“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn “The Gulag Archipelago”
As I have reflected upon the nature of totalitarianism and evil this past year I have found that Solzhenitsyn has landed on the truth, and so pieces such as The Atlantic’s “Nazis Are Just Like You and Me, Except They’re Nazis” are completely missing the boat. The depths of human depravity pierce our being, and what gives us licence to such depravity is our dehumanisation of the other. Such we have seen clearly in recent times from the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers. If we are to defeat “evil” then we must start with ourselves. “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God” (1 Pet 4:17, cf. Matt 7:3-5) To meet the dehumanisation of Nazi ideology with the in vogue dehumanisation of Nazis will only give permission for evil to be committed against them and as was seen in Nazi Germany the question then becomes “How Jewish” (or in this case Nazi) “does one have to be for it to be justifiable to attack them?” and this is not a road we can or want to go down.