I thought long and hard before posting anything on this subject. The reasons are many, and I will not go into them. I will confine myself to what is therefore a necessarily inadequate few comments.
I speak as a man, as someone with a good knowledge of history, and as a man who values and understands the meaning and implications of the word civilization. I also speak as a Jew, and, since it is deeply relevant, I will just mention without going into it, a Jew who lost family both fighting in the European and Pacific theaters during the War, and in the death camps.
I don't know how to say this without sounding like I think I'm superior, so I'll just say it. I am aware of Alex Jones, of who and what he is and the many implications thereof, in ways which most who listen to him simply cannot be. I will not expand on this. I will add to it, though, with these two observations. First, Alex Jones is one man, and while his efficacy as instigator must be taken seriously, it is he as symptom and as representative of a large segment of society--and that segment's psychology--that ought to be the focus.
Finally, and this is the only comment I will make regarding any specific remarks he has made, I want to paint for you a picture, and ask you to reflect on it. Those of you who know something about the death camps know that when the Allies liberated them at the end of the war, the survivors they encountered were actual living skeletons. Hardened combat veterans, including General Patton himself, lost the ability to speak when confronted with this. There exist photos and newsreel footage that some of you have seen of Nazis lining these living skeletons up in front of open mass graces, and shooting them.
One night on his show, Alex Jones flew into a fit of rage at those Jews for (these were his words) not having had the guts to turn around at that moment and fight those German soldiers, instead of just letting the soldiers shoot them, because, Jones shouted, as a result the Jews "made the Germans look bad."
In the course of my life I have met and heard many a Jew hater. I have heard and read their comments, sometimes familiar, sometimes a new permutation that is freshly shocking. When I heard this rant by Jones, it was a long time before I was even able to respond. There is a state of disbelief that leaves one unable to process.
A couple of nights later, Jones once again flew into a fit of rage, referring to these earlier comments and shouting that he'd meant what he said.
It would be a mistake, however tempting, to start psychoanalyzing Alex Jones, to speculate about his background or the show he does, to stand stupefied at having heard someone bitterly regret that history remembered the Nazis as evil, so unnecessary if only their Jewish victims hadn't simply allowed themselves to be put in ovens and led into gas chambers. We all want to ruminate like this upon hearing Mr. Jones' remarks, but I caution against it.
Instead, and I speak now in a purely abstract and hypothetical capacity, I urge everyone to consider what that very episode in human history taught us more than anything: When evil rises in the world, talking to it or about it, voting in elections, wishing, hoping and praying, attempting to appease or to accommodate--none of these is either effective or appropriate. In the end, when evil arises, being a civilized man or woman at that moment means being willing to kill.