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tv   Richard Weikart The Death of Humanity Hitlers Religion  CSPAN  August 26, 2018 8:45pm-9:01pm EDT

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one of america's best storytellers, with doris, i'm talking about the administration of abraham lincoln. it's always good to understand the history and political genius of abraham lincoln. these are just some of the books that i'm reading an interested in reading. the last time we had this conversation i learned that the most successful ceos read 60 books. year. it's something i'm trying to do and i also try to get young kids. it for all the moms and dad watching, make sure your kidsf are reading five books. >> booken tv wants to know whatl you're reading. send us your reading look list on book tv or twitter,
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facebook or instagram. >> we want to introduce you to professor richard weichert. where do you teach and what you teach - i teach at california state university and i teach modern european history, 19th and 20th century europe. >> how many books have you written. >> have written six so far. >> and your most recent. >> the case for humanity and hitler's decision for both of them came out wit in 2016. >> let's start with the death of humanity. what's the premise. >> since the enlightenment. , secular philosophies, i cover a whole range of ideologies have undermined the judeo christian sanctity leading us into a culture of death where abortion and euthanasia and such are fairly widely embraced, especially by
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the intellectual elite. >> when you talk about sanctity of life affect, what's the definition of that. >> and talking about the idea that every individual is equal and has inalienable rights. in the opening of the book i talk about the declaration of independence which is that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with inalienable rights may focus on two of those issues, the issue of human equality that all humans are equal and all humans have inalienable rights among those the right to life so i'm specifically looking at the way the secular thought undermine that idea that humans are equal and that humans have in inalienable rights. >> why do you say that secular thought has undermined not. how has that happened in your view. >> if you look at the secular thinkers themselves, many will admit that they've done that. if you look at what they say about issues of human rights in such. we sort of have some talking
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from both sides of the mouth, others admit flat out that no, because there is no god, because there is nothing transcendent, that therefore humans make up their own morality and that doesn't give you any kind of fixed morality to go on. many, if you look at how they spin that out into issues, they will argue forthright that certain people are not equal to others, a personhood theory like peter singer at princeton and many other bioethicists embrace that humans are only valuable if they have rationality. many admit that human inequality goes along with their viewpoint, and i show how that's changed in secular thought. >> how do you show that. >> by looking at their own
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works and showing that many of them admit that it's the implication of their view. when i tried to show is that many of them contradict themselves because many of them do, at some level think the human life has value. the philosophy claims it doesn't, but they will say it does. let me give you a great example. it really blew me away, one of the most amos philosophers, they said quite forthright that humans were insignificant , even call them parasites on this planet, he made clear that human life has no specific meaning, no transcendent purpose, and he also claim that morality is just an emotion, a feeling that we have. then you find out that he was a moral absolutist.
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she wrote a book where she said he was him oral absolutist in a lot of ways. >> what does that mean. >> he actually did believe there were moral absolutes and objective morality. he went to jail for campaigning against nuclear disarmament. why was he gets that? because he believed human life did have some kind of value or purpose even though philosophy said it didn't. so while the philosophy doesn't have any transcendent meaning or purpose or significant, he couldn't live that way. >> he also talked about eric pr got. >> he gave a talk where he was receiving an award. he was hoping maybe ebola
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would go airborne and it would take out 90% of the population can see things we are overpopulated. this is a graphic example of the kind of way is dehumanizing ideology percolated into our society. he kind of backed off once it came out in public, but i actually downloaded somethings from his website before he was able to do any damage control and he had student evaluations posted to his own website that said that he said this in class that he wanted 90% of the human population to be obliterated. he wasn't promoting doing not saying we should do something to actively kill people, he's a nice guy, but on the other hand, his philosophy leads in a way that is dehumanizing. >> what is the effect of the enlightenment and the reformation on our thinking about life? >> i would say it had a bigger impact on the thinking in particular about the value of
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human life. part of the reason for that was even though people in mainstream enlightenment like thomas jefferson who was very heavily influenced and wrote the declaration of independence that irony reference about saying we have inalienable rights that many of the enlightenment figures believe there was fixed morality in a god who created things and got things started and created moral laws in such. there was radical mike met that took place at the same time and it tended to disregard those kind of ideas and lead into dehumanizing philosophies i discuss in my book. one figure was a french the terriers thinker who wrote a book called man, the machine and so he construed humans is just a machine. this ends up as seen human life is not being anymore valuable than anything else in the universe. >> how do you view man.
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>> i see them as being creative in the image of god and having sanctity and value in and of themselves, not instrumental value, some will say humans have instrumental value for what they can do like peter singer and others, but i believe humans have intrinsic value because there created in the image of god. >> richard weichert, another book you've written is hitler's religion. did he have a religion. >> not traditional as we would think of christianity which was the traditional religion in germany at the time of about one thing i showed was germany with a smorgasbord of religions that were available at the time. pantheism which was his religion, the idea that nature's god, so the whole cosmos is the same as god, and hitler, there was a fairly
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strong tradition in the german intellectual spirit, going back to the romantic movement of the 1790s and after that, hagel was arguably a pantheist, many interpreted him as that at the time and there are many other german thinkers that were building on it as well. hitler, interestingly was a very shrewd politician, as we all know and part of his politics was to not alienate people who had various religious viewpoints. in fact, he even for this forthrightly, he said we need to make sure we don't alienate people over religion because the prominent enemies politician from the earliest 20h century, while he was living there had alienated the catholics in austria by leading a movement to free
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from rome. he wanted to get people out of the roman catholic church and that led his political movement into a tailspin. hitler said we need to avoid that. hitler was very careful not to alienate people over their religious views and try to present themselves, what were the use, i call him a religious chameleon because he tried to blend in wherever he could. there were times in many websites that will promote this view, hitler actually said at one point that he was christian, that he called christ jesus is lord and savior and such so in these public pronouncements he did claim to be tru christian of a more traditional sort. if you look at his private statement that wasn't the case. let me give an example. when hitler, one of his right-hand men were imprisoned in 1923 until 24 for their involvement in some of his
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other inmates had a conversation, after it was over he said i have to play a religious hypocrite because of the masses, not to alienate them. he was forthrightly, in private, dismissing christianity. there's lots of evidence of this. i maybe should say something about the table talks because some people dismiss them, the english translation is not reliable and that has been shown to be the case however we have german additions and those are the ones i rely on. >> the table talks were times when hitler, during world war ii, hitler was in his bunker or other places where he had headquarters where he had monologues that he gave to generals and other entourage around him, and these were recorded by matthew and his secretaries and later now we
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have them published. the english translations are based on fraudulent, were not sure exactly, fraudulent set of documents for the not reliable and i don't use those but the german ones we have are pretty reliable and we had two additions, if you compare them, which i have, they compare pretty closely word for word in many places, but again you have to rely just on those. they kept diaries at the time and they were just rediscovered a few years ago. they were rediscovered after they had been stolen after world war ii. there's a lot of evidence that behind the scene he was pretty anti-christian. >> as chancellor, what was his relationship with the catholic church and the lutheran church in germany. >> he knew most germans were part of the protestant church or the catholic church so he tread carefully, but it's
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pretty clear if you look at his actions in relation to the churches that he was trying to dominate and control them inasmuch as he could, as far as he could without being too unpopular. it's a very interesting book that nathan plaut recently called hitler's compromise where it shows that hitler was very concerned about popular opinion. he was concerned about popular opinion. he knew how far he could push a lot of times in terms of that. he didn't want to alienate people over persecuting the church is too hard but he did want to undermine their position as much as he thought he could get away with. they did a number of things to try to make sure they were trying to corrode their influence. one spectacular example, chaplin and military hitler
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didn't cause the military to stop having chaplin, the air force did not they were formed under the nazis and during it, the german air force did not have chaplin. the army had a much longer tradition. hitler ordered that they be sent out to the front line and this has been referred to as an order based on the old testament where david had sent uriah to the front line to be killed and that's exactly what hitler wanted to do. he wanted the chaplains to die off in the war. >> we've been talking with professor richard about his books, the death of humanity and hitler's religion. this is book tv on c-span2. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily.
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