mercredi 17 novembre 2010

Germany knows what happens when people are obedient sheep

One of the things that impressed me about Germany when I was there for two weeks last summer for work is the way that country has been willing to stare itself in the face about the less-savory aspects of its history. The Holocaust museum, situated right by the Reichstag, is a moving reminder. The footprint of the Berlin Wall is etched into the pavement. The idea of "Never forget" is on display in Berlin every day. Yes, there are pockets of neo-Nazis, but at least so far, Germany has been far more willing to look at itself in the mirror and confront itself than we have. Here we have politicians who use code phrases like "original intent" and "return to the Constitution" and references to the Confederate flag to minimize the cruelty and viciousness of slavery. Here we have politicians who would be perfectly willing to round up Muslims and put them into camps and political "pundits" who still defend the internment of the Japanese during World War II. Museums and monuments to these less-savory aspects of our own history are hidden away where few people visit them.

One of the by-products of being constantly reminded of the peril of turning into obedient sheep is heightened awareness of when real threats to freedom start to rear their ugly head. So while Americans line up mindlessly to have radiation sprayed into their bodies just to get on an airplane, the young denizens of Berlin aren't going gently into that good scanner:


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