23 March 2012

In Honor of the 70th Anniversary of the Munich Students Movement - 3rd Leaflet

I have been remembering the 70th Anniversary of Die Weiße Rose, the Munich Students Movement and the series of leaflets which they produced and distributed in Nazi Germany during the height of the reign of terror and the madness.

You may read more about these brave souls here and here.

The two saddest words in any language are 'If only...'

The White Rose
Third Leaflet
Munich, 1942

Salus publica suprema lex
The good of the people is the law of the land.

All ideal forms of government are, of course, utopias.

But a state cannot be constructed on a pure ideal, a theoretical basis; rather, it must grow and ripen in the way an individual human being matures. But we must not forget that at the starting point of every civilization the state was already there in rudimentary form. The family is as old as man himself, and out of this initial bond mankind, endowed with reason, created for himself a state founded on justice, whose highest law was the common good.

The state should exist as a parallel to the divine order, and the highest of all utopias, the civitas dei, is the model which in the end it should approximate. Here we will not pass judgment on the many possible forms of the state - democracy, constitutional monarchy, and so on.

But one matter needs to be brought out clearly and unambiguously. Every individual human being has a claim to a useful and just state, a state which secures freedom of the individual as well as the good of the whole. For, according to God's will, man is intended to pursue his natural goal, his earthly happiness, in self-reliance and self-chosen activity, freely and independently within the community of life and work of the nation.

But our present "state" is the dictatorship of evil. "Oh, we've known that for a long time," I hear you object, "and it isn't necessary to bring that to our attention again." But, I ask you, if you know that, why do you not act, why do you allow these men who are in power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one set of your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanized state system presided over by criminals and fools?

Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right - or rather, your moral duty - to change this system? But if a man no longer can summon the strength to demand his rights, then it is absolutely certain that he will perish. We would deserve to be dispersed through the earth like dust before the wind if we do not muster our powers at this late hour and finally find the courage which, up to now, we have lacked. Do not hide your cowardice behind a cloak of expediency, for with every new day that you hesitate, failing to oppose this offspring of Hell, your guilt, as in a parabolic curve, grows higher and higher.

Many, perhaps most, of the readers of these leaflets do not see clearly how they can practice an effective opposition. They do not see any avenues open to them. We want to try to show them that everyone is in a position to contribute to changing this system. It is not possible through solitary withdrawal, in the manner of embittered hermits, to prepare the ground for the overturn of this "government" or bring about the revolution at the earliest possible moment. No, it can be done only by the cooperation of many convinced, energetic people - people who are agreed as to the means they must use to attain their goal. We have no great number of choices as to these means. The only one available is passive resistance.

The meaning and the goal of passive resistance is to topple National Socialism, and in this struggle we must not recoil from any course, any action, whatever its nature. At all points we must oppose National Socialism, wherever it is open to attack. We must soon bring this monster of a state to an end. A victory of fascist Germany in this war would have immeasurable, frightful consequences. The military victory over Bolshevism dare not become the primary concern of the Germans. The defeat of the Nazis must unconditionally be the first order of business, the greater necessity of this latter requirement will be discussed in one of our forthcoming leaflets.

And now every convinced opponent of National Socialism must ask himself how he can fight against the present "state" in the most effective way, how he can strike it the most telling blows. Through passive resistance, without a doubt. We cannot provide each man with the blueprint for his acts, we can only suggest them in general terms, and he alone will find the way of achieving this end...

Please distribute this as widely as possible.

"Before the crown comes the cross."

Martin Luther King

"Easter Day is preceded by the forty days of Lent, to show us that they, and they only, who sow in tears, shall reap in joy."

John Henry Newman

Thankfully few are called to the martyr's crown, but we are all called to take up the cross and follow, each day, in each of our own small ways. That is all most of us can do, be still, and faithful, and wait on the Lord.

And for anyone who has done it, they know well that raising a family, going to work each day and doing all things well, being kind and understanding especially when you would like to do otherwise, and even staring a mortgage in the face for thirty years, all of these things are no picnic.

I realized today that when I was a younger man, I recall hearing people talk quite a bit about 'conscience.' Even in the public news, there was talk of acts of conscience, and a defense of their inherent nobility, and right and wrong in the moral sense, doing the right thing.

These days what we seem to hear about most is winning, continual war, and a ruthless culture of death.

Now the moral sense is just dollars and cents, and a continuing sacrifice to the gods of greed. We take pride in the ability to put a price on anything, but we seem to have lost a relative sense of the value of everything, or at least all that really matters.

America has faltered from its high ideals, that even if not always adhered to closely, were still a light to the world. Today the nation stands before God and the world not in humility but in defiance, with the blood of prophets on its hands, as the greatest power on earth, the unquestioned ruler of all it surveys. And that is an exceptional tragedy.