Thank heaven we no longer have to rely on scholars and historians, traditionally restricted by a silly standard called objectivity, to explain the past for us and put under-reported world events “in context.” Previously we, like the prisoners in Plato’s metaphorical cave, have been wallowing in ignorance, aware only of the flickering shadows of true reality. But now we have Hollywood leftists and their unpaid interns and academic fellow travelers to liberate our minds. Check out this Showtime TV press release gushing about director Oliver Stone’s forthcoming documentary miniseries on American history:
Stone and a small group of historians and archivists have meticulously combed through the national archives of the U.S., Russia, South Africa, England, and Japan in search of papers, letters, memoranda, film, and photographs to assist in their documentation of unknown historical figures and events that have rarely, if ever, been revealed.
Right. Unknown figures such as Hitler and events such as the Cold War, which whole generations of the aforementioned scholars and historians have apparently neglected. Regarding Hitler, Stone intends to disabuse us of our petty demonization of him:
Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it’s been used cheaply. He’s the product of a series of actions. It’s cause and effect … We want to move beyond opinions … Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated.
But we’re not talking about any revisionist whitewashing, no sir. Professor Peter Kuznick, the lead writer on the project and an anti-war activist critical of the U.S. decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan (coincidentally, another rarely explored topic that Stone’s crack team of investigators will tackle), hastens to assure us that
[Stone’s] not saying we’re going to come out with a more positive view of Hitler. But we’re going to describe him as a historical phenomenon and not just somebody who appeared out of nowhere.
Interesting. “An historical phenomenon.” “The product of a series of actions.” “Cause and effect.” “American corporate funding of the Nazi party.” Granted, the miniseries hasn’t aired yet, so in all fairness I can only critique it as Stone, Kuznick, and Showtime have described it. But based on phrases like these and the quotes above, Stone’s agenda becomes clear.
In addition to being uncomfortable acknowledging the existence of personal evil, which I discussed in Part 1, the moral relativists on the Left also like to deny the power of larger-than-life individuals to shape the world by the sheer force of their personal will – the “Great Man” theory of history – preferring instead to credit inexorable “historical forces” that sweep us along in their path.
Accordingly, at least to Oliver Stone, the hypnotically charismatic and visionary Hitler was not so much the architect and master of Nazi destiny, but was simply, like his underlings at Nuremberg, “following orders” – the orders of the American corporate puppeteers that propped him up and pulled his strings. After all, Hitler was “just a man who could easily have been assassinated” – except that he was too useful to the real wizard behind the curtain, our faceless capitalist war machine. Liberal Fascism author Jonah Goldberg dismisses this theory:
The contention that industrialists and other fat cats were pulling Hitler’s strings from behind the scenes has been banished to the province of aging Marxists, nostalgic for paradigms lost.
So to put Kuznick’s quote – “we’re not going to come out with a more positive view of Hitler” – “in context”: what he and Oliver Stone are attempting to do is pervert history by absolving Hitler of personal responsibility for evil and laying the blame for the war at America’s doorstep. In their discredited leftist world view, America is little more than a war profiteer guilty of the carnage and misery of World War II – not the country that liberated Western Europe and sacrificed nearly half a million soldiers to defeat two ruthless imperialist powers threatening world security.
Coming Next in Part 3: Liberalizing Our Minds