Contra Niall Ferguson and Moral Relativism
I watched Niall Ferguson's propoganda piece on the end of World War Two thisafternoon on SBS Australian TV. Ferguson takes the view of Primo Levi that the war was a "tainted victory".
This is a specious claim and a truism, not a wise judgment. ALL wars are tainted, victorious or otherwise, morally and emotionally, for both sides. War is tainted - so what?
Ferguson props his view up with poor Primo Levi's authority. Because Levi was a sophisticated intellectual with scientific training (he was a chemist), we impute the authority of good judgment to his views. But Levi's judgment is that of a suicide overcome with horror and despair - not of a survivor. Levi's view of the war is not just not good for life - it's anti-life. He willfully rejects facts that may make meaning of the event. You only have to compare Levi with Viktor Frankl's 'Man's Search For Meaning' to see that Levi left historical documents while Frankl left great literature as a result of the same experience of interment.
So Niall Ferguson is culpable of propagandizing this despairing view in his documentary. Let's look at his claims:
First: Bombing of civilians occured out of a desire for vengeance.
FALSE. Allied bombing arose from the practical need to break the will of the enemy. The Nazi bombing of civic populations was motivated by vindictive hate; the Allie motive was to end war.
Second: The Allied colluded with the evil reign of the Soviets at the end of the war.
FALSE: the Allies spent 40 years to defeat the Soviets after the war. (That was called the Cold War - remember?) In addition, starting a war against Russia immediately after defeating the Germans was not feasible; the Soviets were not an immediate threat, and we had no responsibility to save the Russians from their poor choices of governance.
The most evil aspect of Niall Ferguson's documentary is implied, because if it were clearly stated we would see its falsity immediately:
Ferguson implies that the Allies were morally no better than the Axis powers, that the atomic bombings were not preceded by the most painful and delicate moral deliberations; worst of all, Ferguson implies that human nature is inexplicably evil and without a reliable source of absolute goodness and truth in the world. It is this last implication that reveals Ferguson for the bleeding moral relativist, and really sinks his propaganda piece.
Because we are still here and alive, and for the most part happy and free, Niall Ferguson and his relativist crew are proven wrong.