With all the focus today on eliminating “hate,” we should ask: Is it at all possible that labeling others “haters” could be motivated by hate?
One person very concerned about hate is Daily Beast writer Sabine Heinlein. A naturalized American who nonetheless still identifies herself as “German,” she complained in a Sunday piece that Americans are “too timid in confronting hate" — and, says she, we need to follow Germans’ lead in combating it.
Heinlein opens with a handful of “hate crime” stories, none of which, unsurprisingly, was one of the many such acts committed against Donald Trump supporters or whites. Then she touts her credentials: being German. She writes, “When I went to high school in Bavaria in the late 1980s and early ’90s, the horrors of fascism still echoed through the classrooms. Germans have internalized that the reason why Adolf Hitler was able to rise to power was that no one stood up for the Jews. Maybe that’s also why Germans are so quick to let you know when you do something wrong.”
Heinlein then cites examples, such as Germans admonishing those who cross the street against a red light or who litter, before praising Germans’ “willingness to speak their minds and stand up for others.” Yes, we noticed that during the 2016 sexual assaults on women in Cologne by Muslim migrants; not only were the victims left twisting in the wind, but the police and politicians subsequently tried covering the crimes up.
Now, I can cite credentials similar to Heinlein’s. While I didn’t grow up in Germany, my mother did, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time there. My father was an American P.O.W. in Germany during WWII — as a Jewish man — and I had a Jewish relative who was protected from the Nazis by Catholic priests in occupied France. Yet while I have this “connection,” as it were, to Germany and the WWII era, that alone confers no expert status — not any more than Heinlein’s having been marinated in leftist myths in Germany does.
But I do know something. Consider another example of German diligence Heinlein mentions: “One time, I took an American boyfriend to a large spa in Hamburg. When he kept his towel on in the sauna, a chorus of sweating, naked old men and women — German saunas are co-ed, what else? — demanded he take it off. Germans, he learned, have agreed on exposing their private parts in the sauna. So unless you want to embarrass them, you follow suit.” (This ought to go over really well with their Muslim “guests,” who will, in time, perhaps put an end to it.)
Why they’d be embarrassed — unless someone covering up actually reveals their shame — is a mystery. But Heinlein misunderstands her culture (as many people do). It’s not that Germans are “quick to let you know when you do something wrong,” in the sense of objectively wrong, but that they’re very rules-oriented. And they’ll quite meticulously enforce society’s rules, right or wrong.
Speaking of wrong brings us to Heinlein’s lament about Trump: She is “beyond frustrated that we’re stuck with a president who, just like Adolf Hitler, despises refugees, intellectuals, journalists, women and non-Christians.” My, where to start?
Heinlein has things backwards. The Nazis were “looking to eliminate Christianity,” as Jewish attorney and Holocaust-survivor-descendant Julie Seltzer Mandel put it. Mandel learned this in 2002 while an editor of the Nuremberg Project for the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, a job affording her the opportunity to examine a secret OSS (the precursor of the CIA) report entitled “The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches.” In fact and as I outlined in “Hitler and Christianity,” the German leader was quite the fan of a non-Christian religion: Islam.
If Trump does dislike intellectuals, he’s in good company. George Orwell once noted, “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them,” and Thomas Sowell lamented the intellectual-enabled absurdity in his book Intellectuals and Society. An intellectual too often is someone who knows all of the facts but none of the Truth.
Many intellectuals also don’t know the difference between refugees and economic migrants. A refugee is someone such as Jordanian Opposition Coalition leader Dr. Mudar Zahran, and migrants are what he has warned us about, saying the majority of the Muslims flooding into the West are not actually refugees and should be kept out. Interestingly, this would protect another group Heinlein claims Trump despises — women — who have often been subject to the Cologne treatment, courtesy of the policies Heinlein advocates.
As for scribes, I do know of one journalist Hitler appeared to like, at least for a time: Benito Mussolini. Yes, the Italian dictator had been a journalist; in fact, he said that as one he learned he could tell one lie one week and another the next, and people generally wouldn’t remember. This spirit lives on, as WikiLeaks evidenced, and perhaps this is why Trump’s dislike of journalists also places him in good company: Only about 20 percent of Americans esteem them highly. Hey, I don’t like journalists — and I’m a journalist.
In reality, though, Mussolini could teach Heinlein a thing or two. You see, he was one of fascism’s founders, and he described the ideology thus; “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” So he was espousing statism, big government — just like the Democrats today.
Such aggregation of power also can enable genocide. As long as we maintain our constitutional protections and balance of powers, no such tragedy can occur in America. But if we allow our Constitution to be circumvented — a process kicked into high gear under Barack Obama — then our rights, freedoms, and perhaps even our lives, will be in jeopardy.
Today’s effective demagogues aren’t Nazis, but those who play the Nazi card. Is everyone espousing nationalism — which is quite natural, being an extension of family patriotism and tribalism — an Adolf Hitler? I guess that since Mussolini was a journalist, and Heinlein is a journalist, she must be a fascist. See how that works? It’s silly, of course. Heinlein is not Hitler — she’s more like the useful idiots who vaulted the Nazis to power.
She praises Germans’ willingness to “speak their minds,” which only indicates that she’s oblivious to tyranny’s early signs. Germany has “hate speech” laws, prohibiting, for example, frank and honest discussion about Islam. Heinlein might defend this as necessary to combat hatred. But this is a shallow response to evil, an example of prescribing the wrong cure for want of the right diagnosis.
The real issue isn’t “hate,” but a lack of love of Truth. There’s hate everywhere, directed at all kinds of people and things: blacks, whites, conservatives, Christians, liberals, the government, lawyers, politicians, thieves, etc. And is it wrong to hate evil?
Were hate the disqualifying factor, that question’s answer would be yes. This gets at the problem with the anti-hate movement. It seeks to identify whether an idea is “hateful” while ignoring the only relevant factor: whether it’s true. Moreover, ideas don’t feel hate, people do. And the espousal of a true or untrue idea can be motivated by love or hate. The alleged hatred does not tell the tale.
The main problem with the Nazis was not that they were hateful, but that they ignored Truth — much like those who play the Nazi card today.