24 June 2018

Final solution

Last week I tweeted a link to an article in The New Yorker.

The Government Has No Plan For Reuniting the Immigrant Families It is Tearing Apart

In the past two months, under the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy, the government has taken some two thousand immigrant children away from their parents.

I captioned it thus:

I am sure they will come up with a solution, finally

A few people have warily told me that the comparison to the Nazis' genocidal Final Solution is too rhetorically strong. I understand why they would say that; we should keep our powder dry on accusations of genocide.

Let me expand on my allusion.

There are two major schools of how the Nazis came to the point that they were building murder factories.

One is that their leadership fundamentally had mass murder in mind all along, and it only took them time to secure sufficient control that they could implement their designs. Many scholars hold to this view, and it was my own for a long time.

But many others have another read, and seeing events in the US unfold in the last year has me leaning more to it.

The other thesis says that the Nazis effectively painted themselves into a corner. They want to rid the nation of undesirables — Jews, communists, homosexuals, Roma, et cetera — and they hoped that just making life difficult enough for them would mean that the undesirables would emigrate and the problem would solve itself. But that doesn't work, or at least not fast enough. So the Nazis start rounding people up to keep them from poisoning the society: kill off a few along the way, throw some in jail. But we are talking about a lot of people, so that doesn't scale well. The Nazis start building specialized facilities, to pack undesirables in a few areas while figuring out what to do. Hence “concentration camps”: concentrating unwanted people out of the way, in a camp. They use the people in the camps as slave labor, because so long as you are going to the trouble to manage a facility full of monsters you cannot expose to the populace, you might as well, right?

But again, this doesn't scale well. And by this time the Nazis are hard at work conquering Eastern Europe, so the they end up with even more Jews and communists and other undesirables on their hands. All of this gets to be more elaborate and expensive to run. Concentration camps prove not to be much of a solution, they are themselves a problem. They drain resources that should be devoted to winning the war and building autobahns and monumental architecture and developing scientific wonders and so forth. The attempt to get Jews to emigrate has already shown that repatriating millions of people to some other country is no kind of solution, either. Heck, other countries have been sending shiploads of Jewish refugees back for years and you're stuck in this stupid war because the British stubbornly refuse to help you to claim the space you need. Maybe you can quarantine all those undesirables on the island of Madagascar when you're done conquering Africa, but the war is taking a long time, and even that is not a real solution; then you have an island full of Jews plotting to overthrow you.

Golly, you just hadn't thought it through.

These partial, temporary solutions are no good. You need a final solution.

And there you are.

Knowing this, reading this article about the lack of a plan gave me a chill. The architects of this policy aren't thinking ahead. What do they do when they have camps and prisons with millions of undesirables? What do they do next?

2 comments:

Tori Egherman said...

That is exactly the view that you are given when visiting Sachsenhausen and The Topography of Terror. In fact, it seems the Germans were pretty good at convincing their own Jewish population to flee. But there were only 500,000. And that is what the US policy is designed to do. Many in power in the US the term"self-deport". It seems there is another correlation as well: unofficial groups who take it upon themselves to harass minorities through actual physical violence and the doxxing, police calls, etc that we see today.

Anonymous said...

It was good to read, at long last (note how I did not say 'finally'), someone else work to the conclusion that the Final Solution was stumble-f*%#ed into rather than a grandiose plan from the very beginning. A smaller scale example which was ALSO from that same era was the execution of 22,000 Polish officers in the forest at Lodz. This was a consequence of winning too much ground too fast against a technological backwater: Who has the infrastructure in the era of the gun to suddenly hold 22,000 prisoners on a fluid front line of warfare? No one, at that time. And no patience to figure it out, either.

The interesting and conceptually horrifying parallel to Poland vis a vis our current immigration mess is that after the death of their officer corps, the Polish army and the Polish people were for the rest of the war slave-labor for the German expansion. Whereas now, the U.S. just criminalized being here illegally. Before, it was a civil infraction, you got a ticket and a ride back across the border. Catch-and-release. Now, you get an arrest record. It makes true the constantly stated lie that "Most of them are criminals". Well. Yeah. Once you change the law to make it so, sure. So, now illegal immigrants are criminals, and can be held as such. And we're in the midst of this push where states Bureau of Prisons are, along with the rest of their infrastructure and govt provided services, crumbling under mismanagement and kleptocracy, and so are being privatized for corporate profit in the name of 'efficiency'.

Capitalism, once you scrape off the veneer, has always been a culture/economic model that to be successful unto its own principles must be powered by the least costly labor it can secure. Best would be free labor. And nothing is freer than slaves.