Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fairweather Intellectual Honesty

No doubt you have heard about Bp. Williamson's recent remarks regarding the holocaust. No doubt you have seen headlines on the newssites, forums, and blogs like:

Holocaust denier bishop gagged

Bishops apologise for holocaust denier

SSPX superior to holocaust denier: Shut up!

Have any of you seen the video in which he made these remarks? Here it is, please watch the whole thing. It's only five minutes.

Did you notice any disparity between the headlines and his remarks? Any at all?

Nowhere in his statement did he deny the holocaust happened. He criticizes the figures and methods, but never here did he deny that it happened. Of course, bloggers and news scum will have you think different.

This is sending a real message to the people: "If you don't believe history as we tell it then you must be a denier."

Do I agree with Williamson about there only being a few hundred thousand dead, or that gas chambers were never used? No, there were probably many more than that. Even if he was right, does that make it any less horrible? But does he not have a right to dispute popularly held statistics? It seems not when it comes to the holocaust. I may not agree with him but calling for his head merely because he dares question popular belief is rediculous.

If this were any other issue his remarks would just pass away. But because his remarks call into question what people assume to be true and what is worn as a badge of victimhood nowadays, he's some kind of monster.

Don't get me wrong, it was a terrible tragedy that by any means necessary, saving collaboration with like evil, should be kept from happening ever again. But ask yourself, how often do you hear about the Catholics and gypsies that died as well in the holocaust? It wasn't until highschool that I heard that the nazis killed people other than jews. If you read the wiki article on the holocaust, there's a debate whether the term "holocaust" should refer to the nazi extermination of undesireables or just the extermination of the jews. I have a huge problem with this reasoning. What about the others? Do they not deserve to be victims because they are not jews?

Never will a child grow up not hearing about the jews' suffering at the hands of the nazis but it's rare for them to hear that anyone else suffered. Many, many non-jews suffered and died to them as well. No one cries for them. If the jews earned the right to wear the badge of victimhood then so did everyone else who was targetted. They were not the only ones who suffered.

I'm not trying to downplay the jews plight in the terrible period of history. I'm trying to emphasize the suffering of those who go unremembered, constantly overshadowed by the media's exaltation of the jews' plight. But by the media's standards, I too, am a holocaust denier because I dare criticize their version of it.

The jews are still God's people, and history has inflicted many punishments upon them because of that fact. But all loss of life to evil is to be mourned; jew, Catholic, gypsie, whatever. The difference between me and the media is that my mourning isn't drawn down religious lines, nor is it used to rally the people under my banner to yet again exploit an opportunity to let the Church have it, no matter how many half-truths I must use to do it.

Take another look at those headlines and ask yourself if that's true, or if they're just to draw readers, playing on emotion to win people to their side, exalting and exploiting at the same time the suffering the holocaust inflicted. Is it okay to lie about someone when they disagree with us? No one holds the media responsible for their lies. But in a single day their lies can destroy someone, never to be redeemed publicly again. (I give you the many false accusations of rape and molestation) Lies are printed on the front page whereas retractions and corrections are in tiny print in the back. But by then it's too late.


Daniel said...

I get what you're saying, but Bishop Williamson's remarks do fall under what is commonly considered "Holocaust denial" by historians. I know this because as a graduate student I asked the Holocaust historian Christopher Browning a question about the boundary between what is considered acceptable scholarship and Holocaust denial. After all, there has to be room for scholarly disagreement as to whether there were 3 million, 4 million, 5 million killed.

He basically said there are two characteristics of Holocaust denial: denial that there were gas chambers (i.e, mass execution) and claims of total casualties nowhere near six million, which I understood as less than the numbers I cited, or on the order of hundreds of thousands.

What makes the Holocaust the Holocaust is its literally genocidal scale and industrial means of mass extermination. Denying either of these two aspects would effectively reduce the Holocaust to just another war crime. It would be an event very different from what most people think of when they hear, "the Holocaust," so to deny either of these facts materially denies the Holocaust.

I believe Bp. Williamson has the right to question the historical facts, and think it's creepy when political groups presume to decide scholarly questions. The actual facts of the Holocaust are a lot messier than either the apologists or the deniers would have you believe. Browning himself got in trouble with Jewish groups for arguing that the Holocaust was largely improvisational and irregular, rather than a grand scheme concocted at the start of the war. Obviously, these questions shouldn't be decided by political passions.

Unitas said...

[quote]Speaking from lotsa personal experience, the bold, hardlined, John the Baptist style preaching and teaching goes [I]nowhere[/I] fast. In fact it almost always backfires and makes the situation worse.[/quote]

I dispute this rationale. I refer to the holocaust as a "what" not a "how". It really doesn't matter how people were killed or whether it was hundreds of thousands or millions, it's an incomprehensibly evil crime. And to search for the truth of the matter (even when one's conclusion based on the evidence he's seen is wrong or not) does not imply an alterior motive.

From your words about the apprehension for the holocaust to be just another war crime (as if we could just shrug that off!) it seems the Jews (I say Jews because let's face it, no other victimized group is nearly as vocal about the issue) want their suffering to be unique. And I think that disrespects all the others that suffered as well. Like I posted, some want the holocaust to only refer to the loss of Jewish lives. If that's not an attempt to minimize suffering then what is Williamson's great sin? Suffering is nothing to be selfish over unless it is being used for political gain. Which disrespects all involved.