Thursday, December 24, 2015


Nietzsche said Christianity is a religion for slaves, but only because Christianity was the religion he knew best. It’s true of all religions.

Gods are the deified dead. We pretend they're immortal because we love the dead more than we do the living, more than we love ourselves. We always value what we’ve lost more than what we have.

The things we value most, whose possession seems to justify our valuing ourselves, often conceal from us who and what we are.

Private property always seemed to me an absurd idea at best; and at worst, if and when we mistake what we possess for who and what we are, it’s the original sin from which all others grow.

Slavery grows from private property. A god creates his people to serve and obey him, and he also creates other people to serve and obey his people. A god rewards those people who serve him loyally by making them masters of the godless.

The world was not created for us by our heavenly father. It is not the property of anyone in it. The world existed before we did, and will continue to exist when we no longer do.

When I was a child, another boy asked me if I was Jewish.

I was surprised because the difference between Christians and Jews, which was so important to others, meant less to me than the difference between the religious, whatever their religion, and atheists like myself; and the difference between the religious and atheists meant less to me than the difference between people who claimed to act in obedience to some power outside of themselves, whether that power was church or state, and people who took responsibility for their own actions.

He asked, he said, because most of my friends were Jews. I realized, to my surprise, that he was right.

I hadn’t chosen them because they were Jews any more than I would have rejected them because they were Jews. I chose them because they were secular Jews, aka atheists, as was I. Nevertheless I began to wonder if there wasn’t something unique about Jews - or at least intelligent Jews, secular Jews.

I realized that their lack of a heimat, which made Jews abhorrent to nationalists like Hitler, made them attractive to me because property ownership, whether by one person or a group, seemed to me absurd at best, and at worst a sin.

I wasn’t persuaded by the standard explanation for Hitler’s persecution of the Jews: that he considered them an inferior race which threatened to contaminate the Aryan race, the master race, through misgenation. I assumed Hitler was a Christian, albeit an extreme one: a fundamentalist Christian (believers become extreme in their protestations of belief as that belief fades) - and, like all Christians, he feared the Jews as rivals for their heavenly father's favor.

The Jews were the first master race (at least in Judeo-Christian mythology), god's chosen people. I believed Christians feared the Jews had been right to reject Christ as a false messiah because what, after all, had he changed?

Nazis didn’t persecute the Jews because they considered them inferior but, on the contrary, because they feared Jews are superior, just as patriarchal societies don’t subjugate women because they consider them inferior but, on the contrary, because they fear women are superior.

No matter how powerful they are, masters are always aware of their own weaknesses; and the more aware they are of those weaknesses, the more masters tell themselves, and their slaves, how powerful they are.

Masters are always aware of how much they depend on their slaves, and fear that, if they don’t keep them enslaved, they will be enslaved by them. But they need not fear. Slaves have their own reasons for pretending to believe in the myth of their masters’ natural superiority and their own equally natural inferiority

Masters imagine their slaves obey them because they're stupid and gullible enough to believe the myth of their masters' power. They don’t realize that slaves know their masters are weak; but they're even more aware aware of their own weaknesses.

it’s not because slaves trust in their masters that they obey them, but because they distrust themselves They would rather submit to a master, even a bad master - one they can despise - than govern themselves, and risk doing it badly, and end up despising themselves.

The way to free slaves is not to destroy their faith in their masters, for they have none. It's their lack of faith in themselves that keeps them enslaved; for when they do rebel and seize power, slaves invariably become bad masters.

I never gave much thought to this when I was younger - just enough to talk about it with others, on the rare occasions when I met someone I could talk with - and now that I have no one to talk with, I care about it even less. This is merely a mental exercise, a game for one player; and games change nothing.

I've always felt detached from others, as though I was observing them from a distance. I observed myself with the same detachment. I watched them, and myself, as though we were all playing a game; but I was the only one who knew it was a game. They took it seriously.

I used to play the game well when I was younger - no doubt because I didn't take it seriously - and enjoyed doing so. But gradually I found less and less satisfaction in doing well what shouldn’t be done at all.

As I near the end of my life as a member of a species that is nearing its end as well, my concern is not with understanding myself or my species, but with understanding life - not only my life, but all life - and what role it plays in the universe.

It seems to me that everything is alive in some way, although not in the same way we are; certainly not in the way that most people call being alive. Not only is what we call intelligent life (of which we are supposedly the primary, and perhaps the only, example) probably rare, but anything that we might recognize as life is rare.

I can't believe that I am eternal, as many people claim they believe, because beings like us are by definition temporary. If there is anything eternal, it would be death for beings like us.

The universe is therefore unlikely to be ordered in any way that we would call orderly. What we call order exists only for us and beings like us. 

Like us, order is a local and temporary phenomenon, or what philosophers used to call an illusion, because they considered only the universal the eternal to be real. The distinction between what we call life and what we call death is therefore illusory, because nothing is universal and eternal.

If I still wanted to know anything, it would be the role that life plays in the universe. But I don’t want to know anything anymore. I want only to die as soon as possible, and as painlessly as possible.

I hope dying brings a release from, rather than an increase of, pain, although I’ve seen enough deaths to know that’s not likely. Otherwise I take no more interest in my own death than I do anyone else does; not only my own death, but the death of my species.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


After reading about it, I decided to read Life is a Dream.

Apparently Calderón’s play is periodically rediscovered and declared a masterpiece equal to any by Shakespeare or Sophocles. Frederic Schlegel said Calderón was even better than Shakespeare. Others have not been as enthusiastic. Sismondi called him ‘the poet of the Inquisition’. He’s not quite that, but he’s no Shakespeare. 

Life is a Dream does contain characters and situations similar to those in Hamlet and Oedipus, the two plays to which I’ve seen it most often compared; but Shakespeare and Sophocles used them more skillfully, and to tell different stories.

The plays are also said to have the same theme. 

Scholars say illusion vs reality is a universal theme found in most if not all great art. They find it in Hamlet and Oedipus; and from the title, illusion vs reality would appear to be the theme of Life is a Dream as well. But its dream is not that of Hamlet or Oedipus, nor is its reality. 

We used to consider the common sense world an illusion. Only in altered mental states, such as dreams, do we catch glimpses of the real world. Even now, when few people believe in the supernatural, they trust in the truth of dreams because they believe the unconscious mind perceives what the conscious overlooks. But Calderón distrusted dreams. He has Clotaldo, a pivotal character in the play, compare dreams to madness, and say we should stifle the passions to which both give birth. 

Before the play begins, King Basilio had Segismundo, his newborn son, imprisoned in a tower because of a prophesy that he, like Oedipus, would grow up to kill his father and bring disaster to the kingdom. Now that Segismundo is a man, Basilio has him brought to the palace to see if he is as dangerous as the prophesy foretold. 

Instead of being grateful for his release, Segismundo is enraged that he was imprisoned so long for no apparent reason.

Clotaldo, his jailer, warns Segismundo to behave properly or he may find his newfound freedom is only a dream; but Segismundo goes on a rampage. After he tries to rape Rosaura and kill Clotaldo and Astolfo, Basilio has him drugged and returned to the tower. 

When Segismundo wakes, Clotaldo tells him his visit to the palace was indeed only a dream. But even in dreams, he says, we should behave properly.

After Clotaldo leaves, Segismundo speaks the soliloquy that Calderónistas claim marks the beginning of his moral awakening. It ends with him saying that life is a dream, and even dreams are dreams. I found it banal, especially when compared with Hamlet’s soliloquies.  

Then the people storm the tower and release Segismundo, who agrees to lead them in rebellion against his father.

Finding his prisoner is free again, Clotaldo fears Segismundo will kill him, as he tried to do earlier in the palace. Instead Segismundo asks Clotaldo to join him and the rebels. Clotaldo refuses, and says he is loyal to the king. 

As the king’s men prepare to fight the rebels, Rosaura asks Clotaldo, her father, to avenge her honor by killing Astolfo, who seduced and abandoned her. When Clotaldo refuses because Astolfo is now King Basilio’s heir, Rosaura leaves the palace and joins the rebels.

The rebels, led by Segismundo and Rosaura, defeat the king’s men in battle. Now it is Basilio who faces Segismundo, expecting to be killed. But again the prince demonstrates his nobility by showing Basilio mercy, just as he did Clotaldo. Father and son are reconciled, and Basilio declares Segismundo is now his heir. 

Rosaura and Astolfo are also reconciled. He had refused to marry her because she was not of noble birth, but changes his mind when he learns she is Clotaldo’s daughter.

The play ends with Segismundo sentencing the rebel who freed him to life imprisonment in the same tower in which Segismundo’s father had imprisoned him.

Because Calderón was a Jesuit priest, scholars claim Life is a Dream is a metaphysical play dramatizing the doctrines of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. They debate the meaning of the play’s ending, and how (or if) it relates to Segismundo’s moral awakening. I think they’d find the answer if they dispensed with the idea that Life is a Dream is a metaphysical play. 

They don’t seem to understand the role of Clotaldo, who is not only Segismundo’s jailer, but his tutor. Clotaldo teaches Segismundo, Rosaura and the audience, by his example and his advice, to submit to authority, however unjust.  

Basilio, the king to whom Clotaldo remains loyal when everyone else rebels against him, admits he's not a good king. Nevertheless he is a king, god’s representative on earth; and Clotaldo knows we can no more judge a king by the same standard we do ordinary men than we can judge god himself.

Priests can and often do preach the divine right of kings; but when they do they are courtiers serving an earthly king, not a heavenly one. Clotaldo, a courtier, is a pivotal character in Life is a Dream because it’s a political play, not a metaphysical one. 

Neither does the play depict Segismundo’s moral awakening, as Calderónistas claim.

Hamlet and Oedipus, the two plays with which Life is a Dream  is most often compared, both depict a man who happens to be a prince, as he awakens to the tragic reality of what it is to be human. A hero who is only a prince, and not a man as well, can’t be tragic. It’s neither Hamlet nor Oedipus whom Segismundo resembles, but Hal.

As a prince and future king, Segismundo cannot reward rebellion; therefore he condemns to prison the man who freed him from his father’s prison. Hal similarly betrays his companions, most notably Falstaff, when he assumes his proper role as the king’s heir.  

Most of the fictions we call great depict this world as an illusion in which everyone plays a role, pretending to be what s/he is not. A man's moral awakening puts him in conflict with this world, and makes him a rebel. Life is a Dream  does the opposite. Segismundo awakens from the rebel’s dream of freedom (obviously an illusion, since the rebels can’t rebel against their king without a prince to lead them) to the real world in which everyone has learned to play his or her proper role.

Scholars also debate the meaning of Rosaura’s sublot, and its relation to the main plot of Segismundo’s moral awakening. It seems to me obvious that, just as Segismundo must give up the rebel’s dream of freedom and play his role as Basilio's heir, so too must Rosaura give up her rebellion against a woman’s role in a society ruled by men, as symbolized by her mannish clothes. 

The play holds out the hope that the injustice Segismundo suffered at his father’s hands will make him a better king than Basilio, with more compassion for his subjects; but it doesn't question a king's divine right to rule even when he's unjust.

Why am I wasting what little time I have left on this dreck? It’s worse than useless because it distracts me from things that matter. I know too much about the fictions we create to distract ourselves, and almost nothing about the real world. 

I had glimpses of it when I was young, just enough to know that knowledge without power is useless. 

Knowledge is not power. Only power is power. The goal is not to understand the world, but to change it.

It was hubris to think I could. 

This life is not a dream but a nightmare, a prison from which there is only one escape.

Friday, November 20, 2015


God is dead, said Nietzsche; and we killed him. But god has always been dead. 

God is the parent who dies to give us life, the totem animal we kill and eat to live; and because we know right from wrong, we ask his forgiveness.

Other animals kill and eat without asking their prey’s forgiveness. Life feeds on life. But we are not other animals. We know right from wrong.
How shall we comfort ourselves, asked Nietzsche; we most murderous of murderers? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not become gods ourselves to be worthy of it? 

It’s not that great a deed. We’ve brought many gods to life, and then killed them. The assumption that we can therefore become gods ourselves is hubris, which the Greeks knew is a form of madness. 

Every society has created a myth of a Golden Age when we humans lived in harmony with other animals, predators with their prey. Even now fascists are nostalgic for a Golden Age when masters and their slaves lived in harmony.  

That paradise was lost, and human history began, every myth agrees, with a crime. But few remember what that crime was.

The punishment for that crime, every myth agrees, was death. Not death as we knew it when we lived in paradise: part of a natural cycle in which nothing is ever lost, but only changes form - but death as we now know and fear it: an unnatural absence of life. Horror vacui. So if the punishment must fit the crime, that first crime must have been an unnatural death, a murder.  

But the first murder, according to Judeo-Christian myth, was committed only after Adam and Eve were exiled from paradise. The crime for which they were punished with exile – the original sin, according to religious fundamentalists (who do not understand the myth they claim to take literally) - was disobedience.

"From any tree of the garden you may eat freely”, god said to them. “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."  

But the serpent told Adam and Eve their god was a liar. “Ye shall not surely die: For god doth know that, in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. 

So Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and immediately they knew they were naked; and they were ashamed.  

They were naked before they ate, but only after they ate did Adam and Eve know that being naked was wrong. 

They also knew their god had lied. 

Eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge did not kill Adam and Eve, as their god said it would. Instead it made them as gods, knowing good and evil, as the serpent said it would. And because they were as gods, they judged themselves, as gods would. But they did not judge their god. 

The people who made this myth depicted their god as a liar. Nevertheless they needed to believe in him (they needed faith to believe in him because reason shows he is a liar). They imagined a divine ruler because they didn't believe they were capable of ruling themselves. 

Seeing they had disobeyed him, god said "Behold, the man is become as one of us, knowing good and evil. Now he may put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”.

To whom did this 'one true god’ say that ‘the man is become as one of us’ if not to other gods? His fear, and theirs, was that if men became as gods, knowing good and evil, they would no longer need gods. To protect themselves, the gods banished Adam and Eve from paradise. 

It's only after Adam and Eve leave paradise that their sons quarrel, which leads to the first murder (in Judeo-Christian mythology, murder is always fratricide - Cain vs Abel, Jacob vs Esau. The Jews dared not imagine killing god the father precisely because they knew they had imagined him).

Now we, the children of murderous Cain, wander the earth as homeless exiles. But we have always wandered the earth, because the earth is our home. 

Older myths say paradise is not lost. It lies all around us, but we cannot or will not see it. 

We became as gods when we learned the difference between good and evil; and we judged ourselves and each other as our gods judged us. But good and evil, like the gods who embody them, are human inventions. We can return to paradise if and when we stop judging ourselves and each other, and forgive ourselves and each other.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I no longer live. I exist.

Existentialism is a symptom, not the cure for our disease. I can’t create a purpose for myself. I’m not a monopole. 

We used to know that we must live for something or someone outside ourselves. We used to know that subject and object arise together, because of each other. We’re devolving now, forgetting everything we used to know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The words Life is a Dream, and Chuang Tzu’s dream in particular, have been on my mind lately because I’m coming across references to Calderón’s play of that name in my reading. 

Whitehead said all of western philosophy is a footnote to Plato. It’s equally true of western religion, because what westerners call religion is merely a cruder form of what they used to call philosophy. 

Educated Easterners have known for some time that what we call reality is an illusion. Westerners are relatively new to the game of philosophy; therefore, like Chuang Tzu, they haven't yet figured out which is which.  

Whether they call themselves secular or religious, educated westerners have followed Plato in believing this world of change, which to the uneducated seems real, is an illusion. Educated westerners agree that the real world is changeless and eternal. 

Plato’s world of ideal forms became western science’s world of numbers and western religion’s heaven. His prime mover unmoved was given a name and face and became a god. 

Gods, for educated Hindus, are names of the unnameable, faces of the faceless void. The Buddha, being educated, was agnostic. Only ignorant Easterners, and Westerners, reify ideas.         

Monday, November 9, 2015


I tell myself that I’m still alive because I still want to understand, but that’s not true. Understanding is not enough. Philosophers have always tried to understand the world, when the goal is to change it.

Knowledge is not power. Only power is power.

Knowledge I can’t put to use is worse than useless. It’s a constant reminder that I’m powerless.

We used to think the real self was the soul, then the mind, and now the will, der Wille zur Macht. Someone without will power is not real.

I'm still alive because I lack the will power to organize another suicide attempt. Why bother, when I’m not real?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


The election is a year away, but already the media are filled with the petty squabbles of politicians.  

Not because people are interested in what the media call politics, but because they’re not. They know elections don’t decide how we’re governed, because we’re not governed. We’re ruled.

People read gossip about politicians for the same reason they read gossip about actors and athletes. It enables them to feel superior to these overpaid buskers, which consoles them for their own powerlessness.

It also enables them to avoid thinking about the important things they’re powerless to change.

The flight from the war-ravaged ME gets less media attention than the election, even though most people think it’s more important, perhaps the most important event of our time. But the most important event of our time is and always has been, throughout our time on this planet, our destruction of the planet.

We used to be travellers, wandering the earth. When we started feeding on the planet as a parasite feeds on its host, gorging itself until it kills its host and itself, we stopped being travellers and became fugitives, fleeing the consequences of our actions. The current flight from the ME is the latest consequence of the monotonous rise and fall of empires which we call history. It will be followed by others until we finish killing the earth and ourselves.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Days go by during which I see no one, speak to no one. I don’t open my mouth except to eat or drink, and sometimes not even for that. 

I prefer to be alone because even when I’m with others physically, I’m alone mentally. Most people can’t tell me what they think because they don’t know; and those who do know are afraid to tell themselves, much less others. 

I know the thoughts of others only through the magazines I read. Of late they all contain articles about the Nazi camps. Ostensibly it’s because this year is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. But fascism is never far from our thoughts, and needs only an occasion such as this to become conscious.

When I read how the camp commanders got the inmates to fight each other, betray each other, so that they despised themselves and each other too much to unite against their masters, I can see modern society being born. The fascists lost the war, but won the peace. The whole world is a prison camp now; but as long as we confine our worst brutality to the provinces, following the example of the Nazis who built Auschwitz in Poland, we in the Empire’s heartland can pretend we’re free.

Friday, October 30, 2015


I used to love everyone because I loved her. I saw in her what was best in me, and in everyone else. Now that she's dead, I see how little we are like her. I dislike the person I am without her, but I despise everyone else.   

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Chuang Tzu didn’t know whether he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly, or a butterfly who was now dreaming he was a man. When life is a dream, it doesn’t matter who is doing the dreaming. It matters only when life becomes a nightmare, as it has now.

Monday, October 19, 2015


History always repeats itself, but in an ever-widening spiral. As empires fall the dark age returns, and people are on the move again.   

The latest issue of every magazine I read contains at least one article about the ME wars and the resulting flight of refugees to the EU. It also contains at least one article about the two world wars and the resulting flight of European refugees. Is this because the resemblance between these two Völkerwanderungen is as obvious to everyone else as it is to me? But none of the articles compare Germany’s role in initiating the first Völkerwanderung to the USA’s role in initiating the second.

All the articles about the two world wars say most Germans still don’t accept Germany’s responsibility for the wars. Germans see themselves as the real victims of the wars, because of the vengeance which their victims inflicted on them when the tide of battle turned. 

Germans complain most about the savagery of the Soviet Army, because Americans, now their patrons, like to hear their own prejudices confirmed. This is one way in which Germans resemble Americans, who see themselves as the real victims of their own imperialist wars in SE Asia and the ME. 

They’re right, of course. Ordinary people aren’t responsible for the crimes of their rulers. But they are complicit in those crimes. It’s disingenuous to claim that Hitler was an evil genius who hypnotized people into following him, as Cipolla does in Mann's Mario and the Magician. The Germans followed Hitler willingly as long as he was leading them to victory, and would do so again.

One of the articles, based on interviews with ordinary Germans, said they see themselves as having been as much victims of Hitler as the Jews and Slavs were. This may be what they told the article's gullible writer, but I suspect most Germans of my generation (probably the only ones for whom this still matters), don’t condemn Hitler but on the contrary defend him, if only in private, as Walter did to me. 

He told me Hitler was not an anti-Semite. The Final Solution was devised by his underlings, without his knowledge. Walter said ordinary Germans, like him and his family, weren’t anti-Semitic either – after all, their tailor was Jewish! Walter deceived himself, but at least he had the decency to be a hypocrite instead of embracing his bigotry, as Justin does.

I suspect most Germans, to the extent they’re political, still see Russia as their hereditary rival for mastery of the world-island just as most Russians, to the extent they’re political, still see Germany as their hereditary enemy. Bigotry is what passes for politics with most people, which is why war never ends. Peace is merely a temporary truce while another generation of soldiers grows to maturity.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


After I told Justin I was ending our conversation, he sent me three long emails in a row. I opened them, to see if he’d come to his senses, but each was just another Islamophobic rant. Does he imagine he can persuade me if he repeats himself often enough? 

I reread Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, preparing myself to debate Justin, but he said nothing I could refute because his Islamophobia is emotional, not rational. So, to clear my head of his nonsense, I read about the migration of Muslims from the ME into the EU.

These refugees are not the poor, who suffer the most, but well-to-do educated people who can afford to leave. I should have known this from my own family’s escape from Stalin’s USSR. 

This is merely the latest phase of the migrations that began with the two world wars. The would-be Caliphate is this century’s equivalent of the last century’s would-be thousand-year Reich (but no one condemned all Europeans for the barbarism of the fascists, as Islamophobes like Justin now condemn all Muslims for the barbarism of the jihadists).

The history of our species consists of migrations. People leave the empire in which they live when its decline becomes obvious, because empires in decline always go to war, preying on other empires in order to delay their own collapse. But all empires are in decline, whether or not their decline is obvious. The empire we used to call Western civilization has always sustained itself by war because it began to decline the moment it was established.

Every revolution was an attempt to overthrow the empire and restore the lost Golden Age, that ideal egalitarian society we imagine but have never been able to make real. And every revolution was followed by a counter-revolution, in which the empire’s rulers tried to undo the revolution and ensure another never happened. 

The history of the last century, of which the two world wars were merely a phase, consisted of the empire’s reaction to the Russian revolution. That revolution destroyed many of the old multilingual, multicultural monarchies. The monolingual, monocultural nation-states which arose from their ruins, calling themselves republics, are merely their fragments, and therefore equally imperialist. Only the ideology of empire was discredited. Every dictatorship calls itself a republic now. 

Stalin gave up the dream of spreading the revolution throughout the world, the goal which supposedly legitimized the USSR's ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, for ‘socialism in one country’. Hitler’s National Socialism was, by definition, socialism in one country. Hitler plundered the Jews to enrich ‘real’ Germans just as Stalin plundered the kulaks, and the USA’s rulers plundered and enslaved native Americans and Africans in their quest to become the world's last and greatest empire. Every ruling class dreams of restoring its own lost Golden Age, an ideal society in which slaves always obey their masters.

But we no longer believe in imperialism or socialism or any other ideology. We no longer believe in the old gods or the new, however much we pretend to. Our species seems to have reached an intellectual limit beyond which we cannot evolve, cannot come up with new ideas, so we will make no more revolutions. We'll just keep thinking the same things, doing the same things over and over again until we and our world die.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Everyone wants to believe in something, even people who call themselves atheists. Those who call themselves religious are right to say that, for most people, atheism is just another religion.

Everyone is an atheist now, even those who call themselves religious, because no one believes in the old gods. But everyone is afraid of a world without gods, so some pretend they still believe in the old gods while others invent new gods.

Justin, like most people who call themselves atheists, has invented new gods and devils for himself without admitting what they are. He worships Israel and demonizes Islam as though they're living beings instead of groups of people.

Am I the world’s only real atheist?


I suspected, from his uncritical support for Israel, that Justin was probably Islamophobic - the two logically go together - but he'd never said anything overtly Islamophobic until now. He'd never said anything overtly misogynistic until now, either. I told him his 'feminazi' comment was ridiculous, but he apparently took the fact that I didn't condemn it as license to spew even worse stuff. I was shocked by its virulence, and told him our conversation was over.

The better I know other people, the less I like them. I've done terrible things, but at least I'm ashamed of them. Most people take pride in things I'd be ashamed of.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


The latest issue of the LRB arrived today. It contained an article by Thomas Laquer on the Nazi camps, in which several members of his family died. I thought of Justin while reading it.

Yesterday he and I came closer to arguing. Justin can’t seem to understand that the suffering the Jews experienced doesn’t justify their inflicting suffering on the Palestinians. On the contrary, it makes their behavior more reprehensible.

Equally reprehensible is the fact that Zionists haven’t let the historical record of Jewish suffering speak for itself, but altered it to further their political agenda.

As Laquer says, the Jews were neither the first nor the only victims of the Holocaust. Soviet POWs were the first to experience the Nazi mass murder assembly line, and Slavs remained the largest in number during Germany's Drang noch Osten. Zionists have exploited their dead by claiming the Holocaust was a uniquely Jewish tragedy.

The Jews were the only untermenchen whom the Nazis marked for extermination, but even that doesn’t make them unique. The Armenian genocide came first. As Laquer shows, genocide was endemic to the 20th century.

But the Nazis' primary goal, he says, was not the extermination of untermenchen. It was their exploitation as slave labor. 

At first it was only when slaves became too exhausted to work that they were killed. Laquer therefore compares Nazi slaves to black slaves in the American south. Even after the Civil War, when blacks were supposedly free, black convicts in work gangs died at a rate similar to that of Nazi slave labor.

Whether or not the first slaves were prisoners of war, as the Greeks believed, slavery and war have always been the twin pillars of society. Each makes the other not only possible but necessary.