The Nazis and “National Health” – A View from 1938

Middleton Murry (who was a pacifist) was offended by a British psychologist who, around 1938, spoke of Nazi Germany as being in a state of “national health”.
Murry replied:
“Can a nation be healthy which sets itself deliberately to exterminate the Jew? Or, less openly but not less stubbornly, to eradicate the spiritual autonomy of the Christian Church? Or to annihilate the socialist and the pacifist by means of the concentration camp? These campaigns of extermination, says Herr Hitler, are the necessary expulsion of noxious elements from the social body of Germany. By getting rid of them Germany achieves ‘national unity'” and this is seen as “national health”.
Such judgment, Murry thought, revealed “the terrible moral confusion which is the radical disease of today… Surreptitiously, good and evil change places, under the cover of ambiguous concepts like unity. National ‘unity’ is quite naively posited as a good, without any responsible effort to determine whether unity may not just as easily be bad as good or what is the difference between the unity that is bad and the unity that is good”.
Are we any better today, we might ask?
[Middleton Murry, The Pledge of Peace, 1938, pp.62-63].

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