WWII self-righteousness, still haunting us

Some people thought I was exaggerating about how hateful World War II propaganda is destroying Western civilization, but events have vindicated me. It is now establishment consensus that Texas cannot have a law forbidding schools from teaching race hatred, demonizing entire peoples, and pursuing propaganda rather than objectivity, because such restrictions might impede the teaching of hateful WWII propaganda. Of course, the proponents of this bill insist that hateful WWII propaganda would continue as always, but the Leftist establishment correctly see the general principle as a threat. Liberals pride themselves for their open-mindedness and appreciation for ambiguity, but must puzzle over the irony of having been born into a world where such a sensibility finds no application, for as liberals also constantly scream at us, “THERE ARE NO TWO SIDES!!!!!” to any issue whatsoever. School teachers must break the spirits of white children and teach them to hate themselves, or else it would mean that there are “two sides to the Holocaust”.

One should point out that to speak about the Holocaust is already in a sense to have taken a side, in that one has restricted discussion to one side’s grievance. It is not atrocities but conflicts that are usually said to have two sides. I would not say that there are two sides to the Holocaust, or to the Holodomor, or the Great Terror, or the Vendee genocide, or the Armenian genocide, or the Rwandan genocide. I certainly would say that there are two sides to, for example, World War II and the Rwandan Civil War (such as the often-forgotten fact that the Tutsis started it). Back when I was in school, the history of WWII began with an acknowledgement of the iniquities of the Treaty of Versailles, a sign that WWII partisanship has actually been getting worse during my lifetime.

“Informed”, “sophisticated”, New York Times-approved opinion will not admit that, even in conflicts where atrocities undoubtedly occurred, the perpetrating side may still have had understandable motives and genuine grievances. This, they say, would be to grant legitimacy to “hate” and put everyone else at risk from those wretched souls whose identities have been declared hateful. The idea we are forced to believe is that genocide and the like come from hatred, and hatred comes from nowhere, except perhaps from the black heart of the white soul. Perpetrating peoples cannot be said to have been pursuing their interests or overreacting to provocations. In order to avoid legitimating hatred, we must deny it any historical context. Attempting to understand the motivations of “bad guys” is considered morally suspect.

Conservatives often marvel at what seems to us the odd mixture of moral relativism and moral absolutism in our opponents. To be fair, I’m sure liberals feel the same way about us. One might say that, since WWII, it has been official policy that Christianity is a false religion, because Christianity teaches us that there are no good guys and bad guys on this Earth. All are sinners, and not one is righteous. All are made in God’s image, and all are called to be transformed by His grace. In this world, we are all a mix of good and bad, and the ambiguity in our souls spills into our wars, which are never comic book battles between good and evil. God’s law, however, is immutable, and certain acts are unambiguously evil, regardless of motivation and whether one is officially a good/oppressed guy or a bad/oppressor guy.

The modern world has reversed this. Consequentialism denies that any acts are intrinsically immoral, and post-Vatican II casuistry ensures that no one feels bad for putting aside a moral obligation that has become onerous. On the other hand, men are taught to have absolute certainty of the righteousness of their side, the side of history. The enemy’s crimes define him; our crimes are aberrations, and are actually the enemy’s fault, when you really stop to think about it. The enemy is motivated by unprovoked hatred; don’t listen to the reasons he gives–he’s just trying to trick you. Don’t ever appease evil–remember what happened with Hitler? We must crush all competitors and dominate the world so that bullies like him never reappear.

It is a humbling lesson that there are always two sides–even our enemies and persecutors were as certain of the rightness of their cause as we were of ours–but that is no small part of the value of learning it.

18 thoughts on “WWII self-righteousness, still haunting us

  1. That is not true. The minute you say Leftist Propaganda you state your own biased Propaganda, and you slander millions of well-meaning liberals who are guilty of no crime. The Germans and the Japanese were wrong in World War II, the Americans, the British, the French, and the Russians were right. Anything else is immoral propaganda and a lie.

      • Am an American Citizen & entitled to get my 2cents
        worth in regards to grown-ups talk. (Thanks again to the WORDPRESS app.) Past middle age and so my reaction to the results of WW2 is from 3rd generation
        N. A. heritage. You spoke of the good/bad Axis Powers who fought against us during those years of open war & hostilities that cost this Country dearly.
        Bonald friend the matter people are forgetting to take-issue-with is the dedication & resourcefulness
        with which our adversaries the enemy made a bid to change the order. Am under the impression from the tone of your stand te Axis had played their diabolical
        game of mastery of the World &lost? Seriously has the Current World benefitted by Germany/Japanese downfall? Their being rebuilt & refitted after the War
        up until the Present time. Who has the profits?

    • The Germans and the Japanese were wrong in World War II, the Americans, the British, the French, and the Russians were right. Anything else is immoral propaganda and a lie.

      Quite so!

      Harrington, you crack me up with your overly-simplistic, downright clownish determinations regarding the “righteousness” of the cause of the Allied powers vs. the “unrighteousness” of the cause of the Axis powers. You write:

      …and you slander millions of well-meaning liberals who are guilty of no crime.

      I will probably regret asking this question of you, but, in any case and to your mind, what is it that constitutes “well-meaning liberals who are guilty of no crime?” E.g., were the original suffragettes and their acolytes “well-meaning liberals guilty of no crime?”; how about feminist (“her body, her choice”) dads who both deny and abdicate their authority over their adolescent children; is a ” well-meaning liberal guilty of no crime” someone who supports “safe & legal” abortion; is (s)he someone who believes with all her heart, soul, mind and strength that “diversity is our greatest strength” and therefore supports demographic replacement by the world’s tired, its poor, its huddled masses ‘yearning to be free’; is such an one someone who supports homosexual “marriage” and adoption by LGBTQ etc. couples; is he someone who supports and advocates for child mutilation surgeries, and (well-meaningly) attends “transgender story hour” and gay pride events with his five year-old? Shall I go on?

      We on the dissident right do not refer to her as “Weimerica” and “Clown World Hell” for no reason, dingdong.

    • Replace Russians with Communists and Stalin. I don’t how any honest Christian could take the side of Communists unless they were duped by their leaders.

  2. These same people would say that there is only one right and true story to this whole Covid thing as well. They are incapable of rational thought, and therefore no discussion can be had with them. Funny how social ostracism or worse takes place when going against the official political narrative, be it CV19, WWII, THE holocaust, USS Liberty, etc….. That’s what happens when they can’t answer questions. They must demonize.

    P.S. Scott, the “well meaning” leftists are not the ones behind the leftist propaganda. Keep trying….

  3. What really strikes me about leftist zealotry is their total lack of self awareness about it. They really believe that they are simply stating objective historical facts and any contradictory opinion is ipso facto enemy propaganda. There is no room for debate – those who disagree with their dogma are effectively public enemies who ought to be silenced. Even the diminishing number who still profess to support free speech will qualify that that this does not include hate speech – which comprises virtually all ideas that leftists disapprove of. This is doubtless also where the recent obsession with misinformation comes from – an attempt to delegitimize any expression of ideas contrary to the prevailing leftist consensus.

    Departing from morals but staying with the theme of WWII, just try and say that National Socialism was a genuine form of socialism. The response will virtually always be that this cannot possibly be true because the Third Reich did not fit the consensus view of what a socialist state ought to be like. And because it had overtly national particularist goals rather than aspiring to universal egalitarianism, it cannot even be acknowledged as a failed attempt at socialism the way that most will categorize the USSR or Red China. Hitler’s own self declared socialist views were simply a trick to get working class Germans to vote for him – anyone who still believes this now is still being tricked and so must be either a Nazi themselves or at least a Nazi dupe.

    As with Bonald’s last post on this subject, I fully expect there will be several comments unintentionally demonstrating his point.

  4. I can remember tagging along after my grandfather doing household chores and him talking to me as we worked away about whatever he happened to be thinking about, as adult men are wont to do. Two things he used to ramble on about have stuck with me: the Great Depression did not justify Roosevelt’s New Deal (this was a man who grew up very poor), and WW2 happened because Versailles happened.

    It’s strange how WWII is now part of the founding mythology of Neo-America. It’s basically the moral touchstone for the country. If you even compare Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot to Hitler, you’re a Hiter-denialist, a literally-Hitler. It’s comical to someone old enough to remember a more nuanced view of WW2, and my generation encountered a lot more WW2 vets. When the last WW2 vet dies, and he’ll probably be someone who spent his enlistment changing oil at the motor pool, there will be people weeping for days.

  5. My father taught me to be a liberal. He’s 92 now. He didn’t fight in WWII. He was a supply room clerk/corporal who served in the occupation of Europe. In his day, he knew a lot of refugees. Today his mind is pretty much shot. One of the things he repeats over and over and over again until everyone wants to tear their hair out is that the Germans didn’t have but one seaport and it was so sad the way they allowed such desires to run out of control. He’s forgotten this now, but he used to tell his children every time the war came up that people hated the “Japs” too much during the war. He didn’t mince words about what his older brothers went through, but he still thought there was too much hatred towards the people of the Axis powers. His attitude was Christian. I have so many problems with my Daddy, but his attitude was simply Christian.

    I think all the liberals left like that are either trampling each other for the exits (people running shrieking away from liberalism, running like me) or people like my father – still liberal because they’re just too old. My yellow dog Democrat, old school integrationist taught me the attitude Bonald is arguing for. Once it was a characteristic liberal attitude but now — now all we’ve got is a pack of jackasses.

  6. We seem to be reverting to an archaic morality in which “social conscience” is replacing individual conscience, and getting on the right side of history is replacing getting on the right side of God. This externalizes moral struggle so that “wrestling with the Devil” becomes cultural and even military war against those who hate history, or progress. In many ways this looks like a correction of what Nietzsche called the sickness of Christianity, since the will is no longer turned inward against itself, but is rather turned outward against bad people.

    When did you last know a person who felt deeply guilty about something they did, personally? When did you last know a person who felt deeply guilty about something their ancestors did? I encounter the later all the time, the former hardly ever. If college students still write essays on Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, I’d guess they mostly ask whether the pawnbroker deserved it.

    • Its a move towards moral tribalism for lack of a better term. Shared burdens being easier to bear but more importantly easier to abdicate. If you can project yourself as ‘just a cog in the machine’ then responsibility becomes a broad and vague thing, rather then something personal at all. To stay with the theme, the question has been asked and answered on some occasions recently; how could +- 1935 onwards happen without barely anyone acting against it?
      Because of tribalism fueled with fear and hope of ‘staying safe/ exempt. That was partially true back then, this time, probably not the case.

  7. Hi Bonald,

    Attempting to understand the motivations of “bad guys” is considered morally suspect.

    What do you make of the villain origin story trend of the last decade, where Hollywood takes an iconic villainous fictional character and humanizes him by providing a backstory that explains the source of his motivations? Examples: Maleficent, Joker, Cruella, although I think the phenomenon may have started back in the ’90s with Wicked. In this context, the left seems positively to embrace the idea of exploring and understanding the motivations of bad guys. Perhaps it’s simply because the evil of these characters does not offend against the ruling ideology, consisting of things like murder rather than ‘racism’.

  8. “Informed”, “sophisticated”, New York Times-approved opinion will not admit that, even in conflicts where atrocities undoubtedly occurred, the perpetrating side may still have had understandable motives and genuine grievances.

    It might be worth applying this to the woke left: how are we to understand their motives? Do they have actual genuine grievances?

    The present conflict is one that appears to fit the NYT narrative best: it is hard not to attribute sheer irrational hatred to the woke left.

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