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Posts Tagged ‘Third Reich’

“Are Swastikas Offensive?”

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 23, 2007


There is a subtle difference between the Ancient, non-offensive Swastika:

and the distorted version the Nazis used:

If you look at old photos from the WWII you will notice that the Nazi Swastika is ALWAYS “at an angle” – this is the offensive use of the Swastika.

I think it’s important to know this difference and to be aware that it is only this swastika, and derivations of it in later times, that signify what Nazism stood for.

As always it is a matter of education and information.”

“It doesn’t matter at this point …what the swastika originally stood for … the common perception of the symbol today overrides any history prior to the Nazis.

I’m a firm believer that, in most cases, people are offended by things because they choose so be. But when there are so many who are to strongly offended, then yes, it earns the label of “offensive.” -“

“The line between where and when the swastika becomes obviously offensive does cross somewhere, even though I don’t think the line is so easily drawn. I think we have to go with the best we have: widespread agreement of its offensiveness, across many contemporary peoples and cultures.”

“I’m thinking, just because the Nazis distorted the original meaning of the swastika, doesn’t mean we have to.”

“I am not offended by a few scratches, I am offended by meaning.”

Five different people, five slightly different opinions.

The general consensus in that discussion was that, YES, the Nazi version of the Swastika is offensive to a majority of people.

A minority in that discussion wanted to have his definition of it as “non-offensive” elevated to general consensus presumably in the name of Free Speech. Because he doesn’t find it offensive, it is not offensive. Pretty weird coming from someone who purports to defend freedom of speech – trying to impose a dictatorship on the rest of us.

Is it offensive? Is it a violation of free speech to expect people not to use it in public?

“I am not offended by a few scratches, I am offended by meaning.”
“Well, […] – the Nazi Swastika carries meaningconnotations – for a majority of people born between 1933 and 1980 (I am going by when the youngest person I last spoke to about this, who could actually give a time line of the Third Reich, was born). That meaning is negative. In its “simplicity” it spells out genocide, hatred, discrimination, death, extermination, torture, racism, all things bad. That is what people “see” when they see a Nazi Swastika. They see the meaning, and they are offended – by the meaning it carries. The symbol carries that meaning and by removing the symbol, the meaning is removed.

To many of us, the meaning of the Nazi Swastika is a pure physical feeling of up-chucking, fear, anger – the knowledge that someone in that area is prepared to kill us. If it doesn’t have that meaning for you – good for you, but to claim that it doesn’t signal those things, and therefore is not deeply offensive, is just simple lack of imagination, compassion and a down right denial of historical facts, as well as denial of the impact that symbol had on people’s lives and still have.”

At least he is offended by the meaning of the symbol, even if he doesn’t get the connection between the symbol and the meaning of it.

There are some things society as a general entity find so abhorrent that it will legislate against them, simply because the mere existence of those things is an affront to human society. Promoting genocide is one of those things, racism is another.

In a modern society symbols that carry the meaning “genocide, hatred, discrimination, death, extermination, torture, racism” is automatically considered an affront to society, because those symbols cannot be used in any other or meaningful way, they cannot signal anything else.

Of course people have the right to hold views that coincide with the meanings of those symbols, and to speak their opinions – but to expect that they can do so unopposed by either society or the general majority seems a bit naive, or even claim that when they are opposed, they are being silenced is just so much horse manure.

Posted in Third Reich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Hitler Analogy – when is it acceptable?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 30, 2007


The current president’s policies seem to be an extension of his grandfather’s thinking. Bush’s latest string of Executive Orders are so disconcertingly undemocratic and un-American that even the Right-wing is growing leery. Last week, Bush signed an order that would enable him to seize the financial assets of anti-war activists. And in his most troubling move to date, on May 9, Bush signed an order that states that in the event of another terror attack on U.S. soil, the legislative and judicial branches of government would become subservient to the executive. This move is precisely how Hitler concretized his power following the Reichstag fire.


The Blog – JewSchool – raised an interesting question: “When is it okay to call someone a Nazi.?”

It is interesting because the comparison to Hitler and Nazism is most often used when a debater has no arguments left for their position. It is considered bad form to use the comparison, and in most Discussion Forums it is a sure discussion killer. See Godwin’s Law.

It has also been used as a hyperbolic propagandist argument against f.i Israeli politics in regards to the Palestinians, especially by debaters on the Far Left, who somehow think they gain points by using it as an insult.

The interesting part appears when one is able to draw direct political lines between events today and those in the 1930’s and 1940’s Germany. Like the Blogger manages to do in the above quote.

The Question raises another Question – how are we to learn from history, if references to historical events cannot be made? If Hitler, the Third Reich and the Holocaust take on sacrosanct proportions in the minds of people, don’t we then loose an instrument that can and should be used for education and raising awareness of similar events taking place in our own times? What about historical, sociological and philosophical analysis – how can that be conducted if the books on certain parts of history are hermetically closed due to sensitivities of some of the victims? Isn’t that just another denial? It seems like the the slogan “Never again!” has come to mean, not that it must never happen again, but that we must never think or speak about it again. For sure, we must not point out that history is about to repeat itself in some variation.

It has been argued that the events leading up to and resulting in the Third Reich in the 1930’s were so unique that no events can be compared to them, not before and not after.

But were they? Really? The misuse of power, the political machinations, the targeting of political undesirables, followed by elimination any possible dissent – are they unique to the Rise of the Third Reich?

What about the Soviet Union? Or China? Uganda, Mozambique, Iran, Turkey, Iraq?

How about the Serbian Rise in Former Yugoslavia?

I know that Europe woke up to the plight of the Muslims in Serbia after images eerily resembling those from Bergen Belsen and Auschwitz were aired on TV – but that was long into the massacre, and for many the realization of what was happening came too late.

Could those events have been predicted and intercepted if we had been allowed to believe that this kind of evil is repeatable, because it is NOT unique, because human evil is in fact very predictable? Would we not then also have been allowed to analyze and draw parallels between events in the 1930’s and 40’s and events unfurling in our own times?

I believe that not only do we need to let go of the “sanctification” of the Holocaust and the events that led up to it as something unique, but we need to go of the permanent victimization, not just of the Jewish People and all other that perished then, but of our collective innocence. It cannot be repaired, so we might as well accept that it is gone, and live with it, learn from its demise and grow up.

Posted in Hitler, Philosophy, Third Reich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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