Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aren't you glad you no longer have a Hitler Problem?

Lawrence had written: I think I have enough bone fides to indicate that I would have been in the American minority that "recognized the terrible danger of Adolf Hitler." After all I now recognize the terrible danger of" Islamism and so would very likely be of a mind to recognize the danger of Hitler.

Ahmed responded: It does not follow that because you think you perceive the terrible danger of Islamism, you would therefore have recognized the real danger of Hitler. Hitler did not mount a terrorist attack in New York, so if you lived in New York, you would probably have gone on biking in Manhattan cheerfully and wouldn't have worried about the Holocaust. Also, Hitler was a white man, European, of Christian origins, secular, all of which leads me to suspect that you would probably have been more sympathetic to him. He was also a militaristic strongman, something you obviously find appealing. The real question is, what would you think if you were living in Germany in the 1930s? I have little doubt that you would have been in the front rows of that crowd frantically cheering Hitler.

Lawrence responds: Very good Omar. I wondered what you would do to turn the tables. Because I recognize the Islamist threat and oppose it, this grants me no bone fides when transported back to the 1930s. It shows, you think, that I am warlike and likely to support any war for any reason. I transported myself back to the U.S., my own nation, but you transported me to Germany and make have me supporting Hitler. Very clever. But is not what you have argued consistent with what Neville Chamberlain did during that period when Pacifism was so popular? He assumed that any sort of war should be avoided. Peace should be obtained “at any price.” And if you take that position, then there would be no difference between fighting for the U.S. against Fascism and fighting for Hitler for Fascism. War is war and peace is peace. We should seek peace at any price.

I, of course, disagree with that position. Even if many didn’t understand the dangers of Fascism in the 30s, we have that history to examine. We don’t need to make the same mistake again. Consider the parallels: Islamism is fascistic in nature as the Lebanese scholar Youssef M Choueiri argues in his Islamic Fundamentalism. While Saddam Hussein was not Islamist, he was Fascist Baathist; so he could declare common cause with the Islamists, and they with him, on many occasions. We think of the Nazis as seeking racial purity, and yet they declared common cause with a “race,” the Japanese, very different from their own, because they practiced a form of government that was consistent with Fascism. They wanted the same sorts of things. They had the same enemies. Hitler, the Japanese, Mussolini, Quisling, and others declared common cause in the 30s. And the Nazis recognized that American-style democracy was anathema to their cause; just as Islamists and Islamist sympathizers recognize that very same thing today. Just like the Fascists of the 30s, they argue that their murderous excesses should be excused while our attempts to combat them should be condemned. They claim to be defensive when they blow up innocent women and children. They claim we are being offensive when we bomb Islamists and some innocents die in the process. They are good. We are evil.

And I notice no Leftist’ protests. This speaks to how far the Left has drifted from true Liberalism. A true Liberal be offended at the very idea that he might not oppose Islamism. I believe I would have seen the danger of Hitler and fascism and opposed them. To imainge that I wouldn’t would be to imagine some other Lawrence, someone I wouldn’t know or recognize. Consider the present election. Barack Obama is as close to a “strong man” as we’ve had running for the presidency in years and that is part of the reason I oppose him. He is a strong man without a strong record. He is running on a platform of change without having enough of a record to let us know what he means by that.

Lawrence Helm

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