What Does the Holocaust Teach Us as Americans?

 

Periodically on this site, people have voiced their annoyance about the reminders that are posted regarding Holocaust Memorial Day, which is observed today. In Israel, everyone stops for two minutes at the sound of sirens to honor those lost. Those of us old enough to have been taught about the Holocaust in school or by our parents already know the story, yet there are some who would prefer not to be reminded of this tragedy. Given how blessed Jews are to live in this country, how often does the story need to be repeated?

In a survey conducted in 2020, an alarming number of respondents knew little about this period:

The survey, touted as the first 50-state survey of Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z, showed that many respondents were unclear about the basic facts of the genocide. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered, and over half of those thought the death toll was fewer than 2 million. Over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos were established during World War II, but nearly half of U.S. respondents could not name a single one.

Yet we can still ask, why do we have to remember this terrible event? Jews need to remember because throughout our existence we have been the scapegoats of countries and civilizations. In many cases, we were determined to “fit into” the wider community, wanting to be appreciated and accepted as dedicated citizens and contributing members of society. Our desire to fit in and in many cases assimilate has come back to haunt us, as one country after another has decided throughout history to humiliate, ostracize, and in some cases kill the Jews. Yet today, many Jews have still decided that they want to be like everyone else; many Jews on the political Left are one example. And some societies still refuse to accept our allegiance and dedication to their countries; anti-Semitic acts frequently occur in European countries.

* * * * *

But I would like to propose that in recent years and now in 2021, the Holocaust has a lesson for all of us; our entire country has slowly been telegraphing the message that unless we succumb to the dominant forces of Leftism, we could be in danger. In fact, those opinions are being stated publicly, saying that we must be “de-programmed” or even killed. If you listen carefully, you will notice a few parallels to the rhetoric before World War II:

  • These people are evil.
  • They are irredeemable.
  • They are hateful and greedy.
  • They are racists and white supremacists.
  • They don’t care about saving the earth.
  • They don’t care about equality or fairness.
  • They are irrational religionists.
  • They are arrogant and think they are better than us.
  • They are potential domestic terrorists.
  • They love guns and violence.

And this list is incomplete.

If you compare this rhetoric to those used against the Jews in the past, you will find many similarities.

I would also suggest that if we try to convince the Left that we are good human beings; if we try to fit in as American citizens and be widely accepted; if we point to our acts of charity and generosity—the Left simply may not care. They are convinced that we are every worst stereotype of evil that people can imagine. And more.

So, what can we do?

First, we have to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. We are not just talking about the future of our country; we are talking about potential action against us as individuals. So when you hear of people being censored, fired from their jobs, driven off the internet; when you hear stories of proposed gun buy-backs, religious organizations being discriminated against; virulent attacks on free-speech—what are we to think?

I am not suggesting that people be paranoid. But we must be vigilant. We must speak out against injustice. We must continue to write, publish and gather together to discuss the actions of the Left and condemn them as often as we can.

Or there will be no rights to protect.

* * * * *

We can’t take our rights for granted. We cannot assume that our freedom is so woven into the fabric of our country that it can’t be lost. Like the Israelis today, let’s take a moment to stop and reflect on the lives lost to protect our freedoms, and how we can prepare for the months and years ahead.

Let’s take a lesson from the Jews.

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  1. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Those of us old enough to have been taught about the Holocaust in school

    Yesterday my 13 year-old daughter reminded me that today would be Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date was selected because Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945. To help give perspective, her teacher also mentioned that if you had a minute of silence for every Jew killed during the Holocaust it would last over 11 years.

    So, it is still taught in some public schools. In the past, they had survivors speak at the school (although there can’t be too many left). Unlike where I grew up (just a few miles away) we have very few Jews in our town (and quite a few Muslims) so it is the teachers and administrators who are pushing for this to be taught.

    That it is being taught is fantastic. Being the glass-half-empty person that I am, I hope it isn’t being taught with some sort of “See, this is an example of white supremacy” slant…

    It is sincere, but we just had a BLM activist elected to the Board of Ed. so who knows what the future holds.

    • #31
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    It is sincere, but we just had a BLM activist elected to the Board of Ed. so who knows what the future holds.

    This will be the time to follow the impact of the BLM person on the other board members. Hopefully they will reject his ideas that are destructive and continue in a meaningful direction.

    • #32
  3. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Those of us old enough to have been taught about the Holocaust in school

    Yesterday my 13 year-old daughter reminded me that today would be Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date was selected because Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945. To help give perspective, her teacher also mentioned that if you had a minute of silence for every Jew killed during the Holocaust it would last over 11 years.

    So, it is still taught in some public schools. In the past, they had survivors speak at the school (although there can’t be too many left). Unlike where I grew up (just a few miles away) we have very few Jews in our town (and quite a few Muslims) so it is the teachers and administrators who are pushing for this to be taught.

    That it is being taught is fantastic. Being the glass-half-empty person that I am, I hope it isn’t being taught with some sort of “See, this is an example of white supremacy” slant…

    It is sincere, but we just had a BLM activist elected to the Board of Ed. so who knows what the future holds.

    Once a toehold is established, it is very seldom given up.  Get ready for some interesting Board of Education meetings:  No Justice; No Peace!

    • #33
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    Once a toehold is established, it is very seldom given up. Get ready for some interesting Board of Education meetings: No Justice; No Peace!

    At the very least, assuming the rest of the board is sane, they can refuse to be browbeaten into his or her agenda. That should slow them down for a while.

    • #34
  5. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    Once a toehold is established, it is very seldom given up. Get ready for some interesting Board of Education meetings: No Justice; No Peace!

    At the very least, assuming the rest of the board is sane, they can refuse to be browbeaten into his or her agenda. That should slow them down for a while.

    That will depend entirely on the backbones of the rest of the board.  We’re seeing that once the “racism” chant is started, it is very hard to silence.  “The arc of history is long”, etc. etc.

    • #35
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Both sides need to ratchet it down – and the “wrong side” refusing to do so is no excuse at all for us to mimic and mirror them.

    I’m planning to ratchet it up, and I’m not trying to match what the other side does. I’m trying to outdo them by a lot. 

    Of course, how much we disagree depends on the meaning of 1) “it,” and 2) “up.”  Also, 3) “ratchet.” 

    • #36
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    This is an interesting diagnosis of what is going on.

    https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/new-national-american-elite

    That is a very good article, even if it doesn’t go into the question of why we now have a national elite class. 

    When it comes to egalitarianism in the early Republic, he seems to know in considerable detail what he is talking about.  What he describes matches very well what I have gathered from reading local histories in which old-timers reminiscence about settlement days, and what those old-timers left out of their reminiscences (but which can sometimes be found in the archival record). 

     

    • #37
  8. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I didn’t know they did that in Israel, where they sound the alarm and everyone stops! It was like a scene in War of the Worlds, and in a sense, that to me is what the Holocaust was – a war between ultimate evil and good.  I love the ancestry show on PBS with Louis Gates Jr. and last night he featured Journalist Nina Totenberg and Andy Cohen, who both explored their Jewish roots. Every time I see pictures of what went on, I cover my mouth in horror. To this day, it is astonishing that it ever happened, and I think about to this day, people suffering under terrible regimes even now.  Nina Totenberg said she cannot even go to the Museum. 

    It should be in our consciousness every day, not just one day a year, to never forget and never allow it.

    https://www.pbs.org/video/against-all-odds/

     

    • #38
  9. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Is history rhyming?

    Except for the part where today’s fascists control a lot more than 3% of the mass media.

    When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than three percent of Germany’s 4,700 papers.

    The elimination of the German multi-party political system brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by outlawed political parties. It also allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties, which were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. In the following months, the Nazis established control or exerted influence over independent press organs.

    During the first weeks of 1933, the Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending “Communist uprising,” then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy. SA (Storm Troopers) and members of the Nazi elite paramilitary formation, the SS, took to the streets to brutalize or arrest political opponents and incarcerate them in hastily established detention centers and concentration camps. Nazi thugs broke into opposing political party offices, destroying printing presses and newspapers.

    The following seems to be happening again, only not as a formal state organization:

    The Propaganda Ministry, through its Reich Press Chamber, assumed control over the Reich Association of the German Press, the guild which regulated entry into the profession. Under the new Editors Law of October 4, 1933, the association kept registries of “racially pure” editors and journalists, and excluded Jews and those married to Jews from the profession. Propaganda Ministry officials expected editors and journalists, who had to register with the Reich Press Chamber to work in the field, to follow the mandates and instructions handed down by the ministry. In paragraph 14 of the law, the regime required editors to omit anything “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.”

    Substitute “anti-racist” for “racially pure” and “those linked to Trump and/or the Republican Party” for “Jews and those married to Jews.”

     

    • #39
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I didn’t know they did that in Israel, where they sound the alarm and everyone stops! It was like a scene in War of the Worlds, and in a sense, that to me is what the Holocaust was – a war between ultimate evil and good. I love the ancestry show on PBS with Louis Gates Jr. and last night he featured Journalist Nina Totenberg and Andy Cohen, who both explored their Jewish roots. Every time I see pictures of what went on, I cover my mouth in horror. To this day, it is astonishing that it ever happened, and I think about to this day, people suffering under terrible regimes even now. Nina Totenberg said she cannot even go to the Museum.

    It should be in our consciousness every day, not just one day a year, to never forget and never allow it.

    https://www.pbs.org/video/against-all-odds/

     

    Thanks, FSC. I went to one museum at Dachau, and that is the last time I went to one. With my reconnection to Judaism, I think that visiting a Holocaust Museum would be devastating. 

    • #40
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Those of us old enough to have been taught about the Holocaust in school

    Yesterday my 13 year-old daughter reminded me that today would be Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date was selected because Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945. To help give perspective, her teacher also mentioned that if you had a minute of silence for every Jew killed during the Holocaust it would last over 11 years.

    So, it is still taught in some public schools. In the past, they had survivors speak at the school (although there can’t be too many left). Unlike where I grew up (just a few miles away) we have very few Jews in our town (and quite a few Muslims) so it is the teachers and administrators who are pushing for this to be taught.

    Back in the 80s when I taught a pre-confirmation class at my church, I was shocked to find that the kids had no clue about the Holocaust. I was probably telling them about Corrie Ten Boom and things like that. I even had them watch the movie, even though it wasn’t as good as her book.  But they had no idea of the context, so I had to step back and try to teach about that, too.

    When we had parent-teacher conferences I mentioned this problem to one of my children’s teachers in the public school, and she agreed this part of history education was lacking. I doubt it was because of anything I said, but I noticed that very soon after, schools started to do a better job of teaching about it.  But that was a while back, and I don’t know what it’s like now.

    • #41
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    When we had parent-teacher conferences I mentioned this problem to one of my children’s teachers in the public school, and she agreed this part of history education was lacking. I doubt it was because of anything I said, but I noticed that very soon after, schools started to do a better job of teaching about it.

    Don’t underrate the impact of your words. If every parent got involved with their children’s education, there might be a cumulative impact. The squeaky wheel and all that . . . 

    • #42
  13. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    This is an interesting diagnosis of what is going on.

    https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/new-national-american-elite

    That is a very good article, even if it doesn’t go into the question of why we now have a national elite class.

    When it comes to egalitarianism in the early Republic, he seems to know in considerable detail what he is talking about. What he describes matches very well what I have gathered from reading local histories in which old-timers reminiscence about settlement days, and what those old-timers left out of their reminiscences (but which can sometimes be found in the archival record).

     

    We have always had elite classes, as he notes.  We have a national one now, though, because local distinctions are flattened by ease of travel and ubiquitous internet and branding.  A shopping district in Ohio is little different from one in Florida or Nebraska or Denver.  Some of the store names are different, but not by much.

    The internet flattens thing further.

    • #43
  14. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    We have always had elite classes, as he notes. We have a national one now, though, because local distinctions are flattened by ease of travel and ubiquitous internet and branding. A shopping district in Ohio is little different from one in Florida or Nebraska or Denver. Some of the store names are different, but not by much.

    The internet flattens thing further.

    Advances in communication and transportation technology are certainly part of it. But the Progressive project which began as a reform project in the last part of the 19th century also had a lot to do with it. We still haven’t addressed the fatal flaws in that project. 

    • #44
  15. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Is history rhyming?

    Except for the part where today’s fascists control a lot more than 3% of the mass media.

    When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than three percent of Germany’s 4,700 papers.

    The elimination of the German multi-party political system brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by outlawed political parties. It also allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties, which were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. In the following months, the Nazis established control or exerted influence over independent press organs.

    During the first weeks of 1933, the Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending “Communist uprising,” then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy. SA (Storm Troopers) and members of the Nazi elite paramilitary formation, the SS, took to the streets to brutalize or arrest political opponents and incarcerate them in hastily established detention centers and concentration camps. Nazi thugs broke into opposing political party offices, destroying printing presses and newspapers.

    The following seems to be happening again, only not as a formal state organization:

    The Propaganda Ministry, through its Reich Press Chamber, assumed control over the Reich Association of the German Press, the guild which regulated entry into the profession. Under the new Editors Law of October 4, 1933, the association kept registries of “racially pure” editors and journalists, and excluded Jews and those married to Jews from the profession. Propaganda Ministry officials expected editors and journalists, who had to register with the Reich Press Chamber to work in the field, to follow the mandates and instructions handed down by the ministry. In paragraph 14 of the law, the regime required editors to omit anything “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.”

    Substitute “anti-racist” for “racially pure” and “those linked to Trump and/or the Republican Party” for “Jews and those married to Jews.”

    I definitely believe that it’s rhyming.  The riots of last summer; especially directed at the helpless small businesses definitely had the the feeling of the SA and Kristallnacht.  Are Biden and his fellow Leftists using the events of 6 January as their very own Reichstag Fire?  Are they going to use this to justify their own Enabling Act(s)?

    The examples you gave could very well come true in this country.  All it takes is for enough people to stand by and say “It couldn’t happen here.”

    • #45
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    I definitely believe that it’s rhyming. The riots of last summer; especially directed at the small, helpless small businesses definitely had the the feeling of the SA and Kristallnacht.

    Good grief! I didn’t see that relationship. Now I’m really alarmed, CA.

    Edit: Although I have to point out that at least they weren’t targeted based on ethnicity or religion.

    • #46
  17. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    I definitely believe that it’s rhyming. The riots of last summer; especially directed at the small, helpless small businesses definitely had the the feeling of the SA and Kristallnacht.

    Good grief! I didn’t see that relationship. Now I’m really alarmed, CA.

    Edit: Although I have to point out that at least they weren’t targeted based on ethnicity or religion.

    A distinction without a difference…

    • #47
  18. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The Holocaust taught us that the ordinary people in a country will go along with the worst demonstrations of State brutality, if that brutality is not directed against them.  The average German did not protest the Holocaust, even if he did not actually participate in it.

    Today, I have participated in the Yad Vashem “iRemember” program.  If you go to iRemember.yadvashem.org, you can be randomly matched with a Holocaust Victim to remember.  Here is my victim:

    Today, I remember Yitzkhak Rozner of Poland, who was murdered in the Holocaust.  It’s too bad that no more information about him was provided by his family.  I will be posting this at the top of my blog today also.

    May we never forget.

    If anyone is interested, there is an American Society for Yad Vashem, which you can support with charitable contributions.  I have been a supporter for over 10 years, and when I checked up on them at Charity Navigator, they get the top rating for a charity.

    • #48
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    I definitely believe that it’s rhyming. The riots of last summer; especially directed at the small, helpless small businesses definitely had the the feeling of the SA and Kristallnacht.

    Good grief! I didn’t see that relationship. Now I’m really alarmed, CA.

    Edit: Although I have to point out that at least they weren’t targeted based on ethnicity or religion.

    A distinction without a difference…

    It is a big difference.

    I’ve made the Kristallnacht comparison myself, several times, and will continue to do so. But like American slavery, which was especially nasty because it was based on race/ethnicity, the Holocaust genocide was the worst because it was based on ethnicity.

    The Norman Davies book about Poland that I’m reading makes the point that the class conflict during communist times was bad because of the way it split families. A person’s cousins or brothers could be members of the oppressive ruling class. I.e. the role of Poles in being rulers or the ruled was not based on ethnicity. As such it made family relationships difficult and sometimes poisonous. However (and Davies doesn’t make this point directly) it also helped to bring about the fall of communism in Poland, too. Some members of the Polish ruling class didn’t want to go all out in bringing the hammer down on relatives and fellow Poles, so some of them were half-hearted in carrying out the Soviet repressions in the days of Solidarity.

    I think their situation has some analogies with our current struggle between the American ruling class and their oppressed cousins in Middle America.  Listening to some of the ruling class chatter on Twitter is not encouraging, but it seems there might be a way of exploiting the relationships between rulers and ruled if we work at it. 

     

    • #49
  20. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    We have always had elite classes, as he notes. We have a national one now, though, because local distinctions are flattened by ease of travel and ubiquitous internet and branding.

    Multiple ladders of success have been replaced…not completely, but considerably and increasingly…by a single ladder, with access controlled by educational credentials.  More than 50 years ago, Peter Drucker (European by birth and education) tried to warn Americans about this sort of thing:

    One thing it (modern society) cannot afford in education is the “elite institution” which has a monopoly on social standing, on prestige, and on the command positions in society and economy. Oxford and Cambridge are important reasons for the English brain drain. A main reason for the technology gap is the Grande Ecole such as the Ecole Polytechnique or the Ecole Normale. These elite institutions may do a magnificent job of education, but only their graduates normally get into the command positions. Only their faculties “matter.” This restricts and impoverishes the whole society…The Harvard Law School might like to be a Grande Ecole and to claim for its graduates a preferential position. But American society has never been willing to accept this claim…

    American today is a lot closer to accepting HLS (and similar) as Grande Ecoles than it was when Drucker wrote the above.

    Drucker on Education, 1969

     

    • #50
  21. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    The examples you gave could very well come true in this country. All it takes is for enough people to stand by and say “It couldn’t happen here.”

    And “We would never do it”.

    • #51
  22. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    On a totally depressing note to “celebrate” today President Biden has tapped Maher Bitar to be the senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council.  Yes fans, THAT Maher Bitar. Happy Holocaust Day to Israel from Biden. 

    • #52
  23. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    More from the Drucker passage I cited above:

    It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the strength of American higher education lies in this absence of schools for leaders and schools for followers. It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the engineer with a degree from North Idaho A. and M. is an engineer and not a draftsman. Yet this is the flexibility Europe needs in order to overcome the brain drain and to close the technology gap.

    Again, this was from 1969.  The idea of “schools for leaders” versus “schools for followers” is becoming emplaced in American society.

    • #53
  24. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    It could never happen here unless people first start thinking it could never happen here. 

    • #54
  25. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    I definitely believe that it’s rhyming. The riots of last summer; especially directed at the small, helpless small businesses definitely had the the feeling of the SA and Kristallnacht.

    Good grief! I didn’t see that relationship. Now I’m really alarmed, CA.

    Edit: Although I have to point out that at least they weren’t targeted based on ethnicity or religion.

    I think that the BLM/Antifa riots are based on ethnicity and religion.  They hate whites.  It’s strange, because most of them seem to be white, but there you have it.  The religion is Wokeism.  They hate Christians primarily, and Jews, and pretty much everyone who isn’t Wokeist.  Except Muslims, it seems.

    • #55
  26. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Thank you so much for sharing this, including the clip of the sirens.

    • #56
  27. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    TBA (View Comment):

    It could never happen here unless people first start thinking it could never happen here.

    Perhaps it would be better to say the we should stop looking for “it” and looking for “its cousin”.

    People who insist that the Nazis would never gain power here are correct – we’re not Germans.  Whatever monstrosity “its cousin” could take here would be uniquely American.

    Fred Cole here years ago had a post asking why the Holocaust was so bad, and why something similar hadn’t arisen in, say, France.  He couldn’t quite grasp that this was because the French aren’t Germans.  He also couldn’t grasp that similar such mass murders have occurred throughout human history – the Holodomor in Ukraine was at least as murderous, but carried out far differently.  Mao’s mass murders make the Soviets look like amateurs.  On a per capita basis, perhaps the Khmer Rouge is the worst example of mass murderous psychosis.

    I said earlier that the most likely thing here is something akin to the Spanish Civil War, or Rwanda, or perhaps the French Revolution – something that pits rural versus urban dweller, neighbor vs. neighbor, etc.  Perhaps even a racial conflict is possible, though I doubt this as the US now has so many competing groups that it’s impossible to guess who might fight with whom – I think part of the BLM rage stems from the recognition that African Americans now utterly dominate pop culture and sports, but this hasn’t translated into real political power or economic improvement, and the rising Hispanic and Asian populations are out-competing them in those areas.  This again puts the greatest likelihood back at civil war level.

    And the warning signs for that are abundant – Rod Dreher documents them in Live Not By Lies, and points heavily back to Hannah Arendt’s book on totalitarianism.  Dreher wrote the book largely before 2020 (though published late in 2020, the manuscript had to be submitted way back in March), and has said since that he would now add at least a chapter on how totalitarian thinking on the Right is extremely dangerous in itself.  Strange Rites by Tara Burton likewise points to political polarization as having become a sort of quasi religion on both Right and Left.  

    And this is the danger, this is “its cousin”.  Too many people have started to think that the other side is to blame for society’s ills, that the other side is intractable, and an eschatological-level conflict (Civil War) is divinely fore-ordained as the way to rebalance society’s humors.  Put simply, the more people go around believing that civil war is inevitable, and acting and talking in ways that live out that belief, the more they conjure that hellish reality into being.  Frankly, they’re summoning demons.  “Its Cousin” cannot happen here unless people want it to happen here, and far too many people now seem to want it.

    • #57
  28. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    I don’t see the dangers of a new pogrom or holocaust here so much as an actual civil war, and when too many on both sides are reducing the “other” to unthinking villainy and stereotype, and actually hungering for some grand conflict to “right the wrongs”, that sort of civil war only becomes increasingly likely.

    The Jews in Europe were badly outnumbered, culturally distinct and identifiable, and often clustered into population centers. The numbers on the American Right and Left are practically a dead heat, and very mixed. That makes any prospective civil war not something like our Revolution, or our big Civil War, but something far worse – a French Revolution or Spanish Civil War, or (God forbid) Rwanda.

    Both sides need to ratchet it down – and the “wrong side” refusing to do so is no excuse at all for us to mimic and mirror them.

    Leftist domination is worse than the risk of civil war…..also, the French Revolution was not a worse manifestation of civil war than the American Civil War.

    • #58
  29. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):
    Leftist domination is worse than the risk of civil war…..also, the French Revolution was not a worse manifestation of civil war than the American Civil War.

    How many more died in the French Revolution?  Did we have a Committee of Public Safety loading barges of the “wrong” people, then deliberately sinking them in the Potomac?  Did we have all this going on while zealous Jacobin armies raped and pillaged in a brutal cut-throat civil war and crackdown against a royalist region?

    • #59
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Put simply, the more people go around believing that civil war is inevitable, and acting and talking in ways that live out that belief, the more they conjure that hellish reality into being. Frankly, they’re summoning demons. “Its Cousin” cannot happen here unless people want it to happen here, and far too many people now seem to want it.

    I hope it’s clear that I don’t think civil war is inevitable. Is it possible to send out a cautionary call regarding what is happening in this country, without appearing to want a civil war to break out? My call is a call to vigilance, not a call to war, to acknowledge what is going on, not to attack the other side.

    • #60
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