Why does Zygmunt argue the Holocaust was modern?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Zygmunt Bauman was forced out of Poland by an Anti-Semitic purge, orchestrated by the Polish Communist Secret Police. As a professor of Sociology, he has written many books on Modernity, Rationality, and Consumerism.

Bauman's basic point in reviewing the events of the Holocaust is that a modern society will always find the unfamiliar interesting, but also quickly lay blame on anything that doesn't fit the norm. The Holocaust, being an organized purge of anyone who didn't fit the Nazi party's view of ideal humanity (Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Poles, POWs, and mentally ill or disabled people) is the logical result of belief in rigid, state-sponsored order. To keep the blood pure, and to keep a vague and constantly threatening enemy that could be satisfyingly purged from within, the "modern," and in their own minds, perfect Nazis could comfortably lay blame at the feet of anyone different than themselves, and so be in a constant state of reassurance that they were thinking correctly.

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