Is National Review Losing Its Senses?

Is National Review Losing Its Senses? February 1, 2013

In one of the weirder moments of neocon contrarianism, NRO chooses to forge ahead with asserting two of its basic tenets–1) that violence is great and cool and creatively destructive and 2) that Obama is always to be contradicted no matter what–by condemning him for calling the Holocaust an act of senseless violence.  No.  Really:

President Obama issued a statement yesterday to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He noted that survivors who bore witness to “the horrors of the cattle cars, ghettos, and concentration camps have witnessed humanity at its very worst and know too well the pain of losing loved ones to senseless violence.” (We noted below how some in Europe chose to mark the day, which takes place each year on January 27, the day Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz.)

The idea that all violence is “senseless” violence is one that has taken deep root on the left; it’s also, unfortunately, one that poses a major impediment to understanding the world.

Nazism may have been an ideology to which the United States was — and to which the president is — implacably opposed, but it is hardly “senseless.” By the early 1930s, the Nazi party had hundreds of thousands of devoted members and repeatedly attracted a third of the votes in German elections; its political leaders campaigned on a platform comprising 25 non-senseless points, including the “unification of all Germans,” a demand for “land and territory for the sustenance of our people,” and an assertion that “no Jew can be a member of the race.” Suffice it to say, many sensible Germans were persuaded.

Wow.  I never thought of it that way.  So… the Holocaust made sense. (Backing away slowly for the door.)  No.  Keep talking.  I’m just going to get a notepad and paper.  Your ideas intrigue me and I really want to subscribe to your newsletter.

In the Catholic tradition, violence is, at the very best, an absolute last ditch option and represents, at its very best, a profound failure of our humanity, as JPII pointed out.  For neocon nuts like the person who wrote this, violence is a positive good.  Give that crazy and dangerous idea its head and you wind up with, well, defenses of the Holocaust as “sensible” violence.

Reason #3298743 I want very little to do with the Thing That Used to Be Conservatism.  Give me the Faith.  It’s not freakin’ nuts.  On the bright side, the commenters on the piece ain’t drinkin’ the Koolaid.  But what in hell is this person doing writing for NRO?

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