In no other field of social science has prejudice more disastrously masqueraded as fact than in the study of race. Myth has pervaded discussions of race throughout the history of Western civilization. The mythmakers have exploited the popular associations of race, blood, and soil, knowing that these elements could be molded to suit their purposes. Their technique is to invent a mythical past and project it into a messianic future, wherein a chosen race, guided by the spirits of its ancestors, fulfills its glorious destiny.
Versions of this myth, which assumes that some races are innately superior and that pure races still exist, are rooted deep in the Western consciousness. We see it in the Old Testament between the favored seed of Abraham and that of the cursed Canaan, the “servant of servants.” But the political dominance of racial messianism is a recent phenomenon. Its most infamous and dangerous creation is the Aryan Myth, together with the closely allied myths of Teutonic, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Nordic supremacy.
…Judaism, like Critical Theory, expresses within Horkheimer’s thought the opposite to power, which seems the ultimate absolute in present reality, be it in the form of idols, worship, the nation, or the leader. The absolute for the Jews is completely “the other” to the given field of power. They are the witnesses for a spiritual God. The belief in him functions as an opposition to the victory of power dominating present reality: according to Horkheimer this is the reason for “their inhalation ” – in the eyes of the representatives of power and of success, both dominating earthly affairs. It was not power that unified them against all the evil abundantly directed at them, but an ‘idea'” Read More: http://construct.haifa.ac.il/~ilangz/Utopia4.html …
The Aryan myth was born as a minor issue in comparative linguistics, grew into a full fledged racial theory of history, and ended by almost devouring European civilization. But it all began innocently enough. In the 1780’s Sir William Jones concluded that Sanskrit was related to the Persian, Greek, Latin, Celtic, and Germanic languages, and that they were all branches of an ancestral, but now unknown mother tongue, properly referred to as Indo-European. This language was at first termed “Aryan” and Jone’s investigations were pursued further, especially in Germany, where the brothers Grimm and others developed the science of comparative linguistics. This reached its climax in the work of Franz Bopp, whose Comparative Grammar began to appear in 1833. But by then Aryan studies were no longer limited to the area of language alone.
The trouble began with the taking of the short but illogical step from the notion of a single linguistic family to that of a single race. It was then that the Aryan race and its myth were born. The propagation of the myth was no great problem, for in the first decades of the nineteenth-century the liveliest spirits of Europe were gripped by romanticism- a romanticism that gloried in the exotic that could easily accept the idea that Europe had been founded by Aryan migrations. All agreed that those migrations had happened a long time ago, but as to how long, there was little consensus.
“Traditionally, out of the injustice directed against it Judaism has expressed the demand for justice. Thus, the execution of Eichmann expresses what happens to the demand for justice after it obtains power. Horkheimer claimed that in this respect, for the Jews Eichmann became a disaster for the second time as he was put to death by an executioner representing the government of Israel. According to my interpretation this dramatic phrasing has to be understood thus: at that very moment Judaism has showed that it too had assumed its place in the game in the fields of power in current reality and lost its essential uniqueness; and so it forsook power to demand justice, and has lost its faith in the utopian demand for justice and in non violent protest against this world, which was ruled by violence and by endless aspiration.” Read More: http://construct.haifa.ac.il/~ilangz/Utopia4.html
…The problem became increasingly important as many European nations began to assert their national consciousness, their distinct blood and soil, and as historians began to make their primary task the recovery of a vigorous national past that portended an even greater future. And yet, the more scholars who joined the attempt to dissipate the mists enveloping the primitive history of the race, the more fog there appeared to be. By the end of the nineteenth century nearly every region of the earth had been credited with the honor of being the birthplace of the Aryan race.
The investigators were merely providing posterity with a tragicomic example of what happens when historians set out to solve an insoluble problem. For the better part of a century they had been asking, ” Where did the Aryans come from and how did they create our civilization?” when they should have been asking “What evidence is there that such a race is not a figment of the imagination?” But reality had little to do with plausibility or political utility. Here was a myth that otherwise scrupulous scholars never doubted and that politicians, not so scrupulous, recognized as a useful tool.
The Eichmann Trial,Michael Ezra:Enormous controversy centered on what Arendt had written about the conduct of the trial, her depiction of Eichmann and her discussion of the role of the Jewish Councils. Eichmann, she claimed, was not a ‘monster’; instead, she suspected, he was a ‘clown.’ He had no ‘insane hatred of Jews’ and did not suffer from any kind of ‘fanatical anti-Semitism.’ She reported Eichmann’s claim that ‘he had never harbored any ill feelings against his victims’ and accepted it as fact. As far as Arendt was concerned, Eichmann simply had ‘an inability to think.’ She concluded: ‘The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal.’ In a postscript to later editions of the book she added that Eichmann simply ‘never realized what he was doing’ and that his criminal actions were due to ‘sheer thoughtlessness.’ Read More: http://dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d9Ezra.pdf
BNET: Is this beautiful in any way?
Heller: Some of it is … You can look at something and unpack it and deconstruct it and analyze it and you can divorce it from that particular context, if only for a moment, and see how well it was created. If you look at Albert Speer’s outdoor spectacles that rallied so many people to the Nazi Party you have to admire the ability to do that while at that same time be horrified by the fact that it moved so many people to an immoral level. And ultimately they paid for it.
BNET: Why do you think the Nazis cared so much about the way they looked?
Heller: It wasn’t the Nazis per se that cared. It was Adolf Hitler who joined the party and became their ersatz art director by becoming head of a propaganda or publicity division. He had this instinct for uniformity. The Germans were uniform anyway going back to Bismarck. He often said he was influenced by the Soviets. The Soviets had their hammer and sickle which was really a very modern flag, and an anti-coat of arms compared to the monarchies that used the double-headed eagles and all that stuff…. It took away choice but it also took away a liberal sensibility. It eliminated the need to worry about things like fashion or rebellion. There were enough variables in the Nazi identity. You could earn badges and get insignia. Read More: http://www.bnet.com/blog/advertising-business/hitler-as-art-director-what-the-nazis-8217-style-guide-says-about-the-8220power-of-design-8221/7598
Michael Ezra:Still more shocking to Arendt’s critics was her discussion of the Jewish Councils ( Judenrat). These Councils were administrative bodies that the Nazis forced the Jews to establish in many occupied countries. The leaders had to follow Nazi orders under threat of immediate execution for disobedience. These orders included
providing Jews for slave labour and organising the deportation of Jews to death camps.
Although Arendt’s discussion of these Councils took up no more than a few pages, it provoked outrage. ‘To a Jew,’ asserted Arendt, ‘this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story.’ The next two sentences proved to be the most controversial: Wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis. The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had been really unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and half and six million people. Read More: http://dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d9Ezra.pdf