The holocaust didn’t “happen”. It was a deliberate human act of inhumanity. And a good deal of the actions that underpinned it were undertaken by people who a few years before would be seen as decent, ordinary men. Ordinary men, but in uniforms. It didn’t take these men long to go from helping old ladies and kids to shooting them in joblots. Germany was and now is a decent ordinary state. But the ordinary men who did this extraordinary thing were just that – ordinary. Just like US officials now, they were ordinary
Its a far cry from shooting children in Babi Yar to detaining a five year old on their birthday. But lets not forget, the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 didn’t start their career with a burning desire to become mass murderers and ghetto jailers. They were ordinary men. Police, men seeking a steady job, a respected job, a pensionable job, one that could help maintain the fabric of the state. Slowly over time they, and other police battalions, devolved from doing ordinary police duties in the military – guarding prisoners, patrolling newly captured towns in absence of the deposed civilian police – to mass murder. Each step was a small one; guard a town, guard a region into which jews are crammed, aid the cramming into ghettos… the moral frog was boiled to a mush.
The people who detained the 5y old were ordinary men and women. But, they made a conscious decision to act. Looking at a five year old, crying and in fear, wanting to go to his mom on his birthday, they decided nah, best not. Better to enforce the rule, to obey orders. Even, as in this case, to go beyond, to work towards the President. So what if the little lad was a US citizen? His mom was Iranian. Blutschande needs to be carefully monitored. So, these ordinary men and women, with kids or nephews, who no doubt claim to and believe themselves to be followers of Christ – who famously stated “suffer the little children to come unto me” – and to be decent ordinary men , they acted immorally. I dont think I could do that. I hope I couldn’t. And if you are a spokesperson for a state doing this, and you defend it, having children of your own to boot, you have lost all claim to being a moral human being. Maybe the spirit of John Milton Chivington has surfaced and taken control of Sean Spicer.
By such steps are moral compasses eroded. If you think its ok to detain a blind 88y old in a wheelchair and deny him his medicine, what will you do if ordered to expel from the state holders of valid permanent residency , or to do even more awful things. I fear we may find out.