Of all the photographs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that wrecked my heart, this one was the absolute worst.
It shows soldiers from Auschwitz, the Concentration Camp where more than 1,000,000 Jews and others were murdered in the gas chambers, enjoying a day off.
Look at these people!
Seemingly ordinary soldiers on a day off, enjoying themselves. How many people had they already tortured and murdered? How many more would they gas to death?
Photos of Trump and Bannon don’t frighten me.
What terrifies me are the seemingly ordinary Americans who work at the Justice Department, for ICE, for the police department, for the airports and customs and TSA, for any department of government, who, in the course of their job, will carry out atrocities and fail to resist immoral orders and directives.
Our moral obligation is to encourage resistance and resilience in every sector of our society. Keep speaking about resistance! Call upon “ordinary” people to act morally, to resist immoral directives from their superiors, to rise every day with moral courage.
It is up to each and every one of us to resist.
The fact is, as this comment shows, the lie that “Only Monsters could do this” is wrong. It is a fact that each of us has, within ourselves, the ability to be that Monster that would dutifully herd people into gas chambers, and their corpses into the ovens. Think this is simply the opinion of one, flaky guy out there, ranting on the Internet? Let me introduce you to the work of Ron Jones, a teacher at Elwood P. Cubberley Senior High School, Palo Alto, California, USA. In 1967, he created what was supposed to be a small experiment to see how difficult it would be to get a group of ordinary kids to act as the guards mentioned above did. I suggest you take a moment to read the entire story of the experience. There were other articles and movies that looked at this experiment. In short, it took almost NO time for the privileged students to begin acting JUST like the Auschwitz guards.
I mentioned the Stanford Prison Cell experiment above. This psychological experiment, done in 1971, was also designed to test how long it would take for ordinary people to treat others as the guards at the German Prison Camps treated them. As it turned out, once again, the results were quick…and chilling. Here is a link to the page which documents the experiment. Here is a discussion of how the results of that experiment could be applied to today’s world, specifically, the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib
Finally, there is the infamous “Milgrim Experiment”. The test was created to see if people would follow orders to electrocute strangers. Well, sadly enough, they were, and, thought nothing of doing it. I recall this experiment, and the reports that the people pushing the button to turn the electricity on would keep punching it past the point that, if it had been “real”, the subject would have died. Sadly enough, as this article describes, a recent re-run of the experiment shows that things have not changed in the least.
As Mr. Latz points out…All that Evil needs to succeed is for people of good will to do nothing. Right now, we are in a political situation that bears chilling resemblance to the two experiments in the psychology of humanity I have quoted here. Specifically…read the techniques used in the Stanford Prison Experiment…and compare them with what is happening today with the current Administration. We must not choose to be the good people who stood by and did nothing to stop the evil. We must not ignore what is happening just over the hill. We must not pretend that the fall of ashes the winds blow into our village, like a flurry of terrible snowflakes has nothing to do with us, or is not as bad as it might be.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave
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