Casting The First Stone

So, the pope. Not a big fan, all things considered. Still. I don’t think much of this The Pope Was In The Hitler Youth And Therefore He Bears The Mark of An Unspeakable Nazi business. Particularly since I have a high capacity for moral cowardice, and I imagine that if I, by some quantum leap, were living as a 16 year old in Germany during World War II, I would have joined the Hitler Youth. I’m not proud of that, but I happen to think it’s true, based on what I understand about my character and the traits I have displayed hitherto. The question to my mind is whether I would have been roused to fervent defence of the Fatherland, enthusiastically signing up to defend our people from the threat of international Judeo-Bolshevism, or if I would have been alive to the reality of Nazism, but joined anyway on account of the fact that the costs of not signing up would have been too great.

Nearly everyone thinks they’d be a hero if the call came. This is utter Hollywood hero bullshit. Most people would act to save their own hide, even if they hadn’t been intoxicated by war propaganda and hadn’t fallen prey to the idea that the excitement of war had delivered a higher meaning to their existence. As Chris Hedges points out in War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, even the few who do display extraordinary moral or physical courage end up doubting after the fact that they could do it again.

Here’s Hedges:


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