Dogma, Double Standards, and Doubt
To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. —James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
In his autobiography "Break His Bones" Bradley Smith gives us a lively and infuriating review of the Holocaust dogma that has crippled intellectual freedom in the U.S. It should be required reading for every course with an Elie Wiesel book on the class reading list. While sympathetic to Jewish suffering, it dispassionately analyzes the fantastical claims made by Holocaust eyewitnesses, including mass gassing chambers, lampshades made of human skin, soap made from Jewish cadavers, and towering geysers spurting human blood for months on end in the wake of Nazi atrocities in Europe. Maintaining a steady, ironic tone throughout, the author details the intellectual cowardice of college professors, the craven submissiveness of the corporate media, and the fanatical zeal of Holocaustomaniacs.
This remarkable achievement has not come without a price. Holocaust Industry fanatics routinely slander Smith, disrupt his speaking engagements, prevent circulation of his work, keep him on the brink of financial ruin, and threaten to kill him, his wife, and his children. Nevertheless, Smith persists in pointing out the wild implausibilities in the conventional Holocaust narrative, as he has for three decades, and calls for an open debate on the topic on U.S. college campuses. Though no such debate has yet taken place, his tireless efforts to give sanity a chance have left the Holocaust Industry looking increasingly ridiculous.
At the root of this mother-of-all-industries is a Judeo-centric self-obsession that simply will not face reality - or let anyone else do so either. James Baldwin explained the problem well in his famous letter to his nephew on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Noting that the illusion of black inferiority had long served as the anchor of white identity, Baldwin told his nephew that white people couldn't help but feel alarm in the face of a black freedom movement that attacked their very sense of reality. "Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shining and all the stars aflame," wrote Uncle James. "You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature." And violations of nature cannot be assimilated. "The black man has functioned in the white man's world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar," he observed, "and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations."
Among Jews, orthodox belief in the Holocaust has functioned as an immovable pillar, so that any skepticism about mass gassing chambers threatens to bring the Temple of Eternal Victimhood crashing down upon their heads. Having long built Jewish identity around a narrative of 2000+ years of unmerited suffering culminating in "extermination" in Nazi gas chambers, organized Jewry cannot easily accept that key aspects of the story may be as much legend as factual description, as much myth as reality. Confronted by Smith's skepticism, they do not debate what they consider to be his intellectual errors, but rather, smear him as Nazi-sympathizing scum.
Though it is often claimed that "tons" of captured German documents prove beyond doubt that the Nazis attempted to exterminate Jews in gas chambers, in fact documents are scarce, and their interpretation is very much disputed. As a result, the Holocaust narrative has become almost solely dependent on the testimony of martyrs. But eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, especially from those who were held in conditions ripe for the flourishing of collective hysteria. "History is filled with stories of masses of people claiming to be eyewitnesses to everything from sexual union with the Devil to abductions by moon men in flying saucers," Smith observes. How "anti-Semitic" of him to notice.
The situation being what it is, Smith gets almost no support among U.S. college professors, who meekly submit to Holocaust Industry tyranny, even as they piously declare their (imaginary) belief in free speech. While they may be in favor of free speech in the abstract, as soon as they encounter the slightest doubt about homicidal gas chambers they are reduced to Holocaust Industry sound bites that divert attention from the disputed facts to the alleged sinister motives of those who seek to have them investigated.
Like Holocaust Industry lobbyists, the professors insist there can be no "other side" to the gas chamber story, because Holocaust revisionists are hateful people with an "agenda," and so cannot arrive at the truth the way the dispassionate professors allegedly do. This is the educational equivalent of Israel's claim that it can find no partner for peace, only terrorist maniacs intent on continuing Nazism by other means. If Bradley Smith doesn't realize by now that Jewish apartheid is inherently noble because mass gassing chambers are inherently credible - and vice versa - so much the worse for him. Such is the level of intellectual sophistication at U.S. colleges, now charging tens of thousands of dollars a year for the privilege of becoming associated with them.
Given the ban on open Holocaust debate, "Break His Bones" might just as well have been titled, "Free Speech: An Autopsy." "Every institution of higher learning cooperates in the suppression of revisionist scholarship," Smith notes. "No book or periodical distributor will handle revisionist publications" and "no philanthropic organization will contribute funds to revisionist research." For Smith, this is a spiritual issue, not a political one, since you either want free speech "for others as well as for yourself or you don't really want it." Minds that have mastered Aristotle, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche find these words impenetrable.
Here is the dismal sequence of speech suppression at U.S. universities. After Smith places an ad calling for free discussion of the Holocaust, agents of the Holocaust Industry express indignation that heretical ideas are being given a public platform. Devoid of shame, they contact the president of the university in question, "suggesting" that debating a Holocaust revisionist legitimates racism and must not be tolerated. Then they launch vicious attacks on the heretic, claiming he is lying and implying that he is a genocidal murderer at heart. They accuse the editors and advertising departments of the offending paper with having all of the worst qualities of the revisionist himself. Next, they smear all revisionists as peddlers of hatred and denounce as anti-Semitic the campus organizations that extend them invitations. This performance produces the intended effect: cowed professors and administrators maintain a disgraceful silence and campus libraries and bookstores refuse to shelve revisionist works.
Nor is this all. Thanks to Hillel rabbis, Smith reports, today's American university students are spied on with a thoroughness that puts U.S. intelligence agencies to shame. "Rabbis who work to destroy those who argue for open debate on the Holocaust stories represent a New Inquisition," and are converting the Holocaust into "a quasi-religious cult, complete with an immense crank literature of infallible texts, crazy miracles, saintly eye-witness tales of miraculous escapes from nazi devils," the entire fantastical tale protected against scrutiny "by taboos and media witch trials." Anyone who doubts receives the prescribed rabbinical punishment - "public disgrace and financial ruin."
Thirty years of such organized hysteria have conditioned Smith to expect anything but a debate on the points of contention that separate revisionists from proponents of the orthodox version of the Holocaust. His opponents never disappoint him. When he asks for substantiation of the mass gassing thesis he is asked, "Why do you defend Nazis? How can you justify Hitler? Why does it matter to you how the Jews were murdered?" When he points out the ludicrous nature of the claims that are taken seriously about homicidal gas chambers, he is told not to focus on them: "It's not the gas chambers that are important. What's important is the fact that the Jews were murdered. There are so many more important issues." When he persists in focusing on facts, he is psychoanalyzed: "What are your motives? Your real motives?" When he stands up for intellectual freedom, it is contemptuously dismissed: "Free speech? Don't try to put us on about free speech. What did the Jews ever do to you?" Discussion, debate, intellectual exchange, all are completely irrelevant: "We don't care about your fantasy about how there are no proofs that the gas chambers existed. We're past that. We know they existed. We want to know why you do it. Why the gas chambers? Why the Holocaust? Why the Jews?"
Charges of anti-Semitism are particularly easy to refute in Smith's case. He concedes that the German National Socialist state singled out Jews for special and cruel treatment, that they were stripped of their rights, forcibly relocated to ghettos, conscripted for labor, dispossessed of their property, and deported from the countries of their birth. He acknowledges that large numbers of them perished in awful conditions presided over by the Nazis. "In short," he says, "Jewish culture in Eastern Europe was destroyed during the Hitlerian regime." Such are the thoughts of what the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith calls one of the most dangerously racist men in America.
One weakness of Smith's work is its "spiritual" orientation and the uncritical anti-Communist bias that accompanies it. Smith judges historical events to be the product of "hate" projected onto human institutions, not to a clash of interests objectively in conflict. "Those who hate or believe they do," he writes, are in a struggle with their inner lives, as we all are. Projecting the struggle out into institutions and political movements is what leads to the violence, not the feelings themselves." This stance encourages Smith to gloss over important distinctions and give too much importance to his personal dislikes, which have no bearing on historical events.
Responding to the horrendous 911 attacks on the U.S., Smith issues a blanket condemnation against widely disparate political figures for engaging in "violence":
"With respect to killing the innocent for the acts of those who rule them, the Islamist radicals did nothing unusual. They represent an old established human tradition. They want to right what, from their point of view, are the injustices being carried out against 'their' people. That's what they all say. Hitler said it. Stalin said it. Pol Pot and Idi Amin said it. Even Che Guevarra (sic) and the pipsqueak Fidel Castro said it. They all were willing to intentionally kill the innocent for what they convinced themselves was a 'higher good.' The people who did the World Trade Centers were unique only in that they represented no nation state, but an NGO, a non-governmental organization."
What is interesting about this commentary is the it omits mention of Palestinian violence. Smith cannot be unaware of the long train of kidnappings, shootings, bombings, hijackings, and general war carried out by the PLO and Hamas. But unlike in the case of Marxist inspired movements, he omits mention of it. Why? Because, as Smith repeatedly points out, Israel is to blame for establishing an apartheid state on Palestinian land and brutally expelling as many of the indigenous inhabitants as possible, actions that make such a "terrorist" response, if not inevitable, certainly highly predictable. In other words, he puts the blame where it belongs - on the actions of the oppressor, not on the desperate measures of the oppressed to fight back. This is as it should be, and Smith should do the same vis-a-vis other oppressed groups, whether they be Nicaraguan, Cuban, Chinese, Russian, Korean, or Vietnamese.
After all, none of the figures Smith indicts above would likely accept that their policy was to "intentionally kill the innocent," and therefore it is up to each and every one of us to rationally evaluate what they actually did, rather than dismiss them as heartless mass murderers on some "spiritual" pretext. Smith prefers to ignore the distinction between oppressor and oppressed and issue a blanket indictment against both groups for engaging in "violence." But this sheds no light on history, which, after all, is a secular process, nor does it address the issue of what oppressed majorities should do to escape the brutal conditions institutionalized violence imposes on them. For such people, the issue is not hatred, but desperation. Smith nowhere addresses their plight.
For Smith, "the initiation of violence is the overriding issue." The problem with this orientation is that it overlooks the fact that violence is seamlessly integrated into all the dominant institutions of capitalist society, making it quite impossible to determine the "initiation" of violence. Under capitalism it is permissible to exclude millions of people from access to clean water, adequate food, medical care, and other basic necessities, resulting in countless unnecessary deaths. Capitalist propagandists insist this is not violence, but that a social movement dedicated to changing these priorities by displacing capitalist elites by force is violence. This is a starkly ideological definition that Smith does not bother to inspect. In fact, he uncritically supports it.
Furthermore, Smith, like Holocaust revisionists in general, is far too credulous in believing fantastical claims about socialist or Communist atrocities, whether real or imagined. Consider this episode Smith relates from the 1980s: "In Mother Jones there's a photograph of a Nicaraguan girl with the stump of one leg wrapped in bandages. Some progressive-forces group is using the photo as anti-Contra propaganda. The one-legged girl is laughing and the propagandists are asking for money. These are the same folks who did not take photographs of the one-legged girls manufactured by the Sandinistas when the Sandinistas were guerrillas . . . .their own politics are more important to them than the one-legged girls."
Here Smith uncritically equates the Contras and the Sandinistas as "guerrillas" dedicated to "manufacturing" mutilated children in the pursuit of political goals. But is this true? The Contras, composed overwhelmingly of ex-Somoza National Guardsmen famous for torture, rape, and murder, were an imperial mercenary army, never a guerrilla force, and they had no indigenous support inside Nicaragua. Their leaders were wealthy Somocistas who were given $84,000 tax-free every year by Washington to deliberately target civilians for torture and murder. There was no comparable Sandinista loyalty and policy, before or after the revolution. In fact, during the guerrilla phase the Sandinistas won the loyalty of the overwhelming majority of the population by "violent" actions against high value political enemies, not against civilians in general. After the revolution they abolished the death penalty rather than execute the men who would later form the Contras. So if the Sandinistas were "manufacturing" one-legged girls, how does one account for their overwhelming popularity at the time among the Nicaraguan people? In fact, Smith's claim is simply untrue.
Smith is similarly dismissive of FMLN "violence" during the war in El Salvador from 1979 to 1994, when a U.S. sponsored death squad government (Salvadorean death squads were created by the C.I.A. during the Kennedy Administration) killed roughly 70,000 people, often after hideous torture, the vast majority of them civilians. Nonetheless, after reading a newspaper article about a priest in El Salvador who had joined the guerrillas, Smith characterized the situation as follows: "So the priest is going to bless the people who are killing the people for the good of the people. The usual." He neglects to point out that the people were the ones who took up arms to protect themselves against death squads created by Smith's government in Washington, and that the priest was therefore blessing these efforts at self-defense, not exercises in wanton killing, as Smith's "spiritual" distortion would have us believe.
"I ought never to initiate force against another person to get something I want," writes Smith in his book, "The Man Who Saw His Own Liver." He seems not to realize that this precept has no application in the lives of the hundreds of millions or perhaps billions of people who do not have the luxury of wondering what a "want" is, so preoccupied are they with securing that which they desperately need to keep death at bay for themselves and their children. (Recall that psychologist Abraham Maslow's famous hierarchy of human motivation deals with needs, not wants.) If they pick up a gun to protect themselves against the imperial armies and C.I.A. goon squads sent to repress and kill them, in Smith's eyes they are just as guilty of "violence" as their enemies in Washington. But this is like saying that the surgeon who cuts you open to remove a diseased organ is no better than the gangbanger who knifes you in order to steal your wallet. In fact, given the vastly greater killing carried out by imperial armies as compared to guerrilla forces, it's a lot worse than saying this.
Smith states that "the Holocaust story increasingly reads like the greatest, most successful PR campaign of the 20th century." If this is true, and it is not difficult to credit, then belief in Communism as a satanic and even more murderous force than Nazism has to be a close second. After all, from the moment of its triumph the Bolshevik revolution was hysterically smeared, accused by the capitalist press of engineering deliberate starvation, massacre, sexual communism, and hideous refinement of unspeakable torture. Bolshevik leaders were denounced as assassins and lunatics, human scum, criminals by nature, and beasts. The fledgling Soviet Union was depicted as a land of raving maniacs forcing hapless peasants to fight over carrion with dogs.
Testifying before the Congressional Overman Committee in 1919 U.S. Ambassador to Moscow David Francis claimed the Bolsheviks were killing everyone “who wears a white collar or who is educated and who is not a Bolshevik.” Madame Katherine Breshkovskaya, a famous anti-Bolshevik militant, testified that in one year of Bolshevik rule twice as many Russian men, women, and children had been killed than Russian soldiers were lost at the front during all of World War I. Other witnesses swore the revolutionary army was made up of criminals and Jews transplanted from New York's Lower East Side. Still others insisted promiscuity was running amok, with women nationalized and roped into "free love" bureaus. The bed-hopping Bolsheviks were also alleged to be roasting their political enemies in furnaces, scalding them with steam, dismembering them on racks and hacking them to pieces with axes. Sound familiar?
The following year (1920) Charles Merz and Walter Lippmann published their study of New York Times coverage of the Bolshevik Revolution, characterizing it as “nothing short of a disaster.” Far from basing its views on fact, the Newspaper of Record had shamelessly promoted stories “dominated by the hopes of the men who composed the news organization.” Accordingly, the Bolsheviks schizophrenically appeared in the Times' coverage as both “cadaver and world-wide menace,” depending on the imperialist needs of the moment.
“The news about Russia is a case of seeing not what was, but what men wished to see," observed Merz and Lippmann. “The chief censor and the chief propagandist were hope and fear in the minds of reporters and editors.” Fabrication was routine: The Times cited fictional atrocities, repeatedly claimed the Bolshevik government was at the point of collapse, and spread panic about an imaginary threat of armed revolution inside the United States.
The Times' newsmen were guilty of a “boundless credulity, an untiring readiness to be gulled, and on many occasions a downright lack of common sense.” Their contributions to public understanding at a time of world crisis have been “about as useful as that of an astrologer or an alchemist.”
“For subjective reasons,” Lippman and Merz went on, the staff “accepted and believed most of what they were told” by the U.S. government and “the agents and adherents of the old regime.” With the U.S.S.R. reduced to starvation and ruin they mocked Soviet leaders' peace offers as Bolshevik subterfuge designed to “concentrate their energies for a renewed drive toward world-wide revolution,” starting with a “Red invasion of Europe” that somehow never materialized.
At the same time, in the eagerness to equate Marxism with Satanism Communist social gains have been routinely screened out of capitalist news coverage. The dramatic gains in literacy, industrial wages, health care, and women's rights that characterized the Stalin period are very rarely mentioned when the USSR is being discussed. It is considered axiomatic that "socialism doesn't work," so the idea that revolutionary communism actually created a better life for for the mass of people (in Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Mongolia, North Korea, and Cuba) than the miserable existence that preceded it under feudal lords, military bosses, foreign colonizers, and Western capitalists, simply cannot be entertained no matter what the facts are.
In China, where the 1949 revolution unified the country and ultimately ended mass starvation, the social gains of the Communist period were quite marked. According to work published by Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen (and his associate Jean Dreze) in 1989, "Chinese efforts have been quite spectacular," but dramatic gains in raising life expectancy and quality of life levels came abruptly to an end in 1979 when market-based reforms were implemented and "the downward trend in mortality [in China was] at least halted, and possibly reversed." The results were "particularly severe" for women and female children. After 1979, there was "a steady decline in the female-male ratio in the population" and a two year decline in female life expectancy, after a period of steady growth in the pro-reform period.
Meanwhile, in neighboring capitalist India, Sen and Dreze reported, Indian death rates were even higher than in China during the famine attending the Great Leap Forward, an event that resulted in somewhere between 16.5 million and 29.5 million people starving to death, the authors conclude. Nevertheless, "as far as morbidity, mortality, and longevity is concerned, China has a decisive lead over India." Between 1949 (the year of the revolution) and 1979 "China . . . achieved a remarkable transition in health and nutrition," while "no comparable transformation has occurred in India." Therefore, as of 1979, "the life of the average Chinese has tended to be much more secure than that of the average Indian." If India had adopted China's social programs, "there would have been about 3.8 million fewer deaths a year around the middle of the 1980s." The authors do not shy away from the obvious conclusion: "That indicates that every eight years or so more people in addition die in India - in comparison with Chinese mortality rates - than the total number that died in the gigantic Chinese famine." In short, India in its experiment with democratic capitalism starting in 1947 caused more deaths than all those attributed to Communist states in the whole world after 1917 - over 100 million by 1949 - and tens of millions more in the last three decades.
How often does this conclusion reach a mass audience in the United States? Has it ever reached Bradley Smith? And where are the New York Times headlines screaming of a capitalist murder machine running amok?
The point is that claims about tens of millions of people being deliberately murdered are very often ideological exercises designed to demonize or otherwise discredit selected enemies of capitalist empire. Therefore, stories of Communist "gulags" and deliberate Marxist mass murder campaigns should be taken with a very large grain of salt. They are all too similar to stories of soap made from Jewish cadavers and lampshades made of human skin.
- Bradley R. Smith, "Break His Bones - The Private Life of a Holocaust Revisionist," (Bradley R. Smith, 2002)
- Bradley R. Smith, "The Man Who Saw His Own Liver," (Nine-Banded Books, 2008)
- Michael Parenti, "Blackshirts & Reds - Rational Fascism & The Overthrow of Communism," (City Lights, 1997)
- Noam Chomsky, "Rogue States - The Rule of Force in World Affairs," (South End, 2000)
- Robert K. Murray, "Red Scare - A Study in National Hysteria, 1917-1920," (University of Minnesota, 1955)
- Murray B. Levin, "Political Hysteria in America - The Democratic Capacity For Repression," (Basic Books, 1971)
- Robert Justin Goldstein, "Political Repression in Modern America," (Schenkman, 1978)
- Peter G. Filene, ed. "American Views of Soviet Russia, 1917-1965," (Dorsey Press, 1968)
- Interview with Allan Nairn, "Democracy Now," June 8, 2004
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Michael K. Smith|
|Title:||Dogma, Double Standards, and Doubt, The Bradley Smith Heresy and Beyond|
|First posted on CODOH:||Dec. 8, 2015, 3:49 p.m.|