“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
It’s said that War and Peace was not about countries at war, but marriage. If so, you can see how countries and people are stirred by the same passions. That when better instincts, good faith, vows are over-ridden by ugly human appetites, marriages are like countries. They fail. That failure is seldom pretty.
We sit here, years hence from rather notorious moments throughout human history, and say such-and-such could never happen again. Insert whatever you’d like – Kristallnacht, the Dreyfuss Affair, the Salem Witch Trials. We think our institutions too sophisticated for a reprisal of such darkness. We think that we as people are much too civilized. We read the various accounts and consider them almost folklore, not history.
More so, we selectively neglect them when our political passions override our better senses. As I have said before, societies, nations, civilizations are like people. Stirred by the same passions.
I’ve read various pieces, heard different sound clips from over the weekend. Many have simply made up their minds. Too many simply determine who they are for, and who they are against and do the math backward from there.
“If Trump is for it, I’m against it.”
Others, I’ve seen suggest the opposite. They suggest we should be more like the Democrats, who never break rank. If we had just not been so critical of the president. If we would just provide him blind faith. Both have dangerous tyrannical implications but one much more so than the other. As I have repeatedly said, there are natural controls upon a tyrannical executive – separation of powers, freedom of press, media, elections.
However, there are no such controls upon a party with a mob mentality and willfully complicit media to help conspire, agitate, propagandize.
Last week, I started a rant about the Dreyfuss case and Kristallnacht. Two very dark moments in human history that foreshadowed many a darker thing. I thought it too precarious a comparison and never published it. After all, our situation (however bad) is not comparable. I am not suggesting that the Kavanaugh episode is morally comparable to either of these episodes.
The Dreyfuss affair is most famous for a letter penned to the French government that warned about the unchecked ability of the state and a complicit media to make an accusation tantamount to a conviction. Most should know the lesson and warnings of the letter’s famous phrase – “J’accuse.”
In the piece, I also wrote about Kristallnacht. The first night of state-sponsored violence against Jews in 1930s Germany. Hordes of angry mobs broke the windows of various storefronts owned by Jews.
But as societies and nations go, if your animus toward someone is so great, and your passion for another is so overwhelming that you can no longer clearly ascertain individual justice when it is denied and you begin to abstract it out from an individual toward the greater universe of people to which the individual belongs, then and only then do you begin to make a dangerous crossover.
Regardless, if Kavanaugh is exonerated or found unworthy to serve, a quarter of society pre-determined that he, both the individual “he” and the abstract “he” — meaning all men — are no longer worthy of protection. And they will not deviate from this, not for him, nor for any other man. You can see this emanating from the angry leftist mobs that encircle the capital. These are not the people with reasonable concerns.
Individuals are like societies. Stirred by passions. Loathing to the point of injury or burden is dark human quality.
However, it gets darker when people extrapolate from the individual to the associated group and move upon the group hoping that exacting perverted justice and the pure satisfaction of political vengeance.