Archive for June 24th, 2013

24
Jun
13

death and immortality

Dead Soldiers

Damn. I won an auction for an old postcard and now have paid the invoice. It’s small by most people’s standards, yet I am thankful my regular check came mid-month and I have the money to cover it.

I’m passing up a lot of collectible items today I would have snapped up in the old days when I had money, but I couldn’t let this one get away. It is at once too unusual and so typical.

The saying on the card translates roughly “Live on, O Fatherland, and count not the dead; for love of you not one too many has fallen.” The artist, Gefreiter Hans Feix, won first prize in a soldier’s artwork competition.

If the last man in Germany had been killed by 1945, it would not have been too many for Hitler. The glory (and immortality) of an ideology, said Abdullah Azzam, Palestinian Sunni scholar, theologian, and the “Father of Global Jihad”, builds upon an “edifice of skulls.”

Said Robert Terrill in a paper: “By 1942 many Nazi leaders intentionally pushed the military toward mass death as a means of preserving Nazi ideology. In their romanticized view, to die on the rubble of one’s dreams immortalized the dream itself. Men die but ideas live on. With each dead soldier the strength of the community grows.”

It is significant to see the degree to which a willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the nation perfuses almost all Nazi propaganda. Nazism flourished because of its ethic of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice.

Hitler himself stated the moral foundations of Nazism: “It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance. . . This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture. . .  The basic attitude from which such activity arises, we call–to distinguish it from egoism and selfishness–idealism. By this we understand only the individual’s capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men.”

This is exactly the opposite of what I believe in. I believe in generosity and working for other people’s welfare, but my highest personal value is Freedom of the Individual.

Perhaps essayist Robert Tracinski said it best: “Consider the full, logical meaning of altruistic self-sacrifice. It means, not benevolence toward others, but servitude. If sacrifice to others is the essence of virtue, how can anyone be allowed to pursue his own goals and happiness? The needs of the collective, not the interests and the rights of the individual, become the standard of right and wrong.

“A free country is based on precisely the opposite principle. To protect against what they called the ‘tyranny of the majority,’ America’s Founding Fathers upheld the individual’s right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ The implicit basis of American government was an ethics of individualism–the view that the individual is not subordinate to the collective, that he has a moral right to his own interests, and that all rational people benefit under such a system.”

That ethic is changing in America today, and it is being disguised as virtue. Beware.

۞

Groove of the Day 

Listen to Adrienne Young and Little Sadie performing “The Art of Virtue”