When It Makes Sense To Think Like A Nazi
April 15, 2013 by Sam Rolley
When everything becomes sanitized, the collectivist vision of utopia will have been realized.
That’s why a teacher in Albany, N.Y., is in hot water over an English assignment that required her students to “think like a Nazi.” Students in Albany High School English classes were assigned a paper that required them to watch and read propaganda put out by Nazi Germany.
They were then instructed to make a decidedly politically incorrect argument. The teacher wrote in the assignment: “You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”
In five paragraphs, students were to pretend they were German citizens facing persecution if they could not persuasively argue to a Nazi official that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.
The students were also instructed to incorporate the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s elements of an argument into their paper: “Logos” (persuasion by reasoning), “Pathos” (persuasion by emotional appeal) and “Ethos” (persuasion by the author’s character).
While the teacher’s assignment may seem extreme, the skill the educator was trying to impart to the students is a valuable one: knowing why an idea is wrong by going to great lengths to understand why some people consider it kosher.
But considering an idea from all sides of the debate is not something that public education has been interested in doing for many years. The general purpose of public education is not educating students, but pumping out obedient and politically correct subjects of the state.
And don’t forget, in Germany circa 1930s Nazism was representative of the state.
By encouraging her students to take the position of an oppressed citizen forced at gunpoint to go along with the will of the state, the teacher risked revealing a lot about how people unthinkingly end up on the wrong side of history by enabling oppression.