You hear it all the time in writings or speeches about the Holocaust: “Never again!”
This is spoken as a war cry, a cry of defiance and determination. Yet how many of the people raising their figurative fists to the sky and shouting that there will be no more Holocausts are actually doing anything to prevent future disaster?
Damn few. Shouting, “Never again!” doesn’t do one real thing to prevent disaster any more than pink ribbons (which my town is festooned with every October) cure breast cancer. The shouts and the ribbons are both fine if they lead to lifesaving action, but without that, they’re meaningless.
One writer referred to the cancer ribbon campaign as “relentlessly pink optimism”, which can actually be very distressing to women whose cancer has metastasized. “Pink optimism” could lead to greater awareness, but on the other hand it could create false hope, divert research from even deadlier cancers, or end up making people feel less concerned about the problem because their attention eventually blanks out from too much bombardment with those ribbons.
Similarly, “Never again!” creates the impression that something’s being done to prevent Holocausts when there’s little or no action. Since Hitler’s Holocaust, there have been genocides in China, Uganda, Cambodia, Rwanda, and other places known and perhaps others unknown.
The “Never again!” people have done an excellent job of reminding the world of what Hitler did. (My nymsake, Feigele “Vladka” Peltel Meed was one of the earliest to make sure the world wouldn’t forget.) Sadly, though, they’ve also helped create the impression that Hitler was some unique monster and his genocide was the one and only. Yet just as there have been genocides since Hitler, there were also genocides before him. We now know that Stalin probably outdid Hitler when it came to killing his own people and his genocides were well under way when Hitler was barely getting started.
That’s the first big mistake of “Never again!” If you see only one genocide and see it as unique, you’ll always fail to understand the nature of genocide. You’ll look forever at Hitler and Germany, trying to figure out how they were different than everything that came before them and everything after them, which means you’ll fail to understand the full pattern of genocide. You’ll never really understand the attitudes, conditions, and laws that create genocide and you won’t see the next one coming.
One big, vital thing you’ll miss is the role that victim disarmament plays in genocide after genocide. You can’t kill millions of people until you’ve eliminated their ability to fight back. Of course “gun control” is only part of disarming people. It’s part of a package that includes destroying their spirit of resistance, getting them to trust authority even when authority intends to kill them, and other things. Taking away their resistance tools is complicated, but it certainly means keeping the victims less well armed than the perpetrators.
That’s another reason I don’t ever again want to hear “Never again!” Too many of the people shouting those defiant words are working for the very thing that leaves victims unable to defend themselves. How many people who cry, “Never again!” are enthusiastic advocates of “gun control”?
How many of them will tell you that only police and soldiers, the very agents who carry out genocides on behalf of homicidal governments, are the only ones who should have firearms?
No, I don’t want to hear “Never again!” ever again, unless it’s coming from the mouths or the pens of people who really mean it. The way to mean it is to educate people about the wide history of government murder of citizens. Don’t just pretend Hitler was some anomaly. The way to mean it is to stand up for the second amendment, to own firearms, to teach children to shoot and teach them why, to encourage a spirit of resistance, and to understand individual rights and freedom.
Do that and I’ll believe you mean it when you cry, “Never again!”