Original Intent

I’ve never been much of a movie-goer.

Part of it is that for much of my childhood – the part where real movie addicts got “going to the theater” in their blood – my hometown didn’t even have a theater.  There were always other things to do.

Part of it is that I spend so very little time in front of the TV watching things – and while I spend plenty of time in front of the computer, it’s almost always writing, either for work or, well, this.    The rare times I sit still and try to just consume, I usually fall asleep.

So the list of great movies I’ve never seen, or seen parts of, but not in sequence, or not the the whole thing, is a very long one.

One of them, until this past weekend, had been Schindler’s List.  Believe it or not.

But it was on FX on Saturday night.  And I took a rare night of doing nothing, and chugged a Red Bull and watched the whole thing.

Never seen it?  Don’t go in on a night when you’re feeling down on the human race.  Here’s the scene where the Nazis decide to ship the Jews out of the Krakow Ghetto:

It gets worse, and more depressing.

It’s because humanity, at its core, is rotten.  That fact is at the core of the Judeo-Christian worldview, and it’s been proven in the absolute human absence of that worldview, which was one way you could describe the Holocaust.

How to describe humanity?  I’ll leave it – partly for a little comic relief – to one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Dr. Perry Cox:

With that in mind, what actually separates us – the United State of America – from what you  saw in the video above?

Two centuries of small-”l” liberal democracy?  Sure.

A legal system that, at the moment, works?  You bet.

But Germany was a western country.  It was part of Western Civilization; the home of Bach, Händel, Schubert, Einstein (speaking culturally, not in terms of borders), Kafka, Beethoven.  Not a “liberal democracy”, necessarily, by the time Hitler took office – Germany had suffered some very hard times.

And that’s the point.

It took a bad outcome to a war, and a decade and a half of economic misery to turn what was one of the wealthiest, most educated “first world” nations, the culture of Mozart and Schubert, into the stormtroopers.  It took a demigogue at the head of a mass movement, one who tapped into long-standing cultural antipathies toward a cultural boogeyman at an opportune time, to turn the nation of Göthe into the nation of Amon Göth:

Has our Democracy ever been threatened with this?

No – leaving out all of history’s imponderable ”what ifs“, we have not.

And how do we assure it stays that way?

You really have two options:

Have faith that government will always stay good.  Or at least “not evil”.  That judges and courts and laws and tradition will always hamstring not only the tyrants and murderers, but the tyrants who are murderers.  That, irreducibly, means trusting to human nature.  And it can, hypothetically, work.  And it can, hypothetically, fail miserably.

But that is the leap of faith that Second Amendment opponents like Alice Hausman and Heather Martens and Rahm Emanuel want you, The People, to take.

The other option?

Make sure the people – no, The People – are equipped to make certain government stays on the straight and narrow.  Make sure the people have not only the right to tell the government “you’re getting out of bounds”, but the ability to enforce it.

Want to see what the Second Amendment is about?  This is it.  Preventing what you see in Schindler’s List - preventing government from turning on the people, from metastasizing into a self-sustaining engine of evil.

That is the choice; trust in human nature’s desire to curb its worst aspects, or counterbalance it with sheer numbers.

I’m not saying the likes of Alice Hausman and Heather Martens are depraved totalitarians.

I am saying that depraved totalitarians need a society full of Hausmans and Martenses and Bidens and Emanuels and Michael Paymars, people more willing to empower government in spite of knowing the failings of human nature than they are to trust The People, to have a shot.

And that’s why some of us fight for the Second Amendment.

15 thoughts on “Original Intent

  1. Yep, and remember, the Germans (most of them, anyway), thought that the nazis were the good guys. They believed that they were surrounded and infiltrated by hostile powers attempting to crush the spirit of the German people and keep them weak and poor. The nobility had failed them, the army had failed them. only the nazi’s, with their ideas about the primacy of the State in every area of German life, were able to take on the world and win.
    Until 1942 or so.

  2. I am saying that depraved totalitarians need a society full of Hausmans and Martenses and Bidens and Emanuels and Michael Paymars, people more willing to empower government in spite of knowing the failings of human nature than they are to trust The People, to have a shot.

    I wish I were sure they knew the failings of human nature. All of the worthies you’ve mentioned tend to hold such a high view of themselves that they tend to discount their own failings and their own nature.

    The one way to make a liberal temporarily understand what’s going on is to posit a worldview where one of their Emanuel Goldsteins has power, e.g., “would you really want to live a gun-free world if Sarah Palin were in charge?” That will bring them up short, at least momentarily. But it wears off, because moral vanity is a powerful narcotic.

  3. would you really want to live a gun-free world if Sarah Palin were in charge?

    Being the jaded cynic that I have become towards the left over the last few years, I imagine a typical conversation in response would be

    “Sarah Palin would NEVER get into power”
    “How do you know?”
    “I wouldn’t LET her get into power”
    “How would you prevent that?”
    “By not letting RWNJs vote”
    “Heil Hitler?”
    “Uhh…..shut up. You’re a racist.”

  4. Terry’s comment reminds me of a book report my brother gave about Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” He gave a litany of the accomplishments of Herr Schicklgruber–an inexpensive family car, highways, prosperity after a decade of poverty, respect in the world at large, a successful Olympics–and then told the class who he was talking about. You could have heard a pin drop.

    Obviously one group of Germans figured out something was wrong by (or during) November 1938, but a lot of evil is tolerated if the economy is good and the victim minorities aren’t armed.

  5. Quite frankly, I would rather have Sarah Palin making the decisions than about 98% of the left wing nuts that are in charge, especially nut case Joe Biden.

  6. Lot of high sounding words, Mitch. But I wonder how much you. Or any of us has given to putting them into action; and by that I mean exactly what you think I do.

    It’s one thing to declare you won’t register your weapons, but quite another to declare your willingness to put your life on the line to resist confiscation or banning.

    Would you hesitate to trade fire with a federal agent that showed up demanding you ” hand ‘em over”? Think about it.

    In the past few weeks, I’ve had many discussions with my neighbors, and some are actually suggesting a mutual aid pact… And they ain’t kidding.

    Gives a guy pause. Wish the leftists would join us in such a reflective pause.

  7. But I wonder how much you. Or any of us has given to putting them into action

    Whether I have or have not – or what thought I’ve given, if any – will never be the fodder for a blog comment. If you catch my drift.

  8. Quite frankly, I would rather have Sarah Palin making the decisions than about 98% of the left wing nuts that are in charge, especially nut case Joe Biden.

    Understood, Boss. But Palin is for this exercise interchangeable with any other bogeyman the Left would trot out. And it’s the same point that I was pondering during the implementation of the Patriot Act under W. Now we have the Bidens of the world at the helm of a government with a lot of power. So far they haven’t acted on it. That could change. And then Swiftee’s question becomes less rhetorical.

  9. Two of the best films on the Holocaust, “Schindler’s List” by Steven Spielberg and “The Pianist” by Roman Polanski, both feature exceptional Germans performing noble actions during the second world war. In a similar vein, “In Darkness”, directed by Agnieszka Holland tells the story of a Polish Catholic sewer-maintenance worker who first out of greed, and then out of a new-found sense of duty, saves a group of Jews in the sewage of Lviv. Both films are based on historical facts–with some Hollywood liberties.

  10. Emory,

    “Escape from Sobibor” was an early-eighties made-for-TV movie starring Rutger Hauer and Joanna Pacula and Alan Arkin that was actually an incredibly faithful treatment of the book by the same name. By TV standards of the day, it was an amazing show.

    I think the whole thing is on Youtube.

  11. A few righteous Gentiles couldn’t stop the massacre by the Nazis and that part of the local population, just as there were Bishops who tried to protect the Jews during the riots and pogroms in medieval Europe. The outcome was the same.

    Read: They Fought Back by Yuri Suhl. It’s about the Jewish Resistance.

  12. I find a different scene just as depressing. The women in the barracks are talking to one another about how the National Socialist German Workers Party was gassing the Jews. They couldn’t believe it, they were their work force after all and they were useful. Even after watching random people get shot, the engineer, the one armed machinist they didn’t believe.

  13. There was also a movie about the Swedish diplomat Wallenberg who saved thousands of Jews from the National Socialists. Then the Soviet Socialists arrested him and he disappeared.

  14. This is an excellent summation of something I have always felt but was unable to articulate so well. However, you left out “White” and “Christian” in your description of pre-Nazi German society. While I’ve always felt that this was a strong argument against the concept of White supremacy, those who subscribe to the concept see the opposite.

    Bubbasan raises a valid reason for widespread acceptance of Nazism. Like Mussolini was alleged by some to have done, Hitler kept the trains running on time (so to speak).

    So, this might be another consequence that many of us are only one paycheck away from.

Leave a Reply