Tuesday, November 01, 2005
A Daring Opinion: Hitler Was Bad
This is definitely the most thought-provoking item I've run into on the internet in the last few days. Apparently very recently ABC Primetime broadcast a story on Prussian Blue, a couple of thirteen-year old girls from California. I didn't see the broadcast though I was able to download it and watch it on the internet, so I'm not sure when it aired, and frankly I don't care, because this comment is not that timely. Thank goodness.
I've been a little disappointed with my last two blog entries, because frankly they seemed too timely when written and too soon obsolete. Plus, taking pot shots at the Bush administration at this point seems too much like shooting fish in a barrel, as they say. So what could be less timely than the American Neo-Nazi movement?
But it's not the Neo-Nazi movement that fascinates me, it's these two girls and my frank impression that all the reactions to them, and impressions I've seen of them seem, well, wrong. I'm not promoting the band (they're not really very good) or the Neo-Nazi's (who are pretty much idiots as far as I can tell). But it seems to me that the hatred directed against them is just as negative and misguided as anything they espouse, on behalf of themselves or their sponsors.
OK, I gotta give you some background, as gleamed from the media. The girls are Lynx and Lamb, twins, home-schooled by the mother. The mother's family apparently has a strong White Supremacist background, and the girls are certainly being indoctrinated. The songs are not just pro-White, they are actively pro-Nazi; in the TV interview, the girls opine that Hitler was a great man and they are victims of the curious cultural revisionism that claims the Holocaust was a myth. They romanticize Rudolph Hess as a man of peace. Of course since Lamb, the guitar player and songwriter is thirteen, most of the songs are written not by them but by some other Nazi. The girls are not likely to be pop stars, and in fact unless you attend Nazi events, they are probably about to go back off the map entirely. At last report their gig at the Kern County Fair was cancelled due to protest, and their mother is moving them from California to some unknown spot in the Pacific Northwest, as apparently Bakersfield is not White enough.
But what has fascinated me is the storm of vitriol directed against them. Everyone on the newscast just assumed that because they were advocating racial separatism, decrying what used to be called miscegenation, that they were urging every Caucasian in the United States to start slaughtering Blacks and Jews, and that's not what they say at all. In fact, in the interview these little girls made what I have always thought was the most valid claim of the White separatists and supremacists, that they had as much right to be proud to be White as Martin Luther King had to encourage Blacks to be proud to be Black. I'm sorry but I have to agree that if it is OK for Blacks to have pride in their heritage, as well as Latinos and every other racial or ethnic group in American, it's also OK for European Whites. I think that in previous decades, it became politically correct for minorities to assert their pride but not Whites, just because the fact is that the Whites were more powerful and could afford to withhold these assertions; it's almost a form of noblesse oblige. There is no doubt that every minority group in America has made great strides forward in the last fifty years in terms of equality, and the more equal and socially powerful these groups become, the more they need to understand that Whites, too, can be made to be feel inferior, to feel oppressed, to feel outnumbered. And any poor man has the right to sing the blues.
I don't want to argue here about exactly how equal things are or are not. That's not the point. It's just that these people, mostly poor Whites with poor educations or repressive or negligent family backgrounds, have feelings too, and a right to vent them. Now it's a long way from saying that if Black people can be proud of being Black, that White people can be proud of being White, to supporting Hitler and the Nazis. The latter is, to an educated man, idiocy, but these people are not educated. I repeat my contention that neither Lynx and Lamb nor the people who taught them their beliefs are evil, just ignorant. One older Aryan rocker in the piece, oddly sensitive to the fact of the girls' age and the fact they have obviously been indoctrinated, states that when they are older they will have to decide for themselves what to believe. What an ironic and thoughtful stateful for a fascist! What an odd culture we have, where totalitarianism becomes a form of rebellion? Oops, that sounds like Germany in the 30's, and I know that comparing Hitler to Bush has been overblown. But our society is much like the one that produced Hitler, and we are lucky that George W. is not Adolph. Because when that spot becomes open someone will rise to fill it.
The mother also makes a valid point in the interview, one that goes to the debate about home-schooling and public education. She says, and I paraphrase, "Of course I taught them my beliefs. Don't Christians who home-school their children teach them their beliefs?" If that doesn't give you a chill, you're not listening. She goes on to point out that in one of those families, her children might have been Christian pop artists, instead of what they are.
Nazis are not Christians, and Christians are not Nazis. If Hitler had a religion, he was a pagan, a fan of the Norse gods. In fact, he was a megalomaniac; the beliefs he allegedly held were just ways of expressing his own hatred and insecurity. If he had in fact been a man of ideals and integrity, however misplaced, he would not have turned on the German people in the final days of the WWII when he attempted to reduce the nation to scorched earth.
But this is not an editorial against Hitler; I don't think we need that. It is another blog about my revulsion against people who cannot see reality or other people, but only stereotypes. I thought Political Correctness had vanished with the end of the Clinton era, but it's back, at least in the limited context of race relations. I don't think the Nazis are any scarier than the thought police. The absolute tone of the piece in question was that the girls are sadly but probably hopelessly lost, and that the mom and all of the people who participate in the culture of which this family is a part are evil. The only two reactions I've seen are (1) stupid and incoherent support from the Nazis, or (2) PC condemnation. I really don't know which is worse; the educated should know better. We live in an era when it's no longer permissible to judge a man by his race, but it is permissible to judge him by his belief system. People aren't categories, the map is not the territory. The pointing finger is not the moon. Reductionist thinking is the heart of your problem. I can say this with confidence because is the heart of all of our problems. It is the persistent and fatal limitation of the rational mind.
So the next time you see a Black man in a rap video, it's not H. Rap Brown with a knife at your throat. The next time you see two little girls dressed as frauleins singing folk songs about Valhalla or even Rudolph Hess, they're not Hitler. They're just two little girls. Really.