Saturday, February 11, 2017

Trash History Used To Claim Trash Conclusions

Note:  The version of this originally posted was an early draft which contained a number of issues, none, except one first name, seriously effecting the information in it.  I've posted the later version of it which I'd intended to post this morning.  Sorry.

Simps has pulled out a really silly argument that because racism existed before Darwin that that means that the absolute links between Darwinism, that is natural selection, and Nazism aren't there.  I'll point out how silly the argument got later.

First I'll point out that the only relevant evidence in determining what the Nazis theory of biological and racial inequality and the decisive idea were based in is what they claimed they were based on.

That theory,  that the very existence of those it deemed "inferior" was both a danger to the "superior" and that their elimination would be a benefit to the surviors is what the scientists, quasi-scientists, intellectuals and others in the decades based their scientific claims in,  immediately before the formation of the Nazi party in 1919 and the subsequent Nazi reign.  It was continually articulated even as, their programmatic and industrial genocide was in operation.

In almost every case those Nazi claims were based in later 19th century and early 20th century biology, most crucially Darwin's natural selection and the developments that arose from that.

Nothing in the Nazi program of genocide would even be thought if Darwin's classification of individuals, class and racial groups on the basis of value - "inferior" and "superior" is the crudest but basic and essential act of ranking people in terms of value -  hadn't been inserted into what was considered science.  And, also the Darwinian claim that the surviving people benefited when through violent struggle and the superior proved their superiority by killing those whose deaths at their hands proved their inferiority.

There is no possibility of HONESTLY disputing that.  Any reading of Darwin, both in the later editions he produced of Origin of Species, most blatantly in The Descent of Man and also in his correspondence will show he promoted those ideas not only as an intellectual argument, but as a scientific fact.

Charles Darwin was credited as the origin of those claims by the foremost German authority on Darwinian natural selection, Ernst Haeckel.   Who credited him, through that theory, with the "final triumph" of  a wide ranging materialist monism which overturned all previous notions of morality, most crucially the moral stand against killing people who Haeckel and, yes, Darwin, designated as inferior.  You can read that in Haeckel's book The History of Creation, a book Charles Darwin endorsed as the highest of biological science.

Anyone who claims that is not the case is lying about what Darwin said, anyone who reviews the literature in both English eugenics and German eugenics would see that the entire thing is based on Darwin's theory of natural selection.

That Germans went back into the classical period to find validation of their historical claims of German superiority in such authors as Tacitus does nothing to shake the apodictic character of the statement that German eugenics was an outgrowth of Darwinist natural selection.  In fact, Darwin and his closest German disciple, Ernst Haeckel, reached back into the classical period  (the military fascist Spartan state) to support some of their most deadly claims.  No honest review of the relevant literature could honestly come to any other conclusion that the claims of the Nazis were scientific in nature and that they were firmly and ultimately based in Darwin's natural selection.   As I've pointed out before, one of the foremost Nazis, Rudoph Hess declared to a mass rally of Nazis in 1934,  "National Socialism is nothing but applied biology." It was one of the few times when they were fully honest about anything and that was to claim the mantle of science for their racial classification and eugenics.  They would not begin to kill people - as formal policy - for five years and the formal "final solution" with the Wannsee conference would come eight years after that admission.

As I have pointed out, some of the most eminent American scientists of the period, such as Charles Davenport, fully supported the scientific claims of the Nazis, and as I've also pointed out, the foremost expert on the thinking of Charles Darwin in the 1930s, his son Leonard, was making that claim as late as April 1939.   No one at that time or today can credibly claim to have known the thinking of Charles Darwin better than his own son.

The article Simels sent me starts out with an absurd, entirely a-historical title and subtitle.  How Racism Was First Officially Codified in 15th-Century Spain In 1449, a Toledo edict made racial discrimination legal.

The author of the article, Jeffrey Gorsky, is apparently a lawyer, a former functionary in the State Department, who left that to work in finance, he apparently isn't much of an historian.  Or someone who has so much as read the second book of the Bible, Exodus.  Discrimination on the basis of race and overcoming the legal discrimination they suffered under Egyptian law is the foundation of the entirety of Jewish and, in fact, monotheistic religion and culture.  And the Egyptians were hardly alone in doing that.  Discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity in Greece, in Rome, in most of the rest of the cultures of the ancient world was nearly ubiquitous.  The racial and ethnic discrimination of the systems of caste on the Indian subcontinent are some of the most rigid and enduring in the history of humanity.  I could go on and on.

The motive of the article, to blame Catholicism in Spain and Portugal for the existence of racism ignores that such discrimination hardly began in Spain.  The first sentence in the article is enough to discredit Gorsky's claims as a serious student of history.

In 1449 rebels in Toledo, Spain, published an edict you’ve probably never heard of, but whose effects still resonate today. It was the first set of discriminatory laws based on race. 

That is such a stupid statement that you have to conclude he is so ignorant of the topic that he isn't aware of such laws as Edward I's 1290 edict expelling Jews from England or that even earlier laws discriminated against Jews and others.   Jews were not protected under Magna Carta.  In 1218 Henry III made England the first place where Jews were required to wear a badge marking their ethnicity.  Laws discriminating against Jews in Europe go back far before the Christian period, and they are only one ethnic or racial group who were the subject of legal discrimination.

And, anyone who had studied the situation that led to those awful laws against Jews - specifically against those who had converted to Christianity and who were, so,  allowed to stay in Spain after Jews and Muslims were expelled - would know that the official Church didn't endorse the worst of such discrimination. The law discriminating against Jewish converts was a reaction against the equality that such converts had enjoyed because their status, under Catholicism, was based on their religion, not on their ethnic heritage.  Converted Jews could be priests, bishops, cardinals.... if you want to press the issue, the first Pope was a Jew, I suspect he was hardly the only one of the early Popes you could say that about.  Certainly every one of the Apostles that the entire Catholic clergy claims their authority under apostolic succession through were Jewish converts.

The popular and even some allegedly scholarly literature abounds with such articles and even books that might impress someone who knows even less than their authors but which anyone who has read even a little on the topic would know are junk history.  They might contain some accurate information but they also contain basic distortions that are clearly there to serve a non-historical agenda.   As an aside, Gorsky might want to wade through the papal encyclicals which both condemned some of those laws, even forbidding them, condemning the blood libel myth (something already extant in the classical Greek period) and other excuses to exclude Jews, kill and discriminate against them and rob them of their property - generally the real reason such things were promoted by kings and nobles and local thugs with the power to steal it.

Bad as the article is, Gorsky isn't so stupid as to claim that the Nazis' program of applied biology had anything to do with the discriminatory laws in Spain and Portugal.  To make that case Simels would have to do something he'll never do, look at what the Nazis and their immediate precursors said about it.  I've read a fair amount of the literature of Nazism and proto-Nazism and I don't recall even one instance where that was cited as a factual basis of any of their claims of racial inequality, the desirability to wipe out racial groups or that the results of such a slaughter would render the surviving murderers biologically superior.

I can point out that the Catholic Church, obviously Simels and Gorsky's main target, was one of the foremost forces in condemning the racism of the Nazis, their attacks on people based on class, ethnicity, race and religion.  I was unaware of a phenomenon in the immediate post-war period of Jews who converted to Christianity out of gratitude for Christians who saved them.  One famous example was the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, who converted, taking the baptismal name "Eugenio Maria" because that was the name of Pius XII* who he credited with saving large numbers of Italian Jews from the Nazis, housing many in the Vatican, risking retaliation by the Nazis and the fascists.  But I can't go into that very far except to point out that for Catholics and Christians, in general, converted Jews were not considered to have a different status from other members of the church.  One such convert, Sr. Edith Stein was murdered as a Jew by the Nazis and was canonized as a Martyr and a Saint and, it would appear to me, is currently a very popular saint among Catholics.   I was also unaware until recently that the great scholar and rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel, as an adviser to the Vatican Council II  was influential enough to get the Vatican to remove the offensive language which had been part of the liturgy for Good Friday for centuries.   Obviously, the way that the Catholic Church sees Jews, as human equals and the biological theory of racial valuation that the Nazis practiced are not the same in any way.

* Though he was far from my favorite Pope,  Pius XII was the target of a massive slander campaign in the post-war period, much of it, apparently, originated in the Kremlin and spread by play writers and others.  One of the most infamous instances, the false play The Deputy by Rolf Hochhuth was championed, especially, in anti-Catholic Britain.  Hochhuth was as serial liar who was successfully sued for libel when he tried for another sensation with his play Soldiers, on which he accused Winston Churchill (another of my lest favorite figures of the period) was involved in an assassination plot against the Polish Prime Minister, General Władysław Sikorski in 1943.  Unfortunately for Hochhuth, he didn't do enough research to know that one of the people he libeled was the pilot and true hero of the anti-Nazi resistance, Eduard Prchal, was alive.  Prchal sued the liar and won fifty-thousand pounds.  The author took it on the lam to Switzerland to avoid paying the guy he lied about.  Oh, and more to the point.  Hochhuth is a huge supporter of the Holocaust Denier, Hitler white-washer and fixture in the neo-Nazi movement, the discredited "historian" David Irving.  From what I understand, Hochhuth leaned heavily on Irving's "history" and continued to support him even after he was declared in court to be a Holocaust denier, a distorter of history, a supporter of Nazism in the court case he brought against Deborah Lipstadt, a real historian.

2 comments:

  1. Translation: The Holocaust wasn't about the Jews. And neither was the Spanish Inquisition, despite the fact that Charles Darwin wouldn't be born until a few centuries after it.

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    Replies
    1. A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
      Bertrand Russell

      Only Russell apparently assumed his stupid man could, at least, read, which you obviously can't.

      Let me guess, Simps, your elementary school was one of the early ones to institute automatic social promotion. Apparently literacy wasn't a requirement at C. W. Post in your time, either.

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