I have said that it is characteristic for the political right to become cast in the role of “sceptics” or “deniers” during debate, essentially difficult men applying facts and logic to the narrative put forward by the left. This dynamic plays out in many areas—from climate change to relations between the sexes—but perhaps no area is more controversial than the massacre of Jews by the National Socialists during the Second World War. When the left speaks about this massacre it is largely factually correct; however, per Nietzsche, the interpretation of the facts is the gate to reality.
Man is a peculiar animal: for the most part, we lean towards joy in killing and maiming our opponents; and yet in strange—perhaps divinely inspired—moments, we also show mercy. During the whole history of man, as any glance at the Old Testament or the classics will show, it has been a normal part of our behaviour to wipe out opposing tribes completely—perhaps sparing their women to rape and take as wives. Man has never stopped being this way. The 20th century saw some of the most grotesque massacres, aided by technology, we have yet achieved as a species. These massacres include the Soviet Gulag system, the German extermination camps, Mao’s famines, and Pol Pot’s butchery—and more.
Nominally, at the end of the Second World War, certain crimes were established, such as “genocide”, that outlawed massacres; particularly massacres designed to extirpate racial groups. This was, in reality, no law at all: even as the laws regarding genocide were drafted, the world powers developed nuclear weapons that could extinguish entire nations in a holocaust at the touch of a button. My own country retains nuclear weapons and maintains the posture that these would be used in retaliation: we retain the threat of credible genocide. Nobody, except consistent pacifists—vanishingly rare—resists this situation. Further, there is no global sovereign to enforce the laws regarding genocide; so to try to prevent “genocide” becomes an active hypocrisy, as the divided world powers cannot act as a coherent police force to the world.
Classical liberals will often, naïvely, call for there to be a “Gulag Memorial Day” or for the actions of Stalin to be incorporated into Holocaust Memorial Day. This will never happen. The left conceptualises the fascist regimes as radically evil, whereas, even now, Stalin is a man who “made many mistakes”. It is the interpretation given to the violence, not the violence itself, to which the left objects; they believe it is radically evil to massacre on the basis of inherent characteristics, though not on the basis of beliefs—and so only certain types of massacre are examples of evil.
The Polish left has recently been keen to change the curriculum in Poland to foreground Polish complicity in Hitler’s massacres; they do this because the Poles have resisted demands to open their borders to immigrants—they have not learned to be sufficiently guilty about excluding people on racial grounds. They have not had their conceptual view adjusted from the Soviet view to the Western left’s take on massacre. Poles massacred Jews, quite autonomously from the Germans; Germans massacred Poles and Jews; and the Russians massacred Poles. The question is merely: what will the next generation of Poles feel guilty about?
Memorialising a massacre so that it will “never happen again” is futile: it is predicated on the idea that man’s nature will be changed through education; only the left thinks this is so. The right says that we should memorialise our dead through appropriate rituals encoded in traditional religions: our dead—our heroes and martyrs. We do so to make sure we have the determination to remain strong, for it is only through strength that massacres can be avoided. To commemorate other dead, whether Jews in Poland or peasants in Russia, is phoney—unless we happen to be Jews or Russians; we do not really not care, since man does not love humanity in general.