Every time I read hear or see a story about governments ruining peoples lives, I get angry and sad and want to be able to help everyone avoid situations like these. It is so obvious that excess power of government, the power of force that “officials” hold over the civilian population is the problem. I just can’t understand how some people are so short sighted as to call for government power to regulate and force and rule, ignoring and forgetting all the murders, lies and betrayals of current and past governments.
Is it that we struggle to put a face and name to the murders? Is Anne Frank now too cliché an example, so we brush her name aside like a fictional character? Can people not put into perspective the countless lives destroyed by governments—6 millions Jews, 30 million Russians, 100 million Chinese, 20 million Native Americans—?
People need to hear about Hersch Altman, and read the book that he wrote, “On the Fields of Loneliness”. As the 80 something year old stood in front of my college Genocide and Violence class two years ago, he had to suppress the urge to cry, as this man recounted his childhood; a childhood that haunts him to the point of tears 70 plus years later. Could these people look Hersch in the eyes and tell him that giving government control over our lives—anything from telling us how much money we can earn to telling us the limits on defending ourselves—will end positively? Can they seriously sit there and think with certainty that the trade for “free” healthcare will not take from Americans as much as the Nazi’s took from Hersch?
Because you can talk about the children who go without healthcare, and I would never deny the stories are sad. But what exactly do they think lead Hitler to power? Do you think Hitler campaigned on chasing Jews through the forest and shooting them down, shipping entire families off to die, and inciting violence against any still in hiding? He campaigned on improving the economy, improving the health of Germans, and unifying the country.
Yet that was the last time Hersch saw his mother, running through the woods being shot at by the Nazi’s in the early 1940’s when he was 11 years old. The last time he saw his sister was after being rounded up into a courtyard by German troops. A Polish women, his neighbor had pointed he and his sister out when they were hiding in a field from Nazi troops.
Do we not today see some on the left delight as the IRS audits Tea Party groups? A far cry from pointing out your neighbors to the Nazis, yes, but isn’t it the same sentiment? What will that laughter turn into ten years down the road? They say their is a “War” on women. Well in war, there are enemies. Since I believe abortion is wrong, I must be the enemy in this supposed “War on women”. They say the NRA stands for the murder of children, and the GOP for the suppression of minorities, and the Tea Party for poverty. Well if the left believes that is what “the enemy” stands for, then why would they have any qualms about hunting us down, and punishing us for our crimes?
Hersch ran through the Polish countryside hiding from the Nazi’s, whose arrival was originally met with relief, after the abysmal treatment the Polish received from the Soviets. Obviously that sentiment quickly changed. Some people he ran into helped him, and others shunned him. He was starving and cold, living outdoors, and in barns, and gratefully sleeping in hay and next to animals for warmth. He went through hell.
Hersch lost everyone he loved: his mother, his father, his sisters, his neighbors, his Aunts and Uncles. It wasn’t a group who wanted to shrink the government that did this to him, it wasn’t a group that wanted to protect the sanctity of life, or lower taxes, ease regulation, or free the market. This was done by the government, the most controlling kind, when it was unconstrained by the people, unhampered by law, given all the power those in America today shout is needed to combat inequality, poverty, and prejudice.
A government big enough to give us everything we want, is big enough to take everything we have; and history tells us that it will. That is what the German government did in 1940’s Poland to an 11 year old boy named Hersch.