Deadly American generosity

Jon Schwarz commented on Americans praising the generosity of the country for acts that result in the deaths and suffering of many people.

EARLIER THIS WEEK, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar celebrated the Trump administration for its treatment of immigrant children it has separated from their parents. “We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities,” said Azar on CNN. “It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids.”

This magnanimous claim raises an obvious question: What are the other great acts of American generosity?

Schwarz helpfully provides a list of past acts of self-proclaimed generosity for other acts, from the genocide of Native Americans to Trump’s current child snatching.

But the US is not alone in praising its own generosity while committing acts that can only be described as vile. Schwarz points out how the German Nazis also prided themselves on their generosity, as in this passage from a 1941 article by Joseph Goebbels:

If we Germans have a fateful flaw in our national character, it is forgetfulness. This failing speaks well of our human decency and generosity, but not always for our political wisdom or intelligence. We think everyone else is as good natured as we are.

The title of Goebbels’ article? The Jews Are Guilty. No, really.

In reading that essay by Goebbels that Schwarz links to, I was struck by another passage:

The fact that the Jew still lives among us is no proof that he belongs among us, just as a flea is not a household pet simply because it lives in a house. When Mr. Bramsig or Mrs. Knöterich feel pity for an old woman wearing the Jewish star, they should also remember that a distant nephew of this old woman by the name of Nathan Kaufmann sits in New York and has prepared a plan by which all Germans under the age of 60 will be sterilized. They should recall that a son of her distant uncle is a warmonger named Baruch or Morgenthau or Untermayer who stands behind Mr. Roosevelt, driving him to war, and that if they succeed, a fine but ignorant U.S. soldier may one day shoot dead the only son of Mr. Bramsig or Mrs. Knöterich. It will all be for the benefit of Jewry, to which this old woman also belongs, no matter how fragile and pitiable she may seem.

It reminded me of the inflammatory rhetoric now used against immigrants, that if we let them in, they and their descendants will plot against the real owners of the country, and every single one of them is guilty of this merely by association. Comparing Jewish people to fleas on pets is similar to the way that Donald Trump talks of immigrants ‘infesting’ the country. These are not accidental choices of words. They are meant to create disgust in the minds of the hearer, that they are dealing with people who are akin to vermin.

I just realized that I compared the current rhetoric in the US to that of the Nazi-era. How rude of me! I hope the civility police will not be angry.


  1. Bruce H says

    Hey now, we once gave blankets to freezing Native Americans as a show of our generosity. Surely that counts for something.

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