Sept. 16, 2010 - "No true Scotsman is good without God." That's one version of the famous "no true Scotsman" argument that's being refuted today as the Pope visits Glasgow to conduct an open air Mass at Bellahouston Park. Along the route the Pope will travel between Edinburgh and Glasgow though, he will likely see billboards that read, "Two million Scots are good without God." They were put up by the Humanist Society of Scotland (HHS), which unveiled them at a press conference on Monday, Sept. 13th.


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It is great to see this especially as it is being done in good taste. The church wants to empower itself by portraying us as evil. We should not make this easy for it.
The church is in such a deep hole now that they're desperately looking for a scapegoat to divert attention to. First they blamed the gays, and now they're attacking us evil-nazi-atheists. I love the sign, its simple and it really drives the point home that we're not the bad guys in this story.
You ungrateful godless heathens!

The Pope comes over to the UK and compares atheists to one of his childhood heroes and you vilify him for it? Do you realise that to the Pope comparing someone to Hitler is like a normal person saying you're like Optimus Prime? He was only trying to say something nice about us!

For shame!
I am really get sick and tired of people calling him a Nazi. He was in the Hitler Youth but, that doesn't mean he believed in what it stood for. That sort of thing was mandatory.
True enough, but here's my own experience of guys like that:

Back in the '80s I was running a stamp and coin shop and one day two middle-aged German businessmen came in. We were having a nice conversation with each other until I mentioned that my name, Kramer, was German in origin. They both looked oddly at me and then one said,

"Jah, is German, but is Jewish German."
"Ve vas in the Hitler Youth," the other added quickly. "But ve did not know vot vas going on."

I was dumbfounded. Who asked the S.O.B.s what their pedigree was or what they were doing while the Jews were being exterminated? What exactly did they feel the guilty need to justify themselves about? Was it simply generic German guilt or something more personal? I still don't know about them or the Pope. Jah, dey vas all in der Hitler Youth und Jah, maybe dey all have something to feel guilty about.
Not everybody is like that. My parents were forced to join the Pioneers (their version of the Scouts). It was steeped in Communist rhetoric. Neither one of them are Communists. (The Tea Party might disagree).
Oh come on chaps, 'guys like that' - what does that mean?
As a (reasonably) young (half) German I can say with absolute honesty that if I'd been around at the time I would probably have been in the Hitler Youth - hell, I might even have enjoyed it. I'm also absolutely sure I would have lied about it afterwards.

Obviously I'd like to pretend that I would have found it all perfectly awful and would have actively opposed the system and, through a combination of tactical brilliance and immense courage would have single-handedly brought down the regime, but that's simply not honest. Most of the farmers, soldiers, policemen, etc. of the time were no different from their English or French counterparts. Yes, obviously Nazism is bad - and it brings out the worst in people, and it encourages the worst people to do their worst. But it's hardly unique in that - a lot of people don't generally need much prompting to be assholes. Not because they're rascists, psychopaths or monsters, but because they're insecure, greedy and fucked up. If Hitler had never come to power and Germany had taken a different political direction, many of the perpetrators of minor and major crimes against humanity would have led entirely unobjectionable lives. Like other normal people trying to live normal lives. I can't possibly imagine what I would have been capable of in the frightening social/political conditions these people lived under.

This is not intended as some sort of apology for Nazism, simply to point out that most normal Germans living through that period were fundamentally no more morally objectionable than us and everyone we know... to suggest otherwise is not only short-sighted but dangerous - to demonise Nazism and other such tendencies as the reserve of monsters is to effectively say 'it could never happen to me or anyone I know', which is a dangerous sort of moral superiority.

Regarding the German unease or guilt about the whole thing, I reckon that's pretty healthy, and long may it continue - they're way ahead of other countries with fascist pasts, many of whom have not even begun to deal with it in an open or constructive way.
The problem is, the Hitler Youth were not simply the Boy Scouts with swastikas on their arms. While a lot of emphasis was on physical exercise, they were trained as paramilitaries and indoctrinated with Nazi race theory and doctrine. They were looked at as the Aryan supermen of the future and every effort was bent towards realizing that goal. Whether or not one joins an organization like that willingly, does not mean that such indoctrination doesn't leave a mark.

I agree with you that German unease or guilt about the whole thing is healthy and that Germany is way ahead of other countries in dealing with a fascist past. But my point was about the Pope's generation, not the ones following WWII. And you could hardly be the Pope of an organization like the Catholic Church anyway if you had no faith in authoritarianism, right?
Eh, the whole argument is void when it comes to Benedick. Yes, hitler youth was manditory. But afteward, he was an artillery gunner. He deserted one year before the war ended. Now, you may say "no one knows when wars will end. His dissertion could have been just a thing that he always wanted to do." I say to thee, NAY! A year before the war ended, the writing was on the wall. Those with eyes to look could see that. He jumped ship (hee hee, rat joke) because it was prudent. If Germany was winning the war, he would have stuck around. Doesn't take a genius to pick a winning side, especially when that side isn't yours. If he truley felt that what the reich was doing was wrong, he should have grown the spine to leave far earlier. But he did not. He just left because his side was going to lose. That makes his actions far worse. There was no "moral calling" or anything like that. He's just lucky the commies didn't grab ahold of him. Otherwise he would have been pope of mass grave # 5427.
One small correction concerning Ratzinger's military service:

"As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family's home in Traunstein after his unit had ceased to exist."

That's from Wikipedia but it's corroborated elsewhere as well.
From Wikipedia:

Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth — as membership was required by law for all 14-year old German boys after December 1939[9] — but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings.[10] His father was an enemy of Nazism, believing it conflicted with the Catholic faith. In 1941, one of Ratzinger's cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, was taken away by the Nazi regime and killed during the Aktion T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics.[11] In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer.[10] Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry, but a subsequent illness precluded him from the usual rigours of military duty. As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family's home in Traunstein after his unit had ceased to exist, just as American troops established their headquarters in the Ratzinger household. As a German soldier, he was put in a POW camp but was released a few months later at the end of the war in the summer of 1945.
Dude, Glenn Beck called. He wants his material back.



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