Friday, June 27, 2008

Conservatives must decisively reject Buchanan's Holocaust revisionism

It just gets worse and worse. I am exceedingly disappointed in World Net Daily for publishing this article by Pat Buchanan. If WND has a long-running relationship with Buchanan such that it feels it has to publish such things by him, then this is the time to sever any such relationship.

In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that long ago--I can't even remember for sure how long ago, but I think it was in 1988--I once voted for Pat Buchanan in a Republican primary. Well, that was then; this is now. I'm certainly older and hopefully wiser now, not to mention better informed. And I don't think Buchanan was spewing this vicious nonsense then, though even then I had a vague feeling of disquiet about what I knew was his dislike of Israel. That, of course, was before the blogosphere and very nearly before the Internet, so information was not as widely available then as it is now.

What is the worst thing Buchanan says in the above linked article? This:

But for the six years before Britain declared war, there was no Holocaust, and for two years after the war began, there was no Holocaust. Not until midwinter 1942 was the Wannsee Conference held, where the Final Solution was on the table....The Holocaust was not a cause of the war, but a consequence of the war. No war, no Holocaust.
You get that? Buchanan says there was no Holocaust before the Wannsee Conference in midwinter of 1942. And if nasty old England and presumably America hadn't kept going with the war, if they had found some way to end the war before midwinter of 1942, there would have been no Holocaust at all. Hence the article's title: "Was the Holocaust Inevitable?"

Perhaps it is from reading Buchanan's sort of unblushing balderdash that some people have gotten the impression that there were no concentration camps in 1939. (See the discussion here and here.)

As the quotation shows, Buchanan claims that there was no Holocaust prior to midwinter of 1942 by defining "the Holocaust" as not beginning until the Wannsee Conference. This redefinition is so misleading that it is hard to refrain from calling Buchanan an outright liar. Indeed, he probably in one sense knows more than I do about the events of 1939-1942, yet he makes such a bald claim without so much as a qualifier or explanation. I make no claim to expertise, but I do know how to use Google and read a timeline. So let's look at a few facts.

(Note: The dates in what follows are all taken from the Yad Vashem timeline, which can be accessed by clicking through a couple of links starting here. For some strange reason, there are no separate URLs that appear for the different links, nor even for the separate timelines for groups of years--e.g., 1939-1941. I find this rather frustrating, as it prevents me from putting in links to each of the facts I cite separately. In the absence of such different links, I will give dates for each item. To check the timeline, go to the general link, click on "Chronology," then click on the group of years in question and scroll down to the particular date. The dates are also clickable, and I am getting my specifics from the brief paragraph that comes up when you click on the date.)

Jews in Poland were forced to begin wearing the Jewish badge on November 23, 1939.

The Lodz ghetto was sealed on April 30, 1940.

The Warsaw ghetto was sealed on November 15, 1940.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp began construction on March 1, 1941

German Jews were forced to wear the Jewish badge beginning on September 19, 1941.

The first experimental gassings took place at Auschwitz on September 3, 1941.

The Zhitomir ghetto in the Ukraine was liquidated on September 19, 1941.

In Kiev, the Germans liquidated over 30,000 Jews by gunfire after forcing them to march in ranks towards the guns, on September 29-30, 1941.

The Vitebsk ghetto in Belorussia was liquidated on October 8, 1941.

The Germans began deporting Jews from Austria and Germany to Eastern European ghettos on October 15, 1941.

Eichmann approved the use of mobile gas vans as killing machines on October 25, 1941.

The gas vans began to be used at Chelmno by December 8, 1941.

And all of this is only a sample. I could have given even more examples of massacres, mass deportations, and mass imprisonments of Jews in concentration camps, all before the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, where officials discussed how to make the systematic murder of European Jewry better organized and more efficient.

If you knew of someone who was killed in one of the liquidated ghettos before the Wannsee Conference, would you not say that he died in the Holocaust? What about the Jews systematically murdered in Kiev and elsewhere? If you heard of a child who escaped from one of the sealed ghettos and was taken in and passed as a Christian child by a Catholic family and survived, would you not say that he survived the Holocaust? Were not the building of extermination camps, the requirement for the Jewish badge, and the quarantining of Jews in ghettos in the first place obviously part and parcel of the Holocaust even before the actual murders of those specific Jews took place? The questions are hardly worth asking.

I can't help wondering not only how Buchanan can square his conscience with such blatant falsehoods as those he tells in his article but also how these falsehoods are intended to help his case. In what way is the ever-more-fervent murder of European Jews supposed to have been a response by Hitler to the fact that the war was going badly for him? It makes no sense to say, "Ah, Britain won't make peace with me. I know what I'll do. I'll start sending Jews to extermination camps by the trainloads. That will help." Yet this is, bizarrely, the thinking Buchanan apparently attributes to Hitler, while at the same time having the gall to refer dismissively to the "Hitler madman theory." Are we to think that, if England had made peace with Hitler and acquiesced in his rule over the places he had conquered prior to 1942, he would have stopped all massacres of Jews (like the ones already sealed in ghettos but not yet liquidated)? Or is the theory simply that the slaughter would have taken place more gradually? Hardly a comforting thought.

I hate to have to say this, but someone who can say what Buchanan says in this article is seriously out of touch with reality and, I believe, with the sheer evil of the Holocaust itself. I would not be overwhelmingly surprised if he sinks yet lower in the years to come in his revisionism of the events of World War II. He who hears will understand.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Modest Clothing moment--Lilies Apparel

I like to get out tips to people about modest clothes for girls. It's one of my things. Moms can waste a lot of time looking in the stores for modes girls' clothes. My advice is that for the most part you can write the stores off, except for buying boys' clothes. I buy lots of boys' shirts and shorts for my girls. But for dresses, fuhgetaboutit.

So it occurred to me that I should used blogdom to promote Lilies Apparel, a dress-making business from Kansas run by what appears to be a Mennonite family. The products are very nice. More details in the sister post (can posts be sisters?) at W4.

Oh, one nit-picky detail I didn't mention there: If you are trying to figure out what size to order, measure across the shoulders and chest of a dress that the person in question wears, and then be willing for the dress from Lilies to be a little bigger in those measurements, given that women's and girls' clothes these days tend to be rather too tight. But don't measure the girl herself. The inches given in their size charts are the inches for the relevant parts of the dress.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A very important paper bag

I just got back from the grocery store with a bag that says (Lydia is not making this up), "This is a recyclable bag that will reduce greenhouse gases and save our planet."

I'm not sure which is worse, the writer's naivete about environmentalism or the fact that he probably has no idea that what he wrote means that one paper bag will save the planet.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

L.A. right on the money

There is an excellent thread about Buchanan's "unnecessary war" nonsense, about which I'm not sure I can speak without saying something flaming, at VFR here.

I've run into the "unnecessary war" thesis before, from (where else?) the paleo right. I first got an inkling of how far it might go from the highly uncomfortable discussion of WWII in Thomas Woods's otherwise very good libertarian-flavored Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. He more or less asks the question asked of Auster in the thread, "Just how many Jews did World War II save anyway?" Not in so many words, but by implication. Woods says something to the effect that, hey, most of the Jews of Europe were dead anyway by the time the allies liberated it so...(So what?)

And I've seen the whole spiel in other paleo contexts and in personal conversations. It makes me angry. It also, obviously, makes Auster angry, and he's better than I am at answering it, instead of just (as I'm tempted to do) spluttering in horrified fury and wanting to blast or ban somebody for even toying with the idea that we all should have appeased Hitler more, that what Hitler did was none of our business, and so forth.

But let's not kid ourselves. Of course this all has a contemporary edge to it, doesn't it? One of the best things Auster says in that thread is that we should not talk about Hitler as if he was rational. Yes. Precisely. But isn't this what one runs into the twisty-dovish paleo right with regard to our enemies now? And Israel's enemies, too. The "Palestinians" are to be thought of as rational, rather than (as every bit of evidence coming out of their mouths, official pronouncements, published maps, and TV programing indicates) insanely committed to the destruction of Israel. The Iranians, of course, are to be thought of as rational. Even Osama bin Laden is grist to their mill. (The leftists are in on that one, too.) Why, didn't you know? Saudi Arabia is holy ground to Osama, who is from a Saudi family, and America had (gasp!) troops stationed there. Why, if we would only understand ol' Osama, we could deal with him. He has his goals, and they are at least somewhat understandable. And so forth. So we get to the R.P. theory of 9/11--It was the fault of American foreign policy.

The paleos sometimes get angry when the neocons make 1939 analogies about the rantings of the man Auster calls "Johnnie," old "Israel must disappear," of Iran. Yet they themselves positively invite such comparisons by showing the rest of us that they are prepared to regard anyone, however evil, however committed to genocide and destruction, as merely another rational actor on the foreign policy scene, and to be negotiated with (aka appeased) as such. When they hail a revisionist history that says what a great thing it would have been if the West had treated even Hitler himself in this manner, why should they complain when we connect the dots?

It all makes me ill. I'll have none of it, and nothing to do with it. But I applaud Auster's and his readers' dissection of it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

To my comrades in the cause of the unborn child

Byhrtwold grasped his shield and spoke.
He was an old companion. He brandished his ash-spear
and most boldly urged on the warriors:
"Mind must be the firmer, heart the more fierce
courage the greater, as our strength diminishes...."

"The Battle of Maldon," Anglo-Saxon poem, translation by Kevin Crossley-Holland

When a cause is losing, that is the very time when it is most worth fighting for. In fact, it may well be that the only causes worth fighting for are those that are, or appear, to be lost in earthly terms. That your side has seen no results of the sort it hoped for, even for many years, is in no way an argument for endorsing the other side. If the Enemy can say that he has won the souls of the last defenders of the innocent, will that not be his greatest triumph of all?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why missions matters

To the debate about Muslim takeovers of Western countries, that is.

I wrote to a correspondent recently in e-mail that the low-church Protestants are the canaries in the mine for Muslim oppression of Christians in erstwhile free Western nations. As an exhibit I offer the case discussed in my recent post on W4 concerning two Baptists (Americans long-resident in England) who were forbidden by a Muslim policeman from passing out Christian literature and trying to engage Muslims in religious conversation in a so-called "Muslim area." In the thread on that post, M.Z. Forrest, one of the commentators, actually said, "Why is it always American martyrs? Perhaps they deserve it." (He later said in the thread that this comment wasn't "completely serious.")

Now, I wonder if there is a hint there, too, of the idea that anybody who goes standing on street corners passing out Bible extracts and trying to witness to Muslims cold-turkey "deserves what he gets," because that's such a weird and crass thing to do. Of course, M.Z. didn't say that, and I won't put those words into his mouth.

But it is certainly true that Baptists and their like are a lot more likely than, say, Catholics, to engage in that sort of street evangelism. And it's also true that a lot of people, myself included, are not huge fans of that sort of evangelism, feeling vaguely that it's a little tacky, unlikely to be effective, a case of "bugging people," and so forth.

But the more I have thought about it the more I realize that the matter of evangelism is crucial for the whole question of dhimmitude. While Our Lord didn't say, "Go ye into all the world and pass out tracts on street corners," he did say, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel." While some people are called to missions more than others, and some people are called to engage in evangelism in different ways than others are, the Great Commission hasn't been rescinded.

And it's flatly incompatible with dhimmitude. I made that point in this exchange with Jim Kalb on the subject of whether Islam "has room for" Christianity. This is something I've never heard anyone else say: Christians are supposed to try to spread their faith. Islam makes converting from Islam to Christianity punishable by death. It is thus no accident that Christian missions are illegal in Muslim countries like, say, Iran. So in a sense, anti-dhimmitude is built into Christianity. We aren't allowed to ask nothing more of the world than to be let alone. We are called upon by the very nature of our religion to stand up, be men, and try to lead others to the light of Christ.

The trouble is unfortunately that some Christians don't realize all of this. Some Christians think that Islam "has a place for" Christianity so long as one is sophisticated and sensitive enough to keep quiet and to leave other people alone, not to do offensive, low, uncouth, things like standing on street corners passing out tracts and preaching to total strangers.

But this isn't true. Consider this story from Iran. An Iranian Christian woman gave sewing lessons. In the course of her sewing lessons, some of the women she was teaching came to know about her Christianity and were attracted to it. One of them, from a fanatical family, converted. The convert had to run away, and the seamstress was punished by the family for her role in the conversion. She had no legal recourse. The judge told her it was her fault and that she should be happy nothing worse had happened to her. So even quietly testifying to your faith in a natural manner to interested people is not permitted. And understandably enough. Remember, the penalty to one who converts is death, so there must be some penalty for being deliberately instrumental in conversions.

Worse, some Christians think that we are not called upon to try to witness to people, to try to get them to (as the negative phrase now is) "change their religion." And I am afraid that some "interfaith efforts" have contributed to this confusion. Once again, the fundamentalist types are the ones warning us about this. Maybe they have a point. Maybe we should listen.

So it's an interesting connection: The confused ideas about evangelism and the negative image of evangelism (now sometimes called "proselytizing," which indicates the shift) among some Christians have arisen independently of the rise of Islam in the West. But that negative image has left a weak spot, so that when low-Protestant missionaries get into trouble, I fear that there is a feeling of "that doesn't have that much to do with me" that goes around and that enables people to say that Islam "has a place" for Christianity. But actually, it doesn't, because it has no place for proselytizing, and we are called to proselytize.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Y.D. Blogs

Y.D. being Youngest Daughter.

Not really, of course. But she expressed herself rather forcefully about a matter of public policy today, so Eldest Daughter tells me that I should blog it to make sure that this young Michigander's voice is heard--she being a future voter.

We just learned today that effective July 1, all children under age 8 who are not yet 4' 9" tall will have to sit in a special car booster seat. Y.D. has been very happy to be a big girl and use a seatbelt, and I've been very happy not to lug about a special carseat, transfer it from car to car when necessary, and figure out the convoluted way it's supposed to be fastened. It's also been nice for her to be able to clip herself in and get herself out. But now it's back to the old grind for several more years.

Y.D., upon being told the news, informed us in loud tones, "That's darn-goned nonsense and balderdash!!!" Also, "I'll make them not have that law!"

Now you know that I use the same silly euphemisms at home that I use on the Web, though I don't recall ever actually using 'darngoned' before, but it's close to 'doggoned', which I do use frequently.

So the darngoned thing is ordered from Target. At least the reviewers tell me it's lightweight. We must be thankful for small blessings. The old carseat, long since sent to carseat heaven, weighed a ton. Sigh.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The FLDS fiasco and the lust for power

I've been following the FLDS fiasco at Jeff Culbreath's blog. His latest post on the subject is here.

I admit to being the kind of person who fantasizes about making the world right. From time to time I realize that this is not really a healthy habit of mind. But sometimes I get exceedingly upset about people who, for example, raise their children to hate Jews so much that they idolize suicide bombers and hope to grow up to be like them. Some of the things coming out of Palestinian media are beyond depressing. I've got a whole file of the links, including interviews with and Palestinian media depictions of the children of Rim, a woman suicide bomber. "How many Jews did Mommy kill?" and so forth. It's almost too much to bear, watching these children's minds be corrupted. LGF sometimes has stuff about Hamas children's television. It's just about beyond belief. And I have sometimes toyed with the idea that people who are going to teach their children these twisted ideas could, quite justly, have all their children taken away from them so that they couldn't poison their minds like this anymore. The children could be raised by, I don't know, Mother Teresa's nuns or something.

But even though I would stand by the idea that Hamas's Jew-eating bunny (they had a Mouse and a Bee, too, but in the TV show's imaginary world the Israelis killed them), the various horrific inciting commercials, and the school curricula and school programs that glorify murder to the children may and should justly be suppressed, the terrible mess caused by Child Protective Services' power trip in our own Texas, U.S.A., has caused me to realize that you have to let parents mess up kids' minds. That is to say, it is not just cause for removing children forcibly from their parents that the parents are teaching the children pernicious ideas, even if they really are pernicious ideas. Most of the time I'm sufficiently sane to realize this and am, indeed, something of a parental rights watchdog, but sometimes (after I've been reading too much about Muslims and Palestinians), it's good for me to be reminded.

I have no doubt that the CPS workers were sincere. That's part of the problem, isn't it? Lawrence Auster is always pointing out that conservatives should take liberals more seriously. What he means is that liberals aren't just doing what they do to aggrandize themselves. Many of them are true believers. I suppose I'd say that self-aggrandizement and sincerity are compatible. The CPS workers decided that this cult was just bad, bad, bad, that children shouldn't be raised in it, and they went in with no deference to the rule of law and grabbed over 400 children of all ages, every single child down to the infant born yesterday, in one fell swoop! By their own representation, what was supposed to be so bad was that underage girls were being married against their will. Even granting this, what the dickens does this have to do with newborn babies? Since when do the laws of the United States or the State of Texas permit the confiscation of infants on the grounds that they may be raised to sanction or participate in underage or even forced marriage? But all the indications are that the CPS just decided that this whole sub-society had to be brought to an end. Finis. Done.

Frankly, if I had breathed a word of the idea that Palestinian children should be taken from their death-cult-teaching parents so that they would not be raised in that fashion, the word "genocide" would not have been long in coming to the lips of readers. But oddly enough, the fact that CPS was trying, by the confiscation of the next generation, to wipe this weird polygamist sect from the face of the earth was not called this by anyone that I know of. Fortunately, though, there still is a rule of law in the state of Texas, and it looks as if CPS and Judge Barbara Walther may get a bit of a slap-down from the higher courts over their abuse of power.

Lord Acton was undoubtedly right: "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." And the power to snatch children is somewhere pretty high up on the scale towards absolute power.

So I don't want it, and I'm glad I don't have it. And perhaps we should pray for the souls of the CPS workers who think they do have it, and who think they can wield it to wipe out bad ideas. For it is surely a corrupting thing.