May 14, 2009

"Bake sales against genocide"

Mark Steyn:
Michael, re Obama's view of the Holocaust:
Those numbers can be our future, our fellow citizens of the world showing us how to make the journey from oppression to survival, from witness to resistance and ultimately to reconciliation. That is what we mean when we say "never again."
I take your point that "it may be what he means by 'never again,' but most everybody else means 'we're going to act to throttle the next would-be Hitler.'" But I'm not sure everybody else does mean that, not anymore.

The French thinker (if you'll pardon the expression) Alain Finkielkraut says that "Never again" to a European means "Never again power politics. Never again nationalism. Never again Auschwitz" — which sounds like a slightly different order of priorities from yours. And over the decades the revulsion against any kind of "power politics" has come to trump whatever revulsion post-Auschwitz Europe might feel about mass murder. That's why in the early Nineties the EU let hundreds of thousands die on its borders in the Balkans rather than act to prevent it. Indeed, they "acted" only to prevent the Americans coming in and doing something about it, because they found it easier to tolerate the murder of their fellow Europeans than the idea of American military action to stop it.

It's interesting how easily the Obama definition of "Never again" fits that kind of passivity. Two of the three "causes for hope" the president cites — Rwanda, Sudan — are textbook "Never again" scenarios that roll around again and again and again. In fact, Darfur is still ongoing, so to congratulate yourself merely because some American high-schoolers have formed "Save Darfur" chapters looks at best like moral preening and at worst like the kind of feeble passivity that enabled the Holocaust first time round. It's grand to be a member of the Grade Ten "Save Darfur" campaign, not so good to be back in Darfur wondering when the actual saving's going to start. If "Never again" now means "Bake sales against genocide," we're all doomed.

"Bake sales against genocide." Mr Steyn hits on the right phrase as usual.

How I despise liberals who talk abut Hitler in self-congratulatory terms, as a great liberal victory. Them liberals are long gone. Just imagine the situation of, say, 1936 were to exist today, and President George W Bush was urging Americans to go to war and stop this menace while it could still be done with relatively small loss of life! Do you have any doubt that our 'liberals" and fake-pacifists would happily let the Jews fry?

Posted by John Weidner at May 14, 2009 11:16 AM
Weblog by John Weidner