Stop Blaming Hitler

This man is about to perform a stunt. It is not magic and it is not a miracle.
This man is about to perform a stunt. It is not magic and it is not a miracle.

“We should teach our children how to think, not what to think.” ~Variously ascribed

Like many aspects of humanity, history loves easy answers, and that is often part of the mistake that leads us to repeat war, depression, oppression, corruption, destruction.

The 20th century loves to blame Adolf Hitler and pin on him the moniker of “history’s greatest monster,” and I think that’s a mistake. You don’t have to look very far or very hard to find people all over that world today with ideas just as “evil” as Hitler’s, and you don’t have to look very hard at Hitler himself to find all sorts of characters just like him all around him. Adolf Hitler didn’t come to power in a vacuum. It took a culture of Naziism and a society of starvation and aggression for him to rise to power. In fact, if you went back in time and assassinated him the day before the Beer Hall Putsch, we might be calling Ernst Röhm or Hermann Göring or even Benito Mussolini “history’s greatest monster.”

All hail the symbolic fist.
All hail the symbolic fist.

The evil doesn’t come from individuals, it comes from whole societies, societies filled with desperate, superstitious, ignorant people willing and eager to be led.

I thought about this when I was covering a recent event at a local church, whose guest was Todd Keene and The Power Team. This is a group of hype-aggressive body builders whose cause is, ostensibly, to minister their Christian message through entertainment. Their style is loud and intimidating, and appeals to the young, the weak-willed, and the impressionable. In some ways, it represents a literal bully pulpit.

Between sessions of breaking flaming cinder blocks and bending steel horseshoes, these body builders took turns testifying their discovery of Christianity. One of the most emotional testimonies at this recent event was from one named … uh, something pretentious and violent like “Buzz Sawyer.” He told his story from 20 years earlier when his life had bottomed out in a Louisiana jail cell.

One of his essential messages was that god’s love is unconditional, then he listed the conditions. No, really. One of them was, “If you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your savior, your eyes will open in hell. Only Jesus Christ can fill the void,” he added, and it was pretty apparent that he was manufacturing the “void” right before our eyes. If you weren’t like him – popular, famous, strong, powerful, Christian – there was something missing in your life, and he was going to fill the hole. Okay, he was going to tell us what we had to do to fill the hole.

Appeal to the unpopular. Appeal to the weak. Appeal to the unhappy. Buzz Sawyer was – dare I say it – Hitler by another name.

Despite its inescapable resemblance to a butt or breasts, this man is actually blowing up a hot water bottle. Because of this, you should listen to his message about the nature of reality.
Despite its inescapable resemblance to a butt or breasts, this man is actually blowing up a hot water bottle. Because of this, you should listen to his message about the nature of reality.
0
Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on TumblrPin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

3 Comments

  1. I attended more than one Power Team event in my time. They’ve been around for decades. In my time, it was “John Jacobs And The Power Team”. Yep, the stunts were the same: fire, cinder blocks, hot water bottles, tearing phone books in half, strutting around half-dressed. The physical feats were impressive, I won’t deny.

    Even as an impressionable youngster (and already a fanatic, fundamental Christian), I was surprised the group became and stayed popular. I never thought of them as bullies, but as pointless distractions. They could have used their immense muscles to build houses for the poor, to landscape for the disabled, or to toss old ladies across the street (because it’s too time-consuming to *walk* them across the street), but instead swaggered around breaking perfectly good objects night after night.

    And no, I don’t blame the James Inhofes of the world as much as I blame the dupes who keep voting for them.

    0
  2. Maybe it’s a relative thing; they didn’t seem like bullies because they weren’t as bad as ones at school who would shove you, knock books out of your hands every day, smash your brown bag lunch, spit in your soda, etc. — all in a place I was required to be and couldn’t avoid.

    With the Power Team, I could just walk away or choose not to attend an event. They never (at least in the ’90s) walked into the audience and physically endangered me in any way.

    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *