No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
– John Donne: 1624.
Here in the comfort of our carefully constructed society, it is hard perhaps for ordinary people going about their daily business to remember the lessons Hannah Arendt spoke of in her book report ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem – The Banality of Evil’. But, and it is a big but; I would suggest to all of you, that no book is more relevant to the current political climate here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain than her now classic dissection of Obersturmbannführer Otto Adolf Eichmann’s character, during his trial in Jerusalem 1961.
In Germany prior to and during the Second World War, 1932 – 1945; Adolf Hitler’s word was above even the law itself.
This principle, so ardently pursued by the Nazi’s as ‘Policy’ throughout their murderous regime, was called Führerprinzip. Now this term, this principle ‘Führerprinzip’ did not in fact originate from the Nazi apparatus. Instead it was first coined by the German aristocrat turned philosopher, Hermann von Keyserling. His central claim was that some people which he called ‘gifted’ were ‘born to rule.’
I think already that those of you with a brain cell can see the inherent problems with this, but let us delve into the ideology just a little deeper.
This idea of a ‘supreme leader born to rule’ stemmed from a then contemporaneous belief floating around back then called ‘Social Darwinism.’ This was a term oft used to refer to the various theories which arose in the latter half of the 19th century that tried to apply Darwin’s ‘evolutionary model’ of ‘natural selection’ to our human society.
The whole premise is of course rank, and so full of holes that even a monkey from Darwin’s tree of life could pull it apart and yet, and isn’t it always thus, it is this central belief that ‘some people are better than others’ which so many people from all walks of political life, believe so vehemently.
Eichmann claimed during his trial, that he had ‘always tried to follow Immanuel Kant’s ‘Categorical imperative’ which denotes an “absolute and unconditional requirement that must be obeyed in all circumstances and, is justified as an end in of itself.” But as Hannah Arendt noted herself, Eichmann had taken the wrong lesson from Kant, missing out on perhaps the most crucial of essentials the ‘Golden Rule’, a human imperative that is so universal as to be part of all Religions in one form or another, and one by which I personally live, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”
This then is ‘The Golden Rule,’ and it is a rule so sadly lacking in our modern day society as to make the very word ‘Society’ seem as nothing more than a hollow vessel into which, we pour all our hate and all our scorn for those less fortunate than ourselves.
Our idea of society is so corrupted it is nothing more than a tired cliché. We use this bland now meaningless phrase to soften the perception we have of ourselves. ‘I cannot be evil because I donate money to Children in Need once a year ’and ‘I cannot be corrupted because I watch BBC Question time, I know what’s going on!’ Then; as you stuff another plastic bag of plastic bound rubbish into your dustbin, you look with disdain across the road to where a wheelchair bound fellow human being, surviving on benefits, struggles through our intemperate weather towards the foodbank, to accept some small measure of ‘Societies Mercy’ and mumble ‘scrounger’.
Some of the very first victims of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, beyond the killing former allies during the night of the long knives, were not merely the Jews, as if that wasn’t bad enough. In point of fact, the vast majority murdered in the early phase of the Nazi Dominion, were ordinary Germans who just happened to have the great misfortune to be ‘Disabled’ as the Nazi’s rose to power. The Nazi’s called this particular part of their genocidal plan to purify the Germanic Race, and thus rid themselves of ‘Undesirables’, – Aktion T4. Now the term ‘Aktion T4’ was so named for the street address of the Chancellery department on Tiergartenstraße 4 in Berlin, set up specifically to carry their ‘Involuntary Euthanasia Program’ of infirm people, or in other words, humans that the Nazis deemed unworthy of life.
Now, I stress this point of the Chancellery address, because it is more important today than at any other time since the Second World War for ordinary people here in Great Britain to understand; that it is behind such banal and inoffensive political terminology that a policy of utter evil can be created and hidden away in plain sight.
Today this ‘camouflage of evil’ has been perfected by mealy-mouthed politicians who espouse the grand façade of ‘Helping the People.’ Yet strangely, and despite their sincere sounding words, it is always as it ever was, the weakest and most vulnerable in ‘Society’ who suffer the most egregiously under the half-hidden hatreds of such authoritarians. This Rule of Hate is true in every country run by ‘Elites’. The title that they give themselves is irrelevant because the ideology is always the same – ‘I am better than you, so I will judge your life because I have all the power.’
Social Darwinism indeed.
Thus it was that after an all too brief ‘Medical Examination’, these poor unfortunate souls were granted a ‘Mercy Killing’ [Gnadentod] by the Nazis and done away with.
And if you are sat there thinking ‘that all sounds too familiar’ remember ‘all fascists believe they have a right to make judgements about the lives of those weaker than themselves.’
It should also be noted here, that the Nazi Government was easily able to find ‘doctors’ and other so called professionals [Quislings] keen to implement their genocide and, that between September 1939 and mid 1941 these people, all of whom were Germans, murdered some 70,000+ disabled people for no crime whatsoever other than being ‘incurably disabled.’
This period of the Holocaust was particularly nasty considering how many of their victims were children.
Now these ‘Mercy Killings’ were implemented by a variety of means which ranged from hanging children, gassing children with carbon monoxide, suffocating children, and my particular favourite method of murder, injecting carbolic acid directly into children’s hearts.
Think about that for a moment.
The Nazis injected acid into children’s hearts and called it ‘Mercy’.
The more defenceless the victim is, the more pleasure a sadist derives. This brutal axiom is true with all sadists, and, ladies and the Nazis were sadists. It seems sickeningly apt, therefore, that disabled children were their ultimate victim of choice.
Now, as bad as all this was, and it was truly horrific, the Nazis were only just getting started.
By the end of the Second World War in 1945 the Nazis had managed to massacre six million Jewish people; 1.5 million of whom were children.
They also slaughtered at least 100,000 Romani people and butchered between 2 to 3 million Russian prisoners of war and somewhere between 1.8 million, to 1.9 million, Polish prisoners of war.
And all this slaughter, all of it was down to the simple fact that the ‘Master Race’, this so called ‘Elite’ of humanity, considered everybody else as nothing more than Untermenschen. [Sub-Humans]. They of course also murdered other ‘Undesirables’, such as homosexuals, various religious groups, and of course, black people. But let us get back to the disabled.
By the end of the Second World War, the number of disabled people slaughtered by the Nazis had risen to approximately 150,000 human beings.
Some reports after the war put this figure of murdered disabled people even higher, but by then I believe, so many people had been slaughtered by Germany’s Nazi Elite, that the fate of their disabled citizens became almost a sideshow, forgotten by most until recent years.
This can be forgiven, I suppose, after all – the numbers of the dead is simply too huge for normal sane humans to fully comprehend. The full horror of Auschwitz, Sobibór, Mauthausen, and all the rest; too incomprehensible for decent human beings to get a mental handle on.
Or at least, so history would have you believe.
What the Nazis did to the European Jewish community and all the rest of their victims was undeniably horrific, but I believe that our own reaction to this infamy is equally damnable.
MOST Nazis escaped justice.
Not an opinion.
We also now know that most Nazis were actively enabled by the Allies to escape justice.
Oh yes, there were a few show trials to be sure; and to make us all feel good about ourselves they even hanged a few prominent Nazis, but the bitter truth is, that the vast majority of those who carried out their atrocious crimes, walked away scot free to re-enter civilian life almost exactly where they had left off, many indeed, taking up positions of influence and power within the then two separate Germany’s.
This notion that the Allies won the war and then punished the evildoers is a myth. It is in its own way a stupendous crime, and it is perhaps because of our collective denial of our own conduct towards these mass murderers, and our culpability in enabling the VAST MAJORITY of Nazis to escape justice that has led to certain monstrous voices today to openly claim that the Holocaust never happened and allows some to push their anti-Semitism into the public domain.
This Truth is why today in the United Kingdom our own Government feels it is only ‘right and proper’ to once again openly victimise our disabled citizens and lay claim that they are ‘HELPING THE PEOPLE’.
This is what fascists believe and it is Fascism ladies and gentlemen. These people deem others less worthy of life than they. They label ‘others’ as threats and demonise them in their rancid propaganda news sheets and make judgements about the lives of others and all too many people buy into it.
Hannah Arendt even commentated on this reality, she said…
“Under conditions of terror most people will comply but some people will not, just as the lesson of the countries to which the Final Solution was proposed is that “it could happen” in most places but it did not happen everywhere. Humanly speaking, no more is required, and no more can reasonably be asked, for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation.”
Arendt mentions, as a particular case in point, what happened in Denmark. She said…
“It was not just that the people of Denmark refused to assist in implementing the Final Solution, as the peoples of so many other conquered nations had been persuaded to do (or had been eager to do) — but also, that when the Third Reich cracked down and decided to do the job itself, it found that its own personnel in Denmark had been infected by this refusal and were unable to overcome their human aversion with the appropriate ruthlessness, as their peers in more cooperative areas had.”
So I feel compelled to ask you…
“How long before those who rule us once again grant those of us who are disabled, a Gnadentod? How long before Jews, Romani’s; homosexuals, Muslim’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses, black people, and disabled children are once again rounded up and sent to euphemistically named ‘Work Camps’?”
If you live in the United Kingdom and have any sense of honour left to you, if you have any courage at all, then all you need do is to stop and ask a disabled person for the answer? They will, I am certain tell you in very simply and honest language, ‘that it has already begun’.
Our own government passes judgement on the lives of disabled people every day and claim “We are helping disabled people,” when quite the reverse is factually and easily verifiably true.
And the worst part of all this, is that millions of so called ordinary people who believe themselves to be ‘good, decent, incorruptible folks are, as in Germany 1932 -1945, turning a blind eye to and or even are ‘enabling’ this Government of Elitists to continue with their vicious pogrom of hatred towards disabled people.
Ladies and Gentlemen it always starts with the vulnerable.
The propaganda which turns the minds of ordinary people into hating the ‘Other’ is the but the first in a series of steps taken as a deliberate political choice for greater power and privilege to be centralised in that hands of a extremist political elite, and it always ends in a reign of terror, but you are not powerless to stop it.
Remember Hannah Arendt, remember Eichmann, remember Denmark, and remember the Elitists are not as powerful as their own arrogance allows for as Mahātmā Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi said…
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
So when our right wing extremists in power use officialise to abstractly victimise the next disabled person in your community, when they use Policy to terrorise the vulnerable, the meek, the individual? When they use their super rich tax dodging friends to collectively smear whole sections of our ‘Society’ in their rancid propaganda News and Media outlets, as they steal the wealth of our nation for themselves, remember what ‘Society’ truly stands for.
Remember too John Donne’s meditation, and remember always ‘The Golden Rule’…
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
And remember always, that – in Nazi Germany everybody got an armband except the Disabled. They had already been killed.