The Force of Holocaust ReactionariesGeorge Brewer
A libel suit filed by the British historian David Irving against the American Jewish religious instructor Deborah Lipstadt is playing itself out in a London courtroom. The worldwide attention given the trial, which Lipstadt's defense attorneys have attempted to exploit, is not due to the nature of the libels alleged. Instead, the trial has gained attention because it is said to be a battleground over how the Holocaust is to be regarded by historians, and how, if at all, we can expect perceptions of that event to change.
Beyond her slurs of David Irving, Lipstadt represents the most rigid posture among the Holocaust police: the destruction of Europe's Jews in World War II is unique, and it must be regarded as unique, and all other massacres, genocides, ethnic cleansings or religious or racial persecutions are to be relegated to the background. At the same time, not one scintilla of the narrative of the Holocaust, born in the rumor and propaganda mills of World War II, and legislated into truth at the Nuremberg Trials, is to be questioned. Indeed, the rigidity with which some people still cling to those flawed judgments of over fifty years ago makes us want to characterize this faith in the infallibility of the Nuremberg trials as a kind of quasi-religious creed. But why the rigidity of our normally critical intellectuals on this subject?
The view from here is that the reason the intellectual and academic elites refuse to question the Nuremberg Creed is because it has come to play such a useful role in supporting the various shibboleths of the liberal, social engineering, agenda. In medieval times the priest class and monarchical sycophants deluded the faithful and enforced their obedience by cynical appeals to the lake of fire to come in the hereafter. Those that peddle Holocaust symbolism today are not above using the image of human fat--fueled concentration camp bonfires as the fate of all those who balk at doing what they are told. At the same time, according to these same acolytes of the present-day regime of truth, all those who question any part of modern society, whether it be culturally, socially, or politically, are said to be secret worshippers of the horned goat Hitler- god, standing in the shadows until once again the world can be consumed in another fiery satanic ritual.
Whether it be for the purposes of legitimizing the US presence or interference in every country of the world, or to justify the continuing humiliation and embarrassment of the most powerful nation in Europe, or for the purpose of proposing social alterations that are merely destructive of tradition, or to ensure that Americans never stop to ponder our own record of cruelty and atrocity, or even - lest we forget - to ensure an unending stream of uncritical support for two-faced and discriminatory Middle East policies, the symbols of the Holocaust have emerged as powerful weapons, and their power, accordingly, must be jealously guarded. The problem with this sort of usage lies not necessarily in the values or beliefs of those that wield the Holocaust like a club. Rather, the problem lies in the fact that such "instrumentalization" turns critics of the traditional narrative into demons.
Thus the enforcers of the Holocaust (authorized version, that is) search the world for references to that tragedy that do not fit the requisite model of orthodox belief. Western perceptions of Nazi symbolism in Asia give rise to hysterical reactions that must be incomprehensible to the Asian world. Ethnic Germans in eastern Europe, who had no hand in the Nazi seizure of power, are condemned as being like them, so that they, and their families, will earn no recompense in the future.
Although German science led the world in the identification of health medicine and cancer research under Adolf Hitler, these things are forgotten, because such facts do not fit the mandatory image of insane German doctors injecting dye into the eyes of concentration camp inmates. Research has shown that the Gestapo was somewhat less invasive of every sphere of German life than we have been led to believe, and in fact far less invasive than the Soviet secret police. Yet this fact, once gained, leads not to a more human understanding of Nazi tyranny, but rather to an insistence on generalized complicity among the German people for the worst Nazi crimes. In these, and many other ways, the monolithic Holocaust cult distorts and blurs our historical understanding.
It is only in the fantasies of children that things stay the same; and only in the fantasies of adults that an interpretation of history stays the same. Change is inevitable, and so are changing interpretations, and probably - as revisionists like to think - changing perceptions of the facts. To go against the tide of changing perceptions of the Holocaust - both in terms of what it was but also in terms of what it means, and what it should mean - is the mark of the Lipstadts of this world, who seem intent on forcing the ever changing world to conform to their entrenched ideas. Inevitably, putting the rigidity of ideas ahead of the fact of change only means that at some point there will be an attempt to buttress these ideas with all the force that law and might can command.
But history shows that such attempts to stop the progress of the human mind always fail. And history also shows that the forces of reaction are always, in the end, treated with the contempt that they deserve by being forgotten by a weary posterity. So while today the forces of Holocaust Reaction are very much with us, with their complaints and anathemas resounding through every corner of the globe, there is good reason to believe that a time will come when the bellow of the Holocaust Reactionaries will be a distant echo in a freer and saner world.
Installed: 06/03/00, 08: 45 AM, EST