If you’ve ever needed proof that for many conservatives, there is nothing the President can do right, this should put that question to bed forever. In a January 28th post in the National Review, their beef with the Commander-in-Chief was that he called the Holocaust “senseless violence.”
President Obama issued a statement yesterday to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He noted that survivors who bore witness to “the horrors of the cattle cars, ghettos, and concentration camps have witnessed humanity at its very worst and know too well the pain of losing loved ones to senseless violence.” (We noted below how some in Europe chose to mark the day, which takes place each year on January 27, the day Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz.)
The idea that all violence is “senseless” violence is one that has taken deep root on the left; it’s also, unfortunately, one that poses a major impediment to understanding the world.
Nazism may have been an ideology to which the United States was — and to which the president is — implacably opposed, but it is hardly “senseless.” By the early 1930s, the Nazi party had hundreds of thousands of devoted members and repeatedly attracted a third of the votes in German elections; its political leaders campaigned on a platform comprising 25 non-senseless points, including the “unification of all Germans,” a demand for “land and territory for the sustenance of our people,” and an assertion that “no Jew can be a member of the race.” Suffice it to say, many sensible Germans were persuaded.
So, because there was organization behind the murder of six million Jews, it made sense? Or is it because it made sense to some people, the Holocaust wasn’t senseless? Yeah, my head is spinning too. If, as a country, we can agree upon one thing, let’s please agree that the attempted extermination of a large portion of the population makes no sense. Those who did follow the Nazi party, generally did so out of fear – not fear of the people who were trying to conquer all of Europe – fear of people who had very little, if any impact on their lives. That is misguided. That is deluded. That is dangerous. That is senseless.
Often, when we think of the National Review, we think of a slightly elevated level of wing-nuttery. It was founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley, a traditional blue-blooded, Ivy League educated conservative. He was regarded as an intellectual, and might have been chided for that reputation if he had lived long past George W. Bush’s inauguration – an administration which ushered in the age of Republican anti-intellectualism.
However, Buckley and the National Review, as highbrow as they like to imagine themselves, are largely responsible for today’s Republicans. In 1955, Buckley didn’t like the direction his party was going. At the time, the Republican party was the party of Eisenhower. It was a party of peace. Through the National Review, Buckley provided the intellectual voice for war mongers and white supremacists.
Little has changed through the years. They still have an affinity toward the white supremacist movement. In December, the publication’s Editor at Large, Jonah Goldberg, actually encouraged Republicans to “get a lot more racist” to win black votes. While those words, although an exact quote, are somewhat more sensationalist than the article, he does argue that black people (and liberals) are too stupid to know what’s good for them:
Any serious attempt by the GOP to win black votes won’t involve Republicans copycatting liberal policies. It will require going over the heads of black and white liberal slanderers to offer a sincere alternative to failed liberal policies on schools, poverty, crime, etc. The more effective that effort, the more the GOP will be called racist.
While on the surface, it might seem that the NRO’s criticism of Obama’s reference to Nazi Germany was just another jab at their favorite Democratic punching bag, it could be much more. For the National Review, it’s likely that the Holocaust did in fact make a lot of sense.
|Wendy Gittleson grew up in a political family. Her passion is for social justice and fairness. She is the Senior Editor for Addicting Info. She lives in a union household. In her rare downtime, you’ll find her hiking or exploring the shoreline with her dogs. Follow her on her Facebook page or on Twitter, @wendygittleson|