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There is No New Thing Under the Sun


After reading the quotes below last night, I could not but think of the words recorded in Ecclesiastes, 

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. (chapter 1: 9,10)

“The ideologists of the conservative revolution superimposed a vision of national redemption upon their dissatisfaction with liberal culture and with the loss of authoritative faith. They posed as the true champions of nationalism, and berated the socialists for their internationalism, and the liberals for their pacifism and their indifference to national greatness.”

“Some people recognized the moral perils of mixing religion and politics, but many more were seduced by it. It was the pseudo-religious transfiguration of politics that largely ensured his success, notably in Protestant areas.”

The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology, by Fritz Stern; a refugee from Hitler’s Germany and a leading scholar of European history.

About Fritz Stern,

The fascism of Nazi Germany belongs to a world so horrendous it often seems to defy the possibility of repetition or analogy. But Dr. Stern, 78, the author of books like “The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology” and university professor emeritus at Columbia University, has devoted a lifetime to analyzing how the Nazi barbarity became possible. He stops short of calling the Christian right fascist but his decision to draw parallels, especially in the uses of propaganda, was controversial.

Dr. Stern was a schoolboy in 1933 when Hitler was appointed the German chancellor. He ran home from school that January afternoon clutching a special edition of the newspaper to deliver to his father, a prominent physician. “I was young,” he said, “but I knew it was very bad news.”

The street fighting in his native Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland) between Communists and Nazis, the collapse of German democracy and the ruthless suppression of all opposition marked his childhood, and were images and experiences that would propel him forward as a scholar. “I saw one of the last public demonstrations against Hitler,” he said. “Men, women and children walked through the street and chanted ‘Hunger! Hunger! Hunger!’ ”

His paternal grandparents had converted to Christianity. His parents were baptized at birth, as were Mr. Stern and his older sister. But this did not save the Sterns from persecution.

“Many of my classmates found the organized party experience, which included a heavy dose of flag waving and talk of national strength, very exhilarating,” said Dr. Stern, who lost an aunt and an uncle in the Holocaust. “It was something I never forgot.” ( Warning From a Student of Democracy’s Collapse – New York Times January 6, 2005)

* Stern and the above quotes were mentioned in a book I’m currently reading titled, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism

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