People, as a rule, are born with a pioneering spirit to find new frontiers. Man discovers knowledge that challenges him to apply his skills. It requires risk, motivation and a desire to seek and produce the best. Europe, America as well as Asia and the Middle East used it to build and establish their communities. People discovered the arts of science to research their universe. They learned of mathematics, physics and astronomy that gave them architecture, technology and medicine. The earliest known civilization of Mesopotamia, Sumer, developed reading and writing and brought us the wheel. Their efforts gave rewards of progress and wealth to individuals and nations. Man created beauty and comfort that has improved his life tremendously.
He also became disturbed, when his neighbor did better than him. It turned his actions into a bloody and painful history of legalities and wars. The ancient stories teach about human nature and how to nurture it into a good life. They also show repeated patterns of disasters if man refuses to be obedient to simple prohibitions. In the book of Genesis God executed his first judgment over Adam and Eve by banishing them from the Garden of Eden. Man and woman were guilty as charged by eating from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and committed the first sin. Sin cannot co-exist with perfect order and had to be expelled. Their form of discipline was to leave the comfort of paradise. They had to enter the wilderness where man was to discover their moral compass again through personal trials and rewards.
The biblical story of Cain and Abel, sons of Adam and Eve, tells of the first act of murder blotting the earth with innocent human blood. Cain killed his brother Abel over envy. Cain’s offer of sacrifice to God was less pleasing than his brother’s and was rejected. Able gave his best while Cain held back. He kept the best for himself and only offered the mediocre results of his labor. Abel’s innocent death left the descendents of Cain to wander the earth. They still search for happiness and continually encounter sin through repeated wrongful behaviors that bring feelings of guilt and rejection.
Feelings of guilt keep man in a state of perpetual anxiety that requires relief. These feelings can settle into a deep depression if not relieved. Feelings of rejections inflate his perception of reality. He constantly tries to alter it by constraining his environment down to his level. It gives him control over fears. Tribes and cultures throughout history began the practice of finding an innocent human or animal sacrifice to relieve him from guilt and to be accepted by his gods. A man’s guilt without redemption could not bring mercy. A man’s offer of his innocence (guilt free) is still the best part of himself. It is the only part that becomes acceptable to produce a good life and a bountiful harvest. People and society were, and still are, manipulated if these feelings are left on their own. They become trump card in the game of politics and relationships.
The Jewish religion had stopped the pagan practice of innocent human sacrifices. The Christian religion teaches salvation through the ultimate spotless sacrifice of Jesus Christ and puts an end to all sacrifices. However, the wisdom of these teachings cease and are forgotten when people’s desire for justice is continually being controlled by Cain’s envy. It has killed many innocent people in his bloody battle to control guilt and rejection.
Guilt and rejections are still personal hurdles that any of us must deal with at one time or another regardless if one is religious or not. Most of us know guilt brought on by our own doing. All of us know rejection or have rejected another. There is an inherent desire within each human being of wanting to be disciplined and corrected in order to relieve us from guilt. Children are very receptive to discipline, because the correction of their parents can give them a sense of direction. Appropriate guilt of one’s own actions is the right balance that allows for self-examination and contemplation to improve behavior. It is followed with remorse, and, a price to pay for the wrongful act (redemption).
Continual rejection by others also demands an intellectual understanding that can be the first step in learning about one’s self through introspection. Knowing and observing how we think and react to our own feelings are keys that can unlock doors to our intellect and wisdom. Feelings are part of the human make-up and serve as guideposts that only point to our own state of being. They can let us know what needs to be adjusted, fine-tuned or simply enjoyed. Feelings only serve as messengers that can lead us out of our self-absorbed emotional life into wholeness that includes our mind and spirit. Feelings are neither good nor bad; they just are. They require, however, to be restrained through rational reasoning before they bring us down with impulsive reactions that harm.
Great thinkers and philosophers emerged through the ages that tried solving man’s violent and deathly history that he created with his bloodthirsty practices. Everyone searched for a way back to Eden. Some arrived back to the original teachings of ancient biblical wisdom that giving the best part of one self is always pleasing in the sight of God. It can be brought out in the form of labor, learning, as well as personal acceptance of responsibility and kindness to one another. It also requires the adaptation of a moral law to keep his community in order. This gives him a contract to protect his possession and a right to defend that what he paid for.
Others have rejected it completely and proposed their personal irrational reasoning. Their powerful message rejects the ancient truth. It requires very little thinking and discipline from their disciples. It only requires that their feeling of guilt can be temporarily soothed by absolving guilt through blame and by approving their current perception of their world image as reality (which may change again with another feeling). It totally supports the notion that not giving your best justifies Abel’s death. Envy and self-pity support their theories. It has enslaved entire nations in losing their freedom with their quest for social justice.
Karl Marx empowered the working class in Western Europe by placing guilt on owners of the means of production during the 19th Century. His envy over the reward that capitalism offered hard-working individuals (giving their best), did not sit well with him. In his view, he felt that the new Abel of modern times deserved Cain’s judgment. Social justice was his answer and remedy that would fix his world. He held up the label of "exploiters" to a receptive working class, who forfeited their rights of free employment. Labor unions were created to enforce regulations on their employers in exchange for security. He was also able to play on the feelings of rejection to the lower economic class by proposing equal distribution of wealth between the poor and the rich. His message of equal distribution of wealth pulled the strings in those who felt rejected and left out. Like Cain, his followers wanted to kill Abel all over again. The result of his philosophy spread into Eastern Europe that was followed with the Bolshevik Revolution and Stalin’s regime. The total death toll will never be known. It’s estimated that during 1924—1954 roughly 51 million innocent people died through war, extermination, and starvation in Russia. All this in the name of equality, security and social justice creating a state that was to resemble Eden at its final stage. It never happened. In 1989 the Soviet Union crumbled apart. It returned the natural boundaries of original states that were forcefully kept together for 60 years.
The First and Second World War have been the most devastating causes of guilt man has ever imposed on himself. Each time Germany was given the verdict of "guilty." During World War I it had the blood of 6.5 million civilians on her hands. During the Second World War the death toll of civilians rose to 30 million globally. This is not even including the military casualties. Approximately 760,000 Germans died of starvation during 1914—1918. The guilty verdict of the First World War did not sit well with an already rejected and beaten populace.
The US stock market crash in 1929 required foreign loans to be repaid. After a chain of related events, this raised Germany’s unemployment rate to 4 million by 1930. Hitler’s campaign promised tax cuts and price control, defeat of communism and distribution of wealth. He criticized profits made by businesses and even promised to crush the power of the labor unions. His speeches were never clear on how he intended to accomplish this great task. The rejection of the harsh Treaty of Versailles was Hitler’s main campaign theme and helped him turn guilt into aggression.
Although similar in their roots of ideology, competing communism was greatly despised by National Socialism. Its evil twin, the Communist Party, had one of the strongest representations in the Weimar Republic along with the Social Democratic Party. Hitler’s National Socialist Worker’s Party (NSDAP) finally succeeded in gaining parliamentary majority in 1933. Violent tactics as exhibited by the Sturmabteilung (SA) Brownshirts against socialists and communists did not sit well with the people who were hesitant in electing his party into parliament. Hitler found new ways to manipulate the population through fear and anxiety by claiming that a Bolshevik revolution was planned for Germany. This bold move paved his way to the chancellor position with the support of the industrialist who persuaded Paul von Hindenburg to accept.
A shameless in audacity propaganda campaign kept even the doubting masses on the side of the new state. The Nazi Party, now in full control of the government, only needed to find a sacrificial lamb to take the brunt of their hate. Such lamb first came in a convenient form of communism. It was further twisted to fit the basic Nazi racial ideology of virulent anti-Semitism. From that point on, Judaism and communism became inseparable from one another in the official diatribes of the Nazi propaganda apparatus. A “Jew-Bolshevik” became an indistinguishable amalgam of ethnicity, religion and ideology that targeted all Jewish communities simultaneously regardless of the actual individual beliefs. Given that amalgam, a Jew was found then to be guilty of at least one of the three accusations, most often the one that could not be avoided — being born to the wrong parents. Having been made a criminal from birth, the entire people then became a subject of an organized persecution by the state, which outlawed their right to exist. Gypsies awaited the same fate. The need to avenge blood for blood had made its entrance into the 20th Century. Man continued his obsessive-compulsive behavior to relieve his anxiety brought on by guilt by finding human sacrifices to pay for sin.
Germany’s brief spiritual, economic and technological revival fueled by her powerful war machine ended with the death of her Fhrer in 1945. His fear of rejection and falling into the hands of justice was too much for him to bear. He never uttered one word of admittance of guilt for his actions. Hitler felt that the German people should go down with him; after all, he proclaimed, they deserved it. He felt no remorse over his actions nor did he care what happened to the German population after the fall of his Reich. Albert Speer, Minister of Armament, was given the orders of scorched earth to destroy all infrastructures. Speer, whose architecture was greatly admired by Hitler (his own art was rejected), disobeyed orders to blow up factories, bridges and buildings all over Germany. He wanted to spare civilians from a total loss. Ironically, the allied bombings took care of that in selected cities throughout Germany during the last six months of the war, killing thousands of civilians. Hitler shot himself hidden away in the depth of his bunker while Berlin and the rest of his country burned to the ground
The victors of WWII debated over how to execute justice. A great number of the German military personnel and the top Nazi party officials, along with the SS/Gestapo leaders, were put on trial to face the post-war tribunals all across Europe. An attempt by a victorious party to use law and order to highlight the barbarity of the losers, if not the victors themselves, were the first attempts by a military tribunal to charge individuals who knowingly committed crimes. Yet, the burden of retribution to repay the loss to the victims and survivors was still left with the population whose taxes also financed the war efforts in the first place.
Old guilt and shame hid in the hearts of people who turned all of their energy into rebuilding their lives and economy. Trying to put the miserable years of war and starvation behind them, Germans turned their now smaller nation into a powerful economy through newly found freedom with hard work. People possessed a sense of pride in their organizational skills, craftsmanship and performance for excellence. It turned their naturally gifted talents into a new purpose and away from the Prussian military image. Germans wanted to show the world that they had more to offer than goose-stepping while greeting the Fhrer in Roman fashion. Germans experienced a taste of freedom for the first time.
After 1945 the balance of powers was divided by the Iron Curtain cutting a clear line between Democracy in the west and totalitarian regimes in the east. Yet, no political arrangements could guard against the mutation of perverted ideologies that thrive on guilt and rejection. They have survived in the form of socialism and found support both in Europe and the US. The scales of Justice continue to tip to her left. Justice is to be objective, as the blindfold in her image suggests. Yet, her sword in her right hand cannot strike real justice when guilt is deliberately applied to those that are innocent. Abel did not commit his parents’ sin; but died in the hands of his brother’s envy. The tragedy of this lesson only continues when prohibited behaviors are repeated.
Biased judges, that favor the philosophy of the affirmation crowd, only pervert justice when siding with them in their verdicts. These judges live by a lukewarm philosophy, indeed, for it does not serve truth. The accusations of those who feel rejected and victimized demand laws that affirm their temporary and feeble perception of their circumstances. Her scales can only balance out with truth that judges an actual offense of a law committed by an individual. This truth is reflected in laws that have proven to be true over very long periods of time. The consequences of disregarding these laws can be found in the tragic stories of human history. The wars of the 20th Century still continue in the legal court system and is known as the culture war.
The most powerful tool in this new type of warfare is the media. It can create images and stories that require little thinking but are appealing to the feelings of her viewers and readers. The media has perfected what communist Russia started and Joseph Goebbels perfected during the Nazi era. Goebbels was a writer of novels, poems and plays whose work was rejected by publishing companies. Berliner Tagblatt, a local newspaper, also rejected him as a reporter. Goebbels became instrumental in controlling the propaganda against the allies and against the Jews, who he blamed for his rejection. Today’s opponents that battle the right hand of justice are those who use the media as a mouthpiece for their supposedly good intentions. They demand political actions through legal proceedings to social and economic issues by blaming others groups that are not directly responsible for their circumstances. The legalized spirit of inappropriate guilt has settled over the free world with a vengeance and birthed the new term of political correctness.
It is both ironic and sad that democracy, in whose name the free world spilled her blood, enabled political correctness. The process has removed more individual freedom from its US citizens than ever before. It actually resulted in a sharp rise in criminal activities and sentenced many of the previously able to a life of welfare checks and food stamps. If at all, it took away incentives to use one’s talents, whatever they may be, to climb out of poverty and the despair. It unleashed a never-ending cycle where behavior must be controlled by unproven laws that are being imposed on all citizens who were not guilty of the charges. America’s racial divisions as well as the gender war can all be traced back to guilt and rejection. It now demands a new sacrifice, liberty, for actions not committed by anyone in particular. The rejected Cain of today’s culture gets easily offended when truth tries to reason with him. Rather than give the best of himself, he demands fairness with his emotionally charged sense of justice. Mediocrity remains his calling card and reflects in modern society’s lowered standards of expectations.
Even as Europe recovered from Hitler’s attempt to establish Großdeutschland, it never really revived a healthy spiritual and philosophical era. Although, in the years following WWII, the state’s interference in the economy was fairly low, it never discarded its belief in a general socialist philosophy that existed since the 19th Century. It continues to hold on to its vision of equality that true social justice can only exist with redistribution of wealth. The EU 15-member parliament in Brussels is designed to improve the quality of life for the citizens for its members by reducing the economic gap between the countries. The strategies will be challenging, especially if 90% of the population in the 10 newest members have a per capita GDP less than 75% of the EU average.
The EU has a relatively poor performance over the past 10 years and heavily focuses on conserving energy and environmental friendly enforcements. This attitude reflects in people’s work ethics and their productivity. An average 6-week vacation, paid sick leave and doctor prescribed spas retreats are costly entitlements that workers have enjoyed and misused for years. Meanwhile, many of the new EU members, especially in the Baltic Sea region, have embraced capitalism with great vigor and are applying the pioneering spirit of early capitalism. One can’t help but wonder if the new EU members will soon create a redevelopment plan for the ailing economies of Germany and France.
European culture also faces the challenges of Asian and African immigration that are escaping the tyrannies and abject poverty of their countries. Outwardly, the Europeans embrace tolerance for the newcomers but this tolerance is slowly destroying the grand old heritage of these legendary nations. The philosophy of social justice holds the state responsible to help the tired, poor and huddled masses. Yet, reality plays out differently. Europe already has to deal with frequent labor strikes, high unemployment, high taxes and a shrinking indigenous population. Supporting an influx of immigrant workers has only complicated matters when the support comes through their social network.
The brave spirit of early US immigrants also followed a desire for a new life. They found it in the frontiers of a new land. The state-sponsored welfare did not exist. People were willing and determined to take great risks in pursuing their own happiness without any state assistance. A free nation of individuals produced wealth and progress with a "just (or free-market derived) social justice" until the Great Depression changed America’s politics.
Germany is a nation that is still influenced by this old guilt from her past. The economy has been driven down with welfare benefits and labor restrictions. Since 1989 it had to pay for an expensive reunification to former East Germany. The increased involvement of the state has legislated enough tolerance and regulations that created one burden after another to eventually move the economy to a standstill. It has made every effort in complying with extensive EU regulations that turned their country into one big bureaucracy. People feel more entitled than wanting to give their best. The falling rate of marriages and births is a sure sign of holding back the best. It can no longer support their aging population. The cultural decay is only enabled by an ignorant socialistic parliament that sits on the guilt of its own past. The irony escapes the politicians and the media. Socialism is still the religion and the culprit that slowly runs a country into the ground. The nation is manipulated by labor unions and price control. Millions of euros are spent annually in farm and energy subsidies only costing the taxpayers. Sadly, there still exists a great dislike for those who profit and succeed in business. Hitler was able to use the Bolshevik Revolution as a threat. Now left-wing politicians are using the "evils" of capitalism as a threat to their security. The opposition Christian Democratic Union is too afraid to make a move whose political philosophy is still socialism.
The German Renaissance of the Middle Ages has given the world original thinkers, artists and inventors that have revolutionized society. Germany can only celebrate them but new talents go abroad to develop their talents as well as their profitable businesses. Support for welfare doesn’t really produce a love for liberty and original thought. Germany’s unemployment rate of 5 million shows that much. The brief post-war period of the 1950′s has given Germany the freedom to thrive economically. It has produced original innovation. Selling manufactured goods on the world market made Germany one of the top leading exporters. Craftsmanship of products branded with "Made in Germany" translated to quality.
Names like BMW, Porsche, Siemens, Bayer, Mercedes Benz are still known as the best of the best. Germany’s healthy export contributed to the country’s fast growing success. It includes shipbuilding, iron and steel production, machine tools as well as the precision machinery, optics and pharmaceuticals. However, Germany’s muse that inspired her poets, musicians and painters and thinkers lies frozen in fear. She’s still waiting to be liberated along with her beaten entrepreneur spirit. State education has driven down Germany’s excellence of higher learning into mediocre performance. An international PISA study conducted in 2000 put German schools on a very low performance level compared to other countries.
Today’s Cain still challenges those that produce and give their best. He continually wants to lower the standards with mediocre performances. Rather than bring up his own level of accomplishments, he discards the inputs — effort, investment, and determination — that are needed for success. In his new and better world he wants to avoid rejection and apply guilt wrongfully using the power of the state to lower standards. The blindness of his purely emotional sense of justice drains people from being motivated to give their best. His actions have strengthened governments into power-hungry state-run institutions that swallow up a man’s rightful earnings to be sacrificed for a collective, for which he is not responsible. History shows that legalization of fabricated charges and affirmative-based laws will bring a country down in every aspect. It drains it of energy and life. Freedom is still based on admitting one’s own guilt and search for a fuller life even after rejection. It brings the vibrant and flourishing spirit of the pioneers that motivates to give the best to produce the best. The success that comes with it belongs to achievers who refuse to buy into mediocrity.
Sabine Barnhart [send her mail] moved to the US in 1980 and lives in Fort Worth, TX with her three children. For the past 15 years she has been working for an international service company.