Naas Energy

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To be Cruel is to be Human

This post was originally published on on 24 July 2019.

“To forbid analogies makes the Holocaust irrelevant to future generations. If an American child can identify with Anne Frank, an American child might ask what it is like for immigrant children to be separated from their parents. To forbid analogies is to forbid learning, and to forbid empathizing. That, sadly, is the point.” – Timothy Snyder

“Never Again” doesn’t mean “Not everything can be compared to the Holocaust, only the big things,” it means everything, even the little things, /should/ be compared, because it was only due to the little things that the big things were made not possible, but actual.

If we continually reject the idea that we can be the bad guys while we do bad things, we push the border between good and bad further and further towards bad until nothing we do is bad because “we’ve always been the good guys.” Self-awareness as a personal trait is one of the most important traits to have, and to have the self-awareness to look at oneself as a country and say “Hey, these things that we’re doing, while maybe not totally analogous to 1930’s Germany, have the same rhetoric, look, and feel to what led to 1930’s Germany, so maybe we should not do that”, is an absolute necessity, especially as we do these things and simultaneously tout ourselves as “The Greatest Nation on Earth.”

A cruel society is a danger, but a cruel society that doesn’t believe it can be cruel is much more dangerous. “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

As with many of my other posts, I reiterate the fact that there are no monsters amongst humanity; there are only people. Rudolph Hess, Commandant of Auschwitz, didn’t think himself a monster. As Three Arrows pointed out in his video, one officer thought it “redeeming” to have someone else shoot a child’s mother before he shot the child, justifying it as a “mercy” to remove a child from a world without their mother. These are people. These are you and me. We can become them if we’re not careful, so be careful. Be vigilant.

The article that the first quote is from is a good read, and can be found here: