Opinion | Morgan Liddick: When did we turn into such a self-loathing country? Look to your Left
On Your Right
“Arbeit macht frei.”
Yes, it’s German. On a sign made out of wrought iron. If you don’t know what it means, where it was, or why you should care about it, look it up. If you still don’t care after discovering the details, sorry, you are a body without a soul.
Auschwitz. Sachsenhausen. Bergen-Belsen. Treblinka. Belzec. Sobidór. Dachau. Mauthausen. These names and many others mark out the geography of Nazi Germany’s empire of death, which claimed more than six million Europeans in the twelve horrific years between 1933 and 1945. It is a seminal example of genocide in the particularly genocidal 20th century, although it is by no means the largest or most horrific — Stalin himself admitted that farm collectivization killed many more, and the figures for China’s efforts to force socialism onto a recalcitrant population, though partial, are much gristlier — it is one of the best documented and commented upon. From the January 1942 Wannsee Conference to Joseph Goebbels’ final letter, the thinking behind the “final solution” couldn’t have been clearer.
So why do more than 40% of young Americans know nothing about this horror?
It has only partially to do with history being crowded out of schools in favor of preparing for high-stakes tests. The lack is but one symptom of the deliberate erasure of certain aspects of our history in an attempt to compel American students to believe their country is uniquely evil among nations. Not only would the comparative of Hitler’s earthly inferno make short work of that nonsense, it might also incite uncomfortable questions about why it was that, when ordinary American G.I.s happened upon these death camps, they and their commanders were so incensed that they often press-ganged local German gentry to help with the cleanup and care of the dying.
If we were indeed such casual practitioners of genocide as the left consistently makes out, why should they have cared? And why are most thinking Americans still so moved by Solzhenitsyn’s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch,” Arthur Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon” or Ponchaud’s “Cambodia Year Zero”? The answer is simple, much though it may dismay the peddlers of guilt who spoon feed it to children that their leftist brethren may reap the benefits of adult self-loathing and faux guilt: America is not uniquely evil but, in many ways, uniquely good.
From our efforts to enlarge the scope of human freedom at home, beginning with the Declaration of Independence, that Lockean statement of natural rights that is — for the moment — still the country’s mission statement to the bloody sacrifices of the costliest war this nation has ever fought, undertaken finally to procure the freedom of those who did not have it, to the great efforts of the 20th century both at home and abroad fought in liberty’s name, no nation has done more, for more, nor at greater cost, than ours. Ask the Bosniak women of 1995 who it was that finally brought the agony of rape and sexual slavery to an end in their beleaguered country.
For decades the left has labored diligently to persuade us and our children that our country is not worthy. They point to both iterations of the Ku Klux Klan and to its modern dregs for justification. They point to wealthy corporate corsairs, provided they are of the correct political stripe. No Silicon Valley tycoons, please. They’re inoculated by proper truckling attitudes and, when necessary, large cash payments.
They could also point to their hero FDR, who actively refused to help most of Europe’s threatened Jewish population, and who housed a large majority of the West Coast’s Japanese-American population in “relocation” camps during World War II. But he seems immune as well. Perhaps because he didn’t kill them, as Stalin or Mao would have done.
No, the left continues spewing its tiresome hogwash, now with a shriller undertone of ignorant self-righteousness. We’re wrong. We’re criminal. We’re evil. There’s never been a crueler or more vicious nation than we, our entire history a litany of depredation and villainy.
To test that thesis, they might try saying the same things about China in Tiananmen square, about the Islamic Republic on Martyrs’ Boulevard in Tehran or about the former USSR — the true “prison house of nations” — outside St. Basil’s in Moscow. Chances are good they would discover, in the short and painful remainder of their lives, how wrong they had been about everything.
Or they could take a less fatal stroll to New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan — just a 12 minute walk from the Sept. 11 memorial. Despite their decades of indoctrination, they might discover some truths about evil’s true nature, and the lies they have spread about those who oppose it.
It would be a good beginning.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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