Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clear thinking of dark places

Who would be the first to explain, how he can reconcile himself to any bigotry's extremest self-sacrifice, the renunciation of a reasoning mind? I would love to know how James Dobson, cheerleader to the deaths of my friends, was able to hurt himself beyond imag-inable endurance. So great, bigots must suppose, is their Creator's love that they must yield Him pleasure, as in a coronation anthem, before duty. Yet of all the convolutions in the garments of the mind that most of us unravel for our own comfort's sake, none is more popular with bigots than the twisted, self-defeating oxymorons they pursue. I give you the hideous irony of the belligerent phrase, defense of marriage.

For the import of this phrase it is necessary to trace it to its natural habitat, the absolute abyss of darkness as we know it. No, to be sociable we will not resort to Virginia, whose Loving case exposed it well enough. We will go with a leading German scholar into the practices of his homeland for 12 famous years of the previous century. Of all the studies that strive to portray how the judeocide occurred, the most compelling is the least poetic, now just released and revised in English by Oxford University. Compelling, because all but completely drained of sentiment (as opposed to, sympathy), and because looking through raw evidence of the myriad acts and memoranda of decision which formed State policy, Peter Longerich's Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews is a neutral resource in the study of bigotry's motivation. Lo and behold, it works against you.

Realising these aims [isolation of Jews from citizenship, 1935-37] meant more to the National Socialists than the intensification of Jewish persecution. They had an important general domestic policy function since they offered significant starting points for improving the Nazi movement's penetration of German society. Demands for a ban on 'racial miscegenation', subjecting people's choice of partner to the control of the National Socialist state, represented a radical break with the concept of the 'private sphere' that had hitherto been a central constitutive element of bourgeois society. Attempts to put these aims into practice questioned the notion that there existed behind a public sphere controlled by the National Socialists an inviolable space into which the individual might withdraw.

How it could be lost on any bigot, purporting to defend marriage, that his invitation of the State into exclusionary practices is the deepest nightmare of his own perverted sense of liberty, is quite naturally beyond rational comprehension. Oh, it may be alleged, some people are stupid. But people led by Archbishops and incorporated temples of prodigious political intervention are not without recourse to intellectual servants. There's a casuist for every cause; call John Yoo, if you need a bonfire of your rights. 

And this is history's message to intellectual deviants: Fascism has never lacked for phobic lemmings to do its dirty work. "Intolerance" is not what stands between marital equality in the United States and the present legacy of theocracy. It is the cold, hard desire to structure society as illiberally as possible, to entrench the power of the powerful. It follows that the Tea Party will do nothing, absolutely nothing, to allow tolerance to enter into American life. This is not a matter of heresy. It is a matter of control. Who can be shocked to hear Michelle Bachmann call for the return of polluted water? Or wonder why she is the darling of the deviants.

Peter Longerich
  The Nazi Persecution
  and Murder of the Jews
Oxford University Press, 2010©


  1. Absolutely on the mark! Well and courageously said, indeed.

  2. Thank you. When I shine my shoes, I often think of you.