Anne Frank’s story made me think

Last night my wife and I watched a docu-drama about Anne Frank. It was poignant. The sufferings of the Jews at the hands of the Germans was quite moving. Especially moving was the depiction of the depth of feeling family members have for each other when being forcibly separated. I need to express my love to each member of my family more often and more clearly.

At the conclusion, when the text frames roll up on the screen, we learned that Anne’s father, Otto, had started a foundation in 1957 for the teaching of tolerance, advocating for the end of prejudice and racism. He apparently hoped that if people were sufficiently schooled in being nice, such miseries could be avoided in the future. That is well and good. But human nature being the constant that it is,Otto’s  foundation would have been better calling for limits on government power. Unbridled power in the hands of mortals, such as was seen in that period in Germany and concurrent and later periods in other socialist countries was the cause of human suffering on a massive scale. Limiting government has more potential for ensuring justice  than  urging tolerance.

Zygmunt Bauman’s book, Modernity and the Holocaust, persuades that it is human nature and sociology at work in the Holocaust, and not some special, diabolical feature of the German psyche. Without restraints, that’s what people do.

As  Germans placed all the police power in the hands of the central government and married policing with the military, round-ups of Jews and other despised groups was enabled. National registration violates state powers. Without registries, Jews would have been protected.

A federal system like that established by our founders, in which the central government has limited power and states wield the police power, is the best protection against atrocities such as befell the Franks. Long live the federal-state dissonance, check and balances, and the man other roadblocks to runaway government and that we have and yet retain a few of.


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