The Nazi era is an infinite source of weird stories, bizarre relics, secret inventions and over-the-top conspiracy theories. I don’t know why. Perhaps this is a way of dealing with the horror of Nazi crimes. There are stories about Hitler’s corpse, Hitler’s survival and escape, secret nazi camps on the Antarctic, strange weapons etc. Below are […]
(source) You’ll never see a more beautiful depiction of utter joy and relief. Read the full story here. More on the Holocaust. More iconic images.
(source) I did hear about some similar cases before - for example, North Korea lecturing Japan on human rights, and the late Gaddafi lecturing Switzerland (!) on human rights - but this is the best: A state-run Chinese website has launched a bitter attack on the Dalai Lama, accusing the exiled Buddhist leader of Nazi racial policies and inciting Tibetans to […]
On the one hand, Nazism was clearly a utopian movement. It wanted to create a perfect world for the pure Aryan race, devoid of degenerating forces. In a sense, it was idealistic. It had an ideal view of humanity and wanted to realize it, in part by way of the destruction of the less than […]
(source, map courtesy of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum) (source) These are the German concentration camps in Europe: (source) The title of the map below is: “Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A”, from the December 1941 Jager Report by the commander of a Nazi death squad. Marked “Secret Reich Matter,” the map shows […]
(source, read the full story here) More iconic images of human rights violations are here. Something about freedom of speech is here. And here is a case of quasi book burning. And here’s a nice cartoon to remind us that this isn’t something that only happened in a certain country at a certain time: (if you […]
(source) Before you go all “Godwin’s Law” and “Reductio ad Hitlerum” on me, hold your breath for a minute or two. I’m not about to claim that current Israeli policy or popular opinion is equivalent to nazism. Such a claim would be ridiculous. Palestinians aren’t being exterminated, obviously. What I do claim is that those […]
Anti-Roma prejudice has existed for centuries. Here’s an example of one of the more extreme stereotypes, which has fortunately become somewhat less fashionable over time: Prejudice has led to the darkest period in Roma history, the Holocaust: (source) Even today, in prosperous Europe, the Romani are often very poor. Their living conditions and housing are […]
In an older post in this series, I’ve argued in favor of a certain amount of direct citizen participation in modern representative democracies. Referenda in particular are useful as a means to correct certain deficiencies of purely representative systems. However, this argument is often vehemently opposed, even by true defenders of democracy. Referenda, it is […]
If I count correctly, I have blogged about at least 12 ways in which our psychological or mental biases can lead us to violate other people’s rights: spurious reasoning justifying our actions to ourselves post hoc the role distance plays in our regard for fellow human beings the notion that what comes first is also […]
(source) Daimler-Benz … avidly supported Nazism and in return received arms contracts and tax breaks that enabled it to become one of the world’s leading industrial concerns. (Between 1932 and 1940 production grew by 830 percent.) During the war the company used thousands of slaves and forced laborers including Jews, foreigners, and POWs. (source) Can […]
History has seen many genocides and large scale killings. Some of those resulted in more deaths than the Holocaust. So why is the Holocaust special? It’s special because it was the first and last example of the industrial production of corpses. It was, quite literally, a murder machine. The murders were not the actions of […]
It sounds like a somewhat antiquated concept and it may very well be true that it’s useless as a descriptive device for current politics. However, I believe that it remains a necessary tool for the correct understanding of 20th century history. Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Mao-era China were very different countries and very different political regimes, […]
For those of you who have been reading the “annals of heartlessness” series on this blog – already 29 stories about the uncaring among us: it has probably destroyed your faith in humanity, or at least inflicted some serious damage. In which case, two images that may restore it: Even genocidal bastards can be nice sometimes.
Some of the iconic photos taken by Margaret Bourke-White during the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, in April 1945: (source) More Bourke-White. More iconic images of the holocaust. More information on the holocaust. See the whole series on iconic images of human rights violations.
(source) (source) At the end of and immediately after WWII, millions of ethnic Germans were cleansed from the eastern parts of Europe and sent to the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria, partly in retaliation for wartime cleansing by Nazi Germany. The areas of expulsion included pre-war German provinces as well as […]
The traditional ways of silencing people are still all too common: libel or blasphemy laws, threats, the physical targeting of journalists, censorship, book burning or indexing, political correctness, exaggerated respect for people’s sensibilities etc. However, the silencers have developed new and increasingly sophisticated means. And I’m not thinking about tactics like internet filtering – this […]
Apparently, some Thai youth are strutting around in T-shirts bearing cartoonish images of the Nazi dictator. Hilarious. Critics blame it on political ignorance. Even Ronald McDonald gets the treatment: (source) Maybe it’s not ignorance but a slippery slope: after all, if it’s OK to wear t-shirts with portraits of Mao and Che – which apparently […]
Depicting the enemy as some kind of animal is a time-honored method of dehumanization. And once the enemy is no longer human, a lot of our usual moral inhibitions fall to the wayside. Here are some examples: (source) (source unknown) (source unknown) (source unknown) (source unknown) (source unknown) (source unknown) (source unknown) (source unknown) More […]
(source) There’s this difficult contradiction between two moral intuitions about human rights. On the one hand, we tend to feel very strongly about the extreme importance of a particular subset of human rights. Especially the right to life, the right not to be tortured and the right not to be enslaved are among those human […]
There are many themes in anti-semitism. A prominent one, at least in contemporary anti-semitism, is nazism and the holocaust: Israel and the Jews in general are often depicted as imitators of the Nazis, with the Palestinians in the role of the Jews and the Jews in the role of the Germans: (source) (source) And then […]
Conspiracy is a common theme in anti-Semitism. Hence the recurring use of the image of the octopus, often depicted spanning a globe with its tentacles, such as in this picture. The globe then represents the worldwide nature of the supposed conspiracy. This theme has of course some variations: (French cartoon from the end of the 19th century; […]
(source unknown) I want to go out on a limb here and argue that most if not all human rights violations as they have occurred throughout human history can be explained and have been directly caused by the persistent and widespread use of metaphors. (Which doesn’t mean that there are no other causes). But before […]
(source) Allow me to engage in some simplistic historical generalizations. Although, like most us, I have abandoned my youthful illusions about the overall progress of humanity, I still think we’ve taken giant steps towards the moral ideal of human equality. See what you think about this: During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, with the […]
(source) The claim that education leads to democracy has a lot of intuitive appeal. Educated people are probably more inclined to demand political participation, and those in power who hesitate about granting democratic rights will be less hesitant when they have to grant these rights to educated people. The claim is also supported by the […]
Based on the Wikileaks data, this map by Max Braun dramatizes the number of casualties by way of “drops of blood” on the location of each casualty: (source) It’s obviously an exaggeration. And there’s nothing wrong with that in this case because it’s clear that the map doesn’t intend to convey statistically accurate information, although […]
(source) Absolutely, there is. People have a right to vote for incompetent politicians; to express hatred; to organize hate groups; to insult and mock people; to burn books etc. All of these things are wrong in most plausible conceptions of morality, and yet they are part and parcel of human rights, and should be, to […]
We’re all aware of the horrors of recent history. The 20th century doesn’t get a good press. And yet, most of us still think that humanity is, on average, much better off today than it was some centuries or millennia ago. The holocaust, Rwanda, Hiroshima, AIDS, terrorism etc. don’t seem to have discouraged the idea […]
Excerpt from A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen: Nora: I must stand quite alone, if I am to understand myself and everything about me. It is for that reason that I cannot remain with you any longer. Helmer: Nora, Nora! Nora: I am going away from here now, at once. I am sure Christine will […]
(source, from “Redrawing Nations: Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948″, Edited by Philipp Ther and Ana Siljak; click on the image to enlarge) After WWII, millions of ethnic Germans were cleansed from the eastern parts of Europe, partly in retaliation for wartime cleansing by Nazi Germany. Read the whole story here. Here’s another version of […]
(source) (source) Read the story about the Warsaw Ghetto here. More iconic images of the holocaust are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. More textual information on the holocaust is here. More iconic images of human rights violations in general are here. Related Articles Rare Nazi Warsaw Ghetto film released (bbc.co.uk) Richard Z. […]
(source) Child survivors of the Holocaust filmed during the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Red Army, January, 1945. More iconic images of the holocaust are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. More textual information on the holocaust is here. More iconic images of human rights violations in general are here.
(read more) If we agree that democracy is something important, then we need to know why, how and when countries turn to or away from democracy. So, here’s another installment in our ongoing series: Assassinations are a persistent feature of the political landscape. Using a new data set of assassination attempts on all world leaders […]
We have a long running series on this blog asking people to tell us what they think about particular moral dilemmas. However, since this is (in part) a philosophy blog, it’s useful to take a step back and ask ourselves what we are talking about. What precisely is a moral dilemma? Definition of moral dilemma […]
(This post follows a similar one on the link between democracy and the rule of law). The claim here is not the trivial one that human rights depend on the rule of law because they can’t be enforced without it. The more interesting question is the opposite one: whether there can be a rule of […]
(source) The internet is undoubtedly a huge boost for freedom of expression, and not only a quantitative boost. It has certain qualitative characteristics that older media don’t have, which make it particularly beneficial for free speech. A first reason why the internet promotes free speech is its relative cost: it has made speech much less […]
(source) Well, possessing and carrying firearms certainly isn’t a human right since it’s not mentioned in any global human rights treaty or declaration. Neither is it a right that’s demanded by the majority of people in the world. It seems to be an exclusive preoccupation of many in the U.S., where the Second Amendment to […]
In a recent court case in the US, a Christian student group objected to a university decision to withdraw recognition of the group. This withdrawal was justified by the university on the basis of the group’s discrimination of gays. Gays can only join the group when they “repent”. This policy by the group was deemed discriminatory by […]
More descriptive information on antisemitism is here. More on the related topics of the holocaust, holocaust denial and segregation. (source, jewish world domination) (source, I like the “caution” ribbon; more about Israel and Palestine) (source, more about antisemitism in Arab countries) (source) (source) (source, nazi caricature of jewish banker sitting on a bag of money; […]
(source, more cartoons by Nicholson here) What kind of state do we desire? What kind of education for our children and for the children of the future? What kind of health care, not just for ourselves but for all citizens? How will we leave the environment for future generations? These questions and many others concern […]
(source) During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Jews imprisoned there by the Germans occupying Poland during World War II, attempted unsuccessfully to oppose the Nazis’ effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp. The poorly armed resistance was crushed by the German troops. It was the largest single revolt by the Jews during the Holocaust. Approximately […]
(source/source, click on the image to enlarge) And this is the number relative to the population size of each state: (source) There’s also an interactive version of the first map here, where you can find more information on the groups involved. The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 926 active hate groups in the U.S. in 2008. […]
More on fascism and nazism. More political graffiti.
(source) A classic, but well worth rereading: First they came…, Martin Niemöller When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; […]
(source, some more background on the controversial Lancet survey of casualties in Iraq following the U.S. invasion) I’ve mentioned before that information on human rights depends heavily on opinion surveys. Unfortunately, surveys can be wrong and misleading for so many different reasons that we have to be very careful when designing surveys and when using and […]
The refuge of the politically desperate: compare your opponent to Hitler/fascists/nazis, even if the only thing they have in common is an irrelevant detail. This is usually called, in dog Latin, a reductio ad Hitlerum or reductio ad Nazium, and I’ve been accused of it myself. I wonder what the political right in the U.S. will do when their […]
Content internally displaced persons refugees refugee producing countries African refugee routes Iraqi refugee routes asylum seekers ethnic cleansing in Baghdad ethnic cleansing in Bosnia ethnic cleansing in Europe after WWII ethnic cleansing of Jews by Nazi-Germany ethnic cleansing in Cyprus the Trail of Tears, the story of Indian removal the American Indian wars the Armenian […]
Content caring for what happens in the world countries that have hurt the feelings of China countries that have accepted the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court how the world views Africa early 20th century views on civilization the scramble for Africa and the long-run effects of artificial borders on ethnic conflict imperialism in North […]
(source) (source) (source, I like the “caution” ribbon) (source) (source) (source) (source) (source) (source) More on hate. More on hate speech. More collections of images.