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A Life Unworthy?

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So I just saw Dunkirk.

For a review of it as a movie, see Jonathan Leaf’s lovely essay over at SCENES. Leaf says: “This is surely the best Hollywood war movie since Master and Commander. It may be an all-time classic.” And that may well be true. The movie immerses you in the concrete details of war, without punishing the viewer (as Saving Private Ryan did) with desensitizing violence. Despite the sparse dialogue and minimal exposition, you come to care about these characters. And you feel like a part of their struggle. It’s exciting, moving, and beautiful to look at. Highly recommended.

What I found myself wondering as I went in was: How will the movie end? Which side really won the war?

The standard historical narrative, of course, is that 400,000 British troops were trapped after France collapsed. The British Navy was far away, and if those troops weren’t rescued, Hitler would have closed in on them, killing or capturing virtually the whole British land force in Europe. Even Churchill might have been forced to give up the fight at that point.

Then Europe would have been ruled by an autocratic empire of atheists, dominated by the Germans. These crass utilitarians would have imposed their regime of euthanasia and secularism on Christians across the Continent. Violent gangs of anti-Semitic young men would have been let loose to terrorize Jews in every country, driving out those lucky enough to flee. A violent warrior creed would replace European humanism.

Hitler Plus Hummus

Of course, such things are happening now. Euthanasia, including of children and unwilling adult patients, is a leading cause of death in the Netherlands and Belgium — the very countries which the British Army at Dunkirk had fought to defend. Unelected commissars of the German-dominated European Union make key laws in secret and impose them on the Continent. Countries that try to resist the EU’s will (like Poland and Hungary) are threatened with crippling sanctions. Dissidents from the EU’s policies on immigration are already being arrested and threatened with jail time. And most of the countries that Britain fought for, including the homeland, have been flooded with Jew-hating adherents of a totalitarian creed.

The movie Dunkirk never mentions the Nazis. It opens with talk only of the “enemy.” I trust that viewers know enough to realize what the stakes were in 1940. But do they know the stakes today?

“Life Unworthy of Life”

I’ve never visited a concentration camp. But I saw a tiny, appalling window into the depths of Nazi evil. I visited Vienna, to pray at the tombs of old Christian, Austrian monarchs. On a side-trip, I went to see the most beautiful church of the 20th century: The Steinhof. It sits on the grounds of a mental hospital on the outskirts of the city. The donors made the hospital beautiful, complete with a lavish chapel, as if to remind the patients that neither God nor the neighbors had forgotten them. I wrote in 2009:

As we left the church, I asked the guide about a plaque I’d seen but couldn’t quite ken, and her face grew suddenly solemn. “That is the next part of the tour.” She explained to me and the group the purpose of the Spiegelgrund Memorial. It stands in the part of the hospital once reserved for what we’d call “exceptional children,” those with mental or physical handicaps. While Austria was a Christian monarchy, such children were taught to busy themselves with crafts and educated as widely as their handicaps permitted. The soul of each, as Franz Josef would freely have admitted, was equal to the emperor’s.

But in 1939, Austria didn’t have an emperor anymore. It dwelt under the democratically elected, hugely popular leader of a regime that justly called itself “socialist.” The ethos that prevailed was a weird mix of romanticism and cold utilitarian calculation, one which shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to us. It worried about the suffering of lebensunwertes Leben, or “life unworthy of life” — a phrase we might as well revive in our democratic country that aborts 90 percent of Down Syndrome children diagnosed in utero.

So the Spiegelgrund was transformed from a rehabilitation center to one that specialized in experimentation. As the Holocaust memorial site Nizkor documents: “In Nazi Austria, parents were encouraged to leave their disabled children in the care of people like [Spiegelgrund director] Dr. Heinrich Gross. If the youngsters had been born with defects, wet their beds, or were deemed unsociable, the neurobiologist killed them and removed their brains for examination. … Children were killed because they stuttered, had a harelip, had eyes too far apart. They died by injection or were left outdoors to freeze or were simply starved. Dr. Gross saved the children’s brains for ‘research.’”

All this, a few hundred feet from [stained glass] windows depicting the Christian Works of Mercy. Of course, they’d been replaced by the works of Modernity.

Killing Charlie Gard

“Life unworthy of life” is almost exactly the phrase that British authorities used when (with European courts’ collusion) they ruled that Charlie Gard must die. That his parents couldn’t use the private funds they had raised to try to save his life. And why? Because he would still be handicapped. So the State thinks him better off dead. And the State decides these things.

So I ask with a little bitterness: Which side won the war again?

An Armada of Tiny Boats and Votes

And then I remember Brexit. Millions of little people launching their lonely votes against Leviathan, like the tiny yachts and fishing boats that dared the English Channel to go to Dunkirk.

I recall those thousands of people around the world who ponied up their own funds to help Charlie Gard and his family fight off the Culture of Death.

I think of the millions of Americans who scoffed at “respectable” opinion, waved off the media, and voted to stop Hillary Clinton — proud recipient of Planned Parenthood’s “Margaret Sanger Award.” Named, you know, for the eugenicist who worked with commanders of concentration camps. A woman whose sterilization laws directly inspired Hitler’s.

We Shall Defend Our Island

And I feel some hope again. I recall the legions of Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians who are saying no to the globalists. Of those pastors planting and tending churches all across Europe, in the teeth of secular states and the shadow of Saudi-funded Wahabi megamosques. I whisper to myself the words that close Dunkirk. First spoken by Winston Churchill, in the film they’re read aloud by a brave young veteran of the flotilla that helped save Britain. Churchill might have been speaking to the Brexit voters and Polish voters and Trump voters who even now resist the ethics of a new evil empire:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.


Source: John Zmirack, stream.org