Dissent in a Box, or Insularity as an Ally of Totalitarianism

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After the German National Socialists came to power,
Adolf Hitler
entered into a concordat
with the Catholic Church in July 1933. Article 1 guaranteed "freedom
of profession and public practice of the Catholic religion." Article
23 stated, "The retention of Catholic denomination schools
and the establishment of new ones, is guaranteed."

Führer, however, was a Lügner (liar).
His policies went on to include expropriation of Catholic newspapers
and schools, conscription of Catholic children into the Hitler
Youth, and infiltration of Church activities.

William Saunders notes

agents attended Mass and listened to every homily preached, prepared
to arrest any priest attacking or criticizing
the regime. Chanceries were searched for any "incriminating" documents.
Communication with Rome was limited. Nazi propaganda represented
the Church as unpatriotic and hoarding wealth with clerics portrayed
as idle and avaricious. By 1940, all Catholic schools had been
closed, and religious instruction confined to the Church itself
or at home. Meanwhile, anti-Christian teaching was imparted in
the public schools.

response to this ethnocidal offensive, Pope Pius XI released
the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge ("With
Burning Concern")
in March 1937, affirming at one point:

Whoever had left in his soul an atom of love for
truth, and in his heart a shadow of a sense of justice, must admit
that, in the course of these anxious and trying years following
upon the conclusion of the concordat, every one of Our words, every
one of Our acts, has been inspired by the binding law of treaties.
At the same time, anyone must acknowledge, not without surprise
and reprobation, how the other contracting party emasculated the
terms of the treaty, distorted their meaning, and eventually considered
its more or less official violation as a normal policy.

Clergy and laity who defied the Reich soon
found themselves in concentration camps.

1937, imagine that German Catholic exiles march in Washington
against the National Socialists' persecution of Catholicism.
Their assembly is passionate and their cause just, but there's
one problem: it's auf Deutsch.

people who view the assembly don't understand
the German placards denouncing Hitler and his totalitarian repression;
they view it as an alien gathering and move on. Hitler hears about
the assembly and cackles, "Die Dummköpfe denken sie
sind in Deutschland!" ("The fools think they're in

And thus insularity becomes an ally of totalitarianism.

I don't
have to imagine such an alliance, though, since I live near one.

Hitler, Fidel Castro targeted Catholicism after coming to power
in 1959. The methods of repression could
have been modeled on the Nazis': expropriation of Catholic media
and schools, harassment of religious services, forced labor camps
for "counterrevolutionary" clergy and laity. (As with
Nazi Germany, this was part of an animosity to Christianity in
general and religion overall. For instance, over 90% of Cuba's
pre-1959 Jewish population has fled the country.)

no lack of anti-communist media in Miami where the majority of
Cuban exiles live. Airwaves contain daily
denunciations of totalitarianism in Cuba.

En español, that is.

There's not one daily anti-communist program in
English. There isn't even a weekly one.

is ghettoization incarnate, with two awful consequences: fulfillment
of Castro's wishes and alienation of

the former, Castro must be elated that exiles segregate their
message from Americans, in contrast to his
ersatz newspaper
available in several languages
— or for that matter pro-Castro English radio programs in America.

the latter, the implicit message to Americans in Spanish anti-communist
programs is, "We don't
care about you." Exclusion doesn't tend to beget interest.

Miami's prosperity is substantial and admirable,
so it's not like the means don't exist to underwrite English programming.
What doesn't exist on this matter is a mentality of Americanness.
(How ironic that a community so American in entrepreneurial and
educational attainment is anything but vis-à-vis its dearest

Keep it coming in español, Miami.
Your adversary in Havana loves it.

24, 2003

Kantor [send him mail]
is a columnist for FrontPageMagazine.com and president of the
Center for Free Emigration,
which agrees with Frederick Douglass that “It is a fundamental truth
that every man is the rightful owner of his own body.”

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