* Anthony Langerak continues his investigation of the problem of Adolph Eichmann. In the April 1961 issue of BEACON LIGHTS he established that every German citizen shares Eichmann’s guilt. Now he proceeds to propound that Eichmann could be tried on one of two bases, the one he calls Platonic, the other, Christian. In this article, Mr. Langerak discusses the Platonic basis which proposes that the end (the ideal state) justifies the means to attain that end. Perhaps, the word utilitarian could be substituted for Platonic. – ed
There are it seems just two motives which could serve as the inspiring principles upon which could be based a disposition of this man’s case.
First let me designate by the term Platonic.
Plato in order to establish and insure the continued wellbeing of his ideal city state would inaugurate a system of laws conducive to attain that end.
The system was the means, the city state was the republic in which the system was to operate and the pursuit of happiness the end goal.
And all laws and ethics as well as the needed vocation of its citizenry, which included the army man as well as the man who knew a trade, the teacher and the pupil, all were so integrated as to attain that end.
Now if my idea of Plato is correct, then may I be so bold as to identify our American nation with it.
We Americans have declared this to be our inalienable right.
Our method of endeavoring to attain this end might be open to question, I speak as an American, however we will let that be as it may. Then there is a second alternative which could serve as the inspiring principle upon which to base a proper disposition of Eichmann’s case.
This second let me designate as Christian:
Let us in a future article try to establish a Christian government and see its possible consequences in dealing with Adolph Eichmann.
Looking at Eichmann quite apart from the fact that he was the instrument of the German nation to the extent that it delegated powers to be placed at his disposition, he was its instrument to accomplish that atrocious deed of the extermination of the Jewish race and faith. For wherever her conquering armies secured control there Eichmann proceeded with his assignment. And this assignment would have probably been very nearly accomplished had Germany had more time.
Regarding him aside from that assignment which became his responsibility to execute and for which he is now as an individual being held accountable, beholding him apart from these delegated powers to accomplish this assignment, would mean several things.
In the first place it would mean that he originated the idea.
In the second place it would mean that the authority which he needed he must have somehow usurped to accomplish this idea. And he needed a lot of it.
This usurpation would apply to the armed forces placed under the direction of his command. Also and in close connection with this, the transportation facilities which were placed at his disposal seems a rather high priority. The concentration camps as well as the gas chambers and all the mechanics which went into this vast enterprise, all this he was to use with the greatest discretion and efficiency without the delegated power to do so. To see him in this light, it seems, is hardly being realistic. There is simply too much involved in so vast an undertaking. As we just indicated, the resources of the nation in man power, equipment, science and suitable ground sites were needed and were all granted him. All this with a high priority would indicate that the accomplishment of this project was considered sufficiently important for the well-being of the nation. A nationalistic people with a political platform strictly applicable to their own circumstances and needs had embarked upon a course of action.
Their ruthless conduct should not surprise us too much. Nations seem to be irrevocably committed to a most abominable conduct when their own safety is threatened or when their own improved position lies in that direction.
In this connection rather interesting it is to behold a nation, even a traditionally Christian nation such as Britain for instance, completely reverse itself on a particular issue in a few centuries. Whether this is the result of a greater enlightenment which would have to coincide with a national life which today is much less vigorous than it then was is quite doubtful. Or could this change of sentiment be the result of a higher spiritual and moral caliber? Also this is doubtful, in fact, if anything it has taken a considerable turn for the worse.
However, in the recent past England has been subject to the spectacle of solidarity marches on her streets because it would have the South African Dutchman give greater privileges to the black man. How they can harmonize this position toward a white minority would indeed prove interesting, considering especially in this connection that their historical document, the Magna Charta, was a milestone in human relationships and government. For a few short centuries ago Britain was party to the capturing, transporting, and selling into the Americas of the African black man. It is doubtful if the stench of the slavery ships or the cruelty these slaves endured, was exceeded by the notorious German concentration camp.
Now we see the negro who was formerly the coveted object for gain and exploitation treated differently, of course at the Dutchmen’s expense. Both occupy some of Britain’s attention, but how differently. The former with a historical past of lazy stupidity and superstition are vindicated and the object of sympathy. The latter with a Calvinistic tradition even as their own are condemned.
The South African negro is encouraged to assert himself politically within the area of the domestic and political life of the South African Boer, while the negro opportunities for self advancement are better than they have ever been, due to the firm and intelligent policy of the Dutch. Compare this with the fact that the Dutch are threatened with being boycotted if they do not allow themselves to be submerged in a black sea.
Let us look at another chapter of this history. The Boers after 200 years of thriving development were compelled for the sake of freedom from British rule to move north where they had the misfortune to find gold. This wealth was not of particular interest to the Boers but it was to the British.
Another war began, one of attrition.
The Boers would not give up this country and be controlled by the British. The British at that time had enormous supplies of men and material at their disposal. However, when nothing could beat these fiercely independent South African Calvinistic Boers and bring them effectively to their knees a way was invented which greatly expedited victory – the concentration camp for women and children which meant degradation, suffering and in many cases death. Perhaps self preservation or vindication dictates so complete a change in national sentiment as is evident today.
However, what is the connection between what is best for the national interest, and the consciousness of how to implement a policy which in its expression gives that national interest its primary consideration.
Organic life as applied to a nation, it seems, is the answer.
Leaders come forward who have vision for the future as well as a sense of history of the past. They raise questions concerning history as it dealt with their nation in the past and give interpretation to past events and thus set the stage of how to deal with current problems.
In our last article we tried to draw a picture of how a nation as such, is constituted organically of all its citizenry.
They would include the rich and poor, the educated and ignorant, the skilled workman and the unskilled, the influential and he who is but of little account, the philosopher as one who conceives ideas and demonstrates their necessity for the nation’s well being, and he who is receptive to these ideas and eventually makes them his own.
All this makes up the nation and determines its policies both domestic and foreign.
And because these leaders are part of the organism whether they be politicians, philosophers or scientist, their analysis of the situation as well as the solution are expected and men begin to head in a definite direction.
Thus this nation, so organically constituted with its soul life through which it expresses itself and gives it direction, experiences a sense of well being. This also holds true when a nation becomes decadent and therefore directionless, a nation without a purpose and definite message.
All this is in the hand of God.
In Job 12 we read – “With Him is strength and wisdom, the deceived and the deceiver are His. He leadeth counselors away spoiled and maketh the judges fools. He increaseth the nations and destroyed them. He enlargeth the nations and straightened them again. He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way. They grope in the darkness without light and he maketh them to stagger as a drunken man.” And in Prov. 21 vs. 1 we read – “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord as the rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever He will.”
When therefore a nation thus made up of all the various levels of its citizenry with all the mechanics of its many organizations comes to expression as one organic whole it stands conceivably to gain all its objectives or to lose all. And this can happen rather quickly when it embarks on a course of war and world conquest.
When then it loses a war and surrenders, both sides cease hostilities if the loser will meet certain conditions.
However if these conditions are not met and fulfilled by the loser then, theoretically at least, the winning nation would resume the war and proceed to compel the reneging nation to meet its obligations.
However when a nation is conquered and the terms laid down are unconditional surrender then that conquered nation with all its organic life and its organizational makeup belongs to the conquerors. This means that all its productive resources, its mines, farms and factories and whatever belongs to its national wealth are no longer owned by the vanquished.
Also this applies to her capacity to produce scientific development and political thought. Her scientific men and all other tangible wealth can be transported to the conquering country.
Into this concept would also be comprehended the policy of dealing with conquered nations’ leaders and those who carried out the orders of the leaders. Considering then that these leaders are nothing more than the individuals who make up the instruments by which national policy both domestic and foreign is carried out, their guilt is no greater than that of the nation which gave them birth or appointed them its leaders.
Therefore not a consideration of the principle of justice will determine how to deal with these leaders but rather what is to the best interest of the conquering nations.
This motivating principle should guide us in all our policy. “I speak as an American.”
And when thus our national interest dictates that Germany’s leaders should die let’s proceed to execute them.
And on the basis of the same principle let’s determine how far down from the top of the ladder of its dictatorial set-up we should proceed with our decree.
Whatever portion of the enemy we save that too will be determined by the same principle. And when we give away countries such as East Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, etc., that too is not justice but a part of the same principle, although one wonders about the wisdom of it. Sometimes we do foolishly because of fear or because we are indolent and wish to return as soon as possible to former comfortable existence. That may have influenced us more than we are ready to admit.
Be that as it may, when we are dealing with men who have given direction and been instruments to carry out our enemy’s policies, whatever these policies were, let’s execute them if that serves our national interest. Let’s not make hypocrites of ourselves and bring them to trial in order that so-called justice may be applied. For when we bring them to trial we are really bringing ourselves to that tribunal. Had we been Germans, the products of the first world war with an intellectual tradition colored by Friedrich Wilhelmn Nietzsche, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx we too would have spawned a Hitler, Goering, Himler, Goebels and perhaps even an Adolph Eichmann.
As our immediate past history shows, we did not hesitate to murder 1,800,000 Kutaks relations with Russia and become an ally with her in the recent struggle. We even called Stalin “good-old Joe,” a man who did not hesitate to murder 1,800,000 Kutaks by starvation when he considered them a threat to his collectivization program. Many of them may have been Christians, but they had no way to advertise their plight. Or did we simply ignore them? We do not know to what horrors this dictator subjected this small minority of his nation in order that the organism itself might function better.
Better in the sense of their new ideology.
In this process, knowing human nature to be what it is, those that were and are still to be eliminated did and are suffering quite as much as the Jews did under Eichmann’s program. It’s too much to believe any differently of human nature whether it be German, Russian, Chinese or even American.
I speak then as an American and then say let’s do what is for our greatest national interest when dealing with the vanquished. Whether it be by public trial in our courts, Germany’s, Israel’s or international, let’s confess it to be foreign policy based on self-preservation and not moral considerations. Even returning them to their places of authority, which would include Adolph Eichmann, would be determined by this principle of national interest. You say this is no better than the Germany we conquered, or that of Russia or China or today or Britain of the past.
I reply, you are correct, again, I speak as an American, one who is giving his own self interest the highest priority. If our form of government is to my best interest and happiness, as my conception of happiness may be, I will compel the vanquished to help preserve it. And lest he suffer complete annihilation he will conform. From the vanquished I will utilize what I can in order to further my ends even if it be Adolph Otto Eichmann.
Even Eichmann will become an instrument who will train the future guardians of the vanquished. He will train them in our interest. Thus the safety and well-being of our Platonic Republic will be insured. The same indefatigable energy and resourcefulness which he displayed in his late assignment will have to be applied to the new. His cooperation will determine his well-being. And if his mind and personality are considered to be warped beyond the point of our usefulness then too his doom is sealed. His very position of authority in the past shall serve us or he shall be executed. Not a display of law, courts and justice, but rather, his ability to become integrated in our scheme of self-preservation will determine.