THE ‘GOOD BOOK’, THE ‘BAD BOOK’, AND SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION THROUGH SOCIAL DECONSTRUCTION: ADOLF HITLER’S CHILLINGLY EXTENSIVE CONTRIBUTION TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION
Well folks, I can just see the feedback now. I’m already preparing to get some flack over this one, so I’m bracing for it. Writing about Adolf Hitler is always a touchy subject at the best of times. He’s still very much a lightning rod of controversy virtually everywhere in the world. There are countries in Europe where displays of Nazi symbols are banned, and Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ is also barred from publication.
North America, however, thankfully, is different. We’ve been at peace now with safe borders for many years and have never had to face the kind of severe ethnic and racial strife that Europe traversed in the two World Wars in the twentieth century. That’s why I took it upon myself to read both the ‘Good Book’ (The Bible), and what I like to call the ‘Bad Book’ (‘Mein Kampf’ or simply ‘My struggle’), the book which Hitler wrote in the 1920s while in prison after being arrested in the now infamous ‘Beer Hall Putsch’, wherein he was imprisoned for having attempted, unsuccessfully to overthrow the government.
I’ve completed the Bible, all 1300+ pages of it, and am now at page 157 of Mein Kampf, enough to make some initial observations: For a high school drop out who never finished his studies at the ‘Realschule’ (a sort of German equivalent of the old ‘Commercial’ or ‘Technical’ course in Québec, as opposed to the ‘Gymnasium’, which was the equivalent to our old ‘Classical course’), he was no slouch at being an incisive, self-taught observer of the social order of his day, albeit rather biased.
Hitler’s critique of Viennese Parliamentary democracy of the late Habsburg period, which was based on the same Westminster model as ours in Canada, was ruthlessly caustic in its denunciation of the insignificance of the common backbencher, the petty infighting, the bombastic speeches, and overall climate of cynicism and diluted meaninglessness of having potentially great statesmen and leaders lost in a sea of parliamentary mediocrity and crass self-serving self-interest.
I found myself astounded to remark that his comments, written in the 1920s, based on attendance in the parliamentary gallery in Vienna around the turn of the 20th century, could just as easily be applied to our parliament today in Canada, or anywhere else in the western world, for that matter.
Equally caustic were Hitler’s denunciations of working class poverty. He goes on at length to describe the plight of the average Austrian industrial labourer in Vienna of the early 20th century, which could’ve applied to virtually any major city throughout Europe at the time. He describes workers living in shabby tenements, living on meagre wages, never knowing from week to week and month to month if they will be gainfully employed. This, he accurately commented, engendered a cycle of reckless spending on alcohol on payday, which engendered a perpetual cycle of poverty, conjugal violence, illness, vagrancy, and even death, all of which was cause for the corrosion of the moral and social fabric of society.
Hitler was attracted very early on in his life as a young man by the anti-Semitic press, and formed a very negative impression of Jews very early on in his life, which served as the cornerstone of his racial policy during the Second World War. Hitler was very much negatively impressed by the living conditions in which the Jews lived in Vienna around the turn of the twentieth century. In the book, he describes their neighbourhood as a very dirty ghetto, with Jews in various forms of foreign-looking garb, probably Hassidic Jews, walking around, looking rather unkempt and unwashed.
Probably a lot of people’s hygiene in Europe around that time wasn’t the best, including Hitler’s but this seemed to colour his judgement of them a lot. Jews’ involvement in the field of the arts, journalism, and politics also seemed to irk him tremendously. In all this he saw a tremendous threat to the purity and survival of the German Fatherland, along with what he considered to be the insidious Slavicization of the Habsburg Empire resulting in the De-Germanization of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
He saw the elimination of Socialism, Jews, and a great deal of the Slavs and a taking over of their territory in the east by force as the only way for Germany to survive and thrive. He didn’t think that building a Navy like Britain had done and pursuing overseas conquest would work, because it would cause Germany to come into conflict with Britain. So he saw expanding eastward as the way for Germany to thrive.
Another incisive comment he made, which could just as easily be applied to western countries today, had to do with population growth. When talking about peoples surviving and thriving, Hitler always speaks of expansion into new lands, to till new soil, because existing soil can only yield so much to feed so many people, and Germany’s population was expanding rapidly at that time. So he said that it’s better to allow procreation to continue, and let nature, through illness or bad harvests, weed out the weaklings, thereby improving the breed, rather than doing what we’ve ultimately done, which is using birth control, and limiting the number of births to a minimum, then nursing the few people that are born, and preventing them from dying at all costs, since we have so few people being born to begin with, we don’t want to lose even a single one, thereby weakening the genetic stock by nurturing the weaklings as well as the strong.
This Hitler said, was bound to cause the civilizations that did such things to be conquered and overtaken by others. One only has to look at the Chinese and Arab-Muslim countries to see what he was talking about to see the writing on the wall! But ultimately, as the title of this piece says, Hitler’s ‘Bad Book’ led to an unparalleled amount of social destruction which, by the western alliance’s response in fighting back against its evil, led to an unparalleled level of social re-construction.
What I mean to say is that a lasting peace in Europe resulted from all of this madness. A democratic Europe emerged, which ultimately led to the European Union which we know today, which, despite its setbacks, is here to stay. It led to a democratic and ultimately re-unified Germany which, ultimately, has expanded eastward, much more economically than militarily, than Hitler’s armies ever managed to get during the war, all under the aegis of NATO and the Pax Americana, thereby, in a way vindicating Hitler’s original wartime plan.
And lastly, and most controversially, the so-called ‘Jewish Question’ was basically resolved in the sense that, because of the Holocaust, which eliminated the Jews from most parts of Europe, a ‘critical mass’, so to speak of world wide sympathy emerged for the Jewish people. No longer was it politically correct to dump on the Jews by practicing a sort of bourgeois-style of what I like to call ‘parlour anti Semitism’, the kind of which many people in the middle and upper-middle classes practiced in cocktail conversation before the war in the more upper-echelons of western society, as well as the lower orders.
A sort of consensus basically emerged that the Jews had suffered a great tragedy, that this ‘Holocaust’, or literally a ‘Burnt Offering’ had elicited enough sympathy amongst the world’s population, that it had conferred upon God’s chosen people the right once again to their homeland. So that when the State of Israel was created after World War II in the late 1940s, after the war in Palestine, just about everybody in the world recognized this new country. Pretty much everybody agreed, that the Jews had paid a hefty price for it and that recognizing Israel was a no-brainer.
So basically, like the old adage says, ‘out of evil comes good’. Adolf Hitler may have been a madman, and an evil genius, but essentially, without him, I don’t think civilization would’ve advanced to the point that it has today. So I think I’ll continue reading his ‘Bad Book’, and see what lies beyond page 157. Maybe the pages of ‘my Struggle’ have a few more secrets to divulge about the deconstruction and reconstruction of society.