Sunday, May 23, 2010
The "Nazi" Pope
I am not going to say one thing below that is original. But it always appalls me when people believe the opposite of the truth and I have to speak up about it.
Eugenio Pacelli was a small but determined man of great intelligence and high principle. He became Pope Pius XII in 1939 and was Pope throughout WWII. He had been papal nuncio in Germany for many years prior to that and came to speak perfect German -- a remarkable achievement for an Italian who had all his education in Italy. During his time in Germany he saw of course the rise of Nazism and regularly condemned it in no uncertain terms.
In 1937 he wrote on behalf of Pius XI the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge ("With burning sorrow") -- a condemnation of Nazi persecution of non-Nazis. Encyclicals are usually written in Latin so writing this encyclical in German showed how determined the church was to speak up on behalf of all those being oppressed by the Nazis.
The tiny minority of Pacelli's critics who have some knowledge of history sometimes point to the fact that in his role as nuncio, Pacelli was responsible for a Konkordat with the German Federal government that was signed in 1933. Pacelli's job was to arrange concordats (agreements) with various governments that would safeguard the independence of church schools, allow the preaching of Catholic doctrine etc. And he did in fact achieve many such agreements, an agreement with the Southern German (and very Catholic) State of Bayern (Bavaria) being one of the earliest. German Laender, were, like American States today, substantially independent and had their own legal and school systems etc.
Pacelli had been trying for some time to get such an agreement with the Federal German government but had always been knocked back. When Hitler came to power, however, he was keen to legitimate himself so he changed the prior Federal stance and signed up. At that stage Hitler was simply the newly-elected German Kanzler (Prime Minister) and there was of course no knowledge of his future deeds. So how was Pacelli at fault about that? It may be noted that when Mit brennender Sorge was issued Hitler broke his agreements in the Konkordat and persecuted Catholic clergy. So the arrangement of a Konkordat was a wise precaution, even if it was a precaution that ultimately failed.
Pacelli did however learn from what happened when Mit brennender Sorge was issued. When war broke out, Pacelli fell largely silent. He saw that he would probably bring down further persecution of the church by adding to his existing criticisms of Nazism. Instead he concentrated on deeds rather than words. The Vatican became a lifeline for endangered Jews. It supplied money to get them out of Germany and false ID documents saying that they were Christians. And note that this was at a time when the church regarded the Jews as enemies. In the theology of the time, the Jews had killed the Catholics' God and that was one hell of a bad way to start a friendship.
And when the Germans came to Italy itself, Pacelli rose to even greater efforts. He exempted monasteries and nunneries from their normal rules so that they could take in and hide Jews that the Nazis were pursuing. Even his own summer residence at Castel Gandolfo was said at one time to be hiding 3,000 Jews, though nobody knows the exact number.
And this is the man whom many Leftists refer to as "Hitler's Pope"! So why the lie? Why is this exceptionally fine man "controversial"?
Easy: Soviet disinformation. As we all know, the church utterly opposed "Godless" Communism and the Soviets rightly perceived the Vatican as an important enemy. So the Soviets and their fellow travellers in the West put about this abominable lie that Pacelli was antisemitic and sympathetic to the Nazis. And it suits the anti-Christian stance of modern-day Leftists to believe it too.
So it grieves me greatly that this true man of God is taken for the opposite of what he was. The world needs more men like Eugenio Pacelli -- perhaps now more than ever. Even I as an atheist salute him.
There is an interesting story here about how one man finally broke through the lies and found out the truth about Pacelli.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
"Tomorrow belongs to me"
The film "Cabaret" is set in Berlin in the early days of the Nazi party. In it, a Hitler Youth member sings the song "Tomorrow belongs to me" and it inspires his audience. It is actually a pre-Nazi song that was altered for the purposes of the film but it certainly expresses Nazi thinking. The singers of the Horst Wessel Lied (the song of the brownshirts) certainly thought that the future belonged to them. And some genuine lines from the actual song of the Hitler youth are:
Uns're Fahne ist die neue Zeit. (Our flag is the new time)
Und die Fahne führt uns in die Ewigkeit! (And the flag leads us into eternity)
And we also had, of course Hitler's claimed "Tausend Jahr Reich" (Thousand year empire).
So it is interesting to put the following NYT article into historical context.
Is “Left” becoming a four-letter word? You’d think so lately with each day bringing more news of unconscionable conservative tilts in the electorate, while the drumbeat of the Democrats’ supposed death march to November gets ever louder.
For example, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey released this week found that a majority of Americans supported Arizona’s hostile new immigration law, even as most allowed that the law is likely to lead to more discrimination against legal immigrants. Apparently, for some, there is an acceptable level of collateral damage.
A May 7 Gallup poll found that 42 percent of people wanted a Supreme Court nominee who would make the court more conservative, as opposed to only 27 percent who wanted a nominee who would make it more liberal. That was before Elena Kagan was nominated. Afterward, 40 percent rated her as a good or excellent choice, but that was the lowest such rating in recent history, even 4 percentage points lower than Harriet Miers’s.
An Associated Press-GfK poll released this week found that a plurality of people still favor increasing drilling for oil and gas off the coasts even as an unprecedented natural disaster unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico. Environment be damned.
And Gallup released a poll on Friday entitled “The New Normal on Abortion: Americans More ‘Pro-Life.’ ” It buttressed the finding from last summer when, for the first time since the question began being asked in 1995, more people self-identified as “pro-life” than as “pro-choice.”
This string of bad news has only compounded an already palpable sense of loss and longing on the left, an enveloping fear of the inevitable: rejection. The right, and most importantly, the middle, unnerved by spending in a recession and unhinged by Obama in the White House, have not bought into the liberal vision of a new America. In fact, they’re increasingly weary of it, if not hostile to it.
So by most accounts, Nov. 2 is going to be a blue day in blue America. That is in part because of a sizable enthusiasm gap that favors Republicans.
Liberals may want to crouch in a corner, wait for the storm to pass, then resurface and survey the damage, but that would be avoidance rather than acknowledgement and acceptance.
Better to acknowledge that the anger and frustration felt across the country, however fanatical and freighted, must find release, and it will do so in November. Then you can accept it for what it is: not a failure of philosophy, but a fear of the future. That future can be deferred, but it will not be denied.
I am convinced that the right may win the day, but the left will win the age. That’s because the right is running an intellectually bereft campaign of desperation and disenchantment, amplified by a recession.
Great Recessions don’t last. Great ideas do.
So are his closing sentiments right? You may be surprised to hear that I think that he is indeed right. Whether redistributing the wealth and bringing everything under government control are "great" ideas is a laughable proposition but they are certainly ideas that seem inbred into human DNA. Even conservatives accept a watered-down version of such ideas. Actual libertarians are a tiny, though sometimes influential, minority.
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan held back the tide for a while but it has all gradually crept back. Who would have thought that America would one day have a Government Motors instead of a General Motors?
Mussolini was right. In the 1920s he said that the 20th century would be the century of Fascism -- and so it turned out to be. In Mussolini's Italy, the government did not OWN all industry (that is the Communist folly) but the government CONTROLLED all industry. And, by way of laws and regulations, that is the case in all developed countries today. Freedom for businessmen to do as they please is roughly as restricted in the USA today as it was in Fascist Italy.
So, Yes. In the hands of both the GOP and the Donks, government control of all we do will continue its relentless advance. The Communist idea of the party directing the economic activities of the nation is dead. But the Nazi/Fascist idea of leaving businessmen to run business under tight government controls is triumphant. Both 20th and 21st century history is clear about that.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Leftists and the armed forces
I have long argued that the difference between Left and Right can only be understood psychologically rather than ideologically. Leftists run on pure emotion. Conservatives have emotions too but they are governed by reason as well.
Leftists will use ANY argument that suits their emotional needs of the moment. They have certain recurrent themes in their arguments -- such as "poverty" being the cause of all ills -- but such themes are little more than verbal tics. They are not a serious attempt to explain anything.
A rather hilarious proof of that is that Leftists for quite a while after 9/11/2001 explained Muslim antagonism to America as being caused by poverty -- even though Osama bin Laden is a billionaire! The Leftist mouths uttering such nonsense were clearly not engaged in any serious way with thought or any sincere effort to understand.
And one of the things that Leftist emotions will never engage with is the army. Leftists just can't understand why anybody would LIKE being in the army and Leftist governments will always cut back military funding if they can plausibly do so. Australia's Leftist government has done so this week, even though there are frequent calls on the Australian army for overseas deployments to various theatres of conflict, Iraq and Afghanistan included.
Yet lots of people DO like being in the army, including women. In my far-off military days the corps with the longest waiting list was the WRAACS (Women's Royal Australian Army Corps). Each corps has a certain "establishment" -- meaning that the corps can only enlist as many people as they are allocated by the defence bureaucrats. So a popular corps will often have a waiting list of people waiting for a vacancy in the establishment. And LOTS of women wanted to get into the WRAACS.
And that continues to this day. Even exceptionally attractive women often love the army. G.I. Jill won a beauty contest as Miss Utah but still was keen to get back to military duties. And Miss England (aka "Combat Barbie") at the moment is keen to get back into army uniform too. And my most recent bride spent 9 years in the army and you can see what she looks like here (scroll down).
And who could be more privileged than a member of the British Royal family? But it IS a military family and Prince Harry in particular is well known for his devotion to the army and his keenness for active service. He even once said of his very attractive girlfriend, Chelsy, that he loves Chelsy but the army comes first! I doubt that any Leftist mind could comprehend that! I can, though.
Left to right above: Prince Charles, Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry. Photo from earlier this month
And in the most minor of ways, my own totally undistinguished military career shows a little of that spirit too. In the Vietnam era I was at a university in Brisbane where there were vast anti-Vietnam rallies. So I joined a local army reserve unit. While most of my fellow students were marching around with placards, I was trying my best to acquire some military skills. And I enjoyed it immensely.
After completing my first degree, however, I moved down to Sydney and naturally assumed that I would join the Sydney reserve unit of my corps. But they were "up to establishment"! They had no vacancy for me. So did I just say "too bad!". No way! I went on full-time duties with the regular army instead! The regular unit of my corps had vacancies even if the reserve unit did not!
I can't imagine that any Leftist would understand that. Personally, I think they are inadequate people who are simply too cowardly for the army. They will of course think that I am simply stupid but as I have a Ph.D. and 200+ academic publications that explanation would be as silly as their "poverty" explanation.