For the Batko...
"These Nazis are being hung up, so that the townspeople can spit on them and beat them... They will be unhooked in one or two days," he told me. I looked on. There were three white males chained to a fence. All of them bore the Swastika on their clothing.
"What... for?" I asked, "That doesn't seem like modern German due process of law."
"The Nazis killed millions," he told me, "They worked some to death, tortured others to death, and killed others in the middle of the street. It is not 1940 any more. We are a long ways from that time. But whenever we see some proud, Aryan youth, bearing a symbol of hate and cruelty, we must stop him."
"I still don't understand," I asked, "Do you seriously think that Nazism poses a threat to modern Germany today?"
"No," he replied, "That's not the point."
"What is the point?" I asked, "Nazis today are probably outnumbered a thousand to one, at the least. Why are you torturing these men?"
"Because their political ancestors tortured Jews, Communists, Homosexuals, and other socially constrained groups."
"They are your ancestors, too," I replied, "During the Reich, men could openly beat and kill Jews. And today, men are allowed to openly beat and kill Nazis. The operations of torture and persecution are set in place by the police. And in both cases, the media has remained completely silent. What the public knows will hurt the possibility of change."
"Do you know what the Nazis --"
"The original Third Reich isn't really in consideration here," I replied, "The original Jews were led by Moses to slaughter, enslave, and rape thousands of innocents. I'd ask why you don't torture and kill Jews openly here in the streets of Germany for that, but that would only be bitterly ironic. You're only torturing and killing the Nazi youth of today for having ideas. Perhaps it doesn't bother you, that by doing this so-called 'justice,' you're only agitating Racists, and causing more hate crimes against the innocent. The end result of your action is more Jews, Blacks, and other minorities, killed and tortured. If the crowd can abuse these men for having ideas, what is to say that the Communists, or other radical thinkers will not be next? If a crowd can be moved to stone men to death for believing in Nazism, will they not be accustomed to the police organizing public murders? They will come for the Communists, retelling old war stories of Soviets killing Jews and other innocents in the USSR. And next, they'll come for the Socialists, the advocates of Democracy, the journalists, the union organizers, the Liberals, the Leftists, everyone with an opinion that goes against the grain of society... and somewhere, I think everyone's missed the whole fucking point."
"And you're all just adding more bodies to the heap!" I replied, "Maybe one day, there will be people to torture the torturers of Nazis, just as the Nazis were the torturers of people once associated with torturing the entire Middle Eastern population. At what point do you think this is justice? Sure, you spit, kick, and punch these men as they are chained to posts in the public. Perhaps you should take a soldering iron to their skin, or better yet, to their eyes and tongue. Maybe you could hear the pains of screaming, see their writhing and their paining, listen to their quieted moans, as they try to show you as much as possible that they're not in pain, and they are unwilling to submit. Can you really openly brutalize a defenseless man in a collective, and honestly tell me, that you're doing this out of.... some apparently obscure sense of justice?"
"I have no answer for you," he replied.
I turned, paced back and forth, and returned. "Again," I said, "Germany doesn't want the world to know what it's doing. It's ashamed. The broadcasters will not publish this information. Nobody will talk about what's happening. There are the same hushed voices, the same crowd being motivated to the same ends. Just like the Holocaust, everything is kept quiet, and nobody is allowed to talk about what is going on in the middle of our streets in broad daylight." I paused... I asked: "Isn't there going to be a day when people stop asking 'who should we torture?' and start asking 'is it right to torture?'"
"That is purely a pipedream," he reminded me. The painful aftertaste of irony lingered for several days.