Posts Tagged ‘Hitler’
August 18th, 2010 at 5:53 pm
Immanuel Kant, Anti-Semite?
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For decades, philosophy buffs have argued over whether Adolf Hitler’s appropriation of Friedrich Nietzsche was a logical extension of the German philosopher’s work or a bastardization of his core themes. Now, a new wrinkle in the debate about how philosophy informs international affairs comes courtesy of the Middle East Forum’s Daniel Pipes (full disclosure: Dr. Pipes was a professor of mine in graduate school) writing in today’s Jerusalem Post.

In a piece titled “Lion’s Den: Immanuel Kant vs. Israel”, Dr. Pipes argues that the post-nation state ideology advanced by the legendary Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant in his 1795 work “Perpetual Peace” is now being used to advance a new paradigm of perpetual war against Israel. In relevant part:

Under the old nation-state paradigm, the lesson of Auschwitz was “Never again,” meaning that a strong Israel was needed to protect Jews.

The new paradigm leads to a very different “Never again,” one which insists that no government should have the means potentially to replicate the Nazi outrages. According to it, Israel isn’t the answer to Auschwitz. The European Union is.

That the old-style “Never again” inspires Israelis to pursue the Western world’s most unabashed policy of self-defense makes their actions particularly appalling to New Paradigmers.

Need one point out the error of ascribing Nazi outrages to the nation-state? The Nazis wanted to eliminate nation-states. No less than Kant, they dreamed of a universal state. New Paradigmers mangle history.

The lesson — in Israel’s case, as in all others — is simple. As the monopoly of legitimate force, government is a necessary evil requiring the vigilance of free citizens to keep it in check. In order to protect human liberty and maintain responsiveness to the citizenry, that means government should be as limited and decentralized as possible. And nothing is more threatening to that goal than the “benevolent” internationalism envisioned by Kant, the United Nations, and all their fellow travelers on the post-nationalist left.

April 19th, 2010 at 10:33 am
Obama Asks Israel to Play Czechoslovakia, 1938
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In 1938, naive Western leaders fell for Adolf Hitler’s pretextual “land for peace” ruse.  Is the same delusion afflicting Barack Obama today?

Hitler had used the Sudetenland, an ethnically German region ceded to Czechoslovakia following World War I, as a synthetic grievance to justify his program of expansionism and rearmament.  Credulous leaders like Britain’s Neville Chamberlain believed that satisfying Hitler’s ethnic territorial grievance could resolve simmering European disaccord, so they agreed to allow annexation by Hitler.  In a lasting monument to weakness in the face of tyranny, Chamberlain waved the treaty proclaiming “peace in our time.”

Some things don’t change, despite cautionary pleas of “never again.”

Today, Israel stands in a position similar to Czechoslovakia in 1938, and Western leaders suffer a similar “land for peace” delusion.  Israel’s enemies want nothing less than Israel’s annihilation, but people like Obama somehow believe that the key to Middle East peace is forcing Israel to cede territory to its Palestinian antagonists.  Obama expresses more anger toward Israeli construction of apartments within its own territory than he does toward terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli schoolyards, sadly.  Just last week, Obama claimed that, “when conflict breaks out … that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”

The reality?  America has never once sent troops to shed blood for Israel, which has done quite well defending itself, thank you very much.  Moreover, Israeli surrender of strategic land will only embolden those bent on its destruction.

A tip for President Obama:  spend a little less time preparing your NCAA basketball tournament brackets for ESPN, and a little more time understanding rudimentary history of tyranny’s tactics.