Friday, December 2, 2016

I'm Beginning To Doubt He Ever Read It - Hate Mail

No, of course I don't expect someone as wedded to their bigotry and ignorance as that to change in their descent into senility.   Some people can change based on what they learn, even very late in life. But not if they're bigots wedded to ignorance.   Such people have more in common with Donald Trump than they would ever want to admit or have anyone notice or mention.  But I have noticed it and I just mentioned it.   As to the Darwinian character of the Nazi murder program,  here's an interesting passage from Shirer's Berlin Diary that Simps seems to have skimmed or skimped.  After a long discussion of the start of the Nazi genocides, the murder of the disabled, he said:

X, a German told me yesterday that relatives are rushing to get their kin out of the private asylums and out of the clutches of the authorities.  He says the Gestapo is doing to death persons who are merely suffering temporary derangement or just plain nervous breakdown.  

What is still unclear to me is the motive for these murders.  Germans themselves advance three:

1. That they are being carried out to save food.
2. That they are done for the purpose of experimenting with new poison gasses and death rays.
3. That they are simply the result of the extreme Nazis deciding to carry out their eugenic and sociological ideas.

The first motive is obviously absurd, since the death of 100,000 persons will not save much food for a nation of 80,000,000.  Besides, there is no acute food shortage in Germany.   The second motive is possible, though I doubt it.  Poison gasses may have been used in putting these unfortunates out of the way, but if so, the experimentation was only incidental.  Many Germans I have talked to think that some new gas which disfigures the body has been used, and that this is the reason why the remains of the victims have been cremated.  But I can get no real evidence of this. 

The third motive seems most likely to me.  For years a group of radical Nazi sociologists who were instrumental in putting through the Reich's sterilization laws have pressed for a national policy of eliminating the mentally unfit.  They say they have disciples among many sociologists in other lands, and perhaps they have.  Paragraph two of the form letter sent the relatives plainly bears the stamp of this sociological thinking:  “In view of the nature of his serious, incurable ailment, his death, which saved him from a lifelong institutional sojourn, is to be regarded merely as a release.”

I will point out that it is an absolute fact that eugenics began, both in English and in German, as a direct development of Darwin's Natural Selection,  that is indisputable as Francis Galton not only said that was what inspired him to invent eugenics but he also published Charles Darwin's glowing endorsement and encouragement of the developing science (pseudo-science though it was) in a letter praising Galton's first major book on the topic.  It is also an incontestable fact that the founder of organized German eugenics, Wilhelm Schallmeyer, explicitly attributed his eugenics to his reading of On the Origin of Species, not on a reading of Galton, so Darwinism was a direct inspiration of eugenics as an organized entity in Germany.   That was certainly common knowledge among educated people of the time.  And, as mentioned, we also have the testimony of his sons, George, Francis, Horace and Leonard to that effect, something which any modern denial cannot sweep away or supersede.

It is also an indisputable fact that by that time sociology as virtually every would-be biological science in the West was thoroughly engrossed in explaining everything in terms of natural selection, the various sects of that faith being the only real difference.   German sociology had certainly established that habit of thought decades before.  And, it is as indisputable that such science sought to put its beliefs about natural selection into application in human populations and society.

I can, and have, documented that Charles Darwin endorsed such ideas as are contained in that form letter in Ernst Haeckel's book, one of the first major works on Darwinism in German, The History of Creation,  saying that Haeckel's book was such a good representation of his own thinking that had he known Haeckel was working on it, he wouldn't have bothered to write The Descent of Man.   I have looked and found no place where Darwin took exception to even the most extreme ideas contained in that book, explicitly attributed by Haeckel to his reading of Darwin.  Haeckel derives all of it from the "materialist monism" the, "final triumph" of which he credits to Charles Darwin.  It is quite possible to find language like that used by the Nazi sociologists in books presented as science by Darwin, by Haeckel and by a line of Darwinian biologists and sociologists, in English and German, starting in the 1860s when On the Origin of Species introduced Darwin's Natural Selection to the world and, especially, in the coming decades as it and such books as The Descent of Man and The History of Creation were widely read by intellectuals, scientists and others, and their explicit claims about the benefit of the deaths of those who were “inferior” for the surviving population became part of Western culture.

Also, there is this.

On December 6, 1940 the Vatican condemned the “mercy killings.”  Responding to the question whether it is illicit for authorities to order the killing of those who, although they have committed no crime worthy of death, nevertheless are considered no longer useful to society or the state because of physical or mental deficiencies, the Sacred Congregation of Holy Office held that “such killings are contrary to both the natural and the divine law.”  It is doubtful if the mass of German Catholics, even if they learned of this statement from Rome, which is improbable, understood what it referred to.  Only a minority in Germany know of the “mercy deaths.”  

Footnote p. 575

I believe this footnote is the only mention of the Vatican in the book.   So Shirer's “definitive account” would seem to have missed the publication of the anti-Nazi encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, unusually issued in German to be read in all Catholic churches in 1937, but, then, I don't think he was much of a church goer.  Nor does it seem to get much of the Christian opposition to the Nazis, even as that became ever more dangerous.  Though he mentions some of it, especially things like the Protestant pastor Friedrich von Bodelschwingh who heroically resisted the murder of disabled children under his care and was arrested for it before the Nazis bombed his asylum.

I have my doubts that Simps ever really read the book or that he had sufficient background knowledge to understand large parts of it .  I don't know if Shirer figured on his readership having that or if, perhaps, he didn't fully understand the meaning of some of what he saw.

Update:  Now Simps and his fan base are deriding the knowledge of two of the most eminent and respected historians of the Nazi period and Germany in the period leading up to it, misrepresenting them, which they'd have to because none of them ever heard of them before.

I really do think the time I wasted at Eschaton has been productive because as the smart people left it over the years, the remnant was a real education in why so much of the self-defined "left" is so stupid.  My only regret is that I stuck it out longer than many of them did.

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