By Jason Stanley, August 20, 2016 (LINK to article)
"Jews were hated. But this, [my mother] explained, was the fate of Jews. Anti-Semitism was a permanent feature of the world, not special to the Holocaust. My father [in contrast] . . argued powerfully against the stance of the victim. It was morally dangerous [he said, and] was scornful when he saw signs that I was taking the Holocaust to mean that Jews were special. 'If the Germans had chosen someone else,” he often said, 'we would have been the very best Nazis.'”Prof. Stanley, I'm very much on your father's side, who, I think, takes the more rational, objective, and self-critical view - of himself and his own Jewish tribe.
It is not just victims who pose a danger, because of their understandable lack of objectivity, but the "moral supremacists" who exploit their own or others' victimhood as a source of supposed moral authority: if you are, or identify with, the victim, you are automatically against the perpetrator (in the case of the Holocaust, the Nazis) and thus a "good guy", who others will attribute high social status to, which confers huge personal, professional and/or political advantage.
The Nazis being the very embodiment of evil, their victims are ideal for moral supremacists to identity with, making them the very best of goodies.
The problem is, there is a moral supremacist in all of us, often difficult to distinguish from just wanting to be moral - inherently moral animal that we are.
Moral supremacists, who have always had immense power within society (formally as priests, now more influentially as academics, politicians and journalists), exploited the understandable overreaction to Nazism, incorporating it into the state’s age-old strategy of “divide and rule”, dividing society into a morally superior, now supposedly unprejudiced, "colour-blind" and xenophilic, elite and the morally inferior, naturally (human nature being what it is) less virtuous, masses, who must submit to the authority of and domination by their "moral superiors" (see BLOG in which I elaborate).
The above is an edited and very slightly longer version of the comment I submitted to the NYT, but wasn't approved.
Now I want to respond to what you said about being a "white Jewish-American [whose] sons and wife are black Americans", and your concerns about "a thoroughly unjustifiable racism directed against [them]".
It was natural, but mistaken, I believe, to blame the Holocaust on "racial prejudice" against Jews, i.e. anti-Semitism, as a consequence of which racial prejudice, of any sort and towards anyone, was demonised and suppressed. It was an understandable overreaction, which should have long been recognised and corrected, but hasn't been, because of its incorporation in state ideology and its strategy of divide and rule.
The truth is that human beings are prejudiced about everyone and everything, including race; in fact, especially race, given our inherent tribal nature. To demonise and suppress this is madness, which, however, there is power-political method to.
Understandably, you don't want people to be prejudiced against your wife or children, because of their colour, i.e. race, but people are and always will be prejudiced, so long as they are human.
Racial prejudice is a problem that has to be dealt with in multi-racial society, but demonising and suppressing it (as "racist", i.e. evil) is NOT the best way to go about it. In fact, it is the worst, being an overreaction to Nazi racism, which involved a lot more than just racial prejudice. Ironically, far from reducing the chances of another Holocaust, demonising and suppressing racial prejudices is a sure way of paving the way for the next one.
The demonisation of racial prejudice serves the modern, democratic state as an instrument of socio-political intimidation, rewards, punishments, manipulation and control, just as medieval church ideology once did. It has taken the place of "original sin" (disobedience of divine, i.e. priestly/state authority), which only submission to priestly/academic/state ideology and authority can save us from eternal damnation for, not as sinners, heathens or heretics, as in the past, but as bigots, xenophobes, nativists or racists.
Demonising racial preferences and prejudices is no different, if you think about it, from demonising sexual preferences and prejudices, which, of course, until very recently, the state also did.
Demonisation and criminalisation are major sources of state authority and power. Clearly, there are certain behaviours which need to be criminalised, but demonising them, and what causes them, is an obstacle to understanding both, which is what we need to do, if we are to learn the live with our prejudices in as rational and civilised a fashion as possible, which is the only alternative to living in oppressive, Orwellian kind of society, which we are well on our way to at the moment.
Before we can deal with the issue of race and racial prejudice (rather than just demonising and suppressing it) we have to deal with the nature and purpose of the state itself, which is very different from what we are taught by academics, most of whom are themselves employees of the state, with a massive personal self-interest (subconscious more than conscious) in rationalising and defending its role, self-image (as our "nation") and ideologies (social, political, economic and racial, formerly religious), on which the state bases its claim to moral and knowledgeable authority (see BLOG in which I elaborate).