weekly explorations in creativity

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hiel Hitler

Today I talked to a man from Germany who was in his 80. He grew up under Hitler and served in the German army. Now that his wife is dead he has decided to write his autobiography.

We had been talking about the economy and making money stretch. We talked about growing a garden and the versatility of potatoes. We talked about the merits of chickens versus goats. We talked about survival in troubled times.

Few people realize that Hitler came to power during a horrible depression caused by WWI. He gave the German people hope and jobs. He pulled Germany out of a depression as bad as our great depression. Unfortunately he had to take it a step further with the time honored method of blaming someone else.

For Hitler the Jews were the perfect scapegoat. They had money when others didn't. They had close knit communities that were separate from the rest of the German people (the original ghettos). And most importantly they were different. Having someone to blame and hate drew the German people together as never before, it gave them something to complain about besides their lives and someone besides themselves to blame for everything that was wrong.

Gunter, having first hand experience of these times, had a unique perspective. I know I would read his book if he gets it published. But his final statement really illustrated my issues with the way most people relate to history (and think about political moral issues). He said 'one good thing about Hitler, that woman in Ca wouldn't have octuplets. Hitler let you have one child as an unwed mother on welfare and after that you were sterilized.'

My issue from the historic perspective is the shock people express to such statements and the disbelief that people would really let their government do things like that. Because you see, at that time we were doing alot of the same things, Mental patients and convicts were routinely sterilized. Medical experiments were carried out on people who had no choice and often with out their knowledge. We, the United States, did things every bit as bad as Hitler but no one remembers that except for an occasional special on TV.

The political moral issue is more convoluted. People tend to think of all these great laws to make the world a better place. The rules would apply to other people (because of coarse We would never do whatever the law is against.) Because the laws are applying to others they don't have to be fair. Lord knows people wouldn't be happy if those kind of laws applied to them.

It comes down to one of the founding principles of our great nations, the ones making the laws should be the ones the laws apply to. Also Important is the Government does not control your private life (just what you can do in relation to another).

So welfare mothers, should they be sterilized after their first child? After all each additional child is a burden on the system since they can not support the children they already have. Can and should the government get involved with our basic reproductive rights (this is not just for women dudes, guys can get snipped too).

I think no, that government keeping out of my private life thing. But I think it can create laws that have a similar effect. Offer free birth control to welfare mothers who have a child and make laws that if you become pregnant with a second child while on welfare then the assistance stops.

You then have the starving children issue to address. Do you take the children from their parents? You just removed their financial assistance so you can't restore that. Lord knows we don't have enough social workers and resources to deal with an influx of children into the child welfare system.

The ramifications and issues continue to pile up. And that ladies and gentlemen is why I don't want to be in charge (or why the government sucks).

No comments:

Post a Comment