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Former George W. Bush administration speechwriter and torture justifier Marc Thiessen has a message for the spoiled young people of today: You have nothing to complain about because what if you were fighting the Nazis in World War II, huh? Now stop sniveling and vote Republican! In a Washington Post opinion piece he's no doubt very proud of, Thiessen makes the very persuasive case that none of today's problems are real problems because it is no longer the Nazi occupation of Poland.

American millennials have a lot of complaints about their lot in life. So here's a question for them: When is the last time you had to walk through a sewer waist-high in human filth, choking on the toxic ammonia, yet unable to cough for fear of alerting the Nazi SS soldiers on the street above — knowing that if you did, they would open a manhole cover and toss in grenades or poison gas to kill you?

No, what do young people know about violence that might find them while they are unable to cough -- or use the toilet -- in fear?


Thiessen certainly is entitled to a certain personal stake in the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, since his very own mother, now 91, fought in it.

I came here with my 91-year-old mother, who fought in the uprising. Before the insurgency began, she served as an underground courier, carrying radios and messages across the city. She and her fellow girl scouts would sneak out of their homes after curfew — a crime punishable by death — to leave flowers at monuments to Polish heroes or paint anti-Nazi graffiti on walls. And during the uprising itself, she would dodge German sniper fire as she ran across barricades to carry orders and weapons to soldiers fighting on the front lines.

It was a brave, doomed struggle in which the Polish resistance, the Home Army, fought off the Germans for 63 days in hopes of the Red Army sweeping into the city. Sadly, the rebels were betrayed when Josef Stalin refused to let the western allies resupply the resistance fighters. The Germans swept away all the existing resistance leaders, who were aligned with the Polish government-in-exile in London, leaving the ground clear for Stalin to install a communist government after "liberating" Poland.

You might think that might be a good warning against trusting a charismatic leader with a cult of personality, but Thiessen sees in the Warsaw uprising a rebuke of today's soft young people, who make him sick with all their worries about racism and social justice:

In our colleges and universities, first millennials and now their Generation Z successors have demanded "emotional safety," insisting on "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings" to protect them from ideas they don't like, because they tell us that "words are violence." No, they are not. Violence is SS officers using flamethrowers to clear buildings. Violence is defenseless civilians being put in front of Nazi Panzers as human shields. During the Warsaw Uprising there were no "safe spaces" — battles were literally fought house to house, room to room. There were no "trigger warnings" — only Germans pulling their triggers as they executed civilians and prisoners of war lined up on street corners.

Yes, why won't the millennials fight anti the fascists? Marc Thiessen would like to know.

Marc Thiessen does admire the way the young people of Poland "embraced the nonagenarian insurgents" who came to Warsaw to commemorate the anniversary, because no American youngsters love their olds; in addition, Poles appreciate freedom, and would never get all bent out of shape over mere words.

Unless of course a historian were to publish work that suggested any Poles were complicit in the Holocaust, because that kind of speech is an act of aggression against the Polish nation. At least the Polish government rolled back criminal penalties that would have sent people to prison if they wrote about history the wrong way. And don't even get us started on the 1946 pogrom against Holocaust survivors, or the 1968 expulsion of thousands of Jews. Thiessen certainly doesn't, because hero worship should be uncomplicated.

Thiessen tells us he took his own children to give them a good dose of history, lest they ever think they have "problems":

I wanted them to see with their own eyes what real adversity, sacrifice and heroism look like. I wanted them to put their fingers in the bullet holes that still mark the walls where the Nazis executed children their age. I wanted them to understand that these horrific events happened within the lifetimes of their immediate family, and that they must never take for granted the freedom, peace and security they enjoy.

Most of all, I wanted them to realize that they are growing up in what is, quite literally, the greatest time in the history of man to be alive. At no time since human civilization began has there been more prosperity, more freedom, more upward mobility, better life expectancy and less poverty, disease, hunger, illiteracy or violent crime than there is today.

We're leaving aside the bullet holes no American child has ever been forced to witness -- certainly not in walls, let alone their friends' bodies, since we feel we've covered those pretty well already. We'll just point out that "more prosperity, more freedom, more upward mobility, better life expectancy and less poverty, disease, hunger, illiteracy or violent crime" may only be true until the global climate catastrophe thoroughly disrupts food supplies and the economy more broadly, and maybe Marc Thiessen's kids or grandkids will someday wonder why he dismissed the Green New Deal, which aims at preventing the worst of it, as a Nazi-style "big lie." If they're really lucky, they'll get to demonstrate how good they are at surviving in a hellscape, the end.

[WaPo / The Rhetoric (Book 2, part 12) / NYT / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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