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April 13, 2005



Your question is the subject of Goldhagen's extremely controversial book, Hitler's Willing Executioners.

I think he overstates the case, and I think his latest book on Pope Pius is simply horrendous (Ron Rychlak, a prof at U Missouri law school, tears it apart in a book review on First Things), but HWE deserves credit for being among the first scholarly works that unabashedly, and without any fear of offense, asking the question:

how could ordinary Germans not have known?

Adrianne Truett

I think a likely answer to that question, that doesn't take issue with the idea that many of them actually didn't know, can be found by looking around. There are so many people around us who have no idea about anything at all. Jay Leno makes fun of them, putting them on TV when they guess "Canada" when he asks them to name a country we're at war in, but there's a surprising (to me at least) number of such people. (One of my cousins is one of them.) Like my college suitemate who somehow managed to overlook all the emails, posters, and direct mailings about getting your cap and gown, and had no idea when the time came that she would need to do anything of the sort. You could probably put big signs in all the windows and three-inch headlines in all the papers announcing everything that was going on, and, so long as it didn't touch their life's focus (be it boys, or fashion, or mathematical research, or raising a dozen kids), they wouldn't even notice.

Of course, walking around in a fog is really no excuse.

I've heard of that book several times; perhaps I'll read it this summer.



I've never bought in to those Leno skits. I think that a lot of those people know if they say something stupid, they'll be on TV, and answer accordingly.

I think it's possible that some didn't know what was going on, some knew in their hearts but denied it to themselves, some knew and held private objections that they didn't raise out of fear, and some knew and approved or were indifferent. I have no idea the proportion of how many fell in to each category, however.

Adrianne Truett

True, to some extent, the Leno skits are faked (it is a comedy show, after all). However, I've talked to enough entirely clueless people on the streets of Boston (one intense woman who was furious about the stolen election in 2000 and explained to me how she was going to vote for Clinton in the 2001 presidential election... and the people who give you a total blank stare when you mention other rather major world events -- including my favorites, the ones who, if you mention the Pentagon getting hit on 9/11, will correct you and say that things only happened in NYC) to know that there's a good number of them out there.

As for your second paragraph, yes.


I always thought of PBS as pretty balanced. They have David Brooks on the Newshour. Paul Gigot used to be on the Newshour and now he has his own show. Charlie Rose gets prominent Democrats and Republicans.

Attacking PBS seems to be a cover for conservatives not getting the job done in Washington. I guess someone has to be blamed.

Adrianne Truett

and that came from... where?


It seems like a conservative way of life to blame everything on liberals.

I thought last election proved that liberals really don't have that much power in government. Wasn't that what the Bush team was saying in November and December - that they had won a decisive victory?

How is a decisive Republican victory in 2004 at all consistent with liberals mucking up everything now? I thought the Republicans controlled all three branches of government. And with Rush Limbaugh and Fox News I think their representation in the press is pretty strong too.

I wish the Republicans could accept the scrutiny that comes with being in power.

Adrianne Truett

Ok, and you're saying this... why? Are you on the wrong post? The wrong blog? I'm just not seeing any context...

R. Alex

Adrianne, I think it came from your mentioning "PBS" and "Political Agenda" in the same sentence. Even though you were saying that it wasn't particularly relevent to the topic, that was apparently the part that Thomas was most interested in.

Adrianne Truett

Ah, I see. Thanks; I was confused! Thomas: I was just giving examples of why some people criticize PBS. They're not my criticisms. For example, I like Laurence Welk :)


Sorry for the confusion, Adrianne. How is your Monday going?

Adrianne Truett

:) Thesisly, thank you very much.


My Monday went fine too. It is my favorite TV night of the week. 24 is on that day.

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