Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
The leader of the German White Rose Movement, Sophie Scholl opened the first of their published pamphlets attacking the evils of the Nazi State and failure of the German people to recognize that evil, and instead ended up being corrupted and following the Nazi State. Their resistance was brave, some would say foolhardy, but in an age of perpetrators, bystanders who looked the other way, and their victims.
In an age where democracy and Constitutional Republics such are under attack from authoritarian leaders and populist, often racist movements in the country and the world, Sophie Scholl and her colleagues in the White Rose stood for truth in the face of lies. It is something that all of us, particularly those who have sold their souls to the Trump Cult need to learn, especially men like Senator Lindsey Graham who has already in direct contravention to the oath that he will have to swear at an Impeachment trial, that he will not be fair judge, in fact when he takes that oath he will be lying, perjuring himself before voting to acquit Trump. Such is the corruption we are dealing with, Barry Goldwater must be spinning in his grave.
Now as far as comparing 2019 America to the Third Reich, there is a way to go. We are not there yet, but it would not take much to get us there. We lock up children in cages at the border, separate them from the families, deport their families to countries that will take them, mostly authoritarian regimes. We have a President who pardons convicted war criminals, and who subordinates American policy to the despots ruling Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, while at the same time undermining our alliances with the most important diplomatic, military, and economic allies that we have. He breaks the Constitution, particularly the emoluments clause on a weekly basis, seeking to gain profits for his business and family at the expense of the taxpayer. All of this is a perversion of the American ideal and in contravention of laws, treaties, and the Constitution that he swore to uphold. Yet his cult defends him at every turn and his opponents are divided. But I digress….
I was going to start with just a paragraph from that first letter of the White Rose, but instead I will post that first letter in its entirety. There is a website where I retrieved this translation of the letter, it is a great place for Holocaust studies, as well as studies of some of the resistance movements the Holocaust Education Archive Research Team the website is at http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/
I highly recommend it. While I have a book that contains the English and German translations of these pamphlets, the work in typing each into a blog post was not a good use of time. So I want to thank these scholars for their work and willingness to place it on online.
So here is the first pamphlet of the White Rose.
The First Leaflet
Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes – crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure – reach the light of day.
If the German people are already so corrupted and spiritually crushed that they do not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable faith in lawful order of history; if they surrender man’s highest principle, that which raises him above all other God’s creatures, his free will; if they abandon the will to take decisive action and turn the wheel of history and thus subject it to their own rational decision; if they are so devoid of all individuality, have alrady gone so far along the road toward turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass – then, yes, they deserve their downfall. Goethe speaks of the Germans as a tragic people, like the Jews and the Greeks, but today it would appear rather that they are a spineless, will-less herd of hangers-on, who now – the marrow sucked out of their bones, robbed of their center of stability – are waiting to be hounded to their destruction.
So it seems – but it is not so. Rather, by means of gradual, treacherous, systematic abuse, the system has put every man into a spiritual prison. Only now, finding himself lying in fetters, has he become aware of his fate. Only a few recognized the threat of ruin, and the reward for their heroic warning was death. We will have more to say about the fate of these persons. If everyone waits until the other man makes a start, the messengers of avenging Nemesis will come steadily closer; then even the last victim will have been cast senselessly into the maw of the insatiable demon. Therefore every individual, conscious of his responsibility as a member of Christian and Western civilization, must defend himself as best he can at this late hour, he must work against the scourges of mankind, against fascism and any similar system of totalitarianism.
Offer passive resistance – resistance – wherever you may be, forestall the spread of this atheistic war machine before it is too late, before the last cities, like Cologne, have been reduced to rubble, and before the nation’s last young man has given his blood on some battlefield for the hubris of a sub-human. Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure!
From Freidrich Schiller’s The Lawgiving of Lycurgus and Solon:
Viewed in relation to its purposes, the law code of Lycurgus is a masterpiece of political science and knowledge of human nature. He desired a powerful, unassailable start, firmly established on its own principles. Political effectiveness and permanence were the goal toward which he strove, and he attained this goal to the full extent possible under possible under the circumstances.
But if one compares the purpose Lycurgus had in view with the purposes of mankind, then a deep abhorrence takes the place of the approbation which we felt at first glance. Anything may be sacrificed to the good of the state except that end for which the State serves as a means. The state is never an end in itself; it is important only as a condition under which the purpose of mankind can be attained, and this purpose is none other than the development of all man’s power, his progress and improvement.
If a state prevents the development of the capacities which reside in man, if it interferes with the progress of the human spirit, then it is reprehensible and injurious, no matter how excellently devised, how perfect in its own way. Its very permanence in that case amounts more to a reproach than to a basis for fame; it be comes a prolonged evil, and the longer it endures, the more harmful it is….
At the price of all moral feeling a political system was set up, and the resources of the state were mobilized to that end. In Sparta there was no conjugal love, no mother love, no filial devotion, no friendship; all men were citizens only, and all virtue was civic virtue.
A law of the state made it the duty of Spartans to be inhumane to their slaves; in these unhappy victims of war humanity itself was insulted and mistreated. In the Spartan code of law the dangerous principle was promulgated that men are to be looked upon as means and not as ends – and the foundation of natural law and of morality were destroyed by that law….
What an admirable sight is afforded, by contrast, by the rough soldier Gaius Marcius in his camp before Rome, when he renounced vengeance and victory because he could not endure to see a mother’s tears!…
The state [of Lycurgus] could endure only under the one condition: that the spirit of the people remained quiescent. Hence it could be maintained only if it failed to achieve the highest, the sole purpose of a state.
From Goethe’s The Awakening of Epimenides, Act II, Scene 4
Though he who has boldly risen from the abyss
Through an iron will and cunning
May conquer half the world,
Yet to the abyss he must return.
Already a terrible fear has seized him;
In vain he will resist!
And all who still stand with him
Must perish in his fall.
Now I find my good men
Are gathered in the night,
To wait in silence, not to sleep.
And the glorious word of liberty
They whisper and murmur,
Till in unaccustomed strangeness,
On the steps of our temple
Once again in delight they cry:
5 responses to “Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition… The First Pamphlet of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose in the Age of Trump”
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I’m so afraid for the future of America overtaken by a mob syndicate and the utterly empty brainwashed cult of trump.
“I [your name] Swear to Defend and Protect the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign or domestic, so help me God”.
You will notice there are no exculpatory or exclusionary clauses in that oath. There is time-limit. There is no “unless it would make People wonder if I was [Queer, a Jew, had an Abortion, “cheated”, etc…]”. No “only when some one else tells me to”.
This is the basis of fealty of the United States armed forces. Not to obey the National Command Authority. Not to do as they are told. Indeed, the concept of an illegal order arises from the American system itself. The Europeans went to the gallows howling piteously that they had only followed orders they knew to be immoral.
There is but one clause, and it is inclusive. All enemies of the Constitution, without regard to their nationality. Not all enemies of the Executive, or of the Congress, or even of The People. Only enemies of the foundational principles of the American Republic enshrined in the Constitution.
An American soldier is a soldier of the Constitution. Our oath burdens us, rather than relieves us. Our oath does not grant us exculpation from our conscience at the execution of orders. Our Oath charges us to act and to think and to engage.
This will not always make The People, the Congress, or the Administration, happy. However infuriating it may be to honest liberal or progressive voters, there is nothing illegal in ordering the Armed Forces to defend the national border, so long as it is explicitly prevented from acting as a law enforcement authority. By the same token, any soldier refusing to stop immigrants or smugglers is well within their rights; the order to do so is specifically illegal in the US armed forces (though the Patriot Act no doubt clouds this issue).
If Congress does not want American soldiers sent wherever the Administration feels like—or pulled out of wherever the Administration feels like—then Congress must re-establish its authority over such matters by revoking the wide latitude it has given successive Administrations in doing so. There is nothing illegal in the National Command Authority ordering the Armed Forces to act against Terrorists, or to be redeployed vis-a-vis such threats. It is clearly and purely the purview of the Administration by explicit action of the Congress.
All of which brings home a salient point: this Republic is meant to be governed according to the expressed will of We The People. Not by fiat, not by whim, and not by Joint Resolution. It is We The People, and specifically the Middle Class, who have abrogated our burden and responsibility to participate in our governance. When we fail to act to remove politicians who show flagrant self-interest over a duty to their constituency, then we ought not to blame those who bought them for using them; we ought to blame ourselves for allowing it, and we ought to act to remedy it.
We The People need to stop looking for some one else to do our work for us. A soldier remains a citizen in this Republic, and a guardian of the Constitution, but no more than that. They are not our proxies. We cannot ask the FBI or the DoD to act in our place.
The burden is ours alone. We must meet it, or fail.