Eventually, everything, that ever happens, is compared to the Holocaust. For example, the news story about a gorilla in a zoo; the gorilla was shot to protect a little boy who had fallen into the gorilla’s cage.
The following quote is from the news article:
In Walker Percy’s The Thanatos Syndrome, Tom Moore is having a conversation with a priest who was in Germany before World War II. He talks about the beauty of a civilized Germany, full of laughter, intellectual development and education. But, the priest relates, when they started talking about loving Germany, Hitler and the Nazi party, their hearts, minds and souls became possessed. They never talked about hating Jews. No, they talked about their intense love for their country and their pledge to oppose any danger to its purity–to love Germany with all their hearts, minds and souls. In the final crushing line of the scene (most likely a tribute to Flannery O’Connor), Father Smith says, “Don’t you know where such tenderness leads?… it leads to the gas chamber.”
Chilling words. Percy (and O’Connor before him) was pointing out that really terrible evil is often rooted in a misplaced, false love in a person, place or thing. In doing so, he is pointing to the Augustinian idea that evil has no real existence. Rather, it’s spoiled goodness. Evil in Germany didn’t come through hate. It came through loving other things so much you’d be willing to wipe out entire groups of people in the gas chamber. Even more chilling, you do it convinced you’re right and just, with your hand over your heart and a smile.
Bad Germans! They loved their country and this led to the gassing of the Jews. Fortunately, the German people have learned their lesson. They know now that it is wrong to love their country. They know that they must love the Jews.