Do You Remember the Third Wave, Mr Jones?

Debunking and deconstructing the Third Wave: All of you After School Special kids will remember the story of The Third Wave. In 1967 a teacher at a California high school named Ron Jones decided to teach his students about the rise of the Nazi party by creating his own little fascist movement and then revealing it as a hoax. That much is true.

This essay goes into why the author thinks that much of what Jones wrote about The Third Wave experiment cannot possibly be true, and the recollections of a few people who were actually there. But further, Lyle Burkhead's essay is a truly remarkable read:

It's true that the Wave was a reflection of Nazi ideals. The Third Reich was intended to be a cohesive society, as opposed to a random collection of individuals. Nazism is the opposite of Social Atomism. Mr. Jones's story was designed to discredit the concept of a cohesive society. That was the whole point of the exercise. The lesson we are supposed to learn is that Nazi ideals lead straight to Auschwitz.

There are reasons for questioning whether the most notorious part of the Holocaust happened. Nevertheless everyone, including the revisionists, acknowledges the obvious fact that the Holocaust, in a general sense, did happen. Jews were rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps, where many of them died. Jews were also taken out and shot and buried in mass graves. This is not in dispute.

What I do want to dispute is the alleged causal link. If we lead disciplined, purposeful lives, then we are going to end up killing Jews. If we find strength in discipline, strength in community, and strength in action, then we are going to end up killing Jews. If we "share fully in life," as in the Wave ... then we will end up killing Jews. That's what we are supposed to believe. It's not true.

In fact it's so obviously absurd that I wonder how anyone could believe it. I also wonder why some people want us to believe it.

Let this bit of the essay tantalize instead of inflame you, and go read what he has to say.

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Comments

Susannah's picture

But I never read or watched the Third Wave story.

About the only thing in this essay that I wholeheartedly agreed with was this:

"People always stand by and let the police take their neighbors away. That's true everywhere."

Yes, he's hit on something there. Obviously, any instance of the police leading people away doesn't necessarily mean totalitarianism. It can also mean the enforcement of good laws that protect the community, and I consider the breaking up of drug rings in that category.

But I get his point. In fascist Germany, it wasn't mind control, but simply the *human condition* that allowed such things to happen. We need to understand that these were people just like us, and that we are capable of the same, given the same set of circumstances. What happened to the Jews then could (and does) happen to any group of people. In Sudan, for instance, it's Christians and animists.

But, there are always people in this world like the late Corrie Ten Boom, too.

http://www.soon.org.uk/true_stories/holocaust.htm

http://www.corrietenboom.com/

The rest, I'd have to digest first to respond to. I don't equate the War on Drugs with fascism, but I'm not sure that's what he was trying to say. (Maybe it's wrongheaded to imprison potheads, but it's not necessarily fascism.) And I'm not sure what he means by questioning the "most notorious part" of the Holocaust. Like, concentration camps? I'm always on alert when people allude to "you-know-who controls the entertainment industry" because usually something wild-eyed is to follow. I'm all for free-thinking, but...

Anyway, like I said, I'd have to reread and digest more.

Shaun's picture

[quote=Lynn]
If we lead disciplined, purposeful lives, then we are going to end up killing Jews. If we find strength in discipline, strength in community, and strength in action, then we are going to end up killing Jews. If we "share fully in life," as in the Wave ... then we will end up killing Jews. That's what we are supposed to believe. It's not true.

In fact it's so obviously absurd that I wonder how anyone could believe it. I also wonder why some people want us to believe it.
[/quote]

In fact, you could argue that it's so obviously absurd that one wonders how Burkhead came to such a simplistic and paranoid conclusion. Maybe it's because he's a crazy white-power, no-rap weirdo who equates listening to hip-hop to being anti-white? Maybe he's been smoking too much pot? (I should clarify that the quotation is Lynn quoting Burkhead, not Lynn herself.)

Certainly his "evidence" and frequently recanted claims get so tangled up that it's hard to follow a trail to any firm conclusion. The Wave didn't exist but it kind of sort of did and Jones's semi-fictional account of it, as selectively quoted, seems to imply that discipline and community are bad things. Mr. Ron Jones is portrayed as a dishonest rambler who may have been a teacher for just a year or two, but his ramblings make an easy straw man for a defense of the "essentials" of the Third Reich, if you leaving out all the killing and ghettoes and stuff.

Remarkable indeed!

Tech's picture

That was a great story .best.

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