Drifting Towards the Worst Possible Outcomes

AverageEverygirl075

What is it with time travel and Nazis, anyway? It’s generally accepted that anyone who develops a time machine has a moral obligation to use it to stop Hitler. It’s also generally accepted that, for our closed-loop timeline at least, all such endeavors failed.

(But seriously, Hitler survived how many assassination attempts? Wikipedia has an “incomplete” list of 25, so there totally could have been time travelers in that mix.)

More nerve-wracking than the time-traveler’s requirement to take out Hitler, though, is the understood condition that any changes made to the past will likely result in an Axis victory and a world-wide totalitarian state.

TVtropes.org calls it Godwin’s Law of Time Travel:

As the amount of time-traveling you do increases, the probability of Hitler winning World War II approaches one.”

This trope fits right into the open-loop mantra, “Don’t meddle.” Time, that delicate mechanism, turns its course upon the slightest variations, and all alternate roads apparently lead to a worldwide socialist regime and swastikas on the White House. (Which is one reason I prefer the closed-loop model, truth be told.)

Why can’t it lead to a libertarian paradise for once, hmm? Probably because, in our heart of hearts, we’re all cynics. It’s human nature to lean towards the Worst Possible Outcome, and for Western society, that is Hitler’s Holocaust.

I’ve taken it for granted most of my life that there is nothing worse than Hitler, but in recent years I’ve come to realize that I was wrong. For all the atrocities of WWII, the millions of people who died and the millions more who suffered, there is something worse.

It’s worse than Stalin’s Holodomor, worse than Mao’s “Three Bitter Years,” worse than Pol Pot’s Killing Fields, and all the numberless atrocities that have occurred in the history of humankind upon this earth.

It is, simply, that despite the very clear-cut lessons history teaches us through these awful events, there are still people who cling to the power-hungry ideologies that caused them.

How is this even possible? Naive as it may seem, I always assumed that Nazism died in a German bunker in 1945. It should have died there or else shortly thereafter, when images from concentration camps circulated the globe.

“This is the consequence of this system of beliefs,” those images whisper. “Do not tread this path again.”

And yet, this -ism, alongside many others with similar outcomes, rears its head in pockets around the world, as though the consequences were trivial, non-existent, or—worst of all—a necessary means to an end. It’s mind-boggling to me.

The philosopher George Santayana warned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Humans may not have the power to go back in time, to fix things so that we can say, “Never at all,” but we should at least hold our ground and say, “Never again.”

4 Responses to Drifting Towards the Worst Possible Outcomes
  1. Mom says:

    Well said.

  2. W.R. Gingell says:

    Hey, wait. Waaaait.

    Your mum’s sig just says ‘Mom’. Does that mean she’s like the fictitious Joseph Rudd, of whom it was said, when he was running for office: “He’s EVERYBODY’s Dad!”

    No?

    *slinks away*

    Seriously, though, this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately (though not in relation to time-travel); especially with the politics kerfuffle in America and Australia. Shifting trends and shifting politics that look like dangerous precursors to worse. You see the stuff people do in the name of their ideologies through history, and you wonder how they got that evil, or how people can ever think like that. And yet, it keeps happening all over the world, all through time.

    I guess, when it comes right down to it, it’s fallen man getting closer and closer to evil as he moves further and further away from God. I don’t think there’s any other explanation for such blindness, whether it’s Nazis, Abortionists, Ku Klux Klan, or older, more widespread evils; no other explanation but a moving away from the Light.

    And since time-travel can’t fix that, at least we have a Saviour who can 🙂

    (Also, I get confused enough which day of the week it is in a strictly linear course of time. I can only imagine how confused I’d be if I had to remember which years I was bouncing between! So maybe no time-travel is best after all.)

    • kstradling says:

      Haha, I guess she’s the website Mom. Maybe if we’re lucky, she’ll wander through offering brownies and milk to all the visitors. 😀

      I love your explanation of fallen man moving away from the Light. It reminds me of John 3:19-21, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

      It’s been this way through the ages. How blessed we are to have a Savior, indeed.

      (And I’m right there with you on the time-confusion. I’d be in a constant muddle if I had to keep track of time-planes on top of everything else.)

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