Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Glenn Beck on Global Warming

I seem to have been misinformed about Glenn Beck's position on global warming. These two videos suggest that World Net Daily's claim that Beck favors the global warming hypothesis may have been false. In the first video guest John Coleman calls global warming a scam. Coleman blames the "mainstream" (sic) press. In the second video Beck reports on the e-mails. So once again I have egg on my face concerning Beck, by way of World Net Daily this time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mass Murder and the Socialist State of Mind

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago spurred me to libertarianism, but I had read another book about mass murder, Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil a few years before when I was an undergraduate. I am re-reading Arendt's book and am struck by her controversial claim that the Judenraten, the Jewish administrative agencies that oversaw the holocaust, were in fact absolutely essential to the entire holocaust. In other words, Eichmann and the Nazis had to count not only on the Jews' submission, but on their cooperation, in seeing to their own deaths.

On page 125 Arendt writes:

"But the whole truth was that there existed Jewish community organizations and Jewish party and welfare organizations on both the local and the international level. Wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis. The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people. (According to Freudiger's calculations about half of them could have saved themselves if they had not followed the instructions of the Jewish Councils. This is of course a mere estimate, which, however, jibes with the rather reliable figures from Holland and which I owe to Dr. L. de Jong, the head of the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation. In Holland, where the Joodsche Raad like all the Dutch authorities very quickly became an 'instrument of the Nazis,' 103,000 Jews were deported to the death camps...Only five hundred and nineteen Jews returned...In contrast to this figure, ten thousand of those twenty to twenty-five thousand Jews, who escaped the Nazis--and that meant also the Jewish Council--and went underground survived; again forty to fifty per cent...)"

Why the willingness among Jews to comply with a government intent on killing them?

Arendt blames this on Nazism's causing a moral collapse, but I think that claim is incorrect. Similar phenomena were seen in the Soviet Union and China. It is not attributable to Nazism, but rather to the tribalist philosophy of socialism in general, to what Popper calls the "closed society". Moreover, elements of it exist here in the US and have increased in force as the public has become increasingly trusting and obsequious to the state. For example, if the US Supreme Court violates the law and claims the state's right to seize property for corrupt private interests, the public does not see a violent action but rather a justifiable state position.

The socialization of conscience has two additional sources. The first is ordinary conformity that the famous experiments of Stanley Milgram exposes. The second is the other directedness that David Riesman discusses in his Lonely Crowd.

Trust in government, other-directedness and conformity to state directed norms are associated with the socialist mode. In twentieth century Europe, the socialist mentality of compliance and support for the state had extended to a much greater extent than it has here in the United States. What is shocking about this process is that, given sufficient governmental and social pressure, and given Jews' widespread acceptance of the socialist model, Jews were willing to see themselves murdered rather than question the power of the German socialist state.

Should Americans comply with the dictates of government? With the IRS? Do we have a single reason to trust the government of George W. Bush or Barack Obama?