Have We Really Forgotten?

Have We Really Forgotten?

Have We Really Forgotten?

Not long ago, I came across an op-ed piece by Michael Gerson. The name sounded familiar, and not necessarily in a good way, but I couldn’t place it. But the title of the piece caught my eye: Has the West already forgotten the lessons of World War II? After all, I’d been asking variations of that question for some time. Except my question wasn’t always limited to the lessons of World War II. So, hoping for a well-researched and even-handed article, I started reading. How quickly expectations turned to disappointment and frustration. Gerson, like so many others, wants to do all he can to make President Trump the Hitler of our day.

Many Americans seem to have forgotten that a foreign policy of America First allowed international malignancies to grow that made war inevitable and resulted in the deaths of tens of millions.”

There are several things Gerson fails to note with regard to America First. The phrase was first used by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 when he was running for re-election. Wilson, a DEMOCRAT, pledged to keep the United States neutral during World War I. Hmmm, funny that Gerson didn’t mention that little detail.

The next thing to note is the sheer idiocy of expecting the United States to have policed the rest of the world to prevent these “international malignancies”. Remember, Gerson is telling us the government should have taken actions that today would have the liberals frothing at the mouth. Why? Because it would mean strengthening our military and taking military action without there necessarily being a threat to the nation.Sounds sort of like what they did with Vietnam and we all know how successful that was–not.

But let’s continue. Maybe he does have a point to make.

Anti-Semitic attacks in Europe and the United States are both atrocities and reminders. They ring with distant but unmistakable echoes of the nightmarish events of the 1930s and 1940s: the racial-purity laws, the economic indignities, the despairing suicides, the liquidation of the disabled, the digging up of Jewish graves in cemeteries, the deportations, the ghettos, the shootings in batch after batch, the pits of corpses, the emptied orphanages, the terrified walk to the gas chamber. . . This indicted a highly sophisticated and educated European society — along with the very idea of sophistication and education as brakes on evil. It indicted other nations that did little, even after the crimes became obvious. It indicted many German Christians who were indifferent or complicit.”

Oh. . . my.

Anti-Semitic attacks are horrible and should not only be condemned but prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We should never forget what happened to the Jews, or any of the other victims of the Axis, in World War II.

But there is more to the two paragraphs quoted from above. Note who Gerson seems to condemn: the “highly sophisticated and educated European society” and “German Christians”. Is this an indication he is about to make some sort of comparison with the Religious Right?

According to Gerson, the “moral response” to World War II is embodied in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document has, among its influencers, the Declaration of Independence and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”. You see, the Nazis not only lost but they were “wrong”, Gerson asserts.

Okay, no argument there. Maybe I’m confused. But I have yet to see where we have forgotten the lessons of World War II. Unless. . .

Roosevelt, that hero of the liberal sect, spoke about the Four Freedoms on January 6, 1941. These freedoms were, “the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear.”

Let’s see. “Freedom of speech and expression.” I wish I could say we haven’t watched this freedom be eroded. Except, despite what Gerson and others would have us believe, it hasn’t been at the hands of President Trump and conservatives. It has been at the hands of the AntiFa thugs and those who bend their knee in surrender to them. How many lectures or other appearances have been canceled by colleges, conventions, etc., because they have been afraid of what the forever victims and the bullies might say? How many voices have been silenced?

“The freedom to worship God in his own way.” I certainly haven’t seen the Trump Administration doing anything to close churches or shut down religions. What I have seen are our courts telling us we can’t have prayer in schools and companies telling Christians they can’t pray, all the while being told they must make concessions to other religions.

“Freedom from want and freedom from fear.” Let’s look at freedom from want first. After all, this is the basis of so many of the arguments condemning the Trump Administration and its immigration policies. Freedom from want means, “economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants – everywhere in the world.”

Not once does that say it is the responsibility of the United States to provide this “freedom from want” to every person. Nor does it say we have the responsibility to allow every person appearing at our border entry. What it does say is “economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants. . . .” Every nation. Not just us.

“Freedom from fear” means “a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point. . . that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.” That doesn’t mean we disarm unilaterally. Nor does it mean we go in and force disarmament. It is an ideal, one we might one day be ready and mature enough to fulfill.

According to Gerson,

But the most urgent, comprehensive attack on the universality of human rights now comes from the nativist right. In places such as Hungary, Romania, Germany, Poland and the United States, politicians are attempting to define nationality based on the dehumanization of cultural outsiders — Muslims, migrants and refugees.”

Really? What proof does Gerson offer to support this stance?

He doesn’t. Instead, he goes on to write the following, “In the United States, it also requires the renunciation of responsibilities rooted in the postwar acceptance of human dignity as the basis of global order and peace.”

Responsibilities to play Big Brother to the rest of the world? Where is the condemnation of Russia, with its attempts to “return” the Ukraine to the fold? Where is the condemnation of all the fighting in the Serbo-Croatian region? What about the issues that drive the thousands in the migrant caravan to leave their homes and make the dangerous trek to the US? These so-called freedoms he refers to does not put the whole responsibility on the US.

Gerson also turns a blind eye to the problems Europe is facing after its catastrophic experiment with open borders. But that shouldn’t surprise any of us. He fails to discuss all the other times, times under Democratic administrations, when his version of these freedoms weren’t upheld. Where is the mention of border agents pepper-spraying those trying to enter the country illegally under the Obama Administration? Where is the outrage over Bill Clinton banning those suspected of taking part in the “repression of civilians” in Kosovo or his bans of families of those who “impeded” the road to freedom in Liberia and Sierra Leone? Then there was Jimmy Carter who, after the Iranians took over our embassy in Tehran in 1980, banned ALL Iranians from entering the country. Where were the protections for those who wanted to flee the Islamic extremists taking over the country?

Are we to assume Gerson thinks we, as a nation, have forgotten the lessons of World War II only in the last two years?

Apparently.

This is the cost of historical amnesia — the cost of electing an American president who is both ignorant of and indifferent toward the lessons of the last century, or any century. A president who always turns, by feral instinct, to an organizing message of bigotry and exclusion. A president who is throwing away an inheritance he does not value and unleashing forces that can easily move beyond control.”

And this sort of vitriol, unsupported by facts in the article (not to mention the way he ignores the actions and inactions of previous administrations), is why so many Americans no longer trust the media. We are told to forget parts of history and yet remember others, but only if we do it in a way we are told too. Gerson’s dislike for President Trump clearly colors his writing and his attempt to use our emotions to override reason is a common practice of liberals and the Never-Trumpers. I might not always agree with what Trump does, but at least I have no doubt he would act instead of leaving our representatives to die at the hands of our enemies (Can anyone say “Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith”?)

In order to make sure the rest of the world enjoys the Four Freedoms and other so-called declarations of human rights, the United States must first make sure we have those same freedoms FOR EVERYONE within our own borders. That means not allowing bullies like AntiFa shut down public discourse, even if the ideas are uncomfortable or even repugnant. It means securing our borders and coming up with a working and workable and intelligent immigration policy. It means all that and so much more.

Have we forgotten the lessons of World War II? Some have, but I propose it isn’t those Gerson would have us believe.

 

Welcome to Instapundit Readers!

 

Featured Image: The day after Krystallnacht. (10 Nov 1938)
Description: German citizens look the other way on nov. 10 1938, the day after Kristallnacht. What they see or don’t want to see are destroyed Jewish shops and houses.
Via PD at National Archives and Records Administration

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17 Comments
  • GWB says:

    “The freedom to worship God in his own way.”
    You mean, like being able to avoid paying for contraceptives and other elective procedures and treatments under your health plan?

    “Freedom from want and freedom from fear.”
    Not natural rights under the Constitution, DoI, or any proper understanding of “freedom” ever explicated. These are only “freedoms” under marxism, because they allow the serfs to demand something from their feudal overlords (upon which marxism is based).
    Don’t even give those last two “freedoms” the time of day, as they are neither natural rights nor our responsibility.*

    (*I will accept one caveat: “freedom from fear” = “2nd Amendment” in all its aspects. If that is what’s meant, then I will agree.)

    That doesn’t mean we disarm unilaterally.
    No, FDR meant we should have another Washington Naval Treaty (because it worked so well the first time) and the disarmament of Germany (again!). But THIS TIME it will work! Because United Nations! Not that impotent League of Nations silliness. *eyeroll*

    it also requires the renunciation of responsibilities rooted in the postwar acceptance of human dignity as the basis of global order and peace
    BWAHAHA! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *breath*
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!
    You mean like all those places where socialism and communism (e.g., progressivism) prevailed? Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela? Righto, Skippy!

    This is the cost of historical amnesia
    That is F*ING RICH, coming from a prog! So far, much of what you’ve quoted of him shows a man committed to memory-holing a huge chunk of actual history.

    Gerson’s dislike for President Trump clearly colors his writing
    No. I doubt he has any real dislike for Trump. What colors his writing is his lust for progressive power. Or his devotional zeal to the progressive religion. Or both (they are difficult to peel apart in some).

    In order to make sure the rest of the world enjoys the Four Freedoms and other so-called declarations of human rights
    No. We shouldn’t work on the basis of those, at ALL. We should work exclusively from the DoI and our Constitution. Those are the ONLY natural rights that man has, and they are the ONLY ones we should ever guarantee, inside or outside our borders (and we shouldn’t ever really guarantee them outside our borders, except to our exclusive citizens).

    Sorry, but this could have been shorter by simply writing “Another prog who wants power over you so they can extend that power to the entire world, and make their idea of Utopia, with them on “top o ya”. And he’s trying to guilt you into it using the Holocaust. He needs to go pound sand.”

    • Amanda Green says:

      GWB, I know. But writing that little wouldn’t be nearly as much for as effective for venting my frustration at the article.

      • david j mendicino says:

        Also the telescoping of the time period. Had America not entered the first world war, the exhausted participants would have created a better peace and the second war and its evils would never had happened. Thanks for nothing, president Wilson. It is just like climate “science;” be sure to restrict the time period such as to prove your theories. It’s just rhetoric.

  • Paladin says:

    Well Done, Amanda

  • bart simpsonson says:

    It’s not that we have really forgotten. It’s that those who could possibly remember are dying or dead. And those who came later have not been informed or taught, like those of us who were informed an taught. You know, like back in the old days when there were only 2 genders (there still are, by the way). There are much more important things to know now, like what the KarGASHians are up to, and the like. And like, when is Apple coming out with that next iWhatever?

    • Amanda Green says:

      Sadly, that is all too true. The only hope I see is that there are many of us who have taught our children. They are the ones who step up to do what needs to be done. The problem, as my son reminded me over the holiday, is that they all too often feel they are in the minority. They know they aren’t. It’s just that those who feel like them, as well as many others who want to do right but haven’t figured out how to without bringing down the ire of the libs, are so often shouted down by the very vocal minority. It becomes difficult at times to continue, wondering if it is worth it. Then they look around, remember what this country stands for and say it is worth it. I just pray they are enough, along with our own efforts, to stem this tide of “Evil America” we are seeing now.

  • scott says:

    Well one Amanda.. it is somewhat amusing that this buffoon doesn’t realize that his diatribe does a much better job of describing the left including “Antifa”, and Obama. As much as they like to describe the Nazi’s as “right wing” the intentionally ignore the fact that the only reason they were called such is because they were slightly to the right on Stalin… As usual, this is just another example of projection by a leftist..

    • Amanda Green says:

      Thanks, Scott.

      I thought the same thing as I read the article initially. A quick search found instances where the liberals were guilty of doing what he blames Trump and conservatives for. Another article I read last night noted that border guards under the Obama Administration pepper-sprayed “immigrants” on a monthly basis. But Trump is Hitler must be screamed at the top of their liberal lungs.

    • GWB says:

      Keep in mindthat “Anti-Fa” was formed as a communist response to Fascism. And it hasn’t changed. (And, yes, Fascism is National Socialism, whereas Communism is International Socialism. Hence being “right-wing”.)

  • Charles N. Steele says:

    Good essay, Madame Green, especially given such a weak foil for inspiration. An incongruity in Gerson’s piece that struck me (“incongruity” is my genteel way of saying “idiotic contradiction”) is his simultaneous worry about rising anti-semitism and his lament that Europeans aren’t more welcoming of hordes of Muslim invaders.

    There’s no end to dissecting and refuting the idiocy of the left, but it must be done. More, please!

    • Amanda Green says:

      Thank you, sir.

      I totally agree with you as well. The mental gymnastics Gerson, and so many liberals, goes through to twist facts to fit their narrative amazes and horrifies me. Stay tuned. There will be more posts like this.

  • Richard F. Cook says:

    Why reach back to WW2. We have forgotten the lessons of 9/11. 29 years in the Navy and my last tour was A-stan. Bitter? Your fucking A right I’m bitter.

    • Amanda Green says:

      I totally agree. It chaps me to no end that we not only have forgotten the lessons of 9/11, but how so many want to make us the bad guys for what happened. The one thing I can say is there are young men and women like my son who haven’t forgotten. He signed his papers on the anniversary of 9/11 and is a proud member of our Armed Forces.

  • John Reece says:

    It wasn’t America First that enabled Hitler, it was Anglo-French appeasement. The French Army could have easily sent Hitler packing when he marched into the Rhineland and during Munich the German General Staff was considering a coup if Hitler pulled the trigger because Germany wasn’t close to full rearmament and they feared the French would mop the floor with the Wehrmacht

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