Monday, September 6, 2010

Is It 1933 yet?

First Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Some of the First Amendment is certainly dated and should be changed.  The laws respecting religion were designed to protect Christian sorts like the Protestants, the Catholics and the Anabaptists.  This country was founded by people who found themselves persecuted by Peoples and Governments that disagreed with their type of Christianity (The Pilgrims and Anabaptists come to mind.)  

But the First Amendment is merely words that instruct Congress what to do, or not do.  The First Amendment does not command people on what is good, correct or appropriate.  The People are free to do and think as they wish.

Recently some of the People have used their free speech rights to denounce the building of a mosque several blocks from "Ground Zero" in New York City.  Now, another group will utilize their free speech rights to burn copies of the Quran on September 11th.  Although that is their right, I suggest we send several hundred thousand more troops to Afghanistan.  That is the only way we can show the Afghan People that we are there to promote their freedoms, including their freedom of religion and the exercise thereof.  I mean, how else can we demonstrate our faith in them and their freedoms while we burn and denigrate their religion here?  Yeah, more troops will be needed to force our freedom on them.

Presently, laws in the United States can't stop the construction of the mosque, but how far from 1933 are we?

Many people refer to Nazis when they talk about the persecution of Jewish people in 1930-40 Germany.  The Nazis didn't invent anti-Semitism.   The People did.  The Nazis took a popular idea from The People, and ran with it.  In 1933, Adolph Hitler was elected, the Nazis came to power, and they implemented their campaign promises.  (That might make Hitler and the Nazis some of the most capable politicians ever.)

As the People today talk against the building of a religious structure, they forget the history of German persecution of the Jewish People.  Today, the question would be, "What will the ramifications of those acts (no mosques, no Qurans, no Muslims in this place or that place) be?"  In 1933, the Germans, the Nazis and Hitler never asked that question; to them The Jewish People were "bad."  Ironically, The Germans, The Nazis and Hitler implemented policies that lost their war six years before invading Poland.

Before the German racial laws were enacted in 1933, most Nobel Prizes in Physics were awarded to Germans.  After 1933, most of the Nobel Prizes in Physics went to Americans.  The following is a list of European-Jewish physicists that emigrated to the United States and the United Kingdom to work directly or indirectly on the Manhattan Project--the United States operation to build atomic weapons.  (Some where not Jewish, but because they had family member that were Jewish, the German racial laws classified them as such.)

Manhattan project participants:

  • Niels Bohr.  Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922.  Left Denmark in 1943 before being arrested by German police.
  • Enrico Fermi.   Nobel Prize for Physics in 1938.  Moved to New York because of anti-Semitic laws promoted by Mussolini's Italian government.
  • Wolfgang Pauli.  Nobel Prize for Physics in 1945.  Although Roman Catholic, his father, grandparents and great-grandparents were Jewish.
  • Felix Bloch.  Nobel Prize for Physics in 1954.  Left Germany in 1933.  Worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  • Albert Einstein.  Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.  Emigrated to U.S. in 1933.  Co-authored the Einstein-Szilard letter asking Roosevelt to start a project to develop nuclear weapons.
  • James Franck.  Nobel Prize in Physics in 1925.  
  • Isidor Isaac Rabi.  Nobel Prize in Physics in 1944.  
  • Leo Szilard.  Co-author of Einstein-Szilard letter.
  • Edward Teller.  "Father of the Hydrogen Bomb."  Moved to Copenhagen in 1933, then to U.S. in 1934.
  • Eugene Wigner.  Nobel Prize for Physics in 1963.  Left Germany before the Nazis came to power in 1933.
  • Hans Bethe.  Nobel Prize for Physics in 1967.  Left Germany in 1933.  Oppenheimer, leader of the Manhattan Project, make Bethe Director of Theoretical Division.
  • Nicholas Kurti.  Left Germany in 1933.

Jewish Physicists that worked in Britain, but their work contributed to a successful Manhattan Project:

  • Francis Simon.  Moved to Britain in 1930, before Nazis rose to power.  His work on gaseous diffusion to separate Uranium 235 was used in part of the Manhattan project.
  • Otto Robert Frisch.  Moved to Britain in 1933.  Helped design first theoretical mechanism for detonating an atomic bomb.
  • Rudolph Peierls.  German who was working in Britain when Hitler came to power and decided to stay.  Co-authored the detonating mechanism with Frisch.

For reference here are a few Jewish folks that worked on the Manhattan Project:  (Although anti-Semitism was high in the U.S. in the 1920s and 1930s, The People of the U.S. never pushed for separate policies toward The Jewish here.)

  • Robert Oppenheimer.  Born in New York.  Headed the Manhattan Project.
  • Richard Feynman.  Born in Queens, New York.  Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965.  Manhattan Project.
  • Julian Schwinger.  Born in New York City.  Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.  Los Alamos National Laboratory.

What would have happened if the Nazis hadn't taken a popular idea and made it policy?  Possibly a mushroom cloud over New York City and Los Angeles instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and this would be written in German.

At the very least the German People and the Nazis weren't hypocrites (to a certain extent).  They threw out their brain trust with the average People.  Those People speaking against the mosque in New York City and burning the Quran in the South of the United States can't sidestep the hypocrisy label.  They believe that since Muslims brought down the Twin Towers, then Muslims shouldn't be able to build a mosque close to Ground Zero, even while Catholics were able to put up a statue of Jesus Christ across from where the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was blown up by terrorist Timothy McVeigh.  While McVeigh wasn't a practicing Catholic, he was raised as one and attended Mass regularly.

The hypocrisy continues.  All the 9/11 hijackers where Muslims, but 15 were from Saudi Arabia and two were from the United Arab Emirates.  Both countries are major exporters of oil.  NO ONE SEEMS TO BE BOYCOTTING ARAB OIL.  Oddly, there is nothing in the First Amendment, or the entire Constitution that prohibits Congress, or The People, individually or collectively from boycotting Arab oil.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution set out those rules of conduct that the Forefathers deemed essential to a free, fair and successful new country.  It seems those rules of conduct are out of fashion for Muslims in this country at this time.

Maybe we should repeal it.  Then it will be 1933.