“Lessons of the Anschluss”

 

 

Happy Austrian youth welcome Germany’s 1938 annexation of their country

 

Are democracies intrinsically prone to dangerous foreign-policy instabilities, and, thus, to war?

 

I meant to post a link to this thought-provoking article almost a month ago, when it first appeared.  But it slipped my mind:

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/343033/lessons-ianschlussi-mario-loyola

 

The Anschluss seems, by the way, to have been extremely popular among Austrians in 1938 — although, as a German academic friend of mine points out, somewhat bitterly, it’s difficult to find Austrians today who don’t assure you that they and/or their parents and/or their grandparents opposed it.  And it seems to have been exceptionally popular among young people, thus demonstrating, as if further demonstration were needed, that the moral instincts of the young are completely reliable and that no movement that has the support of the young should be questioned.

 

An idealistic young Austrian
as depicted in the film
“The Sound of Music”

 

 

 

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  • Lucy Mcgee

    Trying to compare the youthful nationalistic fervor stirred by Hitler among a population of impoverished Germans and Austrians after years of brutal sanctions, seems a wee bit of a stretch and is not even close to being in the same ballpark as American youth born after 1981, who are over 70% in favor of same sex marriage.

    One can pull from many historical mistakes, across the arc of history, and make all sorts of claims which are simply irrelevant in the same sex marriage debate. And please keep in mind there are other nations who have overcome their opposition and who legally recognize same sex marriage (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden). This is not happening in a vacuum.

    There will of course be forceful and strident opposition. I recently listened to Pastor Robert Jeffress quote Gospel scripture in the name of preserving marriage between one man and one woman without exception. Dr. Jeffress knows the mind of God and has in his tool box, not only relevant scripture, but also the ability to use carefully scripted rhetoric which instills fear in the faithful (he also believes and teaches that the world as we know it is going to end in the next several decades). His Dallas mega-church recently opened a brand new 130 million dollar campus. Dr. Jeffress has power among his congregants and has a national voice, sells books, is on talk radio and proclaims knowledge that few have. How can one argue with a man of such stature, intellect and absolute conviction?

    There are enough people who are more likely to use the golden rule in determining how they should treat their friends, workmates and neighbors, when it comes to marriage. It’s hard to imagine why any reasonable person would actually fear a ceremony which consecrates a union and gives marital rights to people who love each other.

    • danpeterson

      Have you ever heard of the “Fallacy of the Perfect Analogy,” Lucy McGee? You keep committing it.

      And your confession that you can’t see why any reasonable person would disagree with you on this matter strongly suggests that you need to do some reading, since, as a matter of quite indisputable fact, reasonable people like Leon Kass and Robert George and others do disagree with you. Perhaps you should, at least out of curiosity, try to find out why.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    Thanks much for pointing out my argument’s weakness. I’ll try to do better.

    Somehow I’m thinking that you really find life on earth somewhat hopeless and futile, given the eventual timeless and everlasting bliss you and yours will experience in the cosmic eternity, and that the “end” can’t happen quickly enough. Or do I not understand?

    I’d rather place that hopefulness in real time here on earth and believe it a huge mistake to relegate ultimate happiness and reward to a wish thinking eternity, based on texts thousands of years old, written by people who had little understanding of the planet on which they lived and who lived life based on superstition. They were ignorant and did the best they could to explain the world around them.

    • danpeterson

      “Somehow I’m thinking that you really find life on earth somewhat hopeless and futile, given the eventual timeless and everlasting bliss you and yours will experience in the cosmic eternity, and that the ‘end’ can’t happen quickly enough. Or do I not understand?”

      That’s a common (and rather offensive) stereotype that the irreligious have about religious people, and there’s little or no evidence to support it.

      I have a great time with my family, enjoy Thai food, love Alpine landscapes, relish classical music, never tire of being out at sea on any size of boat, play guitar and listen to rock music, hold season tickets to the opera with my wife, visit every art museum that I can, ate the best chiles rellenos the other day that I’ve ever tasted, see two plays a day in New York whenever I can, get a huge kick out of Mitchell and Webb and anything connected with P. G. Wodehouse, will be visiting Jane Austen sites in England in July because my wife and I are big fans, would like to visit every Frank Lloyd Wright building in the world (and have visited many), haven’t missed the Utah Shakespearean Festival even a single time over the past twenty years or so, and so on, and so forth.

      “I’d rather place that hopefulness in real time here on earth and believe it a huge mistake to relegate ultimate happiness and reward to a wish thinking eternity, based on texts thousands of years old, written by people who had little understanding of the planet on which they lived and who lived life based on superstition. They were ignorant and did the best they could to explain the world around them.”

      Chronological snobbery of the worst sort. And, anyway, nobody here is putting happiness off until some pie-in-the-sky future.

  • Barbara Parker

    Lucy, it sounds like you have been reading too much Nietzsche?


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