[lit-ideas] Re: Calley

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2010 12:01:30 -0700

I most likely exceeded the Lit-Ideas length limits; so I posted my response on 
my blog: http://www.lawrencehelm.com/2010/06/cultured-and-educated-nazis.html
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Mike Geary
Sent: Friday, June 04, 2010 7:12 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Calley

When I wrote that post I was thinking of an essay I had read in high school by 
a woman journalist who shortly after the liberation of Dachau wrote an essay 
that I remember as "The Lesson Of Dachau".  I tried to Goggle it up, but to no 
avail.  In the essay the author concentrates on the level of cultural 
sophistication of the camp commander, his grand piano, the sheet music of the 
world's greatest composers, his library of classic literature.  Hardly the 
"thug" she had expected.  The lesson that I took away was that culture and 
education do not insure basic human decency.

In addition to that essay (is anyone out there familiar with it?), I've always 
been astonished that Germany at that time was surely the most accomplished of 
European cultures, intellectually and artistically -- a long way from the Hun 

As with all cultures, there's an elite core that defines it, a middle merchant 
class that drives its economic engine and the mass who do the labor, fight the 
wars, live and die for reasons of their own.

Mike Geary

On Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 11:52 PM, Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
I know that Goebbels was highly educated, but I can't think of anyone else that 
was.  The Third Reich was commonly thought to be peopled by "thugs."  Heidegger 
was highly disappointed in the educational level of the Fascist leaders.  Those 
who did study on their own, it seems to me, were more likely to study some 
pseudoscience, or something bizarre like anthroposophy than anything we in 
civilized places like Memphis might study.  
But I could be wrong.  Give me some examples of highly educated Nazis besides 
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Mike Geary
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 8:06 PM

To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Calley
Veronica, remember that much if not most of the leadership of the Third Reich 
were highly educated and cultured.  Apparently education,  intelligence and the 
dictates of morality have little influence on human behavior.  I suspect it's 
something much more fundamental in our psyches that dictate whether we'll be 
willing executioner or not.  Don't know what that fundamental factor might be, 
I suspect it's a profound understanding that one's self is inviolable.  But 
what do I know?

Mike Geary

On Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 9:32 PM, Veronica Caley <molleo1@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
What a treasure! I had no idea Yale offers online courses free to the public. 
This looks like fun.--thanks for the link.
Me too.  And now I demand to know who messed up that I was born too early make 
use of this for very long.
I demand another life time.  I just don't know from whom to demand it.
Veronica Caley
Milford, MI
----- Original Message ----- 
From: carol <mailto:carolkir@xxxxxxxxx>  kirschenbaum 
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 5:16 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Calley
Carol K.,
currently debunking loyalty in Portland, Oregon

On Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 1:00 PM, Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

On 5/31/2010 9:47 PM, carol kirschenbaum wrote:
To what study do you refer, Eric?

The mass defection from authority sparked by an individual refusal is described 
in the Yale University Open Course Intro to Psychology....the section on morals 
and ethics. There are other variants; for example, people are more likely to 
refuse orders given over telephone.

I believe it's here: 

Lecture 15

To Mike: Chance Gardner is Jerzy Kosiński ... a dasein joke no doubt. 

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