Thursday, April 10, 2008
  The chain of comings

You've heard many versions of "First they came for X and I was silent; then they came for Y and I was silent...."

Apparently the usual form is a postwar condensation, with a distinctly leftist flavor, of Martin Niemoller's thoughts. According to this scholarly account, Niemoller wrote dozens of variations on the thought, none in bumper-sticker form. He was not talking about ordinary citizens, but speaking directly to Christian pastors, who should have known better. The following may be the most succinct and evocative version from Niemoller himself:

Here is the basis of our Christian recognition of guilt in consideration of what happened. We did not recognize the Lord Christ when he came into our lives in the form of a suffering brother.

I didn't recognize him when he was put in the camp as a Communist, nor did I recognize him, when he was murdered as an incurably ill person, nor did I recognize him, when he was gassed and burned as the poor victims of his own people [probably an allusion to the fact that Christ was Jewish]. Here I became guilty in my very personal responsibility and I cannot excuse myself, neither before God, nor before humanity.


In Niemoller's longer texts he also puts Jehovah's Witnesses in the chain.

Polistra thinks the modern version of the chain should read like this, because we have gone way beyond silence:

First they came for Randy Weaver and I was silent. Then they came for the Branch Davidians and I smiled. Then they came for the "incurably ill" Terry Schiavo and I cheered. Then they came for the Darwinian skeptics and I did The Wave. Then they came for the Global Warming skeptics and I screamed in orgiastic ecstasy. Then they came for the home schoolers and I jumped over the moon for joy. Then they came for the Polygamists and I brayed like a jackass on speed.

What we have, folks, is a true gold-standard Inquisition, and just as in Niemoller's time all the authorities and churches have joined on the same side. The genocidal side. The side that joyously slaughters oddballs and eyeglass-wearers.



 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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