I recently came across an amazing german quote:
Translation follows below.

"When the world destroys itself, it will start as follows: The people will first become disloyal to their homeland, disloyal to their ancestors, disloyal to the fatherland.
Then they will become disloyal to good virtues, disloyal to ones neighbor, disloyal to women and children."
Ernst Moritz Arndt (1769-1860)

Here is some context to Ernst Moritz Arndt.
He lived during Napoleons invasion and take over of Germany, which only ended through the "Befreiungskriege", Liberation or Freedom Wars, in 1813-1814, in which the german states united to throw off the yoke of Napoleonic oppression and occupation.

Arndt was a german nationalist (in a time of many small german principalities and kingdoms), a democratic author (has nothing to do with todays US Dems but with the philosophy of democracy as being the rule by the people, the "demos"), historian, and a representative in the National Assembly at Frankfurt, which was the first parlament of the unified German Reich, which at that time was in its birth.

What made Arndt stand apart from his fellow peers was his courage in using his pen and status as an author to write literature that called for the mobilisation of ALL germans against Napoleonic rule over Germany at that time.

Thats why he is also called a "freedom fighter" by some historians.
Following are some quotes from his writings:

"Whoever fences (defends) for the Tyrant and pulls his murderous sword against justice, his name will be cursed among his people and his memory will never bloom among mankind."

"It was often bloody tyrants, who attempted to exterminate Freedom and Justice..."

Arndt also fought for the abolition of serfdom in his earlier years.

8. I speak of Arndt through the lens of someone fighting for the freedom and liberty of his own homeland and people.

Arndt had some dark sides to him.
For one, he had racist tendencies that led him to make unfair remarks of the french, which one should see through the historic context though which included the french reign of terror.

Another problem was his vision of a free and unified Germany as a kind of romanticized national community, which had little, if any, place for people of other nations and nationalities.

Yet another problem, and in my opinion his worst side, was his antisemitism.
He actually conflated the french, in his hatred for them, with the jewish people.

My question then becomes this:
Do historic people, who contributed certain things that were in essence good, but who had other sides to them that were unacceptable, still hold value for us today?

In other words:
Do we reject Martin Luthers 99 Thesis because he wrote some really horrible antisemitic things?

Do we reject Ernst Moritz Arndt writings entirely for some of the views that he held?



We salvage the thought, acknowledge the source, address the source's failings--if asked--and refuse to be baited into bad-faith arguments.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
QuodVerum Forum

Those who label words as violence do so with the sole purpose of justifying violence against words.