[lit-ideas] Re: Aren't you glad you no longer have a Hitler problem?

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2006 08:06:11 -0700

According to Kershaw, Hitler was telling the Germans what they wanted to
hear. Kershaw writes, "By the time he was levered into power, the
'redemptive' politics which Hitler preached - the overturning of the defeat
and revolution of 1918 at their heart - had won the support of over 13
million Germans, among them an active base of well over a million members of
the various branches of the Nazi Movement.  Hitler embodied their
expectations of national salvation.  The pseudo-religious strains of the
cult built up around him - in an era when popular piety was still strong -
had been able to portray him as a secular 'redeemer'.  A lost war, national
humiliation, profound economic and social misery, lack of faith in
democratic institutions and politicians , and readiness to look to a 'strong
man' able to overcome through force the apparently insurmountable acute
political chasms prevailing in a comprehensive state crisis, had all
contributed to drawing large sections of the masses towards seductive
slogans of national salvations."


Charles Taylor in his taking up one philosopher after another that deals in
any way with "the self" shows how beliefs ponderously move from one idea to
another.  The original Deists were Theists.  They believed in God and yet
those following the Deists used some of their arguments to support
non-belief in God.  Spinoza was once a renegade and Hume was once quoted as
saying there were no other atheists, but the climate of opinion has changed
and Spinoza and Hume are seen as representing the truth.  So today it is
easier to be an atheist than a Christian in Europe, and it is getting that
way in the U.S. as well.  There is a global warming and it seems we can do
nothing about it but go along.  


So rather than imagine whether we would be among those who tried to
assassinate Hitler (and were the assassins not primarily generals who
thought Hitler had messed up the conduct of the war?), think of bucking the
German climate of opinion that Kershaw describes.  


As to parallels between Hitler and Bush, I don't think any of them can be
seriously considered.   In 2008 Bush will be out of office.  What is at
stake in the next election is the future course against Islamism.  I believe
the next president, be he (or she) Democratic or Republican, will have to
continue in some fashion the "war against terror," (although a clearer title
for this war would be nice).  There are still Militant Islamists out there
who want to blow up parts of the U.S.   I have little doubt but that a
majority of Americans will want our next president to protect us against
such threats.  


Bush's numbers are down, but what will the Democrats have to offer as an
alternative.  I listened to various Democrats rehash what was wrong with the
Kerry campaign.  The main criticism was that Kerry's platform seemed to be:
"I'll do the same things that Bush is doing, but I'll do them better."
Insofar as the War Against Terror is concerned, can any Democrat say
anything else and expect to be elected?  And if he says nothing else, why
should the American voters think a Democrat would be a better warrior
against Terror than a Republican?








-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Mike Geary
Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2006 6:39 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Aren't you glad you no longer have a Hitler


I agree more with Omar's analysis of the situation (less the last ad hominem

paragraph) rather than Lawrence's.  But an even more interesting question to

me is how does one come to decide that something must be done to stop a duly

elected leader -- "something" being, of course, assassination.  How does one

ever throw aside the judgment of millions of one's countrymen to assert ones

own personal morality onto the world.  How did Stauffenberg ever dare to 

assume the moral right to try to kill Hitler while Rommel demured.  Surely 

Hitler was as legitimate a leader as George Bush is.  What could the 

criteria possibly be to assure one that assassination was the moral thing to

do?  Most assassins have proved to be mentally unbalanced.  Count von 

Stauffenberg as an aristocrat personally detested Hiter and no doubt much of

his motivation sprang from class prejudice rather than moral imperative. 

But if we take morality seriously then we must admit that theoretically at 

least there is a point at which one must act to counteract a greater evil. 

Who dares be the Uebermensch?


ATTENTION CIA, FBI, NSA, DIA: This is NOT a call for assassination.  It's 

mere fascination with the moral question.


Of course the anarchist in me says they should all be shot.




Mike Geary







----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Omar Kusturica" <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>

To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2006 1:16 AM

Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Aren't you glad you no longer have a Hitler 






> --- Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:




>> Question:  I think Eric and I have enough bone fides

>> to indicate that we

>> would have been in the American minority that

>> "recognized the terrible

>> danger of Adolf Hitler."  After all we now

>> "recognize the terrible danger

>> of" Islamism and so would very likely be of a mind

>> to recognize the danger

>> of Hitler.


> *It does not follow that because you and Eric think

> that you perceive a terrible danger of Islamism, you

> would therefore have recognized the real danger of

> Hitler. Hitler did not mount a terrorist attack in New

> York, so Eric would probably have gone on biking in

> Manhattan cheerfully and wouldn't have worried about

> the Holocaust. Also, Hitler was a white man, European,

> of Christian origins, secular, all of which lead me to

> suspect that you and Eric would probably have been

> more sympathetic to him. He was also a militaristic

> strongman, something you two obviously find appealing.


> The real question is, what would you Eric and think if

> you were living in Germany in the 1930s ? I have

> little doubt that you would have been in the front

> raws of that crowd frentically cheering Hitler.


> O.K.


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