Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Evil Begins With A Premise You Accept

First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

The words of Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and theologian who endured the Holocaust in a concentration camp, reflecting on how the Nazis, with the help of the church and typical German citizens, implemented their policies and committed the atrocities of that era.

Evil is always incremental. It starts from an easily acceptable, but subtly deceptive, beginning and moves logically from one step to the next, until even the faithful find themselves embracing a goal that they would have easily rejected earlier. That's how the Nazis did it. They started with something that almost all Germans agreed with - the economy was bad - and then they took them to an end no one could have imagined - the systematic murder of over 6 million foreign immigrants, blacks, gays, disabled, and infirmed.

No comments: