized nationalistic genocide of nazism. Or is this why you are upset with him, because he thinks it should be reserved for truely heinous things?
 
Baal
 
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 04:26 pm
@kennethamy,
Kennethamy: You seem to be deliberately ignoring and misunderstanding the contents of mine and Gosh's posts.

I have specifically pointed out that it was a unique event and that it must be treated as unique, and that generalizations should not be made (in respect to the holocaust as an event, not necessarily the various ideologies which fueled it).

Actually the systematic slaughter and "singing in their hearts" part of the holocaust was not unique. I believe I pointed out some of its unique aspects beforehand.

If you have personally been affected by the holocaust, or are a child of a survivor, then your response is understandable and thus I mean no harm. Although not all survivors will respond like that. My cousin, who is an Auschwitz survivor tends to be much more open about the subject, compared to my grandmother, who immigrated to Israel in the early 20th century (although all of her siblings perished in the holocaust).

If you have not been personally affected, then I strongly recommend that you re-read my earlier posts in their entirety before condeming them.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 04:26 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;82381 wrote:
Ken:
What Baal was originally trying to say is that it offends him that the term is used in the "Soup Nazi" manner. He doesn't like every little biggotry being likened to the mass organized nationalistic genocide of nazism. Or is this why you are upset with him, because he thinks it should be reserved for truely heinous things?


If he tried to say that, he did not succeed.
 
Philosopher Jay
 
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 04:39 pm
@kennethamy,
Hi Kennethamy,

What do you think Baal's post/s meant?

I read them as simply describing a situation where the term "Nazi" no longer signifies the actual historical pain and suffering inflicted by the Nazis. I did not take him to be promoting or favoring such a situation, just noting it.

It seems to me that this is obviously true when a term like "feminazi" is used or when President Obama is called a Nazi. Certainly anybody who imagines that feminists demanding respect for women have anything to do with Nazis have no sense of the history of the Nazis. Likewise, people calling Obama a Nazi and comparing his healthcare plan to Nazi practices of eugenics have no sense of the history of the Nazis.

That is really the danger of simply using the term "Nazi" as a synonym for "evil" and not recognizing the complex historical factors that created people who could mechanically and systematically slaughter innocent men women and children with, as you say, "a song in their heart."

Again, I do not think Baal is endorsing the situation today with respect to mass ignorance of the Nazi's real atrocities, but simply noting it.



kennethamy;82379 wrote:
The Nazis did things that no one believed were humanly possible. A systematic slaughter of a people, and only for the reason that those people were the people they were. And they did it with glee, and with a song in their hearts. I agree that no one could possibly talk the way Baal talks without being either woefully ignorant, or horribly malevolent. Maybe both. He might try going to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D. C. and, perhaps, learn something. But it may be a lost cause. I also wonder about those who thanked Baal for his post. Very young and foolish-I hope.
 
bbbennyboy34
 
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 05:51 pm
@Baal,
most certainly the allies were no heros but the nazis were the greatest example of the grim new efficieny of the industrial world
taking old prejidouces and manufacturing them
it might not been good vs evil but it most certainly was evil
and just because the nazi posses a certain emotion state in your mind does not mean the history is lost otherwise you have not explored the vast networks of fact availible to us
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 08:35 pm
@bbbennyboy34,
Americans are likely to forget that we invented fascism before it was called that... if you define fascism as a reaction to a sense of impending doom which creates a fanciful vision of some heroic past and an acceptance of any means to save a crippled culture through violence and separation out of the 'evil element.' That's what the Jim Crow era was all about.

We forget it because it hurts.

But I've long believed that the mythologicalization of Nazis is a natural result of the loss of images of evil like Satan and the Antichrist. Hitler works very well in this role. He's become the new Satan. Mention his name and a cold chill goes down the spine.

It may be natural, but it may also lead us to forget: the Germans were and are our kin.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 08:40 am
@Arjuna,
Even when we use "Nazi" to describe a relatively petty example of bigotry or oppression, depending upon the presentation, this might very well be useful:

The historic Nazis were a gross manifestation of things that occur every day. A gross, unimaginable manifestation of anti-Semitism, for example. But when we call less obscene examples of anti-Semitism "Nazi", we remind people of the source of the larger, more devastating manifestation.

In Fear and Loathing and Las Vegas Thompson famously writes, "The Circus-Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This is the Sixth Reich." That whole passage, wherein he describes the place in detail and his reaction to that casino, is really a marvel.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 09:59 am
@Baal,
Arjuna;87541 wrote:
But I've long believed that the mythologicalization of Nazis is a natural result of the loss of images of evil like Satan and the Antichrist. Hitler works very well in this role. He's become the new Satan. Mention his name and a cold chill goes down the spine.

It may be natural, but it may also lead us to forget: the Germans were and are our kin.
I think they're mythologized because it's impossible to fathom that this kind of cruelty could be real. Their reality is a lot more sobering than their mythologization. Hitler was Hitler, but you go down the list of his subordinates and the frankness and barbarism of the cruelty just gets more and more brutal and open. Read the long interview with Franz Stangl, or the testimony of Rudolf Hoess, etc. The closer to the hands of the perpetrators you get, the less like a myth it seems -- and the more terrible.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 10:30 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;87662 wrote:
I think they're mythologized because it's impossible to fathom that this kind of cruelty could be real.


Exactly: we put the whole thing in a mental closet and shut the door. I think that there's a process by which a perfectly normal person gives rise to the most montrous of his possibilities. It involves blindess, rationalization, a condoning authority figure, and a brass ring.

If a person rules out that they could become something monstrous, how will they notice the signs that it's happening? I've said that to people before, and they have assured me that I was wrong: nooooo.. not them. They may be right, but I say all it takes is losing track of one's sense of self and personal integrity to embrace evil. In our world the voice in the background is often: oh come on, grow up... this is the way the world is... this is the only way to get what you want. This is the snake in the garden.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 05:15 pm
@Arjuna,
Only because I post the most relevant things to a thread

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpRqvCps_MQ
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Wed 24 Mar, 2010 01:06 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;112220 wrote:
Only because I post the most relevant things to a thread

YouTube - Whitest Kids - Hitler Rap


[CENTER]:bigsmile:
Re-mnember the scandal it caused when Prince Henry (?) dressed as a SS-officer, as British scandal.

In Holland we used to living with ex/former Nazi's. Many claim they had no choice, being Prussian Ritters. More loyal to the Country Prussia than to Germany.

Our Royalty marries on a regular basis with Germans, :brickwall:or with Bask descendants of the Junta of Argentina. I do not know any more what to thnk of them. They work hard, never retire it seems and still...
[/CENTER]
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 08:35 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;78910 wrote:
What is unfair about comparing a bigot to Hitler or Nazi principle in general? They follow the same trend, only one is not so extreme as the other.

Nazism has become a cautionary occurrence: we look back and say "never again", so why not look around today, in our own times, and notice the tendencies toward what we do not ever want to see in full fruition? If anything, it will be wise for us to make those comparisons so that we do not forget what leads to Nazism.


I agree, except that I do not believe that Hitler and the Nazis really were more extremely evil than many others. Most evil people are not dictators of world-class powers, so the effects of their evil is far less. But it does not mean that they are morally better people, just that their impact is less.

If, for example, we look at someone like Idi Amin, I think it would be difficult to argue that he was a better man than Hitler, though he was probably responsible for the deaths of only hundreds of thousands of people instead of millions. But that was because he was in charge of a relatively backward country, and was more inept than Hitler, not because he was a nicer guy.


If anyone here thinks Idi Amin was a better man, please put forth the arguments. Otherwise, spare me the drivel about Hitler being superhumanly evil. He was no more evil than many others, most of whom are not famous because they never had enough power to do much. Most are not dictators of even third world countries, and are just "ordinary" citizens.

The real distinction for Hitler is that he was the only one as evil as him who was a dictator of a first world country in modern history. Other than that, he is nothing special at all.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 11:08 am
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;143521 wrote:
I agree, except that I do not believe that Hitler and the Nazis really were more extremely evil than many others. Most evil people are not dictators of world-class powers, so the effects of their evil is far less. But it does not mean that they are morally better people, just that their impact is less.

If, for example, we look at someone like Idi Amin, I think it would be difficult to argue that he was a better man than Hitler, though he was probably responsible for the deaths of only hundreds of thousands of people instead of millions. But that was because he was in charge of a relatively backward country, and was more inept than Hitler, not because he was a nicer guy.


If anyone here thinks Idi Amin was a better man, please put forth the arguments. Otherwise, spare me the drivel about Hitler being superhumanly evil. He was no more evil than many others, most of whom are not famous because they never had enough power to do much. Most are not dictators of even third world countries, and are just "ordinary" citizens.

The real distinction for Hitler is that he was the only one as evil as him who was a dictator of a first world country in modern history. Other than that, he is nothing special at all.


[CENTER]:shifty:
I feel I have to speak up for my German neighbours. Not many former nazi's are left, the government is very active in informing young people against Nazi-practice.

Secondly a war was not to avoid. The Peace of Versailles was a bad piece of work. It took Germanies resources away, territories which had been part of the German nations for a millenium and on top of that Germany was stripped of it's colonies and had to pay enormous amounts of money for "war-damages".

Nationally they had little choice left...

I have never understood the killings.

Pepijn Sweep, Magister i.o.
:a-thought:
[/CENTER]
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 11:19 am
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep;143605 wrote:
...
I feel I have to speak up for my German neighbours. ...


Let us stop right there. "German" is not equivalent to "Nazi", not even during WWII. The Nazi Party was a political party, and not everyone was a member, and even of those who were members, some joined for reasons other than because they agreed with everything that Hitler eventually did. In fact, before the end of WWII, several German plots to assassinate Hitler were attempted, which shows how very much some Germans hated him, as one does not generally try to assassinate someone for a trifle. And of those who did not have a plot to assassinate him, that does not show they liked him more; most people were simply not in a position to be able to make a serious attempt at such a thing, not to mention the fact that some people have a problem with murder, even of a bad person.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 12:57 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;143611 wrote:
Let us stop right there. "German" is not equivalent to "Nazi", not even during WWII. The Nazi Party was a political party, and not everyone was a member, and even of those who were members, some joined for reasons other than because they agreed with everything that Hitler eventually did. In fact, before the end of WWII, several German plots to assassinate Hitler were attempted, which shows how very much some Germans hated him, as one does not generally try to assassinate someone for a trifle. And of those who did not have a plot to assassinate him, that does not show they liked him more; most people were simply not in a position to be able to make a serious attempt at such a thing, not to mention the fact that some people have a problem with murder, even of a bad person.


But was it a wise choice the present Papa ?

Pepijn Sweep, Magister Y:Glasses:
 
Khethil
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 02:56 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
I believe the reason we see the Nazi's put up so often as examples of the most murderous and controlling is likely due to the distinct possibility that most folks simply don't know any other historical examples. Though quite descriptive, it does scream "I haven't a clue what other comparison to draw so... doing <whatever> is as bad as the Nazi's".

... it does get old; but historically there are many other examples perhaps more fitting. Most folks just don't care to learn, know or use them.

Just my take
 
 

 
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