Bonhoeffer, trump, and Hitler

In the essay called After Ten Years, in which he reflects on lessons learned in their decade of resisting Hitler, Bonhoeffer includes a section called “On Success.” He is thinking of the fact that Hitler had rid the country of crime (except his own atrocious crimes), restored the economy and restored military strength to Germany. He had even fulfilled his promise to return Germany to a habit of winning.

Hitler was, by his own standards, a success. And success, argued Bonhoeffer, is not “ethically morally neutral.” That is, while success may be morally neutral in the short term, in the long term it actually changes what people think is morally acceptable.

That certainly was the case in Germany. People got so used to Hitler’s brutal ways of doing things that they willingly surrendered their own sense of responsibility and simply participated with a clean conscience in the most inhumane cruelties. They simply – and quickly – got used to evil.

In much the same way, we can already see in America that supporters of Donald Trump are so accustomed to his outrageous lies, irresponsible accusations, and utter nonsense, that they cheer him for his trumpiness, as if being Trump were a self-determining good in and of itself.

It happened in Germany and it is happening here. Scary!

Advertisements

About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s