I’m kind of out of it. For various reasons, we slept really badly every night here, which is why I got absolutely nothing done beyond attend the lectures.
There will be posts about that (and interviews) for PJMedia and here, but since I’m in Huntsville — bear with me — this led to my reading about the original rocketry work and the “stealing” of German scientists after the war.
The book I’m reading is of suspect moral standing, since it likes to rail against “the madness of the cold war paranoia.” Apparently the author is unable to understand that when a form of government — international socialism, soviet brand — sets out to conquer the Earth, (and needs to, because its non-functional economy can’t really feed its citizens for any amount of time without tribute from conquered (or afraid to be conquered) lands) to suspect that you might be on the menu soon is not paranoia, it’s survival.
Because of this, the hand wringing over importing “convinced Nazis” induces a lot of eye rolling on this side of the screen. The more so for two other reasons:
1- it seems to me that the Nazi philosophy being based on the idea of inherent racial superiority kind of collapsed and fell apart for MOST PEOPLE the minute they were defeated.
2- because the ideas of racial superiority the Nazis espoused were widespread and “everybody knows” on both sides of the war at the time.
One of the giggle lines of this book was when they said that “Hygiene” appeared to be a code word for the extermination of “inferior” races. Well, yes and no. Hygiene was one of the touchstones of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and got applied in ways that can’t help but puzzle us now. Call it the ‘quantum’ of its age. But you can’t really read any primary source documents without coming across the idea of “hygiene” meaning you don’t let “inferior” people breed.
Among the people supporting that sort of hygiene was none other than H. G. Wells, a socialist of the internationalist variety.
Now am I saying everyone that the US recruited was a kind of angel who only went along with the Nazi program out of a love for science. Pfui. No, I’d bet most of them were a shade of rather dark dingy grey, who took advantage of things like slave labor or worse. Why? Because under totalitarian regimes, the pure angels get killed (Or run.) Everyone who lives any time, even under a much milder regime than Nazi Germany, ends up at least paying lip service, and often — if they want to survive as most people do — doing morally reprehensible things. Depending on how long it goes on, and how bad the regime is, those things can be outright evil, even if the people started out no worse than most of us.
What we did when the Soviet Union fell was arguably far worse than what we did when the Nazis fell, as we held no trials, drew no line, didn’t say “you are dingy grey and we don’t approve, but we’ll let you live if you behave and serve a decent cause.” or even “You went beyond the pale, and must die for your crimes.” No, we pretended that communism had descended upon an unwary people, and all were happy to see it lifted, and all deserved to go about their normal lives.
But communism instills evil patterns of thought (its cardinal virtue is envy, after all) that practically guaranteed its return under “this time we’ll do it right.”
At any rate, I’m not going to pronounce on the moral value of the men who started the American rocket program. I don’t know enough. which is part of the reason I bought three books yesterday and have been reading them (even with the rolling of eyes.)
But thinking about how widespread the inherently evil idea of “lives not worthy of living” (a trap we seem to be falling into once again) and how widespread it was, I thought of how the left is banning and silencing people who espouse this idea.
And I’m troubled.
I disapprove of the idea of “superior races” mostly because race in humans really is fluid, (as opposed to sex, which really isn’t) and at least partly what we think of as “races” are cultures. So the idea is utterly poisonous.
It was also an idea of its time, the early twentieth century when our knowledge of biology was…. not that advanced, and the idea of treating people as something between machines and farm animals seemed perfectly logical.
The site that was banned by no one carrying its IP? No person with a modicum of understanding of history or genetics could take it seriously. I once happened onto it by accident, chasing a detail of Portuguese history, read three paragraphs and started laughing so hard I could barely breathe.
One of the claims was that the Portuguese used to be tall and blond until the import and interbreeding with slaves made Portuguese one of the “inferior races.’
As proof of this they used the…. Portraits of kings of Portugal. Apparently, they’d missed on the memo that royal families are mostly related to other royal families. Yeah, for a while in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, a lot of German blood sneaked into the Portuguese royal line, in the same way that it sneaked into every royal line. The Portuguese monarch that got deposed by the republic was, of course, a close relation of Queen Victoria, probably several times over.
This does not mean, as the dingbats assumed that all Portuguese were tall, blond and blue eyed. Sure there were distinctly Celtic-looking villages in the mountains, but mostly Portuguese looked like their ancestry: Roman, Greek, Phoenician with a leavening of what fell in the pot. The rise and fall of the Portuguese empire has much to do with the inherent strengths and weaknesses of Portuguese culture and bloody nothing to do with whether the hand holding the sextant or the whip happened to be able to tan.
It is the inherent sad silliness of the remnant of Live Action Reich Players that makes me worry that the left finds them worthy of going after and suppressing.
Even if I felt like washing with turpentine after even a few seconds on their page, it never even occurred to me to warn my kids about the site, much less to want it suppressed so other people’s children don’t see it.
At the time I stumbled on it, my kids were ten and six, and I trusted possessed of functioning minds and a sense of history so they wouldn’t fall for that nonsense. And if they came to me and asked questions, that type of lie is not all difficult to debunk.
How much less danger would it be to adults? If crazy, rather sad people who failed to internalize the fact that if the Germans could not conquer the world, they self-evidently weren’t the “Master Race” want to write rants about it? Let them. (Actually Germans buying their way into the financier of Europe’s folly might indicate they’re the “crazy race” if one believed that race not culture is the determinant of how nations behave.) They’ll get the inevitable percentage of misfits, but the idea itself has long been defanged.
So, and this is what worries me — why is the left worried about these ideas being out there? Do they find them so persuasive that they must be silenced?
Note that I don’t even care if the left’s crazy ideas are out there, and they’re far more dangerous because not only haven’t they been defanged, as the continuous push from our educational establishment makes them seem more plausible, or at least preps people for them.
But the truth is, the more they talk, the less plausible they sound. So, I understand — or flatter myself — their shadow-banning sites like instapundit, because we make sense and are “normal/credible” but the fact that they also feel the need to ban Live Action Reich Players makes me believe these people just have no filter at all for crazy ideas. They are incapable of reasoning their way our of a paper bag and going “Oh, that can’t be true, because this this and this contradicts it.” Instead they’ll believe whatever they’re exposed to that is loud enough. And so they must ban everything that is “bad think” because it might drown out what they’ve been told is “good think” and which they ALSO can’t evaluate at all.
What a sad way of existing, above and beyond the danger that they banning will take a slippery slope, or that by becoming mysterious these ideas will become more attractive.
I don’t suppose we could convince them to use a modicum of reason, instead?
And if now, what can we do with them, in the end.