Some lives mattering more than others

Steve Sailer finds an interesting contrast:

  • Ottawa to build Victims of Communism memorial.  Elite opinion:  What for?  It didn’t happen in Canada.  The thing’s too big.
  • Ottawa to build a National Holocaust Monument, with a 50% larger budget.  Elite opinion:  General silence.  No controversy.  Implication is–What took so long?  Canada is the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in its capital.

Commenters note a further asymmetry between the two memorials.  The former commemorates all victims of communism, while the latter will certainly focus on a subset of the victims of Naziism.  Millions of dead Slavs don’t interest anyone, whether it was Stalin or Hitler who killed them.  They were only goyim.

What’s really striking is what everybody takes for granted, that every country should have Holocaust monuments, but not, say, Holodomor monuments, Cultural Revolution monuments, Vendee massacre monuments, Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre monuments, Armenian genocide monuments, Mongol conquest monuments, or monuments to any other great atrocity.  Why is it so much more important to remember some deaths than others?

Of course, there’s always the suspicion that the Jews are doing it for selfish reasons, to enhance their status by laying claim to the “greatest victims ever” prize.  I wish it were just the Jews, and that they were merely selfish, because then we might work out some accommodation.  The point of Holocaust museums is to delegitimize Western peoples, to imply that any love we might have for our own race or country is just a prelude to genocide.  That’s why all Westerners must have them.  This view of Westerners is either true of false.  If it’s true, the Jews are running quite a risk provoking us–if we’re really the monsters they say we are, we will not be long controlled by guilt.  If it’s false, then the Jews are again running a risk concentrating their fire on us rather than more dangerous enemies.  I think they really believe it, that they’re not the only ones that believe it, and that those who believe it are willing to take any risk to rid the world of what they see as our evils.

A while back, I wrote a series on the Orthosphere called “One God; many peoples” about the relationship between monotheism and universalism.  I asked what drives some belief systems to proselytism, and whether proselytizing faiths are necessarily also particularity-dissolving faiths.  In the original plan, there was an installment on Judaism.  However, I decided that I didn’t have time to sugarcoat it enough for that site.

Is Judaism a proselytizing faith?  The standard answer is “No, because they don’t try to convince everybody to become Jews.”  Not so fast, though.  Was Francis Xavier a proselytizer?  He was a Jesuit missionary who went to distant lands preaching the gospel, but he didn’t try to convince everybody else to become Jesuit missionaries.  “That’s not the point”, you’ll say, “he’s a proselytizer because he tried to convince them to become Catholic.  ‘Catholic’ is the belief system, and ‘Jesuit missionary’ is just a particular role within that system.”  Quite right.  So, the question is, are the Jews, by their own lights, coextensive with a particular belief system, or are they just a sort of priesthood of some belief system?  Do we in fact see the Jews leaving people alone to their gentile beliefs and loyalties, or do they expend significant energy to alter those beliefs and loyalties?  Which is more common:  a Christian (say, a missionary) attacking Jewish beliefs or a Jew (say, a newspaperman or screenwriter) attacking Christian beliefs?  We’re already powerless–why would it be practical to devote so much attention to our beliefs?  One could imagine arguing that the Jews were the most active and successful proselytizers of the last century, and what they preach tends to be far more anti-particularist than Christianity.

If this suggestion upsets you, just change the terminology to reflect mainstream value judgments.  “Judaism has shown much greater moral clarity in condemning the evil of racism than Christianity.  Christians are complacent in the face of bigotry, but Jews will take great risks to root out intolerance even in communities where no self-interest is involved.  Jews bravely force gentiles to face their history of violence and oppression without excuses, whereas Christianity tends to legitimize violence and oppression.”  There, did that sound better?  Hardly controversial at all, when I put it like that.  Bullies are full of moral clarity.

39 Responses

  1. The purpose of a monument is to trigger emotions. A statue of George Washington on horseback, for instance, is meant to trigger an emotions of admiration for the man and loyalty to the country he helped to found. Of course any monument with the power to trigger positive emotions has a capacity to trigger negative emotions. A committed anti-American, upon seeing this statue of George Washington, would no doubt curse and spit and hate America more than ever. And of course there are many people who are apathetic, and their numbers grow as the memorialized person or event recedes into the past.

    So one question is, what emotions is a Holocaust memorial meant to trigger. To answer this question, we have to look at the design of the monuments, which are varied, but which seem generally designed to trigger existential disgust. They are what Bruce Carleton calls “demotivates.”

  2. What makes the Holocaust special is less its scale and more its structure. When Turkish troops butcher Armenians, when Stalin starves millions to death in Ukraine or the Gulag, when Rwandans massacre each other with machetes, that is – as you rightly point out – no different structurally from St. Bartholomew’s or the Piedmontese Easter. But co-opting an entire society of otherwise decent, sophisticated people into committing mass murder with all the dispassionate precision of factory workers and turning genocide into a national industry is quite unique.

    Or, to put it in somewhat more pathetic terms: most atrocities committed throughout history represent failures of civilization – a regression of man to a more primitive, barbaric state. The Holocaust, meanwhile, is not the antithesis, but the apex of modern civilization, the logical end of a bureaucratic, highly organized, relativistic and faceless society.

    Does that make it worse than other crimes? Maybe not. But it does make it a lot scarier, especially to those liberals still smitten with the narrative of constant human progress. And I believe that we reactionaries should always be mindful of the peculiar nature of this crime: it is, in many ways, our greatest vindication.

  3. Let me try to translate what Mr. Schmitt said into more straightforward language. Most leftists, having spent some time working for a non-profit, NGO, Teach For America, or something similar, have developed an instinctive revulsion at the thought of efficiency. What scares them about the Holocaust is not that it was a genocide, but that it was a genocide that featured private sector levels of efficiency. The Rwandans at least had the decency to show up to “work” an hour late and then take 3 hours to play soccer at lunch, which is like some sort of non-profit genocide. To the modern leftist this at least seems familiar, if not exactly nice.

  4. As my pen name suggests, English is not my native language, so I apologize for any ambiguities in meaning; and ambiguous it seems to have been, as that is not quite what I was trying to say.

    In my opinion, this is really not a left vs. right issue, but rather one of modernist vs. reactionary. On the one side stand Catholic reactionaries, advocating a state founded on divinely legitimized authority, representation (in its original meaning), personal loyalty and natural law. On the other stand the secular modernists (of both left and right), to whom a state is only truly “modern” if it espouses their gospel of religious neutrality, moral relativism and bureaucratic, impersonal governance.

    Now, all other atrocities can be tied (however loosely) into that modernist narrative. Rwanda? Tribalism. Serbia? Religious tensions. Soviet atrocities? Insufficient checks on executive powers. They can thus be written off as unfortunate failures of civilization.

    But the Holocaust did not happen in a post-feudal wasteland, performed by cruel nobles or bloodthirsty peasants. It happened right in the heartland of European civilization, in what had long been the model state of secular modernists on the continent; it happened with railways and gas, was performed by mid-level bureaucrats and normal employees – refined, educated people -, and with the full support of a nation-wide infrastructure.

    Modernists will then try to blame racism. But racism (unlike tribalism) is a form of impersonal collectivism and, thus, distinctly modern.

    The Holocaust is unique because it was a modern atrocity, founded on modern ideology and carried out with modern means. That it scares modernists should come as no surprise.

  5. Carl,

    You may be right about why leftists care so much about it, but it’s not unique from our perspective. The mass murder of unborn babies is comparable many times over to the holocaust.

  6. My sense is the opposite. Liberals focus on the Holocaust because they think it fits with their progressive vision. It was a return to our barbarous, racist past, don’t you know? Communist atrocities are the distinctly modern horror, and because liberals can’t deny that communists are progressive and therefore modern, their misdeeds must be downplayed.

    If it really were a question of what lesson Canadians most need to learn, surely the Communism monument has the better claim. Just compare the number of Canadian communist sympathizers in positions of influence with the number of Canadian Nazi sympathizers in positions of influence. In fact, though, concentrating on either is a distraction. There’s no chance Canada is going to erect a Nazi, Stalinist, or Maoist dictatorship in the foreseeable future. Today’s evils are of a different sort.

  7. @Carl Schmitt
    To be clear, I didn’t misunderstand you, I was just trying to be funny. There was something that struck me as very amusing about the idea of leftists being outraged by the efficiency and conspicuously White/Western organization of a genocide rather than by the brutal killing of innocent people.

  8. @ArkansasReactionary – excellent point. We must remember that a Holocaust many times more brutal and faceless as the Nazi Holocaust is going on right now committed by Western governments and others.

    Holocaust memorials are symbols of enforced guilt. They don’t need context to matter (why is one being erected in Canada when it happened in Germany?). Their purpose (Jew designed or otherwise) is to prevent Occidental peoples from ever identifying with their ethnic roots ever again. The Holocaust is to be seen as a badge of shame, but only for the crimes committed against the Jews, and the entirely made-up extermination of homosexuals. You’ll notice the crimes of the Ustashe in Croatia where Serbs were massacred en masse in camps certainly more brutal than places like Auschwitz, are never discussed. The people who committed these crimes were rarely pursued, unlike the Nazis.

    Let’s be honest. If these people actually gave a damn about real people’s lives who were brutally snuffed out, then they would support memorializing the massacres of Armenians, Russians, and Chinese. And they certainly would be outraged over abortion. They are not because they don’t care. It’s all about cultural domination, and unfortunately, making money.

  9. Exactly. I’d also add another reason they don’t care, Communist and liberal governments massacre their own people, while Leftists are only interested in crimes committed against the Other.

  10. I don’t know, didn’t the holocaust become the real meaning of WWII at pretty much the exact moment that Jews replaced the WASP establishment? Maybe we shouldn’t overthink it.

  11. Great post, and great comments so far. This is interesting analysis, and very useful food for thought. But I wonder if the example itself is any good?

    I mean, while it’s possible or even likely that some Jews think white people(s) are The Problem and that a Holocaust museum in every western capital Ought To Do The Trick, another explanation seems more plausible:

    Groups with a big atrocity done to them in their past have similar desires or incentives to build lots of memorials, but Jews happen to be really good at getting these memorials actually built, for similar reasons as why they are really good at getting news articles published, movies written, laws challenged, etc.

  12. I can’t think of any other group that wants memorials built for some atrocity they suffered. There’s probably some out there, but it doesn’t seem to common.

    For example, I’ve never heard of any of these groups wanting memorials for their suffering:

    Persecuted Christians
    Tutsis
    Armenians

  13. I went to Google.com and was able to quickly find:

    – a long list of memorials for the Armenian genocide;

    – a bunch of memorials for the Rwandan genocide (though I think most of them are in Rwanda);

    – a lot of articles about, and at least one physical memorial for, persecuted Christians.

    These are evidence of lots of people who wanted or might want memorials. Then, if you search for “why isn’t there a memorial” (in quotes) and “genocide” (outside of quotes) you get over 1300 results (and only one appears to be from Stormfront!). Most of those results represent at least one person or group of people who wants a memorial for some genocide that doesn’t currently have one.

    And then I wonder, how many of those people do you suppose are Jewish? The Holocaust museum itself apparently has an arm (the Simon-Skjodt Center) dedicated to teaching about many different past genocides, including the Rwandan one, and doing a kind of outreach where they send staff all over the world to try and prevent genocides they think might occur in the near future, including genocides against Muslim populations. There are also lectures and exhibits about the Armenian genocide–so, Christians.

    Like I said, I think the discussion point is interesting. I just don’t think the example supports it very strongly, but instead shows something about Jews that most people already knew.

  14. I think the real difference is not that Armenians, say, are less successful at getting their monuments built. The question is whether these monuments or Armenian spokesmen go around saying that all non-Armenians are in some way guilty of their genocide and that all Muslim peoples must restructure their culture to make sure “it” doesn’t happen again.

    I was recently rereading some of my old antisemitic posts, and I realized that I’m inadvertently repeating things I’ve already written (https://bonald.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/remembering-antisemitism-and-nothing-else/). I guess that tends to happen after one has been blogging long enough, but it’s still a little bit embarrassing. Anyway, one of the comments provided this link:
    http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/06/holocaust-commemoration/
    a long essay on this fascinating process of the universalization of Holocaust guilt, how it became not just something the Germans did, but something we’re all somehow responsible for.

  15. Yes, I think that’s a more accurate way to put it. If you follow the “woe-was-us” aspect of Holocaust memorials backward, you get to the same source tribalism that other groups have. But if you follow the proselytizing aspect, then you get to that thing that Jewish elites–and a revoltingly large portion of their constituents–seem to be uniquely prone to.

  16. Imagine the Chinese telling Cambodian people, Thai people, Indian people etc. that they are responsible for Japanese atrocities in WWII. Which is harder to believe: that the Chinese would make such an argument if they thought it would work, or that such an argument would be taken seriously by the other groups? I think the unique characteristics of Jews are worth discussing, and there’s no doubt that their use of the holocaust is very cynical and dishonest (as is so much of their behavior). Still, there is something unique about the modern White gentile mentality which makes such things possible. And no, I don’t think that that is *merely* the result of Jewish brainwashing. The astounding control Jews have over our narratives is itself something that would never have been allowed by a more street-smart ethnic group (so to speak). The Jews would love to boss Asians around, for example, and have sometimes tried, but they are generally less successful in doing so. The Asians simply aren’t as dumb, gullible, or perverse as modern Whites.

    When I hear or read right-wingers lamenting the nefarious influence of the Jews I sometimes feel I am reading the racial version of some college rape hoax. A girl gets drunk and runs a “train” on the football team. When it becomes necessary to explain her shameful behavior she suddenly remembers she has been “raped.” Of course rape or no rape, the football players are scumbags. But the girl is rarely very innocent herself. Similarly, without saying that our society’s Jews are admirable people, I don’t care for this notion that gentiles are a bunch of innocent people who have been tricked into believing things they otherwise would not. Jews have been successful with their reprehensible schemes in our countries more so than in others because of something that is fundamentally wrong with us.

  17. […] notices Some lives mattering more than others. He starts with the disparity in both funding and interest between a Holocaust Monument and Victims […]

  18. @Howard – I might lodge a disagreement with your hypothesis, simply based on history. It must be remembered that Jews were despised to varying degrees in Europe right up until the end of the Second World War. They did have great influence over this time period, but why was all resistance against them so strong and almost unstoppable in its conclusion right up until that point? The answer is of course the Holocaust, which has become a cudgel, and has really ended any popular resistance against Jews by Occidental people. The same can be said of blacks.

    Let me put it bluntly, there is NO WAY that a country like, for instance, Malaysia, would stand for a foreign ethnic group causing as much havoc and waste as blacks do at large in the United States, and I think the primary cause that whites in America put up with it is not the Occidental racial characteristics (though they may be some compounding factor) but rather history itself and a race-guilt industry.

    How has the race-guilt industry become so powerful? Let’s be honest, it has been empowered wholly by Occidental ‘Moderns’ who have betrayed their own people. A cadre of Jacobins who have financed it.

  19. HP, you are right. The Jews did not build the Anglo/American psychological warfare complex. They just mostly control it now.

  20. There may be a genetic basis to Northwestern European’s guilt. See Peter Frost’s work.

    Christianity or at least the left-liberal mentality of secularized post-Christianity makes us prone to guilt also.

  21. Perhaps, but Europe also went through a quick and deep period of ethnicification which happened to coincide with the spread and conquest of Christianity, so its hard to pin the blame on genes or Christianity.

  22. I agree: you can’t blame Christianity for white guilt. Christianity, for example, was both a prime justification for northern slaveholding in the 17th and 18th centuries (see for example the writings of Cotton Mather) and a prime justification for northern Abolitionism.

    If there is an innate characteristic about goy whites that makes them prone to guilt, it seems likely to be at the genetic level, not the religious heritage one. But why should that “if” be such a mystery? There could be twin studies, for example. There ought to be enough twins born to goy whites where one twin was adopted by a Jewish couple and raised Jewish, or pairs of Jewish twins where one retained their Jewish identity while the other did not. See if any patterns emerge.

  23. You don’t have to blame Christianity. Just a particular perversion of it.
    I don’t know about it being a white goy thing. My impression of Russians is that they’re not real saddled with historic guilt.
    Maybe a Hajnal line-genetic thing or a Western Church thing, or a Protestant thing.

  24. Since we’re talking about religion, it seems like if anything it’s Germanic-language-speaking goy white people’s propensity to voluntary secularism and atheism that is most associated with guilt and guilt-mongering. I haven’t done any in-depth thinking about it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you found its roots in Nietzsche and stuff like that.

  25. Interesting. Protestant Christianity is basically a Germanic thing, right?

  26. @NZ Nietzsche responsible for the rise of guilt-mongering? Maybe you mean Friedrich’s brother Roy Nietzsche. I don’t think of Friedrich as being a big advocate of guilt.

    I would think that affluence and luxury play a big role here. The Russians and Eastern Europeans are much less affluent than the West and have been less inclined toward self-negation and guilt. The more I think about it, really, the more it seems like affluence is the big cause of progressivism. Jewish influence, religious decline (or perversion) etc. seem more like symptoms. White people probably have some innate predisposition toward progressivism, but in any case it seems that affluence was necessary to really activate this tendency. After all, White people 500 years ago were obviously far less progressive than the Japanese today. So affluence seems to be the strongest causal factor.

  27. I think at a minimum, affluence is at least necessary to allow it to happen. Don’t know about caual. Necessary but insufficient, I’d say since the Japanese are affluent.

  28. I think you are right about old Fred Nietzsche. His philosophy might cause one to feel shame over failure to be a superman, but I don’t see how it could cause guilt. We feel guilty about things we have succeeded in doing, but later regret. We shameful about things we have failed to do. As I read FN, success is its own justification.

    I don’t think that Europeans have an extraordinary susceptibility to guilt. I think they have been told that they are bad, bad, bad, and that the message is beginning to sink in. Imagine that every Japanese university and television network was packed to the rafters with resentful Chinese and Koreans on a mission to remind the Japanese of their ancestor’s sins. I’d suppose the Japanese would be rolling on the floor and begging for forgiveness in fairly short order.

    Guilt-tripping works, and it works on groups as well as individuals.

  29. @Bruce
    Aren’t the Japanese fairly progressive at this point? I suppose they don’t allow the level of immigration that we do, but in most other ways I thought they are now fairly progressive.

    @JMSmith
    Sure, it’s easy to see where the white guilt of the current generation comes from. But why do Jews have the opportunity to brainwash our kids in the first place? They weren’t given that opportunity 300 years ago. So clearly some generation of White people, who were not themselves raised to be guilty, nevertheless felt comfortable allowing Jews on the air to tell the next generation that they were bad. Or else this happened over many generations. But in that case it would mean that multiple generations of Whites allowed the next generation to be raised to be more guilty than they themselves had been. In any case, Jews could not just force these things on us. They needed us to let them do so. Why did we initially let them start doing this?

  30. I was thinking of what the typical white high schooler might take away from Nietzsche, not what a, um, more mature person would. In other words, atheism, tradition-questioning, individualism, etc. What if this is what most people have gotten out of Nietzsche since he was alive? Is that implausible? And from those things it’s just a hop skip and a jump to guilt.

    (By the way, my fingers are tired of typing Nietzsche, so from now on I’m calling him Old Fred, with a tip of the hat to JMSmith.)

  31. The genetic explanation doesn’t work unless Vikings, Visigoths, Latins, Vandals, etc. were particularly prone to sympathy for the other. If you want to understand how we got here, you have to look at how we actually got here, the whole intellectual history of the west. Voegelin seems to have been on the right track.

  32. Jews have long risen to prominence in Europe and the Anglosphere, but didn’t infect these societies with self-hatred until after WWII. Even the Jewish socialists in FDR’s cabinet didn’t turn mainstream polite opinion into the self-flagellating mess it is today. Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” seems to have been a more dominant expression of the American self-identity up through that time.

    So, the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced this doesn’t go back much farther than the middle of the 20th century, and thus is an anomaly resulting from a Perfect Storm: the Holocaust in Europe, 2nd generation Jewish immigrants coming of age and gaining power (2nd generation immigrants are so often more anti-assimilationist and ungrateful than their parents), the Great Migration, the rise of mass media, the latent tendencies of all parties involved, etc.

  33. I don’t claim to have a profound understanding of Nietzsche, but NZ’s suggestion that white guilt is connected with secularization matches the historical data much better than ideas that it is something intrinsic to whites or Christianity.

    Actually, it reminded me of something Nietzsche said somewhere about how pagan religion took guilt away (because they just blamed that gods for their bad behavior), but Christianity just loads more guilt on (by adding offense to God and the suffering of His Son, I guess). The second half of that doesn’t seem right to me; Christianity is largely about relief from guilt. On the other hand, if paganism and Christianity both have mechanisms for removing guilt (Judaism too, at least while the Temple was around), then atheism would be expected to have problems with accumulating guilt.

  34. On the other hand, we must be clear what we mean when we talk about “white guilt” and “Christian guilt”. This is something only experienced by conservatives. Liberals don’t feel guilty about the Holocaust and slavery; they blame those things on us, a group of people they despise and feel no connection to. You have to identify with your ancestors before you can feel guilty for them.

    On the one hand, there is white, Christian conservative guilt.
    On the other, there is everybody-except-white-Christian-conservatives vindictiveness.

  35. Who was it…Stephen Colbert? Anderson Cooper?…who went on that ancestry show and leapt for joy when he found out his slaveholding ancestor was murdered by one of his own former slaves…

    To make this work, there’s gotta be a kind of disconnect from anyone except today’s minorities, non-conservative women, and white liberals. But even with the latter two groups, the hunt to root out guilt is unceasing.

  36. Bonald, Christianity provides the guilt and the relief from guilt. The Christian deformations (liberalism, leftism) provide the guilt without the relief.

  37. I don’t have a profound understanding of Nietzsche, either. But a profound understanding of a philosopher is often a handicap when it comes to appreciating the impact that philosopher had on the general culture. To the extent that Nietzsche’s ideas affect the common man, it is in a radically vulgarized form. The same might be said of Calvin, or really any other thinker. Intellectual history and cultural history are different because the vast majority of men are not intellectuals (thank goodness).

    I think Nietzsche was wrong about Pagan religion removing guilt by placing blame on the Gods. David Bentley Hart has an excellent discussion of this in Atheist Delusions. As Hart described it, the moral ecology of paganism was a closed system governed by fate, so that the bill for every transgression had to be paid. No one was ever truly forgiven and, sooner or later, the chickens always came home to roost. According to Hart, the genius of Christianity was to break open this closed system with the incarnation and a massive infusion of grace.

    My view is that de-Christenzation has removed the mechanisms of atonement, and that modern people generally suffer an enormous overload of inexpugnable guilt. I know this will sound like an odd thing to say about a libertine society, but I think the philosophy of libertinism is itself an attempt to overcome crushing guilt. There are also the massive displacements of guilt onto historical events, some of which happened nearly a thousand years ago, or onto vast, trans-personal acts like environmental degradation or economic inequality. People feel guilty about the Battle of Wounded Knee because it spares them feeling guilty about their pornography habit or their apostasy or the lies they tell to get ahead at work.

    Of course there are all sorts of enablers out there ready to exploit this displacement of guilt in a manner that makes the worst Protestant propaganda about the sale of indulgences look pretty tame.

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