The Pink Swastika and Holocaust revision

Inexplicably, Scott Lively, co-author of The Pink Swastika, has been invited to speak at an evangelical church this coming weekend in Oklahoma City. Draper Park Christian Church plans to have him in for three days of meetings.

Evangelical organizations Exodus International (scroll down) and Campus Crusade removed links to Lively’s article on the Pink Swastika in 2009. Even NARTH removed the article.

During the summer of 2009, with the help of historian J.D. Wyneken, I reviewed the claims of Lively and his co-author Abrams made in the Pink Swastika (click the link to read those posts).

With the Oklahoma appearance coming up, I reviewed those posts and here want to point out two which demonstrate Lively’s selective approach to the Holocaust. Unless something changes, Draper Park’s families will be exposed to Holocaust revisionism for three days.

The first is my post on how Lively and Abrams used Gunter Grau’s book The Hidden Holocaust. In this post, I point out how Lively and Abrams read all the way through Grau’s section on how the Nazi’s treated gays to pick out a segment more friendly to their position. No real historian does that. Real historians report what happened in toto. Grau reports the horrible treatment many gays received and Lively and Abrams do not.

The second is Lively and Abram’s treatment of German Nobel Prize winning author, Thomas Mann. Mann never came out as homosexual but disclosed same sex fantasies in his diaries which were barely hidden in some of his literature. Because of Mann’s interest in Nietzsche, Lively and Abrams view Mann as a contributor to the National Socialism, albeit indirectly. Although no one knows whether or not Nietzsche was gay, Lively assumes he was and because Nietzsche’s sister used some of his later writings (probably under the influence of mental illness) to praise National Socialism, Mann, the same-sex- attracted-married-to-a-woman man, is an indirect contributor to Nazism because he wrote favorably of Nietzsche. Pretzel logic much?

The strange moves don’t stop there. Mann, who we know was not completely straight, was an ardent enemy of Hitler and the Nazis. He recorded messages beamed in by Allied forces to the German people, urging them to resist Hitler and promising that help was on the way. Summarizing the post, I wrote in 2009:

First, it is worth noting how Lively and Abrams’ devotion to their thesis leads them to treat Thomas Mann. Apparently the primary reason he is mentioned at all is to make a stronger case that Nietzsche was homosexual. Mann was a great writer, one of the best fiction writers in modern history. He was a resolute opponent of Hitler and the Nazis. He left his homeland in service of his convictions and used his fame and gifts to try to bring down Hitler. In The Pink Swastika, his personal life is disparaged and he is discounted as an apologist for Nietzsche and thus an unwitting contributor to Nazism.

Lively and Abrams thesis collapses into absurdity when one considers the vigor of Mann’s opposition to Hitler’s fascism. People of all orientations and worldviews supported and opposed Hitler. The Nazis used anyone, gay or straight, religious or not, to get to power. And once they attained power, they systematically crushed opposition both gay and straight, religious and not.

The revisionist cannot rest on one or two revisions. He must continue until the revisions lead to absurd twists and turns. In the case of Mann, it is the same-sex attracted man who actively combats the Nazis. This glaring contradiction, along with so many others, must be either avoided or explained away.

Revising the Holocaust is not the same thing as denying it, but it is morally objectionable. Revising the causes and course of the Nazi evil does a disservice to an accurate view of human nature. Lively locates this evil in a variation of sexual attraction, thereby exonerating others. Such revision is a massive exercise in deception.

In 1961, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram began his famous experiment on obedience to authority figures. Much to the astonishment of his peers, Milgram found that 65% of his sample consented to supply what participants perceived to be dangerous shocks to another person in obedience to an experimenter. This and other studies provide ample evidence that many of us, straight and gay, are capable of terrible evil under certain conditions. Revisionism takes our eyes off of this ball, and reassures the self-serving urges in us that we would never do something like that. Only those other people (insert the group you dislike) could do that.

Thus, such faulty revisionism also leads to stigma directed at the scapegoated group. As we have seen through history, ancient and recent, stigmatizing people based on their group affiliations or innate characteristics has led to the most awful atrocities.

When will we learn?