Incest, Morals, Hitler, and the Law

Why morals are essential for just law.

Some while back, we reported on a prominent liberal professor who's being prosecuted for incest with his grown daughter.  Our article pointed out that, by liberal logic, there was absolutely no reason for his condemnation; given that all persons involved were consenting adults, why is it anyone else's business?

Yet our constitutionally-sanctioned universal right to privacy notwithstanding, most normal people would read the story and rush off to the loo to lose their lunch.

Clearly, there is more involved in law and custom than simple logic, and we admitted as much:

Conservatives [are] generally quite comfortable with answers involving "Thou shalt not" and "abomination."

A reader named irvnx jumped upon our admission with glad cries:

The author does point out one significant admission: that "Conservatives" are driven by authority, and no rational basis for their morality exists; similarly their authoritative nature, too, belies that a morality based on "thou shalt"s is not grounded in Reality.

One should reject this a priori, especially in a social/[political context, for some of us are not driven by conformity nor an insane urge [for is not insanity derived from irrationality?] to be controlled or control others.

We choose freedom .. and the necessity of living by our choices, and responsibility thereof.

This statement encapsulates the leftist libertine (as opposed to libertarian) position in a nutshell.  The media, most leading politicians, and even our courts, have rejected the very concept of moral authority, and indeed deride those who claim that morals should mean anything at all.  As irvnx implies, appeal to moral authority has become almost a new Godwin's Law: an admission that you've lost the debate.

So in keeping with that theme, let's talk about Nazis.

The Good Nazi

Insofar as the left admits that there could be such a thing as evil, Nazis and fascism are its exemplars.  In a world where Muslims cannot be portrayed in films as terrorists despite virtually all the world's currently-active terrorists being admitted to be Muslim by their fellow Muslims, and confessed terrorists being tenured professors and friends of the President, the Nazis are the one group still permitted to be portrayed as stock villains in almost any context.

Not any god we want anything to do with.

But why?

It is a historical fact that Adolf Hitler's rule of Germany was one of the most obsessively legal regimes ever seen.  Hitler himself rose to power by getting progressively more votes for himself and his Nazi party in elections that were reasonably free and fair by the standards of the time - yes, the Nazis used violence to exacerbate crises and then exploited them in finest Rahm Emanuel style, but they didn't steal elections as generally understood.  The Jews were gradually dispossessed, imprisoned, and eventually murdered, not by administrative fiat, but under the authority of laws duly passed by the elected legislature and enforced by the proper authorities.

Was Hitler a dictator?  Of course he was - but rather than simply seize power, total authority was scrupulously given him by the elected Reichstag (legislature) via the Enabling Act of 1933 and periodic renewals.

What of the Gestapo, SS, and all the rest of the secret police?  In assaulting Jews, they weren't simply exercising their personal whims; they were doing as ordered by their lawful commanders, going all the way up to Hitler, his authority from the Reichstag, and the legislature's democratic authority via election.  It would have been against the law not to kill the Jews - and many well-known objectors like Corrie ten Boom were convicted of and sentenced for that very crime by Nazi judges who, themselves, were simply enforcing the law as written.

In other words, the Nazi depravities were every bit as legal as anything an American policeman does today.

"But... wait!" you cry.  "That can't be right!  The Nazis were evil incarnate!  There's no comparison between Hitler, and any old American cop!"

Legally, you're wrong - they're the same. Morally, you are completely correct.  The difference lies in exactly that realm which the Left, as explained by irvnx, totally rejects in principle: "a morality based on 'thou shalt's."

Why, exactly, are we not supposed to murder people, Jews or otherwise?  "Thou shalt not commit murder."  Is there any other logical reason why we shouldn't bump off anyone who gets in our way?

Hitler had loads of good, sound, logical reasons to kill all sorts of people.  The retarded, the disabled, the elderly; all were incapable of contributing anything useful to the State, and all cost the State money to feed, clothe, and house.  Hitler simply deep-sixed them to put the resources to better use, to the benefit of the entire society.  What was wrong with that?

The Jews, according to Hitler, had stolen the wealth of Germany; and it's a historical fact that there were a lot of really rich and successful Jews in Germany at the time.  What's the difference between calling them thieves and seizing their wealth, and current American leftist calls to "soak the rich" of income they "don't deserve"?  How about "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor thy neighbor's wife... nor anything that is thy neighbor's"?

Americans on both sides of the aisle generally agree that we ought to follow the law, but then we condemn the Nazi footsoldiers who did exactly that.  How can this be?

A Higher Law

Because, contrary to the arguments of moral relativism so endemic in our universities and elite circles today, there is a higher law - and it isn't the U.N.

Our Founders knew this well and appealed to it:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  [emphasis added]

By what right did our Founders challenge their lawful authority, King George?  By the King's violation of a higher law - to be specific, "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God."

Without a belief in a higher Power, outside of and above man, Who declares laws by which all men, even kings, must be measured - how would the Founders have any right to do what they did?  They wouldn't and they knew it.

By the same token, without a higher and absolute morality that we can use as a frame of reference, by what right can we condemn the Nazis?  We can't.

Let's move closer to home.  Slavery in the South was entirely legal, protected by the Constitution.  Was it, therefore, right and just?  Of course not!  It violated the selfsame "laws of Nature and of Nature's God" that the Founders cited in the Declaration of Independence, and all the laws and court decisions to the contrary could not make wrong right.

Only by an appeal to an extrinsic morality, explicitly claiming the authority of God Himself, was slavery ended.

Only by reference to God's commands against murder can the Nazis be condemned - or Stalin, or Mao, or Pol Pot, or Zimbabwe's tyrant Mugabe, or Hoxha of Communist Albania, or Erich Honecker of East Germany, or Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu of Romania, or any other murderous thugs who've dragged themselves to command of a state across the tattered bodies of innocents.

In fact, without an outside morality defined by a non-human Power, there is absolutely no limit on the evil that can be committed with perfect legality, just as the Nazis did - and there are absolutely no logical or legal arguments against it.

The Bold Colors of the Conflict

So our worthy critic is half right.  Yes, on the question of morality, conservatives are indeed driven by authority.

He could not be more wrong, however, in his contention that "no rational basis" for this Authority exists.  On the contrary, every rational basis cries out the absolutely essential need for an external controlling morality based on a Higher Power that will enable men to regulate themselves.

If you believe in the All-Seeing Eye of God, it doesn't matter whether there really is a God.  It matters enormously to everyone else whether you think there is, because you'll do what is right even when nobody is watching.

The world of the Left is a world where "it's not wrong if you don't get caught."  Tax cheats and thieves like Tim Geithner and Charlie Rangel illustrate this principle every day: the laws don't apply to them, and even if they're caught, at worst they pay what they should have paid anyway.

We can't run our entire society or economy that way; with no trust, the economy stops and civilization breaks down.  With no morals, there can be no trust.

The left should know this.  At root, wasn't our current economic crisis caused precisely by theft and fraud?  Is not the complaint of the left, that "banksters" defrauded homeowners and stole from taxpayers?  If the bankers wrote the laws, then their actions weren't illegal; and if there are no morals, what makes what the banks did wrong?

At bottom, even most of the partisans on the Left don't want to live in a world like that; don't want to see fathers shagging their own daughters; don't want to see a pure, unadulterated rule of the majority to trample upon the rights of the minority.

What we need to do is to get them to recognize their own beliefs - as the saying goes, they need to be "mugged by reality."

Then, just maybe, the way they express those true beliefs will change; and our country too will change, for the better.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Law.
Reader Comments

Masterfully well written and reasoned.

January 13, 2011 11:03 AM

This article should be required reading material for every high school student nationwide.

January 13, 2011 1:44 PM

Wow... nuff said.

March 30, 2012 10:21 AM
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