Respectful Insolence

I’m sorry to do this to you again, kind readers, to subject you to Vox Day a second time in the same week. However, I just couldn’t let this pass. Hopefully my traffic won’t fall precipitously as people turn away in disgust at being subjected to too much Vox, but I have to take that chance. Besides, it is about bad historical analogies regarding the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, which I have a hard time resisting replying to when they’re bad enough. In retrospect, I almost wish I had sicced the Hitler Zombie on Vox a couple of days ago, because Vox is showing more and more signs of having had his brain eaten by something. I could have done a piece where the Rotting One first took a chomp out of his right cerebral hemisphere, resulting in the first piece a couple of days ago and then followed it up with a sequel where his left hemisphere gets chomped. (Come to think of it, though, Vox has actually the Zombie’s last victim–never mind.)

It would have been fun. Sadly, it’s now too late. Again, the Undead Führer will have to wait for another suitable opportunity for me to introduce him to the ScienceBlogs audience in an entertaining (I hope) and original manner. I blew this opportunity. Even so, I suspect you’ll be amused what happened in the aftermath of Vox’s little “I only meant it was possible–no, really” moment.

For those who missed it, the other day, I fisked a really bad historical comparison by Vox Day that went like this:

And he [President Bush] will be lying, again, just as he lied when he said: “Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it’s just not going to work.”

Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn’t possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don’t speak English and are not integrated into American society.

In fact, the hysterical response to the post-rally enforcement rumors tends to indicate that the mere announcement of a massive deportation program would probably cause a third of that 12 million to depart for points south within a week.

But that’s not exactly how it reads on WorldNetDaily anymore. In fact, if you click on the link, you’ll find this:

And he [President Bush] will be lying, again, just as he lied when he said: “Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it’s just not going to work.”

It couldn’t possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don’t speak English and are not integrated into American society. In fact, the hysterical response to the post-rally enforcement rumors tends to indicate that the mere announcement of a massive deportation program would probably cause a third of that 12 million to depart for points south within a week.

Notice that the analogy to the Nazis that I enjoyed so thoroughly deconstructing as the bad history it was is no longer there. Vox has explained that WND edited his article; the original is archived here.

Heh. Vox Day’s too much of a wingnut even for WorldNetDaily!

Personally, I think the WND editor was doing Vox a favor trying to make him look like less of a fool (although Jesus’ General with his usual humor doesn’t quite see it that way and Vox’s admirers still marvel at what a “devilishly clever bastard” he is). The editor’s effort was clearly wasted, though, as Vox has been busily digging himself in even deeper in response to criticism by claiming that all he was saying was that the deportation of 12 million illegal immigrants was possible:

Before they killed the Jews, the National Socialists had to identify them and transport them. The point, as seems to have escaped you and many other morons, is that it is quite clearly possible to enact deportations on the scale required.

Sure, it’s possible, if you devote massive resources to the project, use violence, and don’t care about niceties like how many die during transport. As dsmilev put it:

So, I guess that means that our job is actually easier than the Nazis; all we have to do is implement the same cattle-car transportation system, without worrying about those expensive gas chambers and mass crematoriums at the receiving end. Well, I feel so much better.

And, yes, well golly gee willkers, Vox also really, truly did know that a relatively small proportion of the total Jews killed in the Holocaust were German after all and his “liberal” critics were either too stupid or to blinded by their offense at his Nazi analogy to see:

First, the fact that most of the Jews killed in the Holocaust weren’t German is precisely the reason that I said “many” Jews. Many |= Most. Second, does he wish to argue that Polish, Russian, French, Hungarian, Dutch and Italian Jews weren’t integrated into those societies and didn’t speak the language of their country of residence? Part of the shock and horror of the Shoah was the way in which people turned on their neighbors and acquaintances. Yes, there were also Jewish ghettos, to be sure, but perhaps my fellow Minnesotan is familiar with the term “barrio”….

Note that Vox said nothing in his original article about Polish, Russian, French, Hungarians, or Dutch or their being integrated into the societies in which they lived. Vox did say this: “If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society…” The obvious and reasonable implication was that Vox was referring to German Jews. (Leave aside the point that the Nazis would have been short 5.5 million Jews to vent their hatred on if Hitler hadn’t–oh–invaded and conquered the nations that they lived in.) Vox’s readers aren’t mindreaders, after all. They don’t know what he’s thinking if he doesn’t put it down on paper. From Vox’s backpeddling I conclude that either Vox didn’t know what he was talking about and is trying to cover up his ignorance after the fact or he did know and has now realized that his writing was so crappy that he failed to get his real point across. Of the two, I consider the former to be most likely to be closer to the truth. Vox doesn’t appear to possess sufficient self-awareness to realize when he’s dropped a big turd on his audience, writing-wise. Of course there’s always a third possibility: That Vox is simply a troll who purposely yanked everyone’s chain with an intentionally outrageous example spiced some plausible deniability built into the wording. If that’s the case, his choice of material to achieve this end says a lot of things about him and none of them good. I hope he enjoys the traffic spike and invitations to appear on Alan Colmes’ radio show resulting from his idiotic article.

But it gets worse, as Vox keeps digging:

Third, the National Socialists did not have to transform Europe into a racist police state to accomplish their murderous means, in fact, Vichy sent 12,884 Jews to the camps without being occupied, and in the case of more than four thousand children, without even being asked. The police state apparatus was often not required for the racial round-up, Europeans being Europeans, it was usually enough to post a letter telling everyone where to show up at the appointed time.

Yes, it’s a horrible thing that the Vichy government collaborated with the Nazis in shipping Jews off to the death camps in order to curry favor with their Nazi overlords. The Rafle du Vel’d’Hiv was one of the most shameful incidents in French history, which is why it took until 1995 before a French President could publicly acknowledge and apologize for France’s role in helping the Germans round up Jews. Bringing up that incident, though, is a red herring. It doesn’t change the fact that much of Europe was indeed ruled by a racist police state (which indeed describes the Vichy regime rather well), nor does it provide evidence that the Holocaust wasn’t accomplished largely through force or the threat of force. Whether individual nations were occupied by the Nazis directly, administered by puppet regimes installed by the Nazis, or ruled by collaborationist governments like the Vichy, a racist dictatorship is an accurate description of the conditions in occupied Europe. Does Vox think that the Vichy French would have rounded up all those Jews if France hadn’t been conquered? It isn’t surprising that the Germans would exploit the anti-Semitism in other nations and the desire of some to keep their new masters from cracking down further, especially if it meant that sometimes they could get locals to do their dirty work for them. Mentioning collaborationists doesn’t repudiate in any way the brutal nature of Nazi rule. In any case, I can give counterexamples of nations that resisted letting their Jews be deported. For example, Denmark, even though occupied, resisted deportation of its Jews. Even Hitler’s erstwhile allies weren’t too keen on handing their own Jews over to the Nazis’ tender mercies. Hungary, for example, refused to let its Jewish citizens be deported until forced to do so after the Germans directly occupied it in 1944. Even Hitler’s good buddy Mussolini wouldn’t turn Italian Jews over, nor would the Italian military turn over Jews in areas of southern Europe under their control, despite numerous German demands that they do so. It wasn’t until Mussolini was deposed and the Nazis occupied Northern Italy in 1943 that the Germans got their hands on Italian Jews and started shipping them East.

But perhaps the most ignorant thing Vox said was this:

With a few famous exceptions, such as in the case of the Warsaw Ghetto, there was little violence.

I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I got to this, or there would have been a shower coming out of my nose. Hasn’t Vox ever heard of the Einsatzgruppen mobile kiling units that roamed Eastern Europe in the wake of the invasion of the USSR, rounding up Jews by the thousands and shooting them in front of mass graves? Or how about the brutal expulsion of Jews from their homes in Poland and forcing them into ghettos? Did he never hear of Babi Yar, where over 33,000 Jews were killed in two days in September 1941? Or is that one of the the “famous exceptions”? Systemized brutality was part and parcel of the Holocaust; they were inextricably linked. And did it ever occur to Vox that the reason many Jews simply reported where ordered to assemble was because they knew that if they didn’t the consequences could be horrible? Consider this Nazi officer’s report of a mass deportation (hat tip to a fine anti-denier blogger Sergey, who also did a little fisking of Vox himself):

Some 5,300 Jews were actually assembled there at the appointed time. With all the manpower of my company, I sealed the Jewish quarter and searched thoroughly, whereby some 600 additional Jews were hunted down.

The Jews knew that those who didn’t show up for the deportation would be hunted down and dragged onto the transport anyway–that is, if they weren’t killed while fleeing. And this is what happened to those who tried to escape while the train was en route:

With the change of engine in Lemberg, such an old engine was hooked up that further travel was possible only with continuous interruptions. The slow journey was time and again used by the strongest Jews to press themselves through the holes they had forced open and to seek their safety in flight, because in jumping from the slow-moving train they were scarcely injured. Despite the repeated requests to the engineer to go faster, this was not possible, so that the frequent stops on open stretches became increasingly unpleasant.

Shortly beyond Lemberg the commando had already shot off the ammunition they had with them and also used up a further 200 rounds that they had received from army soldiers, so that for the rest of the journey they had to resort to stones while the train was moving and to fixed bayonets when the train was stopped.

Pretty non-violent, eh Vox? Shooting, stoning, and bayonetting Jews who tried to escape?

Vox also forgets that, for the most part, these Jews didn’t know they were being sent to their deaths. Oh, many suspected something horrible might be waiting for them when they arrived. True, there were vague and wild rumors about the fate of those transported East. But they didn’t know. They were told they were being “relocated” to the East and that they would have to work. Indeed, the Nazis went to great lengths to try to deceive their victims about what waited for them at the end of their journey for that very purpose, so that they wouldn’t resist. This deception continued right up to the masquerade that new arrivals were being taken to the showers to clean up, complete with seemingly normal looking mass showers.

No, the mass relocation of Jews to the ghettos and later to the death camps was a campaign of intentional and institutionalized brutality towards a race considered to be the implacable enemy of the German Volk. What’s even worse is that Vox’s remark seems to be implicitly blaming the victims for not putting up a better fight, even showing thinly veiled contempt for them (his earlier crack about “Europeans being Europeans”).

Something just occurred to me that I wish I had mentioned in my last fisking of this nonsense. From the tone of his article and his followup defense, Vox seemed to think that the forced expulsion of 6 million Jews was a success, but did he ever consider this? Forced expulsion was indeed the first aim of the Nazis in the early years of the Holocaust. However, after the invasion of the USSR, when millions of Jews came under Nazi control, it became clear that there was no place to expel them all to. Indeed, the Nazis even came up with fantastical plans, such as a totally unrealistic plan to ship all the Jews to Madagascar. As the war dragged on, the plans became more and more radical, until the Wannsee Conference formalized and made official a plan for forced labor and outright extermination in essence, because they couldn’t get rid of them any other way. In essence, it can be reasonably argued that one of the reasons that the Nazis resorted to mass murder was because forced expulsion and ghettoization weren’t working (even with the brutal methods they used in Poland and the USSR), and their fanatical Jew-hatred made giving up on the whole insane enterprise of trying to make the Reich Judenfrei simply not an option for them.

That just left murder as the only strategy they had left.

Comments

  1. #1 Jody
    May 18, 2006

    After reading your latest fisk of Vox, there’s just no room for “benefit of the doubt” or differing opinions” here.

    The best way I can think to describe him?

    What an a**hole.

    I know that’s not good form, but in this case, decorum be damned.

  2. #2 Sergey Romanov
    May 18, 2006

    “Pretty non-violent, eh Vox? Shooting, stoning, and bayonetting Jews who tried to escape?”

    Yeah, plus a small matter of 2000 Jews who simply died on that transport (in addition to those shot and bayonetted). Plus the Jews too frail to be transported, which thus had to be executed.

    Yes, it is possible – if one is a mass-murdering freak.

  3. #3 Salt
    May 18, 2006

    In light of the Warsaw ghetto statement Vox made, it would be apparent that the violence intimated would be by jews fighting the nazis. Yes, the Nazis did do violence upon the jews but other than the Warsaw ghetto, where did the jews inflict violence upon their detractors? The jews mostly went to their ends as sheep.

  4. #4 Orac
    May 18, 2006

    Glad I saw Salt’s comment before heading to the O.R.

    There was more widespread resistance than just in the Warsaw ghetto, Salt. In ghettos such as Bialystok, Krakow, Bendin, Czestochowa, and Tarnow, rebellions and confrontations broke out during the final deportations, and there were underground movements throughout Europe, even in concentration camps. There were even uprisings in some of the camps (Sobibor and Treblinka, for instance).

    See:

    http://www.holocaust-history.org/questions/cooperation-resistance.shtml
    http://fcit.usf.edu/Holocaust/timeline/resist.htm
    http://www.fatherryan.org/holocaust/resist.htm
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/resisttoc.html
    http://yad-vashem.org.il/about_yad/magazine/magazine_new/jewish_resistance.html
    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005213

    Even knowing that they could not possbly overcome the odds against them and win in the end, a number of Jews fought anyway in many places. Others tried to escape or hide.

  5. #5 Dianne
    May 18, 2006

    VD also doesn’t seem to acknowledge that, with all that willingness to use force and dictatorial control over the population, the Nazis failed. Germany wasn’t Judenfrei at the end of WWII. Neither was the rest of Europe. The Jewish population had been drastically decreased and the culture nearly destroyed, but it wasn’t gone. Even in Germany, some people resisted the Endlosung–successfully. Consider, for example, the Rosenstrasse protest And if VD thinks that the US populace of today is wimpier and more willing to go along with a facist order than the German populace of the 1940s, well, I think and certainly hope he’s wrong. So Bush would fail too if he followed VD’s advice.

  6. #6 Kiwiwriter
    May 19, 2006

    I would guess that Vox thinks that “nonviolence” applies to the Jewish response. However, the Warsaw Ghetto was not the only incident of Jews battling their tormentors during the Holocaust, just the largest.

    Other than that, the author of the Vox missive, David Pringle, is already a number of bricks short of a load. My understanding from SPLC is that he’s an unemployed mechanic who stays home and spouts racism while his wife earns the living.

  7. #7 Jonathan Semetko
    May 22, 2006

    It seems this little analogy has earned Vox a place on FSTDT again! http://www.fstdt.com/

    Good work Vox, we knew you would pull off a repeat!

  8. #8 Version20
    May 27, 2006

    Vox Day is Theodore Beale – see http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Beale

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