Vandals High and Vandals Low

Every few years we Smiths travel to Austria to visit my wife’s family and take in the sights. Since my German is wretched, my wife focuses on the visiting and I focus on the sights. I mention these facts because this happens to be one of those years.

Austria is, of course, a very agreeable placed to focus on sightseeing, but it does not escape the universal law that, in every pot of ointment there must be at least one nasty fly. With apologies to the ointment, here are a couple of nasty flies that this sightseer ran across.

* * * * *

The Grazer Stadtpark is a lovely oasis of greenery near the city center. Laid out on what had been the glacis at the foot of the old city wall (substantially demolished after the Napoleonic Wars), it is today a public pleasure ground richly ornamented with fountains, statuary, and magnificent old chestnut, maple, and sycamore trees. In basic conception and design, it neatly expresses the mind of the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, especially their sentimental attachments to nature, the nation, and what I can only think to call personal and social decorum.

In other words, the Grazer Stadtpark is a testament to the post-revolutionary dispensation that the Left has hated and sought to destroy since 1848.

And this is why we should not be surprised to find myrmidons of the Left doing their part to soil this tableau of bourgeois sensibility with their signature stink, squalor, and noise. And because these myrmidons have friends in high places, we should not be surprised to find officialdom winking at their soiling.

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This is an old bandstand in the Stadtpark, which a hoard of anarchists first occupied and made an encampment about ten years ago. Before they arrived, it occasionally sheltered a band of musicians; now it permanently shelters a band of banditti. I have not noticed severed heads on spikes, but the anarchist banditti of the Grazer Stadtpark have made their encampment decidedly unwelcoming to anyone of bourgeois sensibility. They have daubed its walls with forbidding voodoo hex signs. They ward off evil bourgeois spirits with the powerful juju of a bongo drum. And for good measure they add their special mojo, which is an unholy incense compounded of unwashed armpit, hand-rolled cigarette, and smoldering hash pipe.

* * * * *

I first visited Graz about twenty-five years ago. Walking along one backstreet, I remember my surprise at coming upon a small memorial to the young men who died fighting in the German Army during the Second World War. In those days, my thoughts about that war were not “nuanced,” so I was (albeit very mildly) shocked that there should be such a memorial. This encounter did, however, set in motion (albeit very slow motion) a chain of reflections that led me to the conclusion that this shock was misplaced. And that conclusion brought me to last year write my denunciation of the destruction of confederate war memorials (here).

Wars are complicated and there are always, in any case, plenty of honorable men fighting on the (relatively) wrong side. This is why all sides should be allowed to raise and preserve their memorials, and why it is despicable to spit on the grave of a soldier simply because of the uniform that he wore.

And this is why we should not be surprised to find myrmidons of the Left happily hawking gobs of sputum onto soldiers’ graves simply because of the uniform that they wore. And, once again, because these myrmidons have friends in high places, we should not be surprised to find official connivance in this spitting.

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And so it was with shock rising to anger that I yesterday noticed that the small memorial to the young men who died fighting in the German Army in the Second World War had been removed, and had been replaced with this memorial to “the freedom fighters against National Socialism and its victims.” (I take this to mean the communist underground (which was pretty far underground in these parts) and, of course, Jews.)

I have no objection to men raising a memorial to “die Freiheitskampfer gegen den Nationalsozialismus und an sein Opfer, but when they raise this memorial on the rubble of a memorial to young men who died doing what they no doubt saw as their duty, and whose deaths were no doubt grieved by any number of friends and relations, I have a very strong objection indeed. In fact, I say what they have done is despicable.

Massacre of prisoners and mutilation of the enemy dead are the mark of savages, and so is destruction of memorials raised to the dead. I can all too easily picture the smug creeps who carried out this act of vindictive vandalism. One doesn’t need an ounce of sympathy for the National Socialists to say that these smug creeps are a pack of despicable savages.

16 thoughts on “Vandals High and Vandals Low

  1. Pingback: Vandals High and Vandals Low | @the_arv

  2. This encounter did, however, set in motion (albeit very slow motion) a chain of reflections that led me to the conclusion that this shock was misplaced.

    I should imagine many of us (perhaps even most of us Orthospherean types) have struggled through that long and arduous process. It is a main reason of course that Bonald’s Commencement post rings so true with us.

    I don’t know how much influence Hollywood has in the rise of the new iconoclasts (particularly in Austria), but it does not pass without notice that Hollywood’s portrayal of German soldiers in WWII today is decidedly more hostile towards them than its portrayal in the ’60s when The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far and fims like that were made.

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  4. I always liked the War Mamorial in the chapel of New College, Oxford, to its German students who died in WWI

    IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF THIS COLLEGE WHO COMING FROM A
    FOREIGN LAND ENTERED INTO THE INHERITANCE OF THIS PLACE &
    RETURNING FOUGHT & DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY IN THE WAR 1914 – 1919

    There are, as I recall, about 4 or 5 names.

    It was contentious at the time it was erected, only a couple of years after the Armistice and reflects great credit on the Warden and Fellows.

  5. Impiety is revolting in itself, but these things seem especially horrible now because we sense that we’re seeing our own future. We whites and Christians are all Confederates and Nazis now, at least that’s how we’re regarded and remembered, and nothing of our culture will be spared this treatment.

    Once, I was offended at seeing my whole civilization lumped in with Confederates and Nazis, but with time I’ve gained more sympathy for those with whom I am to be interred. The Confederates have always been romantic figures and, for those who can set ideology aside, easy to like. But I’ve begun to suspect that even the Nazis are closer to me than I had realized. The reason they call us Nazis is because we want to survive as a distinct people, and arguably that really is the driving desire behind Naziism. Perhaps I really have been a Confederate and a Nazi all along, just like the liberals have always said. It is oddly comforting to think that we shall be destroyed for who we really are rather than as a matter of mistaken identity.

    • Well, I’ll leave it to the professional historians and wordsmiths to explain the etymology of the term “Nazi” if they like. But I take it the term was never used by the German National Socialists because it was originally used disparagingly to cast the party in a highly unfavorable light. Seems like it kind of backfired early on; but over the course of time and things, and as we all well know by now, Nazi has come to = the purest kind of evil known to man. We are not allowed to admire the German National Socialists in any way, shape, form. We’re so much better, you see, since we confine our mass murders to preborn babies, and we don’t discriminate in our killing based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

    • I think the honest way to approach this is to ask one’s self what one would have likely done in that time and place. I don’t suppose Adolf Hitler would be a Nazi if he could see the whole episode from the vantage of 2017, or even 1946. So the real question for me is how I would have responded to Nazi propaganda in the 1930s. Chances are that I would have dismissed their anti-Christian ranting as the aberration of a few cranks and focused on the folkish and anti-communist images. If I were Austrian, I would have preferred Dollfuss over the Anschluss, but my greatest fear would have been a communist takeover. And I expect I would have favored secession if I were an Alabama smallholder with no slaves in 1860. Again, I would probably have seen the whole thing as a great mistake by 1865, but we don’t live life backwards.

      I think you are entirely correct when you suggest that, should a historian in the year 2500 stumble across an archived file of Orthosphere or Throne and Altar posts, he would put us down as a very minor squeak in the great (but futile) roar of protest against establishment the Glorious World State. We might be (at best) a footnote in a book in which the Confederacy and the Nazis were chapters.

      • I think the honest way to approach this is to ask one’s self what one would have likely done in that time and place.

        That’s good advice. *For grownups*.

      • What does it mean to be a Nazi? If it is a distinct political philosophy, I am not aware of it being formalized the way, for example, liberalism has been. Usually, a Nazi is presumed to be someone who approves the actions of the German National Socialist party, and in particular the crimes of the Nazi party. That’s not how other ideological loyalties work. No one insists that all liberals approve of the Glorious Revolution in all its aspects or all the actions of the English Whig party. Liberalism can be abstracted from its early historical manifestation. We often make fun of communists for insisting that true communism has nothing to do with the sordid thing that is actually existing communism, and likewise libertarians give their loyalty to a true capitalism with none of the defects of actually existing “crony” capitalism, but everyone does this to some extent. One’s political beliefs shouldn’t consist of whatever the party does. So just because I disapprove of some things Hitler said and did doesn’t rule out the possibility that I might actually be a Nazi without knowing it, just as the liberals have always believed. Maybe Hitler was an imperfect instantiation of Naziism. (Maybe “true Naziism” would be better; maybe even worse.) I would have to see Naziism reduced to a set of propositions and decide if I agree with them.

  6. Bonald@ I’ve been having similar thoughts about “Trumpism.” Does voting for Trump make me a “Trumpist”? Does being a “Trumpist” entail perfect sympathy with everything Donald Trump likes, says, and does. If I am a “Trumpist,” must I change my opinion of golf, blue blazers, and gilt furniture?

    More seriously, if Trump really ends up causing massive damage to the country in, say, 2022, will I be guilty of intending that massive damage in 2016? I don’t think this is probably, but it certainly isn’t impossible.

    Your central point is important. One mark of power is the power to represent one’s own position as essentially good, and only accidentally bad. And, of course, to represent one’s enemies as essentially bad (and accidentally bad as well). The “mistakes were made” defense of Communism is the textbook example of this. It’s also very conspicuous in Whig accounts of Catholic Europe. I’ve been reading accounts by English travelers in this region of Austria from the 18th and 19th century, and they love to make regrettable accidents of the Roman Catholic Church into its essence. To read them one would think that the Church of Rome was essentially an institution to burn heretics, books and witches, and only accidentally in the business of the cure of souls.

    • I had the good fortune of not being pressured to hold my nose and vote for Mr. Trump in the late election, being from Oklahoma and all. The only real question here was will Donald Trump win the state by a 66-34 margin or greater? Irrespective of my non-participation. Nevertheless, I still catch a lot of flak for abstaining in such an “all-important” presidential election. You can explain the electoral college mode of electing the president until you’re blue in the face, but the “it’s your sacred franchise” idea is driven so deeply in the American psyche that a choice to not vote on principle (“we don’t have a qualified candidate running”), even when it is safe to do so, just utterly blows peoples’ minds. I don’t think most of my brethren think of me as a traitor per se, but almost. Oh well.

  7. Pingback: This Week In Reaction (2017/06/04) - Social Matter

  8. Pingback: On the Marches of Europe – The Orthosphere

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