Monday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m soon heading to yet another appointment intended to keep my musculoskeletal system from disintegrating entirely.  I’m hoping to be functional again by September or October, but it sure seems a long ways away.  Anyway, before I go, these are for you (and let me know if you have anything interesting for the rest of us):

I didn’t know that Arthur Koestler, though a socialist, was a socialist along the lines of George Orwell, who was willing to be honest about the totalitarian instincts inherent in socialism.  Neo-Neocon has a fascinating excerpt from Koestler’s Cassandra-like lament about the Nazis — and the blind eye that the rest of the world turned to acts too horrible for them to acknowledge could be real.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office has released the English transcript of his remarks on Yom Hashoah. It is worthwhile reading. Unlike the idiots and antisemites in America and Europe, Bibi remembers the past and refuses to go supine so as to create a Holocaust redux.

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Given a place in which to share their experiences in America’s Leftist-run academies of “higher education,” more than 350,000 conservative college and university students viewed or weighed in on the hashtag #MyLiberalCampus. These youngsters seem to be aware of the irony behind the word “liberal” in that hashtag, since their tales of woe include variations on startlingly illiberal behavior.

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We opponents of gay marriage (not of gays or civil unions, but of gay marriage) said that, once gay marriage cleared the gates, polygamy wouldn’t be far behind. This is not to say that gay marriage and polygamy are the same thing. It is to say, though, that once you erase marriage’s historic meaning in Western culture — one man and one woman — there are no further limits one can reasonably place upon it.

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Perhaps someone in academia is finally climbing atop the barricades and hollering “Stop.” Brett Sokolow, director of the Association of Title IX Administrators, has sent a mailing out to similarly situated Title IX administrators saying that they’re violating Title IX, which requires even-handedness in dealings involving the sexes on college campuses.  It turns out that, whenever two students engage in a drunken coupling, the school blames the man. Sokolow suggests that, if both students are equally blotto, neither is to blame. Sanctions should arise only if the complaining student was incoherently blotto and the accused can be proven to have had evil on his (or her) mind.

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Please enjoy the exquisite irony: Leftist Media Matters is opposing the unionization of its own employees.

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A friend of mine who feeds me a lot of the more interesting information you read in my posts tipped me off last week to the assault that the Leftist thought police are waging in the land of Science Fiction writing. I meant to write on the subject myself, but kept getting sidetracked. Now, I don’t need to, since Glenn Reynolds has addressed precisely that issue.

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This one is for the lawyers, or for the ones who have wisely decided not to become lawyers and, if possible, never to come within spitting distance of a lawsuit.

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The DiploMad writes about the known fact that, in America, being a Democrat, especially a highly placed Democrat, means never having to say you’re sorry or lose your job, no matter how abysmal your failures (or how many people have died on your watch).

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If you’re wondering why it’s a terrible idea to have the government manage anything beyond traditional government responsibilities (the military, waging war, providing basic infrastructure, etc.), this story about Medicare fraud may help you understand government’s extreme limitations.

Yom Hashoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Erev Yom Hashoah, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.  In Israel, it is a poignant moment honored by every citizen (or at least, every Jewish citizen).  In the rest of the world, it is a moment to be forgotten, ignored, or denied.

Back in the 1930s, no one could believe that the Germans, considered the most civilized and advanced of all Europeans, could become so bestial.

The tragedy today is that, when we look at the Islamists, we’ve already seen how bestial they are, and still nobody believes their oft repeated goal of reinstating the Holocaust.

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Long ago, Tacitus said “Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is a principle of human nature to hate those whom you have injured.)” Or as people have more recently noted, the Europeans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.

UPDATED: Thanks to Sadie for reminding me that I wanted to include a video showing just how strongly Israelis feel about Yom Hashoah’s two minutes of silence. Can you imagine Americans coming to a halt this way?

Yom Hashoah

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that was once a memorial day, a day of looking back, but is now a chilling tocsin of what the future might hold.  Everywhere in the world, antisemitism is on the rise.  Nor is this the cold, clinical antisemitism that once characterized England — the kind where people would sniff at someone and say “Oh, he’s a Jew.”  Jews might be socially ostracized and subject to petty humiliations, but they were not tortured, killed, or denied civil rights by their own government.

All over the world today, including in England, Jews are facing a worldwide rise in violent antisemitism that his not just a “chill,” is a scary, furnace-like heat.  (I keep mentioning England because it has swung more violently than any other European country from an “I don’t care” view of Jews to a blood-thirsty hatred for Jews and Israel.)  I don’t have the heart or the time to detail the attacks.  I will share with you a video showing what happens to Jews when the world turns on them, with the background music being an extremely rare recording of Bergen-Belsen survivors signing the “Hatikvah.”

By the way, David Goldman (Spengler) has the good news, which is that Jew hating-societies are dying off, because off low birth rates.  Jews stand for life (“I say to you, choose life“), so it’s not surprising that these cultures embrace death, their own and other’s.  The problem, of course, is that these dying cultures can still cause a lot of trouble as they grapple with their own convulsive death throes.

Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) *UPDATED*

As a Jew, the Holocaust is always with me.  When I whine about something (which I often do), I’m instantly stricken with guilt because I know that, 70 years ago, across Europe, women with lives similar to mine (middle-aged, middle-class) were suddenly pitched into a nightmarish maelstrom from which there was no escape.

Am I shlepping heavy groceries from the car?  At least I have food.  Do those new shoes I bought pinch my feet?  Not only am I shod, but my shoes haven’t been stripped from my body as a preliminary to herding me into a gas chamber.  Am I feeling a bit ill or suffering a migraine?  I could be laboring in the quarry at Mauthausen, starved, diseased, abused, and alone.

I don’t have survivor’s guilt.  I have second-generation survivor’s guilt.  On the one hand, I know how lucky I am and how blessed my life is.  On the other hand, I can never, ever escape the mental images of those who thought they had my luck, only to see it vanish as if it had never happened.

We only think we’re not on the volcano’s edge.  We all are.  It’s just that some of us have lives that allow us to pretend the sulfurous fumes aren’t actually rising up around us.  I may not live a Hobbesian life at this moment, but there is actually very little between me and a moral entropy that threatens violence and horrible death.

One day a year, we take the inchoate guilt and anxiety that plague most Jews (and many non-Jews?) and declare it an official remembrance day.  That day is Yom Hashoah.  With every passing year, there are fewer people alive who have first hand memories of the Holocaust.  It is therefore up to us to carry the torch and try, through the act of memory, to beat back the darkness surrounding us.

Here is my post on the Holocaust, one that looks at those who lived through it, those who escape from it, and those who were pitched into a Pacific, rather than European, Holocaust.

Here is Bruce Kesler’s post about the village that saw his family’s end.

Here is The Political Commentator’s post.

And here is a link to a book that Bruce recommended: Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. The book isn’t actually about Europe as a whole.  It’s about a specific geographic area bounded by Germany and the Soviet Union, but one that tellingly did not include Germany itself or the core Soviet States.  It was in this territory, Belarus, Poland, the Ukraine, etc., that the Nazis and the Soviets put into effect the greatest killing effort in human history, something that would not be seen again until Mao visited his Great Leap Forward on his own hapless Chinese people.

In this geographic area — the Bloodlands of the title — the Soviets and the Nazis systematically starved, shot, gassed, and creatively killed millions of fellow Europeans, many of whom the Nazis shipped in from far-flung geographic points.  The victims’ crime?  They were enemies of the state, whether because they were Jews, gypsies, farmers, POWs from the opposing side’s armies, political dissidents, political ignoramuses, or anything or anyone else the state feared.

The book’s lesson is clear from the first page:  While one can easily find individuals with no conscience, an individual’s reach is limited.  That’s not the case when it comes to a start whose citizens allow it to seize unfettered power.  A state that has no conscience (and when does a state collective ever have a soul?) can too easily become a killing machine.

When savvy people figure out that I’m a conservative, they often ask why.  I think they are surprised when I don’t launch into a long discourse about policies and goals.  I say only one thing:  “I fear anything that consolidates too much power.  The bigger an entity, the more mischief it can do.  I like to keep political power reasonable diffused.  A government should be big enough to be useful, but not so big that it becomes both unstoppable and very dangerous.”

UPDATEBenjamin Netanyahu’s Yom Hashoah speech.