The Depravity of Indifference

There’s an email floating around that warns of the dangers of “not getting involved”.  It makes a powerful and relevant point, and is worth a read:

Why The Peaceful Majority Is Irrelevant

By Paul E. Marek

I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy 
prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him h

ow many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

“Very few people were true Nazis” he said, “but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many m
ore were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had

 come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is, that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is, that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority” and it is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The Average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a war mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of Killing that included the systematic killing of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving”.

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Bosnians, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

You have no-doubt heard the quote at the end of the following paragraph.  But notice the added context here: 

Perpetrators, collaborators, bystanders, victims: we can be clear about three of these categories. The bystander, however, is the fulcrum. If there are enough notable exceptions, then protest reaches a critical mass. We don’t usually think of history as being shaped by silence, but, as English philosopher Edmund Burke said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.”

The lesson the human race seems to need to re-learn again and again is that evil is a cancer that grows of its own accord.  Freedom, paradoxically, is not free.  For a people to be free, there must be activists, marchers, demonstrators, writers of letters to editors, bloggers, talk-radio callers, neighborhood advocacy groups and all manner of people who, peace-loving though they may be, see a morally objectionable evil and decide to be a ‘voice crying in the wilderness’, saying this may be way to big for me, but I cannot and will not sit by and let it gain power without challenge.  Pacfistity is not an option.

This tragic attitude of indifference continues to plague us in many different ways.  For example, some have said about abortion that they think it’s not something anybody really wants, or that it’s a morally objectionable thing to do.  Yet they are unwilling to ‘impose their opinions’ or ‘religious beliefs’ on others.  So since Roe v. Wade, over 52 million babies have been denied the right to life.  And African children are dying of starvation or AIDS every day, yet millions of people with ample means to do something about it, choose instead to go play golf.  

The bystander is the fulcrum.  History is shaped by silence.  The whole reason this blog was named “Bloom Where You’re Planted” is to convince you that you can make a difference.  Take the case of William Wilberforce.  He may be the most unsung hero in the history of freedom.

He was born into British aristocracy, but chose to live a life devoted to the realization of two grand objectives:The elimination of the slave trade and the reform of manners (morality) in England.  England was, at the time he started his campaigns in 1784, a morally decrepit and debauched culture.  Bribes and payoffs were routine, the gap between rich and poor was vast, and social ills were rampant.  And the slave trade was responsible for much of the profligate state of society in general.  Each cause was itself so deeply a part of British culture, not to mention commerce, that the odds of success in battling either one were near zero.  Yet nothing ever happens until someone says ‘This will not stand’.  We should all be thankful to William Wilberforce.  He had all the money, position and power any man could ever have needed.  But rather than wasting his life in comfortable dissipation, he spent himself on not one, but two worthy causes.  But no regrets: it was a life well lived.

Make your life count for something.  Look for something bigger than you think it possible to change.  Whether you live long enough to see the fruits of your labors, you will leave the world a better place.  To spend yourself in a worthy cause; that’s nobility.

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One thought on “The Depravity of Indifference

  1. jarrodhart

    Excellent post. You are describing an issue that has been (and will again be) the needless cause of much suffering in the world.
    My only reservation is the fear that the message is beyond the understanding of the majority. The attitude that one should leave others to their own devices is very strong – but relies on the false hope that those ‘others’ will return the favour.

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