Friday, December 17, 2004

That revisionist touch

We learn via Brian Leiter that Antonin Scalia has been engaging in a kind of Holocaust revisionism:
Scalia, 68, addressed the topic of government and its relationship to religion.

In the synagogue that is home to America's oldest Jewish congregation, he noted that in Europe, religion-neutral leaders almost never publicly use the word "God."

But, the justice asked, "Did it turn out that, by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America? I don't think so."

As Thom Hartmann points out, fascism was closely associated with religious institutions, which it cynically manipulated for its own purposes. "Separation of church and state" was not what occurred under Nazism.

As a matter of fact, Jews proved to have been much safer in America, where they had, you know, separation of church and state. Somewhat compromised, perhaps, but certainly more pronounced than what was occurring in Germany.

Indeed, you'd think Antonin Scalia would know this full well. After all, as Alan Dershowitz pointed out in Supreme Injustice: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000, Scalia's father was a member of the American Italian fascist party in the 1930s. Atrios posted a quotes from Dershowitz regarding this subject a few months ago:
He's an interesting guy. His father was a teacher at Brooklyn college when I was there. His father was a proud member of the American-Italian fascist party and got his doctorate at Casa Italiano at Columbia at a time when in order to get your doctorate you had to swear an oath to Mussolini. So he comes from an interesting background and he went to a kind of military school in New York which was a place where many children of fascists were educated.

You'd think a fellow like Scalia, in fact, would be well aware of the integration of the Italian fascist state and the Church, embodied by the Lateran Treaties:
Through the concordat, the Pope agreed to submit candidates for bishop and archbishop to the Italian government, to require bishops to swear allegiance to the Italian state before taking offices, and to forbid the clergy from taking part in politics. Italy agreed to submit its rules on marriage and divorce to make them conformable to the rules of the Roman Catholic Church, and to exempt clergy from military conscription. The treaties granted the Roman Catholic Church the status of the established church in Italy. They also gave the Roman Catholic Church substantial control over the Italian educational system.

Then again, it's very likely Scalia knows full well these facts.

After all, as another Italian observer of fascism put it: "Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak."

The same essay reminds us of an all-too-relevant reminder from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, spoken in 1938:
If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.

It's starting to sound like prophecy.

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