The Libertarian Enterprise
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THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 338, September 25, 2005
"Listening to the Libertarians Yapping"
This disaster-marred week was also punctuated by the death of a man I regard as one of the most heroic figures of 20th century human history. World-famous Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, age 96, has passed away.
According to reports I've seen, Wiesenthal and his wife, between them, lost eighty-nine members of their family to Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution" to the "Jewish Problem". Wiesenthal himself survived three separate concentration camps. But what was remarkable about the man was that afterward -- often against the expressed wishes of the establishment, and sometimes to the embarrassment of many of his own people who would simply rather forget -- he was not content merely to have been a victim, merely to have been a survivor, of the Third Reich nightmare.
Instead, Wiesenthal became an avenging angel, hated and feared by those Nazis who had escaped justice and were successfully living in a postwar world where, insanely, it had become possible for murderers and torturers to become advisors and consultants to their former enemies.
In the end, he helped to identify, capture, and punish some 1100 so-called "war criminals" (not the most appropriate of phrases, when the same kind of monster can do the same kinds of things to people at Waco and Ruby Ridge without benefit of war as an excuse). Shortly before his death, he acknowledged that he derived even more satisfaction from the fact that even those he couldn't catch probably had a difficult time sleeping for the rest of their lives, knowing he was on their trail.
Wiesenthal was by no means a libertarian. He held many positions and opinions libertarians would disagree with. He never seems to have absorbed, for example, the principal lesson the Holocaust has to teach us: never let the government take away your weapons. Yet he never let the remaining Nazis slide; he never forgave, he never forgot what they did.
And because of that, he was, and will always be, a great man.
L. Neil Smith
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