Nazism, Democracy, and the Murder of Reason

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

According to one study, 97 percent of all teachers in Nazi Germany were members of the Nazi party. Many of these teachers taught the humanities­—philosophy, literature, the fine arts. Many others taught the social sciences—sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology.

Clearly, the study and teaching of the humanities and the social sciences do not make people virtuous. We should not be surprised. For the prevailing doctrine in the humanities and the social sciences is moral relativism, which claims that reason cannot provide objective standards of good and bad, right and wrong. This is the prevailing doctrine in American and Israeli universities.

As for the exact sciences, physics and chemistry, they are ethically neutral. How did German scientists respond to Nazism? In his book on the great theoretical physicist Erwin Schrodinger, Walter Moore’s says: “There is no known instance in which a professor of physics or chemistry without any Jewish family ever made any open protest against Nazi activities. Even among the German intellectual elite, the scientists were conspicuously unanimous in this respect, since a few protests can be found among scholars in other fields.”

Science can serve dictators as well as democrats—witness Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This means that science does not make scientists or their societies humane. But much the same may be said of the secular democratic state in which moral relativism permeates every level of education. Witness the moral decay in America and Europe.

By the way: there are approximately 200 divergent schools of psychology, hence 200 different conceptions of human nature; and virtually all purvey the doctrine of moral relativism.

Because secular education is ethically neutral, it undermines reverence, awareness of what is noble, and this cannot but corrupt youth. Whatever decency we experience today we owe primarily to the waning influence of Torah values and classical Greek philosophy exemplified in Plato and Aristotle. During America’s constitution-forming period, Hebrew and the study of the Hebrew Bible constituted an essential part of the curriculum at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other universities. And so too were the classics.

A silent and insidious revolution has occurred in America. Not only have the classics been replaced by multiculturalism, but a reversion to paganism is evident on university campuses, where gays and lesbians feel at home, and they have similar types or indifferent representatives in Congress. They and their academic defenders would have us believe that homosexuality is “progressive.” In fact, homosexuality is reactionary, a throwback to paganism.

To sexual perversion add the nudity, pornography, and obscene violence purveyed by the entertainment media, which some half-educated psychologists justify as providing an “escape valve” for repressed instincts. Has it ever occurred to these secular educators of our youth that the nudity now commonplace in the cinema and television is indicative of superficiality? Has it ever occurred to them that pornography, by reducing love to lust, generates vulgarity? Has it ever occurred to their adolescent minds that media violence undermines kindness and compassion?

Thanks very much to utterly secularized education and to those who profit from the commercial exploitation of sex and violence, people are more concerned about the quality of things that goes into their stomachs than the quality of things that goes into their minds—or into the minds of their children. But this is the inevitable consequence of contemporary democracy, whose supreme principle is unfettered freedom of expression. Do not expect the high priests of the secular democratic state to reverse the ethically neutral principles of democracy, the religion of our times. But bear in mind that Weimar Germany, a democracy steeped in moral relativism, spawned tyranny.

Democracy is usually associated with reason. But reason takes a holiday from democracy when its two great principles, freedom and equality, have no moral constraints. This is more than a political issue: it’s a theological issue, and it underlies the conflict between the West and Islam.

The West boasts of its rationality. And yes, reason may be effective in the social and political dealings of democrats. But these democrats, whether secular or not, are living on borrowed time, having been influenced by a now waning Judeo-Christian culture based on the idea that man is created in the image of God. This idea is rejected by Islamic theology, and contrary to Daniel Pipes, this makes Islam incompatible with democracy; it also makes abiding peace with Islamic regimes impossible so long as they deem the Quran as sacred and immutable.

Utter indifference to Islamic theology led Jewish prime ministers into the Oslo covenant of death. This is the result of a morally neutral or secularized system of education. These half-educated Jewish democrats really believed that reason and mutual understanding would resolve Israel’s conflict with her Islamic foes.

Not all democrats, not even all social democrats, betray such ignorance or stupidity. Contrast the 19th century social democrat Ferdinand Lassalle, a Jew. In his drama Franz von Sickengen, there occurs a dialogue between a Lutheran chaplain, a pacifist, and Ulrick von Hutten, the great 16th century humanist. To the pacifist’s contention that reason as opposed to force is the driving principle of history, von Hutten replies: “My worthy Sir! You are ill-acquainted with history. Reason is its content, but its form is ever force.”

Recalling that it was the sword that saved Greece from Xerxes, and liberated Jerusalem from the Saracens; that it was the sword that David, Samson, and Gideon labored with, von Hutten concludes: “Thus, long ago as well as since, the sword achieved the glories told by history; and all that is great, as yet to be achieved, owes, in the end, its triumph to the sword.”

The sword saved Europe from the tyranny of Nazi Germany. But did reason emerge triumphant? Is it not the case that democratic Europe sides with the Palestinian Authority, a kleptocratic tyranny? Are Europe’s political and intellectual elites oblivious of the fact that the PA trains Arab children to emulate homicide bombers?

Decadent Europe aside, what are we to say of Israeli prime ministers who believe that reciprocity, or the give-and-take of conventional politics, will solve Israel’s conflict with Muslims. Don’t these Jewish politician know that Islamic theology regards as blasphemous the idea that man is created in the image of God, that Muslims reject the primacy of free will and reason, since both contradict Allah’s omnipotence?

Purdue University political scientist Louis Rene Beres says that “All politics is delinquency, challenging and besmirching life with the eternally smug babble of criminals, fools and … above all, the gibberish of the ordinary.” Beres regards Israeli politics, as “infantile.” For evidence, it’s enough to point out that Israeli prime ministers have released, armed, and paid thousands of Arab Jew-killers to provide for Israel’s security! Can such “useful idiots” take Islam seriously?

But if you want to laugh or cry about such idiocy, here’s a story from multicultural America, where relativism and secularized education thrive. In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional an Alabama law which authorized teachers to set aside one minute at the start of each day for a moment of “silent meditation or voluntary prayer.” Soon thereafter the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit replaced its anti-Christian agenda by enforcing a pro-Islamic agenda! As one commentator noted, this same court, which has jurisdiction over nine states and fifty-nine million Americans, ruled that it was not constitutional for public school students to say “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance but that it was constitutional for public schools to require a three-week general indoctrination to the Islamic faith in which junior high-school students—even those who are not Muslims—must pretend they are Muslims and must offer prayers to Allah; they are further urged to take Islamic names, call each other by those names, wear Islamic garb, participate in Islamic games, and read the Koran during those three weeks. Significantly, the federal court of appeals did not think that requiring Islamic religious activities violated the so-called “separation of church and state” [doctrine] but that voluntarily saying “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance did.

Of course this is an attack on America’s Judeo-Christian foundations and a kowtowing to Islam.

This should worry Jews in Israel. Perhaps they should revive and update the ideas of the Hebraic Republic of antiquity? Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, Protestant and Catholic Hebraists in England, Holland, and Italy regarded the Hebraic Republic as the wisest and most just in history. John Shelden proposed that Britain replace its Parliament with the Sanhedrin! I have just finished a book which shows that the ideas underlying the original American Constitution are fundamentally Hebraic. Perhaps reviving aspects of that Republic should be the goal of those who deplore Israel’s dysfunctional political system?

This would require radical change in what is called “higher education.” In the end, however, the sword will also determine Israel’s future.

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