When I say I am an author who writes about taboo topics, I mean it. My newest book is about one of the most taboo topics–Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The reading and research I did to prepare for this was enlightening and well worth setting aside the taboo and going beyond Godwin’s law. In fact I sent a copy of my book to Mike Godwin and quote him in the book. Godwin did not write his law to stop all conversation about Hitler but to move us toward more thoughtful discussion, with the hope to prevent another holocaust.
in 2016, the 70 year German copyright expired, and so Hitler’s book is now available. When one of my Facebook theology/pastor friends, Tim Gilman, shared the article about the release of Mein Kampf, I joined the heated social media discussion. At one point I remarked, “I could right a book about this topic!” Tim replied, “You should!”. And since Tim is a designer and connected to the publishing world, his company published the book. Here are some thoughts from my new book, “Evil: Confronting Our Inner Hitler“, that I would like to share with you. I find them highly relevant to America 2016.
Four themes besides racism
It should be readily apparent to most readers that Mein Kampf is filled with racist thoughts and ideas. In my book I decide to go beyond the racism and attempt to discover what other themes drove Hitler and his rise to power. Was he purely and only a racist? We know how Hitler ended up, but how did he begin? How did a washed up wanna-be artist rise to such heights of evil?
The title Mein Kampf means “My Struggle”. I find four themes that reveal Hitler’s struggle. Hitler wrote most of his book when he was jailed for the failed Beer Hall Putsch uprising. It was a time of intense struggle.
The four themes I find in Mein Kampf are: struggle for beauty, struggle to remove oppression, struggle for national unification, and struggle to remove terror. In short, Hitler deeply desired beauty, freedom, unity and safety.
“Taking the time to read Mein Kampf is quite enlightening. The general themes of the early chapters are about Hitler’s family life, especially his struggle with his father’s will for Hitler to give up studying architecture and become a civil servant. At times Hitler sounds like a typical teenager arguing with his father about his future occupational choices. Hitler then quickly moves on to the bulk of the book where he expresses his political and pseudo-religious views of the condition of the German people, what caused their condition, and how to restore their country to greatness.” —Evil: Confronting Our Inner Hitler
Hitler – the master cult leader
To my amazement, all these themes keep weaving together. Perhaps this is just my own mind mixing the topics of Hitler, evil, cultic manipulation, religion and politics. Maybe I am crazy as some have pointed out…
As I read Mein Kampf, I find myself recalling my cult life days. I can easily imagine how educated, church-going Germans would be drawn in by Hitler’s deceptive messages meant to manipulate people into following him. Hitler’s writing uses an excess of words, with many repetitions of the same basic concepts. This is a tactic of harmful cult groups. In our campus cult, we would use many words but say very little. Propaganda was our friend. The purpose was not to educate or to enlighten, but to persuade active loyalty and obedience. —Evil: Confronting Our Inner Hitler
Thoughts on Evil
After my review of Mein Kampf, I share my thoughts on evil in general, and how to confront evil. I look to Jesus’ list of seven deadly sins. In light of what Jesus calls evil, I find that America 2016 has much to learn from Germany 1932…
In my observation, the melting pot that America once was, has solidified. The fire of inclusion of the “other” has gone out. Instead of saying to the world “Give me your huddled masses…”, we say “Go away… unless you have gold.” We have separated into diametrically opposed camps: Republican vs Democrat, conservative vs liberal, pro-life vs pro-choice, black vs white, poor vs rich—and the list goes on and on. We have forgotten how much we need each other. We have lost the sacredness of community. —Evil: Confronting Our Inner Hitler