Friday, April 29, 2005

Clobbering Cross Currents

One of the things that has fascinated me about Cross Currents is its occasional capacity to rise above the routine moral callousness of hack conservative punditry and attain a level of exquisite depravity normally reserved for villains in James Bond movies.

To wit, the claim by Yaakov Mencken that liberalism begat Hitler: "And none of [these societies and leaders from the past who persecuted Jews], not one, managed to create an era as bloody as the one created by that pinnacle of modern, sophisticated, democratic, liberal life—Germany, circa 1940."

Pretty sneaky, isn't he? If all you read was Cross Currents, your [nasty remark self-edited] and you'd think that Hitler was a good liberal, a direct result of German liberalism. Why you might even think that Germany, circa 1940, was the "pinnacle of modern, sophisticated, democratic, liberal life" and not a place where people were frequently shot on the street for no reason.

Unfortunately for Mencken and his anti-liberal slurs, Hitler wasn't a product of "modern, sophisticated, democratic, liberal life." Nor was his Germany, circa 1940, the pinnacle of anything, save thuggery, murder and supression.

Hitler wasn't liberal or the product of liberalism. He was a backlash against it. True, the world might have avoided Hitler if the German progressives had been stopped (as conservatives of the time may have wished) from transforming corrupt, monarchist Germany into a modern, liberal state, but the rise of Hitler isn't an argument against liberalism anymore than the rise of Islamic terrorism is an argument against Zionism or capitilism.

Anyway, who ultimately buried Hitler? The liberal democracies, of course.