10 January, 2006

Would you have been a Nazi?

A friend pointed me to the "Would you have been a Nazi?" quiz on the OKCupid website. The results weren't exactly what I expected, and I reflected on what this might mean either about the quiz or myself...

Here are the results I obtained:

The Expatriate
Achtung! You are 38% brainwashworthy, 31% antitolerant, and 33% blindly patriotic

Congratulations! You are not susceptible to brainwashing, your values and cares extend beyond the borders of your own country, and your Blind Patriotism does not reach unhealthy levels. If you had been German in the 30s, you would've left the country.

One bad scenario -- as I hypothetically project you back in time -- is that you just wouldn't have cared one way or the other about Nazism. Maybe politics don't interest you enough. But the fact that you took this test means they probably do. I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt.

Did you know that many of the smartest Germans departed prior to the beginning of World War II, because they knew some evil shit was brewing? Brain Drain. Many of them were scientists. It is very possible you could have been one of them.

Conclusion: born and raised in Germany in the early 1930's, you would not have been a Nazi.

It could have been worse; other possible results were "The Foot Soldier", "The Everyday German", "Der Kommandant", even "Adolf Hitler"! On the other hand, I might have also gotten "The Resistance" had I answered the questions in such a manner as to indicate that I would have fought the Nazi regime rather than simply emigrated. I, like many others I'm sure, would like to think that I would have done so in such a situation.

Of course, there's certainly a likelihood that the quiz design doesn't correspond exactly with how I might myself interpret or respond to the questions, and I certainly don't give ultimate credence to an internet quiz. However, in light of the fact that my worldview demands a strong response to moral evil, such a "non-committal" outcome gives me opportunity to pose a question with which I often struggle: faced with the reality of such a sitution, would I actually find the courage to live up to the principles I value so highly and which I believe myself to have?

As a high school student, I remember seeing the movie The Hiding Place, a dramatization of the true story of a Dutch family that hid Jews from the Nazis during WWII. Like many others, I also read The Diary of Anne Frank. Many years later, I can still feel the impact such stories had on the development of my moral sense. I do hope that, faced with such implacable and overt evil, I would respond as I believe myself obligated, but even so, I am forced to admit that we often do not know how we will respond to any given situation until we are in fact faced with it.

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