Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/9/2021: Kristallnacht Means That This Date Has Nowhere To Go But Up


On November 9, 1938, Hitler’s  Nazis began their campaign of terror against Jewish people by destroying their homes and businesses in Germany and Austria. This wasKristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” which continued through November 10, and is now recognized as the beginning of the Holocaust. The carnage of hate left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. About 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, with many of them sent to concentration camps for several months until they promised to leave Germany. How many supposedly educated American know about the significance of this date? I’ll be watching to see where the news media notes it, and which sources do. The event is not generally taught in the public schools; I didn’t learn about it my school system back in Arlington, Massachusetts, which was then regarded as one of the best in the state. Sir Lawrence Olivier was my teacher, as my family never missed an episode of “The World at War” on Sundays.

1. Here’s another reason I pay obscene amounts to read the New York Times: it is astounding how extreme Left the Times Sunday Book Review section is. This is the part of the paper that makes no pretense of being written for anyone but the New York City intellectuals, and it is fingerprint evidence of just how smug, biased, anti-capitalism and contemptuous of their own country this toxic group is. The Times just published a compendium of notable reviews during the publication’s 125 year history, and the brie and Chablis Democrats loved it, especially novelist Mario Puzo’s snide review of conservative William F. Buckley’s 1968 collection of essays, “The Jewelers Eye.” Here was the passage that spattered brains on my bathroom ceiling:

“Buckley is as royally condescending to his betters as he is to peasantry. He derides Arthur Schlesinger for talking such nonsense as that the best defense against Communism may be the social welfare state. Again this is surely innocence at work. He doesn’t quite get Schlesinger’s drift, which is, obviously, that when a force stronger than yourself says, “Your money or your life,” you hand over the money, and if you’re really smart you hand over some of your money before anybody gets tough about it. It would seem unnecessary to simplify in such a fashion, but Buckley still thinks he is being begged for a handout; Schlesinger knows it’s a stickup. I do not mean to cast aspersions on the welfare state with this analogy; after all, a stickup within the legal framework of our society — via the vote, etc. — is the last word in exercising individual freedom.”

Yes, Puzo is advocating socialism as a wise and necessary capitulation to the inevitable march of Communism. Gee, I bet he was surprised when the Wall fell. And while Buckley was annoying, Puzo calling Schlesinger his “better” is more than biased, it’s ridiculous. Schlesinger was the Kennedys’ court liar, successfully draping the sociopaths in glory for decades until their corruption was undeniable. He also warped the American historical record for half a century by, among other things, declaring Woodrow Wilson a great President and Eisenhower a weak one. But of all the reviews of the past the Times chose to reprint, guess which one came in for the most praise in the next Review’s letter section.

2. Speaking of The Times on Sundays, “The Ethicist” covered a dilemma that I bet social media has made disturbingly common. A woman wrote to Appiah (that’s the Ethicist’s real name) explaining that she had an affair with a cad who, unbeknownst to her, was in a supposedly committed relationship with someone else all the while. He dumped the inquirer (and had taken up with another back-up lover), and then she discovered that her ex-‘s partner was one of her Facebook friends, though one she had never met. Now the FBF was visiting her city, and wanted to finally meet.

The question: should she tell her that her love is really a cheating heel? The Ethicist gets it right (he usually does): Of course. Why wouldn’t she? It’s the Golden Rule all the way. The fact that she also gets to stick it to the bastard is just a collateral benefit.

3. Who are those 15%? Yesterday CNN was reporting on yet another depressing poll of Joe Biden’s approval (I know, polls). This one said that “only” 15% of those polled strongly felt that the President was doing a good job. Who are these idiots? What is it that they like so much?

The lies? The dementia? The gas prices? Afghanistan? Hunter’s paintings? The flood of illegal immigrants? The College Fix found an unexpected answer: somewhere in that 15% of mouth-breathers are Brown University professors. Professor Wendy Schiller of the Brown political science department, for example, praised Biden for bringing a restoration of “stability” and “predictability” to the Presidency: “He seems to me to have a moral fortitude where he is really certain that what he’s trying to do is the right thing to do for as many people as possible.”

Ivy League professors who reason like that are teaching our best and brightest.

4. Right wing radio demagogue Mark Levin has a rhetorical excess attack; Left wing propaganda merchant Media Matters misrepresents what he said. Here’s Levin last week:

Our rulers abide by different rules. We saw that with these governors, these reprobates. But we the plebes, the serfs, the servants, we have to comply. Now, there are exceptions if you’re an illegal alien crossing the border. Regardless of whether you have a criminal background, regardless of whether you’re dealing drugs regardless if you’re a member of MS-13. You managed to get here, sort of an “unknown getaway,” I think they call them. Well, then none of this applies to you. We have two sets of rules, one for illegal aliens who come into this country, and we don’t know about them, and two, the rest of us law abiding American citizens who follow the laws and pay our taxes.

That’s right. We’re the ones, you know, the “racists,” as the media call us. All the racists out there, we’re the ones that make the country work. We’re the ones that provide the food and harvest it. We’re the ones who truck it across the country. We’re the ones who put it on the shelves to feed their fat faces. That’s correct.

Have you ever seen a so-called journalist who’s skinny? Have you, Mr. Producer? Now, almost every damn one of them is overweight, look at them with their double chins.

(I am amazed that Levin, of all people, would be fat-shaming anyone.)

Now here’s how Media Matters presented this rant in its headline: “Fox’s Mark Levin: “All the racists out there, we’re the ones that make the country work.”

5. What is the fair way for voters to regard something like this? Republican Sean Parnell has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump in the Pennsylvania GOP primary for the Senate seat up for grabs in 2022. Meanwhile, Parnell is engaged in an ugly court custody battle with his estranged wife, who claims that he physically abused her and two of their three children. Parnell denies it. Last week his wife gave a tearful account of Parnell choking her, pinning her down, and calling her “a whore.” She also accused Parnell of hitting and screaming at their children, aged 8 to 12.

“Did you ever choke your wife?” Parnell’s attorney asked the Senate candidate during a custody hearing. “Never,” Parnell said. Asked if he ever got “physical” with his wife, Parnell again answered: “Never.” Meanwhile, the evidence cast some doubts on his wife’s accusations under oath: she filed at least two court filings after the alleged abuse incidents without mentioning them or any allegations safety concerns for the three children.

Who knows who’s telling the truth? My reaction would be that I’ll always prefer the candidate who doesn’t have an angry estranged wife claiming that he physically abused her (as he shows up at court with his younger girl friend) over one who does. But is that fair?

15 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/9/2021: Kristallnacht Means That This Date Has Nowhere To Go But Up

  1. … Sir Lawrence Olivier was my teacher, as my family never missed an episode of “The World at War” on Sundays.

    Oops, he did it again.

    Yes, Puzo is advocating socialism as a wise and necessary capitulation to the inevitable march of Communism.

    Yes to the first part of that, although even that is somewhat overstating it, and no to the second part. That is, that talk of communism is putting words in his mouth. All he can realistically be inferred to be asserting is the same as Bismark’s position, when he introduced just such measures for just such reasons: to head off social unrest before it destabilised the Second Reich he had created, as cheaply and conveniently as his understanding and resources allowed. What Bismark did is in fact widely reckoned not an adoption of socialism but a pre-emption of it; arguably, there is context to show that Puzo would go beyond that and adopt socialism too.

    • ARGH! I DID misspell Larry’s name again! And I consciously spelled it the way I did thinking about YOU! No doubt about it, now: he spelled his name wrong.

      But how was that overstated? That was how I first learned about Kristallnacht. Larry didn’t say much about it, but enough to trigger my father into telling me a lot more and piquing my interest. That’s how I learned most things, in fact: random info from non-school sources, and subsequent investigation.

      • I think you skipped over the second blockquote or did not take it for the antecedent. My remarks after that related to that; in particular, the bit about overstating related to the first part of the observations about Puzo. But I can see how you might have read that as referring to the first blockquote, rather than the first part of the antecedent.

  2. 5. Your statement is fair. You can absolutely prefer someone with a stable personal life vs unstable. That seeps into a job, regardless of what it is. It goes to character. Most people wouldn’t have these accusations, not even once.

    • Maybe I’m jaded because I’ve had false accusations made against me. Not of physical abuse, but embezzlement. By a public official. I had all documentation and was able to easily prove it was a lie. It still did damage to my professional reputation.

      Why did he do it? Because when members of the public blamed him for funding pet projects vs. basic services he considered me the instigator because I had expressed the same concern to another elected official. It was an attempt to silence and punish me.

      Too often people shout “J’accuse!” because it muddies the reality, the opponent, and the focuses the opponent’s attention on fighting the accusation.

  3. The left was going in the direction of Kristallnacht a year ago when Jennifer Rubin, AOC, and a few others were talking openly and in print about who they were going to ban from public life and do other bad things to as soon as Trump was out of office. However, as their ratings sink like a stone, I guess that idea has faded. This Republican hasn’t forgotten, though, and neither have a lot of others. If we get the trifecta in 2024, a distinct possibility, we need to start talking about doing the same thing. You screw with us, you better make sure you wipe us out, because if you don’t, we’ll be back one day to do to you as you did to us, and worse.

    1. Mario, although he told a great revenge story (the killing of Don Ciccio is iconic) sounds like he forgot that his “Godfather’ series was fiction. He also sounds like his contemporary Amiri Baraka the elder, advocating “stickups” of the white man. Idiots both, and this world is none the worse without them.

    2. She’s rid of the cheating slug, and maybe she should just walk away. Then again, it’s not right to let someone else suffer if you can prevent it. Still, I guarantee you if she speaks up, everyone is going to blame HER. I don’t know why there seems to be this entitlement to have others cover for you, i.e. snitches get stitches.

    3. Wendy Schiller probably also thinks that Jimmy Carter was a wonderful man who this country didn’t deserve as president and that Reagan was senile all the way. Frankly, you’re an idiot if you send your kid to these left-leaning schools.

    4. Surprise surprise, from the media that would say Nixon couldn’t swim if he walked on water.

    5. Fair is taking the totality of the circumstances into account, something we lawyers talk about all the time. Maybe Parnell is a wife-beater and a child abuser… and maybe hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and this woman scorned is determined to mess up his life every way she can. That said, I question his wisdom in getting involved with such a woman. I just don’t know. I know my cousin’s ex-gf tried to mess him up every way she possibly could, including erasing computer documents and cutting buttons off his suits. I also know a very good friend who I had to save from killing herself earlier this year was not totally innocent of provoking her now-ex husband into hitting her twice (once trying to jump out of a moving car, another time trying to snatch his cell phone out of his hand).

  4. In the immediate post-war era, refugees from post-war Europe was discouraged from talking about their experiences during the war. The feeling was that “Everyone had suffered” in some way and no one really wanted to hear about an individual person’s life being uprooted. Schools, if they covered WWII at all as many failed to get to it or chose to ignore it as it was too recent to go over, would certainly deal with the war aspect of it, but very little in the curriculum dealt with the singling out of Jews for mistreatment. In fact, most Americans thought of Dachau or Belsen during those 20-25 years after the war instead of Auschwitz. It wasn’t until the Eichmann trial that public awareness that the Jews had been specifically targeted for extinction started to become widespread, though there was certainly enough information before then that people perhaps should have known.

    When documentaries like the excellent “World at War” and then the 70s miniseries “Shoah” began airing that brought greater awareness, that’s when schools began better educating about the Holocaust in particular. I was taught about Kristallnacht, but that was in the ’80s. I guarantee you that students today are taught about Kristallnacht and the Holocaust. In fact, I would venture to guess that the Holocaust and the racist attitudes of the Nazis are probably currently the predominant education that students receive about WWII. I would not be surprised if the bulk of WWII education now consists of:

    * Nazis were fascist bigots (with extra emphasis on anti-Jewish policies and events such as Kristallnacht)
    * America deiberately let Jews die by refusing to accept many Jewish refugees here because we were bigots, too.
    * We also interned Japanese-Americans because we’re bigots.
    * We also bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki instead of Berlin and Rome because the Japanese didn’t look like us (I’ve posted before here that our son came home from school believing this was true).
    * Churchill was an imperialist who cared only about his Empire.
    * The Soviet Union won the war.

    • Pffft, that’s if you’re lucky. These days you get one paragraph on the internment, one paragraph on the Holocaust, and one paragraph that’s everything else.

      A not-at-all-nice joke with a grain of truth I once heard:

      What’s the difference between a cow and the Holocaust? Eventually you can’t keep milking a cow.

      Cruel, but true. Also there are any number of other things you could sub in for the Holocaust. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to sub in George Floyd.

      • Tragic. I seem to recall in my 8th-grade speech class that all of us had to give a 3-minute speech about one aspect of World War II…that was a speech class.

        “The World at War” was a favorite of mine. I’ve watched the entire series at least twice. And that last image of the introduction (showing the man with the sallow face) still gives me goosebumps.

    • There are some dangerous and misleading half truths in that list, e.g. they distort the following:-

      – America inadvertently let some Jews die by refusing to accept some Jewish refugees;

      – Churchill was indeed an imperialist who cared about his and others’ Empire, among other things (but note how he prioritised things);

      – The Soviet Union won the war, along with others (Stalin probably put it best when he stated that the Soviet Union contributed blood, the U.S.A. contributed treasure and Britain contributed time; that does mean that the Soviet Union contributed most of the direct effort and human cost).

      • #3 is a matter of perspective and weighing of factors. Yes, the USSR suffered many more casualties and bogged down a lot of Hitler’s best armored forces. However, without the RAF and the incredible bravery of the British people keeping that island from being overrun, there would have been no place from which to stage D-Day and open the second front, nor to stage the round-the-clock aerial campaign that made life so difficult for Hitler. Could the war in Europe have been won relying on the Italian campaign and ultimately an invasion of southern France from Africa? Maybe, but that’s not a sure bet. Could the war in Europe have been won without the US? No dice. Hitler might have had to withdraw from the USSR, but that’s about it, and I’m not sure Stalin wouldn’t have allowed it, maybe in exchange for a freer hand in Finland and some of eastern Europe. So, without the US, maybe Eastern Europe ends up under the Soviet banner sooner, while Western Europe becomes the great Third Reich. By 1950 the whole continent would have been Judenrein, and Hitler would have had his eye on conquering the Middle East, which he probably could have accomplished by 1955. He was 56 when he died in 1945, so, assuming we don’t go semi-sci-fi and introduce a verjüngungsprozess, let’s say Hitler dies in 1959, just shy of his 70th year. Not to worry, the younger (at the time he would have been about 55) modern black knight Reynard Heydrich, not assassinated at Lidice, is now well-groomed and ready to take over, and he isn’t as bad as Hitler, he’s worse.

        Sure, take away the US or the UK or both, and the world would be WAY better. NOT.

    • * Nazis were fascist bigots (with extra emphasis on anti-Jewish policies and events such as Kristallnacht)
      * America deiberately let Jews die by refusing to accept many Jewish refugees here because we were bigots, too.
      * We also interned Japanese-Americans because we’re bigots.
      * We also bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki instead of Berlin and Rome because the Japanese didn’t look like us (I’ve posted before here that our son came home from school believing this was true).
      * Churchill was an imperialist who cared only about his Empire.
      * The Soviet Union won the war.

      There are some truths to several of these assertions:

      1)Yes, the Nazis were fascist bigots with a bent towards genocide, not only towards Jews but Slavs in general and ‘deviants’ (such as homosexuals).
      2)Well, yes we could absolutely have done more for the Jews. I am currently reading a book entitled The Jews Should Keep Silent by Rafael Medoff that examines this subject and the relationship between FDR and Rabbi Stephen Wise, one of the preeminent Jewish leaders in American during the 1930s and WWII. In essence, Roosevelt did little to actively help European Jews, but Wise was instrumental in muting any criticism of FDR over the subject. If more people had called him out on these matters, perhaps FDR would have done more.
      3) Well, yeah, there was a lot of bigotry then and before regarding Asians in general. It would seem that there still is today amongst liberal and progressive circles.
      4) Not true at all. We didn’t bomb Berlin and Rome because the war there was already over. If we had gotten the bomb in May, 1944 would we have bombed Germany? I bet we would have — Germany was always regarded as the greater threat.
      5)Yes, Churchill was an imperialist, and a romantic, but also a top global strategist. If he only cared about his Empire, he would have made peace with Hitler in 1940, before any of the empire was gobbled up.
      6)Yes, the Soviet Union did a lot, fought a lot, suffered a lot. I really doubt they would have beaten the Nazis all on their own. The U.S. poured in mountains of material and supplies to the USSR, which meant they could concentrate their industries on building other things. If Britain had made peace with Hitler in 1940, how could we have sent this aid? We certainly could not have bombed Germany from New York City. And we would likely have only been fighting Japan and not Germany — if we were not already aiding Britain all through 1941 (and provoking Hitler), would Germany have declared war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor? I have doubts.

      So I think most of these fall in the half-truth category. There are elements of truth, but it’s complicated. Guess what: It’s a complicated world — always has been.

  5. “I’ll be watching to see where the news media notes it, and which sources do.”

    I saw that Ben Shapiro tweeted something to this effect this morning before I read your article. I guess it’s not the same thing, but at least it was being shared.

Leave a Reply to Steve-O-in-NJ Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.