Wednesday, January 20, 2010
line of shame
Lost causes are my secret love. Erasing the dividing line between the rich and the poor is my favorite. But, what am I talking about?
Hardly anything is as difficult to define as the line that separates the poor and the rich. Tell me what it is exactly, where you think this ominous line is located, and I am confident we won't find a second human being who agrees with you.
That is one third of the problem.
The second problematic part is that some individuals insist on the existence of a poverty-wealth chasm, and they are determined to alter its position toward equality. Something we cannot define is supposed to be moved from one mythical location to another.
The possible consequences of such endeavor make me shudder. Nothing useful can come from it. On the contrary, well-intentioned help often helps the helper more than anybody else, and it fosters "the very culture of dependence [it] so desperately needs to break." (Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, in a recent article "To Help Haiti, End Foreign Aid")
Oh, you mean equality can be defined and it is not a vague concept at all? True, but that's not the kind of equality the noble equalizers have in mind. Remember Orwell's Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." People love to share other people's money but, when that is gone, they loathe sharing everybody's lack. Taking money from "the rich" and giving it to "the poor" never includes the money of those who ask for such preposterous transactions.
At any rate, here is the worst portion of the tricky rich-poor dilemma: talking about both the rich and the poor is a form of discrimination! All notorious consequences of prejudice are included. "The poor are..." Go ahead and fill in the blanks. "They should..." "The rich are..." "They really ought to..." Whatever you say, it'll be a generalizing label and as false as the numbers on your last lottery ticket.
Seasoning one's speech with rich-poor remarks--to support the poor by taxing the rich, for instance, or to elevate poverty to a status of moral superiority--means one of three things:
a) For the purpose of the greater good, naturally, you expect to gain political mileage from evoking cheap emotions in your audience. You don't hesitate to shamelessly exploit those you claim to defend and, since you recklessly accuse random bystanders of being culprits, you have no real interest to improve the status quo of those in need.
b) You are a faithful of the zero-sum religion and secretly you believe the earth is flat.
c) You are channeling your mom.
Incredibly arrogant accusations? Yes. But accusing people of being poor or rich, the notion that governments should decide how poor or rich a person is permitted to be, and the demand that the law must intrude and change those individuals' lives--now THAT is true arrogance!
Hey, I am not interested in becoming a language Nazi. What do I care about your use of four-letter words. Be my guest and keep 'poor' and 'rich' in your preferred vocabulary. The problem I see is the underlying meaning, its inflation, or the utter lack of meaning.
How can the lack of meaning be dangerous? Think of mantras: repeat them a couple of hundred times and their original meaning disappears, giving way to the perfect trance. It's the same with 'rich' and 'poor'. Drop those words and anyone who is listening snaps into a trance and heads begin to nod. It hardly matters what you say after inducing the trance. Nobody will question your motives or the content of your utterances.
It is impossible to use the word 'rich' without triggering a bunch of connotations: awe, jealousy, guilt, disgust, respect, anger,... The list is as endless as it is individual: everything you say about the so-called rich or the so-called poor is your personal projection. Conversations about the poor and the rich are disconnected from facts and reality. They solely revolve around the beliefs of the participants, and the purpose of such discussions is self-righteous masturbation.
Talk about someone's living condition, her illnesses, a person's level of education, achievements, or about an individual's bank balance. It can be done and facts support broad agreement. Is there Malaria? Yep, it's a sad fact. Malaria can be objectively diagnosed. HIV infections and starvation? Unfortunately, yes.
Is there poverty? That is more or less subject to personal judgment, uniquely manufactured in one's mind.
Are there people who generate an annual income in excess of $10 million? Sure there are. Are they rich? If you think so. Do you believe a guy who makes a million bucks a year thinks of himself as rich when he compares himself to an individual who makes $80 million per annum? Doubtful.
From the perspective of 95% of the world's population, the poorest mountain hick in America, driving a 30-year old pickup truck, is a rich guy. A 30-year old Chevy truck is a fact and so is a $30 million dollar mansion. Both can be discussed. Poverty and wealth are elusive: before you can make your point, the fact-supported parts of your subject will have slipped through your fingers.
The infinite power of the invisible:
Homo Sapiens is in awe of everything that can neither be empirically demonstrated nor disproved. God(s), Satan, angels, demons, the soul, love, peace, the hereafter, etc. Wealth and poverty are members of this exalted group of invisible yet infinitely powerful forces, realms, and entities. It's not real power that I am talking about, but imaginary power within a person's mind. Too many brains turn into mush when confronted with that sort of stuff.
Over the millennia we have given power to the meaning of 'poverty'. We even believe we can "see" poor and rich people. I am sorry, but fighting poverty cannot eradicate poverty. It is more like tilting at windmills: "Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. ... For this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless." Don Quixote fought windmills that he imagined to be giants and we fight poverty and against the evil rich simultaneously.
Starvation and Malaria can be successfully fought, and I am ashamed that we haven't made much progress yet, while poverty cannot be overcome. One thing that invites us to hold on to poverty and to our imaginary solutions for the poor is our--equally misguided--idea of the rich: the rich are the reason for and the antidote to poverty, in our mind. The poor don't have money because the rich have it in their pockets. Simplistic zero-sum thinking, or nincompoop economics.
As generous as we are with the invisible and the vast powers we ascribe to the rich, as stingy are we with visible matter. If it is--"it" being money, goods, food--over there, it can't be here. Easily we dismiss the fact that we can indeed produce food for 12 billion people, for twice the current population of planet Earth. Distribution of food or money, etc. is not the solution but rather the reason for disastrous circumstances in developing regions.
It is unintelligent to say that the rich have money because the poor do not. Individuals and corporations who enjoy making money can only make more money off of people who have money themselves. Wal-Mart would love to open a thousand stores in Africa. Bill Gates would be delighted to sell a copy of Windows 7 to every child in North Korea. BMW has planned to set up a dozen dealerships in India by the end of 2010 and have them sell 10,000 cars per year. Don't you think they seek to increase those numbers?
Only complete dorks believe that individuals with money have an interest in others being penniless. Blaming the rich for the poor being poor is no more intelligent than blaming the healthy for the sick being sick.
Here is the problem:
You can't become an activist and expect to eliminate poverty during your lifetime. You could try, but you won't be the first or the last who will fail.
Here is my proposition:
End poverty today! Don't label any human being as poor. Stop referring to any individual as being rich. Make the disgusting line between the poor and the rich disappear. Nothing is easier than that because this shameful line was never existent and only imaginary.
That would be convenient for the rich to get off the hook that easily? No: if you drop your mental and emotional investment in the existence of poverty and in the idea that people can be thought of as poor, you are making room for the freedom of practical creativity and for a rational approach of actual problems.
What do you have to gain from "healing" the world from the poor and from the rich at once? It will purge an unproductive heap of clutter from your mind. The deliberate termination of an outdated idea of wealth and poverty, of poor and rich people, gives way to fresh experimentation. The fear of dying poor ends as well as the fearful hope of striking it rich (and ending up as one of "them").
Discrimination of any kind stifles social and economic development. When people stop being obsessed with each other's differences, they are free to do more of what they want, allowing others to enjoy increased freedom as well.
It takes guts to declare poverty as non-existent, and I don't blame you if you hesitate to do so. But if you don't end poverty today, it will never happen. The rich and the poor may have played important roles in tales of Robin Hood, in Charles Dickens' novels, and in Karl Marx's 'Capital' (Das Kapital), but the whole idea is ripe to be mothballed.
There is nothing to be lost and a world of freedom to be gained: nobody is poor, nobody is rich, and the fateful line between us is gone.
"When I was growing up, our town was so poor our rainbows came in black and white." --Robert D. Cowan
Friday, January 1, 2010
"an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market"
"any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods"
I am a pig!
A capitalist pig, to be exact. Do you care for freedom? Freedom of speech is one thing but the freedom to conceive, to concoct, to market, and to trade goods and services is as important for adults as a sandlot for children. And yet, a free market will remain a grand illusion. The control freaks of the world won't permit free markets. Too many folks are channeling their mom's forbidding tone of voice: "What if everybody did that?!"
The main reason we don't have free markets is that people don't trust themselves.
Freedom is too frightening for most, and we rather manage our own and other people's small-mindedness than deal with a growing wealth of options. As thrilled as we are watching football and hockey, the average specimen of homo sapiens prefers to be a secondhand adventurer. Safety and stability seem to have a greater value for most than the opportunity to make mistakes and the subsequent discovery of new horizons. Winning looks enticing only when the possibility of losing has been minimized or eliminated in advance. That's as common as it is dangerous: you can't truly win until you have made peace with the painful reality of losing. A poor wretch who can only be happy when he happens to be successful.
Neglecting ourselves, we demand security before we pursue freedom. From the government, as the largest employer in the country, to the dry cleaner at the corner: we expect parental rules, a full fridge, and the mind numbing boredom of a reasonably dysfunctional family life. We surrender freedom and individuality in exchange for nearly guaranteed mortgage payments and food on the table.
Teenagers can afford to be obnoxious and omniscient as long as they enjoy the safety of their parents' house and care. Translate that into the adult world and you realize that hating your job is a luxury, made possible and financed by those who provide you with a job and pay your rent.
Every one of us was born into a socialist environment.
Literally, and it doesn't matter whether you were born in America or in the late Soviet Union. Economically, you were raised in an environment of "collective or governmental (parental) ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods." The school system continued your socialist upbringing with a collectively controlled distribution of information. Free speech? You must be kidding!
Sure, there was some rebellion when we were kids, but after each futile episode we realized with a growl how the benefits of "the system" outweighed its oppressive factors. From day one, we learned that socialism keeps us fed, clothed, and relatively safe.
The parental-socialist environment is conservative in its nature (Websters, "conservative:" tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions; marked by moderation or caution; marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste
An ideal child-rearing home may have socialist foundations and be conservative at the same time. Yet conservatism describes the opposite end of the spectrum. A paradox? How come? I am afraid I will upset a lot of people within the next minute, but hell, it's not the first time and it won't be the last. Here goes:
Socialism "feels" right, it describes the perfect children's world, and I wish everybody could grow up in such a sheltered paradise. But once a person matures, conscious thinking and the ability to employ reason must increasingly substitute decision making that's based on 'feelings'. The history from socialism to capitalism--personally and collectively--is roughly the evolution from childhood to adulthood.
Have you had a chance to visit a socialist country, Eastern Germany perhaps, before the wall was torn down in 1989? Run by people who enjoy plucking the wings off of butterflies, real-world socialism is a pubertal environment that prevents individuals from development and maturity. Practically it's synonymous with the condemnation to eternal preadolescence.
Often I have heard that not everybody is cut out to become an entrepreneur. True. By their very nature, some individuals must live and work freely. They can't handle the existence of a superior and they despise being part of a corporate structure. Most of our fellow citizens may hate corporations, but they will never question their status quo as employees. They are happier as employees, and it doesn't matter whether they love, merely endure, or outright hate their jobs.
Do what you want to do. I don't judge your life choices. I am writing this for those who are on the fence between employment and the option of self-employment. Perhaps you have done both in succession or one after the other. If you have a job and you will never let it go, why not build a business on the side for fun and profit: have you considered the double-life of a parallel entrepreneur?
Whether you see yourself as a capitalist or as a socialist is not a matter of opinion. Neither is your preferred economical system a reflection of your income. The question is where you intend to go in the future.
That means, if you choose employment--a sort of voluntary enslavement--you may not want to call yourself a capitalist in public. Even if you don't like your work, you are still in support of a governmental or corporate system that buffers you from the cold harsh reality of selling gizmos for food. And, almost by definition, if you are an employee you hate your job and you bite the evil capitalist's hand that feeds you.
If you choose self-employment or entrepreneurship, instead of or parallel to your existing job, you can't afford to be a socialist. It can't be in your interest to denounce capitalism. Well, except when your name is Michael Moore and denouncing capitalism is your business.
Capitalism is hated for the same reasons jobs are being hated: people love to hate the essentials of life, and biting the hands that feed us is a favorite resource of emotional sustenance. Productive employment and its perks depend on capitalists. Therefore we must despise them. It is the fault of evil employers that I have to do this dirty slave work. Right?
We don't even think about the benefits of capitalism without feeling guilty. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and George Soros are the strongest supporters of the Democratic party, the party of the covertly wealthy. No surprise at all: hardly any capitalist feels free to openly call herself a capitalist, for the same reason you don't take your mink to a PETA convention. It's like proudly announcing that you are the black sheep in the family.
Socialist - capitalist: I couldn't care less what you want to call yourself or how you choose to live your life. But you may give capitalism a second thought. I really don't give a hoot about political and economical theories, right now, or whether you consider yourself rich or poor. That stuff is of secondary importance. What does matter--to you--is this:
Do you care about the freedom of speech? If you do, why would you care less about your freedom to act, produce, and trade? And if you want to live as you choose, what would hold you back to say so?
Capitalism is the material equivalent of the freedom of speech. Hatred of capitalism is similar to being suspicious of life itself. If we can't trust capitalism as an evolutionary frame for the development of our economical affairs, we cannot trust evolution.
And we better ask mom and dad for guidance.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
ecstasy in hell
"There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells." --William Gibson, Count Zero
The Job Dilemma:
I want to do what I want. But first I need to do what I don't want and make enough money, so that I can do what I want eventually. That frustrating game may keep me on my toes until I retire ... well, unless I can't retire because I may still have to do what I don't want to do when I am seventy.
Can't I just do what I love to do and make money while I'm having fun?
No, you can't!
Oh, you mean you love fishing? You turn your passion for dead stinking fish into a business. Then you'll find yourself behind the counter from 9 to 8, selling worms. On the weekends you will be busy catching up with the paper work.
You are an expert on your tacky tackle, but you'll have no time to go fishing with your buddies! That would be paradise, I understand, but I won't let you off the hook so easily. Follow your annoying passion, turn your favorite hobby into a thriving enterprise, and do what you've always wanted. Fine.
Still, it won't be what you love. You will have to file income taxes and meet with accountants. You'll spend time at your attorney's office, and you will be sued. A tiny percentage of your clientele will be so obnoxious and radically insane that it will rob you of your sleep at night and make your beloved business taste like bitterness, at times.
And that's only if you happen to be successful with your kinky entrepreneurial love affair. Should your romance with your vocation turn sour--your trusted business partner disappears in the night with the payroll that you owe your employees tomorrow; or your enterprise never gets off the ground to begin with--it'll be worse, much worse.
I mean it: you cannot do what you love. Neither can I. It doesn't exist. If you think you love something, it'll divorce you eventually in 50% of all cases. And divorce is known to be the opposite of a win-win situation ... well, except in that rare case when a clever girl plays it just right.
You don't want to engage in a lovely business venture that morphs into a clever girl. You don't want a company that is all over you like your most loyal stalker. And if the term 'reason' means anything to you, love and the rest of your emotional baggage must not have a say in your operation.
The stuff you "love" has you by the throat. You don't control love--by its very definition!
Of course you cannot control the market and how well your goods or services will perform financially. But if you lack basic powers to determine strategy and tactics of your venture, you may think you are in business but you aren't.
What about those who love what they do? They lie! For the sake of their children AND for the sake of their businesses, I hope there is a difference between the way they love their brats or their pathetic jobs.
Whether you are employed or self-employed, you are dealing with elements that aren't typically considered resources of pleasure. Take taxes, for instance. Even if you are sick enough and you love paying them, and even if the preparation of your income tax return is more exciting for you than sex, calculating that stuff gobbles up man power. If you have (wo)man hours to spare, good for you but not so good for your business.
In other words, if you "love" to waste your own or your employees' time with activities as unproductive as filing taxes, something must be wired strangely in your noodle. Taxes are just an example. You and I, we could walk through almost any office or manufacturing plant and within twenty minutes, we both could point out a dozen time or efficiency "leaks." Guaranteed.
Whoever runs such incorporated waste basket, she doesn't "love" it. Trust me. Oh, they may very well protect their habitual inconsistencies and flaws, but they don't love monetary leaks. It's easy not to love awful things. Yet the negative is only a minor reason why people don't fare well loving what they do.
Beware of the parts you do love! That is the tricky portion, able to blind you and deceive you. Love is temporary--you fall in love and you fall out of it. Bad enough for a business you happen to love currently, but worse is the fact that love has a similar potential to deprave us as truth does.
Truth and love deprive us of freedom. They shrink our options of choice. If you personally enjoy being a victim of love and of its cruel crimes: fine. But your business and your livelihood must never be at the mercy of this fickle phenomenon 'love!' It's for suckers.
Do what you want to do. Job or your own business, whatever. Most likely, you are already doing what you want to do, because why else are you at it?! Who cares whether you love or hate your job. It's meaningless. What does matter is that you choose what you do.
It does not matter how much you hate part X or how much you love part Y of your daily work. Both love and hatred are just emotional distractions. They are in your way, hindering you to see and decide clearly.
Extract any and every emotional charge or tension from your business. Withdraw your dumb love, cool your anger, deflate anxiety, and muster the discipline to stop worry as well as hope in their counter-productive tracks.
You don't exchange flaming and emotional correspondence with business partners or government agencies. It would be unprofessional and dangerous. Same applies internally. Your job hates to be loved. Your employees--or your superiors and your colleagues--would find it rather creepy if you passionately expressed your undying love for them all day, non?
Boredom and indifference are perfect portals for ecstasy.
Once the residue of emotional attachment to your work has been ground down to zero and you are perfectly numb--emotionally, not mentally!--you are ready for Step No. 2:
Inject ECSTASY into every minute of your (work) day!
The drug? Holy Pigflew, NO! Besides obvious legal issues and a bunch of other possible side effects, consumption of Ecstasy would be too temporary, too unpredictable, too expensive, and it would make you once more dependent. Why did you have to bring that up?!
There is no thing that has excited you in your past. No toy, no activity, no guy/girl you were into, and no sum of dough has "made you" jittery and sped up your pulse. If they did, why did that not continue indefinitely? You started it and you cut it off when you had enough. You are the master of your ecstasy.
Except, you are so damn stingy.
Here you may be as generous as you want and it won't cost you a dime. Whatever happens, whatever you do, whatever people say, whether you are fond of your status quo or not: it doesn't matter. You are ecstatic. Fun-adverse environments won't be frustrating and depressing. Hell no: that's where the joy begins. Negative surroundings are a welcome challenge and the icing on top of this adventure.
Well, if that's what you want, naturally. It may not be prudent to let others see your glossy-eyed ecstasy, especially not at work where the Zombies roam through job hell. But if ecstasy--or any stage leading up to it--is your chosen state of mind, be my guest.
That's crazy? So what. You brought up this stupid love thingy, fraught with passion for work and other cutesy road blocks. This substance, your very own ecstasy applied with a precisely measured dosage, beats your silly puppy love any day.
I love you too,
P.S.: Ordered my damn book yet? Now is the perfect time to do it. Why? Because I said so: 'How to Better Hate Your Job' It'll kick you off your rocking chair!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Hey kiddo, this post is long! You better brew yourself a pot of coffee and retrieve a bag of M&Ms to have a chance of survival. Still, it is only a rough draft. I am scratching the surface of a few issues, ripping open a couple of old wounds perhaps, yet this is not the location nor the time for in depth elaborations.
People will be upset with me, and some peace-loving folks are likely to have violent thoughts. If that happens to be you--live with it, baby: it's a healthy response. I don't have answers and I'm not peddling solutions. I am about to drag questions into the open that stink like a dead roof rat.
If you don't have proper answers, relax, and don't blame me for bringing it up. Dense as I am, I didn't invent this stuff. It's history, unfortunately. For years I've been brooding over these questions. You'll have the privilege to see them first. Here goes:
Lox and cream cheese was on the bagel that I purchased this morning. The store manager asked me about my t-shirt: Fetchez la vache!
It's out of Spamalot, by Eric Idle, a "musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Paul, Einstein's manager, had never heard of Monty Python who, on October 5th, 2009, celebrated the 40th anniversary of their debut on TV when the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus was aired on the BBC. The Gods of comedy conquered the world but Paul hadn't noticed.
It is a heinous crime that gently pampered Gen Y persons grew up oblivious to the existence of Monty Python, but on the grand scale of things it matters not. What does matter is our distorted perspective of history. We have mastered the art of making things invisible and that, unfortunately, is not limited to Monty Python.
Indigestible chunks of history have been repackaged with palatable labels. Why should we let bloody facts get in our way? History is being used like a condom: everybody can stretch it as one sees fit. Well, so can I. Besides, we prefer not to get in touch with the grimy parts history screwed us with. As dirty as history will always be, at least our role during the time in question appears to be impeccable. And that's what counts most.
An example, you ask? Let us choose an easy subject: the damn Holocaust. Who did it?
I have problems believing that. It is likely that Adolf Hitler never killed anybody besides his wife and his dog. Not counting the things that the Gefreite aus Böhmen may have done in the trenches as a soldier during World War I, naturally.
The Nazis did it!
You mean my dad?
He joined the Nazi party to save his scrawny ass and the 800-year-old family farm. Since he was short of workers--they had been recruited to do what Hitler didn't do himself--my father also gained cheap Polish slave laborers with his brilliant decision to become a Nazi. Oh, that makes me realize that my dad was the only slave owner I have known personally. And I knew my father as a man who couldn't hurt a fly. I admit: I loved a slave driver and a Nazi.
Did my dad murder six million Jews?
I don't know.
I used to be afraid that some day I may come across a picture in a random book--of uniformed German creatures executing Jewish families right next to an open mass grave--and recognizing my dad as the one pulling the trigger.
Fortunately I never saw him in such a picture, but that doesn't prove his innocence. Most likely he didn't lie and he was never near such places and activities of horror. But I don't know. I never will.
Our parents and grandparents didn't talk much. The little they did say may not have been true. Hell--I can't blame them, really--what we say about recent history isn't blessed with too many truisms either. We can't even agree on the who-did-what during the last 12 months. Few Germans know what precisely their fathers and mothers were busy with in the 1930s and '40s. What do you know about your parents' time before you were born? Not much? So, there.
Perhaps my father slaughtered 6,000,000 Jews, personally. Or none, and I have felt guilty throughout my entire life for nothing. What if guilt needs no reason to exist? What if the Jews were killed for no reason? What if people, who had no reason to kill the Jews and didn't mean to harm anyone, in fact killed six million Jewish individuals?
The meek did it.
I will tell you what is insane: the NAAF Holocaust Project (slogan: "Never Again, Always and Forever") begins their Time Line in the year 1933: "The seeds of the Holocaust began with the evolution of Adolf Hitler's maniacal dreams based on his interpretation of Germanic history, the quest for the 'Aryan ideal', and a lust for power."
Right. That's how it all went down.
Or did it? See, Jewish folks are just as capable of bullshitting people about history as anybody else.
Am I denying the Shoah (השואה)? Of course not. But heaps of garbage have been written about the Holocaust and what ought to be done to prevent it from reoccurring. I am just adding to the pile. I vehemently deny that "the seeds of the Holocaust began with the evolution of Adolf Hitler's maniacal dreams" in 1933. That is not a historical fact: it's wishful thinking. Countless groups and people benefit from such nonsense, I understand, but a lie it is nevertheless.
"The Jews are a nervous people. Nineteen centuries of Christian love have taken a toll," was Benjamin Disraeli's opinion.
Uh, so the fatal love of Jews did not begin 1933?
"Nazi anti-Judaism was the work of godless, anti-Christian criminals. But it would not have been possible without the almost two thousand years' pre-history of Christian anti-Judaism..." said the German Catholic Theologian Hans Küng.
Sigh. I am happy that I am not the only crazy guy in the room!
I beg to differ with Mr. Küng, as far as the "godless, anti-Christian criminals" are concerned, but I let that slide. A man who was stabbed in the back by his former friend Joseph Ratzinger, currently Pope Benedict XVI, needs a little extra love.
Hitler was a Catholic until his belated death. He didn't leave the church. To my--admittedly limited--knowledge, the Catholic church never excommunicated him and they didn't feel to ban Adolf's book 'Mein Kampf.' The Talmud, however, has been banned (and burned) multiple times, starting in 1190. Anyway, Nazi anti-Judaism was the work of--more or less--Christian criminals.
Also Christians went to concentration camps for their faith and died--individuals like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for instance--yet Christian churches did nothing to protect their flock. They were too busy building alliances with the powers in charge. The Protestant and the Catholic churches did what they have always done: maintain and gain power, in that order.
The fate of an individual--or of a few million individuals here and there--was of little concern. After signing the Reichskonkordat--a treaty between the Pope and Nazi Germany--on July 20th, 1933, Cardinal Pacelli told an English representative that the Holy See had only entered the agreement to preserve the Catholic Church in Germany. As I said, maintaining power was objective Numero Uno.
Yeah, but at that time the church couldn't know what Hitler was up to?
On April 10th, 1933, less than three weeks after Hitler assumed power, Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber wrote to Cardinal Pacelli--who would later become Pope Pius XII--advising that defending the Jews would be wrong “because that would transform the attack on the Jews into an attack on the Church; and because the Jews are able to look after themselves.”
Hitler met the representative of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Wilhelm Berning of Osnabrück, on April 26, about three months before the Vatican jumped into bed with Adolf H. At that meeting, Hitler declared:
“I have been attacked because of my handling of the Jewish question. The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc., because it recognized the Jews for what they were. In the epoch of liberalism the danger was no longer recognized. I am moving back toward the time in which a fifteen-hundred-year-long tradition was implemented. I do not set race over religion, but I recognize the representatives of this race as pestilent for the state and for the Church, and perhaps I am thereby doing Christianity a great service by pushing them out of schools and public functions.”
How did Bishop Berning respond, you ask? Not at all, according to the notes.
That kinda shows that the 'NAAF Holocaust Project' is a bit off by inventing that Hitler's maniacal dreams started anything, eh? Hitler, the maniac, picked up maniacal Catholic ideas and the Catholic church didn't object. Much worse, the concordat gave Hitler and his crew power and confidence he didn't have before. Cardinal Weasel Faulhaber again, in a sermon delivered in 1937:
"At a time when the heads of the major nations in the world faced the new Germany with cool reserve and considerable suspicion, the Catholic Church, the greatest moral power on earth, through the Concordat expressed its confidence in the new German government. This was a deed of immeasurable significance for the reputation of the new government abroad."
Hans Küng is correct, criminals committed the actual murder of Jews, Gypsies, gays (the NAAF doesn't bother to mention gay people), the handicapped, and others. But "anti-Christian criminals?" Not so much. Christianity was a material witness to each and every single crime Nazi Germany committed against human beings since Hitler piped up in 1933.
Imagine the Pope had threatened every Catholic member of the NSDAP (Nazi party) with instant excommunication. Could that have altered the course of history? Alas, it is a futile idea.
I am not defending Hitler. On the contrary, he was 100% responsible but that does not relieve anybody else of their responsibility. Whoever names Hitler as the main perpetrator of the Holocaust has one purpose only: to get their own arses out of this mess while looking sufficiently innocent.
Take the German government, for example. They won't permit 'Mein Kampf' to be read by Germans. They believe their subjects are weak and easily corruptible. That book is so evil that it will magically overpower the fragile little minds of German citizens and make them do more things they will regret. You can't legally display a swastika in Germany. If you do, the dumb and intrinsically genocidal Germans will erect gas chambers, start killing innocent people, and eat babies immediately.
Emotional development at Kindergarten level, incapable to evolve. That's what Germans think and expect of each other. At least, the pitiful behavior of their government suggests that. Their degenerate idea of 'freedom of speech'--the step from 'Entarteter Kunst' ('Degenerate Art') to 'Degenerate Freedom' is a small one--reflects this self-imposed damnation to eternal adolescence. I have never been proud to be a German and sadly, today it is as difficult as ever.
If you have ever cracked open a copy of Adolf's hideous double-tome, you know that it is not humanly possible to read it. It's unbelievably poorly written (even worse than this blog). Yet, it is worthy of jail time. In a country that practically legalized murder, temporarily, it is now a crime to sell the worst conceivable text document.
As I said, free speech was not invented in Germany. No trace of the "master race" here: Germans are reckless and cowardly, simultaneously. Reckless, because they appear to have little qualms about limiting freedom. Cowardly, as they are scared of a single book.
These people are superstitious and paranoid, you say? Haunted by a book and a symbol? Not at all. They accuse scribbled ink, a horrendous book, and a dead guy as a maneuver to distract you from history and reality. We can't let history get in the way of saying what we want you to believe.
Not unlike the Jewish organization NAAF, Germans believe that the Holocaust came and went within a dozen years. Keeps the rest of history unsoiled and somewhat shiny.
See, I was born in 1953 after the war ended. Not guilty. Same is true for the Catholic and the Lutheran Protestant churches: the damn Germans did it but not the Christians. Not guilty! Cardinal Pacelli alias Pope Pius XII? Not guilty. France, Austria, and Switzerland (the neutered one)? Not guilty. Everybody loves the 'Holocaust Lite' cliche: from 1933 - 1945, the Nazis did bad things in Germany. Let's shrink the truth a bit and exercise damage control.
Indeed, the Nazis committed unspeakable crimes. That verbiage includes my dad, doesn't it? True or not, storing history as a thumbnail image in our memory won't improve our past or our future.
So far, so good. Let's throw some decent 'hatred' into the borshtsh, and intolerance. Shall we? Antisemitism, intolerance, and hatred are the crappiest myths blamed for igniting the Holocaust.
What a harebrained idea! We just have to teach tolerance, love, and forbid our kids to hate. Bingo! No holocaust will ever happen again. Life will be beautiful and peaceful ever after. Utter idiocy, reckless and ruthless rubbish.
C'mon, are we that ignorant?! I know, I am not making many friends here. Martin Luther, Voltaire, the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Richard Wagner, Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh--all of these guys were guilty of antisemitism but as far as I know they didn't kill or maim people.
Admittedly, I can't stand antisemitic talk. When I hear it, I usually ridicule that human spittoon of a speaker before I withdraw my attention and walk away. Antisemitism is rather boring than dangerous, and often it sounds like Richard Dawkins waxing sentimental over atheism and frothing about religion. Hoo, how scary!
Especially because I grew up in an environment recovering from controlled thought and speech, I gladly fight for an individual's freedom to make an ass of herself. Others' rights to say what they want match my right to see and hear clearly who they are. I have an interest in people feeling free to appear as nutty as they are. The freedom to express antisemitism has the power to save lives.
Say wha...? Honestly, aren't you grateful that Mahmud Ahmadineshad, the little piss-twerp, can say what he wants, enabling Israel and the rest of us to contemplate countermeasures?
Antisemites have murdered Jews, sure, and antisemitic individuals in general are as guilty of the Holocaust as I am, but antisemitism per se has never killed anybody. It's a word, a concept, and as such antisemitism is as innocent as the swastika, a dozen Mohammad cartoons, or Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses.'
Wanna hate me? Go ahead, hate me!
Apropos 'hatred:' some people have hated me my entire life. So? Supports my vanity. I hate stuff as well. I hate the frowning nannies of the world who eagerly suffocate individualism and free markets. I hate dorks who lack the slightest sense of humor. And I hate celery sticks.
Does it matter that and what I hate? Of course not. Hatred is an integral part of our emotional spectrum, and it is childish to believe that you could teach people to unlearn it. Good luck training your brats to never be sad.
Teaching others that hatred killed the Jews is risky business, and potentially deadly: it implies that those who didn't hate the Jews were innocent, and that those who don't hate today will look forward to an innocent future. There is depravity in hating hatred. Obvious, isn't it?
You mean we just love everybody, evoke peace, and nobody gets hurt? Few things are as reprehensible as the self-righteousness of love and peace loving saints. What arrogance to assume that voyeurs of mass murder are innocent!
"I don't hate anybody. So I couldn't have done it." Sounds like the kid with the soccer ball under his arm, standing next to the shattered window, proclaiming, "I didn't do it!"
"All honest men killed Ceasar ... some lacked the design, some courage, some opportunity: none lacked the will," said Mr. Cicero. Even the Germans who "lacked the will," even those who desired for all Jews to live, flourish, and prosper, and even people who died before 1933 or were born after 1945--how innocent are we? Very? A little? Not at all?
I would be surprised if the average school teacher who shows his pupils grisly Holocaust pictures and drills them, "Thou shalt not hate," had the spine to defend the same kids with his life from the threats of SS men. He would have to hate, and he'd have to be willing to kill and die to save lives. Choosing to stay innocent can kill the innocent.
More innocent Germans than guilty ones murdered the Jews.
What about 'tolerance?' Moses Mendelssohn wrote: "Such a tolerance ... is even more dangerous play in tolerance than open persecution."
Don't tolerate me! Tolerance is a well-measured slap in the face of those we neither love nor respect. Tolerance insults the human being who endures it! Hate me if you can't love me, but don't you dare to insult me with your stinking tolerance. We tolerate a horse fly on the wall until we have nothing better to do than to finally get the fly swatter. I tolerate nobody and trust me, it's better for you.
Goodness, the pious impertinence hidden in the term 'tolerance' is intolerable. In case you are looking for evil words you can readily indict as murderous, try 'indifference' and 'tolerance.' Your and my tolerance kills people every damn day in North Korea. Sanctimonious preachers and teachers of tolerance are wolves in sheep's clothing. They don't promote peace. They only peddle THEIR peace--brutally and selfishly--and they don't care how many people's lives that costs.
Tolerant, peaceful Germans committed the Holocaust.
You mean, like my dad?
We're getting ahead of ourselves. Back to the reasons for the 'Holocaust Lite' cliche. Why do we favor historically distorted thumbnail pictures over a broader image that comes closer to the truth? We mentioned that Germans like to keep their dirt limited to the years 1933 - 45. The French liked to see it all as a German issue. For 40 years, they were only "victims too."
Until 1995, when Jacques Chirac "was able to admit that the state bore a heavy share of responsibility in the mass round-ups and deportations of Jews, as well as in the property and asset seizures that were carried out with the active help of the Vichy regime."
Oops, the French are capable and guilty of mass murder? No really? Who would have thought?! For the past 60 years the French pussies should have looked almost as ugly as my father, and they should have been treated with similar suspicion. Non?
"The state," dear Mr. Chirac, the "Vichy regime?" True, but wouldn't you surmise that people, flesh-and-blood individuals, were a bit involved as well? I am afraid 'responsibility' will remain the most slippery word in any language, used as sloppily as we can get away with. We just can't handle responsibility, neither individually nor collectively.
What if only those were "innocent" who haven't been accused and who haven't admitted their active or passive participation yet? How about the Jewish people? What's their interest in the hit-me-over-the-head-with-a-2x4 school teacher's version? Simple. They don't want to look like the French.
No seriously, if we didn't define the Holocaust as a temporary German problem, the Jewish people were forced to accuse everybody. Yep, pretty much everybody! Check out the time line at the end of my sermon and you'll get the picture.
And going after every antisemitic evidence that has reared its ugly head during the past 1,000 years plus is not as efficient as the sharp focus on 1,000 evil Germans ... well, and those who offered a helping hand:
"Historians estimate the number of non-German "killing workers" (a term coined by German writer Ralph Giordano) at about 200,000. There is probably no other group of criminals that has proven more difficult to prosecute than the Nazis' non-German helpers and accomplices." --ABC News
An Israeli friend of mine--she escaped Germany in the 1930s--told me how stunned she has been throughout her life about the fact that a handful of German SS peeps (imagine Motor Vehicle Division employees with rifles) were able to control a transport of over a thousand Jews. Every single time!
Because German Jewish victims were made of the same stock as their executioners: they were first and foremost like German Shepherds, born and raised to swallow orders for breakfast, used to bark or be barked at, to patiently stand in line until they reached either the cash register or the gas chamber.
Damn me, but six million Jews let it happen as tens of millions of passive, spineless and peaceful German citizens allowed it to happen. People died because of their worthless hope. Jews hoped to save their lives by cooperating with their butchers. Germans hoped to save their worthless hides by shutting up. In the name of peace. "Let's not rock the boat, Hans-Ludwig, and think of the children!"
The 'Holocaust Lite' versions of history have made millions of people in Europe feel good about themselves, and not just the French. Survivors and the children of the victims have found an agreement with the ex-perps (my dad) and their brood (me). Let's clip the story down to 12 handy German years. Done. Never again ...
Result: in the U.S. I can hardly find a person who doesn't believe that the eerie horror of the Third Reich was synonymous with the Holocaust. Hitler = Holocaust. There it is. Artificially and officially, the Holocaust has become the most important event of the 20th century.
That is just too silly. The millennium-old German and European sentiment against the Jewish people was a welcome vehicle to unify dull masses, a driving force to get the train out of the station toward world dominance. But the Holocaust was only a milestone for these clowns, and certainly not the destination.
Oh dear, I do not intend to discount the suffering or make light of the death of millions of Jewish people. Not at all. But the Holocaust is simply not the only reason why the Third Reich was a time of horror. The Holocaust was a sideshow. Neither were Hitler and his creeps the only ones spilling blood by the barrel. Stalin murdered nearly 30 million of his own people, and chairman Mao? 'The Australian' prints:
"For if the Chinese Communist Party deserved only a single entry in the testimony of history, it would be this: starting in the northern spring of 1959, China's leadership willfully enabled the deaths of about 36 million of its citizens, and then watched as they suffered, expired and even consumed each other's flesh. Neither Stalin nor Hitler, nor any of the other protagonists in either of the 20th century's world wars, could match this scale of political and humanitarian nihilism."
Yeah, but that's only 36 million people and not 6,000,000 and besides, the 36 million were Mao's own people. The question arises whether 6 dead Chinese persons can measure up to one dea... good God! We shall not go there! Anyway, I believe the number that's mentioned in this article by 'The Australian' is quite conservative and the victims of the Chinese Communist Party amounts to approximately 60 million individuals who perished thanks to their own fine government.
Please help me here:
We are desperately trying to prevent future slaughter of people, but we don't really care when governments torture and execute their own subjects? Women get stoned to death in Afghanistan, limbs get cut off in Saudi Arabia, gays are being hung in Iran, the Tutsi kill 100,000 Hutu (1972 in Burundi), or the Hutu chop up 800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi (Rwanda, 1994)? Does that matter? Sad and it shouldn't happen, but that stuff takes place in sovereign countries and as long as those countries don't threaten America, all we can do is shrug and order another Coors Lite?
Uh, except when a Canadian or U.S. citizen gets herself into trouble in Iran. Then the media smell a window of opportunity to sell some copy with a sentimental crap piece. But we don't care what governments do with their subjects. That's Amnesty International's turf.
Germans, citizens of the former 'Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' (USSR), and Chinese folks combined murdered approximately 100 million individuals within their own countries. I am not even counting fallen soldiers. When school teachers prattle on about Holocaust prevention, do they also make suggestions how to stop the Che Guevaras, Castros, Ahmadineshads, Kim Jong-Ils, and Pol Pots (responsible for killing 25% of Cambodia's population; "What is rotten must be removed," a Khmer Rouge slogan proclaimed.)?
By teaching love instead of hatred, and tolerance, I presume? Yeah, Hitler was an evil murderer while Che was a good murderer, and school kids proudly wear his picture on their t-shirts once again. A Mao shirt is cool, a Hitler shirt is not. Please tell me, why?
Uh, the Jews were not killed by their own government! They were killed by ze bloodsirsty Chermans? That's the only difference between murdered Jews and dead Chinese, Russians, Poles, Greeks, etc. and ... yes, Germans?
Jewish people were German citizens as well, and therefore exterminated by their own government, like everybody else. Don't start splitting hairs, and tell me that the Polish Jews and the French Jews weren't German. Even I know that. Still, they were delivered to their death by their own governmental authorities.
It was a race thing? One race eliminated another? Good Lord, talking about race differences is definitely musty fascist Nazi nonsense: there happens to be one human race, only. One. The German Jews were killed by their own, by Germans. By folks like my dad ... except, that he didn't do it. But that's what they all said.
You can't poke fun at the Holocaust. I understand. That's highly inappropriate! No other matter in the history of humankind was that serious. It's like an ongoing funeral: the responses that are permitted are practically ritualized and pre-labeled by authorities. German and Austrian governments have laws about what can or cannot be said.
A demon we aren't allowed to laugh at: during Nazi times, Germans were not permitted to say the wrong thing. Today, nobody has the permission to say the wrong thing. My parents didn't talk about the Holocaust. Children of Holocaust survivors have told me that their parents never talked about the Holocaust either. And you and I are not authorized to have a unique opinion today.
If you want to know what you can say, you must ask the Simon Wiesenthal Center. And then they'll tell you how to prevent the deaths of the next 6 million Jews, but not the tragic demise of the next 94 million human beings? Bumbling idiots!
If we can't talk freely, we are doomed to bury the truth with the dead. We need to be able to talk. People must have the freedom to say the wrong things about the Holocaust and about everything else!
Suffocating the "wrong words" today is equally dangerous as it was to lock dissenters into concentration camps. Several European governments are preparing laws to criminalize the insult of another person's religion. Hitler would jump up and down with delight and offer his blessings.
As far as freedom and individualism are concerned, we are still savages. And no, tattooing Chinese characters on your arse or wearing your baseball cap backward does not prove that you are an individual. Polite and politically correct, the "peaceful" avoidance of trouble and tension confirms the status quo of lurking danger.
Instead of speaking out in favor of our individual choices, we turn into eunuchs. We do everything necessary to keep things the way they are. We abstain from rocking the boat. Freedom of speech is wasted on us. For safety's sake we hold down jobs that dictate what we can't say or do. Set free, we immediately seek the shelter of slavery.
Kids in the sandlot should learn that antisemitism is a bad thing. Fine. They should learn to differentiate between the emotion of hatred and the consequences of acting on their hatred. But for you and me, there is something else to be considered:
We must think, speak, act, and laugh freely. As long as it doesn't hurt another person, we must take our freedom that nobody can give us, and expand it daily. There is no freedom unless we give ourselves permission to say and do thousands of wrong things before we'll find what's right and what works.
If we are not free we don't care about other people's freedom, as the employed don't care about the problems of employers. To my ears, the sound of a union member shouting: "Tax the rich!" is painfully similar to a Nazi screaming: "Kill the Jews!" The outcome may be different but the emotion behind both is the same.
Your daring entrepreneurial endeavors inspire and support other entrepreneurs. Your courage to stand up for capitalism provides an environment for others who enjoy making money also. Your freedom to say what you want to say--especially controversial and provocative things--is the best protection for other individuals who differ in their opinion.
The utter lack of Chutzpah caused the Holocaust. Wanna prevent the next one? Forget tolerance.
P.S: I still love my dad!
P.P.S.: Here's how the Holocaust began. Once upon a time, more than a thousand years ago ... (Source: http://www.religioustolerance.org/ )
70: The Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem, killed over 1 million Jews, took about 100,000 into slavery and captivity, and scattered many from Palestine to other locations in the Roman Empire.
135: Serious Roman persecution of the Jews began. They were forbidden, upon pain of death, from practicing circumcision, reading the Torah, eating unleavened bread at Passover, etc.
306: The church Synod of Elvira banned marriages, sexual intercourse and community contacts between Christians and Jews.
325: The Council of Nicea decided to separate the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover. They stated: "For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people...We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews...our worship follows a...more convenient course...we desire dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews.
337: Christian Emperor Constantius created a law which made the marriage of a Jewish man to a Christian punishable by death.
339: Converting to Judaism became a criminal offense.
367 - 376: St. Hilary of Poitiers referred to Jews as a perverse people who God has cursed forever. St. Ephroem refers to synagogues as brothels.
379-395: Emperor Theodosius the Great permitted the destruction of synagogues if it served a religious purpose. Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire at this time.
380: The bishop of Milan was responsible for the burning of a synagogue; he referred to it as "an act pleasing to God."
415: St. Augustine wrote "The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus."
418: St. Jerome, who created the Vulgate translation of the Bible wrote of a synagogue: "If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil's refuge, Satan's fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever you will, you are still saying less than it deserves."
489 - 519: Christian mobs destroyed the synagogues in Antioch, Daphne (near Antioch) and Ravenna.
612: Jews were not allowed to own land, to be farmers or enter certain trades.
613: Very serious persecution began in Spain. Jews were given the options of either leaving Spain or converting to Christianity. Jewish children over 6 years of age were taken from their parents and given a Christian education.
722: Leo III outlawed Judaism. Jews were baptized against their will.
855: Jews were exiled from Italy.
1078: "Pope Gregory VII decreed that Jews could not hold office or be superiors to Christians."
1096: The First Crusade was launched in this year. Although the prime goal of the crusades was to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, Jews were a second target. As the soldiers passed through Europe on the way to the Holy Land, large numbers of Jews were challenged: "Christ-killers, embrace the Cross or die!" 12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley alone were killed in the first Crusade. This behavior continued for 8 additional crusades until the 9th in 1272.
1099: The Crusaders forced all of the Jews of Jerusalem into a central synagogue and set it on fire. Those who tried to escape were forced back into the burning building.
1121: Jews were exiled from Flanders (now part of present-day Belgium).
1146: The Second Crusade began. A French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews.
1180: The French King of France, Philip Augustus, arbitrarily seized all Jewish property and expelled the Jews from the country. There was no legal justification for this action. They were allowed to sell all movable possessions, but their land and houses were stolen by the king.
1189: Jews were persecuted in England. The Crown claimed all Jewish possessions. Most of their houses were burned.
1227: The Synod of Narbonne required Jews to wear an oval badge. This requirement was reinstalled during the 1930's by Hitler, who changed the oval badge to a Star of David.
1236: Pope Gregory ordered that church leaders in England, France, Portugal and Spain confiscate Jewish books on the first Saturday of Lent.
1259: A "synod of the archdiocese in Mainz ordered Jews to wear yellow badges."
1261: Duke Henry III of Brabant, Belgium, stated in his will that "Jews...must be expelled from Brabant and totally annihilated so that not a single one remains, except those who are willing to trade, like all other tradesmen, without money-lending and usury."
1267: The Synod of Vienna ordered Jews to wear horned hats. Thomas Aquinas said that Jews should live in perpetual servitude.
1290: Jews are exiled from England. About 16,000 left the country.
1298: Jews were persecuted in Austria, Bavaria and Franconia. 140 Jewish communities were destroyed; more than 100,000 Jews were killed over a 6 month period.
1306: 100,000 Jews are exiled from France. They left with only the clothes on their backs, and food for only one day.
1320: 40,000 French shepherds went to Palestine on the Shepherd Crusade. On the way, 140 Jewish communities were destroyed.
1321: In Guienne, France, Jews were accused of having incited criminals to poison wells. 5,000 Jews were burned alive, at the stake.
1347 +: The Black Death: Rats initially carried the Black Death; their fleas spread the disease from the rats to humans. As the plague worsened, the germs spread from human to human. In five years, the death toll had reached 25 million. In England, two centuries passed before its population levels recovered from the plague. People searched for someone to blame. They noted that a smaller percentage of Jews than Christians caught the disease. This was undoubtedly due to the Jewish sanitary and dietary laws. Rumors circulated that Satan was protecting the Jews and that they were paying back the Devil by poisoning wells used by Christians. The solution was to torture, murder and burn the Jews. "In Bavaria...12,000 Jews...perished; in the small town of Erfurt...3,000; near Tours, an immense trench was dug, filled with blazing wood and in a single day 160 Jews were burned." In Strausberg 2,000 Jews were burned. In Maintz 6,000 were killed...; in Worms 400..."
1354: 12,000 Jews were executed in Toledo.
1374: An epidemic of possession broke out in the lower Rhine region of what is now Germany. People were seen "dancing, jumping and [engaging in] wild raving." The epidemic spread throughout the Rhine and in much of the Netherlands and Germany. Crowds of 500 or more dancers would be overcome together. Finally, the rumor spread that God was angry because Christians had been excessively tolerant towards the Jews. Jews "were plundered, tortured and murdered by tens of thousands."
1391: Jewish persecutions begin in Seville and in 70 other Jewish communities throughout Spain.
1394 : Jews were exiled, for the second time, from France.
1431 +: The Council of Basel "forbade Jews to go to universities, prohibited them from acting as agents in the conclusion of contracts between Christians, and required that they attend church sermons."
1434: "Jewish men in Augsburg had to sew yellow buttons to their clothes. Across Europe, Jews were forced to wear a long undergarment, an overcoat with a yellow patch, bells and tall pointed yellow hats with a large button on them.
1453 : The Franciscan monk, Capistrano, persuaded the King of Poland to terminate all Jewish civil rights.
1492 : Jews were given the choice of being baptized as Christians or be banished from Spain. 300,000 left Spain penniless. Many migrated to Turkey, where they found tolerance among the Muslims. Others converted to Christianity but often continued to practice Judaism in secret.
1497: Jews were banished from Portugal. 20 thousand left the country rather than be baptized as Christians.
1516: The Governor of the Republic of Venice decided that Jews would be permitted to live only in one area of the city. It was located in the South Girolamo parish and was called the "Ghetto Novo." This was the first ghetto in Europe. Hitler made use of the concept in the 1930's.
1523: Martin Luther distributed his essay "That Jesus Was Born a Jew. " He hoped that large numbers of Jews would convert to Christianity. They didn't, and he began to write and preach hatred against them. Luther has been condemned in recent years for being extremely antisemitic. The charge has some merit; however he was probably typical of most Christians during his era.
1540: Jews were exiled from Naples.
1543: Martin Luther wrote "On the Jews and their lies, On Shem Hamphoras" : "...eject them forever from this country. For, as we have heard, God's anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!...What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews? And then, after suggesting to set their their synagogues on fire, to destroy their homes, and to forbid their rabbis under the threat of death to teach, Luther continues: "To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable devilish burden - the Jews."
1550: Jews were exiled from Genoa and Venice.
1555: A Roman Catholic Papal bull, "Cum nimis absurdum," required Jews to wear badges, and live in ghettos. They were not allowed to own property outside the ghetto. Living conditions were dreadful: over 3,000 people were forced to live in about 8 acres of land. Women had to wear a yellow veil or scarf; men had to wear a piece of yellow cloth on their hat.
1582: Jews were expelled from Holland.
1648-9: Chmielnicki Bogdan led an uprising against Polish rule in the Ukraine. The secondary goal of Bogdan and his followers was to exterminate all Jews in the country. The massacre began with the slaughter of about 6,000 Jews in Nemirov. Other major mass murders occurred in Tulchin, Polonnoye, Volhynia, Bar, Lvov, etc. Jewish records estimate that a total of 100,000 Jews were murdered and 300 communities destroyed.
1806: A French Jesuit Priest, Abbe Barruel, had written a treatise blaming the Masonic Order for the French Revolution. He later issued a letter alleging that Jews, not the Masons were the guilty party. This triggered a belief in an international Jewish conspiracy in Germany, Poland and some other European countries later in the 19th century.
1819: During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many European Jews lobbied their governments for emancipation. They sought citizenship as well as the same rights and treatment as were enjoyed by non-Jews. This appears to have provoked sporadic anti-semites to engage in anti-Jewish violence. Jews and their property were attacked first in Wuerzburg, Germany. The rioting spread across Germany and eventually reached as far as Denmark and Poland.
1846 - 1878: Pope Pius IX restored all of the previous restrictions against the Jews within the Vatican state. All Jews under Papal control were confined to Rome's ghetto - the last one in Europe until the Nazi era restored the church's practice. On September 3rd, 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Pius IX; this is the last step before sainthood. He explained: "Beatifying a son of the church does not celebrate particular historic choices that he has made, but rather points him out for imitation and for veneration for his virtue."
1873: The term "antisemitism" is first used in a pamphlet by Wilhelm Marr called "Jewry's Victory over Teutonism."
1881: Alexander II of Russia was assassinated by radicals. The Jews were blamed. About 200 individual pogroms against the Jews followed. ("Pogrom" is a Russian word meaning "devastation" or "riot." In Russia, a pogrom was typically a mob riot against Jewish individuals, shops, homes or businesses. They were often supported and even organized by the government.) Thousands of Jews became homeless and impoverished.
1893: "...anti-Semitic parties won sixteen seats in the German Reichstag."
1894: Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an officer on the French general staff, was convicted of treason. The evidence against him consisted of a piece of paper from his wastebasket with another person's handwriting, and papers forged by antisemitic officers. He received a life sentence on Devil's Island, off the coast of South America. The French government was aware that a Major Esterhazy was actually guilty. 3 The church, government and army united to suppress the truth. Writer Emile Zola and politician Jean Jaur? fought for justice and human rights. After 10 years, the French government fell and Drefus was declared totally innocent.
1905: The Okhrana, the Russian secret police in the reign of Czar Nicholas II, converted an earlier antisemitic novel into a document called the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion." It was published privately in 1897. A Russian Orthodox priest, Sergius Nilus, published them publicly in 1905. It was promoted as the record of "secret rabbinical conferences whose aim was to subjugate and exterminate the Christians." The Protocols were used by the Okhrana in a propaganda campaign that was associated with massacres of the Jews. These were the Czarist Pogroms of 1905.
1915: 600,000 Jews were forcibly moved from the western borders of Russia towards the interior. About 100,000 died of exposure or starvation.
1917: "In the civil war following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the reactionary White Armies made extensive use of the Protocols to incite widespread slaughters of Jews." 5 Two hundred thousand Jews were murdered in the Ukraine alone.
1920: The Protocols reach England and the United States. They are exposed as a forgery, but are widely circulated. Henry Ford sponsored a study of international activities of Jews. This led to a series of antisemitic articles in the Dearborn Independent, which were published in a book, "The International Jew." The Protocols were sold on Wal-Mart's online bookstore until they were removed on September 24th, 2004.
1920: The defeat of Germany in World War I and the continuing economic difficulties were blamed in that country on the "Jewish influence."
1920's, 1930's: Hitler had published in Mein Kampf in 1925, writing: "Today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." The Protocols are used by the Nazis to whip up public hatred of the Jews in the 1930's. Widespread pogroms occur in Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Rumania, and the USSR. Radio programs by many conservative American clergy, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, frequently attacked Jews. Reverend Fr. Charles E Coughlin was one of the best known. "In the 1930's, radio audiences heard him rail against the threat of Jews to America's economy and defend Hitler's treatment of Jews as justified in the fight against communism."
1936: Cardinal Hloud of Poland urged Catholics to boycott Jewish businesses.
1940: The Vichy government of France collaborated with Nazi Germany by freezing about 80,000 Jewish bank accounts. During the next four years, they deported about 76,000 Jews to Nazi death camps; only about 2,500 survived. It was only in 1995 that a French president, Jacques Chirac, "was able to admit that the state bore a heavy share of responsibility in the mass round-ups and deportations of Jews, as well as in the property and asset seizures that were carried out with the active help of the Vichy regime."
1941: The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC estimates that 13,000 Jews died on June 19th, 1941 during a pogrom in Bucharest, Romania. It was ordered by the pro-Nazi Romanian regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu. The current government has admitted that this atrocity happened, but most Romanians continue to deny that the Jews were killed on orders from their own government.
1941: Polish citizens in Jedwabne in northeastern Poland killed hundreds of Jews, by either beating them to death or burning them alive in a barn. According to the Associated Press: "The role played by Polish citizens was suppressed for nearly six decades until publication of a book by a Polish emigre historian, Jan Tomasz Gross. After release of the book in 2000, the Polish government launched an investigation. 'The role of the Poles was decisive in conducting the criminal act,' [prosecutor Radoslaw] Ignatiew, said. The book, 'Neighbours,' sparked national soul-searching among Poles, many of whom could not believe that anybody but the Nazis would have committed the atrocity."
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
peace by piece
I posted "Like health and mental health--they cannot be defined--peace will never exist. I'll go as far as calling peace inhumane." Followed up with "Peace activists didn't end the Holocaust and other nightmares. Soldiers did. War is awful indeed. However, peace can be worse."
That helped. It doesn't matter how open-minded individuals believe they are. When you tickle a holy nipple of a holy udder of somebody's holy cow, you are dog meat! The peace peeps won't hesitate for a second: they'll kill you instantly by unfollowing.
Nobody is open-minded! Being open-minded is a myth of the smug crowd and so is the belief in peace on Earth. John Lennon, for instance, lured us into this type of self-deception: "Imagine all the people living life in peace ... I hope some day you'll join us and the world will be as one."
Right. You know what that means, don't you? Fascism. When you join us and decide to think like me, someday, there'll be peace. No kidding. Other people are the problem in the world. It's not me, and once they're all like me we'll have heaven on Earth and peace forever. We, the peace-loving hypocrites, are better than everybody else.
"Lennon's jealousy could manifest itself in violent behavior towards [Cynthia Powell, John's first wife], as when he slapped her across the face (hitting her head against the wall) the day after he saw her dancing with Stuart Sutcliffe." During their divorce, Lennon refused to give his wife any more than £75,000, telling her on the phone, "That's like winning the pools, so what are you moaning about? You're not worth any more." Also, [John] reportedly donated money to the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party. For entirely peaceful purposes, I am sure.
"Shortly afterwards, at McCartney's twenty-first birthday party on 18 June 1963, Lennon physically attacked Cavern Club MC Bob Wooler for saying "How was your honeymoon, John?". To Lennon, drunk, the matter was simple: "He called me a queer so I battered his bloody ribs in"."
I wholeheartedly agree: if the world population could just be like John Lennon, there would be peace. Not the kind of peace I'd imagine, though.
Don't get me wrong. I love peace. When I was eighteen the German army, die Bundeswehr, wanted me badly and, since I had no intention to learn how to kill people, I became a conscientious objector. My family was not proud of my decision and I lost friends over it. My love for peace caused war with some of those near me.
Jump with me to Afghanistan. During last week's election, the Taliban threatened Afghan voters to cut their inked voting fingers off. That's the kind of peace you will permit--and you'll have to live and sleep with--if you are opposed to the presence of U.S. and Nato troops in Afghanistan. And we are not even talking about the "peace" that women will have to endure under Taliban terror.
Malaysia: A Malaysian Muslim woman who had been sentenced to be caned for drinking beer in a hotel has been granted a reprieve until after Ramadan, religious official have said. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, will be beaten publicly after Ramadan. How merciful.
A clear sign that there is peace in Malaysia. John Lennon knew that already: if you slap a woman, there will be peace. Am I so utterly wrong with my statement that peace can be inhumane?
Was it wrong for U.S. soldiers to free the damn Germans from themselves? Had the allies remained in their countries, peacefully holding their dicks instead of evil guns, would that have meant peace for Jews and Germans, Russians, Poles, Scandinavia, and the French? Of course there was peace in concentration camps. Right? And order, too.
You, today, would you leave it alone because those dorks peacefully butchering each other means no immediate threat to you?
"Oh, I love people." Do you really? How much?
Had soldiers not ended the Nazi nightmare, my parents would not have married and I would not have been born. Third Reich type peace would have prevented my existence and you'd have been spared my diatribes.
Peace can be an attempt on people's lives. Peace murders and maims people. In 1994, U.N. peace troops withdrew from Rwanda to allow the Hutus to chop up approximately 800,000 Tutsis. Our cruel idea of peace is directly responsible for the most ghastly genocide in recent history.
Peace-no-matter-what may quickly turn into unspeakable horror, disregarding human life, freedom, and dignity. Refusing to blindly believe in peace as the be all and end all has nothing to do with warmongering.
Peace can take everything away from you that you may expect to gain from it--yep, including peace.
I promote happiness, happiness of the individual. But see: life is messy and if I am not too mistaken life will always be some sort of a mess, individually and collectively. We can't wait until everything is neatly sorted out before our "real life" may begin. Life has begun and happiness can only be had today, in the middle and the muddle of the mess.
I prefer today's murky happiness over tomorrow's seemingly ideal imagination. I hate war, but I cannot trust peace. Our childish dreams yearn for ideal circumstances. Sounds almost as boring as heaven, with all your hunchbacked toothless relatives sitting on a cloud barking one 'Hallelujah' after the other.
"Why are you so negative and cynical?"
I am? Wrong! Nothing is as adventurous and fun as reality. Add lust, risk, and freedom. Authentic individuality and freedom can't afford peace. Once again: no, war is not the alternative to peace, but war can't be excluded. War is a part of the human condition.
Forget war for now. Question is how well can you handle tension? Opposition? Disagreement? Forget peace. Enjoy tension! Explore it, exploit tension, and be ecstatic about your messy life just the way it presents itself today.
P.S.: Buy my book 'How to Better Hate Your Job.'