Orion's picture

    The Death Of Naivety

    I found this interesting: 

    "Ocasio-Cortez’s 'concentration camps' comment questions an old orthodoxy: that only other countries—and not the U.S.—are capable of evil.

    "[...]Ocasio-Cortez’s comment about concentration camps is only the latest example of this broad challenge to American exceptionalism. She didn’t claim that Trump’s detention centers are the equivalent of Auschwitz. But she denied that America is a separate moral category, so inherently different from the world’s worst regimes that it requires a separate language. On Tuesday night she retweeted the actor George Takei, who wrote, 'I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America.' This was another act of linguistic transgression. When remembering the detention of Japanese Americans during World War II, Americans have generally employed the term internment camps—largely, the historian Roger Daniels has argued, to create a clear separation between America’s misdeeds and those of its hated foes."

    Last year, I had a history conversation and the subject got to talking about the holocaust. I said casually that the equipment used for cataloging during the Shoa was designed by IBM, an American company, and that the Nazis had extensive business contracts with American companies. (The subject is depicted extensively in the book IBM and the Holocaust.)

    It didn't occur to me that this would be significantly shocking to someone. History podcast Dan Carlin has talked about it casually in his podcast Hardcore History. Hannah Arendt discussed it. There was a singer back in the 1960s who did a song about American military getting sued for destroying Nazi vehicles produced by Ford (the name of that singer escapes me - maybe a commenter knows?). However, this person, who was much older than AOC, looked at me like I had said the most disturbing she had ever heard.

    "How do you know that? That's disappointing."

    A lot of mythology was believed by recent generations - meritocracy, the shining city on a hill, etc. This may explain why America was so late in accepting social programs. You can only accept such programs when you realize you need some help - when you think you are impenetrable, you need no assistance. If we are exiting such a mindset, I say good riddance. People can cause a lot of harm when they're unaware of it. The world seems very different when you've lost naivety too.


    Sounds a bit like Tom Lehrer - "Nazi Schmazi...."


    More from Tom:



    And since Dixie comes up so much around here:


    Even selling used cars...



    Thank you!!

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