Adolf Hitler is not a popular man in Germany these days. That is hardly news considering his leadership lead to the moral and physical destruction of Germany.The man rightly deserves to be reviled.
But there comes a time when a democratic nation must place history in its proper place and not allow it to warp its values as a nation.
Recently a German man was arrested for having a speech made by Hitler as his ring tone on his cell phone.The man faces up to 6 months in jail for playing a speech made by Hitler in January of 1939 that promised the destruction of the Jews if Germany was compelled(in his mind) to go to war.
Offensive as such a thing may be to most, it still is just a ring tone.Merely playing it will not bring back the Nazis’. Hitler’s Nazis now are an artifact of the past.
In an effort to distance itself from its Nazi past, Germany has gone to the lengths of banning Neo-Nazi websites within Germany as well as extremist groups in order to crush any regeneration of the National Socialist movement within Germany.One can certainly understand the Germans desire to squelch such ignoble intentions in light of the horrors the regime visited upon Europe.
But at what cost?
The prohibition of beliefs that repulse us is a very appealing idea on the surface. Why not eliminate such crazy ideas? Why not push them into the dark recesses of our nation’s political consciousness?Who will much mind?
Two issues with this type of thinking.
One, who gets to determine what is a “crazy idea”? At one point, the idea of the masses governing themselves seemed like the product of an insane mind. Surely no one could really believe that the Hoi Polloi could govern themselves? What appears to be an unbelievable thought one moment could very well become widely popular the next.You don’t want to destroy intellectual freedom by government suppression of political thought no matter how odious those thoughts maybe.
Secondly, in a free society even the crazies must be permitted the right to express themselves so long as they do so peacefully. You cannot pick and choose who has the right to say what they believe in a truly free and just country.
The irony of this is that the Nazis did the same thing when they were in power. The Enabling Act of March of 1933, permitted Hitler to ban the German Communist Party. The other major political parties soon followed and on the 14th of July 1933, Germany was declared a single party state. Freedom of thought was one of the first victims of the Nazis.
If Germany really wants to refute the Nazi past, they would lift the ban on everything Nazi and deal with any potential Neo-Nazis in a forthright manner. What better way to prove yourself the better than by doing the opposite of what the Nazis did?
The Nazis demonstrated their lack of confidence ion the sustainability of their ideas by having to resort to outlawing competing ideologies in order to maintain political supremacy within Germany. Surely the German democracy of today has the confidence to repulse the wild doctrines of crazed fanatic.They can best exhibit this confidence by living up to its modern liberal tenets by removing the ban on Nazi group, symbols, and thought.There is no better way to stick it to Adolf than to do the opposite of what he did.