What lesson(s) should be learned from the history of the holocaust?

Jul 2019
4
Netherlands
Should we take as the lesson from the holocaust to not allow hatespeech? But then what about free speech? Can we only express likes about groupidentities, and not express dislikes?

It seems to me the history of the holocaust is taught in a very oppressive way. Everywhere there are people being slammed for being a nazi, for what seems to me to be very natural expression of likes and dislikes.

I have an idea about a much more practical lesson to be learned from the holocaust, and that is to learn the difference between fact and opinion (like opinion on beauty). In my view of it, the coldhearted, calculating attitudes of the nazi's, were based on their misconception, that the question what the content of someone's character is, is a matter of (scientific) fact. These coldhearted calculating attitudes were the basis of genocide.

If one regards content of character as a subjective issue, then you must choose your own opinion on what is in someone's character. In choosing your conscience is engaged. One might be merciful, generous or mean in judgement, it's your responsibility to make your own opinions.

But if you regard content of character as a factual issue, then you aren't making any choices, because facts are forced by evidence. No choice means, no conscience is engaged. Also the factual certitude in the pronouncements about what is in the character, translates to a very hard and merciless judgement on subjective terms.

I should explain what the difference between fact and opinion precisely is. It is actually creationist philosophy which distinguishes facts from opinion, validating each in their own right.

Creationist conceptual scheme:
1.Creator / chooses / spiritual / existence of which is a matter of chosen opinion
2.Creation / chosen / material / existence of which is a matter of fact forced by evidence

"Content of character", is something on the side that makes a choice, that is why it is in category 1. Character, emotions, spirit, soul, God, these words are all defined in terms of that they make choices.

The human body, the planets and stars, are all creations, and therefore they are in category 2, the fact category.

ad1) An opinion is formed by choice and expresses what it is that makes a choice.
ad2) A fact is obtained by evidence of a creation forcing to produce a 1 to 1 corresponding model of it.

Consider what we would get if we taught the difference between fact and opinion in response to the holocaust.

1. We make sense of the history of the holocaust, explaining it in terms of social darwinism undermining subjectivity in general. This seems to me a very satisfactory explanation in regards to the total evil of it. You can get unlimited evil by undermining subjectivity in general. Trowing out, or ignoring, all emotion, then you get total evil. That makes sense.

2. The guilt for the holocaust is more appropriately spread out. While the main guilt would be with academics in promoting social darwinism, academics was an open enterprise to which people in general contibuted to. The error to reject subjectivity is a commonly human failing, and not just a technical idiosyncratic failing in academics.

3. Instead of the memory of the holocaust being applied to surpress freedom of opinion, it becomes applied to encourage freedom of opinion. Providing an appreciation for the very concept of subjective opinion, as valid in it's own right, distinct from the concept of fact.

4. Acknowledging the human spirit on a subjective basis provides for belief in equality. If we only acknowledge material and factual things as what the content of character consists of, then it seems to me we necessarily end up with racist theory corresponding to material differences among people.

5. Subjectivity was already promoted in response to the holocaust, with postmodernist philosophy. After WW2 and in response to it, the idea was promoted that subjectivity is inherent in statements of fact, postmodernism. This acceptance of subjectivity significantly softened attitudes in academics.
So the next logical step would be to fully acknowledge the validity of subjective opinion, in response to the holocaust.
 
Jan 2017
1,309
Durham
Should we take as the lesson from the holocaust to not allow hatespeech? But then what about free speech? Can we only express likes about groupidentities, and not express dislikes?
The lesson to be learned from the Holocaust is one that nations such as Britain and the United States have always known.

You can't ban people's thoughts. They will have them in private, whether or not you outlaw them in public. But, when they start burning books in public? That is tantamount to burning a person, and as a nation you have to stand up and defend that. Partly because minority groups have equal rights and partly because if you let that go then the state will come for you too at some point.

Yes, ' hate speech' should be allowed. You're not going to win a battle of ideas through shutting people down. But, when they start burning books, that's a line crossed and it's only going to end one way.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
The lesson to be learned from the Holocaust is one that nations such as Britain and the United States have always known.

You can't ban people's thoughts. They will have them in private, whether or not you outlaw them in public. But, when they start burning books in public? That is tantamount to burning a person, and as a nation you have to stand up and defend that. Partly because minority groups have equal rights and partly because if you let that go then the state will come for you too at some point.

Yes, ' hate speech' should be allowed. You're not going to win a battle of ideas through shutting people down. But, when they start burning books, that's a line crossed and it's only going to end one way.
Fully agree with this.

Freedom of speech is *the* single most important right in a free and democratic society. That should include the freedom to say offensive things or make a fool of yourself. Although well-intentioned, when you start banning offensive speech you put your nation on a dangerous slippery slope that risks eroding the very values that make that nation free.

I do not agree with hate speech at all, but the way to deal with racists isn't to ban hate speech, but to confront their ideas head on & expose them for being morally and intellectually bankrupt.
 
Nov 2016
44
Australia
I don't think you can explain hatred/bigotry/anti-semitism logically. You certainly can't blame the 'social darwinists' ideas. Anti-semitism has been around for as long as we can remember. Humans are essentially evil- society keeps the lid on (usually).. if you believe Hobbes rather than Rousseau.
 
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Jan 2017
1,309
Durham
I don't think you can explain hatred/bigotry/anti-semitism logically. You certainly can't blame the 'social darwinists' ideas. Anti-semitism has been around for as long as we can remember. Humans are essentially evil- society keeps the lid on (usually).. if you believe Hobbes rather than Rousseau.
In every country in the world there is some sort of backlash against minority groups.

In England, for example, there was an anti-Irish feeling, then an anti-Jewish feeling and an anti-Eastern European and German feeling; due to all of these groups coming here for work and competing with the local populace, at a time when there was no safety net for those out of work. This ill-feeling, borne out of economic circumstances, did not progress farther than ill-feeling: the state had no desire to bully minority groups and the people didn't take it into their hands to meter out their own 'justice'.

I would differentiate the above situation from Tsarist Russia though, where pogroms and the like sprang up every now and again, often instigated by the army and joined by the local Russian population.

And then of course, Nazi Germany took this far beyond anything ever seen with their murderous policies.

I think all of this would suggest that humans aren't 'essentially evil', but rather humans are easily swayed by a state committed to instilling their ideas upon the population, and when those ideas focus on 'blood' or 'class', i.e. extreme politics, then they can be murderous. I think that is one of the lessons of the holocaust: people should be very wary of extreme politics and should do everything to maintain their individual freedoms and the individual freedoms of minority groups. A nod to the famous poem which went something like: "they came for the Jews, but they were only Jews; next they came for the communists but they were only communists......" and so on.

It should be an obvious thing that a society should be underpinned by notions of fairness and reason, but it hasn't always been the case over the years in some countries. Minority groups have been fair game for state repression in some countries, and still are, and that is neither fair nor reasonable.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,504
The lesson to be learned from the Holocaust is one that nations such as Britain and the United States have always known.

You can't ban people's thoughts. They will have them in private, whether or not you outlaw them in public. But, when they start burning books in public? That is tantamount to burning a person, and as a nation you have to stand up and defend that. Partly because minority groups have equal rights and partly because if you let that go then the state will come for you too at some point.

Yes, ' hate speech' should be allowed. You're not going to win a battle of ideas through shutting people down. But, when they start burning books, that's a line crossed and it's only going to end one way.
How is this in any way relevant to the Holocaust.

Was there some attempt to ban Nazi Free speech i have not heard about? How did some lack of free speech lead rto the rise of the Nazis?

Not saying free speech inst a good thing but how exactly is a lesson from the Holocaust?
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,504
Fully agree with this.

Freedom of speech is *the* single most important right in a free and democratic society. That should include the freedom to say offensive things or make a fool of yourself. Although well-intentioned, when you start banning offensive speech you put your nation on a dangerous slippery slope that risks eroding the very values that make that nation free.

I do not agree with hate speech at all, but the way to deal with racists isn't to ban hate speech, but to confront their ideas head on & expose them for being morally and intellectually bankrupt.
I not aware of any attempt to ban Naxzi speech. How is this a lesson from the Holocaust?
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,558
Republika Srpska
I do not think you can really argue with racists and anti-Semites because they won't accept any arguments that do not support their position and will instead dismiss them by claiming there is a wide conspiracy that is twisting facts.