Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

July 5, 2005

Yes, they really do believe these things

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:00 am

I’ve been getting some interesting comments on this blog, with people defending positions that I find utterly indefensible. While it is tempting to write these comments off as the rantings of fools and ignore (or even delete) them, the fact is that many reasonable people find it simply unbelievable that anyone could think such things, and as a reasult don’t realize what “we” are up against. It seems unbelievable to us that people would actually believe this things, since they don’t make any sense — but that’s not a requirement for people to believe something!

Previous examples in comments on this blog include a parent who says she would kill her daughter for throwing a coy of the Koran and a neurologist who seems to think it’s OK to tie fully conscious patients to their beds to make them starve to death.

Now we have a a Mr. Schulz from Hamburg, who claims that Britain, not Germany, was responsible for World War II, that it was German civilians who suffered attrocities at the hands of the Britisn, not the other way around, and that Germany (unfairly) lost 150,000 km2 of “histo[r]ical land” after the war. In other words, he claims that Germany was the victim, not the aggressor in Europe in World War II.

Normally, I’d dismiss this as the ravings of a lunatic or a fool — but (a) I’ve actually heard these arguments before, and (b) lots of Americans are unaware that some Europeans things this way. Thus, I feel an obligation to respond.

It is utterly preposterous to claim that Britain, rather than Germany started World War II. Germany invaded Poland and divided it with the USSR just a few months after promising in a treaty with Britain not to invade Poland. The fact that Britain “declared” war after Germany actually began the war does not mean that responsibility for the war lies with Britain rather than Germany.

To claim that Britain is responsible for World War II is no different from claiming that if the police arrest a murderer, it is the police not the murderer who is to be blamed for the murderer’s loss of freedom. But if the murderer had never murdered he would not have been in jail, and since he has murdered, it is better that he lost his freedom.

And yes, Germany lost land after World War II. This is what happens when you lose a war. You cannot expect that Germany could invade and conquer Poland, Russia, Belgium, France, Denmark, and so on, then claim that it is somehow unjust that Germany “lost” a few cities after the war. There is no such thing as a “limited liability war” in which you try to take others’ terroritory, but upon losing insist that your territory is sacrosanct.

And this is completely putting aside the fact that to talk of the German state’s “historic land” in 1945 is rather disingenuous. At that point, Germany had only been a united state for 74 years (since 1871), and during that period its bounces changed several times. There was no “historic” German boundary at that time.

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