Monday, February 12, 2007

Denial

I honestly can't think of anything more evil than the people who attempt to downplay or deny the Holocaust. While it's good science to re-study history to ensure our shared narrative is a true one, those who claim Nazism wasn't "that bad" or worse, that it was all a setup by those nefarious Jews to steal land from the poor, innocent Palestinians, are excusing, justifying, and in some cases even promoting the great evil of fascism. (Now, if only we can get similar outrage directed at people who didn't think Communism was all that bad...)

So, having been compared to one of those excusers of evil by Ellen Goodman last week because I happen to think most of the Global Warming "science" is a lot of political hooey, I felt moved to respond. Goodman said:
I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.
She then, of course, breaks her arm patting herself on the back for using three whole fluorescent lightbulbs. (I have at least 5 in use in my condo, Ellen. NOW who's Hitler!?!)

Unfortunately, minor things like "bar applications" and "homework" were getting in my way. So fortunately, James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal summed it up brilliantly for me:
Imagine if someone in 1937 had foreknowledge of the Holocaust and began sounding the alarms, describing in detail what was going to happen just a few years later. Most people probably wouldn't believe him. They would be, to use Goodman's phrase, denying the future. But would they be "on par" with people who deny the Holocaust after it has happened?

That seems a stretch. There's an enormous difference between doubting an outlandish prediction (even one that comes true) and denying the grotesque facts of history. Because we are ignorant of the future, we can innocently misjudge it. Holocaust deniers are neither ignorant nor innocent (though extremely ignorant people may innocently accept their claims). They are falsifying history for evil purposes.

To Taranto's wisdom I would add only this. Iran has, in fact, denied the holocaust, and at the same time, not-so-subtly threatened a new, nuclear extermination of Israel (and, incidentally, of the US). Many on the left have their heads in the sand over this threat, and deny that Ahmadinejad really means it, deny that Iran has the ability to make good their threat, deny that the UN is incapable of responding (and in fact is complicit), deny that Iran is currently making war on the US, and has been since 1979, and deny that there is no negotiating with a fascist madman who uses the language of Der Fuher. (Goodman herself thinks Ahmadinejad is nothing like Hitler, because... he denies the Holocaust!)

To me, this is a much closer parallel to the Holocaust deniers. But it would still be absurd to claim the modern Iran-ostriches are "on par" with Illinois Nazis. Almost as absurd as believing that three fluorescent lightbulbs and a Prius are the moral equivalent of liberating Auschwitz.

1 comment:

Cato said...

Illinois Nazis? I hate Illinois Nazis.


Yeah, I've noticed that they've started using the word "deniers" when talking about global warming skeptics. Bad sign, that.