is the theory:
"It is thus necessary that
the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is
of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation;
that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by
the interests of the nation as a whole ... that above all the
unity of a nation's spirit and will are worth far more than the
freedom of the spirit and will of an individual...."
"This state of mind, which
subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the
community, is really the first premise for every truly human
culture.... The basic attitude from which such activity arises, we
call-to distinguish it from egoism and selfishness-idealism. By
this we understand only the individual's capacity to make
sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men."
These statements were made in our
century by the leader of a major Western nation. His countrymen
regarded his view point as uncontroversial. His political program
implemented it faithfully.
The statements were made by Adolf Hitler. He was explaining the moral philosophy of Nazism.
And here is the ultimate practice (as described by William Shirer in The Rise and Fall
of the Third Reich):
"The gas chambers themselves
[at Auschwitz] and the adjoining crematoria, viewed from a short
distance, were not sinister-looking places at all; it was
impossible to make them out for what they were. Over them were
well-kept lawns with flower borders; the signs at the entrances
merely said BATHS. The unsuspecting Jews thought they were simply
being taken to the baths for the delousing which was customary at
all camps. And taken to the accompaniment of sweet music!
"For there was light music.
An orchestra of 'young and pretty girls all dressed in white
blouses and navy-blue skirts,' as one survivor remembered, had
been formed from among the inmates. While the selection was being
made for the gas chambers this unique musical ensemble played gay
tunes from The Merry Widow and Tales of Hoffmann. Nothing
and somber from Beethoven. The death marches at Auschwitz were
sprightly and merry tunes, straight out of Viennese and Parisian
"To such music, recalling as
it did happier and more frivolous times, the men, women and
children were led into the 'bath houses,' where they were told to
undress preparatory to taking a 'shower.' Sometimes they were even
given towels. "Once they were inside the 'shower-room' — and perhaps this was the first moment that they may
have suspected some thing was amiss, for as many as two thousand
of them were packed into the chamber like sardines, making it
difficult to take a bath — the massive door was slid shut, locked
and hermetically sealed. Up above where the well-groomed lawn and
flower beds almost concealed the mushroom-shaped lids of vents
that ran up from the hall of death, orderlies stood ready to drop
into them the amethyst-blue crystals of hydrogen cyanide....
watching from blocks nearby remembered how for a time the signal
for the orderlies to pour the crystals down the vents was given by
a Sergeant Moll. 'Na, gib ihnen schon zu fressen' ('All right,
give 'em something to chew on'), he would laugh and the crystals
would be poured through the openings, which were then sealed.
portholes the executioners could watch what happened. The naked
prisoners below would be looking up at the showers from which no
water spouted or perhaps at the floor wondering why there were no
drains. It took some moments for the gas to have much effect. But
soon the inmates became aware that it was issuing from the
perforations in the vents. It was then that they usually panicked,
crowding away from the pipes and finally stampeding toward the
huge metal door where, as Reitlinger puts it, 'they piled up in one
blue clammy blood-spattered pyramid, clawing and mauling each
other even in death.' "
Excerpted from chapter 1 of Leonard Peikoff's The