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 at the time 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 life believe so vehemently, and particularly so, in right wing political spheres.
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, Eichmann had taken the wrong lesson from Kant, missing out on perhaps its most crucial of essentials, ‘The Golden Rule’, a human imperative that is so universal as to be part of all Religions & Philosophies in one form or another and, one by which I personally try hard live by, – “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!’ Voting for Conservatives who openly pursue Racist Policies does not make me a Racist?
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 barely surviving on benefits, struggles through our intemperate weather towards the foodbank on his crutches, to accept some small measure of ‘Societies Mercy’ and mumble to yourselves ‘blasted scroungers’.
Some of the very first victims of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, beyond the murder of 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 of humans murdered in the early phase of the Nazi Dominion, were ordinary Germans who just happened to have the great misfortune to be ‘Disabled’ as Nazism 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.
The rather boring and inoffensive term ‘Aktion T4’ was so named for the street address of the Chancellery department on Tiergartenstraße 4 in Berlin, set up specifically to carry out their ‘Involuntary Euthanasia Program’ of infirm people. In other words ‘The Murder of 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 (Aktion T4) 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.
If you are feeling rather uncomfortable right now and thinking to yourself, ‘This sounds all too familiar’ remember – ‘all fascists believe they have a right to make judgement’s about the lives of those weaker or more vulnerable 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 in the back of trucks, (a precursor to their more industrial killing in gas chambers later on in the war) suffocating children, and my particular favourite method of murdering children, by injecting carbolic acid directly into the hearts of these disabled children so they could watch them scream.
Think about that for a moment.
The Nazis injected acid into children’s hearts and then called their murders ‘A 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 and it seems sickeningly apt therefore, that utterly defenceless 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, to1.9 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 WW2’s close, 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 the Nazi Killing Machine, that the fate of Germany’s 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 large scale for normal sane humans to fully comprehend. The full horror of Auschwitz, Sobibór, Mauthausen, and all the rest; almost 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 now, that our own reaction to this horrific 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 we even hanged a few prominent Nazis. But the bitter truth is, that the vast majority of those who carried out their atrocious slaughter, 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.
This Myth 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 where it is taken up, not by the Left, but largely by the political right who believe as they always have ‘that they are born to rule over us untermenchen’.
This absolute Truth is why today, here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, our own Extremist Right Wing Government feels it is only ‘right and proper’to once again ‘openly victimise our disabled citizens’ and lay claim that they are ‘HELPING DISABLED PEOPLE’.
This is what Fascists believe and it is Fascism ladies and gentlemen.
These rancid racist scum deem others less worthy of life than they. They label ‘others’ as threats and demonise them in their vile propaganda news sheets and, make judgements about the lives of our most vulnerable citizens 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’ for Resettlement?”
If you live in the United Kingdom and posses any sense of honour, 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 lay 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, deliberately turning a blind eye to their evil and are even ‘knowingly enabling’ this Government 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 officialese 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 lastly, and this above all things, remember this last warning I give to you.
“In Nazi Germany everybody got an armband except the Disabled. They had already been killed.”